Autism: Do Vaccines Really Cause Autism Spectrum Disorders?

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A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics last week concluded that childhood vaccines do not cause autism. This is another big report amidst recent research that disproves some of the public opinion about the link between autism and immunizations.

Despite what seems like overwhelming scientific evidence from current research, some parents choose not vaccinate their children. That may be having a negative impact on our public health.

A study found that large clusters of children who had not been vaccinated were close to the large clusters of whooping cough cases in the 2010 California epidemic…This spring also saw an 18-year high number of measles cases in the United States. The largest outbreak was in Ohio where the virus spread quickly among the Amish, who are mostly unvaccinated. This outbreak was a real surprise to health officials who thought that the infectious disease was thought to have been eliminated from the United States in 2000.

The Original Autism and Vaccine Study was a Fraud

The 1998 study that linked autism to childhood vaccines has been retracted. An investigation by the British Medical Journal found that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the author, altered the medical histories of the 12 patients in the study. Britain took away Wakefield’s medical license this past May.

According to Fiona Godlee, the British Medical Journal‘s editor-in-chief:

It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors. But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.

This Fraudulent Study Has Damaged Our Public Health.

Many parents became alarmed and afraid from the headlines after Wakefield’s false study came out, and the anti-vax movement is still alive and well on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession.

Science, Facts, and History of the Autism-Vaccines Link

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What Started the Rumors?

1998: The Lancet published a paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a dramatic study that found a connection between autism and vaccines.

People Started Investigating Wakefield’s Claims about Autism and Vaccines

1999: In a study of 500 children, no connection was found
2001: A study of 10,000 children found no connection
2002: A study in Denmark of 537,000 found no connection
2003: A study in Finland of 535,000 found no connection
2004: The Lancet released a statement REFUTING the original findings, saying the authors FALSIFIED FACTS
2005: A review of 31 studies of more than 10,000,000 also found no connection
2012: A review of studies covering 14,700,000 children also found no connection

Proof of Wakefield’s Continuing Damage to our Communal Health:

1 in 4 United States parents believe that vaccines cause autism
1.8% of parents opt out of vaccines for religious reasons

For more, look at this interactive map for how incidents of illnesses like measles, mumps, whooping cough are on the rise.

Common Vaccine Myths

1. Vaccines are full of toxic chemicals.
Fact: Thimersol, which contains mercury, is no longer in scheduled vaccines.

2. The decision not to vaccinate only affects my child.
Fact: Un-vaccinated children can infect infants and people with compromised immune systems.

3. Too many vaccines at once is not healthy.
Fact: Vaccines use deactivated viruses.

4. Drug companies just do it to make profits.
Facts: Vaccines only make up 2-3% of pharmaceutical profits.

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