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

Oct 242011
 
Medical News Today: Flu Vaccine Protects Pregnant Woman's Baby And Does Not Cause Miscarriage

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MEDICAL NEWS TODAY Apart from protecting a newborn infant from flu for four months, the flu vaccine does not raise the risk of miscarriage, Kathleen Neuzil, MD, member of the Infectious Disease Society of America’s Pandemic Influenza Task Force explained at their 49th Annual Meeting. Various presentations at the meeting are showing that pregnant mothers are getting the message not only about the flu shot’s importance, but also its safety. A newborn whose mother was not vaccinated is particularly vulnerable to flu because he/she is more likely not to be born with protective immunity and cannot be ———->FULL ARTICLE

Jul 282011
 
The Greater Good - fair and balanced documentary or deadly propaganda?

There’s a new documentary coming soon. It’s called The Greater Good, and it purports to take an objective, rational perspective on the issue of vaccine safety. According to the description provided below its trailer on YouTube, the film looks… …behind the fear, hype and politics that have polarized the vaccine debate in America today. The film re-frames the emotionally charged issue and offers, for the first time, the opportunity for a rational and scientific discussion on how to create a safer and more effective vaccine program. Although we cannot review the movie itself since we have only the trailer to ———->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

Apr 082011
 

Given that April is Autism Awareness Month, it seemed appropriate to briefly discuss the early history of the autism-vaccine hypothesis. Though this alleged link is often stated as having begun with Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper, Trine Tsouderos, a science journalist at the Chicago Tribune, reminded the audience at a recent panel discussion on vaccines in New York City, it really began in 1982 with a television documentary by Lea Thompson called DPT: Vaccine Roulette. The film, which earned Thompson an Emmy Award, caused hysteria by suggesting the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) vaccine was dangerous and propelled Thompson into the ———->FULL ARTICLE