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

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

May 082010
 

The question of safety is the main vaccine concern. Are vaccines safe? If I vaccinate my child, will that have negative effects for their health? Of course, these questions are extremely broad to be answered all at once. Thus I will be breaking the answers in little bits. Today we will look at the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine and autism. Is the MMR vaccine correlated with autism? A quick PubMed search found this study from the June 12, 1999 Lancet (the same journal that originally published and recently retracted the Wakefield study that is widely credited with starting ———->FULL ARTICLE

May 042010
 

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT WEBMD May 3, 2010 — Researchers have discovered two new genes that may be involved with autism, the brain disorder marked by difficulty in communicating and relating to others. The evidence for one of the two new “susceptibility genes” is stronger than that for the other, says Daniel Notterman, MD, the senior author of the study and a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry, and molecular biology at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. One of the newly discovered gene mutations is in NCAM2 and the other is in PTPRD. “We are more confident ———->FULL ARTICLE