Sunday, February 25, 2007

LIES AND THOSE WHO SPREAD THEM

Doesn’t it seem like we’re seeing a whole lot of media coverage over the new CDC numbers, and the slant of these stories is always to buy into (and sell) the absurd notion that the medical profession has just gotten a lot better at diagnosing autism. Apparently, a lot of people would rather spread that one because they can’t ⎯ or won’t ⎯ offer any more logical explanation.

Anne McElroy Dachel has written a new op-ed piece on The Really Big Lie About Autism.
Now it seems that the CDC is on a par with the medical community with the news about this new autism rate. Not only are doctors better at diagnosing, but also CDC officials are better at counting.

Incredibly, the CDC still cannot say with any certainty that autism is actually affecting more children despite all the autistic kids everywhere. The CDC has been studying autism numbers for more than ten years, yet they don't know if it's more prevalent.

Dr. Gerberding explained it this way, “We can't yet tell if there is a true increase in ASDs or if the changes are the result of our better studies.”

The CDC still can’t tell? This agency gets billions of tax dollars each year to run health care in the U.S. They can give us statistics on any other disorder or disease broken down by age, sex, and ethnicity, including changes in the incidence rate--except autism. The study’s lead author, Dr. Catherine Rice, made it clear that nothing in her research can tell us about trends. “We hope these findings will build awareness,” Rice said.
Well, I’m about as aware as I want to be.

Like Ms. Dachel, I’ve had enough of the recent wave of “experts” telling us that we’ve always had this many autistic kids. Yet that point of view doesn’t seem to lack for champions in the media. The recent 20/20 piece didn’t even pretend to offer any objectivity, and turned to kindly Doc Offit for a little wit and wisdom (well, zero out of two ain’t bad, or at least it seems to play in some quarters).

Go here to take a look at the complete piece by Ms. Dachel.

2 Comments:

Blogger LIVSPARENTS said...

"They can give us statistics on any other disorder or disease broken down by age, sex, and ethnicity, including changes in the incidence rate--except autism."

Can we say with certainty about disorders like bi-polar, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder? They are both not easily defined; they are similarly difficult to diagnose, they have also have not been around for that long.

I can't say for certainty that rates have not changed. But what I CAN say with a reasonable amount of certainty is that the diagnostic criterea has changed three times in the past 25 odd years and that doctors, the CDC and statisticians are still learning how to diagnos autism.

If you think about it, diagnosing autism before 3 years old was unheard of 20 years ago because the symptoms are quite subtle.

I can't let them all off the hook so easily however. There COULD be a rise in a subgroup of autism related to vaccines and/or an increase in severities of autistics. But we're not going to uncover this truth by screaming that the rates of autism are going up exponetially, because their not...
Bill

2/26/07, 9:43 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

If you think about it, diagnosing autism before 3 years old was unheard of 20 years ago because the symptoms are quite subtle.

But that's just it; the symptoms most of us are "screaming" about are anything but subtle. If the actual prevalence of autistics has not risen, then something has happened to make the symptoms much more severe in many more individuals. Denial of the problem cannot lead to solutions. I agree with you that screaming is generally counterproductive. Unfortunately, it may be the only way to be heard by bureaucrats who have their heads buried in the sand.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Bill.

2/26/07, 10:25 PM  

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