Do vaccines cause autism? Ask any parent of a child who developed autism directly following the administration of vaccines (or vaccines followed by Tylenol) and for many, the answer will be “yes.” In fact, for a select few of that group will say that a doctor somewhere in their journey confirmed that diagnosis. Ask the family of Hannah Poling, and they will tell you that the Vaccine Court agrees as well.
Unfortunately, asking the “experts” (the CDC, Paul Offit) always lead to an unqualified: “No, never.” While the CDC claims they have done a lot of studies on this, the one study they commonly point to is more of a correlation study. (Remember that correlation does not prove causation – OR lack thereof!) In fact, that study actually had a CDC whistleblower accuse the organization of manipulating the numbers to support their assertion that there is no link.
But what about studies that actually look beneath the microscope or take a longer view of families with predisposition and more? Are there other studies that have looked at the association between vaccines and autism? Do we really have no idea what causes autism? Is autism medical or just genetic?
In fact, there are. Some of these studies look more at the ingredients of vaccines, some look at sibling studies, some look at pathways to autism when a genetic predisposition exists. So what’s a parent who is concerned about vaccines to do? My answer: Your own research and lots of it.
Do Vaccines Cause Autism? A Look at the Science
That’s why I was excited to receive a copy of “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism” by James Lyons-Weiler, PhD. I first discovered Dr. Lyons-Weiler only recently, as I read his blog post, “My Journey from Ignorance,” which documents how he went from a pro-vaccine scientist who snubbed “anti-vaxxers” to a scientist who looked at the data -3000 research studies in autism! To be exact, he says, “I skimmed 3,000, read >2,000, and cite >1,000.” And those references were all the research he put into “Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism.”
Now, I have to warn you that it’s taken me some time to read this book – longer than anticipated, because this book is probably one of the hardest I’ve ever read. I’m pretty smart and I do read a lot of science, but I didn’t take a whole lot of science beyond intro level in college so this read was challenging.
That said, I’m still going to recommend to you, especially for anyone with related background in science, research, healthcare, medicine, etc., that can understand some of these studies better than I can.
Either way, I recommend you keep a dictionary and/or Google nearby as you will need to understand concepts like phenotype vs. genotype, comorbidity, copy number variations, and de novo mutations, to name the most common ones.
A Look at “Environmental & Genetic Causes of Autism”
Some of the concepts Dr. Lyons-Weiler covers include:
- A frank discussion about adjuvants (substances found in vaccines), such as thimerosal and aluminum, whether or not they are safe, and how they may contribute to autism.
- Various categories of autism, how they are determine and diagnosed and how the DSM-V plays into them. (The DSM-V is the manual that they psychiatric community uses to diagnose disorders. It is is updated every few years and was last updated in 2012, I believe.
- How vaccines can impact the development of critical brain cells, such as microglial cells.
- The reality of the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in autism. That is, genetics doesn’t exist in a vacuum. More often there is an environmental compound that leads to it.
- The myriad of pathways that can lead to the development of an autism spectrum disorder.
- Vaccine-autism studies ignored by the CDC, which in fact, is one of the later chapters in the book.
- Recommendations for designing studies that clearly address, do vaccines cause autism?
- An honest look at studies that cover twins (a common type of study in looking for clues to the development of autism), including flaws and benefits of such studies.
While this book was a challenge, it got easier as I went. Later chapters flesh out concepts that might feel complicated in the beginning. If you are struggling to read it, take heart. In fact, I think it likely that it deserves a re-read.
Do Vaccines Cause Autism?
The studies in this book clarifies the links between mechanisms that lead to autism and the vaccines. However, Lyons-Weiler also feels we can design better targeted studies to answer the question more definitively for specific cases. The process may be complicated but wouldn’t it be worth it? We now rely on a decade-old study of ONE vaccine that allegedly had participants eliminated to reduce the “statistically significant” rise of autism associated with MMR at 18 months?
Do vaccines cause autism? It seems clear that right now, the science is unclear. Our children deserve to know the truth.
About The Book
You can purchase the book at my Amazon link: