Thursday, February 11, 2010

Censored on The Wakefield Saga: 2004 All Over Again

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1 comment:

  1. Posted at Age of Autism on Feb. 11, 2010 at 9:26am (EST)

    "I’m sorry, but this doctor gleefully telling us that vaccines don’t cause autism, can’t tell us what does. I’d hardly find that reassuring. IF IT’S NOT THE VACCINES, WHAT IS IT? What’s attacking our children at never-before-seen rates? Why can’t you name a single prospective culprit in the environment that we need to look at?"

    There are several potential causes being investigated: several different genes, parental age, possible links to vitamin D. Some other suggested causes have been looked at and come up empty: MMR and thimerosal. "I don't know" is a hard answer to accept, but sometimes, it is the only answer available until more research is completed.

    "Unless and until health officials can point to independently done studies disproving a link, the war will continue, unabated."

    Perhaps at the same time, those who blame vaccines can point to well-designed, replicated studies that prove a link?

    "I personally promise to go quietly away if anyone can come up with an actual study comparing autism rates in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations of children and show me there is no difference."

    Exactly how would you design such a study and still meet the ethical principles for human research? If it is randomized, how would you convince parents who are afraid of vaccines to participate, knowing their child might be in the vaxed arm? How would you convince parents who are afraid of the diseases to participate, knowing their child might be in the unvaxed arm? If it is not randomized, then how are you going to control for self-selection and other biases? How are you going to make the two groups equivalent to reduce confounding variables (e.g., socio-economic status, lifestyle and health choice differences, etc.)?

    While I understand the concerns and the frustration at how slowly figuring out the causal elements out of thousands or millions of potential culprits can be, going for the easiest scapegoat and adhereing to discredited ideas isn't healping anyone. Nor are strident calls and support for unethical research helping these kids.

    This comment is being cross-posted to Silenced by Age of Autism.

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