The British Medical Journal has published an editorial calling for a Parliamentary investigation realted to Andrew Wakefield’s dishonesty:
A study incorporating over 12,000 prior peer reviewed publications, addressing the question of vaccine safety, is due for release by the National Academies of Science. The study attempts to understand adverse effects of vaccines and to assign causality to supposed negative outcomes. The 667 page study covers a large number of vaccines. And yes, it addresses autism.
Continue reading What are the adverse effects of vaccines?
Siblings of those diagnosed with autism are more than 20 times as likely as members of the general population to also have autism. Some of these siblings also show evidence of autism-like but less marked cognitive and social communication problems. This suggests that autism has either an environmental cause typically found in all siblings during development or childhood or a strong heritable component, but there is not a known genetic link or a well established biological marker. A biological marker other than observed behavioral deficits would be a neurological phenotype such as might be seen in brain imaging.
Spencer et al, working from various units of Cambridge University seem to have identified such a marker.
Continue reading Brain response to facial expression in autistic individuals and their siblings
You must go read the chilling and amusing account of Jamie Bernstein and Ken Reibel’s visit to the AutismOne Conference in the Chicago area. The story has all the elements. Horror:
(that’s what they were forced to eat); Police Absurdity (though not brutality); Screeching Breathless Paranoia; Jenny McCarthy; and Chemical Castration.
The story is told by Jamie across two blogs: Autism One, Part One on Skepchick and How I Got Kicked Out of the AutismOne Con: Part 2 on Friendly Atheist. Ken Reibel gives his version of the events here.
The new study identifies 27 loci that have rare copy number variations, where there are more or fewer repeated DNA segments than expected, common to the genomes of several children with autism spectrum disorder. These variations are not present in controls without autism spectrum disorder.
The peer reviewed paper is available in the Open Access journal PLoS Genetics.
The sample included 2,832 individuals distributed among 912 families that had multiple autistic children. The control group consisted of 1,070 samples of disease-free children who presumably are not clustered from a smaller number of family groups.
Note the apparent imbalance in sample size. Actually, it is not as big of a difference as one might think, as the 2,832 individuals samples do not represent 2,832 cases because they come from a set of under 1,000 families. In effect, the sample size of autism-related individuals in 912.
An investigation by the Sunday Times (UK) indicates that the doctor who reported information suggesting a link between MMR vaccine and autism may have “misreproted results in his research.” The investigation purpots to show that …
…Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.
The research [originally] claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the [vaccinatoi]. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.
However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.
The story is here.
A study recently published by Irva Hertz-Picciotto and Lora Delwiche of the M.I.N.D. Institute, UC Davis, addresses the question of an apparent rise in the frequency of diagnosed autism in California.
This study is quickly becoming the focus of attention as the various factions with an interest in autism square off on assessing its validity. In the mean time, the study itself is rather modest in what it attempts and what it concludes.
Let’s have a look.
Continue reading Autism Study Examines Cause of Apparent Rise in Rate