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Autism Day in the shadow of Wakefield
April 2nd, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Autism Day in the shadow of Wakefield

Four years after the first United-Nation-declared World Autism Awareness Day,  the cause of the developmental disorder is still unknown and there is no cure.

Autism affects an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with autism spectrum disorders have disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can surface when babies are as young as 12 months, but often become obvious at around age 2. Diagnosing children as early as possible can lead to early intensive therapy which can sometimes lead to significant improvements in a child’s life.

Perhaps highest profile event related to autism since the last Autism Day was the British Medical Journal’s January publication of a three-part study deconstructing and declaring “fraudulent” the controversial 1998 research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield’s study had linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism. For more than a decade Wakefield’s work contributed to many parents not getting their children vaccinated for fear of the vaccines causing autism.

The BMJ’s deep dive on the Wakefield study found that the doctor misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the study - and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible, the journal said.

This report was widely reported in the U.S. but not so much in the United Kingdom, Wakefield's home country. That may be because it was reminiscent of news from 2010, the General Medical Council, which oversees doctors in Britain, said that Wakefield's conduct in researching his study was “dishonest and irresponsible." This was followed by the Lancet's retraction of Wakefield's study just days later.

Wakefield's critics quickly rose to his defense; those who believe vaccines do not cause autism thought the BMJ report would finally end the vaccine-link debate. Judging by the conversation generated on the BMJ's comment board, 59 pages of reponses so far,  including those of numerous academics and professionals and  parents, this report didn't change too many minds.

Supporters of Wakefield liken him to a misunderstood Galileo. They recounted their children’s autism diagnoses following immunization and some, including editors from the website "Age of Autism" questioned – in detail – the BMJ report. Those who disagree with Wakefield's original findings tended to focus on the fact that Wakefield's claims have never been independently duplicated.

You don't have to turn to a medical journal for passionate exchanges on the subject.

Initial responses on Parenting.com don't suggest minds were changed. One nanny said, "I have simply observed too many times that regression comes shortly after vaccinations." Another states flatly:  "MMR and vaccines DO cause autism!" Those who believe the vaccine benefits outweigh the risks chimed in as well. "You would think that the retraction of the Wakefield study WOULD end the debate over any link between vaccines and autism. Unfortunately, the damage has been done," one comment reads.

Of course sampling two websites does not show with certainty whether the debate has changed. But it provides a glimpse. A small sampling of experts in the field who treat children with autism and meet with their parents don't think this report changed much in either.

"I don't know that I've seen powerful shifts because of what we heard [about Wakefield]," says Zachery Warren, director of Vanderbilt University's Kennedy Center Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the Compulsive, Impulsive and Autism Spectrum Disorders Program at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says he's seen fewer parents coming in with the firm belief that vaccines caused their child's autism.

Dr. Geraldine Dawson, who is the chief science officer for the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks, say her organization’s position hasn't changed since Wakefield was pronounced a fraud. "We still strongly encourage parents to have their children vaccinated," she says, adding that vaccines are safe for most children. But she notes that there may still be subgroups of children that are more vulnerable to vaccines and more research needs to be done to find out who these children are as well as finding out what causes autism and how it can be treated better.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a researcher at the University of California-Davis M.I.N.D. Institute in Sacramento says that while the vaccine question may not be completely resolved, she believes too much energy is spent talking about vaccine.  She along with the other experts believes that more, larger studies are needed to fill in more pieces of the autism puzzle. Some of that research is expected in the next few years.

One big study being conducted in many centers around the country is called the National Children’s Study, which will examine the effects of the environment, “as broadly defined to include factors such as air, water, diet, sound, family dynamics, community and cultural influences, and genetics on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States.” Researchers will follow children while they're still in the womb until they are 21 years old.  Results from this study may not provide answers right away, but the goals is to provide data gathered that will help researchers for many years to come.

Is someone in your life effected by autism? Share your story with us.


soundoff (404 Responses)
  1. Chris Hall

    For ALL of you that do not have an autistic child or do not have contact with one: You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Just cause you can "analyze" a cast study doesn't mean squat. Seriously ladies and gents. You have no idea what parents go through. If you have no experience with this just hush. Make yourself look less stupid. Thanks! 🙂

    April 2, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      Chris Hall, having a child with autism does not give you some special insight into the cause of autism, please stop and think. Yes, you have a harder life than some because your child is disabled, but that doesn't give you a leg up in this debate. It's ridiculous to tell people not to join this discussion because they don't have some direct involvement with an autistic child.

      April 3, 2011 at 02:14 | Report abuse |
    • Autism mummy

      I personally think that having a child with autism does give you an insight on what causes autism because you know when the symptoms started. Which leads you to conclude what was the initial cause of these symptoms. My son had seizures after the mmr shot and a flu shot. I had eye contact and verbalization previous to his seizure and lost post seizure. I do still believe that my son would be quirky, but not as severely autistic as he is. I do not think autism is caused by vaccines, but in my son's case they definetly made it worse.

      So, me, I think you are wrong and I think we need to give more credit to the parent's opinion of what is causing this epidemic. This is not a blame game, but trying to help our children.

      Sincerely,
      Ryan's Mom

      January 23, 2012 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
  2. Teresa

    Check out the vaccine refusal form. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barefoot-Connections/59339144699 Personally I think the vaccine autism link is somewhat off the mark. With so many thousands of poisonous substances being ingested on a continual basis, what do people THINK is going to happen? Nothing???

    Anyone who isn't actively doing everything possible to remove poisons from their body is living in toxin induced la la land. Any woman who doesn't attempt to purify her body and bring it into a natural healthy state before pregnancy is asking for it. And everyone is paying for it.

    April 2, 2011 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ase

    This is the most complex disorder existing in the world, by far. It wont be easy to solve. My bet is that we will find something in the next 10 years. My take is that its due to sensory imbalance when the child is in the womb. I wonder if its because the kids develop too fast in the womb and have no way to get the sensory simulation for a long period. May be their brains develop too fast or too slow on various communication channels when the babies are still in the womb. Like a random phase lag or lead of complex developments creating regression rather than progression. Something natural, genetic or pure evolutionary is causing development to go into overdrive.

    Why its more happening for boys and typically with a large head size?. As we are getting more intelligent, will this risk will go up?. Why are autistic kids, good looking many times?. Have we thought of c-section birth of at risk autistic babies, may be around 8 months. Tracking head size may be a good study.

    April 2, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. BGL

    As the mother of an autistic 11 year-old girl I am all to familiar with Autism and its affects on one'e life. I do not know why, or how this happened to my daughter. I did nothing that I know of to cause this. I don't drink, or do drugs and I never have. My pregnancy was as normal as can be. And yet my daughter has this disorder for which there is no cure and nobody seems to know how she got it. As a result of this I chose not to have any more children. I feel that I have a responsibility to not have anymore children when I know there could be the possibility of having a child with even worse problems than my daughter does now. What is bothering me about the debate concerning the cause of Autism is this nasty push-and-pull between parents who want answers and the government and companies who don't want to think of the possibility of vaccines being the cause. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag. Yet the public has a right to know about even the slightest possibility that vaccines can cause anything at all like Autism. What is needed is full, unbiased study of every possible factor that could lead to Autism. SOMETHING is causing this. There has to be a way to figure all of this out for the good of EVERYBODY'S children. I don't know what the answer is, or why so many children are being afflicted with this disorder. But I know that if just one case can be stopped its worth finding the cause. We need vaccines. There is no question about that. I don't want to see the world have to deal diseases that could be dealt with through vaccinations. But I also don't want millions of children to face even the possibility of contracting an incurable disorder that has such a major affect on how they live their lives. Everything has to be looked at closely. We need answers even if we don't like them. I truly hope that everybody will stop and think about what's best for our children. If vaccines are not causing it then let's move on to find out what is. Children's lives hang in the balance.

    April 3, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica P

      I have 3 children , my oldest has autism, my younger ones do not. All were treated the same, normal pregnancies, I dont drink or smoke, I dont do drugs, eat well. All were vaccinated with the exact vaccines given by the same hospital. So why (if the vaccines are the cause) did only one of my children get autism? I think theres something more we are all missing, I dont think its the vaccines.

      April 3, 2011 at 00:42 | Report abuse |
  5. Jessica P

    I am a mother of 3. My oldest son has Autism. He is in 'principals HONOR roll' in his school, very polite and well mannered. I honestly dont care about all this arguing and silly fight you all do. I love my son and I love his personality. He is who he is and autism is part of him. I love the good and the bad, I dont like to label him and single him out. He doesn't need fixing. Its sad for me to see how people now label kids if they have the slightest behavior problems, (ADD, ADHD, autism) Im sure if a psychologist took a look at all of us we would be labeled with something. Enjoy your kids, help them, be there and stop this fighting.

    April 3, 2011 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      Well said.

      April 3, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • AutismNewsBeat

      Thank you.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Megan

    I am a BCBA (board certified behavior analyst) and have been working with children with Autism for several years now. For all that would like information regarding wakefields ridiculous study I would recommend Autism`s False profits (p. offit). I have much sympathy for the families I work with, and each one has a different opinion about "when" and "how" their child developed Autism. While working on my M.S. I had many conversations with well know respected professionals and doctors in the field, and it is a general agreement that the vaccines DO NOT cause children to develop ASD.

    These children and adults are like snow flakes, they are all different, unique and beautiful. I have made a decision to dedicate my life working to better the lives of those affected, as well as training the parents on ways to communicate and help their children. From eating new foods, going out in the community and decreasing self injury, no day is the same and no one feels the same about ASD.

    If you are all really concerned with ASD and the cause, instead of tearing each other apart you could make a donation to Autism research.

    April 3, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      Thank you for your dedication.

      April 3, 2011 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
    • AutismNewsBeat

      That's "Autism`s False Prophets". ; -)

      Also "The Panic Virus" by Seth Mnookin is very good.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      So is Vaccine Epidemic.

      I just loved it when Seth Mnookin called parents who are concerned over vaccines "a**holes".

      April 3, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • Twyla

      Yes, "Vaccine Epidemic" is excellent.
      http://www.vaccineepidemic.com/
      I also recommend David Kirby's "Evidence of Harm" and Dr. Bryan Jepson's "Changing the Course of Autism: A Scientific Approach for Parents and Physicians".

      April 3, 2011 at 21:08 | Report abuse |
  7. fertilitytreatments

    Does children born with fertility treatments like ivf get autism ? I know two kids born like that have one ? ivf is pretty common procedure , I am surprised no mention here of the link ?anybody else out there?

    April 3, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kayt

    Actually, in Europe, many countries that I am aware of have taken out Thermisol from vaccines and there is no change in the rate of Autism. The problem with MMR was not Thermisol so for those of you putting blame on that, ignore it. Wakefield had a problem thinking that these children were having a sort of allergic reaction to the MMR. Which has some serious bias because he was being funded by lawyers who were hired by people wishing to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. Besides, he studied 12 children. 12. 3 to 6 children in 1000 have autism. That's enough to find a bigger sample than 12. 12 might as well be a coincidence or perhaps it was selection bias and they simply chose those children because of their coincidental symptoms after receiving the MMR vaccine. Either way, this is nowhere near enough information to make conclusions and yet people are in an uproar. Vaccines do save lives, more lives than there are children with autism. And the most promising piece of evidence so far, people ignore. Genes. Autism runs in families more than most developmental diseases. If you have one child with autism, you are much more likely to have another. It is more likely that this is a genetic problem than vaccines.

    April 3, 2011 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AutismNewsBeat

      Wakefield claimed that a weakened measles virus infected the lining of the intestine, which caused an inflammation. This supposedly caused toxins to "leak" out of the gut, including the measles virus, which then traveled via the bloodstream to the brain, where it caused symptoms of autism. It's a truly nutty idea – why didn't the kids get measles as well as autism?

      April 3, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
  9. Will

    Unfortunately, there is not much of a debate among scientists and professionals. There is no credible evidence linking vaccines to autism. To the contrary, there is plenty of evidence suggesting just the opposite: that vaccines are not associated with autism. The longer people continue to focus on a cause that has already been considered and disproven, the longer it will take to uncover the real causes of autism. Valuable resources are being wasted on beating this dead horse. There is no cover up. There is no conspiracy. Your child does have autism for a reason, but that reason has nothing to do with his vaccination schedule.

    April 3, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. fertilitytreatments

    IVF and Autism !! I suspect that, anybody else ?

    April 3, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ryan

    This seems easy enough to solve. Compare the sample of vaccinated children with the sample of unvaccinated children and see if there is a discrepancy in autism rates. Since the studies seem to keep indicating no vaccine/autism link, this lay person assumes thats what the scientists have done. Am I wrong?

    April 3, 2011 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AutismNewsBeat

      Good luck finding 5,000 or so parents to agree to letting their children go completely unvaccinated for the first three to five years of their lives.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      THank you. People who argue that "it should be simple" to prove something and then propose a study in which some of the participants will be knowingly exposed to a potentially deadly disease against which they're not immunized are just stunningly ignorant of the protocols for studies.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  12. me

    ?

    April 3, 2011 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. dodo

    ?

    April 3, 2011 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Melanie

    Maybe the high rate of autism has to do with the widespread use of cell-phones. Just a thought.

    April 3, 2011 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jerry

    Just reading some of the wacky comments here illustrates how poorly educated most Americans are these days. The levels of ignorance and sheer stupidity is astounding. Maybe cutting school funding is irrelevant as Americans could not be anymore ignorant.

    April 3, 2011 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AutismNewsBeat

      We used to have herd immunity against this type of ignorance. Before the internet, it was harder for conspiracy-minded types to find each other. Now every half-baked idea has its own website.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
  16. Pauline

    Fewer children have autism than are diagnosed. Mis-diagnosis is pretty common. Behavior and poor parenting issues are also pretty common. Fear and Perfectionism are even more common. Perfect parents demand perfect children, afterall.

    April 3, 2011 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      As someone who works in mental health i can tell you that the symptoms of ASD are quite evident and not at all like those related to bad parenting. How can stimming be caused by a poor parent?

      April 3, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • AutismNewsBeat

      In the CDC's last autism survey, about 23% of the children identified with an ASD had no known autism diagnosis until the researchers came calling. That indicates a large population of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed kids (and adults).

      April 3, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  17. MAC25DM

    Autism is not something that just turns on at a certain age like a light switch. My son is nine years old now and my wife and I knew very early on that something was different. He wouldn't talk, just point, he would rock to music, and flap his hands. Anyone who's child is on the spectrum, think back and really consider behavior. Sure everything becomes apparent at two years of age, but that's because it's when most development happens. It's hard to tell if a six month old has autism because they are still babies. The vaccine I believe is just coincidence. My other two children recieved the same vaccine and are perfectly fine; not that there is anything wrong with my son.

    I do not believe that there will ever be a cure for autism because it is not a disease like the flu. It is a disorder that one must overcome and be taught to control. My son has been in therapy for six years and still continues, not because he needs it as much, but because he likes it. No one can tell that he has Autism anymore unless we tell them. Sure he has a meltdown every six months or so, but nothing like what he used to and I can usually sit down and talk to him. Certain things still set off his habits (hand flapping, rocking), but it is something that I know he will overcome. I have seen an adult with Autism hold down a good job, marry, and have children of thier own. Do not focus on blame and who's fault it is, focus on treating our children and making the future better. We should be improving therapies and helping people understand what Autism really is.

    April 3, 2011 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Twyla

    I am glad that the above article seems to indicate that someone at CNN has noticed that there are indeed two sides to the story of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith, and Simon Murch. I'm glad that someone at CNN is reading the eloquent letters over at BMJ's comment board. Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I hope you are seeing that there is another side to this story.

    April 3, 2011 at 04:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. kel

    I have two children with ASD – one has been vaccinated and the other has not. Amazing that this debate still rages on....

    April 3, 2011 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. c

    the biggest lie out there seems to be vaccines are effective.

    really, then could someone tell me why, I have had rubella, measles, and pertussis, in spite of being immunized?

    vaccines offer short term immunity, probably most of the folks here worried about parents not shooting up their kids with crap vaccines are not protected by their childhood shots.

    better run, don't walk these so called deadly diseases are still out there, get a booster shot asap.

    don't bother reading the CDC pink book or reading the vaccine package insert,

    the CDC loves the sheeple crowd.

    April 3, 2011 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Dawn

    Hey Guys, will you visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life... Thanks

    April 3, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Hintofgray

    c
    vaccines are fraudulent medicine.

    vaccines kill, yet this fact is ignored by most doctors who can't seem to read the package insert or direct patients to the vaccine compensation injury fund.

    or even give parents the vaccine package insert, so they can make an decision based upon at least some truth.

    maybe someday the truth about vaccines will be revealed, a few truths,

    Hep B virus was passed to some vaccinated with the yellow fever vaccine. wonder what other viruses are given to kids receiving vaccines?

    bovine serum is used to make vaccines. yummy. mad cow maybe.

    oral polio vaccine, green monkey viruses are a possible cause of cancer, the experts say. the stupid experts where late to game to find, out the truth – animal viruses can cause cancer in humans. lying about the link between the vaccine and cancer in humans to this day.

    word to the wise avoid vaccines. the so called experts don't know jack.

    brain swelling and then retardation caused by the DTP shot, maybe the cause of Autism today is a milder form of brain swelling, caused by the Dtap shot which is considered safer.

    don't trust the experts.
    --------

    But trust you, c? Someone who can't write a simple sentence? Someone who is posting nonsense? Most of the stuff you posted in this little rant is laughable. "Mad cow"? Do post a link to any reputable, credible information that backs up this silly contention. Go ahead. I can hardly wait. While you're at it, why don't you post your credentials? I prefer "experts" to some anonymous dimbulb who obviously hasn't graduated from college and probably barely made it through high school.

    Why don't you tell us where you bought your degree, or what cereal box you found it in?

    April 3, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hintofgray

      c sez: the...experts 'where' late.
      ---–

      Umm, I don't take medical advice from someone who can't figure out the difference between "where" and "were". Don't bother pretending it's a "typo", c.

      April 3, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
  23. Lotsaluck

    What you seem to fail to grasp, Valerie, is that you're NOT being "better safe than sorry" by refusing to vaccinate. The idea that simply because we "don't know everything" we should avoid vaccines which have been shown to be quite safe, for which adverse effects are very rare, is absurd. There are lots of things we don't know; that doesn't mean we know nothing and it doesn't mean we don't know enough to make a judgment call on safety. The hysteria you post about all the toxins on earth is just that: hysteria.

    April 3, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Hintofgray

    You don't have any idea what kind of protocols are required for drug testing, Valerie, and your obvious distrust of anyone who has actually gone on to get an education is reason enough for me to discount your posts. You lose interest because you don't understand the science being discussed.

    April 3, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. lovemylittleones

    You know what? I don't know how my daughter has become disabled. all I know is that she is now. (although my wife and I believe that it could have something to do with her IUD. but what the heck do we know?) we knew @ a couple of months there was something "not right", as compared to our eldest daughter who is a year and a half older. do I wish she wasn't disabled? of course. why? because I want her life to be as easy as possible for her to navigate through. well, it didn't work out that way. am I sad for her? yes. but I am not spending my time looking for a cause and boo-hooing. instead, I am looking for ways to help her feel happy and safe. (which is all everyone wants anyway.) I love that little girl so much. early intervention is KEY! she started early intervention last sept. and there has been a huge change in her.(she is now 3) I think if ppl started looking for ways to help and stopped fighting the cause, we could really make some headway with it.
    One last comment to make here. To the lady specifically with 6 autistic kid: you ma'am are insane, literaly. definition of insanity is doing something over and over again expecting different results. we were trying to have a boy when our youngest daughter(the one with special needs) was born. we will not have another due to the fact the either my wife or I seem to be a carrier, geneticly predisposed, what evee you want to call it for autism. you should be ashamed of yourself. thanks for letting me get this off of my chest everyone.

    April 3, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Pat

    Proving Wakefield's research wrong is not the same thing as proving his hypothesis wrong. His hypothesis is that there is causal link between autism and vaccination programs. That hypothesis may be true OR false, and may not be provable in any case. The medical community is no stranger to fabricated research or shoddy experimental technique (e.g. pharmaceuticals), so it is also quite possible that Wakefield's opponents are merely quacks of opposite-polarity-yet-equal-magnitude. Most observers think they are all lying, but that doesn't get us closer to the truth.

    April 3, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. dodo

    Dolomite, you are ignorant.

    C, you are ignorant and paranoid.

    Valerie, you should just stop talking because your average intelligence is mislead.

    The writer of this article, is irresponsible for mentioning the vaccine issue.

    April 3, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jcm52

    Here's the real issue:

    there has been study, after study, after study trying to replicate Wakefield's "findings", rather than trying to develop new treatments or identify the real source. We know now that he misrepresented the case history of 12 (only 12!!!) patients. We know that when publishing he did not disclose that his research was paid for by a lawyer who wanted to sue vaccine manufacturers. We know that when publishing he did not disclose that he had filed a patent for an alternate vaccine.

    He had a financial stake in his results. A big one. And he used a small study. He misrepresented case histories. No one has been able to reproduce his results. Huge amounts of money have been spent trying to replicate his results. At some point we need to stop doing more attempts to investigate this "link" because it's taking away resources, both in terms of talent and money, from medical research that will actually help treat or prevent Autism.

    April 3, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Twyla

    Dr. Wakefield was (and is) not a fraud. Brian Deer is the fraud. The Lancet paper had 12 authors, not just Dr. Wakefield. The children's treatment was supervised by John Walker-Smith, the most respected pediatric gastroenterologist in the world. There is no question that vaccines sometimes cause autism and inflammatory bowel disease. For some other viewpoints on these issues besides the spin which has been regurgitated by most mainstream media, please see:

    Excellent video "Selective Hearing"
    http://www.viddler.com/explore/ziggy/videos/1/

    Page down to the "articles of interest" here:
    http://www.wesupportandywakefield.com/

    http://www.cryshame.org/

    Read Dr. Wakefield's book "Callous Disregard"

    Read the book "Vaccine Epidemic"
    http://www.vaccineepidemic.com/

    http://www.ageofautism.com

    April 3, 2011 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe Smith

      Twyla,
      You wearing a tin foil hat? Wake up kid, there is no link between vaccines and autism. Even if you pray for one.

      April 4, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Twyla

      Joe Smith –
      Nope, not wearing any kind of hat.

      April 4, 2011 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
  30. T3chsupport

    Opinions have become news, and anecdotes have become scientific fact. The world has gotten stupid, and even when the ruse is over, people still can't help but lap it up to the last drop.

    April 4, 2011 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr Jeffrey Thompson

      I guess you haven't seen the last 6 scientific research reports finding a direct link between the mercury in vaccines and Autism. and a seventh published report from a retired researcher from one vaccine company...she quoted in the story by CBS that she didnt have to worry about being restricted or being fired any more and she could now publish what she wanted.

      April 4, 2011 at 02:51 | Report abuse |
    • careajean

      Dude, there hasn't been mercury in vaccines in 20 yrs.

      April 4, 2011 at 04:11 | Report abuse |
    • sean

      "Dr" Jeffrey,

      Please cite said articles.

      April 4, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
  31. DJ Fester

    When will people wake up and realize that autism affects adults just as much as it does children?! There are plenty of adults (like myself) that are also on the spectrum, but all the help is geared only towards children. Nothing at all for autistic adults but support groups. We still have the same problems (narrow interests, poor social skills, etc.) that autistic children do, but we get no help. We're just supposed to deal with it on our own. I don't get it.

    April 4, 2011 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. careajean

    My son is autistic and he has had EVERY SINGLE IMMUNIZATION and I would do it again and again. My son, autistic or not, is ALIVE. We almost lost him at the age of 15 months due to a house fire, he was showing signs of autism before then and it put a lot of things in prospective. I would rather have him here and autistic than dead by a preventable disease.

    April 4, 2011 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • careajean

      BTW, when I was a school teacher, there were 4 children in my class with Hep A (acquired from their mother). It is more contagious than the common cold and can make anyone 10 times as sick or even kill you. So do you really want to send your kids to school unprotected?

      April 4, 2011 at 04:22 | Report abuse |
    • victor pavlovic

      Careajean, my son is autistic as well, and if I knew then what I know now, there would be no chance that I would let him get those poisonous, brain damaging vaccines! Why would I want to see him suffer this way? you are either a miserable person or a stock holder of a pharmaceutical company, either way you ought to be ashamed for not standing up for your child

      April 5, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
  33. Laura

    I have heard about an organization in San Diego, CA that has been having great social success with children diagnosed with autism through an innovative program called XciteSteps. They have found ways to naturally support, enrich and empower the lives of kids, teens and adults who experience disabilities. Check them out :
    http://www.excitesteps.com

    April 4, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeremy

      Laura, I had a chance to meet the XciteSteps team at a resource fair in San Diego and your right, they have a truly unique program. I read an article about their Natural Opportunity Model and they have been having a lot of success!

      April 4, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
  34. cthecrackpot

    Valerie, please stop. You make no sense, and it is obvious your neurons are on dim. You are the embodiment of a "one thought screamer".

    April 4, 2011 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Shoe

    Nobody has the answer for this debate/question. I wonder though, why a parents detailed account of autism symptoms after a vaccination are disregarded. Maybe a vaccine causes autism only if the child was exposed to a certain bacteria at the time of a vaccination, or is a carrier of a certain bacteria that when in combination with the vaccination, can cause the autism. No one knows the answers, not even the experts. But parents do see their children every day, and know when something goes wrong. That should not be disregarded, and certainly needs to be heard and explored.

    April 4, 2011 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Emily

    What's wrong with autism? I have autism. It isn't always a bad thing.

    April 5, 2011 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ann

    I think that the fact there are children who were never vaccinated that developed autism at least suggests that at the bare minimum not all autism could have been caused by a vaccine.

    My strong feeling thus far is there is a genetic factor working here instead. My nephew and his cousin (from brother-in-law's side) both have autism. Both children were exhibiting behaviors even prior to the speech delays etc. I guess environment could also come to play but at this point I am not sure in what way.

    Just because that study was discredited doesn't mean that the gastro issues that are seen in children with autism should be ignored. I think it may provide a clue to help with discovering what is going on.

    I feel that the people who plug their ears and will not hear any arguments against the vaccine theory are doing a disservice to those who have autism. Even if one day the vaccine theory is proven correct (which I cannot see at this point) you don't want to wait around and not research other possible causes.

    More studies need to be done and done scientifically so that the cause or causes can be identified. Everyone needs to stop fighting and come together.

    April 7, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dave Crea

    The adjuvant component of vaccines is supposed to hyper activate the immune system so that it will react to an injected antigen. This antigen happens to be nonharmful because it is absent of the disease. Does anyone else see a problem with hyperstimulating the immune system. When the vaccine companies merged with pharmaceutical companies and Hillary pushed through vaccine cost controls, the vaccine makers increased the adjuvant and decreased the antigen to the bare minimum due to the cost of making the antigen. Now many so called vaccinated people do not develop any immunity to these diseases they are supposedly vaccinated against and are likely to develop multiple autoimmune diseases from the hyperstimulation of their immune system. Many of the recent measles outbreaks have been among largely vaccinated populations. Look at countries like Russia with low vaccination rates. They have very few cases of autism. You have to look at where money and greed come into play. Pharmaceutical companies need more and more people to be sick and need them to have chronic life-long diseases to continuously increase their profits. I would question any research in an area with so much money on the line.

    April 20, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.