Autism MMR Link--
Allergy Induced Autism organisation press release
The Times, 11/6/99 reported on the findings that no link has been found between the rise in autism cases and the introduction of the triple vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella, according to government-backed research.
The study, published in The Lancet, was carried out after a report last year suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and children who develop both inflammatory bowel disease and autism.
The Allergy Induced Autism organisation immediately issued the following press release.
FIRST PUBLIC ADMISSION BY GOVERNMENT OF MASSIVE INCREASE IN AUTISM
CYNICAL ATTEMPT TO DISGUISE THE TRUTH
SCANDALOUS PUBLIC DUPE OF BSE PROPORTIONS
CALL FOR RESIGNATION OF STUDY AUTHORS
Taylor B, et al. Miller E. Farringdon PC. Petropolous M.C. Favot-Mayaud I. Lij & Waight A. MMR Vaccine and Autism: No Epidemiological Evidence for A Causal Association.
The above paper, due for publication in the Lancet on Friday 11th June 1999, was funded by the Medicines Control Agency and authored by the Department of Community Child Health Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, together with The Public Health Laboratory Service.
Details appear to have been leaked by the authors prior to publication. AiA received anonymously a pre-publication copy of what is believed to be the original form of the paper as intended for publication.
SUMMARY OF STUDY
The study is a case series analysis, a weak form of epidemiological analysis which can only suggest or refute very large relationships. The authors begin by admitting the intrinsic flaws in the available data whilst clarifying the aim of the study as to look for evidence of a change in trend in incidence or age at diagnosis associated with the introduction of the MMR vaccine. The most significant finding of the study is that the number of children with autism has risen by 25 % year on year compounded since the introduction of MMR.
Additionally a significant temporal clustering for the onset of parental concern about their childs behaviour was found within six months of the MMR vaccine. Astonishingly, despite these clear finding, the interpretation of the study is that the analyses do not support a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism. Alarmingly the reader may easily be misled into believing that the rise in autism predates MMR introduction whereas the study demonstrates a potential association.
AiAs INTERPRETATION OF STUDY
AiA has access to a large number of parents trained in highly relevant disciplines which allows us to interpret accurately and analyse the integrity and validity of the study. The following highly pertinent points have arisen from our investigations.
The data underlying the key graph are fundamentally incorrect. The Public Health Laboratory Service itself instituted a catch up policy meaning that all children who had not previously received the mumps or rubella vaccine, irrespective of their having received a monovalent vaccine, were targeted for MMR inoculation. Despite this, the group has been ignored completely for the purposes of this exercise. The study states that the group was of children eligible for MMR vaccination in the second year of life, indicating the authors awareness of older eligible children. Had the children vaccinated in the catch up campaign been properly accounted for, as well as having been diagnosed before 60 months of age (as per the studys criterion), the relevant starting year of birth should have been 1986. Figure 1 clearly shows a significant rise in cases between those born in 1986 over those born in 1985. This has either been a totally inept analysis of the data or a deliberate attempt to cover the truth. There is a step up and the conclusions in relation to the first hypothesis are without doubt invalid.
With regards to the age of diagnosis of autism in relation to the MMR. Most children have been vaccinated with MMR by 15 months and subsequent time of diagnosis of autism relative to parental concern is an unknown variable nor do the authors declare the relative numbers of vaccinated to unvaccinated children. Thus the second analysis is not only totally meaningless in any scientific sense but it also bears no relation whatsoever to the fundamental hypothesis and certainly does not exclude exposure to vaccine as having a causal relationship to autism.
It is not surprising that the study finds no significant relationship between timing of diagnosis considering the wide variation of age at which final diagnosis is completed.
The third analysis looked at the first expression of parental concern about their childs behaviour in relation to any potential temporal relationship to MMR vaccination. What was identified was a significant statistical cluster of first parental concerns within 6 months of MMR vaccination. This is then explained away by suggestion of lack of precision in definition of symptoms of the condition, however, if this significant finding were truly due to a parental recall bias it would have been seen in all vaccine groups i.e. those who received any measles containing vaccine. The significant clustering is only seen in recipients of the MMR indicating that this is likely to be a true effect.
In statistical terms the data set is of limited size despite assurances that the findings are based on a large study. The absolute defence of the MMR vaccination in the discussion section of the paper is out of all proportion to the weak scientific evidence presented in the findings. Indeed the findings indicate the opposite of the defence given.
There are no control groups in this study to compare against i.e. Rates of occurrence of:
a) Autism in children who have not been vaccinated with either the MMR or the monovalent vaccines and b) Autistic children vaccinated with the monovalent vaccines.
It is impossible to say if a higher or lower proportion of children given MMR developed autism compared with those who didnt receive it.
It is clear that the study was commissioned to dismiss the hypothesis that there may exist a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. In reality the study is fatally flawed and statistically inadequate. Despite clear findings supporting the relationship hypothesis, the authors discard their own clearly unexpected, statistical findings and manipulating the results to prove their own pre-existing hypothesis.
This approach, coming from the Medicines Control Agency, is an outrageous attempt to pervert public perception of the potential relationship between the MMR vaccination and autism.
In the continuing interests of the children and adults represented by our organisation, AiA calls for the resignation of all key members of the Study Group, on the grounds that they are prepared to place a skewed and feeble study into the public arena in an attempt to defend the MMR vaccination. In addition, AiA demands that the Medicine Control Agency or the Government commissions a totally objective and completely independent study to ascertain the truth.
On March 1, 1999 the State of California eleased a report, mandated by state law and enacted as a result of concerns raised to the Governor and Legislature by parents, educators, and health care professionals who had observed that within a very short period of time, autism in California had increased at an alarming rate. The report to the Legislature from the Dept. of Developmental Services ( www.dds.ca.gov/autismreport.cfm ) examined the increase in autism and pervasive developmental disorders compared to other defined developmental disorders. Analysis was of data provided by Californias 21 regional centres covering the period from 1987-1998. Among the most striking findings in the report was that the number of young children diagnosed with autism entering the system over the past 11 years had increased 273% (page 8 of the Report), while the other developmental disorders showed only modest, population adjusted increases. Also contained on page 8 of the Report, is a graph which documents a sudden, unexpected and unexplained increase in autism starting exactly at the same time as California was requiring, for the first time, the use of MMR.
Plotting the North Thames findings against the California study illustrates a similar upwards trend, beginning at time of introduction of the MMR into the UK and including children in the catch up campaign.
The recent Peltola study from Finland, which tested the wrong hypothesis, is now widely quoted in PHLS literature as proof of MMR safety. Few GPs, parents or other professionals have sought the paper out to verify the implied findings yet the paper so easily became incorporated into medical folklore.
If the nonsensical study now under discussion achieves the same giddy heights of acceptance by the medical profession as the Finnish study, then the only chance of treatment for the ever-increasing numbers of autistic children in this country will die. With it a lost generation of doomed and forgotten babies.
AiA is a membership based, medical research charity, which has not previously taken a public stance on the issue of autism and vaccination. However, the serious implications of the publication of this paper have forced the executive of AjA to take immediate action. AiA considers that any such attempt to justify health policy by using inadequate research as propaganda is reprehensible.
AiA, 210 Pineapple Road, Sturchley, Birmingham, B30 2TY Tel/Fax: 0121 4446450
Also Paul Shattock, MRPharmS, wrote a long letter that was published in the Pharmaceutical journal, 17/7/99. A few of the points made have been summarised by homceopath, Lesley King and reproduced here.
The letter comments on the reports that were commissioned and funded by the Medicines Control Agency and the Committee on Safety of Medicines. One of the reports was based on a selection of questionnaires sent to clients of the solicitors acting on behalf of the parents. The questionnaires had been answered by the physicians and consultants dealing with the cases, NOT by the parents. It had been agreed that there would not be publication without consultation. This agreement was broken. The review was based SOLELY on these questionnaires and contained no other evidence and according to the letter writer "hardly justified the powerful statements issued by the Dept. of Health. Neither does the report by Taylor et al also published in the Lancet, June 12th." This second report actually shows, for the first time in a published paper that there has been a dramatic increase in the reported incidence of autism. They did not publish the relevant numerical data but did report that there had been a 1,750% increase in the incidence of the annual birth rate of people with autism in the N.E. Thames region between 1979 - 1992. Mr Shattock states "Given the staggering increase in the reported incidence it is not surprising that the researchers were unable to detect a "kink" in the upward surge which would correspond with the introduction of the MMR vaccines in 1988." The authors of the report stress that the upward surge started before the MMR. They indicate that in fact there was notable increase of autism in children born 1984-85 onwards.
However, Mr Shattock points out that because the MMR was newly available it was also given to children of a slightly older age group, whose dates of birth were pre-1987. These children would have also, already had the measles jab at around 12 months old. Mr Shattock says that "the claims of the authors to have provided evidence of non-linkage are unsustainable," and "the claims of the press releases from the DoH accompanying the reports are grossly misleading." He finishes with "the results of independent studies which address these issues are eagerly awaited. For better or for worse, it will be the courts who decide these issues and I am not sure that they will be impressed by the facts supporting the statements presented last month." Summarised and extracted by homeopath, Lesley King, RS Hom.
Source: The Informed Parent newsletter.