Autism Epidemic

On March 29th the US CDC announced “new” rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of 1/88 children: 1/54 boys, 1/252 girls. Er..well, the stats aren’t really new (or reliable) but rates of ASD estimated from identification of these disorders in children who were born in 2000 and living in fourteen separate areas of USA in 2008, the data collection year. The population studied represented over eight percent of the US population. The breakdown according to type for the latest stats is: 44% autism, 47% ASD/PDD and only 9% Asperger Disorder.

While the US stats are extraordinarily late in coming, Canada doesn’t publish any. In fact, a search for “autism” on the website of the Public Health Agency brings up nothing! But a Health Canada October 2011 message from Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq gave an estimated ASD rate of 1/150. At that time, she informed that a national surveillance system would be set up, “to determine how common ASDs are and how the rates differ across Canada; describe the population of Canadians living with ASDs; and understand changes in the number of children being diagnosed over time.” And shortly before the news about the US rates broke, it was announced that the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, Health Canada, NeuroDevNet and the Sinneave Family Foundation will be funding a Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Treatment and Care Research Program. 

Referring to the US rates, the CDC states: “Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown.” and, “The number of children identified with ASDs varied widely across the 14 ADDM [Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring] Network sites.” Utah had the highest rates amongst the fourteen areas surveyed: 1/47 children. And, in a curious twist, the rate for ASD among Utah’s white children was much higher than that among non-whites: 1/25 compared to 1/154 respectively. New Jersey had the second highest rate of the fourteen areas and the highest rate for boys: 1/49 and 1/29 respectively.

A WebMD analysis reveals that, “Study sites that relied only on health records to identify kids with autism had significantly lower autism rates than sites that had both health and education records.” Was this due to the fact that teachers must face the daily challenges of ASD whereas public health officialdom can ignore and avoid these? Possibly with a thought that there are other pressing health challenges to be dealt with as well, WebMD remarked: “At the new 2008 prevalence rate of one in 88 American children, autism costs the U.S. $137 billion a year.” Even at that, Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, assured, “One thing we do know is we don’t overestimate autism prevalence.” That, for sure, was an understatement.

Boyle claimed that the Center’s surveillance method “is really the gold standard for tracking autism.” Others disagree. A table in the CDC article announcing the latest ASD rates lists historical rates beginning with children born in 1992. Mark Blaxill, longtime advocate for families of children with ASD, wrote a blistering critique three years ago detailing the dishonesty regarding the 1992 cutoff point and more. In it, he argues, “Nowhere is the institutional pattern of negligence, deception and propaganda surrounding autism more apparent than in the work of the ADDM network.…While there is no evidence of fraud in the preparation of the ADDM data, that’s about the only good thing you can say about the work. To be blunt, every ADDM publication so far has betrayed a fundamental dishonesty, reporting analysis that has been twisted for bureaucratic purposes to mask and suppress the magnitude of the autism problem.” Blaxill convincingly shows that this is true. He points to omission of the much lower pre-1992 birth year rates from rate comparisons; ignoring the inclusion of Asperger’s syndrome in ASD in 1994, thus making rate increases past that date seem lower than they really were; cherry picking sampling locations and numbers of locations (even to the extent that these changed from one report to another) and comparing rates of years when sample sizes and locations differed; and simply omitting to make a report according to the usual two year schedule.

Concerning the historical rates, F Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP has told of a graph based on thousands of records reviewed by Bernard Rimland PhD for the Autism Research Institute. Yazbak explains: “That very simple graph was remarkable. It showed two intersecting lines: a dotted line representing the Regressive Autism cases, with onset of symptoms at 18 months, running for years below the Early Onset Autism solid line and suddenly taking off in the late seventies/early eighties and steadily rising until it intersected the solid line by the mid eighties. By the late nineties, the dotted line was much higher than the other line and Regressive Autism cases represented around 80% of the ARI’s total case load.” Was it just a coincidence that the reversal occurred at the time when injection of MMR became common? In 2000, Rimland testified to a US Congress House Committee that, “Late onset autism was almost unheard of in the fifties, sixties and seventies; today such cases outnumber early onset cases 5 to 1, the increase paralleling the increase in required vaccines.”

So, does the CDC acknowledge that at least some of the rise in ASD could be due to vaccines? On a page of their website last updated February 23, 2011 is included the following carefully veiled admission of the capability of MMR and MMRV (eg Priorix-Tetra™) vaccines to cause ASD symptoms: “Two studies have shown that children who have febrile seizures after receiving an MMR vaccine are no more likely to have epilepsy or learning or developmental problems than children who have febrile seizures that are not associated with a vaccine. Experts believe it is likely that this finding for MMR vaccine applies to MMRV vaccine as well.” Oh, if only Wakefield could comment! A Canadian study which examined reactions to MMR with the stated objective of determining “the risk of serious adverse events in all children vaccinated in Ontario at 12 and 18 months of age with recommended pediatric vaccines” found an increase in febrile seizures. However, it didn’t find anything which would suggest future ASD since, despite its lofty objective, only paediatric records up to two weeks post vaccination were examined. We wonder why.

But it’s not only MMR that’s suspect. Aluminum adjuvants; the mercury preservative, thimerosal; and the huge number of vaccines now injected into infants and toddlers are all suspected of causing or contributing to ASD. And, if the current trend to inject more vaccines into pregnant women continues, we can expect to see high rates of early onset autism as well as regressive autism.

Since the “new” US stats on ASD rates were announced last Thursday, there’s been an enormous outpouring of rage and anguish on the internet. An Age of Autism post of April 1st by Natasa elucidates: “Autism becoming the new normal sounds like a joke, but believe me, as someone running a nursery school in India for the last 40 years, I can see how fast people forget what normal behavior in children is. To make it worse, it is now clear that doctors, or very few of them ever knew what behavior was normal in children. It sounds bizarre, but it would be very nice for someone to collect as fast as possible all the reliable material they can find on what is normal behavior in the human infant and child.”

Back in December 2009, Julia Obradovic posted a comparison between the rise of ASD and the Argentinean military dictatorship’s late 1970s to early 1980s reign of terror which resulted in the disappearance of tens of thousands. She wrote: “I entered this seemingly parallel universe of autism…In my darkest times one of the things I remember is that even this dark chapter in Argentina came to an end. Eventually the truth was too overwhelming to deny anymore. Too many people affected. Too many lives destroyed. At one point in 1995, the country declared there was no way to ever make it right and that the country had to forgive and move forward. In the last few years, however, that has changed. Those in leadership positions at the time are being jailed and prosecuted. Justice has been delayed, but it is happening. I don’t often cry about Autism. …But today…when I read this? When I read the real incidence numbers of Missouri and Arizona? What is it, 1 in 42 or 45 boys? Well, the tears just came. The magnitude of this human disaster hit me in the gut and sucked out my breath.”

In Vaccine Epidemic, investment strategist Michael Belkin, father of a baby girl who died at five weeks of age from encephalitis due to hepatitis B vaccine, writes about the ‘vaccine bubble’: “Every bubble contains an element of crowd psychology, or a collective conception that shepherds unsuspecting individuals into wholeheartedly participating in an ill-fated popular delusion.” Let’s hope that bubble bursts before we have a worldwide pandemic of brain damaged children and a dwindling adult population to care for them.

References and Further Reading:

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008; CDC; Morbidity and Mortality Monthly Report; Surveillance Summaries; March 30, 2012/61(SS03); 1-19.

CDC ASDs Data and Statistics

Canary Party Autism Press Conference

1 in 88 Autism/ASD among Children of Military Families (reported in 2007)

CDC: What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?