Autism have been recently in the headlines because of an intriguing story that links the cause of autism with vaccination among children. Actually there are many pending cases in court houses all over the United States that tackle this sensitive medical issue. Many parents with autistic children believe that the main instigator for their children’s mental condition was the vaccine given to them at hospitals.
In an article published by Huffington Post, they disclosed that in the year 2000, a 1 year and 6 months old child suffered from fever after being vaccinated with “haemophilus influenzae, chickenpox, MMR, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio” (cited in Giles, 2008). After receiving these treatments, the child demonstrated “poor communication skills” which is a symptom of autism that was validated by medical practitioners.
According to experts of the “Department of Health and Human Services,” the vaccine resulted to the mutation of a gene in the mitochondria that “significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder which predisposed the child to deficits in energy metabolism causing brain damage with features of autism spectrum disorder” (Giles, 2008, pp. 8-9 ). However, there are other health officials who dispute the connection between autism and vaccines because experts have not yet generated a clear and direct research that autism is a form of disorder of the mitochondria.
According to Steven Novella, a “Yale University neurologist,” further studies is needed in order to produce valid and substantial facts that can verify that “mitochondrial problems are the cause of autism or its by-product. ” He also said that these claims were just assumptions without enough basis to support it (Giles, 2008, pp. 8-9 ). In the case of the child who was believed to have developed autism through vaccinations, the US government plans to financially compensate their family for the damage it has caused unto them which is estimated to cost more than a million dollars.
This move by the government have raised several reactions and criticisms. Their basis for their action is rooted on the conclusion that “vaccines aggravated a pre-existing cellular disorder in the child, causing brain damage that included features of autism. ” Moreover, Senator John McCain used this case to inquire on the possible relationship between “mercury in vaccines and autism. ” As a result, several law firms like “Conway and Homer & Chin-Caplan” who represent more than “1,200 autistic children with pending court cases” want their clients to be “tested for mitochondrial dysfunction.
” Moreover, many “anti-vaccination campaigners” were pleased by this move but there were also those who questioned it due to the fact that the theory about autism and vaccination is still under the investigation phase. More so, this incident could affect people’s confidence on the protective function of vaccines on children thus vaccinations will be greatly reduced which can make children vulnerable to deadly diseases such as rubella and measles.
Even the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention” is not convinced that vaccinations causes autism. Also, many health officials and practitioners urge parents to be not affected by this incident because they know that vaccination can safeguard the well-being of their offspring (Giles, 2008, pp. 8-9 ).
Reference Giles, J. (2008, March 8). Autism payout reignites vaccine controversy. New Scientist Magazine, 2646, 8-9.