There is no "epidemic of Autism"

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BWV 1080
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There is no "epidemic of Autism"

Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:14 pm

There is no "epidemic of Autism" as reported in the media and no link to vaccines:

Autism surrounded by misunderstanding-experts
Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:18 PM ET



By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - People with autism are more intelligent and able to function better than previously believed, but mistrust of doctors, biased tests and the Internet have bred myths about the condition, experts said on Sunday.

At a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, researchers presented reports showing that even autistics who do not speak can have above-average intelligence. They also offered additional studies disputing claims that vaccines can cause autism.

"The current figures are that 75 percent of autistic people are mentally retarded, with the mute the most ... impaired," said Dr. Laurent Mottron, an autism researcher at Montreal's Hopital Riviere des Prairies.

But Mottron believes the wrong intelligence tests are used to assess autistic children. Many are tested using the Wechsler scale, a common IQ test that includes questions about words and concepts learned in school.

The Raven's Progressive Matrices test measures abstract reasoning and consistently gives autistic children higher scores, Mottron said.

The average boost in score is 30 points, Mottron said, enough to put someone previously considered mentally retarded into the normal range and the average to gifted status.

Mottron was so impressed by the abilities of one autistic student, Michelle Dawson, that he made her a co-author of some of his papers.

Autism is a term used to describe a broad range of symptoms, from an inability to use language normally, to exhibiting deeply disturbed and repetitive behaviors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it affects anywhere between one in 500 and one in 166 children.

Morton Gernsbacher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison questioned a common idea among autism researchers that autistic people lack a "theory of mind," which, among other things, gives an ability to empathize with others.

Again, she said, the wrong tests are used to assess this ability.

NO AUTISM EPIDEMIC?

Dr. Judith Grether, a California epidemiologist, said she questions the idea that there is a new autism epidemic.

She said it is impossible to find out how many cases of autism there were in the past, because many people with autism were often diagnosed as retarded, or never diagnosed. Without that information, it is impossible to say if the number of cases has grown, she said.

"We have to do the studies to find the answers," she said.

Grether said researchers in California have begun taking prenatal blood samples from pregnant women and will look for clues when and if some of their children are diagnosed with autism. They are examining hormones, heavy metals, immune system proteins and other factors.

The studies found no link with vaccines, said Dr. Irving Gottesman, a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota, but said the CDC has initiated four new studies "to tie up the loose ends."

New studies are focusing on genetic susceptibilities.

Gottesman said the studies may help ease the fears of parents that a vaccine-autism link has been covered up.

But he said scientists are battling a plethora of Internet Web sites devoted to the idea that mercury causes autism like http://www.safeminds.org/.

Gernsbacher, the mother of a child with autism, said some parents may join these lobbying groups over the advice of doctors because they get "pat answers" to initial concerns about their children. Many may have been told that boys develop later than girls, for instance.

"The mistrust (of government-funded studies and of their pediatricians) may have arisen from those kind of experiences," she said.

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:22 pm

Ass coverage.

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:30 pm

John Bleau wrote:Ass coverage.
Are there any medical conspiracy theories you don't believe in?

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:49 pm

It isn't a matter of belief. That's your department. It's a matter of reasoning on available facts, something you, Teresa, jbuck and Werner have been rigorously avoiding.

You just copy/pasted a long and deeply flawed article. A modicum of critical thinking on your part would have uncovered some glaring shortcomings in it, for example, even if in the past, autistic children were misdiagnosed as retarded, where are they now? How about comparative studies depending on type of vaccine or across nations (Sweden, for example, which neither uses thimerosal nor has autistic children)?

Getting readers like you to accept some of the shadier practices of the pharma-medical industry is a simple matter of their issuing statements and trusting that you will not think, even a little bit. Lab-coated authorities have tremendous influence on you. You just pass their pre-packaged 'arguments' on, not having to think just as going to McDonald's means you don't have to cook.

Incidentally, I already have posted on this matter. I have even been aware of it long before the excrement hit the fan.

One example of your shallowness is when you had opened your second thread on AIDS (and to which I had been invited to comment by Corlyss), after my reply you complained that I was opening thread after thread on the matter - even though I had by then opened one less than you: one.

Dennis Spath
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Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:04 pm

Give-em Hell John!! This is the same kind of "defense" of Big Pharma for which our more maleable and less principled Representatives in Congress cite for inserting "liabilty exemptions" for the industry into unrelated spending bills...as was highlighted this past Friday on the PBS show "NOW".
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:07 pm

That's right Dennis, and I called that one on these very boards before it happened. These hits are lost on this board's unthinkers.

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:08 pm

From the NIH site:
Another study also showed no evidence of association between the MMR vaccine and autism (Gillberg and Heijbel 1998). The study compared autism prevalence rates in populations of children from two communities in Sweden (prior to 1982). The results indicated no difference in autism prevalence between children born after the introduction of the MMR vaccine in Sweden and those born before the vaccine was used.
more at http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromo ... utism.html
A study by Taylor and colleagues provides population-based evidence that overcomes many of the limitations faced by the Working Party and by Wakefield and colleagues [14,15]. The authors identified all 498 known cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in certain districts of London born in 1979 or later and linked them to an independent regional vaccination registry. ASD includes classical autism, atypical autism, and Asperger's syndrome, but the results were similar when cases of classical autism were analyzed separately. The authors noted:

The known number of ASD cases has been increasing since 1979, but there was no jump after the introduction of MMR vaccine in 1988.
Cases vaccinated before 18 months of age had similar ages at diagnosis as did cases who had been vaccinated after 18 months or not vaccinated, indicating that vaccination does not result in earlier expression of autistic characteristics.
At age two years, the MMR vaccination coverage among the ASD cases was nearly identical to coverage in children in the same birth cohorts in the whole region, providing evidence of an overall lack of association with vaccination.
The first diagnosis of autism or initial signs of behavioral regression were not more likely to occur within time periods following vaccination than during other time periods.
A weak statistical association existed between MMR vaccination and initial parental concern, but this appears to have been due to parents' difficulty in recalling precise age at onset and a preference for approximating the age as 18 months.
A study of the population of children in two communities in Sweden also found no evidence of an association between MMR vaccination and autism [16]. That study found no difference in the prevalence of autism in children born after the introduction of MMR vaccination in Sweden compared with children born before.
even if in the past, autistic children were misdiagnosed as retarded, where are they now?
First off, a significant percentage of autistics have some mental retardation
As far as past misdiagnosis goes, here are a couple of articles:
Aspergers diagnosed as mental illness:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/787526.stm


Thimerisol was removed from all but flu vaccines in 2001 and there has been no decline in the rate of Autism diagnosis, which is typically made between age 2 and 4

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:20 pm

That's better. If I have the time, I will address these points, but it may take a while, possibly as late as May, when I return home.

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:27 pm

John Bleau wrote:That's better. If I have the time, I will address these points, but it may take a while, possibly as late as May, when I return home.
We will be waiting with bated breath.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:09 pm

More from Quackwatch.com

http://www.autism-watch.org/general/thio.shtml
Thimerosal Is Not Responsible for Autism
James R. Laidler, MD
It is hard to know exactly when the hypothesis that mercury could cause autism was first proposed. The idea was circulating well before 2000, the year that thimerosal—a mercury-containing preservative—was removed from children’s vaccines. In its October 2001 report, Immunization Safety Review: Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that, while it was biologically plausible that thimerosal could cause autism, no data supported the claim that it did cause autism.

Since that time, much has happened (and not happened). The most significant thing has been, as Sherlock Holmes said in "Silver Blaze," the "dog that didn’t bark." Because manufacturers stopped using thimerosal in children’s vaccines in 2000, few children now under age four have ever received a thimerosal-containing vaccine. Even those born to Rh-negative mothers (who received at least one dose of thimerosal-containing RhoGam during pregnancy) have gotten far less thimerosal than older children. If thimerosal were a major cause of autism, we should see a drop in autism incidence, which has yet to materialize.

This non-event shouldn’t come as a surprise. Denmark mandated removal of thimerosal from vaccines in 1992. Even allowing for continued use of thimerosal-containing stocks of vaccine, Danish children were thimerosal-free by 1995. Autism prevalence in Denmark has risen in exactly the same fashion as in the United States and the United Kingdom.

A number of supporters of the thimerosal-autism connection have "corrected" the numbers of the Danish studies, manipulating the numbers in ways that would make Enron accountants blush. They can, through mathematical sleight-of-hand, turn the exponential upward curve into a downward trend, but they have yet to explain why the autism numbers in Denmark keep rising every year if the prevalence is dropping. So, no matter how many possible mechanisms are proposed, no matter how they "massage" the data, the cold, hard facts are these:

Thimerosal exposure is down.
Autism numbers have kept rising.
The conclusion should be inescapable.
A study published in 2002 of infants who were 6 months of age or younger compared the levels of mercury in the blood, hair, urine, and stool of 40 who received vaccines containing thimerosal and 20 who received vaccines without thimerosal. The study found:

Mercury levels in blood and urine were low in all infants studied and in many cases too small to measure. There was no observed dose-dependent relationship between the level of thimerosal received through vaccination and the level of mercury in the body.
Mercury levels in blood did not exceed, at any time, the blood levels that correspond to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for exposure.
Mercury levels in the stool of infants receiving vaccines containing thimerosal were relatively high compared to mercury levels in the stool of infants who were not exposed to thimerosal, providing evidence that mercury from thimerosal is eliminated in the stool of infants.
Those who would like to point at financial incentives by big Pharma would do well to look at the $millions being spent by desparate parents on Chelation therapy to remedy the supposed mercury poisoning:

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRel ... index.html

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:20 pm

John Bleau wrote:It isn't a matter of belief. That's your department. It's a matter of reasoning on available facts, something you, Teresa, jbuck and Werner have been rigorously avoiding.
Yes, you are the only rational one here. The rest of us are unthinking dupes of the medical establishment.
You just copy/pasted a long and deeply flawed article. A modicum of critical thinking on your part would have uncovered some glaring shortcomings in it, for example, even if in the past, autistic children were misdiagnosed as retarded, where are they now? How about comparative studies depending on type of vaccine or across nations (Sweden, for example, which neither uses thimerosal nor has autistic children)?
I posted a short, general interest article that summarized several strains of recent research into the topic, which is of particular interest to me. The issues you raise are outside the scope of the article but have been adequately addressed. Believe it or not, I was not even trying to bait you. I posted it now specifically because the HIV discussions were long gone and you had not been posting recently.
Getting readers like you to accept some of the shadier practices of the pharma-medical industry is a simple matter of their issuing statements and trusting that you will not think, even a little bit. Lab-coated authorities have tremendous influence on you. You just pass their pre-packaged 'arguments' on, not having to think just as going to McDonald's means you don't have to cook.
By all means, childhood vaccinations are among the "shadier practices" of the pharmaceutical industry. After all children are being denied the valuable experiences of measles, polio, rubella etc. Much better to place our trust in consipracy theory hucksters.

.
One example of your shallowness is when you had opened your second thread on AIDS (and to which I had been invited to comment by Corlyss), after my reply you complained that I was opening thread after thread on the matter - even though I had by then opened one less than you: one.
I have no idea what you are talking about.

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Mon Feb 27, 2006 5:00 pm

Obviously, BWV, jbuck's, Teresa's, Werner's and your inability to address the facts I had put up in the past is not a reflection on the pizzas and Corlysses and certain others of these boards. I'm not the only rational one here. But don't for an instant think that jbuck's post here (for example), which typifies his intellectual laziness, reveals any great depth of thought.

I don't have the time to cover the present issue but I will, most probably, come May. jbuck will have to bate his breath until then.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:49 pm

John Bleau wrote:is not a reflection on the pizzas and Corlysses and certain others of these boards.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: We take our hits on other issues!
Corlyss
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BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:53 am

John B - more to chew on & remember that the burden of proof rests on those alleging a thimerisol / autism link - making it a much more difficult argument for you than the anti-HIV argument (because in that case, the burden of proof is on those who claim HIV causes AIDS).

From Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Mercury poisoning and autism both affect the central nervous system but the specific sites of involvement in brain and the brain cell types affected are different in the two disorders as evidenced clinically and by neuropathology. Mercury also injures the peripheral nervous system and other organs that are not affected in autism. Nonspecific symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irrational fears may occur both in mercury poisoning and in children with autism, but overall the clinical picture of mercurism—from any known form, dose, duration, or age of exposure—does not mimic that of autism. No case history has been encountered in which the differential diagnosis of these 2 disorders was a problem. Most important, no evidence yet brought forward indicates that children exposed to vaccines containing mercurials, or mercurials via any other route of exposure, have more autism than children with less or no such exposure.

Continuing vigilance is necessary regarding the safety of vaccines, as is open-minded evaluation of new evidence. However, such evidence must be of sufficient scientific rigor to provide a responsible basis for decisions that influence the safety of children. When information is incomplete, as it is at present for thimerosal-autism questions, a balancing must be made of risks posed by vaccine constituents and the benefits of disease prevention achieved by keeping immunizations widely available. On the basis of current evidence, we consider it improbable that thimerosal and autism are linked.


Karin B. Nelson, MD


Neuroepidemiology Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Bethesda, MD 20892-1447

Margaret L. Bauman, MD


Children’s Neurology Service
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02114-2620

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/c ... /111/3/674



Macrocephaly (enlarged brain volume) is one of the most characteristic and documented features of ASD. No documentation exists that I am aware of that known cases of Mercury poisoning have ever resulted in Macrocephaly.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... med_DocSum
Macrocephaly and the control of brain growth in autistic disorders.

McCaffery P, Deutsch CK.

UMMS/EK Shriver Center, 200 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA, USA. peter.mccaffery@umassmed.edu

Autism is a childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by marked impairments in social interactions and communication, with restricted stereotypic and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. Genetic epidemiology studies indicate that a strong genetic component exists to this disease, but these same studies also implicate significant environmental influence. The disorder also displays symptomatologic heterogeneity, with broad individual differences and severity on a graded continuum. In the search for phenotypes to resolve heterogeneity and better grasp autism's underlying biology, investigators have noted a statistical overrepresentation of macrocephaly, an indicator of enlarged brain volume. This feature is one of the most widely replicated biological findings in autism. What then does brain enlargement signify? One hypothesis invoked for the origin of macrocephaly is a reduction in neuronal pruning and consolidation of synapses during development resulting in an overabundance of neurites. An increase in generation of cells is an additional mechanism for macrocephaly, though it is less frequently discussed in the literature. Here, we review neurodevelopmental mechanisms regulating brain growth and highlight one underconsidered potential causal mechanism for autism and macrocephaly--an increase in neurogenesis and/or gliogenesis. We review factors known to control these processes with an emphasis on nuclear receptor activation as one signaling control that may be abnormal and contribute to increased brain volume in autistic disorders
More peer-reviewed research on Autism documenting attributes of Autism not explainable by mercury poisoning:

http://notmercury.blogspot.com/2006/03/ ... -cant.html

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