From DB's Medical Rants: an article in the NY times about Autism and vaccines.

The article is well written, and provides an overview of the issue of Thimerosal in vaccines.  Nonetheless, I'm troubled by the author's lack of understanding of the definition(s) of Autism.  She cites figures that depict a significant increase in the prevalence of Autism over the last 30 years, but fails to mention that the diagnostic criteria have changed – so many more kids "qualify" as Autistic who would not have in the 1970's – especially those with Asperger syndrome.  I wonder if there is an increasing prevalence of Autism in the kids of NY times reporters … as they seem to have an especially strong interest in this topic . as it's the third article (1,2) on this topic in the last 4 months.

As we read in this recent paper:

Increased recognition, the broadening of the diagnostic concept over time and methodological differences across studies may account for most or all of the apparent increase in prevalence, although this cannot be quantified

Some other references:

Prevalence study (JAMA – 2003)

Increasing Prevalence? (Review – Journal of Pediatric Child Health 3/2003)