Autism and Vaccines

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Any parent with an autistic child will look for something that may have triggered autism in the family.  As there has yet to be a gene discovered that causes autism, more focus is being made on the possible causes in the environment.  One modern concern is that vaccines with thimerosal, a mercury-based compound used in some vaccines as a preservative, could be causing autism.  Why?  Because autism is very similar in symptoms to mercury poisoning, and all children get several series of vaccines before they are 2.  The timing is right, the source is identified, everything seems to be pointing in the right direction:  Except there is no scientific proof that thimerosal causes autism.  But that isn't stopping some families, which have gone to court.  Most studies rejecting thimerosal as a cause of autism were conducted before 2004.  Since then, according to the plaintiff's lawyer, 35 articles that were peer-reviewed and published suggest a possible link.  That is what their court argument is running on.  The problem is they have a huge opponent:  The US Center for Disease Control has not found any link, and therefore considers the claim baseless.  Instead they warn parents to the dangers of not having their children vaccinated.  In fact, there was a recent article on a national outbreak of measles among children.  The MMR vaccine should be protecting them, so either the vaccine is not working or parents are not letting their children have the vaccine. What's my take on it?  Children need to be vaccinated.  Vaccines are very important, particularly for those diseases that are very dangerous (small pox, polio, measles, etc.).  The good news is that thimerosal is being used less and less, and was actually removed from most infant vaccines in 1999.  Where is it still being used?  The Flu shot.  So, don't give your children the shot, have them use the nose spray instead.  It was recently approved for child usage, and works just as well.  There are some other shots that you should look out for, and if you have any questions or concerns, ask your doctor.  There are alternatives to thimerosal vaccines for those parents that are concerned, and your doctor can help you make that decision.