Autism and vaccines - new findings

For what it's worth, I have degrees in both microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology, and worked for several years at a state public health department. I fully plan to vaccinate my baby once he arrives. Vaccines aren't perfect (the risks were already alluded to in this thread), but they are without a doubt effective in the prevention of deadly diseases. And as an epidemiologist, let me just point out that it took decades of scientific research to conclude that smoking causes cancer. I appreciate the research being conducted to investigate the link between vaccines & autism, but until causality is established, I choose to rely on the evidence - vaccines prevent disease.
Originally Posted by preciousjewel76
Very eloquently put
My now 26 month old son suffered a SEVERE reaction to DTaP at age 5 months. I noticed that his left eye was bothering him; he's started rubbing it a lot and it was tearing up and looking irritated. A few days later I noticed that his eye seemed to look "crossed" - it had started pulling toward his nose. I immediately made a doctor's appointment and by the time he was seen, my baby's left eye was fully crossed. He was very agitated and cried a lot! Possibly from the double vision. His pediatrician was able to determine it to be caused by Sixth Nerve Palsy - the sixth cranial nerve is responsible for basically turning the eye out. He had to see a pediatric ophthalmologist who specialized in Sixth Nerve Palsy and had continual tests (MRI's, etc) and therapy.

THANK THE LORD that my son's eye eventually returned to normal. He still has a bit of a lazy eye at times, but considering the long road he could have had (surgeries, etc) he is truly BLESSED! I NEVER....repeat N-E-V-E-R allowed him to be vaccinated again. He has not received a vaccine since age 5 months and he is perfectly healthy. I do want to add that he is exclusively breastfed, sans table food. And honestly ladies, if you do breastfeed, your baby will receive a healthy and adequate dose of immunities from you. His pediatrician states that as long as I continue to feed him healthy (I'm a HUGE pusher of fruits, veggies, and non-red meat!) and maintain proper hygiene (hand washing, etc) he will be fine. He will only require minimal vaccines in order to start school as opposed to the slew of vaccines they would have given him over the first two years of his life. Of course I have to be more vigilant for signs of him contracting something. But at this point (aged 24.2 months) his body has already developed plenty immunities naturally.

In conclusion, yes - any physician worth his degree will tell you that vaccines honestly do pose a risk (hence all the consent signing) but if they are really honest, they will also tell you that vaccines are not an ABSOLUTE necessity, especially if you breastfeed. Use absolute caution when allowing your child to receive DTaP and MMR vaccines. When in doubt, go with your gut. I swear to you I had had second thoughts prior to my son's DTaP but I did it anyway. Don't let doctors bully you either! In the process, I spoke with several doctors and a couple were adamant that it didn't happen due to the DTaP....while the vast majority admitted it to be rare but very possible.

Okay....I'm done! Off to play with my hair!!!!
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Last edited by HighlyAddictive; 09-04-2008 at 01:30 PM.
Cympreni, you wrote in this thread you are doubtful about the study, because "they were funded by the CDC and NIH, who were big opponents of the Autism research funding bill." I recall reading about your distrust of the CDC, specifically when it comes to the autism-vaccine issue, in other posts of yours.

Do you dislike the CDC because they deny a link between autism and vaccines, or for another reason?
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
Tell you the truth I am undecided on the issue. My kids are getting the necessary vaccinations on a delayed schedule, not by my wishes, but on the suggestion of their ped who by her own words is too wussy to give too many shots at once.

Tell you the truth, I'm not as educated on this subject as I should be. When my son was diagnosed it destroyed me. For a long time it took everything I had just to function. I didn't have enough left over for research. By the time I did, I didn't see the point about worrying about the past. Trying to deal with the present is hard enough. But I won't right off such research for future children.

My problems with the CDC, APA, and NIH are not just over vaccinations. The NIH fought the autism bill because they thought it was pointless and we had better more important things to spend our money on, specifically listing the war and national security as bigger priorities then the future of our children. APA and autism groups have been butting heads for years, and not just over vaccinations, over everything.

Despite 6 evaluations performed by 6 different teams of experts and that doesn't include ones done by individuals and they all agree, but my ped still doesn't believe my son has autism. And that's because she looks for what the APA tells her to look for, which is the most obvious and stereotypical cases. And they don't even bother to teach doctors how to treat autism. They are in such denial over autism they will fight every step of way.

I had to fight for the evaluations. Which were a nightmare. I had everything I had ever did or didn't do questioned. I had to sit through hours of developmental interviews when 90% of the answers came up no and feeling like the biggest jerk in the world because I didn't see it before. I had brought up a few concerns to my ped, but she always said he's still in the normal range or just mildly delayed and he'll catch up on his own. But the fact is he tested having serious delays in every area of development. And yet still I had to fight for treatment.

When I finally worked my way up to the big boy hospital for their evaluation. After hours of grueling tests and questions. They came in said "your son has autism, here's a pamphlet have a nice day." I asked what I was supposed to do, and they started saying something about long-term care facilities. My son was only 2 years old!!!

I thought surly his ped would know and help. Her response was IF he has it, then there's nothing you can do. I had to fight with the doctor just to get speech and occupational therapy. she didn't see anything wrong with a 3 year old with the speech and fine motor skills of a 9 month old. I asked why so much trouble once, and was told they were only doing what the APA recommended.

No one of official capacity ever helped me. I had to figure it out on my own and fight for it. I've had to fight with doctors, fight agencies, therapists, fight with his school almost ever year (he started school midway through the year at 2 1/2). I've been treated like a hypochondriac and attention seeking and money grabbing, denied countless times by people who don't even know what they're talking about. AND I AM ****ING SICK TO DEATH OF FIGHTING WITH THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO FREAKING HELPING! Instead of helping they are doing what the NIH CDC and APA instructed them to do which usually results in blaming denying and ignoring the problem.

But you want to know what the real tragedy is, is stories like mine are more common then not. I asked several support groups both online and in person, where I can find better educated doctors, the universal answer is "good luck if you find one then tell us."

We have a serious problem on our hands and they are dragging their asses. THAT is my main problem with them.

There was more I wanted to say,and I"m sure I didn't answer the question fully. But this has really upset me so much that I have a serious migraine going and I can't concentrate anymore. Sorry for length and rant and anything else.
We did a lot of research on vaccines, and at this time, I do not believe vaccines cause autism. I'm more inclined to believe it's environmental, linked to all the crap added to our food and water (fluoride for example, which most people think is great in drinking water). However, I don't believe vaccines are harmless and I think they may have other health ramifications.
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Do you dislike the CDC because they deny a link between autism and vaccines, or for another reason?
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
Not cympreni, but I distrust the CDC because it's a government agency and their main goal is not to find truth but to uphold public policies. I believe generally when they do studies, they want a certain conclusion to be drawn from it to support whatever policy they're trying to enact or defend at the time.
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My kids are both vaccinated. I'm not sold on the Gardisil yet for DD but there's still time.

In the past the concern has not been about all vaccines, but the ones given at 15 and 18 months, and that's when many parents start to notice odd or different behavior in their children (withdrawn, slow speech development, won't play with other toddlers...).

There was a segment on Today within the last couple of years that had a specialist and some interesting findings. A panel of Autism doctors and researchers viewed home videos of random children around 12 months (usually at their 1st birthday) and they were able to tell by almost complete accuaracy which children were later diagnosed with Autism and which ones were not, by subtle signs that early on. Leading the 15/18 month vaccine concern to be likely invalid.
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I chose not to vaccinate my kids 11 years ago, long before the autism/mmr idea was circulating. Therefore, this study doesn't change my mind in any way.
I'd still caution every parent to research the issue on their own and not take their doctor's word or the AMA or APA's word on the safety or efficacy of vaccines. They alone are responsible for their child, they alone have to deal with the ramifications of the vaccine or the disease, not the doctor who gives it or the drug company that provides it or the APA that recommends it.
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There was a segment on Today within the last couple of years that had a specialist and some interesting findings. A panel of Autism doctors and researchers viewed home videos of random children around 12 months (usually at their 1st birthday) and they were able to tell by almost complete accuaracy which children were later diagnosed with Autism and which ones were not, by subtle signs that early on.
Wow, I hadn't heard about that but it sounds very interesting.
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For what it's worth, I have degrees in both microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology, and worked for several years at a state public health department. I fully plan to vaccinate my baby once he arrives. Vaccines aren't perfect (the risks were already alluded to in this thread), but they are without a doubt effective in the prevention of deadly diseases. And as an epidemiologist, let me just point out that it took decades of scientific research to conclude that smoking causes cancer. I appreciate the research being conducted to investigate the link between vaccines & autism, but until causality is established, I choose to rely on the evidence - vaccines prevent disease.
Originally Posted by preciousjewel76

I understand this point - yet I do not believe that all information would be disclosed to us, or that all information has been researched.

I also understand, as a parent whose child has exhibited autistic behavior, that it's terrifying to make a decision where one second of a 15 minute well baby appointment could destroy the child I have grown to know.

I also can't ignore the idea that HMO's, drug companies, doctors, are all financially connected. If they DID come out with some strong evidence stating that vaccines have the possibility to cause autism, think of the money that would be lost. Health insurance covers something like a dozen (i'm guessing here) vaccines for EVERY child before they even enter into school. That's a lot of money going to drug companies for these vaccines for EVERY child in America. Even if there was evidenciary support that SOME children could develop Autism from vaccinations, the amount of parents that would deny the vaccinations for their children would be staggering.

What it comes down to is, which is a bigger risk? The risk that the child COULD become autistic, or
COULD come in contact with Polio.
I understand this point - yet I do not believe that all information would be disclosed to us, or that all information has been researched.

I also understand, as a parent whose child has exhibited autistic behavior, that it's terrifying to make a decision where one second of a 15 minute well baby appointment could destroy the child I have grown to know.

I also can't ignore the idea that HMO's, drug companies, doctors, are all financially connected. If they DID come out with some strong evidence stating that vaccines have the possibility to cause autism, think of the money that would be lost. Health insurance covers something like a dozen (i'm guessing here) vaccines for EVERY child before they even enter into school. That's a lot of money going to drug companies for these vaccines for EVERY child in America. Even if there was evidenciary support that SOME children could develop Autism from vaccinations, the amount of parents that would deny the vaccinations for their children would be staggering.

What it comes down to is, which is a bigger risk? The risk that the child COULD become autistic, or
COULD come in contact with Polio.
Originally Posted by babywavy
You raise some very valid points. You're right; the average pediatrician does not release the entire body of research on a vaccine before suggesting it to a patient. And how many parents have the time or resources to do independent research on their own? Were it not for my background and job experience, I'd probably be inclined to just accept whatever my pediatrician suggested for my child. BTW, I don't necessarily believe that my child will need every vaccine out there, and I still intend to research the ones I do choose to have administered to my child.

What it comes down to is, which is a bigger risk? The risk that the child COULD become autistic, or
COULD come in contact with Polio
I don't think anyone could quantify those risks at this point. Hopefully, the research will provide us with an answer in due time.

BTW, I'd be less concerned about my baby being exposed to polio (which has been eradicated from North America) than something like measles or whooping cough.
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Last edited by preciousjewel76; 09-04-2008 at 06:46 PM.
Cympreni, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

(Ok, this part below is not directed at Cympreni, or any other posters in this thread! I'm expressing my opinion without referring to others' opinions. I just wanted to include this disclaimer because I know that this can be a touchy subject.)

I personally think that part of the cause of the autism-vaccine issue is that good parents want to be able to protect their children from experiencing difficulties. At the same time, a lot of things are just beyond everyone's control.

I would guess that it's pretty common for parents of children with congenital problems of any kind to feel guilty about it. After all, as humans, we always want some kind of explanation or justification. "Something didn't work out the way it usually does, and there was nothing you could do about it," just isn't satisfying.

Many cognitive disorders simply involve developmental delays--not development followed by regression, as in autism. (I'm sorry if I'm not using the right terminology, but I hope people know what I mean.) This probably makes it especially easy for a parent to feel like they did something to cause the autistic symptoms. From there, it's not a huge leap to blame something you do have control over, such as vaccines.

Vaccines, as has been repeated throughout the thread, are definitely not without risk. A lot of vaccines that aren't administered to the general public (they're reserved for certain scientists, military personel, etc) can have some pretty scary side effects. However, as others have mentioned, people who aren't immunized to common illnesses depend on people who are immunized in order to stay healthy. It would really be a shame if communities once again start losing infants and children to common infectious diseases.
I'm sorry, but I believe there is a connection. I don't believe that the higher rate is due to better detection. These kids would not go undiagnosed....they're too different. I have seen videos of some of my students speaking in complete sentences when they were babies, and now they are nonverbal. I'm not saying they would have been typical, but something happened. This same student had a VERY sever reaction to his immunizations. From what I've read, the latest research shows that we're born with genes to help us process the metals and toxins that we encounter. These children are missing that gene. They are born with a normal brains, but when they encounter these neurotoxins, they can't get rid of the metals and they attack their nervous systems.
I don't have a dog in the autism argument, but just wanted to make an observation...

I've heard it said that autism is increasing. I'm not convinced of that. I think autism diagnosis is increasing, not necessarily the affliction itself. Back when I was in school, there were no special needs diagnoses or IEP's or even LD's...kids were either normal and they went to regular school, or they were retarded, and they went to "special" school. I clearly recall several kids who's behavior would definitely have fit the autism bill. Some of them stayed in regular school and were...eccentric...and some of them went to special school. We had very few vaccinations back then, and we had them at older ages than today's infants (quite traumatic to get that smallpox vaccine I'll tell ya), yet there have always been autistic spectrum kids.
I'm sorry, but I believe there is a connection.
Originally Posted by cyndi
I don't know if that was directed at me, but I hope I didn't make you feel like you had to apologize, or like you were attacked. I really just wanted to express my take on it, without belittling other people's opinions. Obviously I disagree with some people on this issue, but my intent was to disagree without insulting. I'm sorry if my post didn't come across that way.

Last edited by Eilonwy; 09-04-2008 at 07:01 PM.
I'm sorry, but I believe there is a connection.
Originally Posted by cyndi
I don't know if that was directed at me, but I hope I didn't make you feel like you had to apologize, or like you were attacked. I really just wanted to express my take on it, without belittling other people's opinions. Obviously I disagree with some people on this issue, but my intent was to disagree without insulting. I'm sorry if my post didn't come across that way.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
No, I didn't take it that way. I don't know why I worded my post that way. I guess because I was disagreeing with so many people.
No, I didn't take it that way. I don't know why I worded my post that way. I guess because I was disagreeing with so many people.
Originally Posted by cyndi
I have no problem with anybody disagreeing with me, as long as we're civil about it. I hope I didn't offend with my posts, and no offense taken. This is a very personal choice.
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Eilonwy, thank you for reading. Talking about the evaluation process is still a really painful subject for me. But I don't see any purpose in silence. Sharing information is the best way to orchestrate change.

In some ways I agree with your post. When tragedy strikes us, it's natural to try and seek out some reason for it. But like so many things in the life answers just aren't there. We learn to deal with not knowing in varying degrees as adults, but it's damn scary when it involves your kids.

I just wish things could be different, people and the agencies could put aside egos and stop squabbling and work together to make a difference. To hear each other out and listen as we have done in this thread thus far. Things are slowly changing, but it feels painfully slow when you live with it every day.

I myself don't even pretend to know what are the causes. I'm no expert, and I don't believe there is 1 cause. You can't talk with experienced people too long without biomeds and special diets coming up. Those make a huge difference with some, but not others. Hearing stuff like that is what makes me believe there is no single cause.

Like I said before I'm no expert, but here's a thought I have. Experts agree that the first 3 years of life are the most important, physically and psychologically. I read that something like 90% of our neurological pathways are created during those first 3 years. I think if we can as much as possible limit exposure to toxins, medications, chemicals even vaccinations then it might make a difference in many areas. And I don't mean complete avoidance of vaccines and medicines. But only give the really necessary ones that can't safely be delayed until they hit that 3 year mark. There is still so much we don't know about the human body, development, the long terms effects of the drugs we take, etc. I don't think that would be too prudent.
Experts agree that the first 3 years of life are the most important, physically and psychologically. I read that something like 90% of our neurological pathways are created during those first 3 years. I think if we can as much as possible limit exposure to toxins, medications, chemicals even vaccinations then it might make a difference in many areas. And I don't mean complete avoidance of vaccines and medicines. But only give the really necessary ones that can't safely be delayed until they hit that 3 year mark. There is still so much we don't know about the human body, development, the long terms effects of the drugs we take, etc. I don't think that would be too prudent.
Originally Posted by cympreni
All of you have made very informed, valid and eloquent arguments. Again, my pediatrician told me after I flat-out refused to allow for more vaccines that my son would be just fine waiting until he is school aged to receive further vaccines. That by waiting until that age (4 - 5 years) he would actually require less vaccination; as his body would have developed natural immunity through breastfeeding and normal exposure/growth.

If you put the hysteria of "conspiracy theory" aside and look at it for what it is, there is a connection between pharmaceuticals, the government and the health care industry. It is a business. And when you do find that your child has an adverse reaction it is hard as HELL to find someone who will talk straight and not point fingers at you as if you created a defective child.
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Eilonwy, thank you for reading. Talking about the evaluation process is still a really painful subject for me. But I don't see any purpose in silence. Sharing information is the best way to orchestrate change.
Originally Posted by cympreni
Thank you for sharing your story.

As with all professional areas that require specialized skills and knowledge, from auto repair to law, the field of medicine is exclusive. A lot of its practices revolve around making sure that the outsiders stay out. This has its pros (weeding out quacks, for instance) and its cons (making it difficult for patients to be well-informed about their own conditions, etc). Also, let's face it, a lot of doctors take the job purely for the money and the social prestige, and some are social failures.

This kind of power imbalance is frustrating enough when all that's at stake is the price of getting your car fixed. Isn't it possible to make accurate medical knowledge somewhat more accessible to non-professionals? It would not only make patients feel more comfortable, but encourage them not to do counter-productive things, like leaving over the last pills in a course of antibiotics. Right now, there's probably far more inaccurate than accurate health information on the Web.
I don't have a dog in the autism argument, but just wanted to make an observation...

I've heard it said that autism is increasing. I'm not convinced of that. I think autism diagnosis is increasing, not necessarily the affliction itself. Back when I was in school, there were no special needs diagnoses or IEP's or even LD's...kids were either normal and they went to regular school, or they were retarded, and they went to "special" school. I clearly recall several kids who's behavior would definitely have fit the autism bill. Some of them stayed in regular school and were...eccentric...and some of them went to special school. We had very few vaccinations back then, and we had them at older ages than today's infants (quite traumatic to get that smallpox vaccine I'll tell ya), yet there have always been autistic spectrum kids.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I believe this also. There was a neighbor boy that fit this discription perfectly (this was mid 70's). Very high strung, very distracted, distant and always in trouble with his mom. I remember my mom telling me that Derek's mom kept insisting he was "retarded" which was the term used at the time, yet his IQ was quite high. He was very very bright about somethings, yet she would chase him down the street with a belt becasue he couldn't understand that it was time to go home for dinner.

There's a lot more education and awareness of the challenges and needs of kids in the Autism spectrum these days
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