Vaccinations have been a point of conflict for some two centuries for a variety of reasons. Of course, one of the prevailing, yet debunked theories is that there is a link between vaccines and autism.
The United States is currently in the midst of an outbreak of measles with well over 100 cases reported to date (103 in California alone). Much of these cases have been reported in individuals that are not vaccinated or undervaccinated against measles.
Just 15 short years ago, measles was essentially eliminated in the United States.
The chief science officer of the advocacy group, Autism Speaks, Rob Ring, PhD released the following statement Thursday concerning the outbreak and the issue of getting vaccinated:
“Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”
In the What is Autism? portion of their website, they answer the question “What causes Autism?”
First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.
In the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of nongenetic, or “environmental,” stresses appear to further increase a child’s risk. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.
Ever seen the book, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles ? Check out an Op-Ed I wrote 2 years ago about it- Stephanie Messenger’s Anti-Vaccine Book, ‘Melanie’s Marvelous Measles’ Is Horribly Irresponsible