David Kirby asks us to move the goalposts one more time on the vaccines-cause-autism question.
Epidemiologic studies have shown no link. The Institute of Medicine has looked at the evidence for the link between mercury and autism and found it to be specious. Thimerosal has been removed, to no effect. Throughout the Autism Omnibus proceedings we’ve seen the best case for a link and it’s a joke. The measles PCRs linking gut samples from autistic kids to “chronic measles infection” from the MMR jab were false positives. At every single point when this problem has been studied it’s been found to be a specious link. But are the anti-vax cranks like David Kirby ever satisfied? Of course not. It will always be one more study. And there will always be specious evidence for the anti-vax denialists to grasp desperately to so this issue will never die. They will propose things like “mercury efflux disorder” without any proof of its existence. They will switch from thimerosal, to other parts of the adjuvants like aluminum, to blaming environmental mercury (as Kirby did in his last post). Or they’ll generate more bogus correlations, for instance, Kirby loves this new Survey USA poll:
It certainly wasn’t hard for the respected polling company, Survey USA, to find nearly 1,000 unvaccinated children living in nine counties in California and Oregon. All they had to do was pick up the phone.
Survey USA, commissioned by the anti-thimerosal group Generation Rescue, completed telephone interviews in 11,817 households with one or more children age 4 to 17. Of the 17,674 children inventoried, 991 were described as being completely unvaccinated.
Interestingly, the survey found that, among boys (who have neurodevelopmental disorders at a 4-to-1 ratio over girls) vaccinated children were 155 percent more likely to have a neurological disorder, 224 percent more likely to have ADHD, and 61 percent more likely to have autism. Among boys aged 11-18, the increased autism risk was 112 percent.
Is that so? I wonder what would happen if someone actually took a close look at the survey results…
Well Prometheus does and should we be surprised? It’s just more garbage:
This CDC report found that the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders ranged from 4.5 to 6.5 per 1000 children, which would be 0.45 – 0.65%.
The GR survey found that the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders was 4.7% in their overall sample and ranged from 1.3% (female, fully vaccinated) to 8.4% (male, partially vaccinated). This is nearly ten times the CDC prevalence.
To put the number into perspective, the CDC data say that somewhere between 1 in 222 to 1 in 154 children have an autistic spectrum disorder. The GR survey would suggest that 1 in 21 children have an autistic spectrum disorder. Ridiculous!
Clearly, there is a serious problem with this survey.
But wait, there’s more:
To get a statistically significant difference between the unvaccinated and vaccinated boys, they had to lump the partially vaccinated and the fully vaccinated boys together and they also had to lump autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger’s syndrome, ADD and ADHD together.roups, with the partially and fully vaccinated boys having – as a group – 55% more reported “neurological disorders”.
However, if you look at the “autistic spectrum disorders” by themselves, there is no statistically significant difference between unvaccinated and vaccinated (partially plus fully) boys.
Curiously, there is a statistically significant difference between the partially vaccinated boys and both the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated boys. Partially vaccinated boys have a higher prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders than either the unvaccinated or fully vaccinated boys.
Now, if you want to show that an exposure causes a disorder, it is generally a good idea to show a dose-response relationship. In the case of this survey, a little vaccination is worse than none or a lot. This doesn’t sound like a dose-response relationship to me.
Ok, one more example that Kirby can’t find good data to save his life. But does that make him wrong to ask for one more study? Why can’t we delay certifying the safety of vaccines just a little bit longer until it is done?
Now that Dr. Gerberding no longer has the excuse that “record immunization levels” preclude such a study, perhaps she might direct some of the recently appropriated Combating Autism Act funds to studying the two groups of children.
For those that disagree — and I look forward to your rational comments on why this study should never be done — I suggest you take up your concerns with the CDC director herself, and not with me.
After all, Dr. Gerberding is the one who said that this study “should be done.” And I, for one, could not agree with her more.
Well, because there is no damn good reason to do the study other than to appease cranks. And knowing that cranks are never appeased makes it pointless to do the study. Recognition of futility is a sign of intelligence. Kirby and the anti-vax cranks like RFK Jr. respond to data that contradicts their worldview by alleging conspiracies and criminality on the part of thousands of scientists, doctors, and government officials. Why in the world should we think that one more study, even one they ask for, will change their minds? If it comes back with a result that contradicts their pre-formed opinions about the homeschool kids and the Amish (who do vaccinate contrary to the anti-vax myths) they’ll just say it’s another conspiracy. They’ll just throw the data out the window and call the scientists liars and criminals all over again.