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Can a Vaccine Cause Autism?

Learn if a vaccine can cause autism from pediatrician and child development expert Asma J. Sadiq, M.D. in this Howcast video.


So a commonly asked question and a big concern from parents is do vaccines cause autism? Now this is controversial and hard, but as for the research and as for what we have from the American Academy, there is no direct correlation of vaccines causing autism. However, concern that I do respect when a parent comes and tells me my child had, for example, the MMR vaccine or had a particular vaccine at 18 months, and seem to have developed symptoms after that. Well, typically autism regression also happens around 18 to 24 months, that's when we do see that. Is there something that we need to be researching more? Absolutely. We do know that kids have immune dysfunction or immune issues. You do not want to vaccinate a child when they are sick with a cold.

The only case where a vaccination caused symptoms in a child who developed autism kind of symptoms was when a child had a mitochondrial disorder. Now we do know children with autism have mitochondrial dysfunction, but there is not a correlation of vaccination causing autism per se. I do think vaccination is very important for children. We don't want outbreaks taking place of measles and polio, etc., etc., because vaccinations are protective. One of the concerns, however, that was in the past was regarding mercury as a preservative in vaccines, which has now been removed. I think the number of vaccinations that were being given and the total level of mercury added on became to a toxic level. Mercury has been removed from vaccines. We now have aluminum.

The other concern that parents have, particularly when they have a child with autism, is they may want to use a vaccine that is preservative free. But there is not enough data on that. I think it is reasonable for physicians to work with parents for their anxieties. Give them the information, and yet work with families because you're dealing with parents who are really very so much impacted by what's happening with their child, and we need to do a lot more research, even though we do not have direct cause and effect information, and there really is no direct data on this. However, lots more research needs to be done.

And even with a child who has a neurologic impairment, we do alter the vaccine schedule as we do with a child who has fever. One of the things I would recommend though, and that's my personal recommendation, is when you do vaccinate a child, do not use Tylenol for the fever. Use an anti-inflammatory because Tylenol is harder on the liver. And if a child has mitochondrial issues, for example, or low glutathione, which is the antioxidant that you need to process toxins and preservatives, etc., let's support the liver. A lot of parents do that by giving their kids vitamin C as an antioxidant, or making sure that they are well, and I think that's very important.

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