I have been reading the autism blog at about.com for a while now. It started out as a decent enough site with a fairly balanced take on the issues and concerns of the autism world. As of late it has taken a turn for the worse.
Take this sequence of posts on a new study that was conducted by the MIND institute in California.
Rise in autism prevalence in CA likely due to environmental issues, suggests UC Davis study
The first post was published on a Friday when the initial press releases came out. Lisa Jo Rudy, the blog author, starts out by expressing her doubts about the study and quotes the press release. OK, fair enough.
Questioning the new MIND study on prevalence of autism
The second post is published the next day on Saturday. Lisa is noting an article in Scientific American about the new study. She includes some of the text from the article and expresses her doubts about it again.
What does the MIND study on autism prevelance really say?
The third post is published on the Sunday. In this post Lisa is comparing the press release and the abstract for the study and, surprise, expressing her doubts about the study again. She goes on to compare and contrast the abstract of the study with the press release for the study and points out the inconsistencies between the two.
Here is a thought. If you are going to be reviewing a study and are going to be writing multiple blog posts on the subject, wouldn't it be worth the time and effort to actually read the study that you are writing about?
When you consider the title of the third post we are getting into ironic territory.
Notes from MIND researcher Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto
For the final post on this topic which comes on Tuesday, five days after she has started writing about the study. To give Lisa credit she has finally done some more research on the study and talked to one of the authors of the study about what it says instead of reading press releases, news stories, and abstracts.
However, it does not appear that she has actually read the study yet.
I would suggest that if you are going to take the time to write so much about a study that you take the time to read it first.
For those interested, the study is available to non-subscribers for a cost of $35 from the publisher's site.