September 22, 2009

UK Autism Study: Same As It Ever Was, Same As It Ever Was

I know I should probably save it for the Freakout, but I couldn't resist.

A new NHS study of autism in adults finds that they're just as autistic as all the kids these days. In other words, the supposed spike in autism linked to the MMR vaccine, which Dr Andrew Wakefield supposedly discovered in 1998--and which turned out to be based on fabricated and distorted data--doesn't exist.

The BBC reports that like the kiddies, around 1% of adults from the pre-MMR era have autism spectrum disorders, and that the disproportionate percentages for men [1.8%] and women [0.2%] are "in line with studies among child populations which show higher rates amongst boys."

Which would mean the supposed rise in children's ASD cases is actually a historic deficiency in diagnosing and treating adult ASD. But don't worry, the drop in vaccination rates and the heightened risk of contracting debilitating cases of measles, mumps, and rubella means the kids are still special for something.

Autism rates back MMR jab safety [bbc]


Did you know or hear of any children who were perhaps autistic or "special" back when you were a kid? In say the 70's or 80's? I know I did not. I believe there was a definite spike during the mid to late 90's. Perhaps it was a combination of things and now thimerisol does not pose as much of a threat. I'm still highly skeptical of doctors and reports that deny any autism problem.

Nothing wrong with skepticism. Check the data and the conclusions and see if they match up. I still have yet to read the NHS's actual report myself, but from the way the researchers are quoted and discussed, the spike you "believe" in doesn't exist. I'd go so far as to say it was hyper-awareness with instances of hysteria brought on by Wakefield's fraudulent 1998 Lancet article.

As for hearing of any autistic or "special" kids as a kid, yes, maybe I did. But my or your individual memories and subjective interpretations are pretty much beside the point. You and I both grew up just fine without car seats, too, but do we make parenting decisions--or safety regulations--based on that fact?

Maybe we didn't hear much about ASD back in the day because instead of autistm-to-asperger's, the spectrum back was just retard-spaz-antisocial nerd, and the most severe "actual" autism cases were just shunted off to institutions.

I don't think the question is whether children are "more" autistic... I think the question is "why are there so many MORE autistic children?"

I honestly don't think there are. I personally think there is just more awareness which leads to better/more diagnosis of children being on the spectrum. I mean, I sit here and think of all the kids I grew up with who maybe could have fallen on that autism spectrum. The "quirky" kids who had sensory issues and ADHD who today would have been diagnosed with something, back then they just learned to deal with it.

I think we probably have more "autistic" children diagnosed today. But there are probably plenty of adults out there who could fit right in and make up those numbers.

I realize now that I just pretty much reiterated what the end of the article said... so yeah. That.

you and me both

A lot of kids were shuttled off to special schools, before the various educational rights laws were passed (such as the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973.) So it's quite likely that we don't remember kids like that as much.

While I agree that the incidence of diagnosis has increased and also the awareness of autistic spectrum disorders is higher than ever, I am cynical as to whether this is the reason there seem to be more cases now.

There are clearly some children who are in fact more susceptible to the effects of vaccinations. Why else would the manufacturers put out warnings (sadly not something that is widely known) for those who have had neurological problems? The reason I have not allowed my now almost 5 year old daughter to have the MMR is because she had a series of seizures at 13 months, which were not connected to her temperature or a condition such as epilepsy and led me to conclude she may one of the children who are more susceptible to some kind of reaction. Certainly these children are more vulnerable when they are so young and the effects of such a cocktail of chemicals on their developing brains may be devastating. When consulting with our doctor about this, and he was asked if she were his child with the same issues would he be happy for her to have the MMR. The answer was 'No'.

The fact that Japan banned the use of the MMR in 1993 is a good example of a country that saw the dangers and realised the harm it could do to some children.

I also put forward that our government here in the UK has a whole department within the social welfare system which deals with compensating those who have been damaged by vaccines. If that isn't admittance that something isn't right then I don't know what is.

There was a teen that I went to camp with in the 70's that had Autism. There was also a couple kids at the different schools I went to. I actually knew more kids back then with autism then I do now. Back then they were not in with the regular kids they were in Specail Ed.

It is kind of like how people think violence is on the rise but actual crime rates are down. The media likes to cause panic becuase then more people watch the news and log on to places like CNN a few times a day "just in case there is an update"

Hey, your blog is great. So about this post, everyone has pretty much covered arguments for both sides. I just want to add that there is more to consider than the possible link to Autism with MMR (though it is the most widely discussed and most controvercial).

As another reader pointed out, babies are still developing and these "chemical cocktails" being given at such a young age...well, I think vaccinations need reevalutated. Many were developed during a time when sanitization was poor, etc. You may see where I am going with this.

I am just going to ask: When was the last time you heard of a case of Polio in the U.S. I know of one-which was actually caused by the Polio vaccine itself.

Hey, lots to consider. Very interesting points made by all. Thanks for the discussion!

Btw, Dr. Bob Sears wrote a book that is more informational and not opinion-based so parents can get the facts on each vaccine, the risks of the illness, and possible side effects of the vaccine.

I believe I heard about a Polio outbreak in the Mid-West (Minnesota or Ohio) and was passed within a Mennonite community... not related to vaccines. BTW - measles, chicken pox and whooping cough are making a great come-back... thanks

Nov 2005, NYT: 5 Cases of Polio in Amish Group Raise New Fears

It started with an 8-mo girl with immune disorder who contracted the virus from...they don't really know.

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