Thursday, February 4, 2010

No link between vaccines and autism....again

When your opinion of a subject is vindicated, the human temptation is to pull a pro wrestling's Degeneration X, making a lewd gesture toward a certain part of your anatomy while telling the person with the opposing viewpoint to "Su--- --!" Okay, maybe that's just my temptation. It hit me when I read the news that the British medical journal The Lancet had retracted it's 1998 study saying there may have been a link between childhood vaccines and autism. But as a parent of an autistic child, I truly have no ill feelings toward other autism-spectrum parents. I feel sorry that they were duped by a "doctor" whose study methods apparently were later adopted by the British climate scientists.

I take that back. I don't feel entirely sorry for Jenny McCarthy. My thoughts on her are already documented, and while I do empathize with her as a parent, her sanctimoniousness toward the rest of the world ever since she decided to put on her clothes and try to speak in complete sentences has been nauseating. Nevertheless, I suspect that some "news" show will put her on television again to rebut science, since Jenny has for whatever reason become the poster mom of autism parents. Does this mean I have to get nekkid for a magazine to be taken seriously?

Well, I suppose it's either take off the clothes or take the route to seriousness used by "Dr." Andrew Wakefield. All he had to do to be taken seriously for the last dozen years or so was essentially fake a medical study and get a dozen of his fellow doctors to jump on his gravy train. Despite The Lancet now admitting that he is largely full of hooey, many people will still take Wakefield seriously, and he will probably continue to make a killing at his private clinic in Texas. Why any parent, regardless of their child's affliction, would take their kid to a doctor who would, at his own son's birthday party no less, pay kids eight bucks each to let him draw their blood for his "study" is beyond me.

I understand the frustration of parents who are desperate for a "cure" to autism. I am also sure the parents of someone born blind would love for them to be able to see. But my autistic daughter is doing great things, just as many great things have come from two good friends who haven't seen a thing in their entire lives. Gordon and Michael Mote were both born blind. All Gordon has done is become a phenomenal pianist who is one of Nashville's most sought-after musicians. Mike, an old radio partner of mine, runs a radio board better than anyone with sight I have ever known. They don't need a cure for their afflictions. Neither does my first-grader.

Already, something called the National Autism Association is criticizing The Lancet. "Certainly the retraction of this paper doesn't mean that MMR (the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) doesn't cause autism and it's all a farce," said Wendy Fournier, the association's president. She adds that it is "possible" that the MMR vaccine causes autism, but "the science is not there in terms of the mechanism." Dangling by one finger to the clock's big hand as your 15 minutes of fame expires must be a tough thing. In other words, vaccines don't cause autism, but we still believe they do. I sure hope those parents love their autistic children as much as they love whoring themselves to the media.

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