2007 Nominations for the next Vaccines-Cause-Autism theory....
Barbara Loe Fisher's National Vaccine Information Center is a resource center for people who think that their children were injured by vaccines as well as others who think vaccines are harmful for one reason or another. I subscribe to her listserv, which is always on the 'qui vive' for bad news from the vaccine front.
Today, however, she reports the latest autism statistics from California, with an observation that will not be cheering to Safe Minds, Generation Rescue and others who blame mercury in vaccines for the "autism epidemic." Most scientists and others who understand how autism diagnosis and reporting have changed over the past three decades see the steady increase of autism reports as largely an artifact of new discovery methods. But nevermind them -- let's say there is an epidemic. It doesn't take a toxicologist to observe that the numbers from 2002 to 2006 completely overturn the thimerosal thesis. Over a period in which thimerosal in vaccines was at levels lower than in the 1960s, the number of diagnoses grew from just over 20,000 to just under 33,000, with the sharpest increase in the 3-5 year olds, the group that got those largely thimerosal-free vaccines.
Below is a chart (courtesy of the DDS via Rick Rollens and the National Vaccine Information Center) comparing the age distribution of the autism population for the four year period between 12/02 and 12/06 with percentage comparisons broken down by age group as the part of the whole for 12/02 and 12/06, and the percentage increase by age group between 12/02 and 12/06: DECEMBER 2002 3-5 year olds 4039 * (20%) DECEMBER 2006 3-5 year olds 6348 (19%) ** 36% * = % OF WHOLE FOR THAT YEAR
6-9 year olds 5884 (29%)
10-13 year olds 3733 (18%)
14-17 year olds 1825 (9%)
18-21 year olds 1118 (5%)
22 to 62 and older 3762 (18%)
6-9 year olds 8782 (27%) 33%
10-13 year olds 6312 (19%) 41%
14-17 year olds 4108 (13%) 56%
18-21 year olds 2102 (6%) 47%
22 to 62 and older 5125 (16%) 27%
** = % INCREASE OVER FOUR YEARS DECEMBER 2002
3-5 year olds 4039 * (20%)
3-5 year olds 6348 (19%) ** 36%
* = % OF WHOLE FOR THAT YEAR
The numbers have gone up for all groups, including those who were infants in the 1980s, well before thimerosal was a problem. Even the 42-51 year olds increased--from 700 to 1,061. Obviously, these people didn't become autistic between 2002 and 2006. They registered, or were registered, for services, is all. Presumably they had relative mild autism that hadn't been diagnosed before, or they were switched to "autistic" out of categories like mental retardation.