Age of Autism Abandon Pretence

9 Dec

To many of us who have been following the online ‘careers’ of the various people and factions behind Age of ‘Autism’ for many years (at least 7 in my case) this will be no surprise but it still needs pointing out once more:

The Age of ‘Autism’ blog is a repository of and a flag waver for anti-vaccine quackery.

Easy to say and growing easier and easier to demonstrate every day. As of the time of publishing of this post, the latest *six* posts from Age of ‘Autism’ have absolutely nothing to do with autism. These posts are (in reverse order):

1) Counting Offit’s Millions: More on How Merck’s Rotateq Vaccine Made Paul Offit Wealthy
2) Is One Man to Blame for the WorldWide H1N1 Panic?
3) $300K to Banyan Communications from Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines?
4) Harvard and CNN Report on Lower than Expected H1N1 Vaccine Uptake
5) Oops. Flu Pandemic May Be The Mildest since Modern Medicine Began Tracking.
6) Kickin’ the Tires of the Green Vaccine Initiative

*All* the above have no relationship to autism. *All* the above have a direct relationship to anti-vaccine beliefs.

One or two stories every now and then that don’t touch on your blog’s core subject is routine and only to be expected – but six in a row? Thats only routine if your core subject is drifting. Or if your *real* core subject is slowly being revealed.

15 Responses to “Age of Autism Abandon Pretence”

  1. Tom December 9, 2009 at 15:32 #

    Anti-vax lunacy mixed with blood libel, misogyny, sexual assault, and character asassination. AOA has been on a roll.

  2. Sullivan December 9, 2009 at 20:19 #


    I think Mark Blaxill made the point quite clearly in a comment to their now deleted blog post about the Thanksgiving feast. He pointed out that they are basically just trying to piss people off now–especially the blogs with opposing viewpoints.

    I note that their recent post they finally admit that they blew it on calculating the CHOP payout for Rotateq. They bury the mistake with a lot of blameshifting. It’s all Dr. Offit’s fault that Blaxill and Olmsted came to the wrong conclusion, you see.

    Note that I emailed them with the correct information before I blogged it. They refused to correct their miscalculation. The response was…well…strange.

  3. Sullivan December 9, 2009 at 20:51 #


    another point. Note that even though the Thimerosal part of the Autism Omnibus Proceeding (vaccine court) hasn’t been decided yet, there is no discussion on AoA about it. No great fortresses coming down, no discussions about how the case was made so clear that they are obviously going to win.

    What else are they going to do? Their last battle ground is the IACC, and they can’t convince anyone there with their “science”.

    How long are they supposed to keep rehashing the pseudo epidemiology from the Geier’s and their own faux studies?

    It isn’t that their point of view is being pushed to the sidelines. It is that AoA is waking up to the fact that they have been sidelined for some time now, and they aren’t happy about it. As the realization that they aren’t leaders of the autism community sinks in, they are moving to being leaders where they can: the so-called “vaccine safety” community.

    I can’t say I wish them well in their new path. Their brand of “advocacy” and “science” leaves much to be desired.

  4. Joseph December 9, 2009 at 22:40 #

    I see this as good news 🙂

    So long, AoA. Do change your name.

  5. livsparents December 10, 2009 at 00:30 #

    Yup,truth in advertising…at this point it should be called ‘Age of Vaccines’. If someone could stomach it, I would love to see a breakdown of what % of posts were about vaccines with no autism; vaccine with at least some autism relation; and autism sans direct relationship to vaccines. I would venture to guess that less (perhaps much less) than 50% of the ‘articles’ would be in that last category. I’d do the analysis myself, but I don’t think my local pharmacy has enough Maalox for me to complete the task…

    Hey, maybe Maalox or Tums would be good candidates for banner ads on their site! “If you’re having trouble ‘stomaching’ this stuff, click HERE for a free sample”

    • Sullivan December 10, 2009 at 00:59 #


      you reminded me with your comment:

      “Hey, maybe Maalox or Tums would be good candidates for banner ads on their site! “If you’re having trouble ‘stomaching’ this stuff, click HERE for a free sample””

      The recently pulled AoA post, “Pass the Maalox…” shows something interesting. No one there commented about Maalox, which has as medicinal ingredients:

      Medicinal Ingredients: Each teaspoonful (5 mL) contains 200 mg magnesium hydroxide, 200 mg aluminum hydroxide dried gel (equivalent to 153 mg aluminum hydroxide) and 20 mg simethicone

      Er…I thought aluminum was the new mercury?

      I guess aluminum is only bad when it is in vaccines.

  6. Navi December 10, 2009 at 01:53 #

    the aluminum bs, I believe, is because of extra excretions of some sort reported in Alzheimers’ patients, which I believe subsequent studies found no relation. heh. took about 2 seconds to find something on google scholar.

  7. RAJ December 10, 2009 at 12:47 #

    “How long are they supposed to keep rehashing the pseudo epidemiology from the Geier’s and their own faux studies”?

    Pseudo epidemiology is practiced on both sides. Is there or is there not an autism epidemic? The answer comes from the Wisconsin twin project. An informative part of the study was to calculate concordance rates for ASD in twins by using various diagnostic schemes. Concordance rates using different diagnostic schemes produced wildly fluctuating results ranging from a high (MZ=77%, DZ=31%) using ADOS-spectrum scores to a low of MZ=50%, DZ=15% using a combined criterion of ADOS-spectrum cut-off and SCQ .

    ‘Autism’ is a problem in search of a definition and epidemiology studies are basically worthless no matter which side is cherry picking studies that support their beliefs.

  8. Joseph December 10, 2009 at 14:46 #

    @RAJ: So you think the results of a twin study provide “the answer” as to whether there is or isn’t an autism epidemic?

  9. RAJ December 10, 2009 at 19:29 #

    @RAJ: So you think the results of a twin study provide “the answer” as to whether there is or isn’t an autism epidemic

    No one can say with any certainly whether there is or is not an’autism epidemic’ because no one can define ‘Autism’ as the Wisconsin twin study shows. The emerging concept of ‘Autism’ as a trait condition obscures the boundaries between a profoundly disabling neurological disorder and normal trait variants that extend broadly, not only within families, but across the general population.

    for example from a paper I have under review::

    “Plomin et al. (2006) have published what can be interpreted as tentative cutoffs for the prevelance of ALT’s in the general population, using questionnaires completed by parents, teachers or self report from a large sample of twins taken from a British twin registry, Plomin’s group has described the 5% highest scorers as possessing ‘extreme autistic-like traits’ and “Around 10% of all children showed only social impairment, only communicative difficulties or only rigid and repetitive interests and behavior, and these problems appeared to be at a level of severity comparable to that found in children with diagnosed ASD in our sample”( Plomin et al 2006), (Plomin et al 2006)

    Click to access HappeRonaldPlomin.pdf

    Any wonder why some parents who take a personality test like Baron-Cohen’s ASQ suddenly self diagnosis themselves as being ‘on the spectrum’

    Plomin’s group appears to be one of the British Groups that eventually will arrive at a prevalance rate of autism as between 5% and 10 % (mean of 7.5%).

  10. Prometheus December 11, 2009 at 22:03 #

    RAJ hits the nail squarely on the head:

    “No one can say with any certainly whether there is or is not an’autism epidemic’ because no one can define ‘Autism’…”

    I agree that the most accurate statement about whether the “autism epidemic” exists is “not proven”.

    Although there has been a steady increase in the number of children classified as “autistic”, there is a lot of data showing that the majority (if not all) of this increase can be attributed to changes in the criteria for “autism” that have dramatically broadened the range of people who might be considered autistic as well as a greater awareness of autism. In addition, there has also been a shift in the classification of children who have an unclear diagnosis from “mentally retarded” to “autistic”.

    As a result, we have no idea whether there has been a real increase in the prevalence or incidence of autism. The best interpretation of the available data seems to be that if there has been a real increase, it is relatively small.

    How this fits into AoA’s shift from pretending that “It’s all about autism!” to “It’s all about vaccines!” is unclear. Perhaps the core cadre at AoA feel that they can get more support by broadening their “message” to include the anti-vax loons more generally.

    Perhaps the anti-vax loons have taken over AoA from the inside.

    Perhaps the folks at AoA are so fixated on their vaccines-cause-autism dogma and so angry that the media isn’t listening to them anymore that they have forgotten their original point.

    Perhaps reptilian aliens have taken over the upper echelons of AoA and are trying to cause it to self-destruct in an implosion of irrelevancy.

    Who knows? Only time will tell.


  11. David N. Brown December 14, 2009 at 07:21 #

    I have rebutted Olmsted’s new claims on “evil Possum”, and reported him to Google News for unacknowledged and misleading use of my original work. I also gave AoA this correction:

    Since you have clearly used my work, you have an obligation to acknowledge the following corrections:
    1. Offit’s “disclosure” was made to me, in response to a question about only the CHOP share. (To the best of my recollection, I already was aware of his connections to Wistar at the time.) It was not “partial” with regards to the question.
    2. It is probable that Offit is receiving continuing royalties for Rotateq from Wistar. However, by the figures Olmsted has given, the combined income for 2007-2009 should be ca. $1M, not $1.6M as seems to be assumed. Also, the best reason to suppose Offit has been paid, that he held a position at Wistar around the time the patent was filed, has not been acknowledged.
    3. That the CHOP share was distributed by an agreement between the inventors, rather than direct application of policy, is a possibility I initially considered, but rejected and retracted as of ca. August 18.
    4. Offit’s disclosure, and other information relevant to the CHOP sale, was made available to AoA in August, which is far from “recent”.

    I hope that they will “allow” it to appear.


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