Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Washington Post Omits Historic Date, Important Information, From Autism Key Dates List

The Washington Post has published a list of Some Key Dates in Autism History. The list has an important omission and is inaccurate or misleading on some controversial assertions. The article also repeats, without qualification, some oft repeated official positions that are not entirely accurate or are subject to serious dispute.

1) 1987 Lovaas Study On Effectiveness of ABA

article, by Brittney Johnson, makes no mention of the publication in 1987 of the Lovaas study indicating that 90% of children substantially improved when utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis, compared to a control group with close to half attaining normal IQ and testing within the normal range on adaptive and social skills.

2) Alleged Thimerosal Removal

2000 In response to broad government concerns, vaccine makers remove thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, from all routinely given childhood vaccines.

That statement is not entirely accurate. As stated by Dr. Robert Schecter, lead author of the recent California epidemiological study on rising autism incidence:

"Autism rates increased consistently ... throughout this period, despite the exclusion of mercury from nearly all childhood vaccines,"[Bold highlighting added -HLD]

As for Haley's argument that some children still might be getting some mercury from vaccines, Schechter said that could be true.

"I would not claim that children are getting no mercury from vaccines," Schechter said."

- Lexington Herald Leader, February 4, 2008

3) 2004 IOM Report - No credible evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism . . . or between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

2004: The Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on scientific matters, finds no credible evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism . . . or between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

The 2004 IOM report and the processes used in preparing it have been criticized; including recently by former NIH Head Dr. Bernadine Healy who stated that the IOM expressly discouraged research and investigation of a possible vaccine/thimerosal link to autism and that the IOM report authors did so because of fear of vaccination rejection by the general population. Dr. Healy's contentions appear to be supported by some of the IOM report statements at page 152.

4) Autism Spike

2007: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports autism affects 1 in 150 children. Medical experts say the changed number reflects better detection, broader diagnostic criteria and increased public awareness -- not a spike in the disease.

Some medical experts attribute the spike entirely to diagnostic criteria change and increased public awareness ...... and some do not. Research is continuing into possible environmental causes of autism and their potential contribution to current rates of autism diagnosis.

5) Bettelheim's Refrigerator Mother Theory

1971: Eminent psychologist Bruno Bettelheim promotes the "refrigerator mother" theory, which holds that "cold," unurturing parents, especially moms, are to blame for autism.

The article describes Bettelheim as an eminent psychologist and makes no mention of the fact that his "theory" is totally discredited today .... or to the harm that it caused to families.

All in all, a less than sterling effort by Brittney Johnson and the Washington Post.


Anonymous said...

Great job researching and posting this. I think the WP should be giving you some of Ms Johnson's paycheck. No surprise the WP did not fact check more. They and the NYT mingle fiction with nonfiction.


Teresa Conrick

Unknown said...

Thank you Teresa.

I am generally disappointed with MSM coverage of autism and autism issues.