LATimes on the autism “epidemic”: “more a surge in diagnosis than in disease”

I haven’t had time to fine-tooth comb this long, Los Angeles Times piece on rising rates of autism, but this:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 1% of children across the country have some form of autism — 20 times the prevailing figure in the 1980s. The increase has stirred fears of an epidemic and mobilized researchers to figure out what causes the brain disorder and why it appears to be affecting so many more children. Two decades into the boom, however, the balance of evidence suggests that it is more a surge in diagnosis than in disease.

is clearly the takeaway. My research for The Panic Virus led me to conclude that the situation isn’t this clear-cut — that some significant portion, but not all, of the increase in cases is the result of changing diagnostic criteria/awareness…but I won’t have time to really go through this until tonight (or possibly early tomorrow).

Of course, the mere existence of this story will also be taken as evidence that the Times is, along with NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, Ben Goldacre, the British Medical Journal, myself, and countless others, part of the vast conspiracy trying to cover up the “truth” about the rise in autism and its causal connection to vaccines…

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