Monday, February 02, 2015

Vaccines don't cause autism, but we're not sure that something lifestyle-related can't


Both Sanjay Gupta and NYU’s Art Caplan said, “vaccines do not cause autism” on AC360 tonight, with basic link here.
  
“Correlation does not imply causality”.  But Gupta did admit that autism, at least in male children, is on the rise, and it isn’t entirely clear that it is simply more reporting of it and enlarged definitions. 
   
One possibility could be parents being a little older when they have kids than they used to.
   
Another might include some processed foods. 
   
   
A more sinister answer might include increased media exposure at ages before brains are ready to process it, which is an answer I like.  Yet I am a media person. 
One other thing, if someone or a family got a measles case at a resort or football game, that means normally that family wasn't responsible enough to get vaccinated itself.  Personal responsibility, anyone? 

But Michael Gerson, in the Washington Post Feb. 3, p A15, "Threatened by free riders: Those who skip vaccination endanger everyone" (or online "The public good versus individual freedom") argues that herd immunity works only when about 90% of the population is immune, so that the immunocrompromised person on chemotherapy (who can't "choose" vaccination) isn't endangered. The state should take compulsory measures necessary to bring the rate up to 90%.  That is, those who don't have a medical reason to avoid vaccination are riding on the willingness of everyone else to take a very small risk for the public good (link).  As noted, though, this kind of reasoning affects other areas, like the old military draft.  
  
CNN reports on a mother, Mrs. Olosky, who organized parents to clean a public grade school to eliminate a measles threat.  But this should not be necessary!



Update: February 4

German Lopez of Vox Media interviews Dan Olmsted,editor of "Age of Autism" (here) nitpicking more in the vaccine and autism debate, that still seems discredited if looked at very carefully, as explained in the Vox article here.  Olmsted is a reported for UPI, which Wikipedia says is connected to the Unification Church (link). 


Update: February 5

Autism Speaks has come out with a statement that there is no connection between modern vaccines and autism. 

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