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Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:54 am

Im doing coursework on whether or not the MMR Jab causes autism and I was wondering if anyone had any information on how autism became well known , what year it came into the media ect

note that I have enough information on its connection with MMR i need more about the basics or Autism.[

Thank you

Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:15 pm

I'd write about "dr" andrew wakefields frauded research

Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:29 pm

I think that you should read 'Autism: Explaining the Enigma' by Professor Uta Frith. In the opening chapters she discusses how autism became well known, with reference to several fascinating case studies of historical figures with pronounced autistic symptoms. Her earliest case study comes from the fourteenth century.

I think that you should talk about how the media has distorted the issue by talking about an 'autism epidemic'. Note that Hans Asperger's pioneering paper did not have any international impact as a result of the Second World War, and that the syndrome remained quietly unknown even in Germany itself as a result of the chaos that followed the Armistice. The paper was only translated into English from the original German in the 1980s, and it naturally took a while for the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome to become current. The rumours of the 'autism epidemic' that are bruited about in the popular press don't take this into account - the rate of diagnosis has increased significantly over the past decade or so, but that doesn't mean that there has been any change in the incidence of autism itself. It is also worth noting that a lot of profoundly autistic people were simply labelled as mentally retarded or learning disabled in the past, with only the most thorough specialists probing into the exact nature of their condition. Diagnostic assessments tend to be more rigorous now, although they still leave a lot to be desired.

Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:44 pm

Dr Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" has a chapter on how the media distorted the situation and came up with the MMR thing and, as Vicky says, the "autism epedemic".
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