The Atlantic article cites a CDC report by Stefano (CDC DeStefano 2013 link, http://jpeds.com/webfiles/images/journals/ympd/JPEDSDeStefano.pdf )
A number of comments and critiques about the DeStefano study have been written:
cdc report http://vran.org/in-the-news/cdc-autism-studies-flawed/
Basis for DeStefano CDC article: Price et al 2010 link http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/4/656.long
Price 2009 grey literature articles (link vol I) and (link vol II) [methodology outlined]
This article outlines how the CDC studies (Price in 2009 & 2010, and DeStefano, 2013) were fundamentally flawed, unusually biased towards finding no relationship between vaccination and autism and basically was uninformative towards providing any insight towards answering the basic question of “vaccine-caused autism”. The reason that all three studies (Price and Stefano) are mentioned by DeSoto relates to the fact they used the same data sets and flawed collection/screening methodologies.
Hooker Criticism of DeStefano et al study Critique of Destefano et al. 2013 J Peds. Study By Brian S. Hooker, Ph.D., P.E. in: http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/can-we-trust-the-cdc-claim-that-there-is-no-lin k-between-vaccines-and-autism/ The recent CDC study “Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism” by Destefano et al. 2013 was released in the Journal of Pediatrics last week. This study purports that “increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines during the first 2 years of life was not related to the risk of developing an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).” Of all of the papers I have reviewed over my 26-year career as a research scientist, this is perhaps the most flawed and disingenuous study I have encountered. The Destefano et al. 2013 study is to science what the movie Ishtar was to cinema.
No New Data The basis for the study is essentially a rehash of the data that was used to generate the fraudulent Price et al. 2010 Pediatrics study. This research, (Price et al. 2010 “Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism” Pediatrics 126:656) was supposed to be the CDC’s “final word” stating that thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, was in no way causally linked to autism.
No True Controls in the Study
Within the Destefano study released last week, with the help of multimillionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit, CDC researchers merely added up the number of vaccine antigens that the case (autism) and control (neurotypical) children were exposed to through the infant vaccination schedule. The theory that they were trying to refute essentially was “children exposed to a greater total number of antigens had a greater risk of autism.”
Given this train wreck of a study, it is very difficult to know where to start my critique. However, the following statement stood out from the rest as the study authors described the control group: “ Of the remaining 752 controls included in the analysis, 186 had an SCQ (Social Communication Questionaire) score <16 but had indications of speech delay or language delay, learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit disorder, or tics, or had an individual education plan. This clearly shows that the 186 aforementioned controls (25% of the control group) were not controls at all but instead had some underlying developmental deficit (all of which are features of autism or autism spectrum disorder). Unlike the study design described (i.e., where autism cases were matched to neurotypical controls), autism cases were matched with “cases” of other, similar neurodevelopmental maladies. Thus, you would expect to see no difference between the two groups.
Antigen Correlation is Meaningless
Next, the basis of the study was to confirm or deny a correlation between the “number of antigens received” and the incidence of autism. The possible number of antigens per given vaccine was reported in Table 1 of the study. However, the term “number of antigens” is a complete white-wash of what is actually in these vaccines, their concentrations and their relative strengths in terms of inflammatory response, and is not an accurate predictor of how the body will respond to specific antigens. For example, “antigens” for the five antigen DTaP vaccines (e.g., Infanrix) include diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, pertussis toxoid, filamentous hemagglutinin and pertactin. The number “5” assigned in this category is merely the number of different antigens and doesn’t account for each antigen’s amount or relative strength. Neither does this account for the fact that Infanrix also contains aluminum (an adjuvant – designed to elicit a non-specific immune response), formaldehyde and polysorbate 80, all which could also elicit some form of inflammatory reaction. Thus, the main “independent” variable of “number of antigens” within the Destefano et al. 2013 study is essentially completely meaningless.
High Participant Refusal Rate Creates Selection Bias The high participant refusal rate in this study is also problematic. Out of 668 cases and 2444 controls originally selected for the study, only 321 cases (48.1%) and 774 controls (31.7%) chose to participate in the research. In other words, 65% of the individuals contacted as potential participants flat-out refused to participate in the study. Who could blame them?! The CDC has been producing junk science regarding vaccines and autism since 2002 and the public knows. This indeed could produce selection bias in that the 35% of individuals that did participate were less likely to believe that vaccines were responsible for neurodevelopmental sequelae including autism.
Overmatching Statistical Error Also, the analysis is plagued with a statistical error called “overmatching.” For a comprehensive analysis of the previous CDC study completed on the same data set (Price et al. 2010 Pediatrics), regarding thimerosal exposure rather than the number of vaccine antigens, please see Chapter 6, “Vaccine Safety Study as an Interesting Case of ‘Over-Matching’” by M. Catherine DeSoto and Robert Hitlan
in the book “Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders – Volume I”, edited by Michael Fitzgerald, ISBN 978-953-51-1021-7.
The point made by Dr. DeSoto and Dr. Hitlan is that the cases and the controls in this study are too closely matched to each other. Cases were matched with controls of the same age, sex, within the same HMO and essentially the same vaccination schedule using the same vaccine manufacturers. This may be seen in Figures 1 and 2 of the Destefano et al. 2013 paper which indicated that there are almost no differences between the exposure to antigens between the case (autism) and control groups in every exposure group tested. This holds for cumulative antigen levels (Figure 1) as well as single day antigen exposure levels (Figure 2).
This type of error of course precludes “finding a difference” between cases and controls because all differences were matched out case-by-case. This would be akin to analyzing radiation workers that got the same dosage of gamma radiation within cases and control groups to determine the relationship between gamma radiation and cancer incidence. Of course, since cases and controls got the same dosage, no effect would be seen. However, this is an unfair study. To see the true effect, cases would need to be matched with controls with variable levels of gamma radiation exposure and perhaps a “no exposure” group would be included as a baseline comparison to cancer rates within higher exposure groups. In the same way, the CDC study by Price et al (2009 & 2010), and DeStefano (2013)[because they used the same data/methods]has used these overmatched data to obfuscate any true effect between vaccine antigen exposure and autism incidence.
OREGON undervaccination study– Glanz et al 2013
Glanz et al in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Pediatrics discipline) which states that “children who were undervaccinated because of parental choice had lower rates of outpatient visits and emergency department encounters than age-appropriately vaccinated children.”
One of the ongoing criticisms about vaccination has been the drumbeat mantra that the ‘science’ is lacking. With the above paragraphs and peer-reviewed articles, it should be clear or self-evident that a significant amount of evidence exists for questioning the efficacy and reliability for large scale public vaccinations as a public health strategy. Further, there exists more than a century of data (http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/) which have been collated from existing articles, disease statistics websites, and talks (Rosling). Further, Blaylock wrote an article showing potential dangers from excess vaccinations and the likely immune/neurological responses? Blaylock 2008 article with 105 references.
Finally, there remains a good deal of skepticism within the developing world about Western Medicine, vaccinations, and disease. The refusal by states within Northern Nigeria, Pakistan and India to allow polio eradication programs and large scale vaccination efforts requires some understanding. Primarily, the refusal had more to do with an abject misconceptions about health care implementation, sociopolitical dynamics, and outright deceit by Western Powers to enforce the programs. The latter reasons- a ruse concocted by the CIA to obtain Osama Bin Laden’s DNA to firmly establish his location before a targeted assassination operation has been documented to have done more harm to large scale, long term public health programs than good.