NY Times: Autism Debate Strains Families

"No parent or grandparent could read the article about dissension within families with autistic children without deep sadness. Although the causes for regressive autism are most likely multifactoral, one possible co-factor - vaccination - stimulates the most intense debate. Like any other medical intervention, vaccination carries a risk that is greater for some than for others, a fact confirmed in 1991 and 1994 by the Institute of Medicine in historical reviews of the medical literature. But all of the potential biological mechanisms and genetic or other high-risk factors involved have not been identified. It is important to support the quest for answers led by parents whose children suffer with brain and immune system dysfunction. All potential causes should be explored and re-examined in the search for why some healthy children suddenly regress and become autistic. Science, like opinion, evolves over time." - Barbara Loe Fisher, New York Times

"A year after their grandson Christian received a diagnosis of autism in 2004, Bob Wright, then chairman of NBC/Universal, and his wife, Suzanne, founded Autism Speaks, a mega-charity dedicated to curing the dreaded neurological disorder that affects one of every 150 children in America today. The Wrights' venture was also an effort to end the internecine warfare in the world of autism - where some are convinced that the disorder is genetic and best treated with intensive therapy, and others blame preservatives in vaccinations and swear by supplements and diet to cleanse the body of heavy metals.......The Wrights' daughter, Katie, the mother of Christian, says her parents have not given enough support to the people who believe, as she does, that the environment - specifically a synthetic mercury preservative in vaccines - is to blame. No major scientific studies have linked pediatric vaccination and autism, but many parents and their advocates persist, and a federal "vaccine court" is now reviewing nearly 4,000 such claims. The Wright feud has played out in cyberspace and spilled into Autism Speaks, where those who disagree with Katie Wright's views worry that she is setting its agenda. And the family intent on healing a fractured community has instead opened its old wounds and is itself riven." - Jane Gross and Stephanie Strom, New York Times

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

For more than two decades, the National Vaccine Information Center, co-founded in 1982 by parents of vaccine injured children, has advocated that a portion of the billions of taxpayer-supported research funds at NIH be used to fund methodologically sound scientific research into the biological mechanisms and high risk factors for vaccine-induced brain and immune system dysfunction. At no time is that research more needed than today, when millions of America's children are suffering with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, asthma, diabetes and other types of chronic illness and disability and the reports of regression following vaccination continue.

Recent calls by physician leaders in the fields of pediatrics and public health, including the influential Institute of Medicine in 2004, to end all research into vaccine-associated regressive autism, are not only premature but extremely unwise. While reasonable men and women can disagree about various scientific hypotheses regarding the plausible biological mechanisms and genetic factors involved when children regress after vaccination, the most intelligent course of action that can be taken at this critical juncture is to refrain from closing the door on any of those hypotheses. It may well turn out that every one of them is a co-factor, depending upon the individual child and the vaccine(s) involved.

The best way to find out why some children regress physically, mentally and emotionally after vaccination is for parents and physicians to keep an open mind about all possible reasons for the child's sudden health deterioration. If parents and physicians would become partners, rather than remain adversaries, in the search for answers to the most important public health question of our time, the answers would come much more quickly.

It is important for all cases of regression and health deterioration following vaccination to be reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and to NVIC's Vaccine Reaction Registry . Families who speak out about what happened to their child following vaccination are helping to raise public awareness that will, eventually, lead to appropriate scientific inquiry. You can post a report with or without a photo about what happened to your child (or other family member) after vaccination on NVIC's International Memorial for Vaccine Victims.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BRAVO!!!!! Thank you for being sane and reasonable.