CDC Claims Based on Junk Science

March 30, 2013

30 Mar (GAIA HEALTH) – The CDC has produced a study, claiming that it proves that there’s no link between autism and the number or timing of vaccinations.  The mainstream news has been covering it with its usual unquestioning cheerleader approach. Worse, they have—with the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—conflated the study with the more basic question of whether vaccinations cause autism.  Of course, their implied conclusion is that it doesn’t, and that now parents should simply accept their claims that there’s no connection between vaccines and autism.


However, I have read the study—and frankly, it provides a new standard for the term pseudo science.. Even the little information that’s been produced by the media makes it absolutely clear that the study is nothing but junk science. In no sense does it even come close to demonstrating a lack of association between autism and vaccines. There are several reasons.

The primary flaw is that there is no comparison between vaccinated children and unvaccinated children.

That’s right.  That alone is more than enough to simply toss the study in the trash.  The only way to prove whether vaccines cause autism is by comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children. That has never been done. Until then, there is simply no purpose served in examining how the relative levels of vaccination affect the condition:

Why would you want to investigate whether the degree of exposure affects a condition, unless you’ve already found that it actually causes it?

The fact is that no such legitimate study has been done. The CDC’s reason, the same one that’s parroted around the world, is that it would be unethical. They claim it would be unethical to deprive children of the questionable benefits of vaccination by doing such a study.  There are, of course, two solid arguments countering that claim:

  • The first is that such considerations have never stopped them from doing medical studies in any other arena. So why should it stop them now?
  • The second is that there are large unvaccinated pools of children who could be compared with vaccinated ones. These include the Amish people, thousands of Homefirst clinic patients, and a large percentage of the Waldorf Schools children. There is no lack of unvaccinated children for such a study, either prospective or retrospective.

The Study

The study[1] was a case-controlled variety. It used 256 children defined as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and compared them with 752 children who hadn’t been given the diagnosis. Reports that give these numbers, though, do not tell the whole story.

Any child who also had a diagnosis for fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Rett syndrome, congenital rubella syndrome, or Angelman syndrome was not included in the study. The stated reason was that they had “known links to  ASD traits”. However, at least one of these conditions, Rett syndrome, is defined as a type of autism. It is not similar to autism. It is possibly the worst form of it. So, the authors of the study specifically eliminated the worst cases of autism from their trial!

They started with 771 potential ASD cases, not the 256 reported in the media, and 2,760 potential controls, not the 752 reported—and then they started eliminating subjects:

  • 103 ASD cases (leaving 668 cases) and 316 controls (leaving 2,444 controls) were deemed ineligible. Why they were ineligible, we’re not told.
  • Of the remaining subjects, only 321 ASD cases (48.1%) and 774 controls (31.7%) completed the trial. The reasons are not given. This is a significant factor. Notice that a far higher percentage of the ASD cases than controls completed the trial.
  • Of the remaining controls:
    • 12 of the remaining controls were eliminated because they had exclusionary conditions. (as described above)
    • 10 controls were not included because they didn’t match any of the ASD cases.
    • 186 controls were eliminated because they “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”. In other words, any indication of a developmental disorder resulted in removal of a child from the controls group.
    • 27% of the original controls were counted in the study.
  • The remaining ASD cases were eliminated for the reasons that controls were. Instead, a different set of criteria was used:
    • They defined a set of criteria based on testing to determine which children would remain in the study.
    • They eliminated any child whose diagnosis happened after age 36 months.
    • 33% of the original ASD cases were counted in the study.

Why the Results Are Meaningless

As initially pointed out, this study was done on the assumption that there is no

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