I found this site call Juice Box Jungle. They have pretty funny videos on parenting, so I spent some time the other day watching them. I thought I'd share this one:
Hey, I tackled one controversial topic on Friday's post, why not do another one? The question of whether vaccines cause autism is a very heated one in the autism community. Some parents will insist they had a perfectly normal baby until they had their one year shots, and the baby was never the same after that. Both my private practitioner and my OB are from other countries, and they both think American doctors give too many shots. Neither the Canadian-born doctor nor the Irish-born doctor feel flu shots are really necessary. They do support vaccinations in general, however.
The first question to ask is "What is autism?" I don't think anyone really knows. People know the symptoms of autism, such as having a difficult time communicating, for example. But is there a single cause or does autism actually consist of many different things that look the same, but aren't? My own personal theory is that autism is not one disorder, but a variety of disorders that actually appear similar, but are not. I base my opinion on the fact that some kids have wonderful success on a casein free, gluten free diet, while it does absolutely nothing for other kids. Also, certain treatments and therapies work great for some kids, but not for others.
I bring up this point to say that maybe some children's autism is caused by an allergic reaction to vaccines or other weird interaction with the central nervous system. However, it is my belief that vaccines do not cause the vast majority of autism cases. A recent study that was published last week found a wide variety of genetic markers which supported the widely-held view that autism is generally genetic. The study found that children whose parents didn't have a family history of autism still had these genetic markers from genetic mutations. It is not uncommon for many families who have autistic children can usually find other family members on the spectrum.
In another recent story, a medical journal retracted a 1998 research study that did link a key vaccine to autism. They did the retraction because the lead researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically in conducting the research. This study had been the only study to have found a link between vaccines and autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention praised the retraction, saying, "It builds on the overwhelming body of research by the world's leading scientists that concludes there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism."
I belief that vaccines have added to the overall quality of life and are important to continue. However, it might be worth studying to see if the vaccines can be spread out over a longer period of time to decrease any possible adverse reactions that they might be causing with some children.
Also, if cases of autism are being caused by genetic mutations, it might be worth studying what else in the environment might be causing this. There has been a sizable increase, not only of autism, but of allergies and other autoimmune diseases as well. I think studies of other environmental causes is warranted.