Autism and Childhood Vaccinations: The Myth is Finally Debunked

Children's Health, Parenting
In a number of previous blogs, I've discussed vaccine myths, in an attempt to bring you information about vaccines that is reliable, trustworthy, and medically accurate. I recently found this review of the myth that vaccines cause autism and wanted to share it with you. It's a discussion between Robert Dachs, MD, FAAFP (Ellis Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Schenectady, New York), Andrea Darby-Stewart, MD (Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, Arizona), and Mark Graber, MD, FACEP (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa) and was published in the American Family Physician (2010 Sep 15;82(6):586-592). Are childhood vaccinations associated with subsequent development of autism? Bob: In 1998, a British gastroenterologist, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published a report in the Lancet on eight children who developed symptoms of autism within one month of receiving the…
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U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
In past blogs, I've exposed what I consider to be the unethical and unscrupulous actions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his so-called autism research. Here are just a few: Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux. Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism Wakefield's now disproven 1998 study supposedly linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism. Unfortunately, this led to a dramatic drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world -- causing who knows how many unnecessary childhood deaths. Since then, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism. And now, not only have the scientific methods of Wakefield been shown to…
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Low immunization rates linked to epidemic spread of whooping cough

Children's Health, Parenting
Barb, my wife, reported to me that friends who are expecting a baby very soon, have informed those who may be visiting or caring for the baby, including grandparents, be immunized against whooping cough (pertussis). Barb asked me, "Is that reasonable?" "Absolutely," I replied. I believe it is the parents' responsibility to provide a bubble of protection around their newborn. The hospital requires nurses and doctors who care for babies to have a variety of immunizations. And, it's past time for parents to do the same (for themselves and care providers). We doctors certainly do the same thing each flu season. Since babies cannot get the flu shot until they are 6 months old, the only protection they have is for their care givers to be immunized. The same with…
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Should Kids take Fish Oil Supplements?

Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
All the talk about the benefits of omega-3s has parents asking whether CHILDREN should take fish oil supplements. Omega-3s are important for neurodevelopment ... and they're now showing up in many prenatal vitamins, infant formulas, and foods. Fish oil supplements for kids are often promoted as improving visual acuity, brain function, or intelligence. But, according to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, "there's no proof that omega-3 supplements make kids 'smarter'...or have any cognitive benefit in most kids." In fact, according to the NMCD, "... many of these claims will be removed ... due to pressure from the feds." The NCMD recommends this to physicians and healthcare professionals who care for kids: Tell parents that most kids don't need fish oil supplements. Instead, suggest that kids eat about 4 oz/week…
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Court once again rejects theory that vaccines cause autism

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A federal court has determined that the theory that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism is "scientifically unsupportable," and that the families of children diagnosed with the condition are not entitled to compensation. Three special masters in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined that the three families represented in the suit didn't prove a link between the vaccines and autism. The three released more than 600 pages of findings after reviewing these test cases. Hopefully, this court ruling will put to rest the persisting delusion that some have that vaccines are associated with autism. Whether it's the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thiomersol, there is no compelling reason to believe that either are causing the increasing numbers of kids with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The New York Times reported, "In…
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Though unproven, 1 in 4 parents believes vaccines cause autism

Children's Health, Parenting
The New York Times, in Vital Signs, reports that one in four parents "think some vaccines cause autism in healthy children, and nearly one in eight have refused at least one recommended vaccine," according to a study published online March 1 in the journal Pediatrics. The USA covered the story with this article: Most parents continue to follow the advice of their children's doctors, according to a study based on a survey of 1,552 parents. Extensive research has found no connection between autism and vaccines. "Nine out of 10 parents believe that vaccination is a good way to prevent diseases for their children," said lead author Dr. Gary Freed of the University of Michigan. "Luckily their concerns don't outweigh their decision to get vaccines so their children can be protected…
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Parents Often Miss Subtle Autism Signs

Children's Health, Parenting
Action Points Explain to interested parents that autism may progress more slowly and subtly than previously thought. Note that parents often miss regressive symptoms of autism in their children. The symptoms of autism tend to emerge in children after six months of age, with a loss of social and communications skills that is more common and more subtle than previously thought, according to a new study that questions previous assumptions about the progression of the condition. At six months, children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrated behavior similar to other children, gazing at faces, sharing smiles, and vocalizing with similar frequency, researchers reported online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. However, autistic children displayed fewer of these behaviors as as they got older, and from…
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Special court rules against families who claim vaccines caused autism

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
According to an AP report today, a special court has ruled rather dramatically against three sets of parents with autistic children, saying that vaccines are absolutely not to blame for their children's neurological disorder (autism). The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent's claims — and their ruling backs years of science and mountains of evidence from around the world that found no risk for either the MMR vaccine or the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, having any role in autism or ASD. More Information: (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism

Children's Health
Tuesday, in my weekly interview with Mark Elfstrand on WMBI in Chicago, a woman called to inquire about the risk of autism from vaccinations. It reminded me of a chapter from my book, God's Design for the Highly Healthy Child, in which I discuss a number of myths about vaccinations. This week, I'll start a multipart series on a dozen or more of these common myths and misperceptions. (more…)
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