Autism is a complex developmental disability, especially detected in children as old as 3 years in whom neurobehavioral impairments are observed.
The disorder impairs a patient’s ability to develop communication skills along with impaired social interactions and language development skills. Those suffering also display rigid behavior that is often repetitive. Children with autism often suffer from an inability to express themselves, even via gestures, touch, or facial expressions and also have trouble understanding what others think and feel.
Cause of autism
The cause of autism has still not been ascertained and because it is found to run within families, it is considered to be caused due to a combination of genes that predispose children to autism. The chances of autism are also found to be increased if the age of a mother or father of an unborn child is advanced. Exposure to toxic environmental factors and substances is also thought to cause autism, but has not been proven.
Vaccination and autism
Since the exact cause of autism is still unclear, a number of theories exist along with likely risk factors. One of the theories is that vaccination in infants can lead to autism, especially the MMR vaccine, which is for measles, mumps, and rubella. The belief that the MMR vaccine leads to autism was due to an erroneous report published in 1998, which stated that exposure to the vaccine or even to the disease can lead to those viruses causing autism. This study, which has since then been revoked, caused a panic situation between doctors and parents alone. Even after the study was considered to be baseless, parents are still wary of vaccinating their children for fear of it leading to autism.
Does vaccination cause autism? The truth
In fact to prove the theory wrong, studies have been carried out with ingredients of the MMR vaccine, especially thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative used in the vaccine to prevent contamination. It was believed that this preservative was one of the chief causative agents of autism among children. For a few years the use of this preservative was even avoided in the vaccines. Further, the studies that were carried out showed no connection between thimerosal or any of the ingredients of the vaccine and autism. Also, no connection has been found between any of the three diseases—measles, mumps, rubella—and autism.
Scientists further compared the autism rate in those who received the MMR vaccination and those children who had not been vaccinated and found no significant observations. No increased risk in those who had received the vaccine has been found.
All of this proves there is no connection between vaccines and increased risk of autism.
Autism is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD since it covers a spectrum of symptoms and includes certain neurobehavioral disorders within this broad term. The symptoms could range from—
- Stereotyped repetitive behavior, such as pacing, rocking, or flapping of hands
- Unusual attachment to things
- Unusual response to people
- Self-injurious or aggressive behavior
- Resistance to change in the daily routine
- Inability, at times, to acknowledge people, objects, or activities in their surroundings
- Seizures, in severe cases
There are a lot of other varied symptoms too. In addition, those suffering from autism, unlike other cognitive development disorders, display uneven skill development whereby they experience problems in certain areas, but in other areas they demonstrate unusually developed skills, like in creative areas.