By John Stone
Amid continuing false claims regarding the historical incidence of autism by mainstream media plugged authors Steve Silberman, John Donvan and Caren Zucker AoA re-publishes a series of articles by John Stone, UK Editor, chronicling data abuse and fabricated adult autism numbers, which also impacted heavily on opinion in the United States. These articles document the official drive to paper over the catastrophe engulfing so many of our children. The first in the series dates from October 2009 (updated 2015) deconstructing the then recently published National Statistics survey of "Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults living in households throughout England”. Interesting to note that its publication in 2009 coincided with the US National Institutes of Mental Health unveiling a figure of 1 in 100 fur US children. Six years later the figure has been admitted as 1 in 45. But for Silberman, Donvan and Zucker they are out there dancing around pretending the Emperor has clothes.
1 in 100: How the UK Government Arrived at the Adult Autism Figures
By John Stone
UPDATE April 10, 2015 (corrected). Revisiting this article five and half years on there are a small number of additional points. For clarity the original survey of 2007 from which this data was derived was looking for instances of Asperger Syndrome only. No mention was made of "higher-functioning autism" until the Eurekalert Press Release in 2008 but by 2009 both the terms "Asperger" and "high-functioning autism" had disappeared to be replaced by "autism spectrum disorders" but it was the same data set re-labelled to give a false idea of what was being surveyed. It can also be pointed out that not only were the diagnostic tests non-standard, and diluted the criteria for diagnosis but also that the assessments were not carried out by people qualified to make a diagnosis of autism. In the end it is impossible to say that there were any real cases of Asperger Syndrome let alone autism in this survey. Finally, the survey, originally published as National Statistics, was re-published as peer review study which came to be cited by Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, and Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating committee (here , here and at IACC meetings) as if it was a credible source.
[Original article] Sometimes events across the pond seem connected. Just a few days ago the UK National Health Service’s Information Centre announced its new survey, which purportedly showed adult incidence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders running at the rate of 1 in 100 – according to them exactly the same rate as for schoolchildren, thus clearing MMR vaccine (or any other vaccine exposure for that matter) from being implicated in autism. Never mind that the rate was projected from a base of just 19 unconfirmed cases, or that the survey included young adults born between 1986 and 1991 who may have had MMR, or that the study had only high functioning and Asperger cases in it, or that the autism rate amongst schoolchildren in the UK runs at more like 1 in 64 - what an excellent opportunity for the US National Institute of Mental Health to concede that the autism rate for US children was also now 1 in 100, up from 1 in 150. There is now an official statistic they can cite that a rate of 1 in 100 for autism in both children and adults is perfectly normal, and nothing whatever to worry about.
To set the very curious British adult autism survey in context it is enlightening to return to the Eurekalert media announcement of May 2008 ‘University of Leicester to lead adult autism audit’ (HERE) . We read:
“Professor Terry Brugha, Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Health Sciences is spearheading the study in conjunction with a team of research experts including the the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Research Autism and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre. It will report in 2009.”
Interesting, first of all, to note that though it does not anticipate the result of the survey it does go on to cite a 1 in 100 autism rate figure for children in the UK:
“The number of children with autism is as high as 1 in 100 (according to studies by Prof Howard Meltzer of the University of Leicester and Prof. Baird's 2006 study). The new prevalence study now underway will give the first ever accurate picture of how many adults have the condition. “
This statement was highly misleading. Meltzer, who is a signatory to the new paper, seems to have been responsible for the 1 in 100 figure for children in UK National Statistics but this was not true of the Baird study which gave a rate of 1 in 86, while Baron-Cohen - who was not in the end a signatory - had already headed a study which when it was finally published furnished a childhood figure of 1 in 64 (HERE).
But perhaps the most astonishing statement from the 2008 press release in retrospect is this:
‘The prevalence study will make use of new data collected in 2007 by NatCen and Professor Brugha’s team to record the number of adults with Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism. There will also be an additional part to the study on the number of people with autism who have more complex needs and learning disabilities. The aim of the combined research will provide good epidemiological information in terms of prevalence and the characteristics and problems of this group.’
The new report, therefore, is based not on the full range of ASDs but solely on the data collected for the “Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism” by Prof Brugha in 2007; the “additional part” on “more complex needs and learning disabilities” has not been included at all, if it was ever conducted. On the other hand the report has been incorrectly published under a title which suggests that it is in fact a survey of all Autistic Spectrum Disorders “Autistic Spectrum Disorders in adults living in household throughout England” (HERE) , and this was how it was announced to the media.
Other key questions arise: