The Earth is Round but I still have questions

There is a lot of hype, accusations, and hatred in the news about vaccinations and the possible link to autism.  I have listed below some statistics and research to get a quick summary.  I’m not a doctor, scientist or any kind of expert on any of this.  I do have some basic questions:  What is causing the EXTREME increase in autism?  Why are we freaking about measles? (everyone in my family had them – I can’t say that I remember anything about them).  Why are we freaking out about measles but not about autism?  Why can scientists prove that vaccinations don’t cause autism but they don’t know what does?  Autism seems to be out of control – what is being done about it?  Last but not least – does the government have the right to force parents to vaccinate their children especially to fight a non fatal illness?

Take a look at the issue:

About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014

Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)

More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)

Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)

Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)

Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)  [1]

  • ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. 
  • ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189). 
  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%.
  • About 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism. [2]

Until scientists can prove exactly what causes autism, it’s difficult to definitively disprove anything.

“In the absence of any answers from the scientific community, any scintilla of suggestion is going to get magnified by the social process of talking it out,” Sanders says. “All you need is one individual’s story and it will expand.”  [3]

The main reason why anyone talks about vaccines and autism is that some parents have noticed changes in children shortly after the children were vaccinated. (my underline) Their kids seemed to be developing normally, then suddenly stopped interacting with people and lost language abilities — a condition called “regressive” autism.

Most medical researchers argue that this is probably a coincidence: Autism symptoms tend to become apparent around the same time that children are scheduled to get routine vaccines. [3] page 2

The MMR scare started 10 years ago with a report published in The Lancet that described the cases of eight children who, as their parents recalled, developed autistic symptoms and digestive ailments shortly after getting their first MMR dose. [3] page 2

Since that initial finding, 14 studies including millions of children in several countries consistently show no significant difference in autism rates between children who got the MMR vaccine those who didn’t.

The bottom line: It’s very unlikely that the MMR causes autism, researchers say. [3] page 2

In 1998, 30 different vaccines with thimerosal in them were given to children. U.S. public health officials realized that the recommended schedule of vaccines could give some children mercury that exceeded the limit considered safe by government standards.

In 1999, the U.S. Public Health Service and the AAP asked vaccine makers to reduce or remove thimerosal in vaccines. By 2001, all routine childhood vaccines were available thimerosal-free. [3] page 4 (my note – it took 3 years to remove this while millions of children continued to receive this/)

In her opinion, mercury poisoning and autism seem too much alike to rule out mercury as a cause. Mercury poisoning can cause brain damage, and symptoms can be similar to those of autism.

“I certainly wouldn’t argue that the only source of mercury and the only source of harm is the mercury in vaccines,” Bernard says. She says she believes children continue to be harmed by vaccines that still contain thimerosal. 

But while Harvard’s McCormick agrees that mercury is a dangerous substance, the claim that mercury poisoning and autism are the same doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, she says. “It’s based on a very superficial similarity.”

Symptoms of mercury poisoning can include irritability, depression, anxiety, visual problems, speech problems, and sensory nerve problems. In autism, there can be findings of delayed speech, increase or decrease in response to sensory stimuli, and avoidance of human eye contact.  [3] page 4

To track and study adverse events associated with vaccines, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). [4]

I’ve blogged about the one-sided and exaggerated media coverage of the measles before. My colleagues and I are used to name-calling. But the hate circulating on the Internet and in mainstream newspapers about measles this week has escalated so much that even I am in shock.

In case you missed it, there is an article in USA Today claiming that non-vaccinating parents should be jailed and a Forbes opinion piece suggesting lawyers should sue parents whose children are not vaccinated against the measles.

The mainstream is actually endorsing and promoting the idea that we should put parents in jail, take their children away from them, and vaccinate the children against their parents’ best judgment. In America, not Stalin’s Soviet Union.  Read the full article at Safeminds.org. [5]

The American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States (others say it’s the third leading-cause). Despite what you may have been led to believe…it is NOT measles. There are 783,936 deaths per year caused by our healthcare system. 44,000-98,000 are due to medical errors made by doctors, 20,000 deaths that occur from other hospital errors. [6]

Although child vaccination rates remain high, some parental concern persists that vaccines might cause autism. Three specific hypotheses have been proposed: (1) the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism by damaging the intestinal lining, which allows the entrance of encephalopathic proteins; (2) thimerosal, an ethylmercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system; and (3) the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system. We will discuss the genesis of each of these theories and review the relevant epidemiological evidence. [7]

 *1 http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/

*2 http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

*3 http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/searching-for-answers/vaccines-autism

*4 http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/policy-statements/information-about-vaccines-and-autism

*5 http://www.ageofautism.com/vaccines/

*6 http://www.livingwhole.org/a-response-to-one-child-dead-two-foolish-parents/

*7 http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.full

measles

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About Brian Fulmer

Brian is the owner of Crossroads Property Management Inc. (www.crossroadsproperty.com) He writes six blogs and has written two books. He also works with various missions around the world. His first love is Guatemala.
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