I am constantly amazed at the low level of proof people use to demonstrate that vaccines cause autism.
Case in point, David Kirby and his recent post on the Age of Autism blog (and, a I write this, The Huffington Post).
He takes an abstract from a poster session and declares victory in the war to prove vaccines cause autism.
Here’s the abstract:
HEPATITIS B VACCINATION OF MALE NEONATES
CM Gallagher, MS Goodman, Graduate Program in Public
Health, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
PURPOSE: Universal newborn immunization with hepatitis
B vaccine was recommended in 1991; however, safety
findings are mixed. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Workgroup
reported no association between hepatitis B vaccination
at birth and febrile episodes or neurological adverse
events. Other studies found positive associations between
hepatitis B vaccination and ear infection, pharyngitis, and
chronic arthritis; as well as receipt of early intervention/
special education services (EIS); in probability samples of
U.S. children. Children with autistic spectrum disorder
(ASD) comprise a growing caseload for EIS. We evaluated
the association between hepatitis B vaccination of male
neonates and parental report of ASD.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study used U.S. probability
samples obtained from National Health Interview Survey
1997–2002 datasets. Logistic regression modeling was used to
estimate the effect of neonatal hepatitis B vaccination on
ASDrisk amongboys age 3–17 years with shot records, adjusted
for race, maternal education, and two-parent household.
RESULTS:Boyswho received the hepatitis B vaccine during
the first month of life had 2.94 greater odds for ASD (nZ31
of 7,486; OR Z 2.94; p Z 0.03; 95% CI Z 1.10, 7.90)
compared to later- or unvaccinated boys.Non-Hispanicwhite
boys were 61%less likely to haveASD(ORZ0.39; pZ0.04;
95% CIZ0.16, 0.94) relative to non-white boys.
CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates
vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk
of ASD; risk was greatest for non-white boys.
What did they do? They looked at data from the National Health Interview Studies, and looked at autism and hepatitis B vaccination. They used surveys from 1997 to 2002, with children aged from 3 to 17.
Mr. Kirby was kind enough to post an image of the poster to the EOHarm group.
The autism group had 33 kids total. Of these, 9 of 31 (29%) were given the HepB vaccine. Compare this to 1,258 of 7,455 (17%) of the non-autism group who were given the HepB.
9 out of 31.
Are the red flags up yet? They should be.
Take for example kids aged 17 in the 1997 survey. When were they born? That’s right, 1980.
When was the Hepatitis B vaccine introduced? 1991. According to Mr. Kirby himself, the HepB vaccine didn’t get fully implemented until about 1996.
A lot of the kids were born before the “epidemic” of autism. No one disputes that the number of people identified with autism has gone up significantly in the last 30 years.
So, pretty much anything that changed in that time would “correlate” with autism.
This is how we get studies that “show” that Cable TV causes autism. And, now, the Hepatitis B vaccine causes autism.