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Autism in the News: Autism Rates: 1 in 91 - Really??? - October 9, 2009

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This week was a crazy and emotional week for autism advocates and scientists studying the disorder. In a study published Monday October 5th, (but briefed/leaked to the autism advocacy community on Friday the 2nd), the Journal Pediatrics reported findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate that 1 in 91 children may have autism. This ratio is based on numbers gleaned from a 2007 study and are up substantially from the government's last numbers of 1 in 150, based on a 2002 study.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was quick to advise caution regarding interpretation of these findings based on how the study was conducted. The study in question was based on a telephone survey of parents and did not consider medical records or reports by physicians as in the previous 2002 study. Bloggers on the subject have suggested that comparing the two studies is like comparing apples to oranges with entirely different criterion.

Despite the criticism of the study, this week's news has blown more oxygen on a firestorm between those who contend that vaccines cause autism, and those who do not see significant research to prove the connection. Age of Autism, the daily web newspaper, suggested this week that that the Hepatitis B vaccine could be partially responsible for the increase in prevalence of autism. David Kirby, of the Huffington Post, appeared on CBS's Washington Unplugged to discuss the study vis-a-vis his new book. The volley continued when the Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing published their review of published research that shows that there is not convincing scientific evidence supporting a vaccine-autism relationship.

Both Time and Newsweek also weighed in on the debate with online articles on the week's developments.

Read the study Abstract from the Journal Pediatrics

Read the AAP's response to the study in a letter on their website

Read "Hepatitis B Vaccine: An Unmitigated Disaster" HERE

Watch David Kirby on Washington Unplugged

Read the Story in Science Daily about the JSPN Review

Read the Time Magazine Article

Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter October 2009