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SKEPTOID BLOG:

MS Gets Pulled Into the Gardasil Wars

by Mike Rothschild

December 9, 2013

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Donate As it so often happens, it started with a link. This particular one was a story on a website called "Signs of the Times," and it proclaimed: "Charges Filed: Panel of experts conclude Gardasil injection caused multiple sclerosis and immune mediated disease in 15-year old." Given the hysteria over the recent Katie Couric/HPV vaccine hit job (which is covered extremely well elsewhere) and my personal connection to MS, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at this story, of a young French girl suing the manufacturers of the vaccine her parents believe gave her multiple sclerosis.

And oh boy, it's rare to have the chance to carve up a turkey after Thanksgiving.

As always, I've done a bit of editing on the original post for brevity, but everything else is so incredibly [sic].
Dave Mihalovic - Prevent Disease - Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:22 CST
Mr. Mihalovic is a naturopathic doctor who is, therefore, not a doctor. He's been savaged in a number of skeptical publications, including this vastly entertaining read from Science Based Medicine. "Prevent Disease" is where the piece was originally published, and is a hotbed of the typical Natural News nonsense we've become accustomed to eating for lunch. Monday, December 2, 2013 is the day the piece was published. This might be the most accurate thing about it.
Mr. Jean-Christophe Coubris, defence lawyer for Marie-Oceane, a vaccine injured teen, has filed charges with the French public prosecutor in Bobigny, in the outskirts of Paris, against both Laboratoire Sanofi Pasteur MSD and the French authority Agence Nationale du Medicament (ANSM), the French National Medicines Agency, for breach of their manifest duty to ensure safety and for disregard of the precautionary and prevention principles.
The phrase "filed charges" is misleading. What Coubris actually did was file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit is not the same thing as filing charges. Law enforcement arms file charges against people who have broken the law. Lawsuits are filed against people from whom you want money. Rightly or wrongly, anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone.
Just a few months ago, hundreds of adverse reactions from the cervical cancer vaccine in Japan caused vaccine injuries and disability in many teenagers courtesy of Cervarix and Gardasil HPV injections.

In July, 2013, the Japanese health ministry issued a nationwide notice that cervical cancer vaccinations should no longer be recommended in Japan. [...]
This appears to be true. Japan did withdraw its recommendation for teens to receive the Gardasil shots. While anti-vaxxers took it as a massive win for their cause, this actually appears to be a massive overreaction by the Japanese government to a tiny number of cases of "body pain" post-vaccination. And by "tiny" I really do mean "tiny." The number of cases was 43 out of 3.28 million shots. Japan, as you might have been able to deduce, has a reputation for pulling vaccines at the slightest sign of adverse reactions — even if the adverse reactions aren't real. These cases that still haven't actually been linked to the vaccine, by the way, they simply represent post hoc illness.

It's also important to point out that the HPV vaccine is still available in Japan, and still being given to teenagers. So Japan's "recommendation" doesn't really mean that much.

Also, who knew Japan had an anti-vax movement?
The HPV vaccine is possibly the biggest vaccine hoax in the last century. HPV vaccines are nothing more than a worldwide exercise in profiteering at the expense of children's health. Due to the overwhelming amount of side effects associated with the vaccine, health agencies are now encouraging health professionals not to report adverse reactions, a clear indication that something is very wrong.
Blah blah blah Big Pharma Conspiracy blah blah blah. This is nothing more than the standard issue scaremongering you can find everywhere on the internet.

And I can't find any compelling evidence that "health agencies" are encouraging anyone not to report adverse reactions. In fact, the US government makes it really easy to report adverse reactions — which is one reason why there's so much junk data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Because anyone can report anything that happens to them after a vaccine jab as a reaction to the vaccine. If I want to report to VAERS that my flu shot turned me into a newt, I can do that. And after reading more anti-vax nonsense, I just might turn into a newt.
An initial injection of Gardasil was administered to Marie-Oceane, age 15 on October 11th, 2010. [...] A second injection was administered [...] on December 13th, 2010. The first clinical symptoms appeared in mid-February 2011 and were rapidly diagnosed as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis or multiple sclerosis.
Diagnosed by who? Using what tests? Confirmed by who and how? Mr. Mihalovic doesn't tell us any of this, though it's extremely important in this case.

It's also important to note that MS and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) are different diseases, with different effects and different courses, but are sometimes mistaken for each other since they both cause damage to the white matter of the brain. The causes of MS are unknown, while the cause of ADEM is thought to be a viral infection.

There is some evidence that ADEM might be an extremely rare side effect of vaccination, occurring at a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 per 100,000 vaccinated individuals, according to the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. But it's hard to tell if this is because of the vaccine or simply after the vaccine. Some studies have found ADEM in vaccinated patients who were later found to have signs of MS going back to before the vaccination. At this point, the science linking vaccines and ADEM isn't clear — but it is regarding MS and vaccines. The CDC, NIH and National MS Society all agree that there is no link, other than the one anti-vaxxers have invented.

This difference between MS and ADEM becomes vitally important when discussing Marie-Oceane's case. If she has MS, it's not from Gardasil. Or at least there's no research that says it is, and no known mechanism by which it would occur. If she has ADEM, there's a chance it could be from Gardasil. And if she has ADEM, she's in luck, because it responds well to clinical treatment, almost always clearing up after a few months of steroid treatment. MS has no cure as of yet, only treatments that modify the progression of the disease and reduce the number of relapses in patients.
Marie-Oceane was repeatedly ospitalized over subsequent months. She temporarily lost her sight and the use of her legs. During one of these crises, her face was completely paralysed.
These can be symptoms of both ADEM and MS, so we can't read anything into them.
Treatment at the Bordeaux University Hospital has resulted in a slight improvement in her overall state but with serious after-effects, including among others, the constant fear of yet another 'flare-up' of her disease.
Good news. And consistent with both ADEM and MS. Relapsing-remitting is the most common form of MS, so it's possible her MS symptoms went into a down cycle. Or maybe her ADEM symptoms were responding to the treatment she was getting. Without more information, we just can't know which it is, and the article has no interest in providing that information — because it might puncture the narrative of "the vaccine did it."
As soon as the first symptoms appeared, Marie-Oceane's doctors suspected a link with the Gardasil vaccine.
Without quotations from her doctors, we can't know they actually felt this way. I doubt Mr. Mihalovic obtained these, of course.
Marie-Oceane's parents have reported this reaction to the Commission de Conciliation et d'Indemnisation des Accidents Medicaux (CCI) d'Aquitaine (Aquitaine Medical Accident Settlement and Compensation Authority), to establish the cause and effect role of the vaccine.

The conclusions of the panel of experts were received in June 2013. They stated that there appeared to be a clear link between Marie-Oceane's serious ailments and the vaccine.

"An in-depth analysis of all the information in the file, which included a wealth of references, confirms that Marie-Oceane B's neurological disturbances are consistent with iatrogenic post-vaccinal disease."
Iatrogenic means "of or relating to illness caused by medical examination or treatment. " This is why vaccine courts exist, to compensate people injured by vaccines. Often these injuries are difficult to prove, but the vaccine court, at least in the US, pays out on a great deal of claims anyway. (It also dismisses many of them, which anti-vaxxers never point out.)

Unfortunately, one has to wade through a thorny thicket of anti-vax hysteria and scaremongering to find some pretty sharp criticism of the French vaccine court, specifically for their decisions to award payments to three patients who claimed to have developed MS from the hepatitis B vaccine. Natural cures mavens took these decisions to mean the vaccine caused the MS. But again, reputable authorities in the US haven't found any link between any vaccination and the development of MS, and anti-vaxxers have never produced compelling research into how this would happen.
Marie-Oceane accuses Laboratoire Sanofi Pasteur MSD of neglecting to inform recipients of the Gardasil vaccine of the risk of central nervous system inflammation while such risk was identified as far back as 2009 in adverse effects reporting.
As we've seen from VAERS, adverse effects reporting is notoriously inaccurate and susceptible to emotion, anecdote and bad information. This is more post hoc logic at work.
[...]

Just two years ago, a publication in the Annals of Medicine exposed the fraudulent nature of Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Key messages the researchers report include a lack of evidence for any HPV vaccines in preventing cervical cancer and lack of evaluation of health risks.
Now we've taken a total left turn into conspiracy territory. This "publication" was written by Christopher Rich, another hardcore anti-vaxxer who has published similar nonsense in the past — and been slapped down hard for it. Orac over at Respectful Insolence skillfully debunked another of his "papers." There is ample evidence that the HPV vaccine has sharply reduced the rates of numerous cancers, and ample evidence that the risks of the vaccine were evaluated well over ten years of clinical trials. Rich is simply trying to be wrong, and succeeding.
The researchers stated that physicians should adopt a more rigorous evidence-based medicine approach, in order to provide a balanced and objective evaluation of vaccine risks and benefits to their patients.
Here's a classic example of how conspiracy theorists can hold two opposing beliefs at the same time. Rich advocates for "a more rigorous evidence-based medicine approach" and completely ignores or demonizes the actual evidence that indicates vaccine safety. The evidence is there. That one doesn't believe it does not make it less there.

It's a statistical fact that some children are just unlucky enough to develop illnesses. If most children are given Gardasil, some of them are going to come down with something else after getting the shots. That's not the vaccine's fault, that's the fault of the human body for not being a perfectly functioning machine.

Or to put it another way, if I eat a bagel, then trip and fall while walking down the street, why would I blame the bagel?

So that's the sad story of Marie-Oceane. I truly hope she doesn't have MS, though if she does, it's far from the end of the world. There's every reason to suspect that she can recover and live a rich, happy life. And I'm pulling for her. However =the science that we have, as backed up a multitude of research studies, says that if she does have MS, it wasn't from Gardasil.

Meanwhile, the extremely safe, extremely effective vaccine to HPV, which can lead to cancers that extremely kill thousands of people per year, remains firmly in the crosshairs — put there by misinformation, fear — and those big payouts from VAERS.

by Mike Rothschild

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