Biology / 4 min read / 5th Jan 2022
Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Steve Jobs, Tim Burton, Emily Dickinson, Bill Gates, Henry Cavendish, Temple Grandin.
What do all these great people have in common? All of them were/are autistic. How much do we really know about this
condition? Let’s get to it then.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or simply autism includes a range of conditions where an individual has a lack of social
skills, is challenged with repetitive behavior and speech. ASD can be recognized usually from the age of 2 to 3 and
people with ASD often want to be alone. They have trouble understanding others’ as well as their own feelings, they
don’t play pretend games such as more children do, they do not point at objects to show interest and they mainly avoid
eye contact. Before moving on to the risks and causes of ASD, an important point is whom to consult when ASD symptoms
are noticed. Developmental Pediatricians, Child Neurologists, Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists can be consulted.
Risks and causes of autism:
• Children having a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of getting ASD too
• Children with genetic or chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome can develop autism
• During pregnancy, the prescription drug thalidomide has been linked with a higher risk of ASD
But the real question as lies in the title of this article itself is that does the MMR vaccine really cause autism? The answer is a NO. In 1998, a British researcher (Andrew Jeremy Wakefield) was involved in a fraud through an article published in a paper called The Lancet. It came to be known as the Lancet MMR autism fraud. This was a study which falsely claimed a link between measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Other articles which state that MMR vaccine does not cause autism include Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis, Vaccines Are Not Associated with Autism: An Evidence-based Meta-analysis of Case-control and Cohort Studiesand many more. There has been no clear evidence that vaccines are even linked to autism and Wakefield was being funded by lawyers who were seeking evidence to utilise against vaccine producers. To be more specific, Wakefield’s article stated that measles vaccine virus present in MMR vaccine caused inflammatory bowel disease, allowing harmful toxins to enter the bloodstream and damage the brain. Due to the invalidity of this, Wakefield was restrained from practising medicine in the United Kingdom and the Lancet withdrew the original article in 2010.
Now we know that anything in science can’t simply be claimed without solid proof and this incident was a perfect example. People still speculate and question whether vaccines are somehow linked to autism but till now, no such evidence or case study has proven such. Stay tuned for more articles!