Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another one bites the dust

Has anyone else yet noticed that John Best Jnr's blogs have disappeared from e-blogger?

Did someone get a result there? Is this a victory against hate speech?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Study Refutes Vaccination-Autism Link Whether measles shot was alone or in combination didn't matter, researchers say

It is not my usual procedures to copy articles but this one certainly kicks the monkey study in the balls.

I cite the abstract in full:

Objective: The first objective of the study was to determine whether there is a relationship between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination and autism in children. The second objective was to examine whether the risk of autism differs between use of MMR and the single measles vaccine.

Design: Case-control study.

Study Population: The 96 cases with childhood or atypical autism, aged 2 to 15, were included into the study group. Controls consisted of 192 children individually matched to cases by year of birth, sex, and general practitioners.

Methods: Data on autism diagnosis and vaccination history were from physicians. Data on the other probable autism risk factors were collected from mothers. Logistic conditional regression was used to assess the risk of autism resulting from vaccination. Assessment was made for children vaccinated (1) Before diagnosis of autism, and (2) Before first symptoms of autism onset. Odds ratios were adjusted to mother's age, medication during pregnancy, gestation time, perinatal injury and Apgar score.

Results: For children vaccinated before diagnosis, autism risk was lower in children vaccinated with MMR than in the nonvaccinated (OR: 0.17, 95% CI: 0.06-0.52) as well as to vaccinated with single measles vaccine (OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.22-0.91). The risk for vaccinated versus nonvaccinated (independent of vaccine type) was 0.28 (95% CI: 0.10-0.76). The risk connected with being vaccinated before onset of first symptoms was significantly lower only for MMR versus single vaccine (OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.22-0.99).

Conclusions: The study provides evidence against the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nothing new under the sun DSMV

So at long last the deliberations on DSMV are out. Well it has been what some of us have been predicting and campaigning for, for some time, a little logic in the equation, a little nod to where the research is actually pointing.

Indeed there is nothing new under the sun and it does not behove me to write anything new either, this is what I am on record as having said in 2005. (from whichever way you look at it, it's still autism)

"Kanner vs. Asperger

One particular persistent “Urban Legend” viewed over the autistic horizon is that Kanner's syndrome is the paradigm of classic autism and that all other forms are variants or dilutions of this.

The later appearance of Asperger’s syndrome as a diagnosis, the arguments as to whether it justifies the same levels of intervention or services as what was formerly considered to be autism and it’s the way it reads in DSMIV as “autism lite” seems to suggest to those desire to keep autistic purity at the “severe” end of a notional linear spectrum that the manual gives substance to their argument.

However analysis does not bear this out. The debate has raged and continues to rage over as to where it fits ever since Lorna Wing mooted a wider spectrum and drew attention to Asperger’s work,. The practical suggestion of a possible syndrome named after him was not so much drawn from his work as much as to remember his hitherto forgotten contribution to the literature of autism, However that remembrance has in a sense called it into being as a separate syndrome.

The way it is described in DSMIV is a social construct borne of committee decisions and a desire to leave open the debates at the time as to whether Asperger's Syndrome exists on a Schizoid, Schizotypal axis or as a continuum and broader phenotype of autism.

Leaving aside the cultural reasons why Kanner has hitherto received more prominence and become the Grand old Man of Autism as the more senior of the two in the urban legend we have to consider certain facts.

Kanner’s and Asperger's samples were both small in consideration to the population we now know of.

Notwithstanding their common middle European heritage, subsequent geographical separation of where they ended up in practice meant that there were cultural differences which affected the way their papers were written up, and cultural factors determining both the interpretation of the behaviours described and the way those behaviours manifested themselves given the different social milieu.

If anything, what is remarkable about both of their observations, despite the two men’s later trajectories and beliefs, is that given these differences there is a remarkable degree of correlation between these two seminal research papers, enough to indicate that they were dealing with small samples of a much larger and disperse population. Indeed the global and cultural separation of the two in the 1930’s and 40’s would tend to suggest that the phenomenon they observed and described was a real and global one.

The categorisation of DSMIV and the creation of Asperger’s syndrome as a separate clinical category has merely confused matters. Gillberg is on record as stating his opinion that none of Asperger’s patients would satisfy a current diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder (DSM version) and all would come into the description of Autistic Disorder. Likewise Atwood an erstwhile populariser of Asperger’s syndrome has declared that the only difference between it and High Functioning Autism is the spelling.

Similarly a longitudinal study of Kanner’s patients would indicate they more readily describe a broader phenotype of functioning ability than those who seek to confine autism to within a strictly low functioning, non verbal paradigm for what appear to be largely political and social reasons I will elaborate later.

Finally in the descriptions in DSMIV itself Asperger’s Disorder is identical to Autistic Disorder except in that Autistic Disorder includes additional criteria for communication.

These criteria appear to have nothing to do with cognitive development, and are broad enough in my opinion to include practically everyone who currently bears the separate diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder.

The relationship of Cognitive Capacity (a term I prefer to IQ as being accurately descriptive of what IQ attempts but fails to comprehensively map) to Autism or AS is another red herring.

The criteria of Asperger’s syndrome seem specifically to have been written to exclude very low IQ, and without reference to any real knowledge of what is being described.

It is merely a sleight of hand or as Film maker Alfred Hitchcock would describe it a “McGuffin”

It is arbitrary. Asperger’s syndrome as “high IQ autism” is not borne out when one considers measured IQ’s of 70 as the starting point. I do not know a figure for my own IQ, perhaps Professor Simon Baron Cohen has that somewhere but I think it is irrelevant to understanding of what is at the core of autism in that the possession of greater or lesser cognitive capacity is not determined by the autistic traits per se, and that the existence of greater of lesser cognitive capacity does not determine anything about the autistic traits either other than ones eventual ability to mitigate their effect. Glenys Jones, from Birmingham University, for example is on record as having stated something of this sort."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Cure or enough is enough.

Well to begin with how does one conjecturalise tinnitus? a disability or an impairment or to quote one of Thomas Hardy's characters in 'a pair of blue eyes' an infernal frying of fish?

It is not as if I have not "suffered" from this phenomenon for longer than I can remember which would be well over forty years, but only recently did I assay the possibility that I could actually be rid of it.

Well no parables about Elizabeth Moon's speed of dark here, it came about because one night I was kept awake in hospital by the noise of an oxygen feed, it was actually louder than my tinnitus and at the same frequency so the "infernal frying of fish" for once actually disappeared, not that I got any sleep out of it.

Ok, there has to be some conjunction of circumstances some ontological causal trajectory inside the total perspective vortex as to how I come to be trying out a gizmo.

After over year of discomfort with what is supposed to be "benign paroxysmal positional vertigo" I was finally referred to an ENT, and during that consultation which included a hearing test that I aced, all except for a vital 4 khz in my right ear which commands this story, I mentioned my tinnitus and my recent experience.

Hitherto I have put up with it because I really have known no alternative, but I thought well give it try see what the clinic comes up with.

Well I was much surprised when a month or so later when I actually got to the tinnitus clinic that I was without hesitation given an in the ear gizmo worth about 185 GBP to try out with free batteries for life.

The theory is that the 4khz loss in my right ear is the source of it all, in that having lost that frequency (a cap gun was fired in my ear during childhood) the brain has missed that frequency and turned the gain up to the extent that I have become my own noise generator.

So like a crazed and desperate curebie clutching at straws for relief from the inevitable, I am giving it a try though I don't have a lot of hope. It is more in the spirit of Thomas Hardy again, where he talks in a poem of the Oxen Kneeling at Christmas.

"So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so."

I shan't be disappointed if nothing comes of it, I am a cynic, some things are not meant to be.