Generation Rescue Survey Results

26 Jun

Brad Handley has commissioned a telephone polling company to perform a telephone poll:

Generation Rescue commissioned an independent opinion research firm, SurveyUSA of Verona NJ, to conduct a telephone survey in nine counties in California and Oregon. Counties were selected by Generation Rescue. Interviews were successfully completed in 11,817 households with one or more children age 4 to 17. From those 11,817 households, data on 17,674 children was gathered. Of the 17,674 children inventoried, 991 were described as being completely unvaccinated. For each unvaccinated child, a heath battery was administered.

Oooh – exciting!

The results are damning apparently….

We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys

Woah, what? _Like_ autism…? And what the hell has ADHD got to do with anything? Oh right, right – I remember, Generation Rescue redesigned their site when they couldn’t make their old message of:

Autism is treatable. It’s reversible. It’s nothing more than mercury poisoning,” said JB Handley, founder of Generation Rescue.

stick. Now its more than just mercury and its more than just autism. Hey – if you can’t make one idea work, expand it and pretend you’ve _always_ meant that. In this survey, applicants were asked about ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, PDD-NOS, Autism, Asthma and Juvenile Diabetes. Nothing like muddying the water to make things clearer.

On the Generation Rescue page I link to above, Generation Rescue have kindly provided their source data but in closed access PDF’s. How helpful. Never mind, I turned all the aggregate data into an Excel file and had a bit of a look myself. UPDATE: All Generation Rescue Survey data is now available in Excel.

Now, my issue with Generation Rescue is solely to do with autism and vaccines. I really don’t care about their newly found interest in asthma or juvenile diabetes. Lets see what they say about their autism results:

Vaccinated boys were 61% more likely to have autism

Well, thats one way to look at it. Another way is to look at it properly. In the spreadsheet I created using Generation Rescue raw data the following was found.

Number of boys with Aspergers
Unvaccinated: 2% of total
Partially vaccinated: 3% of total
Fully vaccinated: 2%
Fully and Partially combined: 2%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have Aspergers if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being Aspergers is exactly the same as if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys with PDD-NOS
Unvaccinated: 1% of total
Partially vaccinated: 2% of total
Fully vaccinated: 1%
Fully and Partially combined: 1%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have PDD-NOS if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being PDD-NOS is exactly the same as if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys with Autism
Unvaccinated: 2% of total
Partially vaccinated: 7% of total
Fully vaccinated: 3%
Fully and Partially combined: 4%

Conclusion: you are 5% more likely to have autism if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being autistic is 1% greater than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys with all ASD’s
Unvaccinated: 4% of total
Partially vaccinated: 8% of total
Fully vaccinated: 5%
Fully and Partially combined: 5%

Conclusion: you are 4% more likely to have an ASD if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of having an ASD is 1% greater than if you were unvaccinated.

These figures are laughable. 4% more likely? And that’s if your son has been partially vaccinated! If he’s been fully vaccinated the percentage increase drops to 1%. The figures for girls are even worse.

Number of girls with Aspergers
Unvaccinated: 1% of total
Partially vaccinated: 1% of total
Fully vaccinated: 0%
Fully and Partially combined: 0%

Conclusion: you are no more likely to have Aspergers if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being Aspergers is 1% less than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of girls with PDD-NOS
Unvaccinated: 2% of total
Partially vaccinated: 1% of total
Fully vaccinated: 0%
Fully and Partially combined: 0%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have PDD-NOS if you are unvaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being PDD-NOS is 2% less than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of girls with Autism
Unvaccinated: 1% of total
Partially vaccinated: 2% of total
Fully vaccinated: 1%
Fully and Partially combined: 1%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have autism if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being autistic is no greater than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of girls with all ASD’s
Unvaccinated: 3% of total
Partially vaccinated: 3% of total
Fully vaccinated: 1%
Fully and Partially combined: 1%

Conclusion: you are no more likely to have an ASD if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of having an ASD is 2% less than if you were unvaccinated.

My goodness, this is _awful_ for Generation Rescue. Finally, we’ll look at girls and boys together:

Number of boys and girls with Aspergers
Unvaccinated: 1% of total
Partially vaccinated: 2% of total
Fully vaccinated: 1%
Fully and Partially combined: 2%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have Aspergers if you have been partially vaccinated than unvaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being Aspergers is no greater than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys and girls with PDD-NOS
Unvaccinated: 2% of total
Partially vaccinated: 2% of total
Fully vaccinated: 1%
Fully and Partially combined: 1%

Conclusion: you are 1% more likely to have PDD-NOS if you are unvaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being PDD-NOS is 1% less than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys and girls with Autism
Unvaccinated: 2% of total
Partially vaccinated: 4% of total
Fully vaccinated: 2%
Fully and Partially combined: 2%

Conclusion: you are 2% more likely to have autism if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being autistic is no greater than if you were unvaccinated.

Number of boys and girls with all ASD’s
Unvaccinated: 4% of total
Partially vaccinated: 6% of total
Fully vaccinated: 3%
Fully and Partially combined: 3%

Conclusion:you are 2% more likely to have an ASD if you have been partially vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated your chance of being autistic is 1% less than if you were unvaccinated.

There’s no getting away from this. This is a disaster for Generation Rescue and the whole ‘vaccines cause autism’ debacle. Generation Rescue’s data indicates that you are ‘safer’ from autism if you fully vaccinate than partially vaccinate. It also indicates that across the spectrum of autism, you are only 1% more likely to be autistic if you have had any sort of vaccination as oppose to no vaccinations at all – and thats only if you are male. If you are a girl you chances of being on the spectrum are _less_ if you have been vaccinated! Across both boys and girls, your chances of being on the spectrum are _less_ if you have received all vaccinations.

Elsewhere

Orac
Prometheus

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81 Responses to “Generation Rescue Survey Results”

  1. Cathy June 28, 2007 at 03:52 #

    All the information about the study can be found here http://www.generationrescue.org/survey.html
    including the data in PDF form which I had no trouble accessing, the organisiation that ran the telephone survey and the counties that were surveyed.

    I agree there needs to be more information. What were the reasons for not vaccinating? (eg medical contraindications or safety concerns? this could effect dx’s) Why did the partially vaccinated begin to vaccinate and then stop? (bad side effects perhaps? which would explain the higher rate of dx’s in partially vaccinated)

    And What I also want to know is how do they classify partially-vaccinated? That could mean anywhere between one vaccine and how ever many are on the vaccine schedule at this point in time. And new vaccines are always in the pipeline to be added, so fully vaxed kids today will be considered partially vaxed in 5 yrs time. The 17 year olds would classify as partially vaccinated compared to the 4 year olds … because the 17 year olds would not have had as many vaccines as kids do now. (check history of vaccine schedule 1989-2002 to verify facts) Did the phone survey have a checklist of vaccines? or did they simply ask if they were fully vaxed?

    And what makes you say partially vaccinated figures are biased?

    Maybe fully vaxed parents are biased because they obviously wholeheartedly support the vaccine programme, they would be less likely to want to admit their child is ASD.

    And 1% IS statistically significant. The difference between 1% and 2% would mean the difference between 100/10,000 and 200/10,000 … it is TWICE AS MUCH which is not 1% more than.

    For example; if there was 100/10,000 children with an ASD, 1% more than that would would 101/10,000.

    What is the population of America? What is 1% of that? And what is 2% of that? BIG DIFFERENCE!!

  2. Kev June 28, 2007 at 04:45 #

    _”And what makes you say partially vaccinated figures are biased?”_

    The very reasons you state above.

    _”And 1% IS statistically significant.”_

    Statistically significant? If this was a well designed study and the results were data then possibly. In this case? Not even close.

    _”What is the population of America? What is 1% of that? And what is 2% of that? BIG DIFFERENCE!!”_

    If I have 100 matchsticks, what is 1% of that? And what is 2% of that? TINY DIFFERENCE!!

  3. Cathy June 28, 2007 at 05:58 #

    Its not a tiny difference, its twice as many.

    We are not talking about 100 kids here! we are talking about .66% of the population if you go by the 1:150 ratio.

    By “biased” I thought you meant that parents would be biased in one way or another in their answers to the survey.

    The problems I stated related to the discrepancies between the different “amount” of vaccines given that would be classfied as “fully” vaccinated, I dont call that a bias but it would account for the odd results … I think for simplicity sake it would be better to compare vaccinated (at all) to unvaccinated. This would be for a general overview of the trends, not “specific vaccine” causes “specific dissorder” type information. But simply “what are the health outcomes for vaccinated vs unvaccinated children”?

    And your math is all wrong. 2% is not 1% more than 1%. There is a difference of 1%. But 1% of 1% is 0.01%, so 1% more than 1% is 1.01%. 2% is 100% more than 1%.

    When you are talking about a percentage “more than” something, you have to find out “what percentage the difference between them” is of the original amount.

    For example 6 is 20% more than 5.

  4. HN June 28, 2007 at 06:04 #

    The survey was bogus, and has absolutely no basis in reality.

    For another take on it check out:

    http://photoninthedarkness.blogspot.com/2007/06/survey-says-nothing.html

  5. Kev June 28, 2007 at 07:53 #

    _”Its not a tiny difference, its twice as many.”_

    Or, one more.

    Cathy, I’ll say it again. If we were discussing anything remotely close to a decent survey then I’d happily agree with you. But we’re not. This survey claims a rate of ASD in its population of 1 in 21. Compare this to the _actual_ population of 1 in 150. That tells you all you need to know about the validity of this debacle. As such, I feel free to take from it whatever I feel like – much like Generation Rescue are doing.

  6. 666sigma June 28, 2007 at 15:51 #

    Kev, this is NOT addition or subtraction. It’s statistics and statistical significance. However, I did find some of your basic math rather amusing as did a few others. Stick to web design.

    I did notice someone point out that the prevelance rates in this study are incredibly high. Now, that would call the study’s methods into question.

    Either way, GR did something I really have not seen elsewhere and that’s lay out its numbers for everyone to see. Even if the study is flawed, I think they won the debate.

    It’s time for the CDC to step up to the plate and do a real study. Better yet, we need a real independent study based on more solid ground than the GR study. What has passed for science on this issue (both sides) is a joke. The CDC is still hiding and where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

  7. Kev June 28, 2007 at 16:00 #

    _”Kev, this is NOT addition or subtraction. It’s statistics and statistical significance.”_

    Seriously – its really not. If it was good data, yes. This? This is just shit.

    But go ahead and explain to me how 0 compared to 0 comes out as statistically significant…?

    _”Even if the study is flawed, I think they won the debate.”_

    What debate?

  8. notmercury June 28, 2007 at 17:27 #

    “Even if the study is flawed, I think they won the debate.”

    What study?

  9. Steve D June 28, 2007 at 18:31 #

    I just completed an informal survey of my own.
    I have 14 coworkers (who are American-born), so the total staff is 15 including myself. The combined number of children parented by myself and coworkers is 15. All of the adults and children are fully vaccinated, except 2 relatively newly born who have not yet reached an age where the vaccine schedule can be fulfilled. So this leaves a sample size of 28. Of the 28, one child has autism, no other Neurological Disorders are reported (except clearly everyone here except me suffers from Narcissistic Disorder).
    Therefore, the incidence of vaccine-induced autism in my workplace is 1 in 28, or 3.5%! This is horrible! But since this is so much higher than the natioanl average, it must be something else in my workplace. Let’s see – we ship fresh flowers. That’s it! Exposure to beautiful, freshly picked flowers causes autism. Damn, now I have to find a new industry to work in…

  10. Interverbal June 28, 2007 at 18:50 #

    666sigma,

    “Either way, GR did something I really have not seen elsewhere and that’s lay out its numbers for everyone to see. Even if the study is flawed, I think they won the debate.”

    The question was never “can we do this study”, but instead was “can we do it well”. Keep that in mind and review the follwojng facts:

    This study is not peer reviewed.

    This study did not control for any of the six threats to random and systematic statistical error.

    As reported by Prometheus, the data do not show a statistically singificant result as assesed by Chi-Square, one-tailed, or two-tailed tests, when at the 99% confidence interval.

    If the null-hypothesis is that there is no difference in terms of autism, between kids who get vaccines and those who don’t, then we must accept the null-hypothesis. That is simply what the tests show.

    So, how can GR have won any debate here? Will you explain this?

  11. Brian Deer June 28, 2007 at 19:18 #

    They won the debate because there are some people who will have erroneous beliefs reinforced, and some who will be misled. That’s enough for this so-called “Generation Resue”. Any honest organisation would know that they were operating way outside their competence in presenting this “survey”. But they just don’t care. As with the vaccine court and the total absence of discussion about it.

    They just don’t care.

  12. caseofthevapours June 28, 2007 at 19:55 #

    _The CDC is still hiding and where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire_

    Or sometimes simply dry ice.

  13. David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction) June 28, 2007 at 20:10 #

    “And 1% IS statistically significant. The difference between 1% and 2% would mean the difference between 100/10,000 and 200/10,000 … it is TWICE AS MUCH which is not 1% more than.”

    Wanna name a test of significance that could demonstrate that in regard to THIS so-called study?!

  14. Cathy June 29, 2007 at 05:29 #

    Ok, so because they’re wrong its ok for you to be wrong to, fair enough. The numbers they got back might be biased for a number of reasons … like how many hang ups did they get? Quite possibly it would be the parents of kids with problems who would most want to participate in the survey. Which would account for the high numbers.

    But whatever the reason, the numbers they got were the numbers they got!! And their interpretation of them is correct … your interpretation is incorrect.

  15. Kev June 29, 2007 at 05:35 #

    Cathy, please try and hear me. I am not attempting to interpret them. That word ‘interpretation’ implies there is something of value there to interpret. There is not.

    I am simply taking their numbers at face value and doing exactly what they are. Choosing which bits of it suit me.

  16. Prometheus June 29, 2007 at 05:50 #

    Cathy,

    To be fair, while Kev’s interpretation of the survey is … novel, GR is also playing fast and loose with the facts.

    One of the things that EVERY scientifically valid survey has to do is prove its validity – prove that it is an accurate reflection of reality.

    After all, the reason we DO surveys and random samples is so that we can determine something (or a number of things) about a population without having to check every member of that population.

    To find out if the sample is an accurate reflection of the population as a whole, we check certain data against what is already known about that population – things like the percentage of males and females – and see if they match what we know about the population.

    When the aggregate autism prevalence (the percentage of the whole sample that had autism/PDD/Asperger’s) exceeded what LARGER surveys have found, and not by a little – nearly TEN times – then we can only conclude that this survey’s sample does not reflect the larger population.

    Since we don’t know what led to this sampling error – and neither do GR or the company they hired to do the survey – there is no way to extract ANY meaningful information from the “data”.

    Now, they can (and will) spin this ten ways from Sunday, but the reality is that their results are meaningless. Their attempts to make some political hay from this meaningless pile of numbers is simply more evidence that they are far more interested in “winning” than in finding the truth.

    Prometheus

  17. passionlessDrone June 29, 2007 at 12:11 #

    Hi Promotheus –

    Granting that the rate discrepancies in the study are very likely bogus; I’m curious on your take as to the underlying question of whether or not there is a large enough population of unvaccinated children, that can be sampled without bias, to conduct a comparison of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children that has statistical power?

    It seems this issue, like many in the autism arena, is frequently treated to broad brush strokes by both sides, when a more nuanced evaluation is necessary to truly understand the issue.

    By way of example, the example of the Amish is frequently held up as an example of a potential unvaccinated population. There are also reports that the Amish do vaccinate. I recently heard an interview with a person who spent some considerable time with an Amish family, (vaccination was not mentioned) and one thing I took from the interview was the fact that there are actually, many different stratifications within the Amish community. The particular sect he spent time with, for example, only showered on Saturdays, something which other Amish found a bit funny. My point being, referring to ‘The Amish’ as a uniform entity makes as much sense as ‘The Autistics’, and thus, it seems likely there are some Amish that do not vaccinate, and some that do.

    Of course, genetic similarities may introduce problems with using the Amish as a single population for which to perform such a study. Other areas, such as Chicago, and apparently, Oregon also, are annectodally valid areas for such participants. It also occurred to me that there is a growing population of children who are genetically diverse, but paradoxically, genetically more likely to have autism; namely the children of parents who have had one autistic child, and did not vaccinate subsequently. It would seem that one of the problems with this population would be selection bias; such parents are likely to believe in a vaccination relationship, and they may be unlikely to enroll their unvaccinated, but autistic children in such a study.

    Anyways, several posters on this board have understandings of the power statistical studies, and potential limiting factors in such studies, than I do. Given that, I’d be interested in knowing the potential problems they would see in identifying a pool of candidates for a true unvaccinated / vaccinated population study.

    Take care.

    – pD

  18. Tom June 29, 2007 at 14:38 #

    The question of whether an unvaccinated vs. vaccinated study COULD be done seems to beg the question as to whether it is scientifically JUSTIFIED.

    The only people demanding this study are those who lack any scientific understanding of the issue. Scientists in the vaccine and immunology disciplines sure don’t seem concerned. The prestigous Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins is not concerned. Paul Ofitt is on record as saying that based on research, an infant could receive 100,000 simultaneous vaccinations. While that may be hyperbolic, the point is that no one in the scientific community is expressing concern.

    In a review article, Pardo and Zimmerman, who authored the post-mortem studies on autistic brain tissue, state that their findings are not consistent with infections. They say they don’t see any evidence of immune suppression and infection leading to the microglia activation and neuroinflammation they found. Kids with atuism aren’t more susceptible to infection. The investigators are not sure whether the response is a helpful, neurotrophic one or even when it began (prenatal, post natal).

    More recent evidence by Pardo’s lab implicates terbutaline, a drug given to prevent stop preterm labor. They’ve even built an animal model using the drug. Zimmerman’s lab finds evidence of maternal-fetal immune interaction. If I remember correctly, Zimmerman was slated to be a witness in for the govt. in the omnibus case. It would seem that speaks very loudly about vaccine concerns.

    If the anti-vax lobby succeeds in undermining vaccine uptake, it may become necessary as a political rather than scientific study.

    And if such a study is undertaken, good luck with that. You’ll have to find all those unvaccinated kids and it won’t be easy. I don’t believe the GR unvaccinated numbers.

    It seems as though you are looking for a single association among a group of people who live off the grid in more ways than one. Are they going to want to participate in a government study? Clinical trial recruitment is very difficult and costly. This study would be very expensive.

    Unlike Dan Olmsred, I have actually bothered to talk to a doctor who sees Amish children at the Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster county PA. The doc reports that the vaccination rate is 70% in Lancaster County and garden variety autism is present. In IL, the vaccination rate is 90% and again autism is present. It is even listed in the diagnostic pages on the IL clinic’s Web site.

    Despite what the anti-vaxers believe, autism is predominately genetic, so you’ll have to account for all those unvaccinated kids with de novo CNVs and other known genes. And then you still have to diagnose for autism as most unvaccinated children likely go undiagnosed.

    I for one hope that reasonable people will allow science to pursue leads and quit pretending that they know better.
    There are interesting studies finding associations. These findings should be the subject of dialog about the future of autism research, not a random event that a bunch of ignorant yet arrogant lay people have made.

    If this study becomes politically necessary, it will cost a fortune and the anti-vaxers won’t be happy with the results. They will resort to their tired old conspiracy theories.

  19. Brian Deer June 29, 2007 at 15:40 #

    Autism makes fools out of experts, and experts out of fools.

  20. passionlessDrone June 29, 2007 at 17:04 #

    Hi Tom –

    The only people demanding this study are those who lack any scientific understanding of the issue. Scientists in the vaccine and immunology disciplines sure don’t seem concerned. The prestigous Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins is not concerned. Paul Ofitt is on record as saying that based on research, an infant could receive 100,000 simultaneous vaccinations. While that may be hyperbolic, the point is that no one in the scientific community is expressing concern

    If I am not mistaken, Mr, Offit is the owner of patents on some vaccines, as well as en employee of Merck. Some people might consider that as a source of information, he has a significant conflict of interest. For example, if I stood to gain from vaccine legislation and said the opposite; wouldn’t this be viewed as a conflict of interest?

    In a review article….

    Do you have a link to this article? I simply read on their website what I stated, that an infection at intiation of disease time could not be ruled out for a variety of reasons.

    Kids with atuism aren’t more susceptible to infection.

    This is a curious statement. I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the c4b allele identified as having greater prevalance in autistics would result in decreased functioning of the complement system, which in turn, is responsible for pathogen removal. Further, a great many studies do show that the immune systems of autistics are imbalanced when compared to controls, do they not? If you would like to argue that disruptions to the immune and complement system would not lead to increased succeptibility to infections, please do.

    You may be referring to studies based on hospitalization records. (?) If my son is sick, but I do not take him to the hospital, does this mean he was not sick? If he was sick on vacation and taken to a different hospital, does this mean he was not sick? If my autistic son is sick for four days, and my non autistic daughter is sick with the same bug for 3 days, does this not mean my son with autism was sick for longer? Yet, this type of information is not reflected in this kind of study.

    More recent evidence by Pardo’s lab implicates terbutaline, a drug given to prevent stop preterm labor. They’ve even built an animal model using the drug.

    Considering you seem to think that autism is predominantly genetic pointing this out would seem to be a strange argument. It is interesting none the less.

    If the anti-vax lobby succeeds in undermining vaccine uptake, it may become necessary as a political rather than scientific study.

    Increasing vaccine uptake would seem to be a very good reason to perform the study, regardless of if you feel it is scientifically justified or not.

    It seems as though you are looking for a single association among a group of people who live off the grid in more ways than one. Are they going to want to participate in a government study? Clinical trial recruitment is very difficult and costly. This study would be very expensive.

    If living off the grid showed an association with autism prevalance, this would be a good thing to know, would it not? As far as cost goes, this country spends a few billion a week in Iraq; clearly there is money to go around. If the end result, as you feel it would be, would be surefire evidence of the vaccination schedule safety and the presumed uptake in vaccinations, wouldn’t it be worth it?

    You’ll have to find all those unvaccinated kids and it won’t be easy. I don’t believe the GR unvaccinated numbers.

    Specifics on the complications of such an undertaking was exactly what my post was asking, yet for whatever reason, you have chosen not to address it meaningfully. Go figure.

    doc reports that the vaccination rate is 70% in Lancaster County and garden variety autism is present.

    My question could then be reframed as, ‘If some counties report 30% rates of no vaccination, would this be a sufficient starting point for a population based study?’

    Despite what the anti-vaxers believe, autism is predominately genetic, so you’ll have to account for all those unvaccinated kids with de novo CNVs and other known genes.

    Hm. I am certainly not arguing against a genetic component; however several of the studies that I have read indicate that having particular genes does not raise your likelyhood of getting autism all that much. By way of example, the MET chromosome recently found by Levit increases your risk of autism by 2.27. Here are some quotes from the studies author:

    “This is a relatively common variant, seen in about 47 percent of the population,” Levitt said. “So why doesn’t everybody have autism?”

    That speaks to the environmental and other genetic contributions, Levitt said.

    “Genes create a vulnerability that then gets coupled with some environmental disturbance – but right now, we don’t have any idea what those factors might be.”

    Link

    If you have a better understanding of the level of succeptibility that genes provide than the author of the MET study, your talents are being wasted in the blogosphere.

    If this study becomes politically necessary, it will cost a fortune and the anti-vaxers won’t be happy with the results. They will resort to their tired old conspiracy theories.

    This may be true. However, if the result in increased vaccination rates, wouldn’t it be worth it?

    Take care.

    -pD

  21. Tom June 29, 2007 at 18:50 #

    PD,
    In no particular order:

    The review by Pardo, Vargas and Zimmerman is Immunity, neuroglia and neuroinflammation in autism. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;17(6):485-95

    Autistic kids being no more susceptible to infection is from the literature. See the Pardo Vargas Zimmerman review and below.

    From Zimmerman’s Web site: “However, there is no evidence, as yet, that children with autism have increased susceptibility to infections, or that specific therapies for the immune system can alter their symptoms.

    Dr. Zimmerman and colleagues recently found that rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders are more common than expected in the families of children with autism. This leads to speculation that autoimmune disorders might be a sign of genetic susceptibility to Autism. Such a predisposition may act through genes associated with the human lymphocyte antigens, which commonly have specific associations with autoimmune disorders. These genetic effects most likely begin before birth and might be modified by the mother’s, as well as the father’s, genes. This may lead to disruption in normal development of the immune, as well as the nervous, systems in the fetus.”

    As for Offit, the “Big Pharma” card infers that he has been bought and sold. I just don’t buy that.

    Pointing out potential environmental risk factors in autism does not undermine the scientific data that indicates autism is predominately genetic. There are already purely environmental causes known.

    As for genetics, your discussion of MET is but one gene variant. There may well be an environmental trigger for that gene. Or there may be other modifiying genes that protect against MET. MET may be variably expressed in those without autism.

    But the point isn’t about MET. There are lots of genes and de novo CNVs yet to be discovered. The point is that people studying autism tell us that it is predominately genetic. So PD, if you know better, go argue with them. Or YOUR talents are being wasted in the blogosphere.

    Lastly, I never chose to ignore your question about undertaking the study you seem so interested in. That’s your issue not mine. Besides, you asked Prometheus not me.

    Funding decisions are made on the basis of good preliminary data. In this area, the only people suggesting vax vs. unvax has merit are are anti-vaxers who seem to somehow know better than scientists.

    Sometimes, studies are conducted purely due to political decisions. Laetrile in cancer comes to mind. I worked at the NCI when hydrazine sulfate was being pushed. Money was wasted to conduct lab studies.

    It’s a shame that with science spending so tight, truly meritorious science
    will go unfunded to instead go on wild goose chases.

  22. daedalus2u June 29, 2007 at 22:15 #

    PD, the Offit paper is

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/124

    The point (and it is an extremely important point) is that antigens are antigens, and whether you get an antigen from a vaccine, or from exposure to bacteria, viruses, food, spores, pollon, cooties, pets, dirt, etc, if newborns didn’t have an immune system that could respond to tens of thousands of antigens, they would die from massive infection in a few weeks.

    The vast majority of exposure to bacteria is non-harmful. The reason (and the only reason) it is non-harmful is because the immune system can respond to those bacteria before the bacteria can kill the host or cause disease. It is only for a relativly few bacteria and viruses which can kill the host before a sufficient immune response develops that immunization is useful.

  23. notmercury June 29, 2007 at 23:55 #

    pD: “I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the c4b allele identified as having greater prevalance in autistics would result in decreased functioning of the complement system”

    Decreased functioning of the complement system would probably not result in increased complement assembly and deposition as reported in some studies.

    If you have anything other than your own chain of logic to indicate an increased susceptibility to infections, I’d be interested.

    I’m not really sure if you are arguing for immune suppression or neuro-inflammation but most autistic children are not immune deficient.

  24. JScarry June 30, 2007 at 20:14 #

    Many of you seem to be confused about the statistical meaning of “bias’ and significance-in addition to making stupid mistakes with arithmetic.
    Bias does not mean that someone has a preconceived notion of the result. In this context it means that the data may be unreliable because of who choose to answer the survey. Real statisticians go to a lot of trouble to make sure that the people answering a survey match the characteristics of the underlying population. If a survey is biased, there generally isn’t anything that you can do to fix the bias so the results are garbage.
    Significance is a statistical test. All it means that there is a 95% chance that the result is not zero. You can have a result that is statistically significant but the _effect_ is small. I think that a lot of the lifestyle results that appear in the popular press are statistically significant, but the effect on extending lifetimes is minimal. The poster who thinks that 1% is not significant is confused about what the 1% represents. When statisticians say that 1% is not significant, they mean that they can’t say that there is an effect at all. If there was an effect then yes, 1% of a population is a large number but they are saying that there is really _no_ effect.
    And Kev, you really should take a statistics course or read some books. Your comments are even worse than the original post.

  25. Interverbal June 30, 2007 at 20:39 #

    JScarry,

    “Significance is a statistical test. All it means that there is a 95% chance that the result is not zero.”

    If alpha is at .05, then that’s true, but 99% and alpha at .01, is also very common.

    “Bias does not mean that someone has a preconceived notion of the result.”

    I think most of us already know this.

    “Real statisticians go to a lot of trouble to make sure that the people answering a survey match the characteristics of the underlying population. If a survey is biased, there generally isn’t anything that you can do to fix the bias so the results are garbage.”

    Given that these data do not match in terms of prevalence, or in Autistic Disorder to PDD-NOS, what should we conclude in this case, based on your statement?

    “I think that a lot of the lifestyle results that appear in the popular press are statistically significant, but the effect on extending lifetimes is minimal.”

    That’s a well known one; and research in treatments for severe injury, is another example of this problem.

    “The poster who thinks that 1% is not significant is confused about what the 1% represents.”

    I am not too sure that 1% is statistically significant in this case. Am I also confused?

  26. Kev July 1, 2007 at 00:07 #

    _”And Kev, you really should take a statistics course or read some books. Your comments are even worse than the original post.”_

    Once more, for the hard of comprehension I guess.

    This survey is shit. The results of it are shit. My analysis of the results are shit. Do you see a pattern here?

    Or, lets put it another way. Do you think all those antivaxxers are at all bothered about ‘confidence’ or ‘ratio’ or even ‘statistics’? No. They read into this what they want to. Well, so have I.

  27. JScarry July 4, 2007 at 02:12 #

    Interverbal,
    You could use a 99% confidence interval if you want. That makes false positives less likely. What is more common in situations like this is to see 90% confidence intervals because the study doesn’t really show anything but maybe by stretching the definition of significant they can get something they like.

    “what should we conclude in this case, based on your statement?” You should conclude that spending any time on analyzing the results is a waste of time. The data collection method is so seriously flawed that it is a waste of time to do any analysis of the results.

    Kev, I fail to see how lying helps your cause any. You seem to be arguing that because the anti-vaxers lie it is OK for you to lie too. It’s not. There are no circumstances where is is acceptable. If you are willing to lie about the numbers here, what else are you willing to lie about? You are ignoring the evidence in front of you and insisting that you are right. That’s not how science is done and that’s not how rational people behave.

  28. Kev July 4, 2007 at 07:01 #

    Lying? Hardly. Maybe you could grab a little perspective whilst you’re up there on your high horse amigo ;o)

    I’ll give you one more clue as you still seem to require some education: Have a look at the aggregated 11 – 17 age bracket. Aside from Aspergers Syndrome (which a lot of GR members including Brad don’t think is ‘real’ autism), could you tell me the statistical differences between non vaccinated and fully vaccinated kids?

  29. Interverbal July 5, 2007 at 04:32 #

    “You should conclude that spending any time on analyzing the results is a waste of time.”

    Some of us, do take the time anyway. This is because we can show that even if one does accept the data collection method to be well controlled, the stats still do not show what they are advertised to show.

    I do these sorts of analyses more for the pople who may not agree with us that the analysis is junk. In this case, I can have my cake and eat it too.

    re: the 90% CI. I do not know about other forms of demographics, but I almost always see a 95% CIs in autism epidemiology, with maybe a very occasional 99%.

  30. Cathy July 14, 2007 at 07:56 #

    Are you aware of the new figures coming out of the UK?

    “”On July 8, 2007, researchers from Cambridge University’s Autism Research Center in London released a report estimating that one in every 58 children (not just boys) in the U.K suffers from “some form of autism disorder” compared to previous estimates of one in 100.[1] The reality of that statistic should make one gasp: Nearly two percent of the citizens of the U.K. will become mentally handicapped adults.””

    So perhaps it is the CDC phone survey results that are flawed? Their surveys cover only non-institutionalised cases, could this make a difference?

  31. Kev July 14, 2007 at 08:04 #

    Are you aware that the 1 in 58 figure is rubbish?

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