Let’s focus on the real environmental factors linked to autism
The publication of Andrew Wakefield’s notorious and now discredited research on autism and vaccines in 1998 triggered a surge of worry about vaccine safety. Since then, questions about a purported connection between autism and vaccines have been asked and definitively answered: There is no link. But there are other factors linked to the development of autism that have solid scientific support.
A mountain of research has been conducted and published on a possible link between vaccines and autism, with hundreds of advocacy and scientific organizations refuting it. They also point out the public health risk of avoiding vaccinations. Yet the fear this unsubstantiated link has generated has led to the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis. Another consequence of the ongoing media attention paid to the issue is a misunderstanding of the real environmental risk factors associated with autism.
During the last year or so, there has been a steady drumbeat of media coverage about autism and vaccines. Politicians, celebrities, the presidential election, film festivals, and mythical conspiracies all contributed to mainstream news and media story lines on the false link between vaccines and autism. Many of them had nothing to do with real science, nor were they the result of research findings that helped families.
- Read Full Item
- 15th March 2017