Friday, March 28, 2008
Autism, Vaccines and A Shot in the Dark by Cornelia Read
I am not a member of either camp in the mercury /thimerosal/vaccines cause autism war . While I do not promote the vaccine autism theory I have never ruled vaccines, mercury or thimerosal as possible causes or contributing factors, along with other environmental factors, to the startling increases in autism. Nor do I subscribe to the easy assumptions promoted by the Neurodiversity faithful that the entirety of these increases is due to changing diagnostic definitions and criteria of autism, greater societal awareness and other social factors although I accept that these factors undoubtedly explain part of the increase.
The amazing research being conducted on the genetic bases of autism does not rule out environmental causes. Genetic conditions may create predispositions toward autism without being wholly explanatory of the development of autism. The fact that identical twins can have one autistic and one non-autistic twins suggests that external or environmental factors are also involved.
Nothing divides the autism world nearly as much as the mercury wars. Although I recognize the dangers posed by under vaccination of children and do not subscribe myself to the thimerosal causes autism theories I still try to keep an open mind and read new information as it emerges. Usually I try to read, to the best of my ability, and with the aid of professional interpretation, the new scientific literature on the subject. Most internet commentary is simply a rehash of fixed points of view and of questionable value no matter which camp it originates with but there are exceptions.
Writer Cornelia Read has written a blog comment called A Shot in the Dark at The Naked Truth about Literature and Life where she is one of the authors who "wrestle with the naked truth about literature and life". I recommend to anyone interested in autism who still has an open mind about the subject to read Ms Read's blog comment. It is well written and covers a lot of interesting ground, including the tobacco industry/cancer cover up, the "refrigerator moms theory of autism causation", the Simpsonwood conference, the rebuttal to the AAP provided by Dr. Michael Wagnitz father of an autistic child and a toxicologist, and the Polling case. Ms Read's comment is well written and thought provoking ....... if you are still open to thinking about this issue.