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.)