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The impact of immunization on the development of autism
In recent years, a worldwide concern over immunization and its schedule has increased dramatically. The vaccine-autism hypothesis belongs to the most extensively debated theories related to the origins of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Critics of dangerous ingredients contained in vaccines designate that such preservatives may contribute to, or cause, a range of cognitive disorders in children. When administered at early age, immunization may seriously affect neurological and not completely developed immune systems. In contrast, both biological and epidemiological studies tend to contradict the vaccine-autism theory. Given this fact, it is of vital importance to thoroughly examine both sides of the coin and come to a reasonable conclusion.
PECULIARITIES OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Autism, or, more broadly, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), includes a number of complex cognitive and communicational disorders. According to Richard Lathe, the molecular biologist, autism is difficult to define (20). However, there exists a range of distinctive peculiarities, by which one can recognize ASD. Repetitive patterns of behavior, a withdrawal from social relatedness and interaction, and specific movement patterns characterize autism. The symptoms occur from early childhood, usually at age of 2-3 years, and affect daily functioning (Lathe 32).
The diagnosis of ASD incorporates the evaluation of intellectual disability and language impairment. The use of the word “spectrum” in the diagnosis indicates a series of symptoms, skills and levels of disability in functioning that individuals affected by ASD may have. For instance, some adults and children are able to perform daily activities with little support, while others require continuous supervision.
As mentioned before, children with ASD may engage in abnormal repetitive movements or unusual behaviors. For example, they may flap their arms, rock from side to side or twirl objects. Regarding communication, the mutual interaction becomes often challenging. Children with ASD may avoid eye contact with others, not respond to their names and only interact with others to achieve specific goals. Adults, who suffer from ASD, may experience difficulties expressing their own feelings, or understanding other people’s feelings. Autism occurs across various socioeconomic, racial and ethnic groups. However, boys are more likely to develop ASD. Recent statistics from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 of 68 children have ASD (Research). Symptoms of ASD may be apparent as early as infancy with a noted lack of the usual babbling and failure to make eye contact (Fathe 33). In some cases, symptoms may not occur until age of two or three years, with impairments in social engagement becoming evident. For those affected by autism, daily routine is crucial, as certain changes cause anger or emotional outbursts at times. Exposure to a new or over-stimulating environment may also contribute to such a reaction.
BOTH SIDES OF THE COIN
The escalation of ASD has become an issue of global concern since the 1980s. The prevalence of autism has fueled suggestions that environmental exposure like immunization might lead to cognitive disorders. The vaccine-autism theory sets forth that the increased number of doses and the schedule of vaccines have led to the exponential growth of autism diagnoses. In addition, the increase in the rate of ASD also correlates with the use of Thimerosal (Ethyl Mercury) as a preservative in the vaccine.
The gravity of the situation is that children receive vaccines as early as their day of birth. Furthermore, during the 1960s-1980s, 24 doses of vaccines were administered to children from birth to the age of 18. Today’s schedule of vaccines for children from birth to age 18 years is at 70 doses, according to CDC (Research). These doses are of 16 different vaccines. All fifty states mandate vaccines to be given prior to admission to day care, preschool or school. The number of vaccines varies from 30 to 45 doses, depending on the state. As a result, concerns, regarding immunization, continue to increase significantly in light of all the documentation and researches, indicating the link, have leaked out over the past few years.
However, there are a significant number of studies that debunked the association between the immunization, or its schedule, and the increased risk of ASD. However, one should consider critical flaws and apparent dismissal of the vaccine-autism hypothesis. The rejection of the evident connection by some public health experts remains extremely discouraging. In addition, corporate media contradicts the vaccine-autism theory. However, given the fact that the major vaccine manufacturers own the corporate media, one can surmise such a desperate attempt to protect the reputation.
In general, the discussion about the vaccine-autism connection has been going on for years. The existence of multiple studies, supporting the reversed theories related to ASD, has strengthened the confusion. The issue has become puzzling given a variety of medical studies, contradicting each other. Regardless of the existing debate, a variety of current studies still link immunization to a plausible autism connection.
LIMITATIONS OF EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES
A considerable number of epidemiological studies have rejected the link between immunizations and the development of ASD. On the other hand, there exist various reasons why such a dismissal may be shortsighted, inappropriate, and wrong. While examining this very issue deeper, one can notice the majority of contradictory studies are epidemiological. However, population-based studies cannot be applied to confirm or refute causality.
With this in mind, Coalition for Safe Minds conducted the analysis of 16 articles, which support “no vaccine-autism correlation”. According to the analysis, the studies failed because of methodological limitations. Taken together, the aims, design flaws, analytic procedures, and conflicts of interest led to inappropriate or even wrong conclusions (Vaccines and Autism 4). Moreover, the studies have investigated the impact of only two discrete exposures: MMR vaccine and Thimerosal preservative. Given this fact, the analysis by Safe Minds indicates that none of these studies have examined interactions between the aforementioned exposures or their influence “in the larger context of an expanded childhood immunization program” (4). In addition, no study has yet contrasted overall health consequences in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Therefore, the gap between these studies and thorough investigation remains quite noticeable and, at a large extent, unexamined.
As an example, Coalition for Safe Minds referred to the “Danish MMR Study” conducted by Madsen et al. Out of 537,303 children born from January 1991 through December 1998 440,655 had received the MMR vaccine (Vaccines and Autism 9). In result, the study identified a total of 738 children with a diagnosis of ASD (Vaccines and Autism 9). Even though the authors concluded that the study rejected the vaccine-autism hypothesis, the methodological choices and biased adjustments prove its vagueness. According to the review, “accurate definitions and classifications of (a) exposure and (b) affected status are crucial to the validity of any conclusions drawn from the data” (Vaccines and Autism 14). Consequently, a source of error in these classifications contributed to the groundless conclusion. Moreover, a case-based approach rather than a person-years one demonstrates a clear vaccine-autism correlation. Therefore, this study, along with other studies that lack proper approaches, present inaccurate data.
THE EVIDENCE OF THE VACCINE-AUTISM THEORY
Researches into the causes and the diagnosis of ASD have advanced simultaneously. A wide variety of studies linked the environmental factors, such as exposure to Thimerosal preservatives and MMR vaccines, to the prevalence of autism. With apparent evidence, considering the schedule of immunization will enable the potential development of children.
In 1943, Dr. Kanner published the first ever clinical report regarding ASD (Ratajczak 69). He developed the first child psychiatric services at the US hospital. Dr Kanner described a group of eleven children, 8 boys and 3 girls who had autistic disturbances, basing his report on direct observation. Dr. Kanner outlined the essential features of ASD, all of which are currently addressed in manuals. At that time, ASD occurred at a rate of 4–5 per 10,000 children (Ratajczak 69).
By comparison, ASD in the United States increased dramatically between 1983 and 1990 to 1 incident per 500 children (Ratajczak 70). The highest increase in the number of vaccine doses also occurred during that time. The prevalence data supports the vaccine-autism theory. Moreover, The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act prevented Americans from suing Pharmaceutical Companies for vaccine injury and death. This liability protection given to vaccine makers has increased the vaccine business from 750 million dollars a year to 27 billion dollars a year (Will S. 1203 Result). At the same period, American children’s health plummeted. The fact that there is a substantial growth in the diagnosis of ASD is irrefutable. Helen Ratajczak, the former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm, reviewed information regarding ASD in her article “Theoretical Aspects of Autism: Causes - A review”. She reviewed information regarding ASD and found that “documented causes of ASD include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination” (Ratajczak 68). Therefore, genetic defects and /or inflammation of the brain caused by a wide variety of environmental toxicants contribute to an onset of ASD.
The article goes on to discuss vaccine-related causes, including the number of vaccines given in a short time. Ratajczak indicates the current immunization schedule in the United States requires six vaccines at 2 months and nine vaccines at 12–15 months compared to five vaccines at 2 months and eight vaccines at 12–15 months (70). She discusses that the body’s immune system is thrown out of balance. The scientist designates that the increase in ASD corresponds with the introduction of human DNA to MMR vaccine. Therefore, one can observe an obvious association between immunization and the incidence of ASD.
At the same time, current Italian studies set forth that immunization results in the development of ASD. Moreover, on September 23, 2014, a court in Italy awarded compensation to a boy for vaccine induced autism (Meserlian 1). A childhood vaccine against six childhood diseases caused the boy’s permanent autism and brain damage. The vaccinations contained Thimerosal preservative. The child regressed into autism shortly after receiving the three doses (Polio, DPT and Influenza). He received them from March to October of 2006 (Meserlian 3). The court stated that the mercury and aluminum in the vaccine caused the autism. The decision was based on expert medical testimony.
Two years earlier, another family was compensated, when a child, who received MMR vaccine, was affected by ASD. In contrast, the US courts have not agreed with the decision to compensate parents for vaccine that cause ASD. While there is evident information suggesting that environmental and genetic factors are responsible for the ASD diagnoses, it is also apparent that immunization and its schedule also trigger the prevalence of ASD. There exist financial reasons that the information, proving the vaccine-autism theory, is covered up.
Considering this issue, parents of children with ASD will persist in asking why their children are among the growing population with serious defects. Simultaneously, children with ASD will continue to fill special needs classrooms and be left to society to care for, when their parents pass away. In this regard, the U.S. government should put forth great efforts to examine the vaccine-autism theory more thoroughly and protect the population from the vaccine damage. As a result, billions of dollars will be saved that are currently spent for the lifetime care of autistic individuals.
CONCLUSION
In overall, there exist a wide variety of studies related to the vaccine-autism theory. Some scientists devoted their researches to supporting the link between immunization and the development of ASD, while other studies deny the association. As analysis shows, the studies, which debunk the vaccine-autism issue, are mostly epidemiological. In this respect, they lack proper methodology and tools to conduct accurate research and draw valid conclusions. By contrast, a considerable number of studies worldwide indicated the correlation between the exponential growth of immunization doses and the relative prevalence of ASD incidence. Therefore, the US government should take corresponding measures to prevent the vaccine damage.

Works Cited
Lathe, Richard. Autism, Brain, and Environment. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2006. Print.
Meserlian, Donald. "U.S.B.S. vs. Italian Truth." The Sovereign [New York, NY] Mar. 2015. Print.
Ratajczak, Helen. "Theoretical Aspects of Autism: Causes—A Review." Journal of Immunotoxicology 8.1 (2011): 68-79.Print.
"Research." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.
"Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us". Coalition for Safe Minds. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.
"Will S. 1203 Result in Vaccine Mandates for U.S. Veterans? Senator Heller Responds - Age of Autism." Age of Autism. The Canary Party. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

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