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The Original Vaccine/Autism Study Debunked

Eleven years ago, a study appeared in The Lancet that linked the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine to autism. On Sunday, The Times of London ran an investigative story saying that altered data was behind the study all along.

The Times' story isn't the first to dispute those original vaccine claims that sparked the continuing vaccine debates that still exist today. Study after study of MMR have shown no link of the vaccine to autism. But it is a reminder of just how easily we can all be played when it comes to our kids.

Just take a bunch of health news in recent weeks and years. Salmonella found in Peanut Corp. of America's processing plant and foods made from products from that plant are affecting sales of jarred peanut butter. Not that anything has been found to be wrong with jarred peanut butter; in fact, it's a pretty healthy food in small portions.

International studies on BPA and phthalates have made us question our use of plastics, from water bottles to cans of food lined with the chemicals. Mercury in fish makes us rethink what seafood to feed our pregnant selves and our families. Lead in toys has us scrambling to remove dangerous toxins from our toy bins. Our cleanliness and obsessions with Purell are causing some of our health issues. Recent news stories on potential dangers of high fructose corn syrup are being e-mailed friend to friend, sister to sister. And these are just the bigger topics.

While it's good to be informed and make the best choices we can for our kids, The Times' story is a reminder that life just is sometimes. We can't always explain why our kids may have allergies or asthma or autism or cancer or colic just as we can't explain why some kids are mellow and some are hyper, why some are clumsy and others are athletic. And we can't -- and shouldn't -- feel guilty for not preventing all the bad stuff.

So, while I won't be giving up our metal water bottles anytime soon, I don't have a problem if my kids eat a little dirt. And while I may not be a fan of corn syrup, I'm not going to snatch something out of their hands that has the stuff in it. And just as I continued to take my kids to the park in the midst of the sniper shootings in Maryland several years ago, I'm not going to yank peanut butter from the pantry.

Are there news stories that make you feel responsible for something in your child? How do you handle it? And what do you think of latest information about that original MMR vaccine study?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 11, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Health
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Comments


"The Times of London ran an investigative story"

Hmmm. The Times of London.... I'll pass.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 11, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Andrew Wakefield's falsified study has led to a resurgence in measles in Britain, as frightened parents have foregone the vaccine. Two children have died, with more undoubtedly to follow. That charlatan's lies have cost lives.

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 11, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I agree - with it all. I do try to evaluate the new information critically and do my best to prevent the clearly dangerous elements from impacting my kids, but I have no trouble with dirt, or the average germ. I don't subscribe to the "we came out fine so why change anything" philosophy, but I also feel that changes are just as likely to create new problems as to solve old ones. I try and weigh the studies so that I make changes that are likely to have known improvements, rather than chase some ideal concept of safety for my children.

I teach college and feel that way too many kids are reaching adulthood without an understanding of how their decisions will affect their lives (having been protected from consequences too many times). So, I say - let kids be kids and explore their world (within each parent's judgement of reason). I often am reminded of the wise statement:
"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement."

Posted by: cqjudge | February 11, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Here's a fun, gross story about our over-cleanliness:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=worms%20allergies&st=cse

I'm not a stress-ball parent. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't automatically assume the powers that be are out to fool us. I don't blindly jump on bandwagons. A little bit of temperance, common sense, and skepticism, and a heavy dose of diving into the primary literature keeps me sane and confident in the choices I make as a parent.

Posted by: atb2 | February 11, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I am finding this part of not being a mom the hardest. I am not in a position to do anything but suggest and even those suggestions are done via the father. My husband is not exactly known for caring about much of anything except that which is known to be junk food - like soda, chocolate, candy. So HFCS in granola bars? Absolutely irrelevant. Since I do the groceries, I get to stock our kitchen and I choose things the best I can but zero support on his side. Choosing less plastic gifts or things not made in China? Again... irrelevant. I have no idea what their mother thinks about things like this.

Some interesting things have come about from my influence though. My SD thinks nothing of dipping her hands into the coconut oil jar to moisturize herself. She doesn't think it odd at all that I don't use commercial liquid moisturizers. Even my SS has tried it out. My husband? Absolutely no desire to try something like this.

Posted by: Billie_R | February 11, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Somebody should tell Jenny McCarthy....I have always wondered if the increase in autism in children where the parents used "recreational" drugs is merely coincidence.

Posted by: lydandy | February 11, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Actually, lydandy, there was an article in Wired magazine years ago that discussed a link between 'nerdy' programmer/analysts and how their kids had an alarming rate of autism.
One theory is that putting people together (i.e., nerds) who never got married and had kids before is what was increasing their rate of autism, at least in N CA. It is an interesting theory. I think. You can google wired and autism and find the article.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"While it's good to be informed and make the best choices we can for our kids, The Times' story is a reminder that life just is sometimes. We can't always explain why our kids may have allergies or asthma or autism or cancer or colic just as we can't explain why some kids are mellow and some are hyper, why some are clumsy and others are athletic. And we can't -- and shouldn't -- feel guilty for not preventing all the bad stuff."

This is the most rational thing I have ever seen printed here.

Posted by: mlc2 | February 11, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Time tends to prove things.

There is no shame in being old-fashioned. Stick with generic drugs, vaccinate your child, eat your vegetables.

Posted by: RedBird27 | February 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

How is this possible? I read posts on this very board that proved a link between Donald Rumsfeld and the pharmaceutical industry.

Posted by: bbcrock | February 11, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's a version of the article to which atlmom refers:

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct06/4665

The doctor who studied this, among other things, is Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, one of the world's leading researchers on autism.

(Although he's better known in the larger world for being the cousin of Sacha Baron-Cohen of "Borat" fame.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 11, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

That NYT article about babies eating dirt is great. I've read other articles they say essentially the same thing - the current obsession with protecting babies and kids from germs is doing more harm than good because it prevents them from building up their natural immunities. I could rant for hours about the obsession schools have with hand sanitizer.

As for the immunization/autism stuff, it amazes me that there are still people who believe it and don't get their kids vaccinated.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Armybrat. I was just being lazy.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 11, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The best evidence is that older couples are having babies later in life increasing rate of autism and may be due to old sperm.
plus better diagnosis

Posted by: williamjohnson1 | February 12, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

fr dennis5:

>...As for the immunization/autism stuff, it amazes me that there are still people who believe it and don't get their kids vaccinated.

Oh, SO true. It boggles the mind. They're probably the ones who will wail the loudest if their kid gets polio, or smallpox, or tetanus and then just CAN'T understand "HOW this could have happened"!

People. It ain't rocket science. VACCINATE your child. Trust me, if the chicken pox vacc had been around when I was a kid, I would hope that my parents would get the shot for us, as chicken pox often leads to shingles later on. Shingles are NOT fun.

Posted by: Alex511 | February 12, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Pseudo-journalist sources like the Huffington Post have been facilitating self-serving pretenders like David Kirby who have taken on the mantel of anti-vaccination just to promote himself and his book. Meanwhile due to the parental fears that he and others of similar thinking have exacerbated, children in the US have begun to be at risk of childhood diseases that were nearly wiped out years ago. These people building their own careers on false claims are doing far more harm to children than the scientists and physicians that they attack may have done if the claims were true.

Posted by: blankspace | February 12, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I just have to comment about parents opting not to serve their children jarred peanut butter. If you look at the arc of this recall you see that it expands with each passing week. There are some products which the manufacturer assured were not part of the recall, only to eat those words a week later when they discovered that their peanuts ultimately were sourced from the affected batches. The prudent thing for a parent to do would be not to serve their children any products containing raw peanuts until the full scope of the recall is clear. Peanut butter can be replaced by any number of other foods for the time being.

The question of whether to get your children immunized is different. Immunization offers clear health benefits. I think it's a shame that any children should have to suffer the consequences of diseases for which they could have been immunized.

Posted by: fletc3her | February 12, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Wakefield is currently facing a General Medical Council tribunal with two of his co-researchers (they just finished the evidence phase after about 18 months), in which he risks being struck off for fraudulent research and numerous other instances of dishonesty, including making research funds disappear.

The Lancet has repudiated the article. Most of the 11 authors of the article have since publicly distanced themselves from Wakefield, even signed formal documents repudiating his conclusions. It seems that none of them, including the two facing the tribunal with him, knew where he'd gotten the patients in his study. In fact they came via a lawyer who wanted to sue vaccine manufacturers. This is a major research no-no.

Wakfield, who became well-known in the States as a paid speaker, told one audience that he'd paid kids at his son's birthday party to give blood samples. He joked that one even fainted on the spot. Since this would be a gross breach of medical ethics, when the GMC brought it up, Wakefield claimed in his defence that it wasn't true, he'd been lying in his speech. That's the kind of guy he is.

Wakefield can't get work in Britain, because he's a sleazy quack, so guess where he works these days? In Austin, Texas, at an institution called "Thoughtful House", which is apparently some kind of autism charity. If he's struck off in Britain, will he still be able to practise in America? It wouldn't surprise me.

PS The Lancet article never actually said that MMR causes autism. It was Wakefield who made that speculation verbally at the study's press launch - apparently without consulting his co-authors first. Naturally it was his alarmism that grabbed the next day's headlines.

PPS things weren't helped when Tony Blair waded in, urging people to get the MMR shot. Then a newspaper asked Tony if it was true he'd arranged single shots for his son Leo. Blair refused to answer, creep that he was.

Posted by: kenonwenu | February 12, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Just because there was not sufficient evidence presented to the Vaccine Court about cause and effect of vaccines to autism does not mean that there is no link. We may simply lack the diagnostic tools, or info about genetics, that would make a clear linkage possible. As for the study, I have read other investigative reports about scientific studies that eliminate data from patients who don't fit the hypothesis. Happened before, will happen again.
As a parent I thought long and hard about vaccines being given to my baby - he got "routine childhood" shots for infectious disease that even I cannot get because I am not in that risk group. But child care and public school require the shots, esp. for contagious illness, for a good reason.

If someone figures out the hyper kid-mellow kid thing, please write about that!

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | February 12, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Lawyers have made brought our society to a point where the minutest of every thing is questioned and worthy of a case in court. The general public loses in the end, not knowing and having the time to weigh every issue. In autism linked to vaccines, it should have been a simple benefits to risk issue for the public.

Posted by: shhhhh | February 12, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It has been proven numerous times there's no vaccine/thimeresol/autism link. If you have any doubt about vaccinating your children, read Dr. Paul Offit's book, "Autism's False Prophets." You can read all about how the myths got started and all the studies that have disproven the link.

Oprah did the kids of America no favors by letting Jenny McCarthy on her show. I wouldn't take advice about anything from that woman, especially my child's health.

Posted by: Marimom | February 12, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Some of the above comments are pretty far off base. My son is severely autistic, and while I do not believe that vaccines are responsible, I don't think it's wrong of some parents to feel like the vaccines may be to blame. These parents saw drastic changes in their children soon after vaccinations, they did not simply "jump on a bandwagon" due to a study years ago. Also, this idea that parents who are not vaccinating their children due to autism concerns are putting the general public at risk is ludicrous. There have always been, and always will be unfortunately, many parents who do not vaccinate for a number of reasons - religion, money or insurance, ignorance, poor parenting in general. To lump blame on the autism community is sick. Also, the idea that recreation drug use is to blame is also a bit far fetched, if it were to blame, the explosion of autism cases would have occurred in the 80s and early 90's, not in the past 15 years. As a parent of an autistic child, my opinion is that autism is not in itself a distinct disease. it is a collection of symptoms that can be a product of a number of different diseases or genetic disorders. The autism spectrum is so large, that my son is nothing like what some children are like. I think a lot of kids who used to be "geeks" are now autistic (aspergers). it doesn't mean they are not autistic, it just means that it can be so minute based on current diagnostic criteria that it really has very little impact on some lives compared to others.

Posted by: kdjsgreen | February 12, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

OK. So no study says it is linked. Doesn't mean it isn't... Just means we haven't proven it yet. But even if it REALLY TRULY ISN'T linked... Is it really NECESSARY to inject the little ones with so much stuff ALL at the same time? Yes, I will have any potential-future children vaccinated, but can I please have the right to spread out the shots? And not be deamonized or thought of as a quack to ask for it?

And was it such a BAD thing to remove the mercury from all the shots? I mean really, does any one NEED mercury injected into them?

Yes, they probably had to add something else to replace the Hg, but... Mercury? They tell you not to TOUCH the stuff when you break a thermometer, but they want to inject kids with it?

Posted by: kchokie | February 12, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that the position of our government--HHS anyway--is that vaccines can cause autism in children with a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder. (See the Hanna Poling case.) We don't know how many kids with autism have this condition, although there are some preliminary reports that the percentage may be fairly high. So claims that there is no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism do not seem to be well founded

Posted by: Darren4 | February 12, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"OK. So no study says it is linked. Doesn't mean it isn't... Just means we haven't proven it yet."

Actually, several decades-long studies have proven there is NO LINK. The debunking of the original Lancet study reported here merely removes the last refuge of the anti-vaccine wackadoos, who had been reduced to saying there were mixed results from studies.

Now it's clear. The only study they had in a respectable peer-reviewed journal used fabricated data. All the real studies prove they've been wrong.

And yes, non-vaccinating parents put all our children in danger, because up to 5% of vaccinated children can still be at risk; for this reason, the effectiveness of vaccines depends upon their being universally administered. The anti-vaccine wing of the autism community has been courting danger with this rubbish. It's been going on long enough.

And as a MEMBER of the autism community, with two close relatives affected, I think these advocacy energies could be really effective if put toward sensible ends. Let's do that, please.

Posted by: ofi1992 | February 12, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why so many people are so quick to do all the vaccines just as a matter of course because they are recommended.

In hospitals unless you opt out, they automatically give newborns a hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B is a blood born STD. If the mother doesn't have it, and you are reasonably certain that no one is going to have sex with your infant, it's a totally worthless reason to stick your child. But big pharma has pushed it as "useful", so people blindly get them.

There are numerous vaccines that are pushed on American children, that children across the world do NOT get.

We are vaccinating our daughter, but we created our own schedule (following the schedule that they use in Japan), and are not doing ANY combo shots.

Instead of a combo MMR shot, we are doing a single dose measles shot, a single dose mumps shot, and a single dose rubella shot.

Posted by: squatty2 | February 12, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure why so many people are so quick to do all the vaccines just as a matter of course because they are recommended."

Didn't you answer your own question? I vaccinate on the AAP's schedule *because* that is what is recommended by medical professionals.

Nobody will criticize you for spacing vaccines your way as long as you get them done. That's up to you. But we're not sheeple because we vaccinate on schedule. I have a considered, reasoned belief that it's best *in general* to follow the recommendations of medical science. Sad that this point of view has to be defended.

Posted by: ofi1992 | February 12, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I understand the pain of having a child with a difference but get past the blame game and move on for the sake of the children on the Autism spectrum. It has been clearly demonstrated that vaccines are not the root cause but that there is a genetic component. There is also compelling evidence that the more advanced the age of the father the higher the probability that one's progeny will be on the spectrum. This last fact correlates directly with the increased age of first-time parents in the industrialized world. Stop the witch hunts and focus on helping these kids. Get past your own personal grief and need to lay blame. You most likely will be confronted that you are to blame or at least your genetic material is the root of the issue. Blame is a very self-destructive emotion.

Crappy things happen to innocent children every day, I know this from personal experience, but most of us plow forward and help our children cope in a world that they are not designed to fit into very well regardless of their differences.

Posted by: mmcgowen | February 12, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The parents who rebel against vaccinations probably didn't grow up with the horror of the disease. It's not real to them. And yes, it's human nature to want to blame something or somebody when your loved ones suffer. Doesn't make it real, just understandable.

Posted by: cb11 | February 12, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I TRULY wish I could remember where this study was, but there is a group of scientists who are observing what appears to be a link between autism and early (up to age 2, I believe) television viewing. NOT for program content, mind you (what does a one-year-old know about the arc of a script, anyway....) -- but they believe that the bright, rapidly-moving lights of television may negatively influence how the visual cortex processes and forwards information in the first couple of years. Given that the entire apparatus of visual input and response to it develops very rapidly in infants, this might very well be a promising field of inquiry; the sense was that it's worth looking at closely, beyond anecdotal observations. And their initial impression was not that ANY time in front of the tube was bad, but there may well be a tipping point after x number of hours. Worth looking at, methinks. Pardon the pun.

Posted by: mrodifer | February 12, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Terrorists are always looking for a weak spot. If we have 10% or 20% unvaccinated kids, would they release something like rubella or diptheria on purpose?

We are close to annihilating polio, which is restricted to Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. Any of those countries sound familiar to bin Laden?
Afghanistan and Pakistan?

We stop vaccinating against an "eradicated" disease, it could come back. The only good thing is that the polio vaccine doesn't kill once per million shots, and is generally effective for an entire lifetime.

He wouldn't? He might.

Vaccination, no matter what the side effects, is our best policy, and I have Asperger which is low grade autism.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | February 12, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

more collateral damage point of view conditioning ...
folks are being conditioned to accept these outcomes as the price for being safe ...
this conditioning is in place so that folks look to "experts" for guidance vs thinking for themselves ...
btw ... the last cases of polio in the USA were due to what ? side affects from the vaccine ...
there is no need for children to still be getting the polio vaccine in the USA ... other than conditioning folks that vaccines are necessary ....
the BS continues.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

NoVaMusicMom ~ If someone figures out the hyper kid-mellow kid thing, please write about that!

the hyper kids are normal the mellow kids are most likely medicated.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I would take my kids to the park in the midst of sniper shootings and I always check my facts rather than believing an article about what is OK to give to kids. Parents, please do your own research.

Posted by: shellynoren | February 12, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Also, this idea that parents who are not vaccinating their children due to autism concerns are putting the general public at risk is ludicrous. There have always been, and always will be unfortunately, many parents who do not vaccinate for a number of reasons - religion, money or insurance, ignorance, poor parenting in general.

~ you forgot to add some board certified physicians to the list of folks not vaccinating their children.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

shhhhh, don't blame the lawyers. Without clients who want to bring these cases, they wouldn't get brought. Lawyers are getting laid off by the hundreds just like anybody else. If lawsuits were the will of the lawyers and not the clients, lawyers wouldn't be getting laid off...

Posted by: anon35 | February 12, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Re: mrodifer | February 12, 2009 5:23 PM

". . . but there is a group of scientists who are observing what appears to be a link between autism and early (up to age 2, I believe) television viewing. NOT for program content, mind you (what does a one-year-old know about the arc of a script, anyway....) -- but they believe that the bright, rapidly-moving lights of television may negatively influence how the visual cortex processes and forwards information in the first couple of years."


I'm neither parent nor scientist, but quite glad that some group is studying that possible link. I've long suspected (without the backing of any empirical data) that early TV viewing significantly alters the development and formation of brain processes, irrespective of content.

In my hypothesis, the cause relates to the scan rate and refresh mechanism of televisions (and computer monitors, for that matter), and how the brain synchronizes with the rapidly refreshing "light source" that the eyes are trained on. Even if the image isn't changing, a TV/computer screen is constantly refreshing its contents, and what is actually presented to the viewer is far from a static display.

As an illustrative example (which may not work as well with the improved displays of new-fangled television sets with the LCD and Plasmatics and whatnot), try watching TV for a stretch of time in a darkened room, then turn off the telly. One's eyes will continue to "strobe" for a few moments, as if still pulsing in sync with the cyclical refresh rate of the set. It may or may not be a benign effect, but wouldn't seem to be too helpful to the maturation process of a developing juvenile brain.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | February 12, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

If you have a pulse, you have a lawyer
If you have a case, you have a lawyer
If you have a soul, you have a lawyer, and we'll gladly accept it

If there is an ambulance coming, pull over and let the ambulance pass. Then let the lawyer pass. Then let the state trooper chasing him for speeding pass.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | February 12, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

mmcgowen: "Get past your own personal grief and need to lay blame. You most likely will be confronted that you are to blame or at least your genetic material is the root of the issue. Blame is a very self-destructive emotion."

Without the harsh language, parents need to let go.

1. Let go of the sadness of "I didn't get the kind of child I wanted: (free of so-called defects)

Perhaps if there were no children who were different or who had special needs, more of us would be selfish because less of us would learn, and need to learn, how to help someone else.

In a manner of speaking people with disabilities, by forcing at least some people to confront their own attitudes and behaviors, are doing God's work. Calling them angels may be going too far, but having challenges oneself may help a person be more compassionate and loving. I have already written that people with Asperger are familiar with rejection.

2. Let go of the need to blame somebody, even themselves or the child. It only teaches the child to blame himself/herself for being different.

I feel sometimes like a different variety of species of human being. I have read that intimate relationships seldom cross the neurological barrier. I agree it can be because each of us will never entirely understand the other, but I still suspect we freak out average women. A Facebook page I helped to shut down, the Young Female Protection Force Against Autism, blatantly suggested that every autistic male was a potential sexual offender and needed to be "passed by" for a girl's or woman's safety.

3. Let go of the hope for a cure.

If something damaged your kid's brain, fat chance something is going to regenerate your kid's neurons. I asked my physician assistant Michelle Sealock about so-called claims of chelation to reverse brain damage because I am fairly certain that death to brain tissue is irreversible. She said it depends on degree of damage, but I think in the case of an adult almost age 40, no, she is not suggesting any success.

We used to think classic autistics were mentally retarded simply because they didn't talk to us or repeated our words. We have realized in some cases we are very wrong. Many "low-functioning autistics" were listening all these years, it seems.

A significant proportion of Aspies have technical, scientific, and/or mathematical gifts but need to learn emotional and social lessons to learn to accept themselves and how to get along in a challenging society that wants them to conform or disappear, possibly even die. Living alone is one very difficult thing.

Let go and be thankful for what you do have. You may be blinded by prejudice or sadness.



Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | February 12, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

So who makes the vaccines, and are there any money trails going to the courts? Remember. We were supposed to feel safe about peanuts and heparin as well. The proof is in the pudding. I'm not putting mercury in my child, thanks...

Posted by: kogejoe | February 12, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

cmarshdtihqcom ~ just curious ... did autism exist before the use of vaccines in recorded history ?
answer is ......
nope.
hmmmmmmmm.
but hey ... draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

atlmom's article is The Geek Syndrome, by Steve Silberman, published in Wired magazine 9.12. The link to the article is here.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | February 12, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not putting mercury in my child, thanks..."

kogejoe, they stopped putting mercury (thimerosol) in almost all vaccines several years back, not because it was harming people, but because of the public relations problem.

And guess what? The number of autistic kids etc didn't change a bit when they stopped using it.

Which didn't surprise them, because (a) it was a tiny amount, and (b) it wasn't a bioavailable form of mercury anyway.

Posted by: bourassa1 | February 12, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

kogejoe said:

So who makes the vaccines, and are there any money trails going to the courts? Remember. We were supposed to feel safe about peanuts and heparin as well. The proof is in the pudding. I'm not putting mercury in my child, thanks...

----

Do you let your kids eat fish? How about anything with HFCS? I bet you do. Congratulations. You're feeding your kids trace amounts of mercury.

Posted by: thornwalker1 | February 12, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

AmericanSpirit, there are many examples from literature where characters are described with autistic qualities. Most notably, is Charles Dickens' "Barnaby Rudge" Read http://www.cwru.edu/affil/sce/Texts_2005/Autism%20and%20Representation%20Mcdonagh.htm for a bit more on this.
There is no question that autism has been with us for quite some time, but it wasn't until the 1940s that the term autism was used. Does that mean it didn't exist? Many would argue that it did exist.

Posted by: ftg_somerville | February 12, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

ftg_somerville
okay i'll bite ...
and the incidents of reported cases of autism ~ have they increased since the term "stared being used" ... , coincidentally when vaccines were introduced, or are the "many" incidents of autism found in old works of literature in the same proportion as the number of incidents that exist today ...
nice try but ... nope.
but hey ... the Sate has you best interests in mind ... listen to them. take the vaccines ... they are for your protection ... the "experts" love you and will take care of you.
trust them.
Nice quote on teh great seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia dont you think?

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

AmericanSpirit, but you do admit you were wrong in that autism did exist before vaccines, yes? Now we are arguing about how/when the rates have changed, not whether or not there have always been autistic individuals.

Posted by: ftg_somerville | February 12, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

ftg_somerville no I do not

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | February 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

By the way, mercury is still an ingredient in the flu shot given to pregnant women and infants. Also, someone commented on the "tiny amount" of mercury in vaccines.
Can you please quantify what you mean by tiny and please cite the studies which back up your assertion. Also, cyanide is deadly in "tiny" amounts.

Posted by: dollyq | February 12, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

dollyq, "tiny" is about as much mercury in a 6 oz can of tuna. Combine the data in the sources to get the comparison
http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm
and
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2006/11/working_draft.html

This study compares the two, if you don't want to the the math yourself.

http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/pr/News/story.cfm?id=160

And "tiny" amounts of cyanide can be fine. Apple seeds actually contain a tiny bit of cyanide, and while usually people don't crunch through the seeds, it wouldn't kill them if they did.

Posted by: ftg_somerville | February 13, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

If I may add a personal anecdote to further fight the Young Female Protection Force Against Autism and their prejudiced fear-mongering ilk that says a higher proportion of autistic men are sexual offenders to be avoided at all costs.... I am a man with Asperger. Also on at least five separate occasions I have been on dates with women across state lines and there was no sex at all. If I may interject a pun, according to the terms of the Mann Act, I must be a gentleman.

It is possible to be a gentleman within the autistic spectrum.

Posted by: cmarshdtihqcom | February 13, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

To ftg: you show total ignorance when you compare injesting fish in an oral manner and being injected with thimerosol. Talk about comparing apples with oranges.

Posted by: dollyq | February 13, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, dollyq, that's a kind of nasty response. I cited my sources like you asked. You asked a question, I gave a researched response, and you bit my head off. Nice. What part of your original question didn't I answer?
There is mercury everywhere. It's in the air, water, and food thanks to coal burning power plants, and yet there is this fixation on vaccines.
So now it's your turn, find your sources comparing the uptake efficiency difference between eating something and having it injected.

Posted by: ftg_somerville | February 16, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

AmericanSpirit - Polio vaccines are still needed and hardly 100%. Just look at a recent outbreak in Minnesota in 2005: http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/08/news/polio.php. What's scary was at the time they had no clue what the vector was for contamination. They probably still don't.

Posted by: grounder | February 17, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

fr grounder:

>AmericanSpirit - Polio vaccines are still needed and hardly 100%. Just look at a recent outbreak in Minnesota in 2005: http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/08/news/polio.php. What's scary was at the time they had no clue what the vector was for contamination. They probably still don't.

VERY true. I just saw a very interesting PBS documentary on the polio epidemic of the early to middle 20th century. Horrific, the thought of being slowly suffocated by a contagious disease. I remember the oral polio vaccine on a sugar cube, and (I was about 8 or so, I think) and being slightly annoyed that I couldn't go back and get another sugar cube! Couldn't quite wrap my head around that...

Posted by: Alex511 | February 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

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