Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CDDS Quarterly Report


Well its that time again. Let's have a look at the incidence data in the 3-5 age group in the California Deparment of Disability Services. These "incidence" data (the CDDS says you can't use their data to calculate incidence, but who pays attention to little things like that) are from the CDDS system which some people like to say is the "gold standard" in autism epidemiology (its not) and only measures Autistic Disorder (it doesn't). Anyway, let's look at the most recent datum point on the graph.

So..... the expected autism decrease has not appeared. You know it has been a while since thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines. The only thing really left is flu shots for pregnant mothers. So, when are we going to see the numbers drop? I mean if you take a way the cause, then the numbers should drop right?

Of course this fact might be lost on the advocates of the thimerosal theory. Because when it is Jenny McCarthy vs science....I suspect I know who is going to be seen as more important in woo woo circles.


Blogger isles said...

The only mystery left is how David Kirby will justify yet another quarter that shows how deeply wrong he and his sugar mamas are.

It can't be easy, dreaming up a new red herring every three months, although I have to say he was at the top of his form when he placed the blame for autism on the practice of cremation. That creative little dickens!

7:25 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

I am little confused over what your chart is showing. Is it the delta from quarter to quarter for the total case load or is it new cases added during the quater?

And is the chart mislabeled or is the data from 2006 still?

8:52 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Hi MJ,

It is the "new cases". However, it is not really the new cases. The CDDS data managers have explained that the paperwork can take a while to catch up to reality. So the numbers from quarter to quarter are not really accurate.

The data extend to September 2007. The chart was mislabeled, I just corrected that.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Schwartz said...


Are they absolute numbers, or population adjusted? If they're not population adjusted, aren't they a bit misleading?

11:02 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Hi Schwartz,

These are simply the raw incidence number. I arrived at them by subtracting the previous quarters caseload from the current quarter. This is the identical practice that many epidemic theory advocates use. This include Rick and the Geiers.

I do sometimes break out the census information and create an incidence rate, but in my experience it doesn't change the way the graph looks.

I am willing to do it here if you want it, but I usually don't bother. It just doesn't change things much.

But whether or not I break out the census data to calculate an incidence rate, the technique I use is an inappropriate one to calculate incidence in this case. The reasons I do so anyway are outlined here:

I you want a (long) more technical explanation of goofy statistics in the CDDS then read this:

7:37 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

The problem with using the difference between quarters as "new cases" is that we don't have data on drop-outs (not recent data anyway). And clearly you would expect drop-outs to increase as the population gets bigger. And it does get substantially bigger each quarter.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Prometheus said...

I expect that David Kirby will simply argue that the CDDS numbers keep going up because there are more and more cremations (in China?) every quarter.

Frankly, anyone who looks at these numbers (once referred to as the "Gold Standard", if I remember correctly) and doesn't see the end of the thimerosal-causes-autism hypothesis is kidding themselves.

And, since a number of studies have shown that the amount of mercury in the air is falling (and has been falling since the late 1960's), the "environmental mercury" story is sounding more and more like "the dog ate my homework".

Science moves on, delusion remains.


3:47 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

So this the change is basically :

New cases
+ Earlier group moving into age 3
- Group moving into next bracket
- Dropouts

assuming some amount of error because the cases don't catch up in the quarter that the occur?

I am willing to do it here if you want it, but I usually don't bother. It just doesn't change things much.

I would be interested in seeing the data vs the child population data for California (ex here) to see how the number break out. I don't know if CDDS provides a breakout between male and female but that would be interesting too. If you didn't want to be bothered, just point me in the direction of where your numbers came from.

Since the data is inherently noisy you could use a simple or exponential moving average to smooth it out before the comparisons so the overall trend is more obvious.

Prometheus you wrote : And, since a number of studies have shown that the amount of mercury in the air is falling

I have never seen a study to this effect, could you provide some references? Also what about other factors from the environment such as water and ground contamination that could make it back into the food supply? Are these dropping as well?

5:01 PM  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Hi MJ,

Yes, that is how I calculate new cases or incidence in this circumstance. These are not really always cases per se, because as the CDDS data folks are careful to point out, that the children may have already been receiving services under another CDDS category.

You can feel free to analyze the data and create an incidence rate. I don’t really want to do one on this quarters report, but I will do so on the December report. You can get the data here:

Also here is an ice core sample for air mercury level


The big spikes follow large volcanic eruptions like St. Helens and Tambora where large amounts of cinnabar gets vaporized. Tambora was an especially big deal. The particles in the air were a problem for over a year as far away as England. Byron wrote the following during this time:

“I had a dream that was not at all a dream, the bright sun was extinguished and the stars did wander.”

6:51 PM  

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