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Dr. Steven Novella Makes The Case for Vaccine Autism Link... By Mistake

Posted Feb 18 2010 12:00am
Counting “Many children are diagnosed between the age of 2 and 3, during the height of the childhood vaccine schedule… The true onset of autism in most ASD children likely began a year or two prior to the vaccines that are blamed as the cause.” WRONG.

By J.B. Handley
I’m beginning to think that the term ”Science-based medicine”, which happens to be the name of a blog founded by Yale neurologist Dr. Steven Novella and co-run by blogging weirdo David Gorski, has much in common with other humorous phrases like “military intelligence”, “jumbo shrimp”, and “clean coal.”
How else do I explain the atomic stupidity Dr. Novella shared with the world when he once again tried to debunk the growing evidence linking vaccines to autism in a recent blog post entitled “The Early Course of Autism.”
Dr. Novella’s piece details a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry titled “A Prospective Study of the Emergence of Early Behavioral Signs of Autism”   that tried to figure out when signs of autism first emerge in babies.
Ironically, the study Novella references is quite supportive of the theory that autism is caused by the environment and most notably vaccines. But, by being a clue-free moron, Dr. Novella tries to use the study to make the opposite case, and crashes and burns, as I will explain.
Let’s start with the study itself, where the study authors conclude 
“These results suggest that behavioral signs of autism are not present at birth, as once suggested by Kanner, but emerge over time through a process of diminishment of key social communication behaviors. More children may present with a regressive course than previously thought, but parent report methods do not capture this phenomenon well. Implications for onset classification systems and clinical screening are also discussed.”
Stop. Wait a minute. Let’s rewind. Signs of autism emerge over time? Not present at birth?  Diminishment of key social communication? More kids may present with a “regressive course” than previously thought? These authors appear to be preaching to the choir: this is the story I hear from parents every day and the one I lived. My son was normal, meeting his milestones, and slowly, he lost everything.
Novella then writes 
“But what these results indicate is that clear signs of autism emerge between 6 and 12 months of age. Further, social skills tend to be regressive in ASD between 6 and 18 months of age. It was previously thought that social regression was less common in ASD, but this study suggests it is the rule, not the exception. Meanwhile, language skills did not regress in this study, they continued to improve in the ASD group, just on a slower curve than the TD group.”
Reading Novella’s blog for the first time, when I got to this paragraph, I thought to myself, “Where the hell is this guy going with this piece? He’s one of the bad guys, but he sounds like he’s affirming the story of my son and so many other kids.”

Then, Novella drops the stunner, which made me shout and laugh at the same time, as he tries painfully hard to tie this new research to the vaccine-autism debate 
“The authors, however, do not discuss one very significant implication of this study (although an implication already raised by prior studies demonstrating early signs of ASD) – the observation made by many parents that ASD symptom onset correlates with certain vaccinations. Many children are diagnosed between the age of 2 and 3, during the height of the childhood vaccine schedule. This lends itself to the assumption of correlation and causation on the part of some parents. The phenomenon of telescoping, whereby memories of time contract, will tend to reinforce this false correlation. What this and other studies show is that not only is the assumption of causation fallacious, the observation of correlation is likely flawed as well. The true onset of autism in most ASD children likely began a year or two prior to the vaccines that are blamed as the cause.”

Please, take a moment, read Novella’s words again, I’m not done snickering – this is a neurologist from Yale and a major league hater of our community. Remember, the only purpose of his post, really, is to pile on, to somehow show that this new study, a very interesting study for our community because it addresses the critical issue of regression and the timing of regression, further proves that we parents are just nuts and simply “telescope” our memories of what happened to our kids.

The entire substance of Novella’s argument in his post hinges on these 2 key phrases which I have extracted from the above and repeated
“Many children are diagnosed between the age of 2 and 3, during the height of the childhood vaccine schedule… The true onset of autism in most ASD children likely began a year or two prior to the vaccines that are blamed as the cause.”

Novella, as many of you already realize, is utterly wrong on both counts, rendering his entire position fatally flawed. Coming from a Doctor who has been so vocal in opposing our community and a doctor who works so closely with the aforementioned David Gorski and Paul Offit (more on that in a moment), it’s downright intellectual malpractice.
Let’s look at Dr. Novella’s two intellectual sins in more detail
1. The height of the childhood vaccine schedule is not between the ages of 2 and 3 as Novella falsely contends, it’s between the ages of 2 months and 12 months, which perfectly matches the period of regression reported in the study.|

Pesky, pesky details, Dr. Novella. It amazes me how often people butcher the facts surrounding the US Vaccine schedule when the CDC makes it so easy to download a schedule for anyone to see right HERE.

And, because I want everyone to see just how incredibly wrong Novella really is, I’m going to spell this out, using the schedule I just downloaded from the CDC as my guideVaccines given to kids, 2010 CDC schedule (by month of life)

Birth:     Hep B
2 months:   Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV, IPV
4 months:   Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV, IPV
6 months:   Hep B, Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV, IPV, Flu
12 months:    MMR, Hib, PCV, Varicella, Hep A, Hep B
15 months:    DTaP
18 months:    Flu, HepA
30 months:    Flu
42 months:    Flu
48 months:    DTaP, MMR, Varicella, IPV
54 months:    Flu
66 months:    Flu

Phew. From downloading the CDC’s schedule, to writing out the schedule on a notepad, to typing it in right here, that took me almost 15 minutes…

Remember, Dr. Novella’s argument is that we are all stupid because a new study shows that true regression to autism in children begins around 6 months of age, but the height of the vaccine schedule, according to Novella, is ages 2 to 3.

As you can see above, before an American child reaches the age of 5.5, they will have gotten 36 vaccines.

When do they get them? By 6 months, they will have received 19 vaccines, or 53% of the total. By 12 months, they will have received 25 vaccines, or 70% of the total.
What? But Dr. Novella, you asserted the height of the vaccine schedule is between the ages of 2 and 3.

In fact, between the ages of 2 and 3, children receive all of 2 vaccines, accounting for 5.5% of the vaccines they receive, while a full 70%, including MMR, come in their first 12 months of life, perfectly matching the time when this new study reported the beginning of a regression into autism!

Dr. Novella, if you had a goal of actually figuring out why the hell all these kids are so sick, you may have actually realized that this study is heavily SUPPORTIVE of our view, rather than debunking it.

2. Dr. Novella contends that many children are diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 3, which is why parents get confused, and we all missed the onset that began much earlier.
I’ve already demonstrated clearly that the entire argument Novella bases his post on is false, wrong, and actually supportive of our position, but I also want to address this more subtle point.

Firstly, the last time I checked, the average age of diagnosis for a child with autism was somewhere between 3-4 years of age, not 2-3. More importantly, autism is not an event, it’s a process. It is exceptionally rare that I hear the story, “my son was 100% fine, and at 2 years old after one vaccine appointment he lost everything.” I have heard that story, but very rarely.

More commonly, I hear from parents about a chronic slide into autism with a progression of health issues accompanying the slide. This was certainly true for my son. The eczema and bad bowels came immediately after the 2 month visit and his twelve month vaccine appointment (MMR, Varicella, Hep B, and Hib in his case) was what really seemed to push him over the edge, but it was a full year before we got a formal diagnosis. From 2 months forward, it was just a slow motion loss of everything.

Further, this notion by Novella that we parents are “telescoping” is simply the ridiculous introduction of a new and confusing term to try and explain away the chorus of tens of thousands of parents all screaming the same thing about what happened to their kids.

I don’t need your telescope Dr. Novella, I have something called a pediatric record that shows a very clear pattern of vaccination appointments followed by parental complaints of escalating physical ailments. My son’s pediatric record reads like a non-fiction horror story of what was done to him and how he responded to it. Take your “phenomenon of telescoping” and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Dr. Novella got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. In trying so hard to make the case against our community, abandoning both facts and reason in the process, he helped bring to light a compelling study that makes a hell of a case that something very bad is happening to our kids during the time when they get the super-majority (70%) of their vaccines.
If you know who Dr. Novella is, none of this should be a surprise. Rarely mentioned by the press that increasingly turns to him for a quote (when Offit is on another call perhaps), is Dr. Novella’s participation in something called the American Council on Science and Health, a front group for special interests that has lined up doctors to shill for them now for decades.
Need someone to say pesticides are safe or fat doesn’t cause heart disease or that formaldehyde in insulation is safe? Turn to ACSH, funded largely by pharmaceutical, chemical, and food interests. And guess who sits on the “scientific board” of this shill front group for industry, right alongside Dr. Novella? You guessed it, the dark lord himself, Paul Offit, see them all right HERE.

Do you think I’m exaggerating? Than watch this priceless piece from the Daily Show when the ACSH protests Michelle Obama’s organic garden HERE.

Dr. Steven Novella: shill for industry, Offit wannabe, and hater of our community. Can’t count the vaccine schedule, doesn’t understand the reality of what happened to our kids, and ends up making the case for our kids by mistake.

J.B. Handley is a co-founder of Generation Rescue.

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