Saturday, February 11, 2012

David Gorski’s Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn’t Tell You

David Gorski’s Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn’t Tell You

Gorski Beer By Jake Crosby

 His motto is “A statement of fact cannot be insolent,” yet the title of his blog reads “Respectful Insolence.” In other words, even he admits there are no facts on his blog.

He has become the online spokesperson for the vaccine industry, a member of the highly trafficked, drug-industry-sponsored “Science”Blogs where he heavily promotes the tobacco science obscuring causes of autism. Posting under the science fiction name “Orac,” David Gorski has become the most outspoken, self-styled “skeptic” in defense of mercury that exceeds EPA limits in vaccines. Another example of a cause of autism he vehemently denies is the MMR - the triple, combined live-virus vaccine implicated in measles virus infection in the ileum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and cerebrospinal fluid of children who have autistic enterocolitis.

 In case anybody’s wondering what David Gorski’s connection is to the autism debate, he has undisclosed financial ties to the vaccine industry. He has made no mention of these connections, despite stating in one of his many defenses of millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, “A general principle is that undisclosed potential conflicts of interest (COIs) are of far more concern and potentially far more damaging to the scientific process than disclosed COIs.” However, Gorski has steadfastly denied possessing any conflicts, having once told me online without my even accusing him, “You are wrong. I receive no money from pharmaceutical companies and haven’t for 14 years.”


Well, it so happens Sanofi-Aventis – the world’s largest vaccine maker - is involved in several partnerships under which the company may be required to pay a total of €31 million ($39 million USD) from 2008 to 2013. Gorski’s employer, Wayne State University, is one of the partners, and he is conducting a clinical trial of one of the company’s drugs. Therefore, like Offit (who concealed the millions he received in Merck royalty payments because Merck paid the royalties to a third party, not Offit directly) Gorski has a reasonable expectation to receive money from a vaccine maker, even if it is through a third party. A look at the summary description of the Gorski Lab reveals that his research focus is drug discovery and development. However, he is not developing a new drug, but rather, developing new uses for an existing one. Such a process is far more profitable to the drug manufacturer as it eliminates the costs of developing a new substance from scratch, thereby maximizing profits for the company.

The potentially profitable drug Gorski is in the process of conducting a clinical trial for is the ALS drug Riluzole, made by Sanofi-Aventis and marketed as Rilutek. Amplifying the conflict further is that the same drug is also being studied for the treatment of autism. At Autism One, the National Institute of Mental Health was handing out recruitment pamphlets for children ages 7-17 to take part as subjects in a clinical trial of Riluzole for its effectiveness in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and repetitive and stereotypical behaviors in particular. Apparently, David Gorski has had his eye on that drug for a long time, but as a possible treatment for breast cancer. As suggested by a 2008-2009 webpage of a breast cancer website:

“Three years ago in another cancer (melanoma), Dr. Gorski's collaborators found that glutamate might have a role in promoting the transformation of the pigmented cells in the skin (melanocytes) into the deadly skin cancer melanoma. More importantly for therapy, it was found that this protein can be blocked with drugs, and, specifically, in melanoma cell lines and tumor models of melanoma using a drug originally designed to treat ALS and already FDA-approved for that indication (Riluzole) can inhibit the growth of melanoma.” HERE

Subtract three years from 2008-2009 and you get 2005-2006 – when David Gorski started blogging heavily about vaccines. Currently, the Barbara Anne Karmanos Cancer Institute of Wayne State University is sponsoring the trial for Riluzole, and Wayne State is the only university listed in the Yahoo! Finance stock summary of Sanofi-Aventis as being in a financial partnership with the company. Sanofi-Aventis owns Sanofi-Pasteur, the second largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world, including both thimerosal-preserved vaccines, and MMR vaccines. (Its first MMR vaccine, Immravax, was banned for causing viral meningitis in children.) David Gorski, while up front about the direct funding he received from drug companies 14 years ago for a patent as well as the funding he has received from the various institutions with which he has been affiliated, has not been up front about funding from drug companies received through his institution. According to the drug company’s website in 2008, “Sanofi-Aventis has entered into various other collaboration agreements with partners including Immunogen, Coley, Wayne State University, Innogenetics and Inserm, under which Sanofi-Aventis may be required to make total contingent payments of approximately €31 million over the next five years.” This is the same year it was announced that David Gorski would carry out a series of clinical trials for the company and its drug, Riluzole. HERE  In fact, one of the two primary interests of the Gorski lab is this Sanofi-Aventis drug. In the Wayne state description, the lab’s two interests are described, “First, we are interested in the transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cell phenotype.” Worth noting is that a patent relating to this was issued listing David Gorski as an inventor. In his blog bio, Gorski admits receiving money for the patent in 1994 from a drug company, but that was only during the provisional filing before the patent was issued. Whatever the compensation was, its timing does not suggest any licensing of the intellectual property rights.

Also, according to the Gorski lab, “Our second area of interest is the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in breast cancer,” which relates directly to the therapy linking the use of Riluzole to breast cancer treatment. However, the description concludes, “In addition, we have noted that mGluR1 is expressed on vascular endothelial cells and have preliminary evidence that its inhibition is also antiangiogenic, thus linking our laboratory’s two interests and suggesting a broader application for metabotropic glutamate receptor targeting in cancer therapy.” In other words, David Gorski’s entire research focus, including a patent still listed in his name for which he admits receiving drug company money, ties into finding new uses for a drug made by Sanofi-Aventis, while the university housing his lab is in partnership with the company. HERE

In spite of this easily-accessible information about his drug industry ties, Gorski’s denial of being in the pocket of the drug industry stretches so far beyond what he is even regularly accused of, that he will from time to time actually post a handful of links to the few token, laughably transparent posts out of the thousands he’s written which are at all critical of the drug industry. None concerned ongoing, unresolved controversies such as those surrounding autism, and none are critical of Sanofi. To David Gorski, Sanofi-Aventis is apparently untouchable. When a fellow blogger wrote a post entitled “Placing a vaccine order with crooks and liars” - questioning the government’s reliance on Sanofi-Aventis developing a swine flu vaccine just after the company was forced to pay nearly $100 million in compensation for cheating Medicaid, David Gorski was not amused. “Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick. The antivaccine nuts will have a field day with this,” he yelped.

The blogger responded, “orac: Meaning we shouldn't call them on it?” David Gorski chastised even his fellow blogger: “I would have hoped that you would realize that that's not what I meant at all to the point where you wouldn't have even asked a question like that, but apparently I was wrong. I didn't realize your opinion of me was so low.” Apparently, the public image of Sanofi-Aventis is more important to Gorski than the fact that disabled people, including those with autism, were cheated out of millions of dollars.

His actual profession may have nothing to do with the disorder, but Sanofi-Aventis certainly plays a major role in the autism epidemic. So blogging like the kind Gorski has been engaged in would undoubtedly win him some major brownie points with the pharmaceutical company. This could be very beneficial to a researcher like him, given that he is conducting a clinical trial of Sanofi-Aventis’ drug while his employer is in a Sanofi-Aventis partnership that could be worth millions. Meanwhile, he is trashing alternative therapies for autism when the drug he is conducting a clinical trial on may become a treatment for autism. How none of this could be considered undisclosed COIs to David Gorski--while Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s connection to lawyers in relation to the retracted case report from the Lancet is a “fatal” COI--is absolutely bizarre. Gorski makes no mention of his current connections to the drug industry on his blog, including the possible application the drug he is focused on may have to autism. 

Yet a number of years back, David Gorski wrote on his blog as “Orac,” “Yes, in the case of a true ‘shill’ who does not reveal that he works for a pharmaceutical company and pretends to be ‘objective,’ it is quite appropriate to ‘out’ that person.” From reading this, one would think David Gorski would be happy to know that his undisclosed connections to Sanofi-Aventis – one of the largest vaccine makers in the world - have just been outed.

So I e-mailed him:

Dr. Gorski,
This is Jake Crosby. I am doing a piece about your acknowledgment that disclosure of conflicts of interest is important, yet your lab at Wayne State University stands to benefit from Sanofi Aventis money for the breast cancer research you are conducting on a drug the company manufactures and markets, Riluzole, which is also being studied for the treatment of autism. Why isn't any of this disclosed on your blogs? I await your reply.
Jake Crosby
Age of Autism
Contributing Editor with Autism

Dr. Gorski Responds
David Gorski, a.k.a. “Orac,” of “Science”Blogs/-BasedMedicine replied the next morning with a short, excuse-filled response:

“A more comprehensive answer will be forthcoming when I have more time, probably by tomorrow. (I have to go to work now, and because we have house guests, I will be busy when I get back.) In the meantime, suffice it to say that I receive no money from Sanofi-Aventis, nor am I likely to. 
He did not address my question at all; perhaps he was too busy cooking breakfast for his house guests. I never said he received any money from Sanofi-Aventis, only that his lab stood to benefit from such money since the company is in a partnership with his lab’s university, Wayne State, which is sponsoring Gorski’s clinical trial of Riluzole.

Two days later came his “more comprehensive answer.” If Dr. Jekyll wrote his previous email, Mr. Hyde wrote:

“My answer is here:
Since you were obviously preparing to do to me what you've done in the past with, for example, Adam Bly, Gardiner Harris, and Chris Mooney, I decided that the best defense is a good offense and that a public preemptive response was demanded.
When you write your piece, link to it if you dare. If there's one thing about AoA that I find despicable and cowardly, it's that they refuse to link to me when they slime me. J.B. is particularly guilty of this. I link to AoA because I'm not afraid of my readers going to the primary source. Are you?
I’ll let the editors at Age of Autism decide whether they want to include the link or not. Age of Autism is comprised of original material that Gorski is heavily dependent on for his fits; he’s a scavenger. Plus, all our readers are perfectly capable of accessing his tantrums anyway.

Moving on to his post, it is essentially a huge rant divided up into five sections, the first of which can be summed up by this sentence: “It’s far easier for [quacks and pseudoscientists] just to put their fingers in their ears and scream ‘Conflict of interest! Conflict of interest!’ and then use that to dismiss completely their opponent’s argument.”

In fact, that’s basically the whole point of the first three sections. I have never advocated this in any of my articles, and I invite him to point out a specific example of where I have either in his case or in another example of my posts. He even lied that I accused Seed Media founder Adam Bly of being influenced by Sanofi-Aventis while he was studying at the Canadian National Research Council – I never alleged any such thing.

I do agree with him, however, that this is the proper way to take into account conflicts of interest: “…if a study is funded by big pharma, he decreases the strength of the evidence in his mind by a set amount.” That said, I do believe that conflicts of interest whenever present should be brought up, like that of Gardiner Harris, who violated the ethical guidelines of The New York Times by failing to disclose that his brother sells lab equipment to pharmaceutical companies. David Gorski does not seem to think so, despite agreeing with me that pharmaceutical funding does decrease the strength of evidence. My question for him: Which is it?

In the fourth section, Gorski congratulates himself for the research that is related to his Sanofi-Aventis connections. He brags, “If it passes clinical trials, it may well be a very useful drug for potentiating the effects of other cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation.” Beyond Gorski’s blogging about autism and his undisclosed COI, as J.B. Handley put it, “I could care less about Mr. Gorski or his career.”

 Moving on to the final section, he sums up his basis for denying he has a conflict of interest:
“First, I would have to be receiving money from Sanofi-Aventis. I am not.”
I never said he was, only that Sanofi-Aventis is in a partnership with his university, which in turn is sponsoring his clinical trial of Sanofi’s drug, Riluzole.

“Second, I would have to have the reasonable expectation to receive money from Sanofi-Aventis. I do not.”

Though he may not expect to receive money from Sanofi-Aventis directly, he can expect to receive money that Sanofi has paid to his employer, Wayne State.

 “I’m not even angling for money from Sanofi-Aventis to run my lab.”
He doesn’t have to; his university does the angling for him.

“Third, I would have to know that Riluzole is being tested as a treatment for autistic children.”
It does not matter if he did not know Riluzole was being studied to treat autism, he would still have a COI.

“In any case, even if I had known [of Riluzole as a possible treatment for ASD], it still wouldn’t have been a COI. I’m not a neurologist, and I don’t treat ASD or OCD. I’m never going to be doing research with Riluzole in children with ASD, OCD, or both.” Even though he does not treat autism, and even though he is not a neurologist, he still has a conflict of interest because of his Sanofi ties and the fact that he blogs about autism causes and treatments all the time.

What ultimately matters is that David Gorski is conducting a clinical trial of a Sanofi-Aventis drug (undisclosed to his readers), sponsored by his Sanofi-Aventis-partnered university (also undisclosed to his readers), and he constantly writes blog posts that are favorable to Sanofi-Aventis. To show just how important Sanofi is to Gorski, he even said in the comments section that if the drug fails his clinical trial for breast cancer, it would be a “major setback” for his research. Yet, instead of conceding that he is conflicted in this way, he attempts to talk his way out of the points I raised in the 84-word e-mail I sent to him with a 4,562-word smokescreen, followed by another 20,915 words from his loyal commenters.

Jake Crosby is a college student at Brandeis University who is double majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy, and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism.

"Dr. David Gorski, a medical moron."

Dr. David Gorski's Unique Brand of Moronism

FAIL-BUZZER-350x233 By J.B. Handley
“Dr. Gorski’s village called, they want their idiot back.”
- Anonymous
There I go again, another inflammatory, ad hominem headline, serving no useful purpose except alienating doctors and scientists who might otherwise be helping our kids. And, I follow it up with a senseless quote, degrading the debate further.
For those of you who don’t know, Dr. David Gorski is a Doctor and a blogger who posts under the pseudonym “Orac.” In only 23 years as a doctor, he’s already made it to the heights of “Assistant” Professor at Wayne State University, a school that no one has ever heard of and that I had to Google to make sure actually existed (it’s in “the heart of Detroit’s cultural center”—I think there’s an oxy-moron in there somewhere…). Yet, in the blogosphere, perhaps with the added courage that only a keyboard can provide, Dr. Gorski seems to think he’s omniscient, as his writing about me (and many others) reflects--here’s one of many examples:
“Before I dive in, let me just point out right here and right now that J.B. Handley wouldn't be able to recognize good science if it bit him on the posterior. The same is true of bad science, because Mr. Handley simply does not have an understanding of the scientific method or the methodology involved that would allow him to distinguish good from bad science, anymore than I have an understanding of investment banking that would allow me to differentiate between various financial instruments. No, on second thought, strike that. I'm quite sure that I know more about investment banking than J.B. Handley knows about science…In any case, thanks to its arrogance of ignorance, Generation Rescue thinks it can judge the quality of complicated epidemiology and basic science, but such pronouncements are about as valid as Joe the Plumber holding forth on quantum physics. That's why Mr. Handley's claim that he recognized these studies to be bad science by reading them led me to chuckle heartily. After all, Mr. Handley's proven time and time again that he doesn't understand science, the scientific method, or epidemiology…To him, it's not about the science, but winning the P.R. war.”
Man, that really hurts. A childless (more on that later) Assistant Professor from Detroit’s “cultural center”, who used to blog as a girl (“SoCalGal”), says I don’t understand science. (By the way, Dr. Gorski, I have never been nor am I currently an “investment banker”, so you may well know more about investment banking than I do, nice try…)
For those of you concerned that Dr. Gorski’s invective will get him on CNN soon, I wouldn’t worry, as this YouTube clip clearly demonstrates (go to 33 seconds), Dr. Gorski would be well served to avoid speaking in public—pay no attention to the Orac behind the curtain!
OK, enough fun with Dr. Gorski, and I sincerely apologize to all the AoA readers who find my rantings on Dr. Gorski to be immature, mean-spirited and/or unproductive. But, just to be honest in return: I really don’t care what you think. You see, I’m a pissed off dad, someone messed with my kid, and I will keep on leading with my fists and heart. I write what I want to write when I want to write it, and if you don’t like it, get on the keyboard and help in the way you want to.
Which leads me to my first point about Dr. Gorski’s unique brand of moronism. You see, unlike me, Dr. Gorski is actually a medical doctor. He should hold himself, as most doctors do, to a higher standard of professional communication and conduct. How many other doctors use satire, invective, and ridicule in a public domain against parents and other medical professionals? Yes, his equally wildly immature and idiotic commentors on his blog eat it up, but in the realm of how doctors can and should conduct themselves, Dr. Gorski is an adolescent fuck-up. At the end of the day, I’m the father of a special needs and damaged child, and Dr. Gorski’s willingness to treat me with the utmost disdain, ridicule, and mean-spirited satire is reflective of the worst parts of the medical culture, of which Dr. Gorski is a shining example.
Which leads me to my second point about Dr. Gorski’s unique brand of moronism, which is what an over-inflated caricature Dr. Gorski’s alter-ego Orac has become of everything we hate about doctors. The medical school culture, which reminds aspiring doctors at every turn how much smarter they are than the rest of the world, takes hold in different doctors in different ways. For those with a strong sense of personal character, being a doctor can be a humbling experience because of the power you have to do good (or bad) and the influence you have in how people think, and ultimately whether they live or die. For others, with an absence of internal character, the arrogance can consume them, and they walk through the world expecting to be never challenged, and thinking they are always right.
For a reminder of how this looks in real life, I submit Exhibit A, Dr. Travis Stork, a sort of Dr. Gorski in a made-for-TV body, responding to having his ignorance and generalized pronouncements challenged:

For Exhibit B, I offer up the following quote from Dr. Jed Hill (played by Alec Baldwin) in the movie Malice:
“I have an M.D. from Harvard, I am board certified in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery, I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England, and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you; when someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn't miscarry or that their daughter doesn't bleed to death or that their mother doesn't suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock, who do you think they're praying to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, Dennis, and you go to your church, and, with any luck, you might win the annual raffle, but if you're looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17, and he doesn't like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God.”
*        *        *
OK, I’ll admit it. So far, I have really only challenged Dr. Gorski’s writing style, his professionalism (or lack thereof), and made fun of his public speaking skills. In the end, all that really matters are the facts, which is where Dr. Gorski takes his mornonism to exceptional heights. In order to keep this post from getting too long, I will simply cite two examples:
Moronism #1: Pedantic Semantics
One of the more comical semantic contortions to come out of both the Hannah Poling and the newly revealed additional 83 court cases is the use of terms like “autism-like symptoms” and “regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder.” It turns out that these cases where these non-medical terms are used all share one common feature: the kids who are the subject of the descriptions ALL HAVE AUTISM!!
Here’s Dr. Gorski writing in his typical, meandering, know-it-all, authoritative style:
“It is not as uncommon as we would like in medicine for conditions and diseases to be defined primarily (or even only) by aggregations of symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome is an example. Ditto tension headache. Moreover, it is often the context within which those symptoms arise that distinguish one diagnosis from another. In any case, the DSM-IV provides fairly clear diagnostic criteria for autism. If the child doesn't have enough of these criteria to be diagnosed as autistic, that child could have ‘autism symptoms’ but not autism. This is not a difficult concept, except apparently for Holland et al, who seem to be arguing that any child with autism-like symptoms must have autism. This is akin to arguing that anyone who has a belly ache or diarrhea must have irritable bowel syndrome or that someone who experiences a headache must have migraines.”
Let me repeat myself, Dr. Gorski, the kids ALL HAVE AUTISM. This technique that Gorski recently used was something he seems to have honed in initially discussing Hannah Poling’s case several years ago:
“This settlement was based on the fact that Poling had a rare genetic mitochondrial disease that may have been exacerbated by a series of vaccines that she had, after which, among many other problems, Hannah regressed and developed some autism-like symptoms and, months later, a seizure disorder…what was really diagnosed was a regressive encephalopathy that had some features of ASD.”
Compare how Dr. Gorski describes Hannah to what Hannah’s father, a medical doctor and neurologist actually tells us:
On Hannah’s Diagnosis:
“Our daughter, Hannah, developed normally until receiving nine vaccines at once. She immediately developed a fever and encephalopathy, deteriorating into what was diagnosed, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or D.S.M. IV, as autism.”
On Hannah’s mitochondrial disorder:
“Dr. Shoffner will be presenting his experience with 37 patients with combined autism and mitochondrial dysfunction at the AAN meeting in Chicago this April. 65% of his referrals are positive for mitochondrial dysfunction.  Of course, his yield is subject to referral bias as a mito expert, so the prevalence of mitochondrial dysfunction in Autism is surely less than 65%.

The best estimate to date of the prevalence of mitochondrial dysfunction in autistic patients comes from Oliviera et al. in a population of 120, 5 of 69 (or 7.2%) showed mitochondrial dysfunction.  If this is generalized to the US estimate of 1 million patients with ASDs, then the number of kids like Hannah could be 72,000!  Isn’t this worth further study?”
Dr. Gorski is a serial user of a well-worn strategy known as manufacturing “Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.” He uses his perch as a medical professional to cast doubt on Hannah Poling’s case and the case of the 83 other court cases by making an argument shrouded in medical terminology that turns out, in the words of Mark Blaxill, to be total “Bullshit.”
Dr. Gorski: the kids ALL HAD AUTISM, including Hannah Poling--please stop being a moron.
Moronism #2: Feeding the Hungry Lie
I was inspired to write this particular post by SafeMinds recently released tremdously thorough dismantling of the “Science” that proves vaccines don’t cause autism HERE. For those of you who haven’t heard me say it a million times, the “Hungry Lie” goes something like this:
“It’s been asked and answered, vaccines don’t cause autism.”
Or, in a recent post by Dr. Gorski:
“If there's one thing that cranks routinely do when they can't win on science is to shift to other venues to try to win their case and to convince people that they are not, in fact, cranks. After all, if they stuck to arguing facts, science, and evidence, they wouldn't be cranks. They also wouldn't have a prayer of obtaining influence because the science is so much against them. So, failing at science yet again, what the anti-vaccine movement has done is to move over to law, in essence claiming that legal decisions mean that there is a scientific case to be made in favor of the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.”
Dr. Gorski’s assertion that “the science is so much against” us, of course, requires a step back into the real world.
The Real World
Dr. Gorski, I know you don’t have any kids. I have three. This means I spend most of my days talking to parents and interacting with children. Most parents are scared shitless of the current vaccine schedule and they hate arrogant doctors like you. Most parents are able to use their brains, so when you tell them the science is overwhelmingly against us, they want to see the details.
Here’s the first detail, the vaccines that children in the US are given:
Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, Pneumococcal, Polio, Flu, MMR, Varicella, Hep A, and Meningococcal.
Dr. Gorski, that’s 12 licensed vaccines. How many of those vaccines have ever appeared in an epidemiological study (the kind you claim I can’t understand even though I graduated from Stanford with honors) comparing the vaccine to autism rates?
One. ONE!! MMR. That means 11 of the vaccines on the schedule have NEVER been studied for their relationship to autism. Yet, you continually assert that the science overwhelmingly shows that vaccines don’t cause autism. This makes you a moron.
Here’s the second detail, the excipients used in vaccines:
Albumin, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum, hydroxyphosphate sulfate, aluminum phosphate, aluminum potassium phosphate, amino acids, ammonium sulfate, ascorbic acid, bactopeptone, beta-propiolactone, benzethonium chloride, brilliant green, calcium chloride, chlortetracycline, cystine, dextran, dulbecco’s modified Eagle medium, EDTA, egg protein, ferric nitrate, formaldehyde, gelatin, gentamicin, glutamine, glycine, histidine, hydrochloric acid, hydrocotisone, lactose, magnesium stereate, magnesium sulfate, MSG, mouse serum protein, MRC-5 cellular protein, neomycin, phenol, phenol red, 2-phenoxyethanol, phosphate buffers, polydimethylsilozone, polymixin B, polyoxythylene9-10 nonyl ohenol, polysorbate 20, potassium chloride, potassium glutamate, serum-bovine, sodium acetate, sodium borate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, sodium deoxycholate, sodium hydrogenocarbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, sodium pyruvate, sorbitol, streptomycin, sucrose, thimerosal, tocopheryl hydrogen succinate, tyrosine, urea, xanthan, yeast protein.
Dr. Gorski, that’s more excipients than I feel like counting. How many have been considered for their relationship to autism?
One. ONE!! Thimerosal.
Dr. Gorski thinks enough work has been done, and that the science is blindingly against us. At a 2 month appointment, a 2 month old American baby gets the following vaccines:
Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, Pneumococcal, and Polio.
Six vaccines in under 10 minutes. How many of the six have been looked at for their relationship to autism?
ZERO, which is apparently more than enough for a medical moron like Dr. Gorski to declare them safe and that I’m scientifically illiterate. ZERO.
A few years back, I created a website called Fourteen Studies with the purpose of making the point I just made on a much larger scale. At the time, Dr. Gorski wrote a critical piece about the new website. As usual, his post was flowered with comments about “anti-vaccine” and “scientific illiteracy” blah, blah, blah. Another favorite refrain of Dr. Gorski is that it is always about the vaccines and always will be, no matter what the science says, even though he finds the current science overwhelmingly in favor of proving vaccines don’t cause autism. Finally, more than half way through his meandering diatribe, Dr. Gorski actually provided a substantive argument:
“Another study included on the list is an Italian study that came out this year by Tozzi et al, which was published in the February issue of Pediatrics and entitled Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. It's a study that I also blogged about in great detail when it first came out. The study was done in Italy, and one of its great advantages is that the amount of thimerosal to which the infants were exposed was actually known, unlike many epidemiological studies, where sometimes the dose of thimerosal (and therefore mercury) has to be estimated or inferred from the vaccine schedule at the time. The results were unsurprising and very much like the results of a study of thimerosal-containing vaccines as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders other than autism that was published a year and a half ago. Most outcome measures showed no difference between the low and high thimerosal group, and the ones that did were small and entirely compatible with random chance due to multiple comparisons. I knew at the time exactly what antivaccine activists would probably say when and if they get around to attacking this study, and, in fact, that's basically the criticism on Fourteen Studies. (Most depressingly, Generation Rescue even reprints J.B. Handley's scientifically illiterate criticism of the study.) In any case, the main criticism is that there was not a control group receiving no thimerosal. True enough. The authors themselves make that very point. However, if thimerosal in vaccines were associated with autism, one would not expect that it would be different than any other toxin associated with an abnormality, disease, or condition in that it would be expected that the chance of autism or neurodevelopmental disorders would increase with increasing dose.”
Now, Dr. Gorski might be right. It might be true that kids who receive more thimerosal could become more injured than a group of kids who receive less thimerosal.
But, that was never my point. Dr. Gorski simply filled his blog with a specific objection and then everyone linked to it to demonstrate my scientific illiteracy. His hollow post became everyone’s favorite link to prove the Fourteen Studies website was just “anti-vaccine propoganda.”
The point of Fourteen Studies wasn’t to say that studying whether kids get more or less thimerosal in vaccines causes autism is unhelpful, the point of the website was to make a very simple but very obvious observation:
For all the hyperbole around how compelling the science is looking at the relationship between vaccines and autism, the actual science that has been done only considers one vaccine and one exipient. Moreover, the actual questions asked by the studies that have been done and that are often cited by morons like Dr. Gorski don’t come remotely close to asking the question that Dr. Gorski continually claims has been answered.
Here’s an excerpt from Fourteen Studies:
Having spent the time to critically read every study produced to "prove" vaccines don’t cause autism, we were dumbfounded by their inadequacy. We find the comments public officials make about these studies to be even more absurd and unsupportable. Consider, from the studies, some of the actual questions that were asked:
Q: Do children receiving more thimerosal in their vaccines have different neurological outcomes from children receiving less thimerosal in their vaccines?
Q: Are autism rates different for children who received 62.5 mcg or 137.5 mcg of mercury?
Q: Did children who all received DTP vaccine with thimerosal have higher or lower rates of developmental disorders based on when they got the shots?
Q: Do Thimerosal containing vaccines administered to children raise mercury blood levels above safe standards?
Q: Does the use of RhoGam shots during pregnancy have a correlation with autism?
These 5 examples above come from 5 of the most commonly listed studies cited as "proof" that "vaccines do not cause autism." Yet, not one of them comes close to addressing this issue or answering the question we all really care about that goes something like this:
Our children receive 36 vaccines by the time they are five, including 20 by their first birthday. Is the administration of so many vaccines causing autism in certain children?

*        *        *
This is the time in the essay when Dr. Gorski, reading all my rude comments towards him, has his head explode as he yells:
“He’s moving the goalposts! For J.B., it’s always about the vaccines! He hates vaccines, no matter what! We can never win!”
Of course, this is just another “FUD” gambit. The work hasn’t been remotely done. Our kids are getting six vaccines at one time and no one has any idea what the downside to those vaccines administered simultaneously might be.
Is it the mercury? Is it the MMR? I have no idea. What I know, Dr. Gorski, is that the phone calls and the stories about the kids going upside down after the vaccine appointments keep coming. A real doctor would care deeply about these real reports from tens of thousands of real parents with real babies. A real doctor would be asking real questions. A real doctor wouldn’t be satisfied with the paltry science that’s actually been done. A real doctor would realize that studying only one vaccine and one excipient doesn’t come close to understanding what is actually being done to our babies in the real world. A real doctor wouldn’t play word games with “autism” and “autism like-symptoms.” A real doctor wouldn’t assert that vaccines don’t cause autism when only one vaccine has been analyzed.
Of course, Dr. Gorski isn’t a real doctor. He’s a medical moron.
I’ll end with another polite quote from the highly professional Dr. Gorski, and you decide who’s the pot and who’s the kettle:
“J.B. also can't stand strong, principled disagreement with him. Like all people, he doesn't like to be told he is wrong. The difference is that he reacts to criticism by attacking the person doing the criticism, not by refuting him with evidence. That's because he can't use evidence; his position is unsupportable by science.”
Dr. David Gorski, a medical moron.

ORAC = David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.

David H. Gorski's own biography on Scienceblogs says: "In addition, Orac has been funded over the last decade by institutional funds, the Department of Defense, the National Cancer Institute, and various cancer charities. For the first time ever, in 2011 Orac received a little bit of pharmaceutical money in the form of a seed grant. Unfortunately, it's not enough money for his lab to live on and will soon be gone. What that means, though, is that for the next several months Orac will no longer be able to use his favorite joke before talks, namely that no pharmaceutical company is interested enough in his research to want to give him any money. Even with that little bit of pharma lucre, like most biomedical scientists in academia, Orac must still beg the NIH and other granting agencies for the money to keep his lab going. Being a "pharma shill" doesn't seem to pay as much as supporters of alt-med think it does."

Orac Unmasked

Orac Unmasked - David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. (Updated)

original source link

(Posted by Patrick Sullivan Jr.)

GorskioracCompliments of Ashleigh Anderson, the infamous Orac of "Respectful Insolence" has been unmasked.

David H. Gorski
Assistant Professor
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Department of Surgical Oncology
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

From Ashleigh Anderson's post on the EOH Yahoo board. (You have to be an approved member of the group to view posts, so I've posted the whole thing here):

You know, I was reading the oracknows site the other night & you know how all the pro-poisoning people are - they have this little skeptics circle or whatnot. Well anyways, I did a mouse over of his Blogarama button and noticed the name gorski came up.
So I googled - gorski orac
Try it. You will be amazed. Orac's secret identity is secret no more. And man, has he been a nasty boy. What a slimey sleaze.
No wonder he kept his identity secret. See what he has been doing on the web & his affilication with the Renses/Ratbags.
Now he loses all his credibility.

To Professor Gorski's credit, he did say that if you look hard enough, you can figure out who he is. (And one clue that I noticed was when a friend of his commented on his blog, "Dave, where do you get the time for this? It's cool.")

So basically, this "unmasking" is pretty much a non-event. HOWEVER, after arguing ad nauseum with "Gorac," it is good to finally have some disclosure. It would have been much more credible if it had come from him directly, especially after the repeated calls for disclosure from numerous commentors.

Professor Gorski, I do have one question: In your blog profile, you say, "I'm an academic surgeon and scientist..." and in the description of your blog, you say "Miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist..." and in your medical disclaimer, you say "...the author's hospital, university, surgical practice, or partners."

So why don't you have any initials after your name? It seems to me that you have allowed everyone, including me, to believe that you are a real doctor.

UPDATE 9/14 8:27pm from Pat and Patrick Jr. - After discussing this post and the comment by Kev regarding Professor Gorski's contact info being posted, we decided that we didn't want to give the impression of this being a character assasination. So we pulled out the contact information from the post. (As Patrick Jr. notes in his reply to back to Kev, the contact info is still available from his profile page, so it is sort of a moot point, but...)

It is not our intention to "unmask" Orac so that anyone can cyber-stalk/spam/etc. him!! We are proponents of civil debate and discussion. We don't want to promote the type of character assasination that is unfortunately, quite common on Orac's blog.

We have both spent way too much time trying to defend what we believe are highly plausible reasons for numerous things that we believe on Orac's blog, only to then be ridiculed and attacked personally, all the while ignoring and dodging our arguments. (There are many others who have experienced this as well.)

Orac believes what he believes and has every right to express that. We happen to think he is very biased, closed-minded, and often just plain wrong. He also loves to call people terrible names assasinating their character instead of simply stating why he disagrees. And I don't think I've ever see him concede any point, ever! (It is not unlike the near total breakdown in civil discourse at the national political level.)

The "unmasking" is still appropriate because at least now we know who and what we are dealing with.

UPDATE 9/14 8:57pm from Patrick Jr. - I just read Ashleigh's comment on this post which lead to this page. Searching for "orac" I found this:

From: (ORAC)
Date: 10 Dec 1997 15:05:57 GMT


ORAC |"A statement of fact cannot be
a.k.a. | insolent." ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. |
University of Chicago |

The MD and PhD shocked me considering that I was under the impression he wasn't a doc. So I googled "University of Chicago" "David H. Gorski" which led to this 1998 Univ of Michigan newsletter. Bottom of page 20 has:

David H. Gorski (BSC 1984, MD 1988;
PhD 1994, Case Western Reserve (Cellular
Physiology)) is a Fellow in Surgical
Oncology at the University of Chicago.

I would say that I stand corrected from my earlier question to Gorac...He's a doc after all. No way a Michigan newsletter from 1998 was faked.

UPDATE 9/14 9:07pm from Patrick Jr. - I changed the title of this post from "Orac Unmasked - Assistant Professor David H. Gorski" to "Orac Unmasked - David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. (Updated)" It seemed like the right thing to do.

UPDATE 9/14 10:02pm from Patrick Jr. - I emailed Orac earlier today, so after my new discovery, I thought it was only fair to own up to my mistake and email him again:

---Original Message---
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 9:25 PM
''; ''
Subject: RE: This is you right? CORRECTION

Dave, I did a few more googles on my own tonight and found out that lacking initials on your UMDNJ page, you actually do appear to be a real MD and PhD. There's no way I'm going to believe that a Michigan newsletter from 1998 was faked, as much I did sort of like the idea of you not being a real doctor. (Trading places, I'm sure you'd have felt the same way... ;-)

So since I was wrong, I quickly updated/corrected Pat's blog. Not sure if you'll actually care, but I thought it was only fair to ping you.

Here's to disclosure and civil discourse.

Patrick Jr.

---Original Message---
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 12:01 PM
''; ''
Subject: This is you right?

Professor Gorski/Orac, it's nice to finally meet you.

Patrick Sullivan Jr.
480.212.9000 |

Jigsaw Health
14500 N. Northsight Blvd. Ste 112
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
The leading resource for chronic conditions.

Pat Sullivan Blog:

UPDATE 9/14 10:59pm from Patrick Jr. - Orac replies...

---Original Message---
From: Orac []
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 10:08 PM
To: Patrick Sullivan
Subject: Re: This is you right? CORRECTION

Quite frankly, I have no idea what you wrote the first time around, as I didn't bother to check it out. I was too busy tonight. (I foolishly agreed to host the History Carnival today when I should have been able to foresee that work would be busy this week. Stupid.)

You should now realize that everything I have said about myself and about my reasons for using a pseudonym is true.


--- My reply back to Orac ---

---Original Message---
From: Patrick Sullivan
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 10:52 PM
Subject: RE: This is you right? CORRECTION

Dave, I find it difficult to believe that you weren't in the least bit curious to read about your unmasking, but I'll just take you at your word. (Maybe you've been unmasked a dozen times before and it's become old hat?)

I honestly never thought that you were outright lying about being a doc, though my suspicions to the contrary increased every time you refused a request to disclose your identity. Motives are important things to consider, that's why I'm such a big believer in full disclosure.

I have read most (all?) of your reasons for why you desire to remain anonymous...I sort of get it, but I really don't. Why hide when disclosure would have been on your side? After all, you really are a doc!

This is very much a rhetorical point as I know you have no intention of changing -- which is fine! I don't really care. In order to move on, we can hopefully agree to disagree. And regardless, your previously unknown credentials have never been the basis of any of my arguements with you.

If not to disclosure, here's to civil discourse. Good luck with the history carnival.

Patrick Jr.