CDC’s Rasmussen Paper on Zika and Microcephaly: Poor Case for ‘Smoking Gun’

Original here:

by Marco Cáceres

What Drs. Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein, and Petersen did was take the available “evidence” about a possible link between Zika and microcephaly and plugged it into a formula, Shepard’s criteria, to see how it held up to Dr. Shepard’s test of what, in his view, should qualify as sufficient proof of causality of a birth defect.


The question that has to be asked is whether, on balance, meeting a set of criteria developed by a pediatrician two decades ago constitutes even a remotely adequate basis on which to conclude causality of microcephaly by Zika when it is already well-known that that birth defect can be caused by any number of environmental factors, including exposure to chemicals, severe malnutrition, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and drug abuse?

And why suddenly, almost overnight, has a virus that has traditionally been known to be relatively harmless become so virulent?

Does plugging in some very preliminary data on Zika and microcephaly into a set of criteria seem a credible alternative to conducting in depth prospective studies on thousands of pregnant women exposed to Zika over a period of time? This doesn’t have the feel of authentic scientific methodology. It’s more as if someone knew the conclusion they wanted to reach and then went out and found the methodology that allowed them to get there as swiftly and neatly as possible. Why the hurry?


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