Thursday, May 11, 2006

Real Downward Trends in Thimerosal-Autism Web Traffic Following Removal of Thimerosal from Vaccines

Background. According to the FDA, “since 2001, all vaccines manufactured for the U.S. market and routinely recommended for children < 6 years of age have contained no thimerosal or only trace amounts (< 1 microgram of mercury per dose remaining from the manufacturing process), with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine.” It should be noted that influenza vaccination is voluntary. The incidence of autism has failed to drop as a result of removal of thimerosal from vaccines, despite erroneous claims to the contrary. We are not aware of any studies (or science blogs) that have attempted to determine if removal of thimerosal has had an effect in the popularity of the thimerosal hypothesis of autism instead. (Drops in VAERS reporting have been noted, however).

Methods. Three groups of websites were compared using Alexa.com web traffic data. Group 1 (the control group) consisted of 3 top autism websites found through a Google search on the search phrase “autism” and verification of reach through Alexa.com. Group 2 consisted of 3 autism websites well-known for their focus on neurodiversity and/or acceptance. Group 3 consisted of 3 autism websites well-known for their focus on the thimerosal hypothesis.

Results. The following tables summarize our findings. Data was obtained on 05/10/2006. Reach refers to number of unique visitors. Total reach change is calculated as a weighed average.

Table 1: Traffic trends of top "autism" sites.
Website3-month Reach Per Million3-month Reach Change
autism-society.org11+49%
autism.org8.15+46%
autismwebsite.com5.5+26%
Totals24.65+42.88%


Table 2: Traffic trends of top neurodiversity/acceptance sites.
Website3-month Reach Per Million3-month Reach Change
kevinleitch.co.uk27+69%
neurodiversity.com8.1+391%
autistics.org4.95+111%
Totals40.05+139.31%


Table 3: Traffic trends of top autism sites that promote the thimerosal hypothesis.
Website3-month Reach Per Million3-month Reach Change
generationrescue.org1.2-8%
safeminds.org0.05-86%
evidenceofharm.com0.05-80%
Totals1.3-13.77%


Conclusions. Thimerosal-autism web traffic is quickly imploding into oblivion, whereas autism acceptance traffic is clearly thriving. A surprising finding is that top neurodiversity related sites currently have more web presence, in average, than top autism sites that can be easily found by typing “autism” in Google. And the gap will continue to widen. Kevin Leitch is credited with driving most of the current traffic. The largest portion of traffic growth is currently experienced by Neurodiversity.com. This is indicative of a rapid paradigm shift away from the disease construct of autism. Researchers and the media would do well to take note of this. We also found that Autism-hub.co.uk has a reach of 11 with a 3-month reach change of +4,300%, but we have excluded it from the analysis because it’s a new website. We were unable to verify a prior claim by Handley that neurodiversity parents are “the minority of a minority of a minority”. Best Jr. had previously asked “How many parents do you think are that stoned that they would buy into something so absurd?” Evidently, many do, without being “stoned”. We further hypothesize that “Rescue Angel” Best Jr. has inadvertently contributed to the collapse of the thimerosal-autism worldview with his many writings. Geier & Geier (2006) attempted to argue that a correlation between autism incidence and thimerosal existed after removal of the same. Unfortunately, several fatal errors were pointed out to Geier & Geier, who subsequently requested data from California DDS to see if they could still substantiate their findings. They later backed down for reasons we can only speculate about. Shattuck (2006) was published shortly afterwards, showing that a good portion of the increase in diagnoses of autism can be attributed to diagnostic substitution. A prior paper by Geier & Geier on the link between thimerosal dose per child and autism prevalence has been shown to have unusual flaws. Geier & Geier are also known for their promotion of a chemical castration agent as a treatment for autism. In addition to this, a full retraction from David Kirby is expected by early 2007. Not surprisingly, the web presence of Evidenceofharm.com has all but disappeared. As we write this, the Amazon.com sales rank of “Evidence of Harm” is in free fall, dropping at a rate of 7-29% every day. A much publicized new website by Handley, Putchildrenfirst.org, was already noted by Abfh to be “less popular than vampire hobbit porn”. It is clear that the main proponents of the thimerosal hypothesis must be well aware of the rapid collapse of their promoted worldview.

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link and for your comment on my blog, Joseph!

    I'm not so sure the anti-thimerosal cultists are aware of their rapid collapse. They may be living in such total denial of reality that it hasn't yet dawned on them.

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  2. and now we will do the happy dance!!!

    Neurodiversity rocks!

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  3. It is clear that the main proponents of the thimerosal hypothesis must be well aware of the rapid collapse of their promoted worldview.

    Oh yeah, they are aware. Why do you think they are quitely moving away from thimerosal over to the broader 'vaccines in general' stance?

    Even JB Handley, "All autism is misdiagnosed mercury poisoning", is talking about vaccinated vs unvaccinated now.

    Anyone seen the goal posts? I thought they were right over there but now....oh there they are.....no...oh... over here? [____]

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  4. NM: That's right. It's either going to be the viruses in vaccines, or there's going to be a move towards environmental mercury as the culprit. The latter makes more sense logically, as there are regional differences in the administrative prevalence of autism, and some rough correlation with urbanization can be noted. However, I get the feeling that it's harder to sue someone for environmental pollution.

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  5. Hi not mercury and Joseph
    Honestly, I think that vaccines and the crowded schedule impact in genetically susceptible children really is of concern and for me deserves more study. There are a lot of published papers about the importance of pharmacovigilance of vaccines and the lack of information of impact in altered biochemistry.
    As you know, for me, thimerosal is only one of a long long list.
    María Luján

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  6. María,

    I get you. But there should be at least a tiny drop in the incidence. There was a small short-lived drop in true new cases in CDDS 2003. This is known to be because of a law change crafted especifically to depress autism caseload growth. I hope the MIND Institute is looking specifically at this. If they find, for example, that the small drop corresponds to a small increase in average autism severity of "newly reported" clients, that would be a pretty good case that the only thing that drives incidence increases and drops is criteria.

    Another point is that caseload is still growing rapidly today. What is the new theory that explains this? Previously it was increase in the dose of thimerosal. We're not just taking about a prevalence that is stable. It's growing. What causes this?

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  7. Hi Joseph
    I understand your point. I have never told to have THE ANSWERS, but I think that a coherent explanation can be obtained in this line of thinking. Please let me analyze for a while with some research first and further reading to present you why environmental insult can be part of. As you have seen I do not like theories that are changed and changed - and I always have Bohr theory in mind because of ALL the corrections it had before Schroedinger, trying to fit the unfited with the theory. I have tried to construct an idea enough based on research- but needed to be proven because not enough data- and enough strong to provide at least some coherent explanations at an individual level, supported by clinical data. María Luján

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  8. Hi Joseph
    I propose you the following. This is the web page of CDC about changes in schedule
    http://www.cdc.gov/nip/
    publications/
    mmwrpubs.htm#3
    Considering all the changes and introduction of vaccines I introduced in the graphs of yours about Autism population and Autism with no MR the years with changes in the schedule. I did the same with some graphs of Jonathan´s blogs. I have found some points to discuss. I am not confounding association with causation, but the trend deserves consideration for me.
    I will return on weekend.
    María Luján

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  9. "But there should be at least a tiny drop in the incidence."

    Actually, if JB Handley was correct that "autism is a misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning," then there should have been a very large, unmissable drop in incidence by now.

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  10. "Oh yeah, they are aware. Why do you think they are quitely moving away from thimerosal over to the broader 'vaccines in general' stance?"

    Yes, I predicted this several months ago. My next prediction is that aluminum will be the next bogeyman in vaccines that these people go after. After all, if there's been a postulation that aluminum exposure might be linked to Alzheimer's, why not autism? After all, despite all their differences, they're both neurologic conditions, right? (Yes, that's sarcasm.)

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  11. Does this mean Not Mercury will have to change his name to Not Aluminum? :)

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  12. It is no surpise that the neurodiverse crowd believes, because they spend all their time in blog land, that the ridiculous statistics cited in this article are somwhow proff that those of us who believe mercury caused our children's autism are going away.

    You are comparing blogs to static websites, and then crowing about the difference in traffic?

    When I'm posting on a blog, I may access it 30 times in one day, but I only needed to go to putchildrenfirst one time to see the truth there. Comparing the 2 is deceptive, and anyone with half a brain knows that.

    Further, if you are really winning the war, why is the media filled with so many more stories per day explaining the vaccine-mercury link?

    What are Don Imus, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Bob Wright all joining this fight?

    The reason parents of autistic kids who don't treat their kids biomedically are winning the blog war is because they actually have time to blog, they could be using that time to recover their kids.

    You guys remind me of the computer geeks in high school, seeking to boost your self-esteem by measuring yourself on the only yardstick that actually shows you are ahead.

    Well, I have to get back to my recovering kids, keep up the great blogging.

    Texas Cowgirl, thinking you are quite pathetic.

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  13. Anonymous,

    The trends are what's telling, not the traffic in itself, although the traffic is clearly quite pathetic, and going down. Other non-blog non-thimerosal autism sites are not on the decline like this.

    Neurodiversity unique visitors are on a fast upward trend. This cannot be explained just because "they are blogs".

    The trend is what it is, and you're gonna have to face facts sooner or later.

    Traffic statistics is not why we know that thimerosal doesn't cause autism, BTW. The fact is that thimerosal has been removed in several countries, and not one country, ever, has reported decreased rates of autism.

    There are those who claim that rates are going down in California, but they do so because they don't understand incidence and prevalence. They substract population sizes over time, and think that's "new cases". This error was pointed out to Geier & Geier, who requested data on true "new cases" from CDDS only to later back down. Why is that? If you're willing to argue science, please explain why Geier & Geier (2004) should be considered valid, just to take one example.

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  14. Well, I have to get back to my recovering kids, keep up the great blogging.

    Recovering them? Are they lost or in need of new upholstery?

    Why do so many parents describe what they are doing in the present tense?
    It seems to me there would be countless parents with all of the free time in the world to blog about their successful attempts to cure their children of autism, and they would use words like recovered instead of recovering.

    Thinking is never pathetic, Texas Cowgirl.

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  15. "Further, if you are really winning the war, why is the media filled with so many more stories per day explaining the vaccine-mercury link?"

    The mercury militia don't blog, its true. What they do is engage media firms such as Fenton Communications to reach the media. Do you seriously think that blogging takes up more time than arranging all that stuff? Get a grip.

    "What are Don Imus, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Bob Wright all joining this fight?"

    I couldn't possibly care less. Autism research needs science, not media types or fair-weather friend politicians.

    "The reason parents of autistic kids who don't treat their kids biomedically are winning the blog war is because they actually have time to blog, they could be using that time to recover their kids."

    Or maybe we just enjoy spending time with our kids where we're not pumping them full of the latest quackery and blog about what's important in our spare time?

    "You guys remind me of the computer geeks in high school, seeking to boost your self-esteem by measuring yourself on the only yardstick that actually shows you are ahead."

    Whereas your measure of success is how many 'celebrities' you've signed up? Well done genius.

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  16. Texas Cowgirl sounds a lot like JB Jr., doesn't she? I'm thinking she could be a "Rescue Angel" with all the "recovering" talk. I wonder. Of the half a million kids diagnosed with autism in the U.S. how many has GR been able to fully "recover"? I don't mean the handful of testimonials on their site where kids are said to be "improving" (as if autistic kids never develop unless chelated). How many are truly and completely recovered by GR?

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  17. The mercury militia don't blog, its true. What they do is engage media firms such as Fenton Communications to reach the media.

    Another interesting comparison might be how much the curebie movements spend on advertisement vs. how much neurodiversity spends. The lesson is that, whatever is spent, most people are not stupid. They will eventually go over to the side that is keen on reason, sound science, healthy skepticism, and respect for human differences. They will not want to be associated with the likes of JB Jr. As to political celebrities, they might be under the mistaken impression that mercury poisoning is where public opinion is at. A reality check might be in order for them.

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  18. For the last few years, we've been waiting for the "smoking gun" from the mercury-autism movement. None has came. Instead, every time they see a study that doesn't support their hypothesis the best they can usually do is throw out some ad hominem attacks on the authors. And if a study even remotely supports their worldview, it's hailed as "groundbreaking".

    SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, et al., are desperate. They're going to be at a point where they need to put up credible evidence in court to support their claims and they don't have it. So now the full-on media and political blitz is coming, funded by true believers like J.B. "really, I don't have a financial stake in this" Handley.

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  19. Joe;
    Tara stopped the comments at Aetiology so I'll answer you here.
    Wing may have guessed 4 to 5 in 10,000. Others said 1 in 10,000 so he was probably wrong anyhow.
    If there were only 5 cases in Illinois with a large population, you wouldn't expect to find many in NH with less than a million people in 1992.
    I suppose the fragile X that used to be diagnosed as autism is probably less than 1 in a million or you might have found one in NH.
    BTW, since "sick of it all" was referring people here, maybe you could tell us who played that role?

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  20. Joe;
    I checked the Hating Autism stat's at Alexa. The 3 month reach was 5.2 per million which was better than autistics.org and the percentage increase was 2,500%. Is that good or not?
    That 2,500% increase must mean the neurodiverse are converting to common sense from reading my words.

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  21. Yes, that's correct John. Should you brag about it? No. Your blog is really an anti-Neurodiversity blog, not a thimerosal theory blog. Try arguing the thimerosal theory and let's see how you do in a month. Most of your visitors are Neurodiversity bloggers like anonymouse and others. It's also a new site, like autism-hub.co.uk, which naturally also has a huge upward trend. I actually got bored of your blog already and I'm sure others will too. Soon it will have close to no traffic, I promise.

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  22. Wing may have guessed 4 to 5 in 10,000. Others said 1 in 10,000 so he was probably wrong anyhow.
    If there were only 5 cases in Illinois with a large population, you wouldn't expect to find many in NH with less than a million people in 1992.


    Wing looked at epidemiological studies, so it was not a "guess". GR claims 1 in 10,000. Any idea where that number comes from?

    If 4 in 10,000 is correct you'd expect to find about 1000 Kanner autistic children in Illinois in 1992. This is why 5 is impossible for ASD.

    BTW, since "sick of it all" was referring people here, maybe you could tell us who played that role?

    I do happen to know who it was, but clearly the poster preferred to remain anonymous, so I'll respect that.

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  23. Joe;
    Since there were only 5, the 4 in 10,000 must've been incorrect.
    Those numbers would mean there had to be about 400 in NH. Since we know there were zero and the train wrecks couldn't have been missed, I conclude that Wing was wrong.

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  24. That's hilarious. So epidemiological studies were wrong. Special education numbers, where autism was not even a counted category, must have been right.

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  25. Joe;
    There wasn't any autism to count. It would be like Barbaro counting losses.

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  26. Hi Joseph, i am still trying to find out the rates of DTP vaccination from 1970 to 1986 and have not really been able to do it. But I get the impression there were not really low rates of vaccination around 1970 because the incidence of persussis seems like it was pretty low back then if this is the case those who believe thimerosal causes autism would have to explain why the prevalance of autism according to 2003 california report was more than double for birth year 1986 than birth year 1970. and DTP was only thimerosal containing vaccination in US prior to 1988 so i don't think mark geier was correct that the explanation for this was greatly increased uptake of DTP vaccinations between 1970 and 1986, i am still trying to find some hard data on the actual rates though. He also told me that the number of shots increased from an average of 3 to an average of 5 but i know they never gave more than 3 after age one. Of course i already know what your opinion is of geier's credibility. and Sallie Bernard of Safe Minds just claims that because of laws mandating vaccination this caused vaccination rates to increase.

    If vaccination rates did not increase during this period this is certainly a more compelling argument that thimerosal does not cause autism than any other i have ever heard.

    This means that the anti-mercury crowd will have to find a "hidden horde" of people who had pertussis in the early 1970s, since, if i am not mistaken since while autism prevalance doubled between people born in 1970 and 1986 there would have to have been a corresponding decrease in pertussis of a much greater magnitude

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