This post originally ran in December 2011. I wanted to rerun this piece with some updates after reading some recent autism news that discussed an infant eye gaze study: “In a study published Wednesday, researchers using eye-tracking technology found that children who were found to have autism at age 3 looked less at people’s eyes when they were babies than children who did not develop autism. But contrary to what the researchers expected, the difference was not apparent at birth. It emerged in the next few months and autism experts said that might suggest a window during which the progression toward autism can be halted or slowed.”
Funny that they state, “…the difference [in eye gaze] was not apparent at birth. It emerged in the next few months…” They make the very same correlation many of us have reported: our child was healthy at birth…but something happened over the next few months.
Hmmm, I wonder what typically happens over those next few months?
*cough* vaccines *cough*
While I’m happy that autism research is being done, it’s too bad that some of the money used on this study, and the high tech gadgetry it required, couldn’t have been transferred to the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study we’ve asked to be conducted.
No One seems to want to get that study underway...
If you read the mainstream news the message is still the same: No One knows why the dramatic rise in autism is happening. They should just ask Anne Dachel or some of my friends. We’d be able to fill them in. We’d cut to the chase and say exactly what we believe causes autism. But, No One wants to really listen to us and we continue to be ignored. We’ll still see a continuation of these types of studies being reported in the news because No One really knows why there’s such a rise in autism. November 2011 saw not one but two stories come out on causes of autism:
- Autism is linked to the changing role of women in society
- Autism is linked to clever parents
Before you walk away from the computer in disbelief, those two causes don’t sound too far- fetched when compared to the other list of other reasons and causes being circulated. Rest assured that real research dollars were spent on these studies which means some sort of official entity blessed the time spent to dig up these details. Causes of autism have been linked:
- to college-educated parents
- to older fathers
- to older mothers
- to big-boobed women
- to cold/distant mothers
- to how close to the highway one lives
- to prenatal ultrasound
- to newborn jaundice
- to low birth weight
- to Tylenol use after vaccinations
- to larger head size
- to watching too much television
That’s quite a list of causes, don’t you think! I’m not sure who benefited besides some of us parents getting a good chuckle while reading “the latest” from the research world. The list hits upon men, women, educational status, goes back to berate the women, peeks at baby’s development but forgets something oh so common. While some genetics can play a role in an autism diagnosis I’m pretty sure news sources and researchers forgot that yes indeed, autism is a man-made epidemic. That means something that someone made for kids is now doing damage to those kids.
One of the most overlooked yet common medical “interventions” many children experience has escaped being researched again--vaccines. Why is it so painfully difficult to ask someone to please just look at them? Vaccines are pushed everywhere. EVERYWHERE. You’d think someone in the research field would put two and two together and have an a-ha moment. It wasn’t so hard for many parents to have that moment. Parents didn’t celebrate it in the same sense that of these official studies when they are published--“A-ha! We found another reason for autism! But, we really didn’t, so let’s go back to funding more useless research!”
Parents made a common connection to their child’s autism in those vaccines that No One will consider. No One pretends to not know, and No One cares about that connection. No One cares because they make big money off of vaccines. No One cares because they can push them in schools. They can advertise them in the deli at the grocery store. They can plaster vaccine propaganda all over the drug store. They can mandate flu shots and vaccine injections while airing their ilk on syndicated TV shows. Vaccines are everywhere yet nowhere, especially nowhere near autism research.
No One wants to look at vaccines and how they are the most accessible item pushed on parents. Every other month for the first year of life parents are offered many vaccines. No One wants to see how many have been added to the incredibly full list of doses. Instead, more vaccines keep being added. More children walk into the world of autism or developmental delayed or severely allergic to everything status. No One has researched enough to really know how each vaccines works with (or against) another on that huge list. No One wants to listen to parents who start to ask questions about all those vaccines. No one will admit parents just might be onto something. It’s too bad because with the growing vaccine schedule and increasing autism rates, enough candidates for a vaccine-causes-autism study probably exists. No One knows what causes autism….unless you do.
I’m sure another clever “study” will be unveiled again soon. It’ll be planned to throw some of us off even though we probably know more than the researchers. I’d love to be a fly on the wall to wherever it is that study is decided. If vaccines are brought up I wonder if they’re quietly swept off the agenda.
Imagine this scene playing out:
People in white lab coats sit around a table. A deck of cards is brought from a locked black box. The deck is labeled ‘STUDY’ and placed in the middle of the table. Several company logos adorn the cards. The lead researcher of the group clears his throat, stands up and looks at his watch.
Leader: “No One touched the cards from our last meeting, right? (researchers nod) Okay, team. It’s been what, 4 weeks since autism was in the news?”
Researcher 2: “It’s been 3.7 weeks, sir. We’re definitely due for a new study (pushing his glasses up on his nose).”
Leader: “Hand me the deck. What’ll it be this time—a study on the parents?”
Researcher 3: “We just did that topic. Let’s do something with environmental factors. We could do a spin on that apple juice and arsenic mumbo jumbo.” (Snickering heard from around the table.)
Leader: “Settle down. Let’s take a moment. Alright (pulling a card from the middle of the pile), the next topic…childhood vaccines. Wait (angrily), how did this get back in the deck?”
Researcher 4: “Sorry, sir. One of the interns probably put it to the pile after the last meeting. She was a parent turned grad-student who kept pestering about her kids’ delays. I told her we weren’t allowed to open that study. She talked about autism and vaccines, special ed, gluten free, blah blah blah (rolling his eyes). She had to quit last week to take care of her sick kid.”
Leader: “Just throw this card out (tossing the vaccine card to the ground). Come now, time to be serious (reshuffling the cards).”
Researcher 1: “Can I pick the card this time?”
Leader: “Sure, make it a good one (fanning the deck out).”
Researcher 1: (Reaching for a card) “The next ‘What causes autism study’ is going…to…be…vaccines?! What just happened? (turning every card over; handwriting is on the cards). Each card is labeled vaccines!”
Leader: “We’ve been duped! Get the chief on the phone. NOW!”
Researchers scurry like scared lab rats scattering pie charts and sharpened pencils to the ground in the wake of their fear.
Someone whispers, “Will we ever do that study? The one on vaccines and autism?”
Leader: (Shaking his fists in the air) “Noooooooo!”
It seems ludicrous to not study vaccines. Unless someone is going to take a look at every aspect of the children being affected by autism, which for many includes childhood vaccines, the little bitty studies every few weeks are doing no one any good. Can the big-boobed smarty pants of a woman who lives next to the highway with her old fart of a husband who sits around all day with his big-headed kid watching shows like Spongebob over and over again really be useful research? If yes, please tell me someone swooped in and brought useful autism treatment options at affordable prices to that child’s family. If no, then shame on the research being done. Someone should be taking the results a step further and actually help the rising number of families affected by autism.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.