Thank you for my Vacine & Autism

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by stubeeef, May 7, 2005.

  1. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    After i got an email from a friend, I read the link, and it was interesting. i am not educated in the health industry and can not endorse or refute the findings. All of my children were vaccinated, and 2 are somewhat "different" but not enough for us to test............yet.

  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    thats interesting, i'm sure further tests will have to be conducted, but its suspectalbe surely.... it will be interesting to see how this pans out
  3. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    One reason why they suspect autism from vaccines is because the preservative in many vaccines containes mercury (or has contained mercury. There is a big push to get rid of it as a vaccine and I guess you can now request at most hospitals and clinics that you get one without mercury. I don't know the whole story, but know it sort of goes like that.

    It is scary what we think is safe and we put into our bodies without questioning. Sort of like the fact they are now finding teflon chemicals in our bodies due to cookware among other things.

    Another interesting side note: NO medical testing has been done until recently to determine if these chemicals, plastics, etc we use for food, toys, etc. are in fact being found in peoples bodies, etc. CA is starting to do tests of the general population to see how many of these nasty things leach into our bodies. Crazy that we are just now testing this fact. Many studies are just speculation...we speculate that cell phone use for extended time periods won't cause brain tumors...but we won't know for twenty years probably if it is true or not. Kind of like Cigarettes...we didn't know how bad they were for so long.
  4. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    there are a plethora of other variables between an isolated community and the rest of society... the whole vaccination angle just has more than it's share of conspiracy theorists, so it takes the blame. While vaccinations themselves can (and have) cause adverse reactions in the general population, this is hardly enough to indict them in causing autism.
  5. crackpip macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Vaccines and autism was the subject of frequent arguments in my household in the past year as we were trying to decide how to vaccinate our newborn. For those who aren't parents, it's really one of the first scary times that you are unsure of what is best for your child in the long run.

    The idea of the mercury in the vaccines is it is supposed to be in an inert compound, and there has been at least one study that shows no increased rates of autism compared to a control group. But, this (these) study(ies) is still in dispute. One problem is that the earliest autism can be detected is close to one of the times when Dr's like to give a bunch of vaccines in the standard time frame (around a year or so). This leads a lot of people to believe that vaccines caused their child's autism. Autism does seem to be on the rise, and the cause has not been found.

    Another interesting thing I found was that a lot of the vaccines they are giving today, have only begun to be administered within the last decade or so. It makes you wonder if vaccines are being over used like antibiotics. For example, they vaccinate for Chicken Pox now. Of course some of the vaccines are for dangerous infections, but these infections are very rare.

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of these studies, and hopefully if autism is indeed on the rise, a cause can be found.

  6. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    Coming from a Medical family I'd like to voice an opinion on the subject.
    The choice between a proven vaccination for a life saving/threatening disease, or not taking one to avoid the unproven "risk" of getting autism is ridicules.

    My dad, a medical doctor, gets agitated by these studies not because they may be correct, or because someone shouldn't look into it and improve the vaccinations if something is found, but because the unproven RISK of getting autism is still far below the possibility of getting the disease these vaccinations protect you from. These unproven studies are blown way out of proportion by the media, causing families to come to him questions getting any vaccinations at all!

    It's like not getting a polio vaccine because there is a slight chance of actually getting polio from the vaccine. But guess what, you run a higher risk of getting polio if you DON'T take the vaccine, so it's worth it.

    Now wether you think you child needs a chicken pox vaccine is up to you :rolleyes:
    We all had to suffer, I say let the kid enjoy the experience ;)

  7. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    There's been an ongoing debate on this side of the Atlantic over the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine which has been linked to autism in youngsters. The Government denies any link but it's led to many concerned parents not getting their children immunised, which in turn has seen a dramatic rise in cases of mumps.

    More information here.
  8. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
  9. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I truly hope that your children will progress normally, stubeeef.

    There are just so many variables, that it will be hard to determine the risk. As mentioned getting the vaccine is important to prevent known devastating diseases. In life nothing is 100% safe, there are always risks. Medicine is more of an art than science.
  10. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    This does not sound like a very scientific study. You can't go looking for people with autism and then ask whether they have been vaccinated. You have to look for people who have been vaccinated and ask if they have autism. This doesn't mean there can't be a link; it just means that this study does not prove it.
  11. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040


    Sep 13, 2003
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    The most recent things I have heard is that there a strong genetic component. It seems that the children of engineers, especially of 2 engineers.

    Part of the problem with the correlations with immunization is that over time diagnostic criteria have changed. Mild cases of autism have been written off as normal.

    There are treatments to help minimize the effect of autism available now. Additionally the world seems to be growing towards a place where autism won't be a detriment.

    Good luck to you and the children.
  12. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I have been working with children (and some teens and adults) with autism for about 6 years now. I have met many families who claim their children were "normal" prior to these vaccines, but developed autism afterwards. I believe that a parent knows their child better than any doctor ever could, and if they say that this occurred after a vaccine, then I am inclined to believe them. This is definitely a scary issue and it should be a higher priority for our government (and the world) to research.
  13. pigwin32 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2003
    It's an issue fraught with any number of issues and many opinions on both sides masquerading as fact. We had assumed we would take a quick scan through the literature to feel confident we were making the right choice and then go ahead and vaccinate our boys. What we found was far from reassuring. First of all vaccines do not have the same stringent testing regimes that any other drug is required by law to pass before being sold.

    In New Zealand right now there is a campaign to immunise all children and young adults against a strain of meningococcal disease. The vaccine has been rushed into service with little real or apparent testing and a quick google reveals some interesting information. The official site provides a different picture.

    Immunisation is a polarising issue but from my experience, those who choose not to immunise do so because they have actually looked at the available information. Those who choose to immunise do so because they believe it's the right thing to do. The anti-immunisation lobby provide references to support their position, the pro-immunisation lobby rely on scare tactics and misinformation. My advice is to read as much as you possibly can, it's basically about informed choice. And definitely stay away from vaccines that use mercury as a preservative.
  14. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    They just announced an early test for autism that may detect it in children as young as newborns... Kind of blows this whole vaccine theory apart, since the children are just born. Unless the claim is that parental vaccinations were the culprit, and that doesn't hold weight in places like industrialized Asia, where you see a lot of autism but vaccinations are a more recent phenomenon.

    Get your kids vaccinated. They still don't know what causes autism.
  15. Maedus macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2004
    I think part of the fact that more cases of autism are detected is because people don't really understand what autism is or only recognize it by extreme cases rather than the more common cases. I had to google it while writing this post in order to refresh myself into what it truly means to have autism. Just to pull a quote for those who aren't sure and who, like me, stumbled on this thread out of curiosity:

    Doing a little bit of reading on the subject, I am curious if autism seems more common now simply because we're better at recognizing it instead of simply accepting it? Or, I hope is not the case, we simply want to declare children autistic in order to use it as an excuse for doping up kids; there couldn't be that many kids with ADD that needed ritalin. But I feel it is probably the former instead of the later. I think that we are simply better at diagnosing mental disorders; especially ones we didn't know about until 1943. I think we are moving away from simply saying "that person is a little odd" and towards having an actual understanding in why this person seems "a little odd" to us.

    I have no idea if there is a correlation between vaccines and having autism though the Autism Society of America seems to suggest that there may be a variety of environmental factors that may help in triggering autism, and though it did not seem to endorse the idea that MMR vaccines might be triggering cases of autism, it does point out that there needs to be a lot more research done on the possible triggering factors for autism.

    As for investigating vaccines before giving them to your children, that is a good idea, but one should be wary of the information they research and try to focus on medical and scholarly debates on the subject. I would even be wary of organizations that are associated with the subject and are arguing for or against something since they may have an agenda that they are pushing on the topic, such as a pro or anti-vaccine stance, that is supported more by the leaders of the organization's beliefs than by facts.

    And as for the article, the only informative value it has is that it piqued some people's interests on the subject. The information from the article seems to conflict directly with basic information given from the ASA (Autism Society of America). The ASA cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in that autism affects 1 in 250 whereas the article states its 1 in 166, a fairly large discrepancy. But more the fact that it was a "reporter" that went to investigate autism in the amish community and not a medical doctor. I see no credentials supporting this person's ability to diagnose autism and I doubt he has any; especially since when you read the Washington Times articles linked at the bottom, you find out the reporter is Dan Olmsted who is a journalist for United Press International. And I didn't see why it was significant to mention "the oldest age 9 or 10" as if the amish magically correct autism at age 11, but that is more a statement that raised my "something isn't right" flag than anything. The article composed by Dr. Mercola from the Washington Times stories is created simply to promote Mercola's ideas and probably also to make money.

    As for this being evidence of a correlation between vaccines and autism; if we read the linked Washington Times articles, the reporter is only acting on hearsay about other autism cases and also on their relation to vaccines since he only investigated the parent with the adopted chinese child.

    The amish are also a terrible sample population and especially a terrible control population to use as evidence to support connections between vaccines and autism. If the amish truly do not suffer from autism, a disorder who's cause is likely genetic based, then it would more likely be that they do not have the genetic triggers in their genes; a possibility since they descend from a very small genetic heritage due to their closed community and the limited population that they originate from. This possibility is pointed out in the Washington Times article but not by Mercola. But more than likely, autism simply goes undiagnosed in amish communities. It wasn't until 1943 that autism was even really given a name. And honestly, I have trouble imagining a community that values their privacy allowing a reporter, a stranger, to analyze and attempt to diagnose all the members of their community, especially their children. Especially since I'm a part of society and I can't even see myself letting a reporter attempt to diagnose me or my (potential) children for autism (or for anything for that matter). And this appears to be correct since reading the Dan Olmsted articles shows that he was only able to meet with the more open amish community instead of the traditional amish and that even then, most of his info is hearsay from the one couple that he interviewed.

    The article created by Dr. Mercola is pure fear mongering used to promote his agenda, which only demonstrates that you can find people on either side that use fear to drive their agenda. The articles from the Washington Times are shoddy reporting used to create a headline to sell some papers. Dan Olmsted, the reporter does not use any scientific methodology in DISproving his argument but instead went out to find a cause for autism and stopped when he "found" it. It is mediocre journalism; a far cry from scientific or medical proof. Olmsted seems as educated on the subject of autism as myself, which I admitted earlier was just some information gleaned off a quick google search and some reading off of the Autism Society of America.

    I would recommend that people worried about vaccines do some real research on the subject from credible MEDICAL doctors (I never saw an MD appended to Dr. Mercola's name, so he could have a doctorate in BS for all we know) and from scientific and medical journals as opposed to .com websites. Talking to your doctor would also help and it wouldn't hurt to ask another doctor too since no doctor knows it all. If you have access to a specialist on autism itself or on Pervasive Developmental Disorders, then he would be the best person to talk to.

    As for Dr. Mercola, he reminds me of a medical version of Paul Thurrott and especially of John Dvorak. Each of them are known and published (and to some, respected even :eek: :p ) computer/tech commentators. Yet I would only trust Thurrott, on tech advice, as far as I could throw him since he basically parrots whatever he hears from Microsoft. I would only trust Dvorak as far as I could kick him (preferably down a flight of stairs) since Dvorak concerns himself with totally unresearched and inflammatory articles. Each may hit on a fact every once in a while (Thurrott more than Dvorak) but neither will have done so though unbiased and educated means.
  16. asphalt-proof macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2003
    I believe that the reason(s) the diagnosis of autism is on the rise is 1: We have finer diagnostic tools to assess children for it. and 2. Parents are more aware of autism and its symptoms. Parents are also more educated about about child development. When their child deviates from that developmental arc, they begin to worry and to look for answers. This is a fairly recent cultural phenomenon.

    Keep in mind that autism falls under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder label and is part of a larger spectrum. WHile there is a Autistic label, there are also, Rett's disorder, Aspergers, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and then the catchall PDD not otherwise specified. THis is important to note because Autism is not really a discrete mental health disorder, but part of a continuum that measures social interaction, cognitive capacity, and communication skills among other indicators.

    I think the reason people are inclined to link vaccines with autism is most children begin to show stereotypical symptoms of autism at ages 3-5. Either during or right after they recieve most of their immunizations. Though, by defination, onset has to be prior to age 3.

    Also, I don't THINK that they use mercury as part of vaccines anymore. For some reason it sticks out in my mind that this part of the theory as been debunked. But I don't remember where I heard/read it so no citation. Sorry.

    I work as a school psychologist and have done extensive work with children with autism and I have attend numerous professional conferences about this topic. The experts on autism do not know what causes it. So far the evidence points to a genetic component.

    As far vaccinations go: These have been a whipping boy for conspiracy theorist for some time. My belief is that the vaccine-autism link is just more tinfoil hat thinking by part of a very small but vocal group of anti-government people. I say this from experience. When in grad school, I met this guy at school. We talked awhile and invited he and his wife over for dinner one night. They came and then showed all this literature about the link between vaccines and shorten life-spans, increase chances of depression/ anxiety etc. THen he said that we couldn't tell anyone about this because the gov't was trying to suppress this information. They would imprison or kill anyone who gave this out because it would foil their plot in making us their willing sheep. My wife and I told them that was fine then ended the evening as politely as we could.
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    All wonderful points. Well said.

    We are wired to see patterns. Often this leads us to draw conclusions which aren't correct. It amazes me that parents consider unproven speculation as a reason to avoid vaccines, which are proven. Of course, for parents of a young child, the emotional but flawed arguments can be compelling, and often such parents aren't exactly fully caught up on their sleep and tend not to always make the most rational of decisions.
  18. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Also, many parents don't bother to follow up on the details - they see an article in the paper or a story on the news and it becomes the gospel for them. While many of us are not qualified to understand all of the literature on the subject, it can help to read up on various points of view and consider the alternatives to not getting a vaccine.

    Most of us do more research on our next car or next Mac than we do on anything related to our kids.
  19. crackpip macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Just because people disagree with the government does not mean they didn't do any research. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and doctors are not all united. Most posts in this thread have oversimplified the issue, too.

    The choice to vaccinate is not an all or nothing choice. Each individual vaccine needs to be researched and weighed. All vaccines have documented risks, and some of those documented risks were at one time undocumented. Children die from getting vaccines, and there is real concern of further undocumented effects of certain vaccines. The question is whether the risk of your child have a bad reaction to the vaccine outweighs the risk of having your child contract the disease, some of which may be incredibly rare in your country or which are easily treatable.

    Here is a transcript of the testimony of one doctor on the HIB vaccine, current US policy is pushing to have all children given this vaccination.
    Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources

    Also, keep in mind that vaccines usually only protect against a single strain. This year's flu shots for example didn't contain the most commonly contracted flu strain. So all the people who went out and got a flu vaccine were not protected against the most common strain "going around". The meningitis vaccine only protects against one or two specific viruses that cause meningitis. It does not protect your child against meningitis.

    Finally, besides vaccines, there are many other cases of medical science not being fully aware of the consequences of their practices, such as the over-prescription of antibiotics, the belief that sexuality is learned, etc. So let's not pretend that medical science is infallible.

  20. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    That wasn't my point at all. I was simply saying that panic tends to spread because many people rely on the news agencies to give them their opinions, as opposed to researching the issues themselves. There may be plenty of reason to doubt the effectiveness or question the safety of certain vaccines - but let's not do it because the 10 o'clock news told us to.
  21. aloofman macrumors 68020


    Dec 17, 2002
    Further research is a good idea, but there's no scientific basis for a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. There's a similar debate in the dentistry field about whether the mercury-based amalgam used in tooth fillings causes health problems. Obviously it would be a good idea if it didn't use mercury, but there have been no conditions linked to it so far.

    It doesn't help that parents of autistic children google the subject and the first thing they find are vaccine conspiracy theories. For these parents it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. More seriously, for that doctor to claim that the link is a fact based on that dubious study raises questions about his credentials. It's one thing to worry about the possible risks of a vaccine, but to claim a link that hasn't been proven is irresponsible.
  22. crackpip macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Yeah, sorry, I should have quoted the same post you did. The post by jsw, (which seems to have disappeared) and a number of previous posts, by Earendil, Maedus, etc., are overly dismissive, using the idea that many people don't think for themselves or are incapable of doing research to lend credence to their opinion. Although in their defense, I am talking about a more general view on vaccinations, while they are talking more specifically about the tenuous-at-best autism link.

    I don't disagree that it happens and that many people are generally lazy about doing such research. But, people not doing research happens on all sides of debate. Doctors fall prey to it, too. The point does not lend any credence to the ideas that all vaccines are good.

  23. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    While it might appear like that... it may simply be timing vs causality.

    Let's say most teen pregnancy happens at age 16-17. Most teens get their drivers license at age 16. does that mean drivers licences cause pregnancy?

    as for the amish thing... maybe electricty causes autism... why don't people stop using electrical devices?

  24. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    Stu, I hope everything turns out great with our kids.

    But don't give too much credit to self-professed experts and their "scientific" studies, such as the one referred here. (Especially from sites that mix decent dietary suggestion with total bs like miracle pills, EFT and the like).

    The aetiology of autism is still not well understood, and probably both genetic and environmental causes factor in. One of them, thimerosal (an organic mercury compound) is/has been used as a preservative at various concentration in some (not all) vaccine formulations. There is some epidemiological evidence of connections between its use and the increased *RISK* to develop different neurological disorders, including autism. The value of this evidence is being heatedly debated in the field.

    that said, as thimerosal-free [my edit] vaccines are available (and used), it would be obviously prudent for clinicians to use those instead and to develop safer vaccines (and thimerosal has/is being phased out in the US).
    What would NOT be prudent, is not to use vaccines altogether, because that would dramatically increase the chances for an unhealty life for the kids missing the vaccinations and for the people around them (anybody is safer in all-vaccinated environment -herd protection-).

    As far as the amish "study" itself, it's borderline charlatanism. The original article is anedoctal, biased and non-scientific in many ways, but it's a newspaper article, not a scientific paper so it's not required to be as thorough.
    It's the website take that is annoyingly deceitful, because it presents the reporter unproven perspective as proof. Even if a serious, peer-reviewed study would find that autism incidence is indeed lower in the amish population (and such studies should be done), there could be a very large number of more likely reasons for this, including genetic, dietary, environmental, social, cultural causes. To single out vaccines in this mix, at this point is ridiculous. The Amish are a genetically and culturally isolated population, which shows a clear acknowledged unbalance in the frequency of genetic diseases and very peculiar cultural characteristics when compared to the general population, to infer a link with a single social variable with no controls whatsoever is scientifically ludricrous and (in the context of people that might choose to avoid vaccination in an urban environment) possibly criminal.
    In other words, the author's "proof" that vaccines "cause" autism, also "proves" that the lack of vaccination "causes" a score of genetic diseases that have higher frequency in amish families or indeed that driving buggies "prevents" autism.
  25. Maedus macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2004
    I wasn't trying to foster the idea that people don't think for themselves or are incapable of doing research, but instead I was trying to help give tips in how to find more reliable information instead of being hyped into a panic attack by .com medicine. If it came off that way, its not what I intended, but I wrote it while in the process of waking up, and so I apologize for any unclarity on my behalf.

    Stubeef, if you think your children are "different" after the vaccine, you should tell your doctor about it and have him give them a check up. It is probably nothing and I hope that is the case, but if it isn't, it is always best to discover problems as soon as possible. Especially since it might be some other adverse reaction to the vaccine (or some reaction to some other environmental factor that you weren't aware of) that might be affecting your children negatively. It could be that the vaccine is making them ill and less responsive and is a normal side effect. I would not know and the only way you're going to feel at ease if you have somebody who's graduated med school, is practicing medicine, and knows your children personally, examine them and determine if anything is wrong. And again, I hope everything is great for them and that they are just having some temporary reaction to the vaccines. And if your doctor says nothing is wrong and you still have worries, get a second opinion from another doctor.

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