Observer MMR story disappears from archives – updated

July 24th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in MMR | 44 Comments »

Lots of people have emailed in to say that the Observer’s spectacularly misleading MMR story has been removed from the archive and is no longer available online.

observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2121521,00.html

For obvious reasons of propriety I have studiously avoided having an inside track on anything to do with this piece from the beginning, so I have no idea what is going on here.

From the comments:

A clue about the removal of the Observer piece?

“A paragraph regarding concern about MMR overseas, extracted from a piece in the Observer now deleted from the website due to concerns about its accuracy, has been removed from this article until the information can be verified”


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44 Responses



  1. Gimpy said,

    July 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Well good thing in Orwell’s day they didn’t have Google cache to worry about at the Ministry of Truth.

    www.google.com/search?q=cache:1ZmPECwA770J:observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2121521,00.html+http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2121521,00.html&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk&client=firefox-a

    :P

  2. Mojo said,

    July 24, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Unless they’ve radically changed their position in the last couple of days, I’d say it’s more likely to be a result of threatened legal action than because of the inaccuracy of the story.

    Or maybe it’s just a problem with the site.

  3. manigen said,

    July 24, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    The bit of the story that seems most likely to cause the Observer trouble is the lies they told about Dr Fiona Scott – she’s the one who has the most grounds for some sort of formal complaint or legal action. Maybe her attempts to tell them what she actually thinks have finally got through.

  4. Tom P said,

    July 24, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Yes, it’s completely gone – doesn’t appear in the search, either. I’d agree that the threat of legal action is the most likely reason: either from Dr Scott, who may well feel (and justifiably so) that the “clarification” on Sunday did not go far enough, or from Prof Baron-Cohen, who even after the clarification is still misleadingly said to have been so worried that alerted health authorities to the study’s findings. You can certainly see how a case could be made for either of them that their professional reputation could be damaged by the false claims.

    Then again, perhaps it’s a preparation for a full retraction this weekend. We can hope…

    It looks like another piece of dodgy behaviour from the Observer, but it could well be a sign of something worthwhile going on behind the scenes.

  5. pv said,

    July 24, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    See what happens with all the other rags that have copied/repeated the scare. Are they still sticking to the story?
    I half suspect the Observer people would like it known they are “bored” with the issue and would like to move on to other things, and never mention it again as if it never happened. Anyway, for whatever reason, someone at the Observer has probably been given a good stiff talking to.
    Whatever happens the Observer have regrettably I think aligned themselves incontrovertibly with Wakefield in particular and fraud and quackery in general. It was poor judgement which will take some undoing. Maybe a proper retraction and public apology will go some way towards achieving that, but I’m not holding my breath they’ll have either the guts or the sense.

  6. SciencePunk said,

    July 25, 2007 at 9:51 am

    Fools, don’t they know nothing ever dies on the internet? Especially with Google cache operating.

  7. wilsontown said,

    July 25, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I sent an e-mail to the Grauniad unlimited user help people, asking what had become of the article. They said “The article was removed from the website for legal reasons. We are unable to provide a copy.”

    That isn’t exactly informative, but it does seem likely that it’s related to legal action from Dr. Scott…

  8. Gimpy said,

    July 25, 2007 at 11:40 am

    11. …………but it does mean a full retraction is even less likely in the short term as it may affect the legal action.

  9. wilsontown said,

    July 25, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Gimpy:

    Agreed. As many have pointed out, nothing dies on the internet, so the story will remain out there to create misinformation. If this is because of legal action by Dr. Fox one can hardly blame her, but the central issue of the report having nothing to do with the safety or otherwise of the MMR vaccine is likely to remain uncorrected.

  10. wilsontown said,

    July 25, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Nekomatic:

    Ideally, the article would remain available with any ‘clarifications’ or retraction statements added to it. Then if you linked to it, you would also link to the bit about it being bollocks. Perhaps a bit much to hope, but that would be the way to do it. That’s how scientific journals generally deal with errata or comment pieces that criticise original papers.

  11. pv said,

    July 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Michael_K_Vegfruit @16 said,

    “If it has been removed for legal reasons – defamation, I’d guess – I’d be cautious about reposting (publishing) it here. Whatever your good intentions, it opens you and Ben up to being included in a libel action.”

    I don’t agree at all. It’s purpose here isn’t to reinforce what the Observer says, but to remind everyone and to reinforce the point that the Observer clearly did rather a lot of things wrong. There is no libel or misrepresentation in this context. And the context is the discussion about the article and the Observer, not the article itself.

  12. mikestanton said,

    July 25, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    It has also gone from the online digital edition which raises a moot point. Presumably anybody who bought the print edition and did not recycle it is still allowed to own a copy. The thought police are not knocking on people’s doors demand that they surrender their copy.
    Don’t people with a subscription to the digital edition have similar protection? We paid for that article and now it has been taken from us.

  13. RS said,

    July 26, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Not sure you could get Ben for libel for explicitly quoting the newspaper since he also has responses from those libelled denying it and has said himself that the libel isn’t true.

    If libel were as transitive as is implied it would be impossible to report on a libel trial because the allegations could never be disclosed.

  14. Michael_K_Vegfruit said,

    July 26, 2007 at 10:41 am

    As I’m establishing myself as a legal pedant, @mike stanton.

    “We paid for that article and now it has been taken from us.”

    well, no, you probably didn’t. I can’t be arsed to read the terms, but I expect you paid for a licence to access the site/the digital edition for a period of time, not the content itself. That’s one of the problems with digitalisation. You generally purchase a licence to use something, subject to any limits the content owner chooses, and laws like the DMCA that criminalise you if you attempt to circumvent those limits, not a physical object, comparable to a book or LP or newspaper, that’s yours to do with as yoou will.

  15. Michael_K_Vegfruit said,

    July 26, 2007 at 11:02 am

    @RS

    “If libel were as transitive as is implied it would be impossible to report on a libel trial because the allegations could never be disclosed.”

    Trials are covered by privilege: that is, it’s OK to quote them, so long as you’re accurate. So long as you fairly report the full trial, giving a balanced account of each sides arguments, you’re OK. That’s based on the idea that law should be seen to be done.

    The thing with republication is that it stops people spreading libels by saying things like “It has been alleged that… ”

    @Mike Stanton

    Sorry, certain phrases set alarm bells ringing with me, I hope I didn’t come across as too snarly.

    “Are our rights any different o those of people who purchase hard copies?”

    Yes, they’re substantially different, as I said. You’re right to make your own copy, as you don’t have a right to theirs if they choose to remove it. But, you’re probably still breaching their copyright by doing so (which is another reason not to repost it publicly).

  16. calvin said,

    July 26, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Can anyone answer these questions?

    Has anyone attempted to replicate any of the experiments that seemed to indicate a link between MMR and autism? I seem to remember that there were, but they didn’t seem to be very thorough, most of the refutation of the anti-vaccine hypothesis seems to be based on critique.

    Is the argument that the number of cases of autism prior to the extensive use of MMR was hidden because autism was undiagnosed tenable?

    The undiagnosed autism argument seems to be flawed; if the diagnosis of autism was an evolving science it seems likely that we would see a coterminous gradual increase in the diagnosis of autism. I don’t think that there is a good correlation between ability to diagnose and the known fluctuations in diagnosed cases.

    Also, I haven’t seen much convincing evidence that autism was wrongly diagnosed in the past. This analysis seems to be based on an a priori assumption that the rise in autism is not a modern phenomenon, which in turn seems to be an explanation validated by a conclusion. This doesn’t seem to be a very scientific modus operandi.

    All in all, it seems to me that the burden of proof has been shifted 100% onto the anti-MMR caucus, this seems to be a very arrogant move on the part of a medical establishment that, in the light of Thalidomide, and an over prescription of antibiotics so extensive that MRSA now kills on a regular basis in our hospitals, seems to have zero basis in fact for its present doctrine of infallibility.

  17. Robert Carnegie said,

    July 27, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Re autism diagnosis: I believe autism was “discovered” in Austria in the 1940s, i.e. under the Nazis, and before that would have been diagnosed as shell shock or night starvation or something. That also is where Asperger’s syndrome came from, but in for instance America I think it was only a recognised diagnosis from 1994. So it looks like a bump in diagnosis would occur around then.

    As for the [Observer] article: I expect once they sort out whatever this little legal problem is, they’ll put it back up again to inform posterity. If it’s simply libel, for instance, that no longer applies when the people concerned are dead – at least in the U.K.

  18. calvin said,

    July 27, 2007 at 8:59 am

    “I believe autism was “discovered” in Austria in the 1940s, i.e. under the Nazis, and before that would have been diagnosed as shell shock or night starvation or something”

    If that type of analysis is really the basis of the “undiagnosed autism” explanation, it doesn’t lend much credibility to it. I would assume that only a vanishing minority of people diagnosed with shell shock would be children. Autistic symptoms generally present in childhood, so it is far more likely that people diagnosed with shell shock actually had shell shock.. Wherefore art thou autism? This argument sounds like it has just been sucked out of someone’s thumb. It is a part way plausible hypothesis, but what pisses people off is that the medical establishment seem to think that the validation of a theory requires a hypothesis plus the sanction of authority (theirs) rather than a hypothesis plus evidence. Where are the reports and investigations that back up the claim that autism is an old affliction that was previously extensively diagnosed as something other than autism? I don’t think they exist!

  19. RS said,

    July 27, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Autism was previously just diagnosed as mental retardation or somesuch.

  20. calvin said,

    July 27, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    “Autism was previously just diagnosed as mental retardation or somesuch”

    And that’s all the research that’s required under the strictures of “good science”? Who’s kidding who here?

  21. RS said,

    July 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    calvin, don’t be a dick.

    This should make you happy and took me one minute to find:

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=12503982

    “Surveys conducted in the 1960s and 1970s only dealt with autism disorder (as opposed to ASD) and with a rather narrow definition of autism, as per Kanner’s descriptions,6 and not accounting for autism occurring in subjects who are not mentally retarded. Thus, comparisons of rates over time generally deal with studies that have used different case definitions, making interpretation of time trends difficult. The closest estimate of ASD prevalence available in the late 1970s was 20 per 10 000 in a survey from the United Kingdom that was limited to the severely impaired children with ASD.7 Comparing rates for subtypes of ASD provide another avenue for estimation over time especially for autism disorder, but as shown by Yeargin-Allsopp et al1 and other surveys,3-5 the breakdown in ASD subtypes is not always reliable. Nevertheless, rates of autism disorder in recent surveys have consistently been more than 10 per 10 000 whereas previous prevalence estimates ranged from 4 to 5 in 10 000.2 Therefore, from the available evidence it can be concluded that recent rates for both ASD and autism disorder are 3 to 4 times higher than 30 years ago.

    The third issue addresses possible interpretations of this increase in prevalence. That is, does this increase reflect a broadening of the concept of ASD with more inclusive diagnostic criteria and improved methods of case finding in population surveys? It is generally agreed that the definition of autism has been broadened over the last decades, particularly at the less severe end of the spectrum. These major changes occurred in nosology from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III)8 in 1980 to the DSM-Revised Third Edition9 in 1987 and the DSM, Fourth Edition10 in 1994. Kanner’s infantile autism6 was replaced in 1980 by the concept of pervasive developmental disorder. Among the pervasive developmental disorders, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (or atypical autism) has now become the most widely used ASD diagnosis, and Asperger disorder emerged as a new diagnostic category in the 1990s. Unless comparisons also control rigorously for changing case definitions, interpretation of differences in prevalence rates over time and across surveys will be virtually impossible.

    Moreover, there is strong evidence that differences in methods for case finding can account for a huge proportion of the variability of prevalence estimates between surveys. For example, in 4 US and 4 UK studies published recently, 14- and 6-fold variations in prevalence rates were found, respectively.2 Although these 2 sets of studies were conducted at the same time, in similar age groups, and in the same countries, the lack of consistency in estimates is striking and demonstrates how unique design features within each study can affect the prevalence estimation. In both countries, studies relying on single administrative sources for identifying cases yielded low estimates, whereas investigations using proactive methods for case finding, that is, multiple sources of ascertainment and direct diagnostic procedures, yielded much higher rates. Needless to say, comparisons of population surveys over time are bound to be even more confounded by factors difficult to control.”

  22. calvin said,

    July 27, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    All that that information tells us is that new diagnostic methods correlate with a rise in reported cases. In no way does this prove that this correlation is causative. There could be no direct correlation, or the correlation may in fact be reversed. A sudden increase in patients presenting with autistic symptoms may have impelled innovations in diagnostics.

    Since there must have been thousands of adults suffering from undiagnosed autism before the new diagnostics it would be helpful to have the statistics on retrospective diagnosis.

  23. RS said,

    July 28, 2007 at 1:51 am

    Well since you have fuck all data calvin, and seemingly can’t be arsed to spend the minimum amount of time looking into a topic before expounding your ill informed opinions, I don’t suppose anyone cares what you think.

  24. Deano said,

    July 28, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    “Autism can be definitively diagnosed at around the same age that the MMR is administered.”

    Children start to watch Teletubbies at ‘around the same age’ too.

    Does that mean that teletubbies cause autism too?

  25. calvin said,

    July 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    “Does that mean that teletubbies cause autism too?”

    Please tell us all about the cases you are apparently claiming exist, in which parents are blaming the Teletubbies for autism, or alternatively you could just deal with the actual cases we all know about of parents reporting a catastrophic reversal of development in children who were previously developing perfectly normally until the MMR vaccine was administered? Your fantasy, your choice.

  26. Robert Carnegie said,

    July 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    The Boo-Bahs look toxic to me. All those bright colours, can’t be healthy.

    I’m told that home videos have been used to show that child development unfortunately was already not proceeding normally before MMR vaccination when parents claimed otherwise, but I don’t have details to hand. That the diseases prevented by MMR cause deaths, paralysis, sensory and mental handicap, is not disputed.

  27. Robert Carnegie said,

    July 28, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    You have multiple issues, I perceive.

    The goal of the demand for three “single jabs” instead of MMR was to miss out the measles one. I agree that public funding or even public tolerance of that is quite wrong. If your child isn’t vaccinated, he or she may catch measles and die; but also, he or she may infect several other children, even those who got the shot, and they may die. So it’s a heavier burden on other families than on your own.

  28. calvin said,

    July 28, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    “The goal of the demand for three “single jabs” instead of MMR was to miss out the measles one”

    It was to avoid overloading the child’s immune system actually. You’re showing your true colours in that post; the state should not tolerate a refusal to comply with state imposed medical initiatives, but the public should not be allowed to have any input into the modalities of these initiatives? Sounds a lot like fascism to me.

  29. calvin said,

    July 29, 2007 at 12:29 am

    “So Calvin is anti-immigration, anti-vax, anti-Guardian readers and thinks we are fascists? Hmm.”

    Why would you assume that a desire to prevent the introduction of disease via uncontrolled immigration makes me against immigration? Neither am I anti-vax, I am opposed to the principle that orthodox medicine is above public scrutiny; the Guardian is funded by a charity, the Scott Trust, I regard it as having the same credibility as the Watchtower.

  30. RS said,

    July 29, 2007 at 1:10 am

    calvin, the point is not that you haven’t carried out any primary research, but that you come here claiming that because you don’t know of any evidence for X or Y it proves there’s some evil medic conspiracy against whatever theory you’ve just pulled out of your arse, when it is clear you haven’t even attempted to look into the issue. It isn’t our job to look for this data for you, and just proves you’re full of shit.

  31. calvin said,

    July 29, 2007 at 8:20 am

    “It isn’t our job to look for this data for you”

    Yes it is actually!

    “you come here claiming that because you don’t know of any evidence for X or Y”

    Correct, yes.

    “theory you’ve just pulled out of your arse”

    Dr Andrew Wakefield is now my arse, that’s an interesting assertion; do you have any primary data to back that up?

    “you’re full of shit”

    Hmmm……let’s see, that’s denial of responsibility, assertion of the obvious, a nonsense allegation capped off with ad hom, is that the methodology of “good science” RS?

  32. RS said,

    July 29, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    calvin, I’m curious as to where you got the impression that it is someho the duty of contributors to the comments threads on Ben’s website to go and do the research that you are either unwilling or unable to do for yourself?

    You seem to think that the rise in autism spectrum disorder rates, which we have good reasons to think are due at least in part to changing diagnostic criteria, somehow support Wakefield’s foundationless claim that MMR causes autism, despite the extensive evidence that there has been no rise of autism associated with the use of MMR. The basis for your position is just unfounded speculation combined with ignorance – you rave about how correlations don’t prove causation in regards to diagnosis, yet seem to ignore that there isn’t even a correlation between MMR and autism rates.

  33. calvin said,

    July 29, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    “calvin, I’m curious as to where you got the impression that it is someho the duty of contributors to the comments threads on Ben’s website to go and do the research that you are either unwilling or unable to do for yourself?”

    I believe that the commenter was claiming to be a doctor, in which case I do think that he has a duty to reveal the data that has led him to support his present position.

    The argument that the increase in autism is due to improved diagnostics is not supported by proper research. Can you show me a substantial study of historical case histories of mental patients who can now be reasonably considered to have been misdiagnosed autistics? No such study has ever been undertaken.

    Autism has been quite clearly understood for decades, improved diagnostics would make little impact except in the diagnosis of mild to borderline cases.

    “despite the extensive evidence that there has been no rise of autism associated with the use of MMR”

    There has been a rise in Autism, there is a temporal association with MMR, your refutation of a correlation is based on unsubstantiated hypothesis about diagnostics. You have a very weak case, which is why you concentrate on attacking Wakefield’s hypothesis.

  34. RS said,

    July 29, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    “The argument that the increase in autism is due to improved diagnostics is not supported by proper research. Can you show me a substantial study of historical case histories of mental patients who can now be reasonably considered to have been misdiagnosed autistics? No such study has ever been undertaken.”

    Studies of birth cohorts in France using the same criteria for autism have not found increased prevalence:

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=9394941&ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    And studies of the diagnostic criteria have shown differences between the different instruments:

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17513984&ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=8906453&ordinalpos=22&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17450055&ordinalpos=4&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    “Autism has been quite clearly understood for decades, improved diagnostics would make little impact except in the diagnosis of mild to borderline cases.”

    You appear to have very little familiarity with psychiatric nosology. Autism is not just something binary that people either have or do not have, with some special test to confirm or refute it – it is diagnosed using criteria which are agreed by a committee of doctors, and are thus somehat arbitrary, and which can change with time as the diagnostic criteria are altered and refined.

    “There has been a rise in Autism, there is a temporal association with MMR, your refutation of a correlation is based on unsubstantiated hypothesis about diagnostics. You have a very weak case, which is why you concentrate on attacking Wakefield’s hypothesis.”

    Christ all fucking mighty, have you not heard of the many studies into MMR and autism showing that there is not a temporal relationship between MMR and autism in Sweden, the US, or Japan, and that the rise in the UK precedes the introduction of MMR?

    This is what I mean, you base your view on no evidence combined with a refusal to seek out any evidence that refutes it!

  35. calvin said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Complete nonsense. There has been an increase in Autism, you claim that this increase is due to improved diagnosis. This would mean that there would be an initial surge in the diagnosis of autism, as improved diagnostics revealed more cases, followed by a plateau when the new diagnostic criteria were firmly in place. Instead, despite the fact that there have been no recent significant innovations or improvement in diagnosis, rates of Autism continue to rise. If there is an ongoing increase in the diagnosis of autism without any significant improvement in the diagnostics there is obviously a third factor at work. Your theory doesn’t have a third factor.

  36. RS said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Whilst you’re looking, I should point out that doctors don’t use DSM-IV or ICD-10 or whatever religiously in their practice, so changes from e.g. DSM-III to IIIR to IV to V reflect changing vies of a committee putting the instruments together, not a rigid demarcation where every case after time X is diagnosed by those criteria. As such you would not expect a discontinuous trend in diagnoses even if they are due to changing diagnostic criteria (which are pretty fuzzy in clinical practice anyway).

    Of course, changing criteria are not the only explanations, there are also arguments that awareness has increased and age of diagnosis has decreased.

    By your argument there was no autism before the 1940s because autism hadn’t been invented yet.

  37. RS said,

    July 29, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I have reproduced a figure from Croen et al here:

    pyjamasinbananas.blogspot.com/2007/07/changing-diagnosis-of-autism.html

    showing a rather striking temporal relationship between mental retardation diagnoses and autism prevalence.

    I’m interested calvin, how you reconcile your claim that increasing autism incidence is progressive and continuous (not something you have presented evidence for) with your explanation that it is due to MMR since, as the Chakrabarti & Fombonne study above suggests, the MMR rate peaked in the years it as introduced, and then slightly declined, not something that the autism figures have reproduced, while you’d predict a plateau – the very thing you are claiming that the changing diagnostic practice argument claims (but it doesn’t as I’ve shown) and is thus undermined by.

  38. mikestanton said,

    July 30, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Calvin
    this study gives the following averge ages of diagnosis for ASDs for children in Pennsylvania.

    autistic disorder – 37 months
    PDD-NOS – 45 months
    Asperger’s disorder – 86 months

    Theoretically a definitive diagnosis of any ASD ought to be possible prior to 36 months because the symptoms needed for diagnosis are supposed to be evident by that time.

    What is the source of your figures for age of diagnosis?

  39. calvin said,

    July 30, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    “Note that they followed up to 7 years, it is just that the last birth cohort was in 1996”

    What difference does that make? This simply extends the time allowed for diagnosis. This” extra time” is granted equally to the pre-MMR patients and the post MMR patients. The effects of five years of MMR extended seven years into the future was being compared to the effects of three years of single jabs extended seven years into the future, that would seem to weaken the credibility of the study, not strengthen it.

  40. RS said,

    July 31, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Ok calvin, that’s it, no more engaging with your nonsensical arguments after this.

    MMR vaccination stopped in 1993, so cohorts born in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996 didn’t receive MMR, and vaccination rates declined from 70% in 1988, and each cohort was followed up for 7 years to see if they developed autism in that time.

    If you look at the figure I put up above you can see that they report the cumulative rates of autism over 7 years by year of birth – so none of your complaints about it taking time for cessation of MMR to have an effect make any sense – children born in each year were followed up for seven years.

    The rate of autism went up and MMR vaccination rate went down. And your only objection to the paper shows you don’t understand it.

  41. calvin said,

    July 31, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    “cumulative incidence of ASD up to age seven increased significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1996 and most notably rose dramatically beginning with the birth cohort of 1993”

    So essentially you are claiming that subsequent to the withdrawal of MMR rates of autism actually increased. In this study consistent diagnostic criteria were adhered to, so therefore, your claim that there was a notable rise in the number of cases of autism after the withdrawal of MMR essentially capsizes your previous rubric that evolving diagnostics is responsible for the apparent rise in cases of autism.

    If a consistent diagnostic analysis shows that withdrawal of the MMR presages a rise in case of autism, Dr Honda has proved that MMR helps to prevent autism. Is this acclaim that the good doctor would care to standby?

  42. RS said,

    July 31, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    calvin, you were wrong. end of.

  43. RS said,

    July 31, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    oh, ok, I’ll take the bait on whether the incidence has truly risen in this study – take a look at the IQ scores in the autistic group over time, a lot of the increase is in higher IQ subjects – and I submit to you that, as others have suggested, there has been an increasing trend towards diagnosing or referring autism spectrum in higher IQ/higher functioning people over time (Fig. 2).

    But now I’ve proved that you fundamentally misunderstood the Honda paper I think we’d better call this thread a day.

    Bye.

  44. Ben Goldacre said,

    July 31, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    yup.

    calvin, i’m not sure i can be bothered with another thread being hijacked with people feeling the need to explain to you about your misunderstandings in such painstaking detail.

    youre very welcome indeed in the forums but its nice to have slightly more interesting and focused discussions on these entries. you’ve had a good run taking one over.

    is that okay with you?

    badscience.net/forum and people can choose if they want to engage with it/you.

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