Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

Lindsay is currently doing a series of posts on the recent autism hearings in the US Congress. As you might expect from a hearing conducted by anti–science wingnuts, it quickly (as in opening statements) reached the completely discredited and absolutely refuted claim that vaccines (especially the MMR [measles–mumps–rubella]) cause autism.

I’m not going to re–debunk the claim that vaccines cause autism; others have already done that. And I don’t have much to add to what Lindsay is and will be saying. I’ll instead just draw your attention to this study. (Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination – United States, 2001-2010, authored by Berger, Navar-Boggan, and Omer) Although not particularly recent,it is still important to read. Quoting the freely–licensed abstract (my emphasis):

Background
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is associated with several negative outcomes, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The objective of this study was to estimate the numbers of CRS and ASD cases prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States from 2001 through 2010.

Methods
Prevention estimates were calculated through simple mathematical modeling, with values of model parameters determined from published literature. Model parameters included pre-vaccine era CRS incidence, vaccine era CRS incidence, the number of live births per year, and the percentage of CRS cases presenting with an ASD.

Results
Based on our estimates, 16,600 CRS cases (range: 8300-62,250) were prevented by rubella vaccination from 2001 through 2010 in the United States. An estimated 1228 ASD cases were prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States during this time period. Simulating a slight expansion in ASD diagnostic criteria in recent decades, we estimate that a minimum of 830 ASD cases and a maximum of 6225 ASD cases were prevented.

Conclusions
We estimate that rubella vaccination prevented substantial numbers of CRS and ASD cases in the United States from 2001 through 2010. These findings provide additional incentive to maintain high measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage.

And another irony meter bites the dust. Far from causing autism, the MMR vaccine actually prevents it.

Comments on: "A study all anti–vaxxers should read, but that I know they won’t" (2)

  1. The unfortunate thing about conspiracy theories — and the anti-vax movement is based in conspiracy theory — is that any evidence that would disprove the conspiracy is incorporated into the conspiracy theory as evidence of a deeper conspiracy! So, you know, a study like this, surely backed by Big Pharma. Etc. etc.

    By the way, I’m going to have to be a Scrooge for a second and say that the “snow” feature makes this page mildly more difficult to read and is pretty annoying (the snow obscures the text and the webpage is constantly resizing for whatever reason). Bah, humbug, etc.

    • Exactly. The antivax movement is definitely a conspiracy theory and an attack on reality.

      The snow goes away a few days into January.

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