Autism Causes Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is at the top of its five-year cycle and, according to Mike Sicilia of the California Department of Health, is “on track to surpass our 50-year high.”  So why is a disease that can be fatal to infants on the rise, especially since we have a vaccination for it?  That’s an excellent and important question and some doctors think they have the answer.  Furthermore, I happen to agree with them.

Over the last decade or so, a statistically significant number of parents have opted out of vaccinating their children based on a 1997 study now thoroughly debunked as a fraud.  The hysteria caused by that report has had lasting effects, and not just with whooping cough; measles, once thought to be mostly eradicated, is now back and, in Britain, officially listed as “endemic”.  Parents who pay more attention to Hollywood celebrities than they do doctors and scientists have done a significant disservice to their children and to society at large.

I understand wanting what’s best for your kids and the claims made in that infamous study — that vaccines cause autism — were indeed frightening, but basing a serious decision such as whether or not to vaccinate on hysteria and second-rate actors looking to revive their careers over the American Academy of Pediatrics is ridiculous and irresponsible.

But wait — if autism isn’t caused by vaccines, what does cause it and how do scientists explain the increase in autism in the last couple of decades?  Well, it turns out that the prevalence of autism has not increased but that it is being diagnosed more frequently.  As for what causes autism, it appears now that it is a genetic condition.  David Gorski, writing for the blog Science-Based Medicine, says that “In reality autism appears to have a major and probably predominant genetic component, and several scientific studies over the last few years have linked autism with various genetic abnormalities.”

Gorski refers to a recent study published in the journal Nature that looked at the link between global rare copy number variation and autism.  It’s not an easy read, but that’s because it’s serious science and there are serious scientists who want to know exactly how the study was done so that they can validate it and perhaps even duplicate it.  Unlike the Jim Carrey FUD — Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt — that relies on anecdotes and hyperbole.

So the long and the short of the matter is that while the easily fooled may run around blaming vaccines, real scientists are busy digging into what really causes autism.  Unfortunately, all it took was one bad apple to simultaneously waste a lot of researchers’ time and energy and to convince parents not to vaccinate their kids.  Vaccinations are important not only for the child being vaccinated but also for all the other children that kid comes in contact with.  Otherwise, we will continue to see record numbers of whooping cough and other diseases.

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3 Responses to “Autism Causes Whooping Cough”

  1. This is a great article. However, your links are malformed and point to nonexistent pages on your site. Add the http:// in front of them 🙂

    Subscribed to your blog!

  2. Mental Disorders 101 says:

    Autism Causes Whooping Cough…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  3. Safari Dad says:

    Vic – Thanks for the heads up! I’ve fixed the links and I’ll double check them in the future.

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