Momversation Autism Debate

Well, this report hit the mommy world. At Momversation.com I was asked to load up my response along with Mindy and Heather Spohr. When the report first appeared in The Lancet linking the MMR vaccine to Autism, it was a big deal. Now, The Lancet has taken it back citing lapses in the research and a relationship that the researcher had with a lawyer working with Autism groups that was not previously disclosed. I just heard the head of The Lancet on the radio, and he said that because of this they would not longer publish speculative studies, even if they did help further science one day because they are too public and too prone to hysteria.

Does this retraction change your mind about the link? Or about vaccines in general?

6 thoughts on “Momversation Autism Debate

  1. Hi Daphne,

    This is a cool site. I am going to lose some time here, I can see!

    I have a unique take on vaxing. I married into a PhD family and all my hubby’s friends. I am now friends with or related to 6 Neuroscientists or Neurobiologists.

    Here’s the short of what I’ve gotten from them (and backed it up with internet research).

    Japan stopped giving MMR in the 90s and their rates of Autism have gone through the roof. After 1000s and 1000s of studies, the only thinga agreed upon about Autism is that it is genetic (but what triggers it?) and that it is not caused by vaccines.

    I think the damage has been done, retraction or not, as the science disproving this theory has been around for almost 10 years.

    The sucky part is that now LA and Pasadena actually have measels cases. Darwin is about to kick some butt here. :(

    There is a great site called Medical News Today that has articles on just about everything. Their Autism section is very informative if anyone is interested.

    This article piqued my interest:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176494.php

    High Rates of Birth Defects Found in Autistic Children

  2. Hi, Daphne: I’m in a homeschooling group, and a large percentage of the families in it have never vaccinated their kids: they just don’t believe in all the live viruses, ded viruses, going into their children at such a young age. I’d say that a fair number of the kids are on the autistic spectrum.

    Hard to say if it’s representative, though. Do they homeschool b/c their children are autistic? Or would they have homeschooled anyway? Hard to say.

    But I’d say, that out of our group of 200, there are 4 children that are definitely diagnosed, and have never been vaccinated.

    Interesting…and hopefully, parents will delve deeper into the hard facts before making a decision.

  3. I think you all made some really good points. Before becoming a classroom teacher, I was a behavioral therapist working with children with Autism. While my work was not focused on the cause of Autism, I did hear tons of theories from parents about possible causes, therapies, the latest “this will fix your child” cure. I think using the word “cure” and “Autism” in the same sentence is completely unacceptable and frankly, mean. Jenny McC is out there telling people her son is cured. She did this, this, and that and advocates for X, Y, and Z (I follow her on Twitter and she is on a huge campaign against The Lancet. She insists the retraction is a medial community conspiracy fueled by drug companies…).

    The way I see it (based upon my very personal experiences with many families struggling to raise a child with Autism), OF COURSE parents are looking for a cause and a cure. Autism sucks. It robs you of a traditonal relationship with your child. Anyone who plays into the emotions of these families by claiming cause or cure is playing a cruel emotional game. Autism is a life-long disorder. Children can make wonderful progress. Some can be almost undistinguishable from their peers. But, learning to function in a non-Autistic world doesn’t change the brain functioning and chemistry. At the core, these kids still process differently. They are still going to struggle with things that “regular” kids don’t. Autism is treatable, but I don’t believe there is a cure.

    When I became pregnant with my first son, several of the families I had worked for encouraged me not to vaccinate my son. They cited “studies” and personal experience. I vaccinated him according to our pediatrician’s schedule and held my breath. I cried all the way home from the office when he got the MMR. He’s fine. In my head, I knew he would be, but it is such an emotional issue.

    Thanks for talking about the retraction and your personal experiences. I am glad to know there are at least a few other pro-vaccine moms.

  4. The media screwed this issue up big time…They, Wakefield and McCarthy have blood on their hands. Countless studies that didn’t even need to be done discredited his early work…and it was in fact, discredited almost immediately following but you never heard that on the news. Oh no, you got big servings of what has got to be the dumbest most stubborn woman on the planet. Who in fact, STILL won’t issue a retraction and IN FACT, stands by Wakefield to this day. It’s clear she’s taking this one to the grave. And I hope that day comes soon.

  5. sorry, that last line made me laugh.

    I love all the thoughtful comments here.
    I will check out that site Myra, since my Dr Dean days I enjoy keeping up with medical news.
    Alexandra, the average is 1 in 100 have autism, so you can say your group is a tad above average, but who knows why. Maybe there is another factor at play in that group we have yet to discover. I bet it’s what you were saying though, that they are more likely to homeschool their kids who have this problem. Homeschooling an autistic child sounds SO exhausting to me. When do you ever get a break?

    Heather M, I did wonder about using the term “cured” if that was kosher. thanks for your perspective.

    I know they make mistakes, but I do tend to tilt toward modern science.

  6. Ok so I’m one of those mom’s who has not vaccinated her children b/c of this whole autism scare. But after reading article after article I have decided to take him in to get vaccinated and updated on all his shots. Looking at the big picture I have decided that I would much rather my child end up with autism than dead…. I don’t know maybe that’s just me. I trust in God and have faith that He knows the future and what will happen. If my child gets autism then He will help me through and if he doesn’t THANK GOD!

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