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Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: The "Very Very Small" Autism Rate

Keep Calm Write OnBy Dan Olmsted Smash TV

If you're like me, there are a lot of times when it feels like getting through the evening news is an almost superhuman challenge. All the supposed breakthroughs that will prevent and treat autism, all the happy sappy stories about high functioning kids and their touching achievements, all the pharma ads in between that show why this kind of pabulum dominates the airwaves, is enough to make you want to throw your remote or take even more dire action, like Elvis and his famous television shootout.

Case in point: On Veterans Day, Diane Sawyer reported on the study that showed a potential link between flu during pregnancy and having a child with autism.  "Back here at home a new headline discussed around kitchen table tonight," Diane began. "We know that one in 88 children are diagnosed with this disorder, and this new study suggests a bout of flu during pregnancy can increase a child's risk."

Diane turned to chief medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, formerly the acting director of the CDC, to get some perspective. "So many pregnant couples are going to be in fear over this," Diane said. But not to worry: Besser said that among mothers who remembered having the flu during pregnancy, the risk of autism doubled. The screen flashed a graphic that read, "Flu during pregnancy increases autism risk from 1% to 2%." Now get this:

"So, still very very small," Besser said, referring to a risk of 2% of having an autistic child.

He also noted the study was not enough to prove a connection – fair enough. Diane then asked about other risk factors we've heard about. Besser obliged with the usual tired list:  "We have some clues. Genetic factors are very important. Parents' age matters. As fathers in particular get older and hit 40, the risk goes up." Then there was time between pregnancies.

"Lots of clues. No hard answers." Diane, lobbing the ball back one more time, said she knew Besser wanted to assure parents about what she called ""the 2% versus 98%." "That's right. That's a very small number. You know women who get the flu during pregnancy don't need to worry about this. They should get a flu shot while pregnant, though, because they're at great risk for the flu."

Oh for heaven sakes. The chief medical editor of one of the leading networks has just said that the risk of autism rising by one percentage point – from 1 out of 100 to 2 out of 100 live births here, in these United States – is a small number and nothing to worry about. That's because 98% – the vast majority – will not be born with autism.

This is just nuts. That kind of autism risk ought to strike fear in every single family in America. And it does. Think about it in terms of another dread disorder – let's say polio, just for example. If parents thought that one out of every 100 children born in United States would have paralytic polio, there would be mass hysteria, and there should be -- and there was. The actual rate of polio complications at the height of the epidemics in the 1950s was more like one in 3000, and that was more than enough to galvanize the entire medical and scientific research establishment to solve that problem.

But when it comes to autism, an equally disabling condition for so many, a rate 30 (or even 60) times that of polio does nothing to galvanize Dr. Besser.

So what's going on here? Well, part of it is the same indolent, incompetent, uncomprehending response to the autism epidemic that we have seen so often. Our own Anne Dachel has documented this so many times. But I wonder if there is something else: Dr. Besser is an old CDC hand, and probably doesn't take flu very seriously in his heart of hearts. He would know as well as anyone the degree to which the CDC has fudged and fumbled the figures to make flu sound like a killer, when it is clearly not for most Americans, including children.

He would know how the various bird flu epidemics have been turned into excuses to keep mercury in vaccines and spread the false belief that the vaccines themselves are really very effective at all. So my guess is he can't really imagine that flu alone really doubles the risk for autism. Neither can I. What we may be -- may be -- looking at is an association – and the real connection could be the suggestion it offers of immunocompromise or other problems in the mother, if the study has any significance at all.

But the empty hypocrisies roll on and on. A subsequent story on the same ABC newscast brought this into high relief for me. There was a report about a number of soldiers who had been killed at an outpost in Afghanistan, a post subsequently determined to have served no useful purpose, and dangerously sited to begin with. Correspondent Jake Tapper had written a book about it, and after the taped segment, he talked with Diane.

Tapper said it wasn't until he went to Afghanistan, and began talking with troops and their families, sometimes including "grieving widows" and children with no fathers, that he realized how much American soldiers, "these people, 1%, 2% of the population, give."

That figure is starting to sound familiar!  But didn't we just find out that 1% to 2% of the population is a small and insignificant group, and that such a percentage at risk  is nothing for parents to worry about?

It's a mad mad mad mad world. Pray for my television.


Speaking of percentages, the Times on Friday carried a front-page story about Alzheimer's disease, and began with a recently diagnosed woman "confronting a problem of the new era of Alzheimer's research: the ability to detect the disease has leapt far ahead of treatments. There are none that can stop or even significantly slow the inexorable progression to dementia and death." And the fact is, roughly half of all Americans who live to 85 will have Alzheimer's.

Those of us who believe that Alzheimer's has increased, and does have toxic connections, most likely to mercury in flu shots and fillings, to aluminum, and to who knows what else, realize what a similar story this is to autism. There's just not so much happy talk, minimization, and denial.


Also From the Editor this week:

13 deaths in four years from energy drink being investigated by FDA. Applying the same level of concern to vaccines like Gardasil? Not so much. -d.o.- Nice to see Rep. Carolyn Maloney standing right next to Nancy Pelosi today as Pelosi re-upped as Minority Leader. Let's hope we can make some progress next session. This month's hearings are a start! --d.o- If having flu while pregnant can increase the risk of autism, shouldn't the great flu pandemic after WWI have caused a lot of autism? Instead, it didn't cause any. What did? The rise of ethyl mercury compounds in the 1930s pesticides and, oh yes, vaccinations. -d.o- Support our troops by questioning why they are human pincushions for every cockamamie medical intervention the feds come up with. Anthrax, Lariam, antidepressants, stay-awake drugs, you name it ... 


Dan Olmsted is Editor of




I studied the ABC story and found the Danish study author co-authored other papers published by Pediatrics with Paul Thorsen! So this is all related and how ABC must have been told to do this story. It is all here called Flu Shots May Cause Autism


"these people, 1%, 2% of the population, give."

I am afraid it is far more than one or two percent of those "vaccinated" being harmed. IMO autism is only a horrible MARKER for the harm being done by the barbaric practice of "vaccination".

"ALL vaccines are and have been causing ischemic (impaired blood flow) damages - to all - creating a plethora of chronic illnesses, disease, and in some instances...death. The injury from vaccination is additive, each vaccination further injures.” Doctor Andrew Moulden MD, PhD

“Roughly 30-50% of the population has undiagnosed learning disabilities.[2] Almost 3 million children (ages 6 through 21) have some form of a learning disability and receive special education in school.[3] Since 1992, the percentage of students who spend 80% or more of their time in school in special education classes increased from 21% to 45%.[4] Specific learning disabilities have increased 22% over the past 25 years. In the past decade, the number of students ages 6-21 years identified with specific learning disabilities has increased by 38%.[5] In 2003, approximately 7.8% of U.S. children aged 4-17 years had ADHD diagnosed. Why?”


more likely there (pharma) think tank ..realized that preggos werent stepping up as a market to get their toxic shot, what better way than to say oh you need this shot for flu, and it probably safe guards your baby for autism,come on moms to be..your their new market..its sickening! you dont even know what their injecting into you? they say its flu could be anything! anything for a market!wake the hell up!


This study will probably lead to a harder press for pregnant women to get flu shots. But we don't vaccinate pregnant women for Rubella or the Measles because we know exposure to those viruses can cause problems in fetuses. In fact, the CDC recommends women not even get pregnant until at least 28 days after exposure to those viruses.
So, if getting the flu while pregnant increases the risk of Autism in the fetus, could getting the flu shot pose the same risk? CDC website recommends the inactived flu virus shot for pregnant women. Maybe they think because it is inactived it is safer than the live virus nasal spray? But still, the heavy metals in it would be a turnoff for me.

When I was pregnant with my only child who has autism nine years ago they didn't push flu vaccine so hard on pregnant women. The nurse mentioned it but did not give me the hard sell. Since I am soooo super sensitive to medication in general I turned it down. But if she had said it was really important I know me back then, I would have taken it without question, despite my extreme sensitivity to most medications.

I never did get the flu while pregnant, and have never had it in my life.

david burd

After the fear-mongered hype of Swine Flu in 1976 (and called off when vaccine-caused deaths and paralyses were too many to ignore), our Health Generals put into place the increasing promotion of flu vaccine shots, ever increasing to today and the ludicrous hype now seen everywhere there's a legal needle to stick into a baby.

Of course, there's Dr. Nancy Needleman-Snyderman - "just get your damn flu shot."

At the simplest level - usually closest to the truth - as flu shot promotion (and the Immunization Schedule) has risen to astounding heights so has the astounding, terrible prevalence of the Asberger/Autism Spectrum.

But, I guess that's too simple - and short circuits the $Billions that go to laughable genetics' and older father "causes."


Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Of course, that does not include the infant mortality from SIDS (which may be caused by vaccines) and it doesn't include all the people who get sick from vaccines. Medical mistakes make up the equivalent of one big jumbo jet going down every day 365 days a year. And the story goes that if this were the case in aviation, we would all be worried about flying. Yet we aren't worried about taking doctors advice or getting something like a flu shot. When in doubt, leave it out, I say. There is a very good chance we will get sick or die from something in the medical field. My guess is that most people that visit this website blame a doctor for some illness whether it was auto-immune or autism. How many of of us lament taking our kids to the doctor. Yet we still listen to these people. They have the capacity to raise doubt in the mind. I'm not saying there aren't good doctors, but the official doctor spokesmen spouting the official creed should be avoided like the plague--or plagues which they create.


I vaguely remember having the flu with one of my pregnancies, bit uncertain which one.

Does this make me a good candidate for the studies?


I distinctly remember my son stopped breathing after his 4 month vaccines, I remember his constant fevers, I remember his explosive diarrhoea,I remember his seizures, I remember his minor stroke, I remember.........

Elizabeth Gillespie


Dr. Nancy... on the same worthless Denmark study.

If you sent Dr. Nancy and Dr. Besser a telephone survey of 200 mothers from Bulgaria, (asking them questions from 15 years ago...) that concluded that one diet soda a week during pregnancy caused a doubling of the Autism rates,

....they would be calling it a "major Autism breakthrough / proven link " and sending off more CDC funds for more research.

It is somewhat beyond obscene that as thimerosal flu shots have caused many cases of Autism, Besser and Nancy are now calling for a "pregnancy flu shot" to prevent Autism.


Maybe this point was made, if so, my apologies for missing it.

someone thought they detected an association between Flue and Autism...

Wonder if it was Flue the person got AFTER receiving a flue shot?

I have an Elderly Friend who faithfully gets flue shot every year. Every year she gets sick (flue) after. Still she persists.

Point being, maybe it is an increase from yet one more vaccine.

Dan E. Burns

I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just lettin' you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road
-- Eminem, Recovery


Everything is a suspect for causing autism except the very thing that is causing it.....vaccines. When will the public catch on?


When a vaccine finally does this to someone they love.


They are working hard to confuse the public and the pregnant
mothers yet again.Notice their timing,just before vaccinations get into full gear.Keep your immune system strong,get your vitamins,antioxidants,Vitamin D,essential fatty acids(Omega369),ginger syrup,echinacea,chicken soups.
Talk to your Naturopath,Chiropractor or Homeopath.Stay strong,stay well.Be careful,scare-mongering is one of the tools they use.Above all do not listen to the idiot box(tv).

Jim Thompson

The news media has failed to read and think critically in recent reports on a Danish study. They are parading headlines like “Flu During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, Says Survey.” The referenced survey is “Autism After Infection, Febrile Episodes, and Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy: An Exploratory Study,” (2012).

The result section in the beginning of the published survey says “…our data suggest that maternal influenza infection was associated with a twofold increased risk of infantile autism, prolonged episodes of fever caused a threefold increased risk of infantile autism, and use of various antibiotics during pregnancy were potential risk factors for ASD/infantile autism.”

But then the conclusions section at the end of the report includes the admission that “Due to multiple testing, the few statistically significant findings were possible chance findings.”

So the authors seem so confident in the beginning of the report and then not so much at the end. This is possibly due to the survey’s flaws. The document is based on results from a telephone survey intended to gain information from women during the time frame of their pregnancy. However it appears to be an afterthought by the authors to mine this telephone survey data for an influenza association to autism.

The document says “There was no specific question regarding respiratory disease and influenza; when available, information on these infectious diseases was extracted from answers (text strings) to a more general question: ‘Have you had other infections?’”

So then answers to a question specifically not asked are the basis of this survey.

A partial list of other flaws could include the following:

(1) The authors don’t show the questionnaire used on the telephone so there is no way to review the interpretation of answers to questions (not designed for these statistical analyses).
(2) There is no ability for the reader to evaluate whether the questionnaire allowed verification of answers.
(3) There is no ability of the reader to determine how well the telephone interviewee actually understood the question.
(4) There is no ability of the reader to evaluate if the interviewee understood that her answers would actually be used for influenza data mining.
(5) The reliance on telephone conversations without observations in a face to face discussion also infers that the data may be highly unreliable.
(6) There is no discussion of exposure to sources of heavy metals such as lead or mercury, including diet and environmental exposure.
(7) And finally, the references are hardly controls—they are the answer “no” to an unasked question specifically in regard to influenza.

So look at these flaws from the perspective of Wikipedia’s current consensus of the Scientific Method.
“Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established (when data is sampled or compared to chance).”

And so journalistic integrity requires application of the scientific method. Otherwise headlines look suspiciously like advertisements.


We all try our hardest and the strongest of points are being brought up! Everyone says they are listening but there is never enough action taking place. I feel that we have to just keep going and keep trying our hardest. My 6 year old daughter is aware that autism exists and last night at a restaurant she whispered in my ear and said "mom, I think that little girl has autism" so I looked over and corrected her and said "no honey, she has Down syndrome." My 6 year old then said "oh right, you can't see autism, right mom?" Maybe she will be the generation who solves this puzzle but in the meantime we just have to keep being heard, whether is genetic, vaccines, born with or developed later in life. The research must be started before autism turns into a 1 in 2 scenario, is that what autism has to come to before our country decideds it absolutely SERIOUS AND NECCESSARY no matter what the cost? Lets see what they say at the hearings, because to me they need to stop looking at things like the flu and saying 2%. They need to start being realistic and looking at Autism on its own and say you have a 50/50 chance of having an autistic child.

Lincoln Wells

Let's not forget that 2% of all children is 1 in 50, and among boys it could be something like 1 in 30.

Good point about the flu epidemic - the same would hold true for EVERY year with unusually high rates of flu - we should have seen a significant increase of children born with an ASD who were in the first or second trimester during flu season. I am not aware of any such spikes

CT teacher

Everything is a suspect for causing autism except the very thing that is causing it.....vaccines. When will the public catch on?
As for Alzheimer's, I believe that it is the heart drugs that so many seniors are on that are the real culprits. I do not exonerate vaccines in this epidemic either. Most seniors get annual flu shots, shingles shots, pneumonia shots, and now they are being told to get dtap shots to protect themselves and their grandchildren from whooping cough.
Statin drugs which are supposed to protect against heart disease, which they clearly do not, are deadly to the brain.....they inhibit COQ10 which the body needs. Yet, seniors are routinely prescribed these statins and most doctors are clueless about their dangerous effects. Is it any wonder there is so much dementia among seniors?

Donna K

I made this comment to an AoA blog post on September 17, 2010, (and feel it is still relevant today):

The following study,

"Immune Responses During Pregnancy Linked To Schizophrenia Among Offspring"

looked at the immune responses of pregnant women to the flu virus and structural brain changes in the offspring that is associated with schizophrenia. There was a strong correlation between increased IL-8 responses in the mothers and offspring with brain abnormalities. It was noted that a genetic susceptability or environmental factor is also required as a co-factor in this outcome. IT WAS STRESSED THAT IT IS THE MOTHER'S IMMUNE RESPONSE TO THE INFECTION, NOT THE ACTUAL VIRUS THAT IS INFLUENCING THE OUTCOME. Though the investigator of this study appears to agree with the recommendation to vaccinate during pregnancy, I believe that support is premature, considering there is very limited research on the pro-inflammatory cytokines response (especially IL-8) to flu vaccination, and the few studies that do exist find variable responses to IL-8 post vaccination. Furthermore, I couldn't find any studies that looked specifically at the IL-8 response of pregnant women to influenza vaccination.

Jake Crosby

Richard Besser = H1N1 SCARE DOCTOR

Jeff C

Hmm, flu causes autism. Of course we all remember the huge increase in autism associated with the 1918 flu pandemic, right? No.

These guys are so transparent. They realize vaccine uptake isn't increasing as they planned, the opposite is happening. So they gin up a study that basically claims *not* getting a vaccine can lead to autism, a complete inversion of the reality reported by tens of thousands of parents.

Unfortunately, many people will take this at face value as they have never developed critical thinking capabilities. The fact that autism rates have increased 25-fold since 1970 and the disorder wasn't even noted until 1938 won't even cross their minds.

On the plus side, this change in tactics does clearly show the desperation of the pharma-medical complex. We've got them on the run.

Anne McElroy Dachel

“The actual rate of polio complications at the height of the epidemics in the 1950s was more like one in 3000, and that was more than enough to galvanize the entire medical and scientific research establishment to solve that problem.”

Dan, it’s also important to note that most victims of polio recovered to the extent that they went on to lead productive lives. An aunt of mine and a cousin both had polio and both got married, had kids, and had careers. The same won’t be said about the autism generation. If our idea of “an epidemic” comes from polio, we don’t know what we’re in for.

Anne Dachel, Media


The information from the "study" I was waiting for was how many of the mothers who remembered having the flu during pregnancy received the flu shot. As we know, getting the flu shot is no guarantee that you are not going to get the flu. Maybe, just maybe, getting the flu shot during pregnancy has some correlation to whether a child will have autism. What are the chances that we see a study like that? I'll bet zero.

Bob Moffitt

So .. according to Diane and Besser .. this breathtaking study was based upon interviewing "mothers who remembered having the flu during pregnancy .. the risk of autism doubled".

How is it that a relatively small sample of mothers who remember having the flu during pregnancy are credible subjects to base any conclusions as to the possible "cause" of autism in children .. but .. the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MOTHERS WHO SHARED THE COMMON EXPERIENCE OF WITNESSING FIRST HAND THEIR CHILD'S "REGRESSION" FOLLOWING VACCINATIONS ARE CALLOUSLY DISMISSED AS UNRELIABLE ANECDOTES?

How do these people sleep at night?

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