So I've been thinking a little about this study that a few people have proposed, and I just can't figure out how a scientifically valid ethical large scale study could be done comparing autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Clearly it could not be a randomized double blind study because that would be unethical, and I don't think anyone would participate anyway. Unfortunately, that kind of study would be the only really valid way to do this IMO. But even it could be done without being randomized or double blind, there would be a lot of problems. For example, from the rates I've seen, there are not that many completely unvaccinated children (IIRC it was well under 1% in one survey), and not all of them are going to want to or be able to participate. And on top of that, these kids parents would have to agree to have them in a study where they would have to be evaluated for autism because of course you'd want to make sure all the children were being evaluated the same way. And they'd have to be children of a particular age to make the results relevant. All that is going to reduce the numbers even further. That right there I think eliminates this study as a possibility. There's just not going to be a large enough group of unvaccinated. But even it were possible, there are all kinds of variables like race, socioeconomic status, location (and the various environmental factors that come into play with that), diet, education of the parents, health issues, how much tv the kids watch, etc to try to control for plus unvaccinated children tend to fall into a particular demographic thus further complicating matters. And of course there are variables that are unknown. The other possibility is to just compare existing data, but then you run into even more issues like perhaps one group or the other being more or less likely to seek a diagnosis. For example, maybe those that don't vaccinate would be less likely to see a pediatrician and thus less likely to be diagnosed. And even if they did suspect an issue with their child, perhaps they would be more likely to seek alternative treatments than see a traditional doctor for a diagnosis. And again it might be difficult to find enough data on completely unvaccinated kids.
And really, unless a study like this was flawlessly done and in a way that would please everyone by like some mythical completely and totally unbiased entity where no individual has ever had any affiliation with any organization or government or corporation, then it could just get picked apart and discarded regardless of the results which would just make it a huge waste time and money. And what if we just ended up with more questions than answers? And then more studies would be asked for and so on and so on. And it will never end. While I'm sure all that probably sounds a bit cynical, I think I'm just being realistic. If anyone can think of how a study like this could possibly be designed, funded, and implemented that would be scientifically valid and also acceptable to both those that are skeptical and those that are supportive of vaccines, I'm all ears. But honestly, I can's say I would fully support spending time and money when it could potentially be put to better use.
Anyway, I guess my questions are for anyone who cares to answer are how do you propose such a study be designed? Who should fund it? Would you accept the results if it was funded by a government agency or the pharmaceutical companies or some combination? If yes, can you explain how you could trust this study but not others that have been done showing no link. If no, then who should do the study? What could be done differently with this study that would make it less suspicious than those that have come before? Would there be any further studies needed? If so, what kind?