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Autism

autism
So here we go again with this vaccine “battle”. Recently a doctor from the Cleveland Clinic published a blog post where he reignited the fuel of furry regarding vaccination & it’s links to autism. As expected he was met with strong discontent from many in the medical community.Just so we are all on the same page lets go back to what started all of the uproar in the first place. In 1998 a study published in major medical journal concluded that there was a link to vaccinations of the MMR vaccine to autism. This information caused panic amongst parents and subsequently there was a significant drop[80%] in children not getting vaccinations. What followed next was as suspected, the rates of children being diagnosed with measles.He had been found guilty of falsifing his records, had his medical license stripped from him. But still the damage was done, because the public health crisis had already been in full swing.

At one point the rate of vaccinations had dropped to 80% and the rate of measle contractions were higher and 2008 alone than any other year since 1997. Here was a disease that was almost eliminated that was now making a resurgence because of these claims. And even though this story has been retracted, his license having been taken away the public outcry as well as the support of increasing number of individuals have made it difficult to dispel. It is because of this primary care physicians are spending more time convincing patience to take their immunizations then they are blood pressure or diabetes medications.

One of the biggest fallouts from the fake association between vaccinations and autism is that doctors have to spend even more of the little time they have with you defending something that shouldn't have to be defended. Since then researchers have failed to produce any of the results from Dr. Wakefield's 1998 study but still we find people like Jenny McCarthy & Dr. Niedes.

Autism, Vaccination

As a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum there is so much misinformation out there that even as an Internist I found it confusing to get information on just what to do following the diagnosis. Fortunately for my daughter and I, my wife is a trained licensed mental health therapists who took a keen interest in child development. She was able to diagnose her at a younger age than even the guidelines begin diagnosis & got her started on treatment a year earlier than most kids traditionally start.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to have a spouse in the field so the misinformation of vaccinations & autism becomes dangerous from a medical & public health perspective. As a medical and public health official the best we can do is educate the masses about this disorder, as far as what signs to look for, when to start looking for treatment and how. The only silver lining in a story like this is that it shows that the teaching isn't only for those at a certain education level because just like Dr. Niedes there are plenty more doctors & health professionals who don’t have a clue on what to do with this disease.