Overall, I think we try to steer clear of some of the more controversial issues in medicine, none of which is more prominent than the "vaccines and autism" debate. We have friends and family that fall on both sides of the issue. But as medical professionals, it is hard not to stand up in support of ALL vaccines, which have arguably been one of the most high impact public health measures in history. All it takes is working in an area where the preventable diseases are alive and well, where kids still die of tetanus, pertussis, measles, and meningitis. And if the current anti-vaccine trend continues in the US, we'll start to see more and more of these preventable diseases recurring. Most of the time they are harmless overall, but some have deadly complications.

So in light of that, I wanted to share this recent article from CNN, revealing how one of the big studies linking vaccines to autism was recently found not only to be wrong but grossly fraudulent. I think the most important line is found halfway down the article: "But perhaps as important as the scare's effect on infectious disease is the energy, emotion and money that have been diverted away from efforts to understand the real causes of autism and how to help children and families who live with it," the BMJ editorial states.

Food for thought. Here's the link.


Anonymous said...

All in the name of money!! I feel for the parents of autistic children, but I hate to see people prey on a way to make money off anyone's hardship.

ACES Wild said...

Before reading this comment, know that I have nothing but respect for you as people and as doctors. You have a tremendous calling and responsibility on your life. I can't even begin to imagine what you see each day in the medical realm and know you do what you do well.

I do see this issue in a different light, though. Although we see things differently on this subject, I think your post brings up a great point...know your research and who is funding it. There is a lot of debate on this topic and a lot of research (good and bad) on both sides. That is sad about the money aspect of the article in your post. But we can't leave out that in reality, immunizations are big money for the pharmaceutical companies, and a lot of times that is who is funding the pro-immunization research.

It is important to note, though, that autism is only one injury that has been attributed to vaccines. Actually, it is only one part of the argument, but the one that has gained the most attention. Attention, that I think is good, because since the autism discussion has been introduced, pharmaceutical companies have been forced to make vaccines safer, which was a must! It is also important to note that immunizations were introduced in the US around the same time as public sanitation programs, which also made a dramatic impact on the face of public health.

In theory, vaccines are great, but in reality, there are lots of factors that go into making the decision to vaccinate. One size fits all is not always the best way. In an area with poor nutrition, limited medical resources, poor sanitation,I can see your heart and know that it would save lives there. I am not saying there is not a place for it here in the US, but I think people need to be looked at individually and not as a herd. We are not 100% against vaccinating. We actually chose to vaccinate, but on an alternative schedule that made since to us after doing the research and after much prayer.

We have a friend, Justin, who was injured by a vaccine at 15 months, due to an underlying, undetected neurological disorder. He had a reaction to his round of vaccines and has not walked since. He doesn't have autism, but does have a CNS injury. I know these stories are rare, but when it is your child or someone you know, it becomes 100%.

I think there are valid points on both sides of this discussion and I respect your opinion and definitely see why you have it. I just think people need to do good research and make informed decisions before making any decision, esp. one that involves their children.