Sep 292012
 
Study provides evidence for effect of expanded diagnostic criteria on rates of autism

Many people are very concerned with the apparent “explosion” of autism rates. Back in the 80s and 90s, autism prevalence was very low at about 4/10,000. More recent estimates from the CDC currently stand at 1/88, a significant change. As the pattern-seeking animals that we are, many people have made a connection between the apparent rise in autism rates and an expansion of the childhood vaccination schedule, drawing an immature, and scientifically unsupported, conclusion that vaccines must have cause the increase in autism rates. Alternative explanations have been put forth, the most plausible one being the “casting of a wider ———->FULL ARTICLE

Feb 232012
 

Recently a new study came out which suggested that changes to the brains of autistic children might be detectable as early as 6 months of age. Steve Novella has covered this particular study at his Neurologica blog so there is no need to repeat what he said there. Predictably, the anti-vaccination crowd has come out restating their belief that vaccinations are still to blame. Now, to be fair nothing in this study proves that vaccines cannot cause, or have any effect on, autism. All it says is that it may be possible to notice differences in the brain as early ———->FULL ARTICLE

Oct 272011
 
How Do We Know That Herd Immunity Exists?

The term “herd immunity” elicits strong responses from some in the anti-vaccine camp. Perhaps some do not like the use of the word “herd” because of its association with sheep, or other such animals that do the bidding of their herders. Or perhaps, and this is my belief, it is because the very idea of herd immunity rests upon the premise that vaccines are effective at stopping disease progression, and vaccine efficacy is one of the major things anti-vaxers deny. Many times they demand proof that herd immunity exists. In and of itself, that request is not unreasonable. After all, scientific proof ———->FULL ARTICLE

May 142011
 

One of the points that anti-vaccine proponents keep bringing up is how autism prevalence has been going up over the past few decades. They notice how autism diagnoses have gone up and correlate that with an expanded vaccine schedule, then finally make the leap to imply it was the vaccines that caused autism. When we say that an expanded definition and expanded surveillance is what has in big part resulted in the increase, they laugh it off. That is not possible, they say; the increase must be a real increase of actual cases. Recently, a new study came out of ———->FULL ARTICLE

May 062011
 
Age of Autism considers reliable only the sources that agree with them

Between the Obama ‘Birthers’, climate change deniers, and those who insist that Osama bin Laden’s reported death was staged, conspiracy theories and denialism have been ubiquitous in the news lately. Science journalist and author Chris Mooney has only been one of many to recently discuss the psychology of denialism at length. Mooney’s latest article on the topic begins with an appropriate quote by  Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger, who observed: A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal ———->FULL ARTICLE

Mar 222011
 

Vaccine safety is one of the major areas of  concern of the anti-vaccination crowd.  Guillan-Barre syndrome is a subset of said concern; it is feared that some vaccines might increase the incidence rate. It appears the science-based evidence is a bit unclear on the issue. Luckily this is being followed closely by scientists all over the world. One such group of scientists recently published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which addresses the concern. Safety of Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in Postmarketing Surveillance in China Xiao-Feng Liang, M.D., Li Li, M.D., Ph.D., Da-Wei Liu, M.D., Ke-Li Li, ———->FULL ARTICLE

Mar 162011
 
The vaccinated vs unvaccinated study - a.k.a. The German Study

I have previously reported on a newish trend in anti-vaccine propaganda, the “vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study” gambit. The anti-vaccine proponents have retreated to this new position after the thimerosal, MMR-autism and other hypotheses of theirs were shown to be worthless. This …..strategy is well known to anyone with a basic understanding of logic as moving the goal post. Superficially, the request does not sound unreasonable. Why not compare the non-vaccinated with the vaccinated and see if there is any increased risks with vaccination? To be clear, I am not against such research being done, to the limit it can practically ———->FULL ARTICLE

The Flu Vaccine and Narcolepsy

 Posted by on February 9, 2011  2 Responses »
Feb 092011
 

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT SCIENCE BASED MEDICINE Last year it was reported that there was a possible increase in narcolepsy, a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness, in children who had received the Pandemrix brand of H1N1 flu vaccine in Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. However a review of the data did not find a convincing connection, although concluded there was insufficient data at present and recommended further surveillance. A narcolepsy task force was formed in Finland, and now we have their preliminary report. They conclude that the evidence suggests there is a connection: Based on the preliminary analyses, the ———->FULL ARTICLE