Saturday, October 28, 2006

Health Care Providers Oppose Kirby's Autism & Vaccine Views

Health care providers are objecting to the presentation by David Kirby at a conference which began yesterday in Halifax. Kirby is the journalist and author of "Evidence of Harm" a book which purports to examine the debate between medical authorities and parents of autistic children who believe that the mercury based preservative thimerosal used in some vaccines is to blame for their childrens' autism.

The theory of a causal link between thimerosal and autism has been soundly rejected by medical and scientific authorities but SOME parents do not accept those views and believe that there is a "Big Pharma" conspiracy to suppress evidence of the link - evidence of harm - as Kirby's book is titled. Kirby is accused by some authorities of stoking the fears of parents and contributing to a downswing in vaccinations thus causing a revival of serious, even deadly diseases, once thought vanquished by vaccination programs. Personally, I have never bought into the theory that vaccinations cause autism, but obviously further research could prove me wrong. As of right now the research literature does not support such a link.

There is much research being done now into the causes of autism. Whatever the cause/causes of autism might be it is critically important that any conclusions we reach are based on careful scientific study and clear evidence derived from those studies. Fear should never be a substitute for careful study and analysis. That is the opinion of this parent.

From the Daily News:

Joanne Langley, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the IWK, said the idea that thimerosal, an anti-bacteria preservative containing mercury found in some vaccines, could contribute to autism was raised about 15 years ago, but was later retracted.

"There is now a huge body of evidence that shows there is no association between infant vaccines and autism," she said, adding that thimerosal has not been used in children's vaccines in Canada for 10 years.

Langley also said it's important that parents know vaccines are safe and information to the contrary is "fear mongering" and could be dangerous.

"If they're concerned and don't immunize their children, they are susceptible to those infectious diseases, which are very serious."

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