By Dan Olmsted
When we at Age of Autism talk about ending the epidemic, the “to do” list seems almost overwhelming – funding a vax-unvaxed study, getting mercury out of flu shots, proving the HepB shot is nuts, wresting control of the agenda from pharma, fixing Vaccine Court (this time in the good sense of “fix”), establishing that biomedical treatments help kids recover, and on and on.
But there’s a shortcut to all this, and it goes straight through pediatricians’ offices. The evidence is growing that where a sane alternative to the CDC’s bloated vaccine schedule is offered, and other reasonable changes adopted, autism is either non-existent or so infrequent that it doesn’t constitute an epidemic at all.
The latest example comes from Lynchburg, Va., and the pediatric practice of Dr. Elizabeth Mumper. She noticed a frightening rise in autism in the 1990s. Concerned that vaccines and other medical interventions might be playing a role – concerned in other words that SHE was playing a role -- Mumper changed course.
Fewer vaccines. Fewer antibiotics. No Tylenol. Breast-feeding. Probiotics. Good, pesticide free diets.
Since then, hundreds more children have been seen in her practice, Advocates For Children. But no more autism.
Mumper’s study (read it here), recently published in the North American Journal of Medicine & Science, begins with a useful way of describing the epic increase in the disorder – 100-fold since 1975:
“During the author’s career, reported prevalence of autism increased from 1 in 5,000 (1975) to 1 in 2,500 (1985), to 1 in 500 (1995) to 1 in 250 (~2001) to 1 in 166 (~2004) to 1 in 88 (~2008) to 1 in 50 (2013); all reflected birth cohorts born earlier. Further research into autism prevalence studies have debunked the initial contention that higher numbers could be explained away by better diagnosis and broadening of diagnostic criteria. …
“The horrifying increase in the numbers of children with neurodevelopmental problems happened on our watch. It was frustrating for me and my colleagues to see more children with autism while the debate over whether the autism epidemic was real, whether parents could be trusted to give histories about their own children, and whether there really was a regressive sub-type of autism went on for years. There have been missed opportunities for treatment and possibly prevention.”
Mumper’s modified vaccine schedule doesn’t follow the CDC’s, but still gives kids the shots they need to enter kindergarten unless they get an exemption -- see nvic.org. Here it is (click to enlarge):
What I notice among other things is the absence of HepB starting at birth, no rotarvirus (sorry, Paul), no flu shot in pregnancy and infancy, a potent source of mercury; the MMR is pushed back to age 2 and chickenpox to as late as age 5.
This is not radical, at least outside the world of the CDC’s wacky, pharma-driven vaccine schedule. But the impact of this and the other changes on autism seems quite amazing. Mumper points out that because she made several changes in her practice, it's impossible to attribute the effect to any one cause. Nonetheless, the fastest-growing childhood disorder of our time just hasn’t been showing up – unlike the 1990s, when the increase was so stark it convinced her an epidemic was unfolding.
“Results: In the current research, there are no new cases of autism out of the 294 cases recognized and recorded, resulting in 0% prevalence of ASD. Based on the CDC background risk of autism of 1 in 50 for the cohort born around 2005 we would expect to have about 6 new cases of autism in our practice. … Using the CDC autism rate of 1 in 50 reported in 2013 (but based on surveys of eight year old children), the expected rate for our 294 patients starting in 2005 would be 5.88 children with autism. Zero new cases of autism would occur by chance 1.4% of the time (p-value 0.014, significant at 0.05).”
A further nuance: Another study out this week focused on the high risk of autism in younger siblings of children with autism, and its supposed confirmation of a genetic basis. Not so in Mumper’s practice:
“Examination of family histories identified 6 males with an older autistic sibling and 6 females with an older autistic sibling. Based on a recurrence risk for autism of 26.2% for males with an autistic sibling and 9.1% for females with an autistic sibling we would have expected 1.5 males with autism and 0.5 females (sic).”
But there were none, of course. While that didn’t reach statistical significance due to sample size, it suggests to me that even in families that may have a predisposition – the genes that are the be-all and end-all for most autism research -- a reasonably modest change in pediatric medical practices might forestall that outcome in younger siblings.
Mumper calls this observation “modest,” and it is. (Mumper carefully notes that after the paper was reviewed, one child was referred on suspicion of autism but no diagnosis has been made. The findings would still be statistically significant “but just barely.”) But it’s part of a pattern that is anything but. Over and over, we’re seeing that even a modest adaptation to the CDC’s crazed vaccine schedule, and other out-of-control interventions, leads to a startling drop in autism – a drop to zero or thereabouts.
When I began with that long to-do list, I didn’t mean it could be discarded, sadly. The current Berlin Wall of denial around vaccine injury needs to be attacked on all fronts and from every side, to mangle metaphors. In a rational world, the testimony of so many parents, the Poling concession, the Verstraeten and Simpsonwood evidence, the Amish, HomeFirst, and now the Mumper study, would provoke massive and urgent changes in public policy.
But those policies are caught in the vise of public-private partnerships from hell that have caused untold damage in all kinds of ways.
To range seemingly far afield, Rolling Stone has an article this week on how the unchecked tuition hikes that are behind the $1 trillion student debt catastrophe are the result of big business (colleges) and big government (via loan collections) raking in big bucks.
Nobody is representing the interests of the poor students, who are saddled with phenomenal debt and poor job prospects. This is bad not just for the kids but for the country.
The article is well worth reading because it shows pattern and practice that we see in too many places today. And it’s no coincidence that Rolling Stone is the publication that ran, and refused to retract, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s article on mercury, vaccines, autism, pharma, and the CDC. A public-private partnership from hell.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.