Part D - The USA
14. Autism In The USA
- DoH fond of saying how MMR is used safely in 32 countries, inc USA. But USA has clear
evidence of autism epidemic. Other countries may also be becoming aware of increases
(further details welcomed), including Finland (400% increase in cases since MMR
- US has IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Picks up numbers of
schoolchildren with developmental problems. Autistic pupils up from 12,222 to 53,561
between 1992-3 and 1998-9 (Source: US State data). So for every 2 cases in 1993, by
1999 there were nearly 9. Numbers will have risen since.
- Huge increases in some States - up 421% in Connecticut, 509% in Indiana, 663% in Iowa,
933% in Michigan, 548% in Pennsylvania, all in just six years (Source: US State data)
- Also very interesting that individual towns eg Round Rock Texas up from 6 to 115 in 8
years - just like Wakefield Local Education Authority in UK (up from 5 to 111 in seven
years). So suggests UK increases may very closely match USA.
- Latest California increases (State with best database) showed autism up 19% in 1999 and
up nearly 16% in 2000
- Brick Township (New Jersey) "autism cluster". Some 40 of Brick Townships
6,000 3-10 year olds have autistic spectrum disorder. It has made Brick Township the
"autism capital of the USA" - but note, East Surrey rates in UK are higher
still. Federal investigators collected data on surface and ground water, sites of
industrial spillages and waste dumping, and ensured that there had been correct diagnosis.
They found nothing.
- US clearly has autism epidemic. US similar to UK, so reasonable to conclude UK probably
has epidemic, too, but just hasnt yet woken up to it.
- Dr Bernard Rimland, Autism Research Institute, US: "Some supposed experts will
tell you that the increase reflects only greater awareness. That is nonsense. Any
paediatrician, teacher or school official with 20 years experience will confirm there is a
real increase, and the numbers are huge and growing". (Source: Dr Bernard
Rimland, ARI, 4182 Adams Avenue, San Diego, California CA 92116)
- California has the best data in the world, going back about 25 years, so trends
there have a worldwide significance.
- Latest California State Department of Developmental Services data shows 566 new cases
(all children age under 10) with professionally-diagnosed DSM-IV criteria autism, entering
the State system in the previous quarter-year.
- This does not include children with persistent developmental disorder, non-specific
(NOS) developmental delays, Aspergers or and other autistic spectrum disorder - it
is therefore the tightest definition of the severe-case numbers.
- The 556 cases for the last quarter of 2000 compares with 667 cases for the entire year
- It took 25 years from the establishment of the State developmental services system in
1969, to 1994, to reach a total of the first 5,100. Yet the second 5,100 was reached in
just five years. In 1999, 200 and the first half of 2001, a further 5,100 cases will be
added. So this third cohort of 5,100 cases will have taken just two and a half years.
- This will represent a 1000%+ increase in twenty years, and excludes all cases other
than full-blown DSM-IV diagnosis.
- Originally, autism accounted for three per cent of the State systems overall
caseload. It now accounts for between 30% and 34% of the caseload.
Part E - Inconclusive
"Evidence" Against There Being An MMR/Autism Link
MMR and Late-Onset Autism -(Autistic Enterocolitis) - A
Briefing Note by David Thrower