Focus Autism releases their findings of a possible reduction in the sample size of a major 2003 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This sample size reduction negates statistically significant findings from the study.
Watchung, NJ (PRWEB) August 19, 2014
A top research scientist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping Dr. Brian Hooker of the Focus Autism Foundation uncover data manipulation by the CDC that obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys. The whistleblower came to the attention of Hooker, a PhD in biochemical engineering, after he had made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on the DeStefano et al MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism study.
Dr. Hooker has viewed highly sensitive documents related to the study via Congressional request from U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Dr. Hooker’s study, published August 8 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Translational Neurodegeneration, shows that African-American boys receiving their first MMR vaccine before 36 months of age were 3.4 times more likely to develop autism vs. after 36 months.
In the study, Dr. Hooker notes how a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys has not yet been made public by CDC researchers.
According to Dr. Hooker, the CDC whistleblower informant — who wishes to remain anonymous — guided him to evidence that a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys was hidden by CDC researchers. Data was gathered on 2,583 children living in Atlanta, Georgia who were born between 1986 and 1993. However, CDC researchers did not include any children that did not have a valid State of Georgia birth certificate – reducing the study’s sample size by 41% . Dr. Hooker explains that by introducing this discretionary criteria into the analysis, the cohort size was sharply reduced, eliminating what would have been a higher statistical finding. This minimized the strong MMR-autism link in African American boys. When asked if there could be any scientific basis for excluding children born outside of Georgia, Dr. Hooker responded, “I know of none, and none has been provided by the authors of the DeStefano study.”
The results of the original CDC study first appeared in the journal Pediatrics, which receives financial support from vaccine makers through advertising and direct donations, according to a CBS News report. The DeStefano et al study is widely used by the CDC and other public health organizations to support a claim that there is no link between vaccines and autism – a neurological disorder on the rise among children.
Dr. Hooker states, “Based on the scientific findings, the CDC failed to report the relationship between the age of first MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African-American boys as early as 2003. This data is important and would allow the public to make decisions based on full disclosure of vaccine risks.”
Dr. Hooker concludes that further study is needed to determine why this specific effect (3.4-fold increase when MMR is administered prior to 36 months) is seen exclusively in African-American males, and determine whether delaying the first MMR vaccination should be advised for this population. A link between vaccines (including the MMR) and autism has been acknowledged in cases compensated by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
According to David Lewis, Ph.D., former senior-level microbiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research & Development, skewing scientific data to support government policies should be considered a major problem at federal agencies, including EPA, CDC, and USDA. Lewis, who was terminated by EPA after publishing papers in Nature that questioned the science the agency used to support certain regulations, believes top-down pressure on federal scientists and researchers working on government-funded projects in academia jeopardizes public health.
“I’ve found working for the government is no different than working for corporations. You either toe the line or find yourself looking for another way to make a living,” Lewis says. “No one would be surprised if Merck published unreliable data supporting the safety of its products. Why would anyone be surprised that the CDC or any agency would publish skewed data to conclude that the vaccines it recommends are safe? Scientists need a better system, where scientists are free to be honest.” Accordingly, Focus Autism suggests that the CDC be held accountable to release all vaccine safety data in order to allow for independent, unbiased analysis.
The Focus Autism Foundation is dedicated to providing information to the public that exposes the cause or causes of the autism epidemic and the rise of chronic illness — focusing on the role of vaccinations.
See the published press release
See Dr. Brian Hooker’s full paper