(Courtesy of NJIFAMILY.COM)
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Being that this is such an exposed issue recently, looking into accusations about vaccines effecting and possibly causing autism are on the rise. In 1998, Dr.
Andrew Wakefield sparked the first studies regarding vaccines possibly triggering autism. Wakefield, a British doctor, began his study with twelve children, questioning whether a childhood vaccine had caused a new form of autism. Before Wakefield could finish his study, his medical license was revoked due to unethical behavior. With the loss of his license, he also lost his credibility, resulting in Wakefield retracting his studies. In January of 1998, The United Kingdoms General Medical Council concluded that Wakefield participated in, “dishonesty and misleading conduct”. Where he went wrong was submitting bias works to medical journals. Other unethical behaviors involve Wakefield drawing blood from children at his own son’s birthday party, and paying them for the “donation”.
Some of Wakefield’s piers feel as though it is irrelevant that the doctor’s license got pulled. Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has sided with Wakefield, stating that his studies should still be allowed to be published. Many doctors that had read his study before it was pulled had said that the findings were astounding.
Autism has been at the forefront of diseases lately with exposure from celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and long time boyfriend Jim Carrey. McCarthy, whose son has autism has created much awareness about the disease. Also, she has a website, http://www.generationrescue.org/home, and has organized rally’s and walks to raise awareness. McCarthy largely discusses the vaccine issue, and completely believes in the research that links autism to vaccines.
Mainly her website discusses prevention, and dealing with autism after the fact. McCarthy also advertises that the disease is reversible, if one takes the right steps for recovery. Treatments for autism come from a wide range of medicines and different theories about what is the best approach.
Doctors that specialize in autism have said that holistic medicine is a lot better then drugs in the pharmacy. Diet has also been discussed – gluten free and caysine free have been proven to improve children’s autism symptoms. “We know for a fact that that can be very helpful for children with autism. There have been many studies done about gluten and caysine, and its been proven to help, when they are removed”, stated Dr. David Getoff, 58, Traditional Naturopath and Certified National Nutritionist. Diet has a huge influence on the body, and certain ingredients in foods can definitely have a mental and physical effect over a long period of time.
Location can be a large participant to autism as well. Depending on where someone lives, or their religious beliefs, groups of people will act in certain ways. Almost like cancer clusters, but the opposite – depending on a groups general beliefs can effect that group as a whole. There are certain religious groups that do not believe in vaccinations, and in those societies they have a very small if any percentage of autism cases in children. The best example is the Amish – being that they have less cases of autism then everywhere else. “Autism in locations such as Amish Country, are rare and unheard of because they do not live in a similar manner that our population does”, said Dr. Getoff. “Other factors regarding location include radiation, location of energy plants, and amounts of stress”, added Julie Anne Griffith, MD., Neurologist.
Vaccination is the number one argument against autism in today’s society. Among all the factors that can allude to autism, it is the most researched and debated by far. Mercury is the number one ingredient in children’s vaccines that worries parents along with doctors. “There are definitely a few ingredients in the vaccines that we have directly related to causing autism. Even though companies that fund poor quality research have been trying to say that it isn’t true, but we know that it is true”, argued Getoff. There are many researchers that have tried to tell the public that vaccines have nothing to do with autism, when in reality they have a lot to do with it. Even though doctors cannot tell exactly what parts of the vaccine do cause autism, they can identify certain vaccines such as – MMR and DPT. However, without the knowledge of which chemicals or the amount of, its hard to know and to completely identify.
The only thing that has so far been covered is that when doctors go to communities where they do not vaccinate children, there are almost no cases of autism at all. Many of the doctors agreed with one another in regards to – knowing that there is a direct link – but not yet being able to close the gap and know all the exact details to be able to act correctly. Without any real proof it is challenging for doctors and researchers.
Autism is set to be on the rise in the next few years, and that the public will be seeing larger amounts of cases, meaning there must be an external cause. With autism cases rising, something in the world or the environment has to be changing or evolving, just as the cases are multiplying and growing. “Because purely genetic diseases do not rise precipitously, the corollary to a true autism increase is clear — genes only load the gun and it is the environment that pulls the trigger. Autism is best redefined as an environmental disease with genetic susceptibilities. We should be investing our research dollars into discovering environmental factors that we can change, not more poorly targeted genetic studies that offer no hope of early intervention. Pesticides, mercury, aluminum, several drugs, dietary factors, infectious agents and yes — vaccines — are all in the research agenda”, believes Jon Poling, M.D., Op-Ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Environment and vaccines are the leading hypothesis on the rise of autism, and it has been theorized and proven time and time again.
Griffith who mostly believes in the environment along with vaccine as a cause said, “You don’t need to be a genius, to look around you and see that certain factors in your environment are similar to others, and that those similar environments get similar cases, of not just autism”.
After autism has been discovered, and the cause is thought to be vaccination, one can take the steps to recovery. Many doctors believe in the recovery of autism after vaccines. On the website for generation rescue it states – removing toxins from the household, balanced multivitamin and mineral supplement, add cod liver oil to juices, add a probiotic, and digestive enzyme, among others. Families such as the Goetz family, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin published their story about the process of recovery on the blog site at generation recovery. Their son David Goetz had, “Regression after a vaccination. No language, hand flapping, standing on toes, fixation on spinning objects, no ability to point to anything, did not understand “yes” or “no,” circles under eyes, insomnia, hyperactivity, restless leg syndrome, tantrums, severely self-limited what he would eat”. After they took the steps to recovery, “After a month, another thing was added, and each introduction was followed by noticing if there were improvements in his therapy or school notes. The GF/CF diet has really helped and is worth a significant effort to be done correctly. His teacher at school is very important in helping him to follow his diet. He currently makes his own lunch at school. His grades have improved, his behavior is almost normal now. He has friends, and does almost anything a regular kid does. He is currently still learning to ride a bike, though. He requires some help at school”.
Autism is on the rise, and fast. Even though there is no exact proof for the exact cause, there is always prevention. Not vaccinating is always a choice, instead of taking a chance, when it has been proven once again to have some sort of link, if not many. Whether or not the link can be identified to a tee, the most important thing is raising a healthy and happy child, “so don’t add any factors to corrupt that”, recognizes Getoff.