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Another step towards autism cure, study says vaccines don't cause autism

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 29th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that vaccines do not cause autism. After years of strident protests from people skeptical of childhood vaccination programs, the CDC undertook a study to see if there was reason for concern.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many hardcore anti-vaccination believers will remain unconvinced, after all, the study was conducted by a government agency-a fair point. And just as there are those who firmly believe 9-11 was "an inside job" and that "questions remain" there will be those who will not accept the scientific findings of a government study.

Despite the stalwart holdouts, the CDC has announced the conclusion of a study that says childhood vaccinations do not increase the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder.

The study compared 1,000 kids, of which 250 had autism spectrum disorder and 750 did not. Researchers looked specifically at antigens, to which ones and how many the kids were exposed. Antigens are substances in vaccines that provoke immune reactions. In other words, antigens are the active ingredient in vaccines and have long been a possible culprit.

According to the results of the study, antigens have now been tried and exonerated, and the verdict published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers were unsurprised by the results. Antigens are common and kids are exposed to them every day in the form of bacteria and viruses in their environment. In fact, they need to be exposed to them or else their immune systems will be weaker and they'll be more likely to develop chronic illness later in life.

Modern vaccines also contain far fewer antigens today than they did years ago. Just over 10 years ago, vaccines exposed children to thousands of antigens. Today, the study finds that number is just about 315.

The reduction in the number of antigens is a direct result of greater precision in how vaccines stimulate the immune system. They also mean that vaccines are even less likely to cause harm than they were years ago.

Autism advocates such as Autism Speaks are touting the research as a step forward in the fight against autism, saying that it clears the way for more research on other more likely causes. Those causes could be nutritional deficiencies in the womb or exposure to pesticides and medications. Less worry about autism means more resources to find the real cause, and possibly a prevention.

Vaccinations have saved at least hundreds of millions of lives over the last century and they continue to protect children from deadly and debilitating diseases. In places where vaccinations are resisted, major diseases, such as polio, continue to cripple children.

In the United States, unvaccinated children benefit from what's known as "herd immunity," meaning they can get by with little fear of illness because the other children around them are vaccinated, preventing a disease from taking hold in the community. However, unvaccinated children lack any resistance to serious, preventable infectious diseases, and a single exposure to just one could prove far more dangerous than autism or other disorders.
 
It could be this reason, above all, that parents should reconsider vaccinations for their children in light of the latest research.

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