It’s my privilege to welcome Dr. Harley A. Rotbart as a guest author to our “Ask my Momma” section today. Dr. Rotbart is a nationally recognized parenting expert, author, speaker, and educator. His most recent work includes No Regrets Parenting. He has been a Pediatrics specialist for the past 30 years and is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Dr. Rotbart started following cecyj on twitter a few months ago, so I asked my Momma to reach out to him to see if he might be interested in sharing his wealth of knowledge with us.
Welcome, Dr. Rotbart! We’re so glad to have you join us today. Okay, here is my question…
Can you explain the results of the most recent research confirming that vaccines are not linked to autism? I diligently spread out my boys’ vaccinations because of the concern. Where are we on this issue today?
The concern regarding a link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism began with a 1988 report of 12 children in England diagnosed with autism weeks after receiving the MMR; these children also had intestinal symptoms. The investigators claimed the vaccine damaged the intestines, allowing toxins to escape into the blood and reach the brain. This study generated enormous media attention; an instant controversy was born. Celebrities with autistic kids embraced the findings and went on media crusades. Vaccination rates dropped.
With time, new analyses and research emerged. Many other experts reviewed the initial research and found serious flaws. The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics reviewed all of the published research in the field, and concluded there is no evidence the vaccine causes autism or autism spectrum disorder.
Many new lines of proof against a vaccine link also accumulated. For example, a Danish study of more than 500,000 kids found no differences in autism rates among those who did and those who didn’t receive MMR. Other researchers looked at “home movies” made of kids prior to their diagnosis of autism and prior to their MMR vaccine, and compared them with home movies of other kids who didn’t ultimately get diagnosed with autism. Autism experts, unaware of the outcome of the kids, very accurately predicted by their behaviors which kids would, and which would not develop autism. All the telltale behaviors occurred before vaccination.
And then one year ago, the nail in the coffin of the vaccine-autism “link.” Investigations uncovered the 1998 study that started the whole controversy was falsified. The results were faked. The researcher was being paid a fortune by a law firm planning to sue vaccine manufacturers. He was stripped of his medical license and his 1998 paper was retracted by the journal that originally published it.
The sad legacy of the fraudulent research lasted 13 years, raising fears about MMR vaccine safety and raising hopes among the parents of autism that a “cause” had been identified.
It’s over. MMR vaccine does not cause autism, never did. Vaccinate your kids.