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Monday, November 19, 2007

Are you worried about autism?

Oprah Winfrey has aired two shows about children and autism. Her second show included Jenny McCarthy whose son was diagnosed with autism (a developmental disorder that affects brain function) and who is now "cured." Jennie, who was featured on 11Alive news Monday night, is challenging the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to remove the toxic ingredients from vaccinations including monkey kidney tissue, mercury and formaldehyde. (To me the list of ingredients is disconcerting.)

Jenny maintains, as do many other parents, that vaccinations are a contributor to the development of autism along with environmental elements. She is certain that for her son this is absolutely true. You can read more about her story in her book "Louder than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism."

Years ago the incidents of autism were much lower than the current 1 in 150 . Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. Children used to receive about 15 vaccinations now the number is up to about 36. The correlation between the number of vaccines administered and the increase in the number of children with autism seems obvious. But why does it seem like scientists are hesitant to take a hard look at this compelling information?

In 2000 I met a young lady who became a good friend. She was -- and still is -- a vegetarian and could possibly be called a naturalist. When she became pregnant with her first child about five years ago we had the "vaccination" discussion. She told me she would not vaccinate her children. At that time, my oldest was 11 and, of course, she was up-to-date on all vaccines. My friend now has four children, none of whom have been vaccinated, and she is very careful about their exposure to germs during certain seasons and most likely does things I'm not even aware of to keep her children's immune systems boosted.

I've thought long and hard about this. Although I agree with her I feel like I don't and wouldn't do enough to protect my children without vaccinations. But with this ongoing debate about the correlation between vaccinations and autism, it is very scary to contemplate that my younger children may be susceptible to such a frightening and difficult disease. Although I've survived, so to speak, with one child, I am now raising a new generation of children who live in a time when environmental hazards are at an all-time high.

Does this possible danger -- the development of autism -- concern you when it comes to vaccinations? What about when you think about that there are children who had no prior indicators of autism? They weren't born with it... it developed over time and some showed signs shortly after receiving a vaccination.

As if parents didn't have enough to worry about.
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