While the Autism / Vaccine debate is not something in which I want to get involved (my contribution so far has been kept to a minimum), there are some pieces of the pie too delicious to ignore. Today the AAAS’ online sciencemag website reports that Autism Speaks has suffered it’s second high-profile resignation this year.
Last week psychiatrist Eric London, a prominent member of the Autism Speaks science advisory board and chief science advisor for the New York State Autism Consortium, resigned from Autism Speaks citing his disagreement with continuing efforts to study vaccines as a cause of autism, he wrote;
“If Autism Speaks’ misguided stance continues, there will be more deaths and potentially the loss of herd immunity which would result in serious outbreaks of otherwise preventable disease.”
In January of this year Autism Speaks suffered the loss of Alison Singer. Singer was the executive vice president of communications and awareness at Autism Speaks when she was asked by its founder, Bob Wright, to support a boost in federal research on the role of vaccines. Singer stated publicly;
“I felt very strongly that it sent the wrong signal. The science is saying it’s time to move on.”
The FAQ section of the Autism Speaks website supports the scientifically prudent view that there is no convincing proof that vaccines cause autism, I will reproduce their statement here so that you can see for yourself;
Are vaccines to blame?
Though the debate over the role that vaccines play in causing autism grows more heated every day, researchers have still not found a definitive link between the two. According to organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, there’s just not enough evidence to support the contention that vaccines – specifically thimerosal-containing vaccines – cause children to develop autism. One study published in the medical journal Lancet faulting the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shot has since been questioned by its own authors, and many others have also failed to pass scientific muster. Still, the accusations continue, largely from parents of children on the spectrum, and it’s easy to understand why: There are still no answers to this day about what’s causing a disorder that appears to steadily be expanding its reach.
Furthermore, Autism Speaks’ online statement of their “Scientific Mission” clearly states that “Public trust in immunization programs must be protected. Thus it is critical that we take steps now to do all we can to affirm the public confidence in the safety of vaccines.”
Well, may I suggest, in that case, that Bob Wright and the other leading voices at Autism Speaks stand up and clarify the issue by publicly accepting the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism. That they speak out against crackpots who ram their mommy-instinct down the throats of confused and concerned parents everywhere and LET PEOPLE KNOW that the “Vaccine/Autism” debate is, for all intents and purposes, settled. There is not sufficient evidence to support the theory. It is time to move on.