Autism Linked To Vaccinations: True or False
The link between child hood vaccinations and autism is controversial to say the least. There are parents, physicians and advocates on both sides of the fence, those who support this theory and those who stand firmly against it. Child hood vaccinations have reduced the amount of child deaths from diseases that many generations have never had to experience such as Polio, Measles and Mumps. These illnesses once affected both children and adults causing severe illnesses that often resulted in fatal effects such as the inability to use their arms and legs and even death.
Recent studies of these precautionary vaccines however have been accused of causing Autism such as the case of former surgeon Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield was the lead author of a 1998 study, published in The Lancet, which reported bowel symptoms in twelve children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, to which the authors suggested a possible link with the MMR vaccine. Though he is on record stating "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described," the paper adopted alleged parental allegation as fact for the purpose of calculating a temporal link between receipt of the vaccine and the first onset of what were described as "behavioral symptoms".
Throughout court cases against Wakefield the panel stated that this was not about rebutting, once again, the autism claims. The panel made it clear that its report was not an exploration of whether the link existed or not. Rather, "it has concerned itself exclusively with the conduct, duties and responsibilities of each doctor", it says. In other words, it investigated the facts of whether Wakefield and his colleagues failed to uphold their professional duties to patients.
Other health care professionals have gone on to say that indeed, the accumulated evidence is strong enough to convince even onetime proponents of the MMR-autism link, like Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, director of the International Child Development Resource Center in Palm Bay, Fla. "MMR does not appear to cause autism," Bradstreet concedes. "If it did, it would be a godsend because we could change the vaccine and that would be it." Still, he suspects that the MMR vaccine might worsen a pre-existing autistic condition.
As further more rigorous studies of this possible link continue physicians continue to state that the benefits of child hood vaccines far outweigh the suggested risks that parents fear. In the end it is up to the parents to choose what they believe is the best choice for their child.
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