Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Biggest Debate

Part of the biggest controversy tied to autism is vaccinations. I'm not a scientist, I haven't done my own expirements, but I have seen what I've seen and read what I've read and have my own beliefs about what is happening.

I think a large part of our population thinks Moms like me are crazy, that we are not educated, we are making wild accusations, and we just want to blame someone. I think there are a lot of myths not only surrounding vaccinations but surrounding what we as mothers and fathers are claiming.

I want to clear the air a little. I can't speak for all parents and I wouldn't want to because I know everyone has different opinions but here are MY opinions.

First, I do NOT believe vaccinations alone cause autism. I believe that vaccinations contribute to the onset of autism. I think there is definitely a genetic component and that most of the kids with autism are predisposed to autism but environmental factors are the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

The CDC has said that the reason parents are blaming vaccines are because the typical signs of autism show up around the same time as the 18 months shots. If these kids simply stopped development, like commonly seen in MR and other developmental disorders where they just hit a plateau, then I could see this. But most of these kids, including my own, don't simply stop developing- they REGRESS. They lose skills they already had and their entire personality changes.

Vaccinations aren't bad for everyone, obviously! Vaccines have undoubtedly saved many lives. I never have said they need to just stop vaccinating. My argument is they need to space the vaccinations out more, break up the 3-in-1 shots, make sure kids are at their optimal health when giving them, take out unsafe ingredients, and take out the vaccinations that really just aren't necessary. They need to realize that vaccinations also are not a one-size-fits-all. People react to different medications all the time- why is it impossible that some people's immune systems simply can not handle the vaccinations?

What about all the studies? Everyone loves to tell me that they've heard about all these studies that show NO link whatsoever so we need to move on. Unless you've read these studies you don't know what you're talking about. Visit Fourteen Studies and read quotes from Dr. Bernadine Healy (former director of the National Institute of Health) claiming that no conclusive studies have been done on this subject. You will find each study has been biased, had no conclusive result, and they have never compared vaccinated children to unvaccinated children. And the Dr. Wakefield controversy, where he was recently discredited? I stand by him and find it extremely convenient that this big discreditation fiasco happened right before he was about to release his studies on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated primates.

I don't expect to change other's opinions- this seems to be a debate that people are deeply ingrained on one side of the line or the other. Though my biggest critic, our mainstream pediatrician, who scoffed at me three years ago, now agrees it is best for Brian to no longer be vaccinated. What I do want to do is increase awareness on this- a lot of people not involved in the debate, do not know the details. What I do know for sure is that autism has increased exponentially in the past decades and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. Something needs to be done about this- and it needs to start with fair, unbiased research that are asking the right questions.

Past blog posts that may be interesting reading:

* Autism on Larry King: Transcript
* Brian's Journey With Autism
* When it comes to fighting autism, maybe we should send in the army.