Is Alarming Rise in Autism Linked to 1988 Event?
November 15, 2011
By Dr. Mercola
In 1988, the first conjugate vaccine was approved for use in the U.S.
It was intended to protect infants and young children against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib); a bacterial infection that can lead to pneumonia, infections of your blood, joints, bones, and pericardium.
Historically, it has also been a leading cause of bacterial meningitis.
Since that time, the vaccine has been approved in most developed countries, including Denmark and Israel where the vaccine was added to their national vaccine programs in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
Starting in the late 1980's, there was a marked increase in the reported prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among children in the U.S.
A similar increase was seen in Denmark and Israel.
While the rise may be a reflection of "ascertainment biases," researchers now suggest the Hib vaccine may be another trigger. The continuation of the trend toward increased rates of autism spectrum disorders could be further explained by the increased usage of the vaccine.
New Hypothesis: the Hib Vaccine May Explain Rapid Rise in Autism
According to a recent study in the journal Medical Hypotheses:
"It is hypothesized here that the introduction of the Hib conjugate vaccine in the US in 1988 and its subsequent introduction in Denmark and Israel could explain a substantial portion of the initial increases in ASDs in those countries.
The continuation of the trend toward increased rates of ASDs could be further explained by increased usage of the vaccine, a change in 1990 in the recommended age of vaccination in the US from 15 to 2months, increased immunogenicity of the vaccine through changes in its carrier protein, and the subsequent introduction of the conjugate vaccine for Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Although conjugate vaccines have been highly effective in protecting infants and young children from the significant morbidity and mortality caused by Hib and S. pneumoniae, the potential effects of conjugate vaccines on neural development merit close examination.
Conjugate vaccines fundamentally change the manner in which the immune systems of infants and young children function by deviating their immune responses to the targeted carbohydrate antigens from a state of hypo-responsiveness to a robust B2 B cell mediated response.
This period of hypo-responsiveness to carbohydrate antigens coincides with the intense myelination process in infants and young children, and conjugate vaccines may have disrupted evolutionary forces that favored early brain development over the need to protect infants and young children from capsular bacteria."
Why Pinning Autism on a Particular Vaccine May Be Counterproductive…
According to Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), vaccine injury is the result of a unique interaction between the host and the type and numbers of vaccines given to that person.
In other words, vaccine injury and death is induced by a number of co-factors, including:
|Age at the time of vaccination
||Personal or family history of brain and immune system dysfunction (allergies, autoimmunity, seizures, etc.)
||Health status at the time of vaccination (coinciding acute or chronic illness)
|Personal and/or family history of vaccine reactions
||Types and numbers of vaccines given the day after an initial reaction took place
||Types and numbers of vaccines given prior to experiencing a vaccine reaction
There is a tendency by researchers investigating vaccine injury and death to want to point to "one" cause as the reason for an individual's vaccine reaction, or population-based chronic disease prevalence. Many different hypotheses have been forwarded by different people regarding the link between vaccines and the dramatic rise in autism over the past few decades.
- Harris Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher were the first to point to the whole cell pertussis vaccine, which can cause brain damage labeled as "autism" in some children.
- In 1998, Andy Wakefield suggested a link between autism and the live virus measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
- Mercury (thimerosal) preservatives in inactivated vaccines have been repeatedly implicated by various experts, as has the combination of MMR vaccine and thimerosal in vaccines.
- According to Dr. David Ayoub, a radiologist and physician who has become a specialist on the additives and preservatives used in vaccines, aluminum adjuvants may be an even greater factor than thimerosal.
The "sole cause" hypothesis is convenient because it is simple and easy to understand. It is also easier for people to think that action can be taken to "fix" the problem if there is only one cause; i.e., separate the MMR vaccine into single doses; take thimerosal or aluminum out of the vaccines, and so forth.
However, the problem with promoting the "sole cause" hypothesis when it comes to vaccination is that the rise in chronic disease and disability among our children, including autism, is likely caused by a multiple factors in any number of combinations. Therefore, by trying to hone in on just one cause, we're likely to fail in our efforts to curb this epidemic.
Why We Must Broaden Our Scope and Address Multiple Co-Factors
Ultimately, focusing on "one cause" does little more than cause confusion when that theoretical cause turns out to be lacking or incorrect. Furthermore, there's a danger of wholly dismissing one potential cause after the other, as each potential cause fails to be proven absolutely causative. As a result, we may end up doing too little, or nothing, to eliminate the various co-factors that might be working in tandem to, ultimately, produce autism.
In addition to the vaccine-related factors just mentioned, there are numerous other potential co-factors that cannot yet be discounted, including:
|Genetically modified foods
||Environmental toxins of all kinds
||Processed, denatured foods
||Electromagnetic fields and "dirty electricity"
|Vitamin D deficiency
||Gut flora dysbiosis
This is one of the reasons why the NVIC avoids trying to pin any particular vaccine injury on any particular vaccine. Rather the main thrust of their information campaign is to simply question the wisdom of mandating increasing numbers of childhood vaccines in the absence of true knowledge. There are distressing gaps in vaccine safety science that precludes us from understanding the biological high-risk factors that make some individuals more susceptible than others, for example.
The current one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates simply throws too many children under the proverbial bus, because we simply do not know what all these vaccines are doing to individuals with different predispositions, or how different vaccines interact when given in combination.
Majority of Drug Reactions in Kids are Due to Vaccines
While it's highly unlikely that any one vaccine is responsible for the autism epidemic, there are many signs indicating that we may be giving our children too many vaccines, and that vaccines of all kinds may be less innocuous than previously believed.
Case in point: The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) runs a national spontaneous reporting system to collect adverse drug reaction (ADR) data. More than 31,000 ADR reports for children below the age of 17 were received between 2000 and 2009, and vaccines were a factor in more than 66 percent of these pediatric drug reaction reports.
According to a recent review in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology:
"Vaccines were included in 22,102 (66.5%) pediatric ADR reports, with Meningococcal Serogroup C conjugate vaccine reported most frequently (12,106 reports)".
So here again, we see yet another vaccine cropping up as being particularly problematic for young children and teens... It is telling however, that vaccines account for two-thirds of all adverse drug reactions in the UK, considering how hazardous pediatric drug use can be!
Keep Educating Yourself on Vaccines
It is becoming increasingly necessary to continue to educate yourself and your family on the issues surrounding vaccinations of all kinds. There are so many problems; no one article can possibly cover them all.
You can find and search all vaccine related articles on my Latest Vaccine News page. I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) web site. As a leader for vaccine safety, the NVIC offers information on everything from laws to informed consent to late-breaking vaccine news.
What You Can Do to Make a Difference
While it seems "old-fashioned," the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand vaccine exemptions, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community. Write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. Call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don't let them forget you!
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org will give you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, and when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
You can also share your story on the NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims' page.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to speak publicly about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Carefully Select Your Pediatrician
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.
And remember, in the end, it's unlikely that any one vaccine is the culprit. Rather curbing autism is a matter of taking a closer look at the overall toxic burden of our children, and the sheer number of vaccines given during sensitive moments of their development.