Don’t Just Trust It Because a Doctor Said It

April 17, 2018

Vaccination causing Autism is a myth that originated from a study in 1997, written by a British surgeon named Andrew Wakefield. In this study, Wakefield suggests, through scientific evidence, that vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella, were causing an increased amount of autistic children. Following the study, an extensive amount of parents from all across the globe came out to solidify this study, claiming that their child got autism from these vaccines; this resulted in severe consequences: parents began to not vaccinate their infant children and eventually whole communities experienced measles outbreaks. Wakefield’s work has since been debunked, but the impact of people blindly trusting his scientific study is demonstrated. Thus, we are left with the question: how do we make sure that scientific research is reliable?

 

Here is a case from a lady named Cynthia Stark: her perfectly normal and healthy infant son Kieran took his twelve-month MMR vaccination, and through the next months he began displaying the signs and symptoms of an autistic child. At twenty months old, he was diagnosed with Autism. She had three scientific proofs based off of Wakefield’s research to connect Autism to MMR: Cynthia contracted measles and had learning disabilities; therefore, her son was genetically susceptible, due to the “toxic overload” of heavy mercury and aluminium in the baby vaccines, and “[three] live viruses” (MMR) that were injected into Kieran’s body.

 

If we trust that Cynthia is not lying, we can know that Kieran was a regular child before MMR shots and after, he developed Autism. We can then make the cause and effect-based connection that the MMR shots caused autism, just like Cynthia did. However, could this just be a coincidence that the Autism was discovered in the same time frame of the MMR shots? Justification is required. Depending on your scientific beliefs, this is where the opinions are skewed in two directions. A person that firmly believes that vaccines cause Autism believes that Autism can be contracted after birth by reasons that Cynthia stated and others. A person that firmly believes that vaccines are not related to Autism believes that Autism can only be developed during pregnancy.

 

So which information should we believe? If we look at the reputation of the researchers, we know that the research is coming from very distinguished sources. Andrew Wakefield was a reputable British surgeon that published his study in a very prestigious medical journal: The Lancet. “The Autism Society of America” is a society that funds and compiles advanced research into Autism. but takes the opinion that Autism is developed in the pregnancy stage of growth. This leaves us in a rut: both sources are reputable, but they have varying opinions. The next step is to analyse the scientific information and determine how thorough and accurate the research is. Recently, this is where the vaccine-caused Autism theory was debunked. After a thorough analysis of Wakefield’s research, it was found that it had “procedural errors”, “undisclosed financial conflicts of interest”, and “ethical violations”. Due to these inaccuracies, we have to dismiss this information as false. What about the information from “The Autism Society of America”? The organization collects information from a plethora of scientific specialists; they have over one hundred affiliated autism foundations and one hundred and twenty thousand supporters around the world. We can say that it is reliable.

 

Although Wakefield’s research paper was dismissed, the hypothesis was taken seriously. Within these studies “[none] of them found a link between any vaccine and the likelihood of developing Autism”. In contrast, the research done in Autism by reliable sources found connections between autAutismism and factors including environmental conditions, genetic brain anomalies and toxins ingested during the pregnancy stage of development. Trusting the results of a scientific study depends on validation from multiple sources that have achieved similar results as well as errorless research. Before using information from a source, especially when it comes to health care, take the time to analyse its validity. Look at how and where this information was produced and maybe you will catch yourself before making a bad decision.

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