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article imageThe autism-vaccine debate - What of it?

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     Mar 27, 2010 in Health
In spite of what many people think, vaccines do not cause autism. Recent claims by politician Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have reopened the old wounds, and the autism-vaccine wars are back in the news. Two Youtube video-clips may be of interest.
Ken Wightman's article about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s claims with respect to vaccines and autism has reopened some old wounds in people. Is Kennedy right? No, he is not, and here is some information.
The first video is an excerpt from a lecture given by Dr. Harriet Hall at TAM 7 in Las Vegas. It is about the unsavoury story of the MMR and mercury scares, believed by many parents to cause autism. They don't, and Harriet Hall talks about the causes of this scare.
During the lecture, Harriet Hall talks about Brian Deer, the journalist who has put his livelihood on the line to investigate the issue. This is his website: I highly advise anyone with an interest to visit his website.
The second video clip is an excerpt from a lecture given by Dr. Albietz about the benefits of vaccines. There are essentially three things that have helped us double our lifespan in about two generations' time: vaccines, chlorination of water, and better hygiene. Of these three, vaccines are arguably the most important one.
Dr. Albietz talks about the Jenny McCarthy body count:
And what exactly did anti-vax hero Andrew Wakefield's paper conclude?
We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.
If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change in incidence or a link with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.
Exactly: it showed no evidence whatsoever. And yet, as Dr. Hall says in the lecture, this did not prevent Wakefield from suggesting that there was a connection in a press conference.
One piece of advice to parents of autistic children who are of the anti-vax persuasion: I know you are afraid, I know you are suffering, I know you feel guilty, I know you are angry, I know you have financial problems. This information is not about proving you wrong, the medical "establishment" is not trying to ridicule you. This information is about showing you what we know and what we don't know.
There are no verifiable links between vaccines and autism. In some ways, that's a pity. If there had been one or more links, we would now be a step closer to finding a solution. As it stands, autism remains a mystery, and insisting on causes where there aren't any, is making the lives of parents harder and more miserable. It is also an impediment to progress in the study of autism and in finding solutions. Is that really what the anti-vax movement wants?
More about Vaccines andrew wakefield, Autism brian deer, Jenny mccarthy
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