It never ceases to amaze me how people default to popular beliefs over actual facts time and again and never has it been so pronounced as it is these days with regards to vaccines, mercury, thimerosal and Autism.
Recently (9 June 2010), a new study was published that further identified the facts that inborn genetic factors are the main cause of autism. In this most recent study, medical researchers found that individuals with Autism had almost double the number of certain genetic mutations linked to Autism as did non-Autistic people. What’s more, the study identified three more genes that may be associated with Autism.
This was no small smattering of people studied. In this case, researchers in 19 countries did genetic tests on 3,300 individuals with Autism as well as individuals without Autism.
In February 2010, medical researchers discovered that a faulty protein referred to as MeCP2 – which causes Rett’s Syndrome (currently one of the five Pervasive Developmental Disorders that also include Autism) – interacts with all the genes in brain cells and not just a handful of genes as previously thought.
The updated DSM-V (to be published in 2012) will have an “Autism Spectrum Disorders” category that will include Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
In 2001, a study showed that the prevalence of Autism continued to rise even though thimerosal had been removed from childhood vaccinations. In 2003, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report found no association between thimerosal and Autism … a research finding that has been proven many times over in various research facilities around the world. Furthermore, the Lancet officially retracted the 1998 paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that first laid claim that the MMR vaccine causes Autism.
With all these research findings in the past decade alone coupled with the current findings associated with ongoing research into Autism and the human genome, why do parents continue to insist that their ‘mommy-gut and daddy-gut instincts’ are more accurate that hundreds of replicated and replicable research studies that yield the same results time after time?
A survey conducted in the journal Pediatrics on March 1, 2010 revealed that 25 percent of parents with minor children thought vaccines might cause Autism. This is due in large part to people such as JennyMcCarthy who continue to promote themselves as experts on the subject of Autism based on having attended — as Jenny has so proudly announced on a number of occasions — the University of Google.
For those parents who have children on the Spectrum and how promote the concept that vaccines, mercury and/or thimerosal are the cause of Autism, most of the ‘mommy-gut and daddy-gut instincts’ are due to the fact that they have not moved through the 7 stages of grief.
In fact, shock and denial (Stage 1); pain and guilt (Stage 2) which includes guilty feelings which leads to searching for someone or something else to blame for the situation; anger and bargaining (Stage 3) where “Why me?” or “Why my child?” is the recurrent major theme; and, depression and isolation (Stage 4) sustain the cycle of blaming vaccines and “Big Pharma” for a child having to raise a child with Autism.
The shift from feeling as if one has been cheated out of having a perfect child and having to raise a child with Autism to moving forward in life as the parent of a child whose needs are more challenging and more demanding than those of a child without a disability happens when the individual walks through the next three stages: the upward turn (Stage 5) where one begins to adjust to the current situation; reconstruction and working through (Stage 6); and, acceptance and hope (Stage 7) where the individual realizes that nothing in life remains the same.
While it’s true that Autism is what it is (acceptance), knowing that things can and do change opens doors and windows to other opportunities (hope) for parents raising Autistics.
Belief in false prophets who rely on anecdotal evidence is what endangers all children; reliance on facts is what keeps us moving forward in life and searching for correct answers that will improve the quality of life for our children and those who come after our children.
In the past month, whooping cough – also known as pertussis – was declared an epidemic in California as it comes close to breaking a 50-year record for infections for the year. As of June 15, there were 910 recorded cases of whooping cough with another 600 additional cases under investigation by local health departments. At that point, there had been 5 preventable deaths in children under 3 months of age due to pertussis.
In 1920, almost 500,000 cases of measles occurred and about 8,000 patients died. Also common in 1920 was diptheria, and over 13,000 patients died. The aforementioned whooping cough also had a busy year that year and 6,000 patients died. And until the mid ’50s, more than 16,000 cases of paralytic polio occurred annually in America. Thousands more were injured for life because they had to fight their way through one or more childhood diseases that are now preventable due to vaccinations.
During an epidemic of rubella in 1965, pregnant mothers gave birth to over 20,000 infants born with deafness, blindness, heart disease and other birth defects due to this preventable disease. All of these defects were preventable had people not developed a passive attitude at that time towards vaccinations. This number does not include those infants and children who actually died because of the rubella epidemic.
Today, due in large part to the “vaccines cause Autism” movement and Jenny McCarthy‘s celebrity views on the causes of Autism, the CDC states that about 900,000 two-year-olds in the USA — 20% of America’s two-year-olds – are not fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. That parents would put their own children at risk based on other people’s anecdotal evidence and incorrect beliefs is a terrifying thought.
Now is the time to start paying more attention to the overwhelming evidence that Autism is genetic and less attention to celebrities endorsing the “vaccines cause Autism” doctrine. It’s time to start defaulting to logical thought instead of knee-jerk reactions.
And it’s high time that people started to remember that Autism doesn’t kill or disfigure but childhood diseases certainly can and do.
Creator and Founder
MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO