Friday, March 07, 2008

The Autism Vaccine Ruling

I first heard about this from an article at huffingtonpost.com. The title boldly stated: "Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court - Now What?" Now what indeed. Well let's take a closer look shall we.

First of all, contrary to what the title implies, the government did NOT admit that vaccines cause autism. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the article is wrong. In fact it does a very good job of explaining what is going on. The government admitted that the vaccinations aggravated a pre-existing condition the girl had. This condition, known as a mitochondrial disorder or Mt disease, is what caused the problems. The aggravation of her Mt disease manifested with symptoms consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That's what happened.

To me, this says a few things. First, it reaffirms my premise that ASD is not a single condition but a group of conditions that have similar symptoms. As research progresses, I believe that scientists will be able to identify the specific conditions and find treatments for them. However, the treatment won't be the same for everybody. I feel that one of the large frustrations of ASD is that a treatment that works well for one individual may not work at all for another.

Next, it tells me that children should be tested for Mt disease before they are vaccinated. If vaccinations aggravate the disease, then the children should not be vaccinated. Along with this, I think some research needs to be done to figure out why the vaccinations aggravated the disease. Was it the thimerosal? Was it the vaccines themselves? Was it something else? None of that is currently known. The only thing for sure is that the vaccinations most likely caused the onset of ASD in this girl.

Finally, it does NOT tell me that thimerosal and/or vaccinations cause ASD. Three of my four children have ASD diagnoses and I do not believe that they were caused by vaccinations. I'll admit that my wife and I are cautious enough that we're spreading the vaccinations out (so our kids aren't pumped full of so many diseases at once) but we don't feel that the vaccinations caused it.

So where do we go from here? I think that more research is needed. I think people need to get all of the facts before they start pointing fingers. I also think that people should not blame the government (or anybody else for that matter) for their kids' autism.

OK, here comes my rant: Vaccinations laws were not intended to give children autism so I'm not sure why people are blaming the government for it. As for treating it, the government already pays for the treatment of thousands of children with ASD so I'm not sure why some people would think they deserve more money on top of that. Autism is not somebody's fault. It's not anybody's fault (even if it was caused by something specific, I'm pretty sure it was unintentional). It's just something that happens to some of our kids. There are lots of scientists out there trying to find the cause and/or more effective ways of treating ASD so let's try let them do their work. Meanwhile, let's focus more on helping our kids and less on blaming someone else for their problems. It will make everybody happier.

See also the CNN article.

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