Vaccines Don't Cause Autism, Please Vaccinate Your ChildrenS

Yet another study has found no association between vaccines and autism. Mercury, the ingredient in vaccines suspected of causing learning disabilities, hasn't been used to preserve the medicines since 2001. And since then, the incidence of autism has still increased.

That's what researchers found in a study published yesterday in the open access science journal PLOS One. The study follows recent news from the Wall Street Journal that doctors are "firing" patients who refuse to have their children vaccinated. Numerous reports have named the dangers of foregoing childhood vaccines.

For this most recent study, scientists collected urine samples from 54 children with autism spectrum disorders, and compared them with 115 children from the general population, 28 children with learning disabilities who attended special schools, and 42 children who didn't have autism, but had a sibling with the condition.

A high concentration of heavy metals including lithium, manganese, cadmium and lead is often blamed for exacerbating a theoretical genetic pre-disposition for vaccination complications. In this study the researchers looked at levels of all those heavy metals and found no differences between the groups.

Researchers could do 100 more similar studies, but it wouldn't matter. Nothing can change the mind of a parent who believes there's any chance their child might suffer a permanent learning disability as the result of a vaccine (which is weird because diseases like measles can kill kids?). These parents don't believe in science. They believe in anecdotes from their friends and neighbors. They want something to blame, and the timing of the vaccine and their child's ailments makes sense to them. Screw the evidence and screw the scientific method.

It will continue that way until someone can pinpoint actual causes of autism. Here's hoping that will happen before measles outbreaks become even more widespread. [LiveScience]

Image: Shutterstock/Stacy Barnett