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PACE study confirms autism prevalence

Posted May 11 2011 5:12am

The legal study published by anti-vaxxers and law students yesterday claims that 80 cases show definite autism. If we accept that as true (which I don’t, but there we go) this is an autism prevalence amongst the population of claimants of just over 3%. As we all know, a recent study puts the Korean prevalence as just under 3%. Close enough on behalf of the legal claims, when we allow for their dodgy definitions to be a match.

Or maybe we can be a little more exact. As Kim Wombles noted yesterday , 39 cases confirmed beyond parental anecdote equals a prevalence of 1.5%. Half a percentage over the UK official prevalence.

So what does this mean? It basically means that all things being equal, whichever prevalence figures you like to use (Korean or UK), this law study shows that amongst the population of claimants, there are no more autistic people than one would expect.

But surely, what we should be looking at is if vaccines caused autism in these cases?

OK, lets do that (thanks to Sullivan for spotting these):

From the paper:

[R]espondent’s report. . .suggests vaguely. . .that Kenny’s problems ‘can be attributed in part to other causes such as a family history of epilepsy, autism and tonsillar hypotrophy. . .Dr. Spiro did not even purport to know what did cause Kenny’s seizure disorder;? his basic point was that in his view the DTP did not cause it.”

From the case notes:

In this regard, respondent’s report (filed September 7, 1990) suggests vaguely (p. 5) that Kenny’s problems “can be attributed in part to other causes such as a family history [*18] of epilepsy, autism and tonsillar hypotrophy.” But in the attached expert report, upon which respondent based that assertion, Dr. Spiro candidly admitted (p. 2) that he can only “speculate” as to such possibilities. And certainly at the hearing, Dr. Spiro did not even purport to know what did cause Kenny’s seizure disorder; his basic point was that in his view the DTP did not cause it.

While Dr. Kaufhold notes Dr. Schmidt’s initial impression of infantile autism, she does not list autism among her impressions, but rather says Travis is significantly developmentally delayed to a degree not yet ascertained. Other medical personnel appear to use the term “autism” or “autistic” synonymously with “aphasia” or the absence of the ability
to speak. See, e.g., Pet. Ex. 7 at 148; Pet. Ex. 7 at 208; Pet. Ex. 7 at 393.

Here is an interesting statement:

While Dr. Schultz believes that Travis suffers from some autistic-like features, he does not now nor has he ever believed that Travis suffers from true autism.

In this case, Dr. Schultz is the doctor of the petitioner: Travis Underwood. Travis is child 7 in the PACE table. Here is how Holland et al. quoted that decision:

“In addition, respondent noted that Travis’ medical records indicate that he suffered from mental retardation and autism. These conditions, according to respondent, are not related to the residual seizure disorder.”

Dr. Schultz also said:

Moreover, Dr. Schultz testified that Travis is distinguishable from children with true autism because he (1) seeks affection; (2) makes eye contact; (3) doesn’t require sameness in routine as usually found with autistic children; and (4) doesn’t engage in twirling, flinging and other self-stimulatory behaviors to the same degree as autistic children.

So, next time someone tells you ‘autistic-like’ features or ‘features of autism’ are the same things as autism, tell them to look at the cases in question.

  1. Navi:
    Ooooh. I'm sorry, but I have to take issue with the last excerpt. My son's pediatrition used the same reasons to. Suggest the school system incorrectly diagnosed him. None of those are part of diagnostic criteria. Not to say this child does have it, just to say that's a poor explanation as to why he does not have it, and it perpetuates stereotypes.
  2. Stuart Duncan:
    Yup, that's pretty much the conclusion that I had drawn as well... if they find that 1 to 3 % of the vaccine injury cases include autism, does that prove that the vaccines caused the autism or does it prove that 1 to 3 % of children have autism?To use Seth Mnookin's point, if it turned out that 1 to 3 % of them were left handed, does it prove that the vaccines caused them to be left handed or that 1 to 3 % of them are left handed?
  3. _Arthur:
    Of course the VICP claimants (or in this case, the VICP-compensated claimants) are far, far, far from a random sample of the general population. So it is impossible to assert that any statistic coming from this sample is meaningful respective to the general population.Furthermore we know that there's a 5000-odd group of claimants that are generally in the VICP program _because_ they are autistic, and they blame vaccines due to the loose temporal association between the first autism symptoms, and vaccination. Because that group was purportedly and actively recruited into the program, their presence would be sufficient to preclude any statistical significance.That being said, at a first degree, the result of the "study" supports the idea that autistic children suffer from adverse effects from vaccines at the same rate than the general population, and that the VICP program works, those kids are getting compensated for the "table injuries", the *known* occasional adverse effects from vaccines. Oh, and these proceedings are free, the lawyers for the parents are being paid by the "Court", no matter if they win or lose the case.In the Autism Omnibus, the group of 5000 claimants attempted to present scientific (!) evidence that the autism of these kids was _caused_ by certain vaccines. We all know that they failed miserably to present valid or even plausible theories for that.
  4. passionlessDrone:
    Hello friends -I am saddened. There looks to be a lot of expediency to a desired conclusion, logic be damned, going on around here lately, and in this post in particular. To be sure, lots of other places have the same thing in the other direction, but that's no reason to throw level headed analysis to the wind.The expert in question uses some awful measurements to give his version of 'true autism', including, the degree to which a child seeks affection. You heard it on LBRB first, kids that seek affection aren't truly autistic! Also, children that seek eye contact, and don't engage in 'enough' self stimulatory behaviors do not have 'true autism'. Good to know. These are the types of myths that usually get debunked on this site.In most cases, 'true autism' is something that gets you beat up around here; i.e., 'stop talking about the entire spectrum'. And if someone were to actually say, 'my child with autism doesn't seek affection', they are immediately jumped on for 'dehumanizing' their child (and thus, everyone with autism); why is the fact that a child has received a vaccination award make this acceptable? Why?Even more alarming, however, is that no one seems bothered by the fact that in the Korea study posted a few days ago, the overwhelming majority of the 'cases' of ASD were in regular classrooms, without aides. I wonder, what has happened in a timeframe of a few days such that these children represent 'true autism', while a child awarded a vaccine compensation that displays autistic behaviors, do not. Does anyone, anyone really think that the mass of previously undiagnosed Korean children, unaided in mainstream classrooms, have less eye contact, seek affection less, or engage in more self-stimulatory behaviors than the child referenced here? If you don't think that, if in fact, you think that is a bad, bad joke, and you come here for actual discussions about autism with a semblance of intellectual honesty, this attitude should have you apopleptic.We are witnessing the transformation of the spectrum into an accordion to be played as advantageous, expandable enough to easily accept a tripling of autism if you are a self sufficient Korean student, and compressible enough to eject a child who just happened to have a vaccine award, but because they seek affection, must not, therefore, be on the spectrum.Even worse, how have we come to a place where a fifty percent increase, must less a three hundred percent increase, is something to be sneezed at? The absolute value from 1 to 1.5, or 1 to 3 is small, but in terms of relative change, these are explosive changes! Imagine if interest rates 'just' went up half a percent, or two full percent in a week? It isn't about raw change, it is about the degree of change from where we were.If the Korean studies are accurate representations of incidence, doesn't this mean that there has been an epidemic, if, as was just posted here a week ago, the NHS study in England found rates at 1% in the adult population? I certainly didn't see any skepticism towards this study when it was posted here.If we had so much confidence in the NHS findings in the adult population a week ago that it allowed us to dissavow the epidemic, and we also have confidence in the Korean study, then we have no choice but to assume that autism rates are three times higher in children than adults! Do we have confidence in the Korea children study and the England adult study?If we do, we must admit that there is a big difference in adults and children. Alternatively, if we don't have confidence in either, thats OK, but we should tread very carefully in trying to draw anything but the most tenuous conclusions from these studies.Selective skepticism is just like not being a skeptic at all.- pD@Repost [had saved in text editor / have learned my lesson about composing long entries in a browser, finally.]
  5. RAJ:
    Another study pubished over at the Simons Foundation has reported that 30% of the entire general population has at least one 'autistic' trait condition and added to the recent Korean study that 1 in 38 children have 'diagnosed' autism' confirms what Kanner predictively said in the 1960's. The diagnosis of 'autism' had become an abuse that 'threatens to become a fashion'.'Autism' has now officially become a diagnostic abuse. It has become so meaningless that none of the research can possibly amount to anything but pop psychology fluffery encompassing any theory from vaccines cause autism to genes cause autism.The psychologists and psychiatrists need to produce a meaningful, distinct diagnostic scheme that seperates 'true' autism from the broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric problems that all share weakly defined 'social-cognitive' impairments. Even Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and adult stoke patients can and often do demonstrate theory of mind and 'social-cognition' difficulties.It is questionable whethre DSM-V will add even further to the dilution of exactl what autism is and is not.

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