Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Followup: Vaccinations, thimerosal, mercury and autism

[This post, originally dated June 17, is moved to the head of the line for an update.]

Dwight Meredith's interest in autism is more than academic.

Today is my younger son, Bobby’s, tenth birthday. This morning was my turn to change Bobby’s diaper. Bobby is autistic and despite Herculean effort on his part and ours, he has not yet been toilet trained. As I changed his diaper, I noticed that our diaper supply was low. Off I went to the drug store to purchase a new supply.

While I was gone, Bobby broke one of his favorite CDs. He snapped it into several pieces. That particular disc was very precious to Bobby. As Bobby’s autism prevents him from talking, he communicated in the only way available to him. He took the pieces to his 11 year old brother and held them out hoping that my older son could fix the problem. Bobby's brother took the pieces and, not unreasonably, threw them in the trash can.

Wampum is one of the most erudite blogs I read. Part of the tagline lists "autism advocacy." This is not an obscure diversion. It is very much an everyday part of life. This writer knows what he is talking about.

Some argue that the apparent increase in the prevalence of autism is not the result of an actual increase in incidence, but, rather, is the result of changing definitions and better diagnosis. That argument, however, fails to answer one obvious question. With the current definition of the spectrum and the current diagnostic criteria, where are all the autistics born before we increased the mercury exposure in vaccines?...."If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis," scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world's authorities on mercury toxicity, "then where are all the 20-year-old autistics?"

Where, indeed?
Now go. Get educated a little bit more.

* * * * *
* * * *
* * *

Kevin at Lean Left comments on the Salon article which has renewed interest in the subject:

Quite a bit has been made of Robert Kennedy Jr’s article in Salon about the possible cover up of a link between mercury and autism. Majikthise, who does not think there is a link, has a very good round up of the issues.

I am agnostic on this matter, primarily because it wasn’t much of a concern when our kids had their shots – they were largely mercury free. It does, however, bring a lot of heat. Many defenders of the vaccines accuse people with questions of being quacks and anti-vaccination. Some are quacks and anti-vaccinations, but many – like Dwight Meredith of Wampum, someone I have a great deal of respect for – have raised legitimate questions. Right now, to my eye, it appears that the statistical studies are inconclusive (one purporting to show a link is flawed, and one purporting to show that the removal of mercury from vaccines in the Netherlands is even more flawed).

Dwight Meredith left an excellent entry to the comment thread at Majikthise. In my mind he remains the most authentic voice in the discussion.

No comments: