On June 5, 2014, senior research scientist Stephanie Seneff, PhD of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory made the following statement at an event sponsored by the Groton Wellness organization in Groton, Massachusetts:
At today’s rate, by 2025, 1 in 2 children will be autistic.1
Dr. Seneff repeated the prediction at a conference on Dec. 18, 2014.2 In December 2014, Dr. Seneff was interviewed about the prediction by journalist Thom Hartmann on the Thom Hartmann radio program.3 She was interviewed again about the prediction by Hartmann in January 2015 for RT television.4 In that interview, Dr. Seneff noted that she had been misquoted and that what she actually said was that “half of all children born in 2025” will be autistic. She said:
The CDC data are on 12-year-olds. People don’t realize that—kids who are 12 years old today. So when you look at 2014, you’re looking at 2001 in utero. So we want to look at the situation in 2001. Since then, things have gotten a lot worse in all the vectors—the toxic chemicals that I have identified are connected to autism. And, of course, the one I’ve really singled in on is glyphosate. I think it’s the single most prominent chemical that’s responsible for the epidemic. That is the active ingredient in the pervasive herbicide Roundup.4
Dr. Seneff explained how she arrived at her prediction:
If you take the data that the CDC has provided since 1975 and plot it, you can see that it’s an exponential growth curve. You can extend the line. When you extend the line, it intersects 2025 at 1 in 4, and 2032 at 1 in 2. Now, my feeling is that things are worse than the line. So I think that 1 in 2 in 2025 is not an unreasonable prediction.4
At the time of Dr. Seneff’s interviews with Hartmann, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the rate of autism in the U.S. at one in 68 children. That estimate was based on data involving eight-year-old children four years earlier in 2010.5 6
The current CDC estimate of eight-year-old American children with autism is 1 in 59, which is based on 2014 data.7 So there’s always a four-year lag time in the CDC’s determination of autism rates and it is based on eight-years-olds, not children in utero or at birth—which is what Dr. Seneff’s prediction is based on. Using the CDC’s system for calculating autism rates, an estimate of 1 in 2 children diagnosed with autism would be not be reached in 2025 but rather by 2033. Given the four-year lag, that estimate would not be reported by the CDC until 2037.
Whether it is 2025, 2033 or 2037 or whether it is children in utero, at birth or eight years of age, the idea that a country in which 1 in 59 children are now diagnosed with autism—and there is even a possibility that in the future 1 in 2 children would become autistic—represents a public health crisis of historic proportions. The impact on America’s social structure, economy and national security is immeasurable, particularly when you combine that trend with an aging population that will, not only be unable to help care for these children, but will be competing with them for available care.
And yet, there appears to be a relatively little sense of urgency about the autism epidemic from doctors, government and the media. Unlike the alarm created by about 1,000 cases of measles reported this year, the autism epidemic has been the perpetual elephant in the room for two decades. Few people want to speak about or entertain the possibility that it is being caused, at least in part, by environmental factors such chemicals like glyphosate and even vaccines and their “synergistic effects,” which Dr. Seneff mentioned in her radio interview with Hartmann. “There are many chemicals in vaccines that are synergistically toxic with glyphosate. We’re getting more vaccines on the agenda,” Seneff said.3
The fall back theories are that autism is genetic or that there really is no epidemic at all, that the rising rates are simply due to greater public awareness and reporting of autistic-like symptoms, as well as a more liberal classification of the disorder. That is a theory that has been espoused by pediatrician Paul Offit, MD:
I don’t think there’s an epidemic of autism. I think that if we went into a time machine, and went back 30 or 40 years, and use the same diagnostic criteria that we currently use to diagnose autism, and introduce it into the communities so that everybody is aware as they are now, and also make it very clear in that community now 30 years in the past that you will qualify for services if you have this diagnosis, I think you would find that the incidence of autism would be the same 30 years ago as it is now.8 9
In the 1980s, the autism rate in the U.S. was reported at 1 in 10,000 children.10 According to Dr. Offit, that rate was wildly inaccurate and so there is no need for alarm. Everything is as it has always been. Will this same “Emperor’s New Clothes” mentality be as readily accepted when the estimate for autism reaches one in two children?
This article or commentary provides referenced information and perspective on a topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics being discussed in public forums and by U.S. lawmakers. The websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provide information and perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking.
1 Meyer N. MIT Researcher’s New Warning: At Today’s Rate, Half of All U.S. Children Will Be Autistic (by 2025). AltHealthWORKS June 11, 2014.
2 ANH-USA. Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT. Alliance for Natural Health USA Dec. 23, 2014.
3 Thom Hartmann Program. Half of all Children will be Autistic by 2025. YouTube (published Dec. 31, 2014).
4 The Big Picture RT. Why Half Of All Children Could Be Autistic by 2025. YouTube (published Jan. 8, 2015).
5 Press Release. CDC estimates 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mar. 27, 2014.
6 CDC. Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder. CDC.gov.
7 Parpia R, Fisher BL. CDC: Autism Rate Going Up. The Vaccine Reaction May 28, 2018.
8 Milner RP. Vaccines, Are They Safe and Effective? The Greatest Medical Controversy of Our Time. Global Research News Jan. 3, 2016.
9 Cáceres M. Dr. Offit Quotes: Top 10 List. The Vaccine Reaction May 26, 2017.
10 How Common is Autism? Autism Science Foundation.