Saturday, September 27, 2008

Autism: TV or Vaccines?

This is an article from Time Magazine. It’s not a recent article. In fact it’s almost 2 years old, but it points out rather strikingly how the rise in autism rates correlates very closely with the rise in cable TV subscriptions and rainfall patterns. That’s right, rainfall. Presumably because more kids were inside watching TV because of the rain.

Now, I don’t think they’re necessarily saying that the content of the programming is causing autism, but we don’t really know what effect flashing lights and motion can have on a developing brain.

And yet, in spite of these striking correlations, we don’t see huge groups of concerned parent’s banding together to limit kids’ TV usage. Instead we see them blaming vaccines and putting their children at risk by not getting them, which in turn puts us all at risk.


Because it’s easier to blame some chemical in a vaccine that your doctor gave your child than to take responsibility for letting your TV raise your baby. Certainly nothing you did could be the problem. It can’t possibly be your fault. It has to be that mean mean doctor trying to keep your kid from getting sick.

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. Here’s an article more recently in Time about a judge awarding a family damages because a vaccine supposedly gave her child autism. Even though no studies have ever found a link, and the mercury-based chemical that supposedly causes autism hasn’t been used in vaccines since 2001 and autism rates continue to climb. Not to mention that everyone older than 7, including all the parents of these autistic children, were inoculated with vaccines that contained mercury and didn’t get autism.

Of course, I’m also a firm believer in the idea that everyone’s body chemistry is different. Doctors tend to treat everyone as if that’s not true. For instance, I know for a fact that steroid nasal sprays give me panic attacks, but every doctor I tell that to thinks I’m crazy and insists it can’t be the nasal spray. It’s hard to argue though with the fact that I never get panic attacks normally, but as soon as I snort a steroid nasal spray, I get one. Then they go away after I stop using the nasal spray.

So maybe, in some rare cases, vaccines do cause autism. I’m still more inclined to blame it on Cable TV.

(The image above is from the last episode of St. Elsewhere.)


Saw this article about a promising new treatment for autism after I finished this post.

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