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Radio Shows | Vaccines and Autism | mp3wmawav

We've talked about autism and vaccines before on this show but never as one topic.

That's true and whether vaccines really do cause autism remains quite controversial. Autism is now considered a "family" of diseases and is referred to as autism spectrum disorder or ASD.

Children with ASD have problems with social interaction and communication and live with those challenges their whole lives.

Some people believe certain childhood vaccines especially the measles/mumps/rubella or MMR vaccine can lead to the onset of autism. Supporters of this position point to a preservative in vaccines called thimerisol, a mercury based chemical.

However, there is currently no scientific evidence establishing a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. This was shown in epidemiological studies in the US, Sweden and England. Because of this, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences still recommends all children receive the MMR vaccine.

Consider what the vaccine has achieved. There's been a 99 percent reduction in childhood measles cases in the US. Without the vaccine a measles infection can lead to pneumonia and brain swelling and one in five hundred to one thousand die.

Mumps can lead to childhood deafness and can produce seizures and paralysis in infected adults. And rubella can be devastating to a pregnant mother and her baby leading to heart defects, blindness and mental retardation. The positive impact of the vaccine is undeniable.

Since there is no proven link between vaccines and autism, scientists at the National Institutes of Health and research centers around the world are searching for a cause of autism. With autism numbers increasing, a lot of hope is riding on their work.

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There is a great deal of anecdotal and misleading information about the association between vaccines and autism. Here we provide links to reputable sources of current and scientifically validated information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a website called the Autism Information Center. It provides an overview of this disorder and the safety of immunizations. It also provides links to pages that explain Mercury based preservative that was once used in vaccines and data on the incidence of autism. There are many other useful and important links to related information.

The eighth and final report of the Immunization Safety Review Committee is available; it examines the hypothesis that vaccines, specifically the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines, are causally associated with autism. The committee concluded that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a webpage entitled "Facts for Parents About Vaccine Safety".

The New England Journal of Medicine published a Perspective piece entitled "Vaccines and Autism Revisited — The Hannah Poling Case" by Paul A. Offit, M.D. that provides information and context for this landmark case.
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The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides additional excellent information about autism and the importance of vaccines.
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