Childrearing

Yet Another Study Says The Vaccine-Autism Link Is – Wait For It – Nonexistent

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shutterstock_112344575Results of yet another study are being released this week that confirm that there is no link between autism and vaccinations. This one focuses on a specific worry parents may have – the sheer number of vaccinations their children are required to get.

Many parents worry about the amount of vaccinations they are giving their children, prompting some to come up with their own delayed vaccination schedule. This can be dangerous for obvious reasons. There is something to be said for parental instinct, but making up your own vaccination schedule when you are not a medical doctor is pretty bold. From Health Day News:

Although some parents worry about the sheer number of vaccines babies typically receive, a new U.S. government study finds no evidence that more vaccinations increase the risk of autism.

Looking at about 1,000 U.S. children with or without autism, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no connection between early childhood vaccinations and autism risk.

Children with autism and those without had the same total exposure to vaccine antigens — the substances in vaccines that trigger the immune system to develop infection-fighting antibodies.

I understand that the sheer number of vaccines on a schedule would be troubling to parents. My pediatrician group followed a vaccination schedule that I guess some may label as “delayed,” but it basically just assured that children would receive no more than three vaccinations at once. I was comfortable with this – even if it was just a placebo. It’s amazing how terrifying those first groups of vaccinations can be to a new mother who has been reading about all of the vaccine/autism hype.

Evidently there is no scientific evidence to back up these fears:

A recent survey found that about one-third of parents thought children receive too many vaccinations in their first two years of life, and that the shots could contribute to autism.

But there’s no scientific evidence of that, said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

He said it’s understandable that parents might worry. “You see your baby receiving all these vaccines. It looks like too much. It feels like too much,” Offit said.

But, he said, there’s no biological basis for the idea that vaccines “overstimulate” the immune system, and that somehow leads to autism.

One thing I am glad about is that the autism/vaccination link scare has spurred so much more research. Parents can make informed medical decisions about how to best care for their children based on scientific research. While I sympathize with parents who are desperate to find a reason “why,”  I don’t think it helps anyone to push theories that have no basis in science.

(photo: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com)

35 Comments

  1. Blueathena623

    March 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Even though I said I was done, I had another vaccine debate last night online. It may be an issue of semantics, but I hate hate hate when people say they have “done research” when really all they have done is read some websites to help solidify their personal opinion. Knowing how to find and interpret research is a skill that many people do not have, period. There was one mom who said she did tons of research and believes that there is no such thing as herd immunity and vaccines don’t work, period. When I asked her about rabies, she said that she would prefer to treat it medically, because if he’s sick she doesn’t want more chemicals pumped into her body. I politely (and I mean that) informed her about rabies. I had some people jump on me for being mean and judgemental since everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but I don’t care if I was the bitchiest bitch this side of bitchville — if that mom now knows that she HAS to get the rabies vaccine series after beig bitten, it was a good discussion to have.
    That was a bit of a tangent, but my original idea was that I’m tired of people talking about doing their research and still talk about getting autism from vaccines.

    • Iwill Findu

      March 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      They don’t know why people get autism, but they do know that people aren’t getting autism from vaccines. Really children have been getting vaccinated for what the last 70 or so years and autism is only now on the rise, that’s always seemed like a pretty weak link to me. As for people that say vaccines don’t work or there is no herd immunity really when was the last time someone in the Western hemisphere died from something like polio.

      Sorry but I think people that don’t vaccinate their children are nuts, and shouldn’t be around non-crazy people cause I sure don’t want their little germ bags around my children or myself.

    • Blueathena623

      March 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      You’re preaching to the choir 🙂

    • once upon a time

      March 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      But is autism really on the rise, or are we just better at diagnosing it?

    • SlowCrunch

      October 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      To play devil’s advocate here, wouldn’t parents who don’t vax argue that if vaccines work, your “little germ-free bags” would be protected from any disease their “little germ bags” might catch and pass on?

      Also, you do know that an unvaccinated child is not by nature infected by the diseases for which immunizations have been declined, right?

    • K.

      March 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Totally agree.

    • Cee

      March 30, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Oh I like when they say that they have done their research and don’t provide links to said research yet tell you to do your research to find what they have found. I mean, why not provide us with this research so we can nod along with you? “I have done my research so I will not vaccinate my kids” “Show us your research” “No no, you do your research” WTF?!

    • scooby23

      September 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Or when they provide something like http://www.ZOMGVACCINESAREEVILANDTHEY‘LLTURNYOUTOMUSH.com or some other obviously anti-vaccine propaganda website that has no medical evidence as their “research”

    • Makabit

      March 31, 2013 at 1:40 am

      Yes, ‘research’ in this context generally doesn’t mean much except having read other people’s blogs.

  2. Vito Alexander Pavlovic

    March 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Maria, didn’t you read the research paper? at the end, it contradicts the headline and it clearly states the vaccines given in infancy could be a cause in regressive autism in the age group between 1 and 2 years old, and yet you quote the Biggest Mouth piece Dr. Paul Offit for the Drug Companies, and a man that has profited on vaccines previously that there is no evidence vaccinations cause autism.So you want us to pass on misinformation, please read the study, that’s a major problem nowadays with people not reading the research and jumping the gun.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      March 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      “Further research is needed” does not equal contradicting the whole study. I’m passing on what I took from the article. Clearly, everyone takes what they want from it since we read the same article and came away with two different conclusions.

    • Iwill Findu

      March 31, 2013 at 10:43 am

      When I hear “Further research is needed” I don’t think oh these people aren’t standing behind the research they’ve already done so therefor all this research is crap. I hear this is what we know at this time but later as new technology becomes available we’ll keep looking into this so that we can learn even more about it. But you know when crazy people want to believe in something they will cling to that even when science says they’re wrong and will look for any reason they can to try to debunk science.

    • Blueathena623

      March 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

      In the actual paper, one of the last sentences is “it can be argued . . . ” which is basically research speak for “we are covering our butts in case some new development arises, but we really, really doubt it”

    • Guerrilla Mom

      March 31, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Agreed.

    • Blueathena623

      March 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Uh, did you read the research paper? It’s not that article. The actual paper is here http://www.jpeds.com/webfiles/images/journals/ympd/JPEDSDeStefano.pdf
      The comment you are referring to is not in the actual study, its a comment from a spokesperson at Autism Speaks. And as for Dr. Offit, he did not perform the research nor did he write up the study.
      Yeah, it is a major problem these days, people not reading the research and jumping the gun. Man, I hate when that happens!

    • Vito Alexander Pavlovic

      March 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      Of course I am not talking about the article, the research of course is what I am talking about, and yes the headline in the research paper at jpeds, so if you read the research paper what don’t you understand about its findings? it clearly states, and I will repeat again that, “the vaccines given in infancy could be a cause in regressive autism in
      the age group between 1 and 2 years old”, so it contradicts itself, and the headline of this article, and its a misleading message obviously, sorry but there is just no nicer way of putting it.

    • Blueathena623

      March 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      What page is that on? I’ve read the thing twice and not found that statement.

    • Blueathena623

      March 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      And if you list the page and somehow I missed the statement, I will fully apologize and call myself an ass, but I’ve now read the paper 3 times and haven’t seen it.

    • Ashley

      March 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      I really hope you don’t mean the part at the end that says ”

      The possibility that immunologic stimulation from vaccines during the first 1-2
      years of life could be related to the development of ASD
      is not well supported by the known neurobiology of
      ASD, which tends to be genetically determined with origins in prenatal development”
      Copied and pasted straight from the article. Looks like we all know who really needs to learn how to read an entire sentence.

    • Blueathena623

      March 31, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Do you really think that’s what she is referring to? I didn’t even consider that since it in no way means what she says.

    • Blueathena623

      March 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      However, THANK YOU for giving me such great support for my above statement that most people confuse research with reading websites that support their personal opinion. Seriously folks, I didn’t plan this, this isn’t a fake account I created to prove my point.

    • Ashley

      March 30, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Read comment below. If you would have read the entire sentence, you would see that it actually says the complete opposite.

  3. Tea

    March 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    My grandmother and great aunt had Polio. I never met my uncle who had Diphtheria. Getting the Meningococcal conjugate vaccines (MCV) would have saved me a lot of pain three years ago.

    The little boy I used to babysit, myself, and my husband have forms of autism.

    Guess which ones I’m more afraid of.

  4. Annie

    March 31, 2013 at 12:27 am

    I think my biggest gripe about these privileged anti-vaccine people is that they don’t even have the courtesy to go live in isolated communes where they can happily spend their days spreading third world diseases among themselves.

    I for one don’t consent to any young, old, or immunosuppressed people being made even more vulnerable because of your selfishness.

  5. Lastango

    March 31, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I suspect a big part of the reason for trying to blame autism on vaccines is to NOT have to blame it on ourselves. Somewhere around the 1970’s we got the collective idea that we could be perfect and live forever, never getting old and sick, always living Excellent Lives full of stellar accomplishments.
    The idea that defective children could come from our god-like genes is a repulsive nightmare. We are a lot less bothered by visible birth defects, because we can detect these in the womb and abort them. But we can’t screen for the autistick kids like that. So, when these kids show up, someone else, or something else, must be to blame. It can’t be our perfect selves. We settled on vaccines. If that hadn’t been available, we would have picked environmental contaminants, or solar storms.

    • Blueathena623

      March 31, 2013 at 9:15 am

      I agree and disagree. From what I’ve picked up in my reading (and I call this reading instead of research because its mostly articles instead of actually reading the studies themselves) is that scientists are exploring both a genetic basis and exposures. I’ve read that autism is linked to paternal age, and that genes related to autism have been identified, but I’ve also read that scientists are still exploring linkages with environmental contaminants. Based on the newer research into epigenetics, MY hypothesis is that we’ve got a potentially increasing population of kids with the genetic disposition towards autism, but an environmental factor is causing the methylation of these genes and making them active.

    • Zoe

      April 2, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      I read somewhere that has been some research, which is showing some interesting results, linking autism to a maternal diet high in processed foods.

      Autism is terrifying because we just don’t know what causes it. There is no black and white answer. Blaming vaccines creates a false sense of protection – I haven’t vaccinated my child, therefore my child will be safe. Problem solved.

  6. Blooming_Babies

    March 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I’m not at all concerned that vaccines cause autism but that does not mean that I am not bothered by giving all those vaccines at once. When you look at the vaccine schedule for other developed countries, or the vaccine schedule for our own country 20 years ago, it makes you think twice. Does your six month old really need six vaccinations in one day to be safe? I’m not so sure. Does my healthy breast feed baby need vitamin k drops? I don’t think so, but thanks to new script from the aap my pediatrician lectured me for ten minutes before almost breaking out in tears and telling me my baby could get rickets. He’s white and we live in texas so I promised I would expose him to the sun and left my appointment, now my pediatrician lacks all credibility. Kind of off topic I know, and my kids are fully vaccinated, I’m skeptical not crazy.

    • Blueathena623

      March 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Vitamin k or vitamin d? If your ped is saying vitamin k for rickets, run. As for getting all the vaccines at once, the actual research paper is pretty reassuring (for me at least) by stating (and I’m paraphrasing here, see my above comment for the link to the study) that infant immune systems are bombarded every day, so extra immune activity causes by vaccines is a blip on the immune systems radar, not a huge invasion. As for the extra number of vaccines, we used to get more combined doses instead of individual doses (and they are apparently working on making more combined doses again) and we’ve also developed new vaccines. I didn’t get some of these vaccines because they didn’t exist when I was a kid. Similarly, my kid gets more effective antibiotics than I did because those antibiotics didn’t exist 30 years ago.
      I’m not trying to invalidate your opinion, I’m really not, and any dr that berates you over vitamin drops is an ass, but I’m hoping what I wrote maybe makes you feel better?

    • AS

      April 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Precisely. We are following an alternative vaccination schedule as approved by our doctor. This article also made it sound like alternative vaccination schedules are just ‘made-up’ by parents who don’t want to vaccinate. That is not necessarily true. My child will be getting vaccinated, just not all at once. It means more trips to the doctor’s office (ie nurse visits where only shots are administered), but I do not feel it is right to launch such an assault on my child’s immune system as there is with the 6 shot visits for example. Even with reduced number of shots, we still had a bad reaction after one visit which further solidified my belief that we should not be administering so many vaccinations at once.

    • SusannahJoy

      April 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      I do agree that this is probably a more common reason to not get all the vaccines than the autism link, which I’m going to assume for my own sanity that most people realize isn’t there, but! Extra trips to the doctor means extra exposure to all the various germs that are present in doctor’s offices. Not that that risk negates what you’re saying, but it is something to think about. I don’t know what the vaccine schedules are for other countries, so I can’t comment on that, but I will say that a lot of the vaccines currently given in this country didn’t exist, or were still being tested 20 years ago, so that seems somewhat irrelevant. Like the chicken pox vaccine. When I got chicken pox I missed a few days of school and felt really itchy. Not a super huge deal. When my neighbor got it she was hospitalized for 2 weeks and missed a month of school. And now we’re both at risk for shingles, which is a major pain in the ass. But now kids don’t have to go through that, for which I’m grateful!

  7. lea

    April 2, 2013 at 4:45 am

    “One thing I am glad about is that the autism/vaccination link scare has spurred so much more research. ”

    I’m not. Not one little bit. The money and time and energy completely wasted on disproving a study that was fraudulent and falsified in the first place makes me angry. Really angry.

    Instead of showing over and over and over again that there is no link between vaccination and autism (only to be ignored over and over again by conspiracy theorists et al), researchers could have been investigating new and much more important things.

  8. A-nony-mous

    April 8, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Sadly they could release another 90000 studies like this and people will still believe vaccines caused their snowflake to have Autism. It’s not about reality or facts or science at that point, it’s sheer denial, maybe grief and mourning for the perfect ‘normal’ child they don’t have, who really knows. But that’s why no amount of studies work on them. You can’t argue logic against pure emotion.

  9. FACTS

    May 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    30 SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT DEMONSTRATE VACCINES CAN
    CAUSE AUTISM

    by Lisa Joyce Goes

    Cleaning out my files and I found this document compiled by my friend Ginger
    Taylor. 30 studies that show a link between vaccines and autism. 30. 30. DO YOU
    UNDERSTAND?

    What you hear on TV, from the CDC, the IOM, the AAP and the NIH is nothing
    more than eisegesis. You want to know the real kicker? There are 49, I
    couldn’t fit them all in the note character range.

    Evidence that vaccines can cause autism!

    It is an often repeated fallacy that there is no research that supports the
    supposition that vaccines can cause autism. This talking point is most often
    repeated by medical personnel and public health officials who have simply never
    been told that these studies exist, and in some cases by those who refuse to
    read the information when it is offered to them, so they continue to labor under
    the false assumption that vaccine-autism causation is merely an “internet rumor”
    or a result of one paper that was published in 1998.

    This untruth was again testified to during the HHS Committee hearings
    In fact, the first research paper to offer evidence that vaccines may cause
    autism was THE first paper ever written on autism. In the 1930’s, Child
    Psychiatrist Leo Kanner discovered 11 children over the course of several years
    who displayed a novel set of neurological symptoms that had never been described
    in the medical literature, where children were withdrawn, uncommunicative and
    displayed similar odd behaviors. This disorder would become known as “autism.”
    In the paper, Dr. Kanner noted that onset of the disorder began following the
    administration of a small pox vaccine. This paper, was published in 1943, and
    evidence that vaccination causes an ever increasing rat

    • scooby23

      September 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      EVIDENCE THAT “FACTS” WRITES PROPAGANDA
      There are NO qualified studies that prove vaccines cause autism. GOT THAT? NONE.
      You use provide no links to your “evidence.”
      YOU USE CAPS TO MAKE POINTS AND YOU STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF

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