A federal appeals court denied the existence of a link between vaccines and autism, specially the MMR. Autism is a disorder that affects 1 in 110 children in the United States. A special vaccines court was held last year and the appeals court upheld the decision that the evidence was weak and contradictory. This decision affects nearly 5000 families of children with autism who have claims for compensation through the federal government's Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Several years ago, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in the Lancet showing that the MMR caused autism. He later retracted this study. Further studies throughout the years have not shown any links between the MMR and autism. In fact, in Poland, one study suggested that the MMR vaccine actually decreased the risk of autism. This study was published in 2009 in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Other studies have shown other types of possible causative factors of autism, and even Tylenol was implicated. Low levels of vitamin D, parental autoimmune disease, parental age, and the presence of parental psychiatric disease have been studied.
Evidence on Autism Vaccine link weak and contradictory
Michelle Cedillo of Yuma, Arizona was given the MMR when she was 15 months old. Her parents blame her autism and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as some other problems, on the vaccine. However, none of this showed up right after the vaccination was given. The appeals court ruled Friday that the evidence was weak, contradictory, and just not enough to show a link. It comes as a setback for those 5000 families who are seeking compensation for their children's autism. Even when scientists and experts have long concluded there was no link, compensation has still been sought after. Earlier in the year, another court found no link between the additive thimerosol in the vaccine and autism.
Autism is a complex disorder that affects brain development. It can be mild or it can be severe. Research is ongoing and there is no known specific cause of autism. Knowing the signs and catching it early are of paramount importance. The earlier autism is noticed, the earlier treatment can begin and the better the child does. There is no cure for autism, but there are ways to manage it.
What are the red flags of autism? No big smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months, no babbling by 12 months, no pointing, waving, or reaching by 12 months and no words by 16 months. These are only a few of the signs that one should be aware of. Autism Speaks, at AutismSpeaks.org, has more information. If you suspect your child may have autism, get him or her in to see your pediatrician as soon as possible. Do not wait.