On autism and vaccinations


My entire extended family reminds me to watch Oprah every time the "autism special" episode is replayed, which seems to be about once every 2 weeks or so.

I don't watch Oprah, but I did tune into this episode yesterday, thanks to the wonders of time-shifting digital TV.

What a load of shyte. Complete and utter mindless hogwash. Some hottie gets up to talk with O, claiming that "when little Billy got his vaccination, I could SEE it suck the soul out of his eyes! HIS SOUL!" (or something similar).

She's claiming that the vaccinations, which every child in North America receives, caused her son to "turn autistic". She just knows, because she's a mother. Billy got the regular vaccinations, and all of a sudden he's autistic. There's a connection! Vaccinations caused it! She warned the evil vaccination doctors, but they didn't listen to her because they were evil and mean and made her feel stupid. Sorry, hot autism mom, but there just might be a reason you felt like that.

Her other point was that vaccinations shouldn't be a "one size fits all" thing, because all children are different. Fine. Kids are different. But the vaccine isn't really about the KIDS, it's about the bacteria and virii, and they are pretty much the same, no matter what your kid is like.

Timing of vaccinations very well MIGHT be correlated with the onset of symptoms of autism. At about 6/12/18/24 months, the symptoms become more noticeable. But, it is just as valid to say that onset of autism is positively correlated with interest in The Teletubbies, or Dora the Explorer or Thomas the Tank Engine. Or with switching from 15-pound diapers to 20-pound diapers. Or with cessation of breastfeeding or formula in bottles. Maybe it's the mashed peas that's causing it!

Correlation does not equal causation. This needs to be taught to every person, starting in kindergarten, and repeated every single year through their post-doc program.

Evan has had all of his vaccinations. Do I think that has something to do with the autism? I don't know. I don't THINK it does - but I don't have any data, so can't say any way. Am I about to go on Oprah's show to talk about something like this, when I have no information? Not likely. (But, Oprah, if you feel like bringing the family out to The Magnificent Golden Mile for a couple of days so we can talk, that'd be ok too).

I'm not saying that vaccinations can't affect the onset of autism. I don't have any data on that. I do know that the prevalence of autism is skyrocketing, from 1 in 2000 a decade or two ago, to about 1 in 150 currently. Obviously, something is going on.

But, it could JUST as easily be exposure to plastics, or offgassing electronic equipment, or changes in the frequency of specific genes in the population, or lead paints in Chinese-manufactured toys, or some other factor than something wrong with vaccinations.

Update: April 7, 2009 - I'm closing comments on this post because the mindless drivel of the antivaccinationist "poet" got too tiresome. It's just not funny anymore.

autism