Vaccines are "a documented cause of autism"A new review of the causes of autism lists vaccines as a "documented cause of autism". As well as highlighting mercury (thiomersal) in vaccines and the MMR vaccine, the review describes the immune system of infants as being "particularly sensitive at 2 months of age", which is the exact time when babies are given their first multiple vaccines in the UK, USA and many other countries. The review's author is Helen Ratajczak who used to work as a senior scientist at a pharmaceutical company. She looked at all the evidence on the causes of autism from 1943 to the present time and concluded that, "documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections and encephalitis following vaccination". She suggests that the timing and introduction of vaccines may contribute to the cause of autism. For various developmental reasons the infant's immune system is compromised and particularly sensitive at 2 months of age. However it is exactly at this age that the immunisation schedules of many countries start. For example in the UK babies are given 6 vaccines (in two shots), and in the USA babies receive up to 8 vaccines, at this tender age. The review also discusses the dangerous effects of mercury (thiomersal) on the immune system and the possible role of the MMR vaccine in causing autism. So where does this leave parents who want to minimise the risk of vaccines triggering autism in their children? The implications of this review are clear:
1. Do not give your child any mercury (thiomersal) containing vaccine. These have largely been removed from vaccines given routinely in the UK, USA and Western Europe. However the swine flu vaccine given to thousands of children in the UK recently did contain mercury.
2. Delay the start of your baby's vaccines. Do not start giving vaccines until at least 3 months of age or possibly later. The final decision must of course belong to the parents as they balance the risk of giving the vaccines to a vulnerable immune system against the risks to their baby from contracting the various diseases the vaccines help prevent.
3. Avoid the MMR, replacing this with the single vaccines as appropriate.
We incorporate this information when advising parents on vaccine schedules at BabyJabs, my children's immunisation service.
Added 16 Jan 2012