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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

 
Annoyance Du Jour

Mike Savage claims that 99 percent of purported cases of autism are misdiagnosed, and the National Autism Association wants an apology.

Blogger News Network misreports the story as "Shock Jock Mike Savage Savages Autism." In comments I addressed the site's spin and vented my frustration with what's missing from this fracas:

Your headline is inaccurate. Savage alleges that many children are misdiagnosed as being autistic. That is not the same thing as “savaging autism.”

What evidence does Savage claim? What counterevidence does the NAA offer? I have no idea who’s right. (No, I don’t automatically assume that professional organizations are right 100% of the time. Medical professionals were wrong when ages ago they claimed AIDS couldn’t be transmitted via saliva.) Let’s have a real debate here, folks.

FYI, I have never seen or listened to Savage.

Neither the site nor its source, WSJ Market Watch, reported Savage's 99-percent claim. I had to go to Fox News (top link) for that.

Savage adds some detail here - offering his own examples of the professionals not always being right - but it's not enough:

Just as some drug companies have overdiagnosed "ADD" and "ADHD" to peddle dangerous speed-like drugs to children as young as 4 years of age, this cartel of doctors and drug companies is now creating a national panic by overdiagnosing "autism, for which there is no definitive medical diagnosis!

Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an "illness" which may not exist, in all cases. Just a few weeks ago doctors recommended dangerous anti-cholesterol drugs for children as young as 2 years of age! Without any scientific studies on the possible dangers of such drugs on children, corrupt doctors made this controversial, unscientific recommendation.

What's missing here is citation of scientific studies supporting his claims that a) autism lacks a "definitive medical diagnosis" and b) that misdiagnoses of autism are anywhere as rampant as he claims.

NAA should have the courtesy to request the Savage either back up his claims with hard evidence or apologize. The organization is requesting only the latter, treating Savage as if he were intentionally lying.

Grrr.

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