Lawyer, graduate physicist, former examining lecturer in law London University
response to journal:
HOW TO FIND NO MMR LINK - EXCLUDE ALL CASES FROM THE STUDY
Regrettably, this study "MMR vaccine and Crohn's disease: ecological study of hospital admissions in England, 1991 to 2002"  like the others seeking to cast doubt on the causal link between MMR, autism and related disorders seems self-confounding based on a deeply flawed method and possibibly limited understanding of the subject-matter under study.
The author, Valerie Seagroatt, statistician states:-
"I restricted the analysis to emergency admissions as these were probably less susceptible to changes in thresholds for admission and clinical practice than elective admissions."
This method pretty much guarantees that data relating to any ASD child, including PDD diagnosed child with Crohn's disease was not included in the study. The likelihood of anything for any of these children being diagnosed during an emergency admission is less than that of a somewhat small snowflake in a somewhat much larger hell fire. It can take four people to hold some of these children down just to take a blood test. The one problem parents of these children have had is that they have not been able to get proper diagnoses of their childrens' ailments. The failure of paediatric medicine and the NHS in this context is a common cause of complaint. Many complain they can get no treatment of any kind from the NHS for their children and that is particularly for those children with the most distressing disintegrative disorders.
In the circumstances the statement that emergency admissions 'were probably less susceptible to changes in thresholds for admission and clinical practice' has to be questioned. On what science is such an assumption based? Where are the references. How was this assumption validated?
Most importantly, why was this assumption made in the first place when anyone familiar with the issues over MMR caused autism-like and other conditions would know immediately it was invalid.
This new paper is a good example of why it is necessary to be wary of people stepping outside their usual areas of expertise to hold forth on topics which may not be as close to their fields as might be desirable. This paper is also an example of why 'peer review' is of extremely limited value. In fact 'peer review' only occurs after publication and in other disciplines the process is referred to as referreeing and not peer reviewing.
This paper was published at 11pm Thursday night 12th May. It has lasted just 9 hours and 24 minutes, during 8 hours of which I was sleeping and during another one hour 20 minutes of which I was still not aware of the existence of this paper.
If I am wrong, I will be pleased to be corrected. However, if I am right, does this qualify for the Guiness World of Records as the shortest time any statistical paper has lasted following publication?
1] MMR vaccine and Crohn's disease: ecological study of hospital admissions in England, 1991 to 2002 Valerie Seagroatt, statistician1
Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
Competing interests: None declared