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 autism-spectrum

Cause of Autism Part III

Vaccine theory

In the February 1998 issue of, The Lancet an article now referred to as the "Wakefield Study", written by researcher Andrew Wakefield brought to light the possibility of a link between the MMR Vaccine, and autism. The original research which was controversial at the time has since come under heavy criticism, largely due to an alleged conflict of interest on Andrew Wakefield's part. During March of 2004, most of the researches original authors had retracted its "interpretation" section, which went on to claim a potential link between pervasive developmental disorders, and "possible environmental triggers".

Wakefield's critics have gone on to claim that Wakefield's original study contained many obvious flaws, which included Wakefield's inability to recognize the bias in his sample. In October 2005, a study by the highly respected Cochrane Library said, on the basis of 31 pieces of research into the possible side effects of MMR, that it found no association between MMR and autism. Several other independent outfits, which would include the National Academy of Sciences, have also conducted investigations and concluded that the evidence just does not support a link between the MMR Vaccine and autism.

One study by Gillberg and Heijbel in 1998 examining the prevalence of autism in children born in Sweden from 1975 to 1984 found no difference in the prevalence of autistic children born before the introduction of the MMR vaccine in Sweden and those born after the vaccine was introduced. In another study, this one conducted by Madsen and a group of other researchers in the year 2002, went on to study all of the children born in Denmark from Jan 1991, through Dec 1998. In this study there were a total of 537,303 children; 440,655 of the children had been vaccinated with the MMR Vaccine and 96,648 children in the study were not vaccinated. The researchers concluded that they did not find a higher risk of autism in the vaccinated children, when compared to the unvaccinated test group of children.

The DPT vaccine, and Autism

Further research in the United States. has also pointed towards a very similar link between autism and the DPT vaccine used there.  Despite the early claims made by Wakefield, it is still very doubtful that a large majority of autism cases would be as a result of the use of these vaccines. Even with all the research and evidence to the contrary, the questions surrounding autism, and its relationship to the use of vaccines still continues to this day. This is made even worse when it is considered that researches will depend on studies such as, the autism coach poll, which involved only 15 respondents, show that vaccines are still the most popular theory currently on the etiology of autism among parents of autistic children.

Dr Mark Geier and his son, David Geier have published eleven peer-reviewed studies on the possible link between autistic spectrum disorders and childhood vaccines (TCVs). In their first study, they compared the number of complaints associated with TCVs, administered between 1992 and 2000, to the number of complaints resulting from a thimerosal-free vaccine administered between 1997 and 2000. The children who received greater amounts of ethylmercury from TCVs were more likely to have a complaint filed with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Further studies by the Geiers yielded similar results. In 2006, the Geiers published an article , "Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines", which contends that recent data confirms a reduction in autism diagnoses corresponds directly with the removal of TCVs from childhood vaccination schedules.

United States health agencies have across the board rejected the conclusions reached in the Geiers' studies.  Geier responds to this by saying that the public health officials are "just trying to cover it up."

On the other hand, a report prepared by the staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, House Committee on Government Reform, Chaired by Dan Burton, was published in the Congressional Record in May, 2003, stated:

"However, the Committee upon a thorough review of the scientific literature and internal documents from government and industry did find evidence that thimerosal did pose a risk. Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding the lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies’ failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."

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