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Many parents today decide not to vaccinate their children. One of your fears when making this decision is that vaccines could cause autism. This belief is due to a study that generated a myth years ago. The study found that the MMR vaccine could cause autistic disorder in children.
However, years later, this study was dismantled, which began to be considered a myth full of errors and malpractice. We explain to you, with the help of the pediatrician Roi Piñeiro (Director of the Pediatrics Service of the Villalba Hospital in Madrid, Spain), why you shouldn't believe the myth of vaccines and childhood autism.
Years ago (1998), a scientific journal (The Lancet) launched a study by a British surgeon (Andrew Wakefield) who claimed that the MMR vaccine (mumps, measles, and rubella) it could cause autism in children. Although he insisted that he only spoke of one possibility, the news was devastating.
Evidently, the study had an immediate impact on society and also among pediatricians. Parents began to refuse to give their children the MMR vaccine and many doctors wanted to verify the veracity of the study.
In all, more than 100 researchers tried to prove Wakefield's theory without success. None of these studies was able to show that the MMR vaccine caused autistic disorder in children.
As if that were not enough, years later it was discovered that Wakefield data was falsified, that the tests he used on children were done without family authorization and that the surgeon had subjected healthy children to very dangerous tests, such as a ventricular puncture of the head of infants to obtain cerebrospinal fluid. That is, he committed several crimes in his investigation that the British High Court of Justice tried and convicted. Justice prohibited him from practicing medicine again and he retracted and apologized for that investigation.
It was also discovered that Wakefield himself was at the time researching the creation of a new MMR vaccine. His goal was to generate money with the new vaccine. He was also very economically influenced by very powerful anti-vaccine groups.
However, although the investigation was proven to be false and the British High Court of Justice confirmed it by condemning the surgeon in charge of the study, the damage was done. In this way, even showing that the study of this surgeon was an invention, his theory continued to circulate, already in the form of a myth, and many parents were left with the shadow of doubt.
Although pediatricians insist on remembering that the study was an invention, many parents continue to refuse to vaccinate their children. The truth, however, is that there is no relationship between vaccines (any type of vaccine) and the appearance of the autistic spectrum disorder in children. What has occurred is an improvement in the diagnosis of autistic disorder, which has caused it to appear that there are more cases. The reality is that there are no more cases, but they are now diagnosed, whereas before all existing cases were not finished naming.
You can read more articles similar to Why You Shouldn't Believe the Vaccine Myth and Childhood Autism, in the category of Vaccines on site.