Sunday, December 11, 2005

Autism Epidemic Revisited

I am ambivalent about writing an post, since there has been so much blogbuzz on the topic.  Much of the controversy has to do with two things: the notion that the incidence of autism is increasing, and the notion that mercury in vaccines has contributed to the increased incidence of the disorder.  The mercury issue has been pretty well hashed out by Orac, Paul, Skeptico, Autism Diva, and others...too numerous to count.  The "autism epidemic," likewise, had led to an epidemic of writing -- most of it bad.  A Google search on "autism epidemic" (with the quotes) turns up over 66,000 hits.  

And now I've come across another one.  It isn't new.  It was published in July 2005 on Medscape.  (Medscape articles require registration, which is free.  It is a bit of a nuisance, but Medscape is a pretty good resource, so it is worth the trouble.)  I mention this article because it may be one of the better articles on the question of whether the incidence of autism is increasing.  Furthermore, it illustrates some good general points about one of my favorite topics: .  In this post, I take a look at what is known about the controversy over the increase in reported rates of autism, then use that as a example to illustrate some points about critical thinking and skeptical thinking.  Continue reading at The Rest of the Story.