PUBLISHED: 19:45 GMT, 29 March 2012 | UPDATED: 09:00 GMT, 30 March 2012
Autism cases appear to be on the rise again in the United States, but experts say the country’s highest ever rate could be a result of wider screening and the disorder’s expanding definition.
The rate of U.S. cases of autism and related disorders rose to about one in 88 children. An increase of nearly 25 per cent on the previous estimate was 1 in 110 in 2006.
This new number means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was only five years ago, and likely affects roughly 1 million U.S. children and teens.
The rise in autism is linked to vaccines – it is not due to better screening as the Daily Mail claims.
Prof John Walker-Smith carried out research with Dr Andrew Wakefield showing a link between autism and the jab for measles, mumps and rubella.
The study caused a fall in vaccination rates, and triggered a witch hunt against the doctors.
Walker-Smith lost his licence to practise in May 2010, along with Dr Andrew Wakefield.
A UK judge has exonerated Walker Smith and condemned the GMC panel.
A comment from the Age of Autism:
The welcome decision to exonerate Prof. Walker-Smith is a clear indication that the GMC’s case against the Royal Free doctors was manufactured to discredit any association between bowel disease, autism conditions and some of the parents’ reported link to the MMR vaccine. The allegations levelled at Prof. Walker-Smith and the Royal Free team now have to be viewed with total scepticism as nothing more than a witch hunt by vested interests at the highest level in Government, media and the pharmaceutical industry.