To readers who are curious why this article would appear in Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, recall that this is the same journal that has published (thoroughly debunked) articles on autism causation by Mark Geier (four, by my count), and James Adams (two). Clearly, someone on the editorial board of this journal has a “soft spot” for autism research that wouldn’t get published anywhere else.
Getting back to DeLong (2011) – the premise of Dr. DeLong’s study is that the increase in vaccination, specifically the hepatitis B vaccine, has been associated with a corresponding rise in autism diagnosis (from IDEA data). Curiously, Dr. DeLong doesn’t explicitly mention that her study is looking at the impact of the hepatitis B vaccine, although the rise in vaccination rate she follows is due to the addition of infant hepatitis B vaccination to the recommended schedule. Figure 1 clearly shows that, in the period 1995 – 2001 (the period Dr. DeLong covers), the US uptake of DPT, polio, measles and Haemophilus influenzae B (HiB) vaccine (the line marked 4:3:1:3) were relatively constant, while the hepatitis B vaccine coverage (included in the line marked 4:3:1:3:3) showed an increase during that period. I have taken the liberty of showing the data on vaccine uptake after 2001 to show the later trend.
This ‘blog aspires to be a science-based alternative to the dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of fantasy-based ‘blogs about the cause(s) and treatment(s) of autism. Along the way, it will also include occasional posts about critical thinking and how to read and interpret the scientific literature.