My daughter had all of her vaccinations on the regular schedule (apart from Gardasil, she isn’t old enough for that one yet.) At around 5 years old it became glaringly obvious that something was going on. When she was 8 she was diagnosed with autism.
Did her vaccinations cause her to have autism?
Let’s take a look at an important phrase here.
Correlation Does Not Mean Causation.
Yes, my child is autistic. She’s technically an Aspie, or on the higher end of the spectrum, but to me, ASD children are all inclusive when discussing this issue. My child has problems with anger regulation, social interactions, and a variety of other things that fall within the spectrum.
Indeed, my child had all of her vaccinations. She had a fever with a few but otherwise tolerated them well.
However, my child was born with autism. She was born with a different makeup in the chemicals and connections in her brain. My child had autism on the day that she received each of her vaccinations. My child has always had autism, and no chemicals or contaminants had an effect on that. No interactions or allergies to the products injected during those vaccinations changed that in any way.
I would wager that this is the same for your child if they have autism and are fully, or even partially vaccinated.
Various medical studies discuss the mechanism of autism and how it manifests in the brain, and ultimately in the child. Certain genetic mutations, which can be inheritable, and most commonly considered to express themselves in symptoms that would put a child on the spectrum come into play here.
Except for Rett syndrome–attributable in most affected individuals to mutations of the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) gene–the other PDD subtypes (autistic disorder, Asperger disorder, disintegrative disorder, and PDD Not Otherwise Specified [PDD-NOS]) are not linked to any particular genetic or nongenetic cause. Review of 2 major textbooks on autism and of papers published between 1961 and 2003 yields convincing evidence for multiple interacting genetic factors as the main causative determinants of autism. Epidemiologic studies indicate that environmental factors such as toxic exposures, teratogens, perinatal insults, and prenatal infections such as rubella and cytomegalovirus account for few cases. These studies fail to confirm that immunizations with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine are responsible for the surge in autism. The Genetics of Autism, Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):e472-86.Muhle R, Trentacoste SV, Rapin I (Pubmed.gov)
In fact, the same genetic mutation has been theorized to cause bipolar disorder, which I have (further supporting a genetic link), and a variety of other conditions that affect the mental health or development of an individual.
Recent applications of whole-genome technologies have discovered rare copy number variants and common single-nucleotide polymorphisms that are associated with risk of developing these disorders. Furthermore, these studies have shown an overlap between the genetic loci and even alleles that predispose to the different phenotypes. The findings have several implications. First, they show that copy number variations are likely to be important risk factors for autism and schizophrenia, whereas common single-nucleotide polymorphism alleles have a role in all disorders. Second, they imply that there are specific genetic loci and alleles that increase an individual’s risk of developing any of these disorders. Finally, the findings suggest that some of the specific genetic loci implicated so far encode proteins, such as neurexins and neuroligins, that function in synaptic development and plasticity, and therefore may represent a common biological pathway for these disorders. Genetic Overlap Beterrn Autism, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder, Genome Medicine2009, Carroll LS, Owen MJ (Biomedcentral.com)
These findings support the idea that while there may be a correlation between children having autism and children receiving vaccinations, this does not directly imply causation. Indeed, a rising number of children are being diagnosed with ASD. In addition, 71.6% of children ages 19-34 months in the United States have received the full vaccination series. (cdc.gov) These two facts, however, exist independent of one another.
Wait, My Child Had an Interaction to Their Vaccines…
It’s quite true that some children can and do have an adverse reaction to vaccinations. There are two important factors to consider, however. In many cases, not only can these reactions be explained without consulting “Dr. Google” but it is critical to keep in mind that autism is considered to be caused by a genetic mutation in most cases.
In cases of immediate systemic or later manifestations of allergic reactions to vaccines, there is evidence that the individual was predisposed to this reaction. This means that the child had a risk factor that caused this reaction to occur. These could include a genetic change, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions.
Two main components were identified as a source for allergic reactions in vaccines: gelatin and egg protein. There is growing interest in the potential interactions between infant vaccination and risk for development of atopic disease. In addition, there is concern that genetic risk for atopy influences capacity to respond to vaccination during infancy. There is no evidence that vaccines such as Bacille Calmette-Guerin; pertussis; influenza; measles, mumps, and rubella; or smallpox have an effect on the risk of the development of atopy later in life. Immunotherapy provides an efficacious and safe method for the treatment of allergic conditions by immunomodulation of the immune system. The possibility of vaccination triggering or unmasking autoimmunity in genetically susceptible individuals cannot be ruled out, but for the general population the risk-to-benefit ratio is overwhelmingly in favor of vaccinations. Vaccination and Allergy, Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Jun;12(3):223-31., Rottern M, Shoenfield Y, (Pubmed.gov)
These findings indicate that in the majority of the population there is little to no risk of allergic or adverse reactions to vaccinations.
Does Your Child Have Autism?
Love them….and know that nothing included in their vaccination schedule had anything to do with it. You can find tools to help children with ASD as well as coping mechanisms for moms and kids on our site. We welcome you to join us on our journey through life with Autism.
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We hope you found this article helpful in understanding autism spectrum disorder and hope you will join us for further discussions on gentle and understanding parenting for children with special needs.
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