Recently, we have been discussing some very interesting topics in class. Learning about the dangers that the lack of science causes has been very eye opening. For one, it really is instilling a great appreciation for science in me. It is also very intriguing to learn about instances in the past where science (or a lack thereof) has actually killed people.
In particular, I found the thalidomide example to be particularly interesting. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what the drug was doing to people’s genes. I found it shocking how a drug that was believed to be so useful was actually so harmful. Therefore, it got me thinking- are there any drugs out there now that we believe are good but will actually hurt us later?
During my research, I actually was reminded of the theory that some people have about vaccinations causing autism. According to an article done by the Oxford Journal, a few hypothesis exist about the connection between vaccines and autism. All the hypothesis center around the belief that the vaccines are poisonous to the body and do things such as damage organs and the central nervous system as well as effect the immune system.
The article goes on to describe a study done with eight children. After receiving a vaccination, they were monitored. Soon after the vaccination, all of the children showed signs of autism development. Further studies showed that the children’s bodies had taken proteins and moved them to the brain and bloodstream, where they did not allow normal growth and development to occur. This led to defects which then led to the development of autism. Now, many other things could have caused this effect on the children’s bodies other than the vaccination. In my opinion, genetics are a big part of health and people’s susceptibility to illness. If the children have a history of Austin runs in the child’s family, then perhaps the proteins would have made their way into the bloodstream anyway. Chance could also be largely at play; however, this study certainly gives credit to the theory that vaccinations may be dangerous.
Another article done by the Center for Disease Control mentions that some speculate about the inclusion of thimerosal in vaccinations and the occurrence of autism. Thimerosal is a mercury compound put into vaccinations to curb the growth of different types of bacteria. Many people believe that thimerosal is the chemical in vaccines that does the most damage to the body and leads to autism. Due to recent complaints and outbursts from the public due to its possible connection, thimerosal has not been included in vaccinations for the past 15 years. Again, while many websites claim thimerosal is safe, speculation that it may cause autism still continues.
The issue about the link between vaccination and autism is still a growing issue. In this day and age of modern medicine, research still continues for prevention of autism. However, it is important to take into consideration the helpful effects that vaccinations have. They aide in the prevention of diseases that can be potentially fatal to infants and grown-ups alike. It is very important to look at both the benefits and costs of getting them.
As for the direct causation between vaccinations and autism, none has been found. Right now, the link is heavily based on speculation. There is a very good chance that chance itself is what is the confounding variable between the vaccination and autism. For now, we will just have to wait and see for harder evidence to come out before we make any further decision.
Photo Credits: https://www.sayanythingblog.com/files/2015/02/Flu-Vaccination.jpg