April is National Autism Awareness Month, which is a good time to emphasize that the report of a relationship between autism and vaccination is a fraud. Following is information about this misleading myth.
Autism Report Fraud
The British Medical Journal, which is highly regarded in the medical field, has declared the 1998 report of British researcher, Andrew Wakefield, that led to the false claims about childhood vaccines causing autism movement was deliberately based on fake data. Further, the report was based on only 12 children, which is too small a sample for high quality research studies. After reviewing Dr. Wakefield’s practices related to the report, high-level medical groups found him guilty of dishonesty and misconduct. Therefore, there is no scientific proof that autism results from childhood vaccination.
However, since the cause of autism is still unknown, scientists and the medical community must continue to actively search for the cause since some parents still believe in Dr. Wakefield’s report, and their distrust of childhood vaccination needs to end as soon as possible, especially among minority parents because childhood immunization rates are lower in urban African American and Hispanic children than in White children.
Dr. Renee Jenkins, who was the first African American President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, urges parents to vaccinate their children because “we do not want to become a nation of people who are vulnerable to diseases that are deadly”. Information on recommended childhood vaccinations can be obtained from your local health department, your pediatrician, or from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
More About Autism
Autism is a childhood developmental disorder that generally appears during the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s development of usual social and communication skills. Although the exact cause of autism is unknown, there appear to be multiple factors involved, including genetics, or heredity. Other suspected contributing causes, none of which has been proven, include:
- Digestive tract changes
- Mercury poisoning
- The body’s inability to properly use vitamins and minerals
- Vaccine sensitivity
The number of children with autism is not known. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought. However, it is unclear whether this is due to an increasing rate of the illness or an increased ability to diagnose it. Autism affects boys 3 – 4 times more often than girls, and family income, education, and lifestyle do not seem to affect the risk of developing autism.
Signs and symptoms of autism in addition to social and communication difficulties may include intellectual disability, and difficulties with motor function. On the other hand, some children with autism have outstanding visual skills, or skills in music, art and math.
As early as infancy, a child with autism may be unresponsive to people, or only focus on an object for long periods of time. In some cases, initial development may be normal and signs and symptoms may develop later.
Important: It is increasingly thought by researchers that a woman may decrease her risk of having a child with autism by eating foods rich in Folic acid or vitamins with Folic acid that total at least 600 mcg a day.