There was an article in today’s paper by the Associated Press that declared that the autism-vaccine question has been settled. Funny, that’s news to me.
The reporter, Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, wrote, “…much has been written about research that has failed to find a link between vaccines and autism.” Just a single study raised the question, she said, and it has been retracted. Case closed: “Fear of a vaccine-autism connection stems from a flawed and speculative 1998 study that recently was retracted by a British medical journal. The retraction came after a council that regulates Britain’s doctors ruled the study’s author acted dishonestly and unethically.”
Whether that particular study was retracted because of politics is a matter of debate. This was the study that suggested that the measles vaccine in the MMR shot causes autism. The sample size was tiny, and results were debatable.
Time Magazine on Feb. 25 made a similar claim: “And yet research conclusively shows that vaccines are safe for children; just last month, the U.K. scientist who had published a study linking the MMR shot to autism was found by a British medical panel to have acted unethically.”
I would like to tell these under-informed and surely well-meaning news reporters that there are manifold reasons why and how vaccines could cause autism, and this retracted study addressed only one possibility, that of the measles virus in the MMR somehow running amok.
Another possible vaccine-autism link that seems discredited is the theory that thimerosal, a mercury additive in pre-2001 shots, causes autism. Here’s why it’s discredited–despite the fact that there’s no thimerosal in the shots, autism rates continue to rise.
Therefore, if there is an autism-vaccine link, it probably has to do with something besides those two possible causes. For example, the “too many, too soon” theory which says that the many many sticks that kids get these days, at a very young age, could be a cause. There are other possibilities that we don’t know about yet.
What we do know is:
* that the autism epidemic has risen alongside the number of required shots
* that the anecdotal evidence, including before-and-after videos on Youtube, is overwhelming from families reporting regression soon after taking shots
* that the autism epidemic surely has at least partly an environmental cause, because an epidemic cannot have a solely genetic cause
* that vaccines under development are tested alone, not in combination with others, and
* that the medical establishment has a huge vested interest in creating and marketing vaccines.
What we need is a definitive study that compares vaccinated populations and unvaccinated. THAT study would prove it one way or another, not the tiny measles vaccine study that appeared to be flawed. The Associated Press article I am discussing reports on a University of Michigan phone survey a year ago of 1,552 parents inquiring about whether they were vaccinating their children. It’s a shame surveyors didn’t also inquire about whether their children are autistic, permitting correlation of the two pieces of data.
Photo by M. Bartosch at freedigitalphotos.net