autism, vaccines, and me

Emily asked me what I thought about David Kirby’s recent post on autism, mitochondrial disease and vaccines. David Kirby is the author of Evidence of Harm and a strong promoter of the anecdotal claim that vaccines cause autism and are responsible for the increase in autism diagnoses we have seen in the US recently.

I don’t believe that there is a convincing link between vaccines and autism. I believe that the increase in autism diagnoses is due entirely to the broadening of the diagnostic criteria. In other words, more children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders because the definition of autism has changed in such a way that it now can fit six people out of every thousand instead of one.

Here is an excellent and very readable book on that topic: Unstrange Minds, by Roy Richard Grinker.

I don’t think there are any more autistic people now than there ever have been before. I think we’re just finally seeing the autism for what it is.

I will look into Kirby’s reasoning more thoroughly when I have time. I’m willing to believe that vaccines could make an underlying condition worse, which is what that post seems to be saying? I am tired.

(NB: Most of you know this already, but Bede’s autism diagnosis was given before he had any vaccines. We vaccinate on our own delayed schedule chez Glee, and so I am completely sure that his autism is unrelated to vaccination.)

6 thoughts on “autism, vaccines, and me

  1. I was in a rush and should have been clearer in asking what you thought. He was making a link between mitochondrial disease and autism, and saying that maybe those cases of autism aren’t really autism, but something that looks like autism caused by a person with mitochondrial disease’s reaction to the vaccination. It was a theory I hadn’t heard of before. I’m glad you shared that he is a supporter of vaccines causing autism. I didn’t know anything about him.

  2. Out of curiosity, did you receive rhogam or did your son get any of the ‘normal’ shots infants are given at birth? Did you get a flu shot while pregnant?

    EOH is a fascinating book, even if you don’t believe. Amazing stuff in there. (I’m a big believer in that autism is caused by a body being genetically pre-disposed to autism, and something in the environment pushing it over the edge, so to speak, into autism.) Great blog!

  3. Nope, I didn’t get any shots. And he was born at home and received none of the hospital standard early pokes. Furthermore he’s my third child, so any body burden toxins from me would presumably been given to his older sisters in my pregnancies with them.

  4. Cool — I wish I’d not done the in-hosp shots. I didn’t know how harmful they could be at the time! FWIW, I don’t believe vaccines are THE cause of autism, just one of them…something’s pushing these genetically-predisposed kids into autism, probably several things and we may never know how many.

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