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MMR, Autism, And Who Should Really Be On Trial

Aug 17, 2007
Unless you have been living on a different planet for the past ten years or so you will have heard of autism and the possible connection with the MMR vaccine. It's a debate, which won't go away.

Thousands of parents, myself included, are convinced our children were fine until given the triple measles, mumps and rubella injection.

Whilst we all agree it doesn't affect everyone, we all know deep down it was the reason our normally developing children took a totally devastating and irreversible path. The problem is proving it. Within the health authorities there appears to be a gagging order in place.

Autism was described on the news the other day as a "living nightmare" and certainly it does affect everyone concerned, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year until eternity.

Not surprisingly, therefore, we would like to ensure other families don't have to suffer in the same way.

Another person who felt the same concern was Doctor Andrew Wakefield who first highlighted the possible connection back in 1998 when he published an article in the Lancet. It was based on the research he and his fellow researchers Professors John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch had carried out at the Royal Free Hospital in London and suggested a link between the MMR, autism and bowel disease.

However, far from being pleased the reason for the autism pandemic (which has shot up from 1:2500 in 1993 to 1:100 in 2007) might have been discovered, the powers that be took umbrage and not only discredited and belittled his findings but hounded him out of UK.

So why were they so annoyed?

The establishment does not like anyone who stands up against them and dares to suggest their policies do not suit everyone. As a consequence of the Lancet report the uptake of the MMR vaccine plummeted.

Since you can no longer get single jabs in most areas parents were not having their children vaccinated. However, when I was a child they didn't exist anyway and it was an accepted part of life that at some stage we would catch measles, mumps and chickenpox .

No-one I've ever heard of caught all three at the same time.

Vaccines have been developed to eradicate preventable, communicable diseases and the single jabs for measles, mumps and rubella had worked perfectly well up until 1988 when the triple was introduced.

However, someone somewhere decided rather than ask parents to take their young children for three different injections they would just combine the three live viruses and save time, money and stress.

The problem is the safety of the triple was never properly tested and several senior clinicians felt the decision to license it was premature. Just because they worked well separately did not mean combining the three live viruses would be a wise move.

Even if the safety data tests for the MMR were carried out for up to 63 days as we are led to believe that is still not long enough to establish autism, as often the symptoms form part of a gradual process.

The few people involved in the trials were asked to report "significant illness". Since autism is a multi-factorial disorder it affects each unique individual differently and we know it doesn't affect everyone. Also, back then autism was quite rare so people would not have been looking for the same symptoms which are so common today.

The safety trials were flawed and the whole thing smacks a bit of not what you know but who you know. An article in the Sunday Times in 2001 revealed one third of the government committee advising on the safety of the MMR had financial interests in the drug companies making the vaccine so it's not surprising the MMR was licensed.

Since then the autism rate has rocketed and now Dr. Andrew Wakefield is on trial by the General Medical Council. He may be struck off if found guilty.

And what is he guilty of exactly?

Well, it's not for challenging the health authorities to get their heads out of the sand and admit the possibility there could be a connection between MMR and autism for some children. Instead it's for being "irresponsible and unethical"in the way he carried out his research.

It seems to me the case for being "irresponsible and unethical" is being targeted at the wrong person although I don't suppose the 1988 British Committee on Safety of Medicines would agree, do you?
About the Author
Jean Shaw is the author of I'm Not Naughty - I'm Autistic and Autism, Amalgam and Me which details why she believes MMR to be partly responsible for her son's autism. http://www.jeanshaw.com
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