Sharyl Attkisson puts the BS in CBS

According to CBS reporter Sheryl Attkisson’s piece Vaccines and autism: a new scientific review:

For all those who’ve declared the autism-vaccine debate over – a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism.

The best comment so far, offered by autismnewsbe, which is probably Autism News Beat, the website that debunks anti-vax propaganda:

Attkisson puts the BS in CBS.

That’s because Attkisson has utterly misrepresented the review itself and the conclusions that it draws.

The paper in question is Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes-A review by Helen V. Ratajczak, published in the current issue of The Journal of Immunotoxicology. As the title indicates, Ratajczak reviews the plethora of theories on the the cause of autism. The review contains NO data, because it isn’t reviewing the scientific evidence, merely the theories themselves.

This point is forcefully made by Dr. Brian Strom, who has served on Institute of Medicine panels advising the government on vaccine safety:

… [T]he prevailing medical opinion is that vaccines are scientifically linked to encephalopathy (brain damage), but not scientifically linked to autism. As for Ratajczak’s review, he told us he doesn’t find it remarkable. “This is a review of theories. Science is based on facts. To draw conclusions on effects of an exposure on people, you need data on people. The data on people do not support that there is a relationship. As such, any speculation about an explanation for a (non-existing) relationship is irrelevant.”

In fact, Ratajczak herself acknowledges this in the conclusion to the paper:

Autism has been documented to be caused by genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain. The inflammation could be caused by a wide variety of environmental toxicants, infections and co-morbidities in individuals genetically prone to the developmental disorder. (emphasis mine)

There are three important points to glean from Ratajczak’s conclusion:

1. The paper itself is a collection of the UNPROVEN musings of a variety of people over several decades.

2. Autism has a documented genetic basis.

3. Ratajczak could find no proof for ANY of the theories that she reviewed.

Contrary to Attkisson’s “BS,” this doesn’t reopen the debate, it merely reviews it and acknowledges that there is no proof for ANY anti-vax theory.