Vaccination and other perceived causes
One of the highly contested and controversial debates in the past surrounding the cause of autism is vaccination. Those who firmly believe that vaccination is the culprit desperately cling on to whatever proof they have. Although it cannot be denied that the first symptoms of autism appear right after the child receives the first series of vaccinations. There are those who disagree
vehemently denies it, claiming that the diagnosis of autism after the first introduction of
inoculation into a child’s body is purely coincidental. Helen Ratajczak (2011) admitted that, “the
incidence and prevalence data indicate the timing of introduction of vaccines and changes in the type and increasing vaccines given at one time implicate vaccines as a cause of autism” (p. 70).
It can also be argued that as parents and caregivers hysterically try to understand the mystery
behind autism, they try to retrace their steps, trying to figure out where they went wrong.
Vaccination seemed to be the only variable to which they can place the blame. All this can be attributed to Andrew Wakefield. He is a British medical researcher who published a study in 1998 which indicated that there was a direct correlation between autism and the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. However, an investigation has shown that his research was manipulated and that there was a conflict of interest. He was receiving monetary compensation from the lawyers of the families who were trying to build a case against vaccination. CNN (2011) reported that he, instead, “misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study” (Health section, para. 1). Even after Andrew Wakefield was disproved, the damage was irreversible. There are still parents who refuse to get their child inoculated for fear that it may cause autism.
In Great Britain, the popular consensus was that the MMMR vaccine was the cause of autism. However, in the United States, the blame was not directed to the MMR vaccination itself, but rather the mercury preservative called Thimerosal. It is easy to place blame on such, given mercury’s reputation in terms of toxicity and its history of poisoning should a contaminated batch is administered to patients. Baker (2008) recalled that, “thimerosal’s safety were raised in the 1970‘s, provoked...by rising awareness of the dangers of organic mercury poisoning” (p. 246). However, studies quickly rebuked this theory. Robledo and Ham-Kucharski (2005) further dismissed this suspicion by pointing out that, “(t)himerosal has been abandoned by most, if not all, vaccine makers, yet autism rates are still rising” (p. 18). As researchers continue to trace the root cause of autism, they have come to place the blame on diet and environment as well. The food we have been eating are losing valuable nutrients, as they have to become more processed and come in...