As I was listening to Jenny McCarthy last night on Larry King Live, I was struck by the huge communication gap between parents and physicians. I can't imagine how these two groups will ever learn how to communicate without an interpreter.
The panel included 3 physicians and Jenny McCarthy. It was a battle of sorts, between the professional, medi-lingo-savvy, detached physicians, and a passionate, angry parent of a child with autism, who believed her child was hurt by vaccines. In the end, neither party heard the other at all.
The problem is that both sides have almost totally different priorities. Both parents and physicians want the best for the children, but that's where the similarities end. Physicians want hard evidence, supported by a formal study before making a move. Physicians don't take the sequential anecdotal evidence that parents bring as significant evidence. Parents are motivated to protect their children from harm, and aren't willing to wait for the bureaucratic glacier to move while their children become statistics- this is where the problem lies.
So where is this glacier? It's the CDC. Some say the CDC is prioritizing protecting our children from acquiring infectious disease at the expense of causing autism in some individuals, some say the CDC is protecting the vaccine manufacturers from litigation and the resulting fallout for the drug companies, but the CDC says that it just doesn't think there's sufficient evidence to support that vaccines can cause autism. Until there's a different global viewpoint at the CDC, parents will have to continue to push for vaccine reform.
What do I think? I think that autism may very well show up in some individuals as a result of immunization injury. I don't think that happened to my son, as he was showing signs of autism very early on, before he had any vaccines. However, I think that it's entirely possible that vaccines could trigger autism in some individuals, especially with all the vaccines our children have to take early on. I'm not 100% positive, but it seems like the evidence is certainly pointing in that direction.
The vast majority of children who are vaccinated don't become autistic, which is the main reason why the CDC states that vaccines don't cause autism. But there's one theory out there that could burst that belief bubble… The theory that there may be a genetic predisposition in some individuals to develop autism, much like the genetic disposition to develop cancer. And it goes like this…
We all know people who have smoked like crazy, lived to 100, and haven't developed cancer. Yet others get cancer at 30, smoking or not. With cancer, we all know that it's a question of genetic disposition. For instance, if you possess a genetic predisposition for cancer (like a lot of people), you can set it off really easily by smoking. If you don't have that particular predisposition, you can smoke like a chimney all your life, and you probably won't get cancer. Likewise, if you have a genetic predisposition for autism, you may set it off with a vaccine, and if you don't have that disposition, you probably won't.
Is this theory correct? I don't know, and even all the people who've convinced themselves that it's true (like Jenny McCarthy) still don't unequivocally know either. But it sounds quite feasible to me, and I think that in time we'll all find out- sad but true, that vaccines can indeed, cause autism in some people.- Sandra Sinclair