The New Plague of Autism

Back in November, the Wall Street Journal featured a prominent article with the following headline: “The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams; Scientists Increasingly Link Vehicle Exhaust With Brain-Cell Damage, Higher Rates of Autism”. It was careful to point out that current evidence is circumstantial; no one is certain about such a connection between traffic, exhaust, brain-cell damage and autism. After all, vehicles today put out far, far less pollution than those operating decades ago, when autism rates were far, far lower.

It highlighted one study published in Environmental Health Perspectives which found that children born to mothers within 1,000 feet of a freeway in three major California cities were twice as likely to have autism. One of the researchers says “it looks like air pollution might be a risk factor for autism,” but sensibly cautions that “it is too soon for alarm” since there are so many possible genetic and environmental factors.

This type of finding is classified, in the field of epidemiology, as an ecological correlation. It is necessarily the first but weakest of all observations, since merely establishing a correlation between two variables is not nearly enough to prove causality. Nonetheless, it is still useful – even if an initial hypothesis with intuitive value later falls apart.

This is what science does; it moves from one form of observation to the next, using its own internally consistent methods, until something can be determined with reliability. What would we think of scientists who would abandon the line of inquiry between traffic and autism if, say, the automobile industry raised objections? Or who were content with a prevailing though unwritten “understanding” that even, say, modifications of previous automotive standards over the years warrant no research funding to determine if vehicle exhaust is any more dangerous than it used to be?

People would draw the obvious inference: they refrain from such a line of inquiry because an industry might take a hit, and a whole way of life might come under scrutiny.

I only need to observe my own mood souring while stuck in traffic to appreciate some of its infelicitous effects; I’m open to the concept that pollution might also affect our brains somehow. Still, I’m sceptical about this finding – or at least that this factor, if it is a factor, is a major factor. I could easily be wrong, and perhaps these authors will eventually be vindicated by the science. But I don’t object to the research in and of itself; I commend the Wall Street Journal for presenting one possible explanation, while not jumping the gun with statements that cannot be verified scientifically at this stage.

We only kid ourselves, however, if we think that all reasonable potential factors are all pursued with reasonably similar curiosity and urgency. Pollution and the automobile industry is one thing. But if another industry were to be even implicated – say, the abortion/bio-tech industry – scientists tend to run for the hills.

The astounding rise in autism

An astounding one out of every 88 American children (and one in 54 boys) now has autism – a 78 percent increase in just the last decade – according to the latest CDC estimate just released last month. By contrast, that figure stood at less than five per 10,000 children in 1980. In the UK, the prevalence rate has reached one out of every 64 children. This sharp rise over the past couple decades is all the more terrifying since so much about its causes remains shrouded in mystery. Even if some share of the increase might be attributable to changing diagnostic criteria, we are still dealing with an alarming epidemic. Only the full force of science – properly deployed and free from ideological shackles – can meet the pressing need for answers to this devastating condition.

At least one reason (not mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article) we should probably be sceptical of the theory that air pollution is a major driver of autism is that it does not correlate well to certain points in time, such as 1988, after which autism rates dramatically spiked. Was there some radically distinct and widespread event related to pollution in, say, 1981, 1988, and 1995, which might have triggered noticeable spikes in autism? If so, I cannot think of it.

Other commonly suggested explanations for the colossal increase in autism related disorders, such as television and other technological gadgetry – microwave ovens, cell phones, video games – or improved diagnostic capability similarly fail to match up neatly with the distinct spikes in autism rates observed following those years.

There is, however, another particular variable intimately associated with precisely those years after which autism rates skyrocketed, and for that reason alone – by appealing to that very same concept of ecological correlation – clearly seems to warrant further scientific evaluation. And yet most scientists won’t touch it. It is so highly sensitive, I dare not even say it. OK, if you force me to: vaccines.

Wait a minute: no, I don’t mean vaccines qua vaccines; as one of the most potent tools in the public health arsenal – having eradicated smallpox and now nearly polio, having controlled an array of childhood diseases, and having boosted life expectancy – vaccines coexisted quite well with steadily low rates of autism long before autism ever began to skyrocket.

I mean that something is different in many vaccines nowadays. And I’m not referring to mercury in vaccines. That too has been proposed as a culprit – and more or less dismissed as investigations have not conclusively established any linkage. Mercury couldn’t explain the dramatic explosion of autism in any event, since its levels did not increase in corresponding fashion over time; indeed, autism rates continued to climb even when and where mercury was no longer present in the vaccines.

Some vaccines are made with cell lines from aborted foetuses

I’m referring to the introduction of vaccines manufactured with electively aborted human foetal cell lines; these contain residual human foetal DNA and human retroviruses – contaminants known to prompt gene mutations which, in turn, can lead to autism. The previous, original vaccines used animal cells. I venture to say that few are even aware of this profound alteration of standard vaccine composition. Most “consumers” are not informed about this in plain language, either in public campaigns or at the point of vaccination.

Dr Theresa Deisher – a PhD in molecular and cellular physiology from Stanford University and an expert in the field of adult stem cell therapies – notes that this is the “only environmental event correlating with these statistical autism trend ‘change points’ which would impact almost all children”.

Deisher further notes that “similar change points, associated with the introduction of human foetal DNA contaminants in childhood vaccines, are also evident for Canada, the UK, and Denmark”. In the early 1980s, the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) derived from aborted human foetal cell lines became the only one available in the United States, and by the end of the decade the incidence rate of severe autism had increased more than 15-fold; the same general pattern of elevated autism incidence was observed once this type of vaccine was introduced in the UK a few years later.

Autism rates have also gone up recently (particularly since 2001) in several developing countries which, compared to the United States, have radically different environments – different diets, different standards of hygiene and sanitation, and much less exposure to the modern western gadgets some have viewed with suspicion. Exposure to these types of vaccines – those with residual human DNA – is one thing, however, that children from dramatically dissimilarcountries do have in common.

None of this is to say that we can positively claim a causal relationship; that would be premature. There is currently no known basis for making a stronger statement, just as there isn’t with respect to air pollution as a potential risk-factor. Yet if you were doling out funds for research, which of these two variables would you judge to have the greater claim to prioritization?

Overlooking for a moment that only one variable exhibits a striking temporal association and supposing, just for the sake of argument, that aborted human foetal matter in vaccines and traffic jams both proved to contribute equally to rising autism rates, which of these two factors would translate more easily, quickly, inexpensively, and effectively into an intervention to prevent autism: supplying vaccines that don’t come from human foetal cell lines, as was originally the case, or imposing complex, invasive and authoritarian measures to micro-manage traffic and housing patterns?

Intriguing and compelling correlations

By any reasonable measure, these are intriguing and indeed compelling correlations – and as such this theory should not be ruled out. Neither should it be conflated with other vaccine-related theories because this is a distinct issue. It has been established that both the mercury and the attenuated measles virus component within the MMR vaccine have not led to the spikes in autism. (A representative literature review, for example, provided by UpToDate – a professional clinical service used by medical practitioners – covers this ground). This is important.

Yet that’s not all that is in the vaccine. Existing epidemiological studies (indicating little evidence of a link) have not yet properly accounted for vaccines specifically derived from human foetal cell lines as an isolated or co-variable. The stock phrase that the vaccine is not linked to autism – a generality repeated in the popular media and the scientific community – may therefore be excessively broad.

It should also be noted that a 2009 FDA publication regarding the safety of vaccines containing residual DNA cites the same expert studies from the early 1990s that were used as a basis for alleging the safety of a gene therapy trial (SCID-X1) which, in drastic contrast to their extremely low risk appraisal, resulted in four out of nine successfully treated patients subsequently developing cancer (T cell leukaemia); if nothing else, this should give us pause. Incidentally, the virus used to deliver the gene therapy is a close family member of another virus which contaminates the MMR II and Varivax (chickenpox) vaccines.

Furthermore, with knowledge gained over the last several decades from the fields of immunology and gene therapy, the unequivocal assertion that contaminants from human foetal cell lines pose no danger cannot be credibly made. There are also a series of other findings might reasonably raise some suspicion: we know that injected naked DNA can be transported to the brain, that shorter DNA fragments have a higher probability of entering the nucleus of a cell, and that present levels of residual human DNA in several vaccines far exceed limits recommended by the FDA.

Again, none of this is nearly enough to demonstrate anything conclusively. We are still in the realm of speculation. But as much as we do not know at present, there does seem to be sufficient biological plausibility – in addition to the ecological correlation – to reinforce the conclusion that further investigation is warranted. In fact, to leave this matter unstudied in the face of what authorities are calling a national emergency would seem to require a greater explanation. A front page story in the USA Today highlighted the need for better early diagnosis and treatment in light of the latest, alarming CDC report. (A subsequent storyreassured readers that vaccines are definitively not implicated but saw fit to mention the traffic and air pollution theory). Wouldn’t it also be a good idea to pursue with due diligence the identification of whatever may reasonably be deemed to be a possible and preventable trigger?

Safety and correctness

It is hardly a model demonstration of the scientific method to extrapolate from what is known about those other vaccine components and pronounce that all is therefore well if the safety of administering human DNA fragments through otherwise vindicated vaccines has to this day simply not been definitively determined. This would be like pronouncing BLT sandwiches are just fine after properly determining that the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes are all fine while shying away from looking into the mayonnaise, made with a new recipe, which many perceive to be routinely inclined to spoiling.

The repetitiveness of such imprecise assurances seems intended in part to discredit a legitimate line of inquiry – to label those who clamour for any further, properly thorough investigation as irrational reactionaries. But acknowledging on the one hand that there have been historical episodes of unfounded anti-vaccine hysteria is not incompatible with deeming this particular issue to be eminently worthy of investigation. In fact, what properly disinterested scientist would not be interested in actually examining it?

As it stands now, a real scare – whether justified or not – has led to downturns in vaccination coverage; resurgences of epidemics such as measles in the UK and whooping cough in California have been the unfortunate result. If compliance rates were to dip too low, the desired effect of vaccination programs – population-level or “herd” immunity – would be compromised. To insist on an honest and rigorous scientific investigation of this specific and unresolved question, far from being anti-vaccine, is fundamentally consistent with valuing their enormous contribution to public health.

We lionize scientists who supposedly leave no rock unturned in the search for truth and for the benefit of their fellow man. Nothing – and especially nothing with any religious overtones – will deter them from this noble pursuit.

But this is too touchy.

Scarce are the funds made available to investigate this matter; rare and easily ignored are the studies, such as a thorough 2011 review in the Journal of Immunotoxicology, which concluded that this matter is a legitimate concern. Apparently there are indeed limits to what the scientific establishment will pursue, and these limits happen to correspond to certain ideological standpoints (not moral precepts or religious injunctions) which are not to be questioned much less contradicted in polite society.

Safety today passes as a synonym for correctness or permissibility. Safety serves as an indispensible ally if not an outright justification for the modern project of absolute freedom. Rectitude or objective morality is, to many modern minds (particularly in the fields of science), a thing of the past; that which can be done safely or legally can’t be wrong. The flip side of this form of rationalization, of course, is that any evidence of a given practice’s harm jeopardizes its claim to legitimacy.

This is why any hint of such harm must be kept under wraps. To take but one example, we already know – strike that: most people do not know – that abortion is a major risk factor for breast cancer, even if scientific and governmental bodies have gone to great lengths to deny it. Or who can fail to see that this same type of ideological undercurrent accounted for the enormous disparity between our approaches to human embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research. The former received the lion’s share of funding and favourable media reporting – even as evidence mounted that the latter was proving safer and more effective. Yet deep down we still know that giving cover, either by commission or omission, to any side of an ethical debate is not what we typically associate with the job description of scientists.

We also know that stem-cell treatments derived from human embryos have led to tumours or were at times otherwise not well tolerated by the patients taking them. Is it utterly inconceivable that vaccines containing residual human DNA from aborted human foetal cells might have some adverse consequences, even if only as a trigger to those with a genetic predisposition for autism?

It appears that many in positions of influence and authority, particularly within the scientific establishment, need there to be no link between the aborted human foetal matter in vaccines and autism for reasons having nothing to do with science. Pro-lifers, on the other hand, do not need to establish such a linkage or indeed any other type of linkage in order to validate their position on the sanctity, dignity, and inviolability of human life; their arguments are moral and philosophical and do not depend on utilitarian reasoning – that is, on the various potential consequences of abortion. (Having an induced abortion, it is known but not widely broadcast, leads to premature deliveries in subsequent pregnancies, and pre-term babies are at greater risk for autism as well as cerebral palsy and other conditions).

They will always prefer vaccines that have not utilized human foetal cell lines – even if from a pragmatic perspective those vaccines that have used them end up proving to have no adverse consequences. Only those whose ethical stances depend on consequences could be threatened by getting to the bottom of this – not counting, of course, the unscrupulous driven strictly by financial incentives.

The real question, then, is: do the scientific establishment and their funders have such little regard for the suffering of their fellow man – the devastation endured by children and families with autism – that they simply refrain from investigating this specific question head on, with the urgency it deserves, just because it relates to abortion, even if remotely, and therefore might undermine it?

It is possible that there is another explanation for the meteoric rise in autism rates – that human DNA fragments in these vaccines are not the culprit – or is even likely that a diverse combination of factors is to blame. We can only hope that science will uncover and bring to light (for those are different things) whatever is behind this tragic epidemic. But those presently framing and perpetuating the narrative that the case is closed – the verdict of safety is safely in – seem not so much to be purely pro-vaccine as they are anti anti-abortion.

Predetermined politicized positions are precisely what science supposedly repudiates.

Matthew Hanley is the author, with Jokin D. Irala, of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West

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  • Ramblign Follower

    How offensive is the headline “The Plague of Autism.” Those of us raising children on the spectrum, teaching children on the spectrum and loving children on the spectrum never would classify their loved ones in this way. The autistic brain is certainly wired differently, but people with autism have many unexpected gifts too. In the end, they are made in God’s image, as we all are.

  • Donald Nelson

    There is still another issue here—how many children who developed autism have had mothers who had taken ‘the pill’ or undergone prior abortions?

  • Pargontwin

    A friend of mine who worked in biomedical engineering left the field in disgust because promising lines of investigation remained unfunded because of this very problem; indeed, facilities that continued to pursue “politically incorrect” research were apt to have ALL their funding yanked, forcing them to shut down.  How many diseases, birth defects, etc. continue to plague us, and even to increase, because of this? 

    And doctors are no help. For example, In 1982, there was a report that linked crib death (now known as SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)  to the MMR vaccine, which, at the time, was given in two separate injections, two or three weeks apart.  Parents were warned that, if their child acted ill after the first shot, not to allow the second one, at least until more was known.  A friend of mine reported such an illness in his child after the first shot; the doctor pooh-poohed the reported link and assured him and his wife that there was no real danger.  Two days after the second shot, the child was dead of SIDS. 

    I do not know if thatparticular link has ever been definitively proven, but I have seen other incidents where patients of all ages, myself included, have been literally browbeaten into taking vaccines to which they know they have adverse reactions.  As a retired hospital worker, I have enough knowledge to resist this pressure; how many others are victims of blind trust in their doctors? 

    In more ways than just national security, political correctness is proving to be deadly.  When are we going to wake up?

  • Pargontwin

    I noted as long ago as my high-school years (late 60s, early 70s) that women in my acquaintance who took the Pill and became pregnant anyway ended up with miscarriages every single time.  Those who stopped the Pill months, or even years, before attempting to conceive had infants with some sort of birth defect nine times out of ten.  It was the compelling reason I decided, long before I even started dating, that I would never take the Pill, even before I knew of the Church’s teaching on the matter, and so advised every friend who told me she was considering it.  Some of them came back to me in later years and told me they wished they had listened. 

  • Amy

    Great article!  Thank you for speaking the truth.  From what I have read, another issue with using aborted human cell lines for vaccines might be an increase in autoimmune disorders such as r. arthritis, lupus, MS, MG, etc.  Apparently, the body can discriminate between animal cells and their own cells easily, but not as easily between a fellow human’s (aborted) cells and their own, thereby triggering a response of self-attacking of their own tissue.

  • CommonSense

    The political correctness used with fetal cells in vaccines makes me wonder whether or not we can believe all the other results we see from tests/research that imply vaccines are not a cause to other problems. SIDS for example is one thing that comes to mind. My understanding is that Japan had at one time stopped vaccines for children under 1 for several successive years. Coincidentally, no cases of SIDS occurred in Japan during those years. Later, SIDS reemerged when children under 1 were again vaccinated.

    Is it possible that the same sort of moral corruption that has caused the economic collapse of financial structures in Wall Street may have also infected other parts of society – including the medical establishment? Why for instance have some firms spent money on developing an anti-pregnancy vaccine ( Who was it ‘tested’ on and where these individuals aware they were part of a test? (

  • Editor

    That’s exactly why I never considered for a moment using the title “The Plague of People With Autism.”

  • Allen

    We have detailed info on this shocking link between autism and vaccines at our website for parents, grandparents and concerned individuals who want to learn more about it, and who can help spread the word to stop this unnecessary assault on the DNA and immune systems of our nation’s children.

  • Ramblign Follower

    Oh this line is no different from what people were saying 30 years ago – that autism is due to “refrigerator moms.”

    You al have no data to back up this unkind assertion which essentailly says that women who were sexually active or who made poor (immoral) choices before giving birth were punished with an autistic baby.

    When in doubt, let’s blame the mother.

  • Ramblign Follower

    Editor: A distinction without a difference.

  • Ramblign Follower

    All of which has been discounted by extensive scientific studies. Please stop promoting this junk science.I am a special ed teacher and I urge you all to stop trying to blame vaccines, women, etc. and work to serving the children in front of us with neurological difference. You aren’t solving any challenges; you are pointing fingers.

  • Editor

    There is all the difference in the world between a physically challenged person and the ailment that challenges them. I wish for the ailment to go away; I wish for the person to remain. It occurs to me that perhaps you are associating the word “plague” with “punishment from God,” but that isn’t the definition of the word. It simply means “affliction,” and many of us serve people with afflictions. 

  • Editor

    The author shows a credible link between autism and vaccines that contain residual DNA from aborted fetal tissue. Doesn’t it serve autistic children to explore that link, in the interest of curing autism? 

  • Why, if it’s the MMR vaccine and its foetal derived components that are causing this “plague of autism” (a disgusting phrase), has the prevalence of autism continued to rise as uptake of that particular vaccine fell in response to the vaccine being linked with the condition?

  • “There is no autism separate from a human being” K. Seigel, Neurodiversity.

    Autism is not like a virus or bacterium that exists in its own right. Autism is not an affliction either but a difference in a human being. “I wish for the ailment to go away; I wish for the person to remain.” Impossible. Wish autism away and you are wishing my son away. Autism is intrinsic. He doesn’t have autism in the same way one might have a cold, he *is* an autistic person.

  • you noted? Any studies note the same. If so, please provide a citation

  • But of course men, who may have chosen to use prophylaxis get away scott free. Hmm.

  • Vaccines, SIDS and Autism all explored in this 2003 paper: 
    and this one from 1996 
    If MMR is responsible for SIDS, why, after the success of the “back to sleep” campaign in drastically reducing deaths from SIDS in the UK did the rate not rise when the MMR was introduced in the UK in 1988. Why did those deaths not peak in 1992 as MMR uptake peaked. Why haven’t they fallen further as uptake of the vaccine has fallen?

  • No. The author has done no such thing. The author of the comment merely provided a link to a website upon which there is no study cited that supports a link between vaccines and autism that has withstood scientific scrutiny.

  • If the human body could not discriminate between its own cells and another human beings then why the need to immunosupress transplant recipients? Why do spontaneous abortions occur?

  • Please provide the epidemiology to back up your claims about Japan and SIDS. Vaccination was stopped in infants in Japan for a short time and guess what? Autism prevalence rose.

    This study examines regressive autism: 
    And a total population study 
    Please note, ”
    The MMR vaccination rate in the city of Yokohama declined significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1992, and not a single vaccination was administered in 1993 or thereafter. In contrast, cumulative incidence of ASD up to age seven increased significantly in the birth cohorts of years 1988 through 1996 and most notably rose dramatically beginning with the birth cohort of 1993.”

  •  Exactly, one cannot “remove” the autism from a person. It is neurological, it cannot be undone.

    Autism makes up an autistic person the same way that that our own neurological processes make up us.

    Sure, ensuring autism happens less often would be a boon, but no-one should think that it can be removed from people that are already autists.

    The author of this piece does not seem to understand this (as per the vile title), and in true Catholic fashion has tried to find yet another way to demonise abortion. Pretty disgusting.

  • In fact, I think I’ve found the Japanese reference to which you allude and that was supposedly after the withdrawal of the pertussis vaccine in 1974. 

    Scheibner V (2004). “Dynamics of Critical Days as Part of the Dynamics of Non-specific Stress Syndrome Discovered During Monitoring with Cotwatch Breathing Monitor”. Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 23 (3): 10–14.
    Page 18 is a fantastic debunking of that nonsense 
    and a study showing the actual conrtibuting factors for SIDS in Japan 
    Incidentally, vaccines are protective against SIDS 

  • Editor

    Are you and your associates here seriously suggesting that we should do nothing to treat the verbal and behavioral disorders of autism? You would rather behave as if it’s all just a mere “difference,” as if we were talking about nothing more than hair color or body type? And, then, you take the extra step of insulting Catholicism. This is what is “disgusting”: that you are so zealous to safeguard the sacred cow of abortion that you refuse to acknowledge that there may be something credible in this article, even to the point of refusing to help children suffering with autism. 

  • Editor

    That’s nonsense. You are associating your precious, unique son with a host of things that medical science consistently labels as disorders. You do no service to your child by pretending the disorder is indistinguishable from him–if he had been born with an eye defect or a non-functioning leg wouldn’t you recognize the defect for what it is, teaching him to overcome it while at the same time searching for ways to fix the problem?  

  • Erika Higgins

    Thank you Catholic Exchange for sharing this. I appreciated that the writer of this article is merely presenting information about the PLAUSIBILITY that vaccines containing residual human DNA could have AN effect on a child’s neurological functions. One does not have to know much about the human body to form a hypothesis that these residual human DNA components being injected into young children could have some sort of an effect. The question to be answered (and first bothered to be seriously asked) is what and how much of an effect have these aborted-human cell lines have had? And the problem is that most scientists, except for those like Dr. Deischer, are unwilling or too scared to even do the research to rule this theory out…maybe they are scared of what truths they will find?  The author also makes a good point that even if it weren’t for the plausible autism-triggering effects, shouldn’t we, as Catholics and pro-lifers, be protesting the use of these aborted-fetal cell lines anyway? Sadly, even good Catholics (lay & clergy) are unwilling say anything strongly about this ethical dilema or to look further into this research like Deisher’s out of a fear of what will happen to our precious life-saving vaccines. Many Catholic parents who would like to exempt their children from receiving vaccines, even if only to avoid the remote cooperation with sin of the abortions used to produce some of the required vaccines like MMR and Varicella/Chicken Pox, are not allowed to exempt if they want their children to receive the benefits of a Catholic education in the diocesan schools. Writing letters to the pharmaceutical companies isn’t a bad thing to do but it certainly will not be enough to force a change in how these vaccines are produced. And if we don’t speak out agains this…what else are we giving a silent nod of approval to in the field of “life-saving” medicine for the future?

    If I had a child with mild to severe autism, which I might, I would not be offended by the title of this article. Autism is not exactly “intrinsic’ like Downs Syndrome or other genetic mutations. It is clear that the rates of autism have risen. Having an autistic child yes, can be a blessing and as Catholics we need to reach out to parents and children who have to deal with life with autism day in and day out. Sadly, in the Catholic world, it seems autism is still very much a “taboo” subject (mostly because of ignorance).
    However, IF there was a way to avoid triggering a genetic disposition to autism or to at least understand more about what triggers it, wouldn’t we want to know about this for the sake of our future children? Especially if it was something as easy as using animal cultures instead of aborted-human tissue cultures to grow vaccines? (Or would that be too offensive to the PETA-type people?) What if these celll lines proved to be a major contributor and we weren’t willing to even research it for nonsensical political-correct reasons? Some of the comments here only help drive this writer’s points in harder about our unwillingness to look into this theory further.

  • Becky05

    As a matter of fact, this isn’t a plausible thesis. There has been an incredible amount of research into vaccines and autism, and no correlation whatsoever has been repeatedly found. Whether it is the mercury or the fetal cells, there is no link. Making a “plausible” argument without supporting evidence is junk science, especially when plenty of evidence which disproves such a link already exists. Why the repeated calls for studies when such studies are being done and have been done and show no link? Vatican has spoken on the issue, and has said that avoiding the material cooperation is not worth the risk to children and the population, and specifically singles out the rubella vaccine as an important vaccine which ought not to be skipped. Further clarification stated that parents have a “serious obligation” to protect their childrne from diseases.

  • Yes, there have been studies done about the link between mercury (thimerosol) and autism. But the author of this article (and I) is asking where are the studies investigating further into a link between the aborted-fetal cell line residual human DNA and autism or any other neurological/developmental issues seen in children who receive these particular vaccines?

    I should have noted this before, but I do not have a set opinion about whether vaccines do or do not cause autism. There is a lot we need to learn about autism still but since vaccines are a “constant” that is widely used among those who either have autism or are in the age-range to develop or be diagnosed with autism, shouldn’t they be given a fair, unbalanced, scientific look at how they might or might not have an effect on children’s neurological and developmental processes? Especially since, as the author again points out, these vaccines seem to be a major constant or variable at play?
    Sure, vaccines may indeed “save lives” but does this excuse them from also needing to be without long-term serious side-effects? It is scientifically and ethically irresponsible NOT to give these questions a fair and unbiased study.

    As far the Vatican document (,there is a lot more to it than just what you shared. For one, Rubella was announced as “eradicated” by the CDC after the document was finished and a pregnant woman has options now (in our country) to take responsibility to protect herself and her unborn baby from rubella (in the close to 0 chance she gets it and even closer to 0 chance she passes it to her baby where there is an EVEN closer chance to 0 that her baby would have any serious effects from it). Secondly, the vatican document says, “it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. You have to keep in mind here that the vatican document was written for a global perspective.The risks vs. benefits of vaccines and diseases in the USA is VERY different than it is in other countries and so this must be considered. Also, aside from the obligation to protect our children (and in effect those around ours) from serious disease, we also have an obligation, a duty in fact, to protest the moral issue behind the use of these aborted-fetal cell lines in the vaccines and to “put pressure” on those who can to offer alternatives. But who does this? And what good is it for me to send a letter with one hand protesting these while holding my child down with the other hand while he receives the vaccine-in question? What will it really take to get the pharmaceutical companies to go to the effort of offering alternatives?

  • Becky05

    No, it isn’t that studies have disproved the link between thimersol and autism, it is that they have disproved ANY correlation between vaccines, in particular the MMR, and autism. Studies have proved that there is no such correlation — thus we don’t need to examine a particular suggested mechanism for such a correlation. If the vaccines aren’t correlated with an increased risk of autism, then the suggested mechanism just doesn’t matter.

    Avoiding vaccinations not only puts your own children at risk, it threatens the herd immunity of the population and indeed puts the population at risk. The risk of these diseases in the US is low precisely BECAUSE we have high rates of vaccination. Stopping vaccination raises the risk of the disease for the entire population, and especially threatens those who can’t be vaccinated or whom are immunodeficient. We can see this with the increasing outbreaks of pertussis and measles.

  • My child is not defective. Nor would be an individual with a vision impairment or a limb malformation. Disabled people are not there to be fixed. What a judgemental and hateful view. And yes, my son is disabled in that he lacks certain skills that enable him to function as the vast majority of human beings do. You know what I do about that? I help and encourage him to aquire new skills to make the world a safer place in which for him to live. I do it with love. I accept and love him for who he is. He is not broken any more than a blind person is broken. There is no “problem” to fix just challenges to be met and overcome but hey, isn’t that just being a parent?

    I strongly suggest you look into the social vs medical model of disability. Tom Shakespeare writes eloquently on the topic.

  • What parent doesn’t encourage their child to learn to talk and express him or herself. A parents of an autist may have to develop a deeper understanding of how language works and is acquired in order to help their child do so but that’s a challenge any good parent will take on for the child they love. This is what amounts to “treatment”.

    No human difference is “mere” every way in which you or I or Mr Hanson differ is part of what makes us each unique as human beings. 
    At the moment I can say my child does not “suffer” with autism. Would that it could remain so however I am sure that as he matures he will come to know the prejudice he is viewed with and the dehumanizing language used to describe him and others like him who were born differently from you.

  •  the writer of this article is merely presenting information about the PLAUSIBILITY that vaccines containing residual human DNA could have AN effect on a child’s neurological functions.”
    By what mechanism could that occur?

  • Guest

    I don’t have a child with autism, but I do have a child with special needs, and I find your whole attitude towards people with disabilities insulting, degrading, and disgusting.  And certainly not very Catholic.  Disabled people are not defective, they are not a plague, and they certainly don’t need people like you pitying them and dehumanizing them.  My daughter is disabled, it’s a part of who she is to her very core.  I can’t wish away her disability anymore than I could wish her laugh or her eye color or her long fingers without losing the person she is. 

  • For one, Rubella was announced as “eradicated” by the CDC after the document was finished and a pregnant woman has options now (in our country) to take responsibility to protect herself and her unborn baby from rubella (in the close to 0 chance she gets it and even closer to 0 chance she passes it to her baby where there is an EVEN closer chance to 0 that her baby would have any serious effects from it). ”
    Rubella was eradicated from Sweden too. Guess what? At the end of 2011 that country recorded its first case of congenital rubella in 30 years. Now that is something that can cause autistic characteristics. 

     “it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. You have to keep in mind here that the vatican document was written for a global perspective.The risks vs. benefits of vaccines and diseases in the USA is VERY different than it is in other countries and so this must be considered.”
    Different to…? Say Europe. Maybe the UK where there is currently a measles outbreak in Liverpool and North Wales? Yes, there are issues to consider like the fact that as a wealthy nation US citizens are more likely to travel abroad and import diseases such as measles to the USA on their return. 2001 this occured. It came from Switzerland. And if you do not believe that children in developed nations suffer complications from these diseases then I suggest you take a look at this website. It will break your heart. 

  • Becky, what is being overlooked in this article and many of the comments is that autism is not a death sentence. For some people, the diseases vaccines can prevent are just that.

  • The studies done were with thimerosol in the MMR not on the effects of the residual human DNA. Thimerosol is no longer used as it was during those studies since they decided to take it away as a precautionary step.
    Again, vaccinations have played a big role in disease in this country, as well as have many other factors. But does this mean they deserve our blind and unquestioning faith in them? Why aren’t long-term, post-marketing studies done with vaccines? One doesn’t have to be anti-vaccine to want to make sure that they not only work but are also as safe as they possibly can be. We can’t let the “good of the herd” eclipse the importance for the safety and good of the individual.  
    Again, on the moral/ethical point behind all this: If we do not protest the use of aborted-fetal cell lines for the production of vaccines now, what else will we tolerate in the future for the sake of the “health of the population”?

  • There never was thimerosal in MMR. Thimerosal is an anti-microbial agent which would have killed the live virus in the MMR.

    I do not have blind, unquestioning faith in anything. Nothing at all. Certainly not vaccines but all the research I have looked at has demonstrated to me that though not 100% so, vaccines are safe and effective and a responsible choice for a parent to make. 
    If you do not think long term studies are done on vaccine safety then I can assume you have only a glancing knowledge of this topic and I would be happy to provide you with many titles from the peer reviewed literature. Here are just two. 
    that concludes; ““Timely vaccination during infancy has no adverse effect on neuropsychological outcomes 7 to 10 years later”
    As for your “slippery slope” argument I hope you are aware that the MMR was developed in the 70s. In the 30 odd years since what terrible cataclysms have followed as a direct result of the use of theses cells?

  • Alit

    I too have a son. A blonde, blue eyed, adolescent, autistic son. I cannot “fix the problem” because he is not broken. Autism is not a disease, or defect. He does not suffer from autism, he suffers from other’s intolerance, misunderstanding and refusal to accept that being different does not make you any less human. We all have challenges in life, none of us are perfect. Describing one subset of neuro diverse group as a plague clearly shows your lack of acceptance or tolerance of others that do not fit into your idea of perfection?

  • Becky05

    No, the studies were done with the vaccines themselves, not with any particular component. There is no correlation between vaccines — even ones with or without mercury or fetal cells — and autism rates. None. It has been shown repeatedly.

     And there absolutely are MANY ongoing, long term studies of vaccine safety! VAERS keeps records of all reported incidents, and they are investigated, and there is continual work on improving vaccine safety.

  • Becky05

    In terms of the ethical component- the evil done was the abortion 30 or 40 years ago. There are no ongoing abortions being performed, no lives being destroyed, only saved, through the use of the vaccinations. I agree with the commentary on the article I posted above that not vaccinating and exposing innocent children, born and unborn, to risky vaccine preventable diseases is a far greater evil than the remote material cooperation we’re speaking of here. If there were ethical vaccines, I’d be happy to use them. When there’s not, I have greater concern with the children living today, mine and many others, than with avoiding an appearance of cooperation with evil.

  • Editor

    Once again: nowhere, either by the author of the article or by me, is it ever even implied that children with autism are “less human.” What’s inhuman is to regard a disability as completely acceptable and normal. You are saying that if you had the power to remove the symptoms that your child suffers as a result of autism that you would do nothing? 

  • Editor

    Blindness is a defect–it is a failure of the eyes to work properly. And I’m beginning to think that you suffer from it.

  • Beautiful!

  • Editor

    And again: nowhere, by the author or by me, has it ever been suggested that people with autism are a plague. There has been a meteoric rise in verbal and behavioral issues, well worth describing as a “plague.” You yourself use the word “disabled”! The very word means “a lack of ability”! Your daughter has “a lack of ability” in some area or another. Does that mean we love her less? Obviously not. We love her, teach her to overcome her disabilities, and continually use every reasonable means to eliminate her disability. That’s 100% Catholic, in fact. As I suggested to another commenter, if you had the power to remove her disability, wouldn’t you? More to the point of the article: if you discovered a possible way to adjust vaccines so that future children would not have to suffer from disabilities, wouldn’t you explore that possibility?

  • Becky05

    Since some of these vaccines only have versions that are derived from fetal cell lines, we already know that if the vaccines themselves aren’t correlated with autism, then the presence of fetal cells is also not correlated with autism.

  • I suffer from the ignorance of people who, without knowing him, are prepared to label my son as defective. Is it only in the womb that disabled people should be protected from hate because your categorising them as broken is utterly hateful. It is such attitudes, such fear mongering about conditions such as autism that puts disablility in such a light that parents are so filled with dread they choose to terminate their pregnancy lest their child be “defective.” You and those who spout such hate are responsible for that.

  • The MMR is not given to infants and therefore could not be made responsible for sudden INFANT death. MMR was also never given as two separate shots (at least not in the English speaking World) – your anecdote does not pan out.

  • excellent question, Autismum – a child gets 500 microliters of fluid injected into the leg, about 15 to 20 inches away from her head. How do the evil DNA particles make it to the head, past all those DNAses, into the brain and into the millions and millions of brain cells?

  • Gosh – I must be SO lucky then to have two perfect children after years of the pill and various other forms of contraception, as must my mum, my aunt, many of my best friends – figure that – so many women I happen to know with beautiful babies, despite their previous use of contraception – how lucky they all are to be among the 10%!

  • Autism is not like a bug that exists in and of itself. It cannot exist except as part of a human being. You cannot eliminate it without eliminating a human being. So describing autism as a plague you can only be suggesting that there is a plague of autists.

    Disabled describes people who are not physically or mentally typical. It is not a perfect term to describe all people who are classed as having disabilities. Again, I refer you to the work of Tom Shakespeare. A brief reading of some of his more accessible pieces may give you a clue as to why your language is so offensive. 
    If I had the power to remove autism from my son in some hypothetical universe would I? No. Autism makes him the person I love. It makes him think and behave in a way that touches and changes people in incredible ways. My job is to help the world to understand him and accept him. To make a place in which it’s not just ok to be different but one in which he is loved for it.

  • You are right about the thimerosol not used in the MMR, I had forgotten about that, thanks for the correction. Still, there have not been enough studies (like Deischer’s) specifically on how residual human DNA mixed in with our own DNA (or our children’s) affects or does not affect us. VAERS is only a place to keep a record of reported reactions. This is not the same as studying long-term effects of vaccines or comparing those who have been fully vaccinated with those who have not over a period of time. Many studies have been done, some have been published while many have not. Most pharmaceutical companies do not sponsor these studies once their product has been approved and is in the market. And since they can’t be sued for any adverse reactions, what sort of accountability do they have for making sure they are safe?
    Either way, vaccine safety should never be set aside for whatever good intentions there are for making and using vaccines and hopefully safety studies will always continue and will consider all the different variables and not ignore the “politically incorrect” ones.
    Many have used the accepted use of aborted-fetal cell lines in vaccines to justify the funded-research and use of embryonic stem cell research for other “life saving” purposes.
    Aside from these aborted-fetal cell line vaccines, the forced sterilization laws of the early-mid 1900’s in the US used compulsorary vaccination laws as their legal justifications. Again, aside from the safety questions behind vaccinations (which we could argue about all day which I’d rather not), there still exists the moral component of the use of these aborted-fetal cell lines. If parents who want to use vaccines as a measure of disease prevention but who also don’t want to compromise their consciences by taking part in this cooperation (even if only remote), how will they EFFECTIVELY convince the pharmaceutical companies to offer alternatives? 

  • yes – how (even theoretically), would a minute amount of DNA get from the leg into millions of cells in the brain of a child?

  • And there you have it: as long as vaccines are saving children’s lives, it doesn’t matter how they are made or whose bodies are used to make them.

  • Becky05

    No one’s bodies are being used to make them — cell lines, derived from cells taken from human bodies, are used to make them. The evil is back at the foundation of the cell line.

  • Becky05

    I am wondering if people do not understand what a “cell line” is?

  • Ok. There you have it: as long as vaccines are saving lives and as long as enough time has passed since the evil, then it doesn’t matter how many aborted babies’ bodies were used to create the cell lines that are still used today for these life-saving vaccines (as well as other consumer products and consumer product testing).  

  • Only a matter of time before the call for vax vs unvaxed studies. How unethical to leave a whole bunch of people unprotected in the name of research that has, in truth, already been done. and what, exactly would such a study show? How would you be able to separate any effect from the variables? There are plenty of studies of vaxed with a particular vaccine vs non vaxed with that one. You need to take one variable at a time wherever possible. 

    Why should pharma companies sponsor studies after their initial ones? Wouldn’t there be an outcry of COI should that be the case? On one hand you contend that Pharma is entirely evil and on the other that they should sponsor the post marketing production into their products. See an issue there?
    Which studies are you labelling as “politically incorrect”because if those are ones looking at vaccines and autism there have been dozens so not really an area that has been shied away from. 
    And you are seeing stem cell research as something terrible. Oh dear. I don’t think you understand that science and its life saving and life changing potential too well but that is somewhat off topic.

  • How many aborted babies bodies were/are used? Vaccines aren’t foetal smoothies you know.

    How many lives do you think they have saved?

  • Over 80 KNOWN separate and elective abortions were used in the production of the present-day rubella vaccine (used in MMR). ( is a fact. As far as your comment about stem cell research, adult stem cell research is promising and has no moral dilemmas attached to it in the same way embryonic stem cell research does. Since this is a Catholic website, I am assuming all comments in regards to this article and in regards to this issue are taken from an authentic Catholic  perspective and keep in mind that Catholics are opposed to both abortion and to embryonic stem cell research no matter what ‘life-saving’ or ‘life-changing’ potentials they may or may not offe

  • Becky05

    The issue isn’t the time, it is the remoteness from the evil — which were the abortions involved.  The question is one of weighing very remoted cooperation with a grave evil, already done and unpreventable with the much more proximate participation in the evil of failing to protect one’s own children and the population as a whole.

  • Becky05

    The issue of remote vs. proximate cooperation with evil, and formal vs material cooperation, is standard Catholic theology.

  • Stella

     Are you going to insult each and every person with a disability now?

    Blindness did not render me unaware of the needs of others.

  • “Autism is not exactly “intrinsic’ like Downs Syndrome or other genetic mutations.”How is it not intrinsic? Autism is a condition one is born with.I do, actually, wish that vaccines could be developed without using foetal cell lines because  this can prove to be a bar  to their uptake for some people whose beliefs I respect as I know they are deeply held. What I object to is contorting the issue to say that, because they contain ingredients derived by means deemed by some to be unacceptable, they are, therefore, responsible for a whole host of conditions. I particularly object when autism, my son’s condition (and yes he is severely autistic and I *do* take offence at the article’s title) is held up to be a fearful fate and  used to try to cheat others (who may not hold the same beliefs on abortion) out of vaccinating and protecting their children’s health.

  • Stella

     This appears to be the poster site for confirmation bias, shifting the blame and the othering of anyone outside our special, little group. Shame on you.

  • This piece is little more than a warmed-over Cogforlife press release. I’m surprised it left out the homologous recombinaltion tiniker.

  •  Insult Catholicism? Catholicism is an insult to humanity.

  • Of course, autism has nothing to do with the father does it? 
    “we show that de novo point mutations are overwhelmingly paternal in origin (4:1 bias)”
    What about his age?
    This one shows that having either an older mother OR father increases the chances of ASD 
    Or what about dad specifically? 
    ” Offspring of men 40 years or older were 5.75 times (95% confidence interval, 2.65-12.46; P<.001) more likely to have ASD compared with offspring of men younger than 30 years, after controlling for year of birth, socioeconomic status, and maternal age."

  • I agree, this theory of the aborted-fetal cell lines in vaccines causing autism, nor any other theories about vaccines causing autism, should be used as a scape goat for conditions we face today that we either do not understand yet or do not have enough experience with yet.
    Like I said before, I do not hold any strong opinions on whether vaccines cause or do not cause autism. However, as someone who values facts and research, I would like to see more in-depth and funded research done with the residual human DNA used in vaccines as it seems there is still a lot that hasn’t been questioned or researched on that subject alone. As a Catholic, I value the dignity of human life and think the use of these cell lines is a very serious moral matter that has been swept under the rug with the excuse that vaccines protect the population and save children’s lives. (any good the vaccines have done does not cancel out the terribly wrong use of these cell lines) You are right though, autism should not be used to scare people into acknowleging this moral problem or scare them into waking up and doing something effective about it.

  • ANON

    How funny that this should show up here.  My children have rec’d all vaccines except the chicken pox and the hepatitis A because they contain aborted fetal tissue.  I’ve been having guilt feelings that I’m needlessly exposing them children to chicken pox when there is a vaccine to lessen/prevent it.

    I’ve been praying very hard for a sign about what to do, especially asking St. Gianna’s intercession (as she was a pediatrician).  And now I happen to see this article.

    So is this an answer to prayer?  Guess I’d better show my husband.

    p.s. My cousin has Asberger’s disease and he has many amazing talents and abilities that many of us don’t have.  I don’t feel that this article was meant to dehumanize those with autism spectrum issues, but to show a correlation which should be explored.

  • Blueprairie

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • Blueprairie

    Pargontwin, since the Pill is the most commonly used contraceptive in this country, if your utterly impossible claim were even remotely true, 90% of American women would be childless.  

    Do you bother to do the arithmetic before you make claims like this?

  • IgorK07

    “I’ve been praying very hard for a sign about what to do, especially asking St. Gianna’s intercession (as she was a pediatrician).  And now I happen to see this article.”

    Regardless of your feelings on whether to utilize the vaccines containing these cells due to abortion issues, there is absolutely no indication that fetal dna in them contributes to ASD. Consider that to the proponents of this idea, vaccines are responsible for autism regardless of their human DNA contents.

    As for the moral issue, it is a bit more complicated then the misleading attempts to directly link the vaccines to abortion. The viral stocks used to make these vaccines are grown in human cells. These cells were derived from aborted fetuses back in the 1960s and 1970s and have been propagated in cell culture continuously ever since. TO put it differently, no abortions were necessary to derive these vaccines for 50 years, and whatever the reason for the original abortions, the fact is that they saved countless from death and suffering.  

  • Susan

    through the bloodstream.

  • Becky05

    Also, the statement from the Vatican notes, that for the case of rubella, if a parent does NOT vaccinate their child, and their child exposed a pregnant woman to the illness, the parent thus bears some responsibility for the malformations and even the abortion which may occur.
    “This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles, because of the danger of Congenital Rubella Syndrome. This could occur, causing grave congenital malformations in the foetus, when a pregnant woman enters into contact, even if it is brief, with children who have not been immunized and are carriers of the virus. In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of foetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed. ”

    It is important to point out that the sin is the voluntary abortion, not the creation of a human cell line itself, which have also been created from tumors, etc. The creation of these cell lines was wrong because they were complicit in the abortion. None of these abortions were performed in order to make vaccines, the majority were done due to exposure to rubella. These were, of course, still gravely morally wrong, but the continued use of the rubella vaccine prevents any further danger from such an exposure, and saves many lives of unborn babies every year.

  • Becky05

    The Vatican statement says that the use of the vaccines is ” a form of very remote mediate material cooperation, and thus very mild, in the performance of the original act of abortion,” and also states that parents who choose not to vaccinate for rubella are responsible for the malformations and any abortions performed in response to a rubella exposure in a pregnant woman.  A foot note to the statement, “In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of foetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed. ” It seems that the Vatican statement, when read in its entirely, is clearly on the side of vaccination for rubella. I didn’t make up the idea of remote cooperation, nor am I minimizing the deaths of these babies, but I want to prevent the death of many, many more babies, which was common before the advent of the rubella vaccine.
    In this case, the parents who did not accept the vaccination of their own children become responsible for the malformations in question, and for the subsequent abortion of foetuses, when they have been discovered to be malformed. ” It seems that the Vatican statement, when read in its entirely, is clearly on the side of vaccination for rubella. I didn’t make up the idea of remote cooperation, nor am I minimizing the deaths of these babies, but I want to prevent the death of many, many more babies, which was common before the advent of the rubella vaccine.

  • Amy

    Are you saying there is no such thing as autoimmune disorders?  Because that is the definition of autoimmune disorders:  the inappropriate immune response of the body in attacking its own cells.  In other words, the body gets “confused” and thinks it is attacking a foreign host, but it is actually attacking itself.  By the way, the treatment for autoimmune diseases is often immunosuppression–medication which decreases the immune response.

  • IgorK07

    Well put, many of the diseases one has to vaccinate against result in miscarriages or stillbirth if contracted by pregnant women. The truth is, if you are concerned about the moral nature of vaccination, any concerns on morality of using that particular line are pretextual for anti-vaccination stance on all types of vaccine as containing something harmful, even if it’s not the continually changing list of ingredients which must be responsible. 

    Someone even mention ed that this particular accusation makes little logical sense since the line has been used since the sixties but the explosion in ASD incidence is a recent event, coinciding with change in diagnostic criteria in the DSM and the resultant drop in “retardation” diagnoses . But of course that correlation is inexplicably ignored as improbably by those who are in search of correlations pointing to vaccines. 

  • IgorK07

    Well put, many of the diseases one has to vaccinate against result in miscarriages or stillbirth if contracted by pregnant women. The truth is, if you are concerned about the moral nature of vaccination, any concerns on morality of using that particular line are pretextual for anti-vaccination stance on all types of vaccine as containing something harmful, even if it’s not the continually changing list of ingredients which must be responsible. 

    Someone even mention ed that this particular accusation makes little logical sense since the line has been used since the sixties but the explosion in ASD incidence is a recent event, coinciding with change in diagnostic criteria in the DSM and the resultant drop in “retardation” diagnoses . But of course that correlation is inexplicably ignored as improbably by those who are in search of correlations pointing to vaccines. 

  • Alit

    I am saying that I would rather remove your intolerance than his Autism. Just because he is differently abled does not mean that he’s worth less than you, or anybody else. I teach him to adpt as best he can to this life, to reach his potential. The same I teach my daughter. What “symptoms of autism” are you referring to exactly? You have implied many things in this vile writ, trying to deny it does not make it less so. You refer to “this devastating condition” really? As I type this I hear the laugh of my son as hy plays outside in the sunshine. He most certainly does not sound devastated, or broken, or defective. Just because you or I do not understand why he laughs does not make him less happy for it. I tried very hard to look in your article for a smidgen of kindness, any reference to patience, or joy. But found none of the fruit of the Spirit in whose name you write. You can try to defend your position as much as you like, your stance is clear. A plague indeed.

  • Amy

    How do you know that “Autism is a condition one is born with”?  I have a friend who has a child with autism who says he was definitely not born with it.  He developed autism at about age 2.  Although no one is sure, I personally think that possibly autism has both a genetic and environmental cause.  Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition in combination with environmental triggers of the expression.  I think some cancers may work this way, too, although no one is certain. 

  • Amy

    Also, if you are born with autism and it is genetic, how do you explain the sharp rise in the incidence of autism in the last several years?

  • IgorK07

    “How do you know that “Autism is a condition one is born with”?  I have a friend who has a child with autism who says he was definitely not born with it.  ”

    This makes no sense. Recent studies indicate that  at least a percentage of cases have a genetic component to them. At any rate, how can someone vouch they weren’t born with it when the condition manifests itself and becomes detectable once the child fails to hit certain developmental milieus.  There are numerous genetic conditions which become apparent only much later in life. Why you think someone has a way of telling what specific genetic abnormality they were born with? I know I may have a higher chance of contracting prostate cancer because of family history, which merely gives me the rough odds without identifying the actual genes responsible. Just because I don’t have prostate cancer now doesn’t mean there is no genetic component to it. 

    Autism is not necessarily a single condition, and exists only as a diagnostic criteria grouping certain symptoms with varying degrees of severity. It may, and likely does, environmental factors or triggers, and research is constantly being done to eliminate them one by one. Trying for a particular cause regardless of continuous negative results only further prevents further research into more promising areas. 

  • How do the DNA fragments get from the muscle, past all those DNAses, into the blood stream? How do they get to the brain? How do they get out of the blood vessels, across the interstitial space, across endothelial cells and glia, past more DNAses, across the cell membrane of neurons, across the nuclear membrane of neurons, into the nucleus and how are those fragments integrated into the DNA of enough neurons to have an effect? How large/long are those DNA fragments anyway (in base pairs)?

  • Amy – Igor describes it very well, but have a look at Huntington’s Disease – the sufferers are entirely “normal” and unsuspecting for decades, yet their ultimate neurodegenerative disorder is entirely genetic.

  • Of course autoimmune disorders exist and that, in itself, highlights the error implicit in your first statement. In that, you contend, “Apparently, the body can discriminate between animal cells and their own cells easily, but not as easily between a fellow human’s (aborted) cells and their own, thereby triggering a response of self-attacking of their own tissue.”

    Do you have any citations to back that up or does “apparently” just mean you believe that to be the case?
    None of the diseases you cite before that statement are initiated after receipt of foreign human tissue. Certainly not MG!  I think you should look at the role of T-cells in the immune response. 

  • Just in case it isn’t clear DNAses are enzymes that break DNA up. 

  • Additionally, work looking into various factors such as parental age etc are showing that as well as genetics there may be factors involved in autism that are present before birth.

    Work by scientists such as Eric Fombonne is showing that the signs of autism can be detected much earlier than the age at which it is currently diagnosed. He has also done some excellent work looking at home movies of autistic children pre diagnosis and even pre referral for testing and found identifiably autistic traits compared to controls.
    I know parents of autistic children who would say their child acquired the condition but many more who would say otherwise. I knew my child was different from birth. We could have a battle of anecdotes but science is increasingly showing that if the causes of autism are to be understood then the clues lie before birth.

  • Work by scientists such as Eric Fombonne is showing that the signs of autism can be detected much earlier than the age at which it is currently diagnosed. He has also done some excellent work looking at home movies of autistic children pre diagnosis and even pre referral for testing and found identifiably autistic traits compared to controls.
    I know parents of autistic children who would say their child acquired the condition but many more who would say otherwise. I knew my child was different from birth. We could have a battle of anecdotes but science is increasingly showing that if the causes of autism are to be understood then the clues lie before birth.

  • Far better diagnosis and far better awareness accounts for a large part of it. Children we would now call autistic used to be diagnosed as mentally retarded or as suffering from childhood schizophrenia – a diagnosis still realtively common in France which has lower autism rates than, say, the UK or USA. 

     Add to that children are getting diagnosed at ever younger ages: my son was 2 and a quarter and the average age for diagnosis has been getting closer to the third year of life from the 5th over the same period as autism prevalence has risen(though it was perfectly obvious he was autistic long before that age).
    Again, look at the autism rates in France, a country where tha average age for a diagnosis of autism is 8 years. Much of this younger diagnosis has to do with social factors too. More families need both parents to work so more children go to daycare. Behaviour of a child that would not be perceived as problematic in the home or even be displayed at all may be detected against that of peers.Add to that the widening definition of autism and you have to include people who would have previously been written off as eccentric or anti-social. The prevalence of severe autism hasn’t risen as quickly as the prevalence as a whole.Add to that rising parental age which several well conducted studies have shown to have an impact on autism prevalence and you have many compelling factors why autism appears to be on the increase.

  • The correlation has been explored for more than a decade and in dozens of peer reviewed studies and found to be merely a correlation. There has been no study linking vaccines to autism that has withstood scrutiny and some have even been shown to have been fraudulent. 

  • Thank you, Alit.

  • Editor said, “You do no service to your child by pretending the disorder is
    indistinguishable from him–if he had been born with an eye defect or a
    non-functioning leg wouldn’t you recognize the defect for what it is,
    teaching him to overcome it while at the same time searching for ways to
    fix the problem?”

    Hi Editor,

    Autistic adult here. *waves* Yes, we autistic adults exist and can speak our minds, so we really don’t need you to tell us whether anyone has done us a disservice or not. We’ll decide on that, thank you.

    My autism is indistinguishable from me. I do not not wish it gone. This is my life. This is who I am. I am not part of a “plague.” I am not defective. I have my difficulties, but I am just as God made me. And from what I can see, you’ve got difficulties of your own. Chief among them is the fact that you can’t see the experience of disability as anything other than “defect” or “suffering” or “tragedy” or “plague.” How about you read some work by disabled people and disability theorists, and disability historians, and disability activists, and then you can decide whether it’s okay to use the word “plague” to describe our conditions.

    It’s not enough that you think you’re doing the right thing, or that you think you’re doing no harm. You need to LISTEN TO US. You don’t know what it means to be disabled, and you really should ask us. You’ll be surprised at what you hear. We disabled people consistently rate our quality of life much higher than do non-disabled people and medical professionals. Consistently.

    Don’t use the word “plague” to describe our condition. It’s dehumanizing, and from dehumanization comes all kinds of harm.

  • Cells were taken from fetuses that were aborted in the 1960’s. The cells were used to develop the Human Diploid Cell Strains(HDCS). Some cells were taken from TWO fetuses and millions have been grown from just a handful of the original ones. The abortions were not done under coersion, nor were they done ONLY for the purpose of scientific study. These cells have been growing under laboratory conditions since the 1960’s. How many shots have been made from those cell lines, how much death and suffering has been prevented. How many more terminations have been prevented because of congenital rubella?

  • I’m replying up here cos the text area further down is just silly!

    Cells were taken from fetuses that were aborted in the 1960’s. The cells were used to develop the Human Diploid Cell Strains(HDCS). Some cells were taken from TWO fetuses and millions have been grown from just a handful of the original ones. The abortions were not done under coersion, nor were they done ONLY for the purpose of scientific study. These cells have been growing under laboratory conditions since the 1960’s. How many shots have been made from those cell lines, how much death and suffering has been prevented. How many more terminations have been prevented because of congenital rubella?

  • Victoria

    ” Some of the comments here only help drive this writer’s points in harder about our unwillingness to look into this theory further.”  I cared for a young deaf boy who developed autism. It was so sad to see him lose the ability he had developed to communicate with others. I would gladly have had the boy as he was and done without the autism. The person and the disability are not synonymous.

  •  Amen to that!

  • Deatheatersims

    This is stupid. Abortion doesn’t cause autism, abortion prevents autism. As soon as we have a prenatal test for autism, we’ll be able to eliminate most cases of autism. 

    Abortion doesn’t cause diseases, syndromes and kills far less women than pregnancy does. And if you really cared about preventing unwanted pregnancy, you would not also oppose contraception. You just want women barefoot and pregnant without any rights, so come out out and say it. “We hate women,” and stop with pretending to assign diseases to abortion or pretending to care about women or babies.

  • Abortion would not prevent autism, but autists – thankfully, a prenatal test for “autism” will never be possible.

  • Deatheatersims

    Abortion would prevent most cases of autism if a prenatal test is developed. A prenatal test would probably be the best way to prevent most cases of autism as there are many genetic factors and the post-natal changes in the brain are likely irreversible or might cause severe damage to the brain. 

    Abortion stops a pregnancy. A woman has a right to decide who inhabits her body, not you. It is a woman’s choice as to whether to continue a pregnancy whether or not it shows markers for disability. Not everyone can handle a severely disabled child. Just because you view it as a gift doesn’t mean other people and their parents do. Neurodiversity people are just as bad as the anti-vaxxers except you preach diversity and tolerance but any disagreement and you’ll invoke Godwin’s law after a few paragraphs. 

  • Cbursle

    So, are we going to see any evidence that residual DNA causes autism, or even any potential mechanism by which that might occur?  After all, we are exposed to foreign DNA every second.  Human and otherwise.
    Since any science appears to be lacking here, I can only assume that the hypothesis above derives from some kind of belief that God may be punishing us for misusing cells from murdered humans by afflicting innocent children with this “plague” as you call it.  
    Lovely God you believe in if that is the case.

  •  I would gladly have had the boy as he was and done without the autism.” Terrible that he inconvenienced you so.
    Autism isn’t something one develops it is innate, congenital, if you will. Its characteristics just become more apparent as time goes on.

  • Who Godwinned?

  • Deatheatersims

    I didn’t say anyone did. But everytime I’ve discussed abortion and prenatal testing with ND people it has gotten Godwinned at some point. 

  • Deatheatersims

    You don’t seem to understand that not everyone is happy being disabled/autistic. I know many autistic people that would like to have many or most of their symptoms eliminated. Terrible that their dissenting point of view inconveniences you. 

  • Deatheatersims

    Most women use chemical birth control at  some point. Why put the The Pill in scare quotes? You have a whole lot more chance of dying from a pregnancy than you do from “The Super Scary Pill” or abortion. Not to mention that 100% of the pregnancies prevented or terminated did not result in autistic children. Face it, women have sex, women enjoy sex. You do not get to decide that for us an you do not get to make up fake information in order to seem less of a misogynist.

  • Not everyone is happy full stop. What exactly is your point beyond anecdote? If like so many others here you just want to play anecdote tennis go for it. For every person you can cite who wants to be rid of their disability I’ll match you with a group of people and a host of websites run by people with disabilities who are out and proud of their differences and identity. Let’s start with Not Dead Yet 
     Have you not read the comments from people with autism and other disabilities here? I’m all for minimising the difficulties people with disabilities face and the best start is to counter the ignorance and prejudice of those who contend that their birth should be prevented or that they should be eliminated. 

  • Deatheatersims

    So your response is to silence everyone that would like to see a cure for their disability and to either ban prenatal testing or to force women to bear children against their will? Yeah now there’s civil rights for you.

  • You must live on a farm to get enough materials to build such a high straw man.

  • Deatheatersims

    Those aborted fetal cells would have otherwise been thrown in the trash. Now there’s a potential for them to provide life-saving treatments. Real lives, living lives, not an embryo that would otherwise be discarded. Secondly, the connection between fetal tissue and vaccines is so remote that any potential reactions would result is laughable. Stop pretending like you care about safety when you are really out to punish women’s sexual choices and seeking to decimate herd immunity because you can’t let go of a widely disproven theory that only came about because a greedy doctor developing his own vaccine and a bunch of lawyers wanted to sue the MMR manufacturers.
    Vaccine safety and its relation to autism is one of the most studied medical issues. Seriously, if the huge amount of research that has been done isn’t enough to convince you nothing will. 

  • Deatheatersims

    Well what exactly are you arguing? 

    You seem to imply that every disability only impairs the person because of society. If someone can’t see, or if they are in chronic pain, or they don’t understand basic societal interactions they do suffer from that. Society is always going to be structured for the majority. That doesn’t mean that the disabled don’t deserve rights and accommodations, but it also means that there will always be a concrete disadvantage to being disabled due to the disability. Therefore it is not unreasonable nor unethical for a person or a parent to want to minimise or prevent a disability. You want disabled people to “not have their birth prevented.” How do you impose that without restrictions on a woman’s right to choose or on prenatal testing?

  • Rachel

    No one wants their child to suffer. It’s a tragedy to have to watch your child lose abilities. Try reading the essay “Welcome to Holland” some time—the person and the disability aren’t inextricable. If you can honestly say you would rather your child be autistic than born “normal” (for lack of better word, not to imply anything), then I must ask why you would wish a harder life upon your child. A disability isn’t a bad thing, but it does make their life harder.

  • That’s a great big straw man you’ve built there.

  • That is a straw man argument. 

  • Is there a reason some of my comments disappear instantly?

  • That’s quite a leap from anything I’ve written. 

  • Deatheatersims

    What is your position then? You don’t want the prevention of disabled births. How do you propose to do that? You say you’re happy with you and your son’s autism, what about the people that aren’t happy with their autism or their children’s autism?

    Disability will always, in and of itself, cause impediments. The disabled will always be a minority and will always be operating at a deficit no matter how many accommodations are made. As far as autism goes, society may become more tolerant, aware and accepting, but it isn’t suddenly going to let go of thousand-year old social customs that keep society flowing for most of us. There have to be adjustments made on both sides, not just on the non-autistic side. You seriously can’t expect someone who is constantly stimming, can’t hold a conversation, exhibits social rudeness to be able to last long at school or in the workplace.

  •  Exactly. I would not “cure” my son of his personality, which includes him being autistic. I love my son and value his differences.

  •  Your own bigotry is not an accurate reflection of who my autistic son is, or who any other autistic person is.

    My son is not a problem in need of a “fix.” He is a delightful, brilliant, genius and he knows more about science than many adults. He’s 6. As he ages, I expect him to continue being a more compassionate and worthwhile human being to have in my life than anyone remotely like YOU.

  •  Yes, vaccines do not cause autism. I actually didn’t vaccinate my son because I bought into the hype. He has autism anyway! Now I’ve learned to accept and love him for who he is, and to get him proper medical treatments and care (including vaccines.)

  •  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’d rather have an autistic son than a dead one. Vaccinate your kids people.

  • I support the right of any woman to terminate any pregnancy. That includes for fetal abnormality or deformity. At the same time, if  because an increasingly accepeting place for people with autism, fewer women will choose to terminate an autistic fetus.

  • Editor

    You have no idea who I am, what disabilities I am or am not suffering from, or who I know who is suffering from disabilities. Your message here is self-contradicting: you insist that people don’t make assumptions about you, even as you do the same to others.
    I know exactly what it means to have various physical and mental challenges–I strive to overcome them, and, yes, to an extent I can even wear them as a badge of honor. But they aren’t synonymous with me. Autism isn’t synonymous with you. Someday, as the Catholic Church teaches, we will all receive new bodies and a new mode of living, and I feel confident that nobody will say, “Wow! I love my new body! If only it had a few extra behavioral and verbal deficiencies, it would be perfect…”

  • Editor

    Oh, for goodness’ sake, man. That is the entire question of the article: do some vaccines cause autism? The answer is: we don’t know. But there is plenty of credible evidence to, at the very least, prompt further scientific investigation. And nobody suggested that the vaccines in question are the sole and only cause of autism. Again: if we could reduce the amount of autism by eliminating certain vaccines, the only sane thing to do is to eliminate those vaccines.

  • Editor

    Thank you for that brilliant and incisive response. You’re helping me make my point perfectly.

  • Editor

    The author cites a 2011 FDA publication that shows the link between residual DNA in vaccines and a spike in cancer. If cancer, why not autism? That would be a scientifically tenable question, and the author is being quite scientific in his approach to the question–while assuming that there would be lots of knee-jerk reactions to  any position that might threaten the abortion industry. Nobody mentioned punishments from God.

  • Nice side-stepping of my points, Editor. Anytime you’d like to get to the substance of what I was saying, please feel free.

  • Yes we do know. Dozens of studies have been conducted and no link has been found. The question has been asked and answered. For the vast, vast majority of people who receive them vaccines are safe. They do not cause autism and no plausible mechanism by which they could has stood up to testing. Eliminating any vaccine will not reduce the prevalence of autism. Oh, for goodness’ sake man/woman you just haven’t got a grasp of the scientific method have you?

  • Firstly, I am not autistic. Though I am classified as disabled, I do not operate at a deficit and actually, my disability, a mild form of epilepsy gives me a way of experiencing the world many others don’t have – it’s called synaesthesia.

    Disability or impairment are a sliding scale. I could call a neurotypical 4 year old impaired if he could not run as phenomenally fast as my boy or have such an ear and memory for music and rhythm. 
    You think society cannot make rapid changes and become, on the whole far more tolerant of people’s differences? Look at the LGBT movement. They’ve accomplished wonders in a very short time.
    As for your comments about surviving in work or school: my son attends a special school where he is nurtured and his strengths worked on as much as his weaknesses. And really, what a narrow view you have of the world if you think people can only give something to it if they are in one decreed activity from one day to the next. You also don’t seem to realise there are very many people with autism in gainful employment and making huge contributions to the communities we live in and no, they are not all high functioning autists or people with Asperger’s syndrome.

  • Hmm.This 2011 review? 
     Look at the sources it cites in support of vaccines and autism:
    Wakefield – struck off, paper retracted and declared fraudulent
    Geier and Geier (who believe in chemically castrating autists before subjecting them to a potentially deadly treatment called chelation – they called it the Lupron Chelation protocol, I believe): 
    Any review or meta-analysis is only as good as the studies that go into it and I can highlight several of very poor quality that have been considered in this one. 
    is this the part that you think suggest DNA in vaccines could cause autism?
    “The MMR II vaccine is contaminated with human DNA from the cell line. This human DNA could be the cause of the spikes in incidence. An additional increased spike in incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue (Merck and Co., Inc., 2001; Breuer, 2003). ”
    Then your logic is seriously flawed. This suggests nothing more than correlation between cancer and vaccines and a correlation between autism and vaccines and nothing more. At best you could argue that no one has proved that the miniscule amounts of DNA in vaccines doesn’t cause autism or cancer which is quite a different thing to proving it does or can – and would be a pathetic stance. Please read the posts on here from Catherina & Science mom and visit their blog and maybe you will begin to understand the implausibility of that which you suggest.

  • apologies for repetitive postings – my comments were/are disappearing

  • The word you’re looking for is “typical” or “neurotypical.” 

    I’ve read “Welcome to Holland” and in no way does that imply that the person and the disability are or are not inextricable.
    If I were carrying another child I would not wish him/her to be autistic because of the prejudice I know that child would experience. Besides, I do not believe in wishing making anything so.
    Autism may mean life isn’t plain sailing but who’s is? My son will have difficulties others may not but neurotypical people may face stresses and issues that he may never have to deal with. One of the main problems I can predict is the bigotry of others who cannot or will not accept that he is an autistic individual and that this is an aspect of his very being not a cloud hanging over his head or a cage in which some, to use your term, “normal” child is held.

  • The answer is we do know. Dozens of studies have been conducted over the course of nearly 15 years and no link between vaccines and autism has been found. None. 

    The closest thing to a link is this Polish study: 
    A well conducted three armed study comparing children who got the MMR, single measles vaccine and no vaccine. The children at lowest risk of developing ASD? The MMR group, followed by the single shot group. The unvaccinated group were most at risk.

  • SolaGratia

    These comments are nonsense.  My son has the same personality he would have with or without the brain inflammation & whatever else is going on that have caused him to be diagnosed as autistic.  He would no more become someone else if a cure were found than a blind person who was made to see or a lame person were made to walk.  Certainly, my son’s cross influences who he is – just as it influences his family – but I catgegorically deny that it in anyway defines WHO HE IS!

  • SolaGratia

    Dear Editor,   welcome to the irrational & inflexible world of “neurodiversity” that pretends that they are fine & it is everyone else who has the problem.  Yet another avenue of tolerance that is expected to work only as a one way street.  You have probably already recognized early on that these people cannot be reasoned with.  Please know that they are not typical of those who deal with autism – just very vocal (frequently obnoxiously & offensively so).  It will come as no surprise to you either to learn that many in their “hub” are Dawkins-style atheists since their “discussion” style is typical for that group of disciples.  Just to let you know, there are plenty of people on the spectrum, as well as parents of children on the spectrum, who completely agree with the characterization of this condition as a “plague” and would rejoice to see a cure found. 

  • Laura

    I can hardly believe articles are still written of this ilk, spreading information that goes against sound science (Autism isn’t fatal. Not vaccinating your child might be.) Autism advocacy has come a long way and most people have stopped referring to our neurological difference as a “plague” by now. Treatment aimed at helping autistics cope better is the best focus these days. What an irresponsible article to find on an otherwise reputable website… (Note all the frenzied defenses by the editor).Now, if fetal cells are being really being used to make vaccines (which I’ll check) that is a huge moral issue that needs to be explored separately. If this is so, why hasn’t the Church alerted us by now? They would, you know and would then demand Catholics not have to vaccinate our children for religious reasons.

  • Richard Dawkins does nothing for me dear. Try a different ad hominem

  • Landreneau61193

    I was born with cerbral palsy a mild case affecting my motor skills on the right side of my body, I walk with a limp and I am weaker on right than left side.I myself think autism is the new ADD attention deficit disorder.Apologies to those of you who REALLY have autistic children – your child’s illness is about to become a fad.

    Every time I get in the car, I hear these autism commercials – “the odds of your child playing a professional sport: 1 in a million. The odds of him having autism: 1 out 150”

    Personally, I think that stat is wrong. Are they trying to say that one out of every 150 children in the US are autistic? I don’t believe that for one second.

    But you watch – now every psycho Munchausen Mommy whose child isn’t a bubbling ray of sunshine 24/7 will be convinced that the kid is autistic. Just like they’re all ADD and they all have peanut allergies, etc, etc, etc.

  • guest

    to add to my previous comment.
    I do not agree with jumping to medication as a first resort for curing any behavior/social problem. But I do feel that more research needs to be done on autism, because we still don’t know what causes it.

  • E.W. Sockey III, M.A.

    What right do you have to call a so-called autoimmune condition a “disorder”? What hateful language to use when speaking of someone whose physical condition is different from yours!

    Or is this just logic coming full circle?

    By the way, there is evidence that vaccines incubated in animals and then injected into humans have allowed animal diseases to cross over into humanity that had no other way to do this.

  • QuoVadisAnima

    The comments that claim that autism has been “cleared” by vaccine studies are disingenuous as no studies have actually been done to LOOK for those connections.

    There is a VAST difference between studies done looking to disprove something vs those done to obtain objective & meaningful data.  It is the same difference seen between the people posting here with an agenda whose only interest is in being right versus those who are interested in Truth (as well as offering authentic help to those in need).

  • QuoVadisAnima

    Well, duh.  I’d rather all you geniuses expended your energy on figuring out how to actually help people so that they don’t have to choose between having a child who is functionally incapacitated or taking a chance (not vaccinating is NOT an automatic death sentence) on catching a debilitating disease.

    Instead you are more interested in denying that there is a problem at all.  And you wonder why you encounter so much resistance to your cause?

  • QuoVadisAnima

    Ah, you must be for the use of harvesting organs from people being executed, too?   Can’t let anything go to waste – no matter how immorally it might be obtained nor how much it might encourage more immoral behvior.  Dr Mengele would be proud…

  • ???

    Questions… Can the person survive on their own? Especially in a time of pandemonium or severe chaos? Self sufficiency would seem to be the only thing that would keep you safe. I’m not making any statements. Just trying to get people to think. I’m not a parent yet but I do have nine siblings from my mom and dad. I’ve seen family life in a catholic house. All I can think of when it comes to what I want for my future children is that they grow to be strong and independent adults. If you have to help a person survive in this world because society doesn’t understand or tolerate them, then I would call that a disability in itself. That is simply being realistic. Society isn’t going to change. It’s human nature to identify differences in other beings. They are going to follow their mainstream leaders wether you like it or not. So if in your case you can’t “part the red sea” of society then what? Some of you won’t even disagree with the suggested method of the article simply because it implies a problem in the first place. If a person can’t communicate their thoughts and ideas in ways that others can understand with ease, then it’s going to be hard for them to accomplish a lot of things most take for granted. What’s so wrong with trying to avoid it?

  • RoodAwakening

     So far as I know, there is no prenatal test for autism.  So, what the heck are you talking about?

  • citation please.

  • What “problem” are we denying? That vaccines cause autism? yes, because they have never been shown to do so. 

    Of course not vaccinating doesn’t mean a child will definitely contract a VPD but it increases that likelihood many fold.

  • I knew someone would Godwin sooner or later. Have you read the rest of the comments? The cells used in vaccines are  derived from foetuses aborted in the 1960s. They don’t need to keep topping them up with more aborted feotuses. 

  • How dare you tell me how I feel about my child is nonsense? I hope for your son’s sake you learn to accept him for who he is,and learn a little, at the very least, about the aetiology of autism.

  • Really don’t get how science works do you, dear? Ever heard of the null hypothesis?

  • The Vatican has actually spoken on this issue to the effect that protecting the many millions of children against disease overrides the distant wrong done. I think the commenter Becky has addressed this here xx

  • SolaGratia

    Well, I’m not the scientific genius that you obviously are, but I did read several articles wherein the scientists stated that these lines are not infinite resources…

  • SolaGratia

    How dare YOU try to accuse me of not accepting my son for who he is – what a totally absurd attempt to twist what I said.  I hope for your child’s sake (or your own) that you learn to open your mind before you open your mouth.  My son is NOT the symptoms of his autism.  My son is who he is with autism and he will continue to be who he is if a cure was found or if God decided to grant him healing.  What’s wrong is telling a child that they are nothing more than their dysfunctions & would cease to exist without them!

  • SolaGratia

    Ever heard of an agenda?  Do you think science is impervious to it?  Don’t be so naive.  There are several recent studies that show the majority of scientific research is agenda driven, lol!

    And if there is one thing that modern science has proven, it is the old adage that “sin makes you stupid” (or as the Lord put it “there is none so blind as those who will not see”).

  • SolaGratia

    ajackson is apparently under the delusion that the same people who are willing to execute their children for having an entirely fixable cleft palate or club foot are somehow going to be willing to accept a baby with unfixable autism if society just has a more positive attitude about it…

  • grandma

    Where did I hear the phrase, “Minds cemented shut” for the first time I can see how it applies. You say you have an autistic child, I applaud you for your love and acceptance of the way he/she is. I have an autistic grandchild. I don’t feel inconvienienced in particular- I don’t think my daughter does either. He’s precious to us. I don’t know if he will ever be capable of even semi-independence…and that, too, is just the way he is. A rough life ahead for him, likely; for me, I’m sad to see him struggling. Surely if anyone could be prevented from developing full-blown autism it would be a good thing. How  could someone NOT want every possible cause thoroughly investigated?
    What I don’t understand, “Autismum”, is how you (and some others) can (apparently) be so angered, so threatened, by the theory expounded in this article. Why are you not railing against the notion that the exponential increase in  autism may be due to air pollution? Or microwaves? Or do you send out reams of ranting to other sites? Personally, I’d think that protesting even the possibility that political correctness may prevent scientific research into this matter would make more sense. I was astounded at the criticism of this article which was CALLING FOR RESEARCH! Is abortion a sacred cow, ” don’t you even THINK of looking there! ” (guess so).

  • Wow,I’mflattered,youthinkI’mascientificgenuis.Icallmyselfamother.

  • Ifyouknowwhatacitationisthendoprovideone,dear

  • You clearly don’t accept your autistic son as an autistic person. The two are not divisible however fervently you wish or pray for it. My son is a person I adore in his totality – his autism included and it was you, dearest, who cried nonsense at my feeling that. 

  • This is getting repetitive: citations please, my lovely. I have an idea of the studies you’ve read about but clearly haven’t read in actuality. Look them up, read them and see if they actually do tell the same story that Natural News, Huff Po or wherever it you get your regurgitated science says they do. At least it’ll prove you know what in the world a proper citation is.

  • You do like your straw men, don’t you, petal?

  • I do not feel threatened but saddened that my beautiful son’s condition is used to frighten people out of vaccinating their kids which could lead to unnecessary suffering and even death and not just for their own children. We each have a responsibility to our neighbour – a tenet of Catholicism, wouldn’t you agree? 
    I am, as you put it, “railing against” the notion that human DNA in vaccines is responsible for the apparent growth in the numbers of children being diagnosed with autism because:a) of all the causes mooted for ASD vaccines have been thoroughly studied and the link found to not exist;
    b) proposing a new mechanism by which vaccines which have been shown *not* to cause autism *could* cause autism is flogging a dead donkey;
    c) such caterwauling is merely being used to further an anti-abortion stance (whether or not I support that stance is, because I care that science and facts are being misrepresented, entirely irrelevant)
    d) If someone wanted to study microwave ovens in relation to autism I’d be “up in arms” simply because that avenue lacks biologic plausibility – just because the cause of a condition is unknown doesn’t mean all options are equally worthwhile pursuing – I craved brussel sprouts when I was pregnant, should I stamp and complain that the link between autism these little green spheres of yumminess hasn’t been explored?
    I have recently been in contact with politicians with regard to the promotion of autism as a form of Lyme disease. I care about science (you’ll find that on my blog)
    e) MOST importantly it concerns me greatly when the vaccine link is still being reported as though it were a fact because it leads people to making very poor health decisions not just in terms of vaccinating but has been the foundation of an “autism recovery” business that has been fleecing families of autists for many years now, physically and emotionally damaging autistic people and their relationships with families and even leading to the death of child. You should be angry too. 
    Oh, an “Autismum” is my blogging name, I do not just “say” I have an autistic child, he certainly does exist and I love the very bones of him. 

  • I absolutely agree that more research into autism’s causes needs to be done but when scarce funds from charities who also fund care and support for people with autism gets poured into the vaccine link which has soundly been disproved (by dozens of studies over more than a dozen years) I do get a bit irate to say the least.

  • Editor

    I’m afraid you shot yourself in the foot on that last point. If the study suggests a correlation between cancer and a correlation between autism and vaccines, then I’d say scientists have something to go on, don’t you? It wouldn’t be “illogical” or “pathetic”…at least, not for someone who was unbiased. 

  • Editor

    Once again: there’s that FDA publication mentioned in the article. 

  • Editor

    Yes, the author does. You simply gainsaying me doesn’t make it any less so. Sane, balanced readers understand and appreciate the point he’s trying to make (even if it is ultimately proved wrong–time will tell).

  • Time – at least 13 years and counting and dozens of studies that have been shown to be valid *have* told – the vaccine link doesn’t hold. Move on.

  • Yes where *did* my comment about that go?

  • No you lack reading comprehension skills.

    Repeat after me “correlation is not causation” That is my point, my lovely.

  • Editor

    Your sarcasm is only a run for cover. A valid correlation is worthy of further inquiry, and could also suggest a causal relationship, also worthy of further inquiry. You are a creator of straw men, you’re insulting, and you have a creepy habit of calling people “my lovely,” and for all that you and your deranged views on autism are no longer welcome here at Catholic Exchange. 

  • Autismum

    Wow. Only just seen this comment. I’m Welsh, I call people, my lovely a lot. Comments are a train of thought – I don’t sit down and edit re-edit. As for being insulting, I have pointed out logical fallacies if being right is being insulting then I’m guilty as charged. I have highlighted defects in your reasoning.  On the other hand, you have described disabled people as defective. You have, therefore, described my son as defective. 

    Finally, you are calling autism acceptance a “deranged” view. You disgust me.

  • catholicexchange

    Nowhere, anywhere, have I ever called anyone ‘defective’, but I think it’s preposterous that you object to calling autism a ‘defect’ but you’re fine with calling it a ‘disability’. There’s no practical difference in terms. Your son will not thank you for these kinds of exercises in half-lies and manipulation or in using his disability as an excuse for doing so–and I don’t thank you for doing it on a site from which you’ve been banned.