I was watching a cable news channel the other day. The discussion was about autism and vaccinations. It surrounded the doctors who did the original study that reported to show a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Most of the doctors involved have denounced the study, and now someone says they altered the children in the study’s records and the lead doctor had an agenda. It seems certain the research was tainted. They also talked about more recent studies that show the rate of autism has grown among children at the same rate with or without the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and the preservative once thought to cause the disorder.
What was amusing to me was that despite all the information many parents of children with autism continue not to vaccinate their children, still believing that vaccines cause the disorder. They even interviewed a mother who told the story of her son who, she said, was a “normal” child until he got his shots.
I don’t know who is right in this story: are the doctors and studies trying to cover up the truth about vaccinations, or is this mom merely misguided? Maybe her child already had autism, but she didn’t really notice the symptoms until he was old enough to get the MMR. I can’t answer that, but I found it interesting that the commentator seemed shocked that this mother disregarded the “evidence” and continued to believe her experience.
Our culture has shifted greatly over the last 30 to 40 years away from believing what “experts” and those in authority tell us to placing greater trust in experience. Maybe it has been a slow change, but I see it in all aspects of what we believe. Maybe it comes from those in positions of authority falling from grace. Presidents have been impeached, others have told us flat out lies on national TV. Science has told us some things are good for us only to turn around later and say the opposite. Coffee is bad, coffee is good! Alcohol is bad, well red wine is good (in moderation of course). In the 80’s we were going into a new ice age, the last 10 years they’ve been telling us we are in a global warming. Lately they are not sure which it is but they are sure it is our fault.
Our leaders lie, get caught, and then lie some more to get out of trouble. Pastors get caught doing just what they had been telling the congregation to stay away from. Doctors and researchers no longer care about the truth but are motivated by who is paying for the research, and we will have a hard time trusting what they say.
I saw a movie in which an advertising executive told his underlings that the product they were trying to sell was “high in something or low in something else, find it and sell it!”
And that is just it; I am feeling less and less like any of these groups have my best interest in mind when they do anything. Don’t even get me started about our local, state, or federal government.
So more and more people distrust the medical establishment and its recommendations because of the contradictory statements they issue about what we eat or how we care for our children.
If the study about vaccines and autism was fraudulent, the medical community is going to have to work twice as hard to get people to believe them now because of their track record of inconsistency in reporting the facts. And that is to the detriment of every family dealing with autism, hoping for a cure.