This opinion piece is appearing today in the Missoulian’s Op Ed section. 

Autism child Missoula MT

April is national Autism awareness month. 1 in 88 American children have a diagnosis of autism, a number that has been climbing rapidly (a 1,148% increase, according to the Autism society).

As a physician specializing in pediatrics it is frustrating to continue to hear the conversation centered around vaccines causing autism.  I believe we are doing the autistic community a disservice by continuing to wage a war of words regarding autism and vaccines.  Though no study has looked at the totality of vaccines, at least the MMR vaccine/Autism link has been emphatically disproven in literature.

Celebrity-driven fear has shifted the conversation toward vaccines in the past decade.  Meanwhile a host of studies have shown other environmental, genetic or drug-induced associations with autism.  Studies have shown a link between exposure to vinyl flooring and autism, the culprit being high levels of phthalates. There is research showing associations between autism and flame retardants, heavy metals, defects in detoxification pathways (sulphation or methylation) or glutamine dysfunction. Some preliminary research shows an association between Tylenol use and autism.  When parents notice a change in their child’s behavior after a vaccine I always wonder – was it the Tylenol?

There are so many questions that need to be answered before we can move on with prevention and diagnosis of this common, disabling condition.  Please, autism is too complex a disease to be blamed solely on vaccines.

-

Dr. Erika’s response to the many comments posted below:

“Thank you all for your comments, I truly appreciate your thoughts.

There clearly is much more to be said about the autism/vaccine debate than can fit into the Missoulian’s 300 word space. My point regarding autism is that we need to move beyond just vaccines – that autism is a multifactorial neurological process that is much too complex to be explained away by vaccinations.

I understand that many parents have seen regression in their children after vaccines – this post isn’t to diminish that observation in any way.

I think that Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride (Author of the now famous “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” book) has a very intelligent answer to this debate. She basically states that vaccines can end up being the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” so to speak. I agree. For children who are genetically predisposed (low sulfation and methylation abilities), with environmental insults the vaccine ends up being the last thing that completely depletes glutathione. When that happens the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals is compromised which leads to oxidative damage, especially in the brain (or possibly at the blood-brain barrier). The result is regressive autism.

My point is that it is not the vaccine that is the culprit, necessarily. Epidemiological research shows us that rates of autism are similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated children – if not the vaccine, then something else would likely end up being the “final straw.” Many of the parents in my practice have the same hunch.

To that end, I believe that MMR is actually LESS likely to cause or be a partial culprit in precipitating autism compared with other vaccines. (Actually, one piece of literature shows LOWER rates of autism in children vaccinated for MMR!) As a physician I am much more concerned about the aluminum-containing vaccines like DTaP, PCV and HiB which I think place a greater strain on the body’s ability to detoxify. It is incredibly unfortunate that no study has ever been performed comparing the full CDC schedule of vaccines vs. unvaccinated children. It is also very concerning that the latest Cochrane review for the MMR vaccine states that safety data is lacking (though they did state that there is no evidence to support an MMR-autism link, since that is one thing that HAS been studied).

So no, I am NOT a “pro-vaccine” physician, though I am also in no way an “anti-vaccine” physician. There is much that needs to be worked out in science. Physicians like myself need to educate our patients to weigh the pros and cons of vaccinating vs not vaccinating. These vaccines were developed for a reason – to save parents the anguish of potentially devastating diseases. Some are more severe and more common than others, and some are much more likely in certain situations.

I am 100% supportive of parents in whatever decision they make, as long as they are aware of all these “pros” and “cons.”

Please read Jeff Walsh’s comment above as well, there is definitely a gut component to autism – I very much agree.

Okay, so I tried to respond to as many comments as I could! Please let me know if you have additional questions.”

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41 Responses

  • Tracy A says:

    I agree…the issue is too complex to put blame on one particular item!

  • First thanks for visiting my blog most of the comments were in the Facebook comment :)
    Second I have to tell you as a first time mom I flipped out over everything I read on line regarding vaccines. It was terrifying honestly. It’s also hard to know what to believe. Most of that is because I have seen far too many commercials from lawyers offering help to a once “FDA” approved medicine. I really don’t trust the FDA at all.

    That said I wanted to also protect my daughter from horrible disease that it seems we’ve almost eradicated in our country because of our vaccines. I do opt out of some like like Rotavirus much to the dismay of my doctor. But he’s really good and listens to all my concerns and allows me to space out vaccines so my baby doesn’t get a ton at once.

    I’ll be visiting your site a lot more often because I believe that nutrition and alternative medicines are wonderful. And nature is the best healer besides God on the planet:) My mom is also dealing with some back issues so maybe I can find help via your site too. Have a great day and thanks for adding important information that truly helps people.

  • Heather says:

    I read a medical report (no easy task for a layperson, but I can read Latin, which helps) some months ago about a link between babies fed non-dha containing and autism. I was just wondering if you’d heard anything about this and if there was any veracity to the report (I believe it actually came from the American Board of Pediatrics).
    Also, my daughter has decided to breastfeed her son for two years (yeah!) I was just curious about things she could say to the neysayers (her mother-in-law, who I like and respect) to let them know she’s doing something very good for her son.

    Thank you sincerely,
    HL Rose

  • Anne Dachel says:

    Medical experts at Health and Human Services conceded the vaccine damage case of Hannah Poling. She’s the young Georgia girl who regressed into autism following routine vaccinations. CBS News ran the story: Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015982-10391695.html

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/.

  • Anne Dachel says:

    HDNet TV exposed the fact that while health officials continue to tell us studies show no link, the federal government has paid out millions of dollars for compensation for vaccine injuries that included autism.
    http://www.ebcala.org/unanswered-questions

    Video “Unanswered Questions” On HDNet TV: http://blip.tv/hdnet-world-report/vaccines-and-autism-mixed-signals-5479546.

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

  • Anne Dachel says:

    The short trailer to the movie The Greater Good, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulmEGb
    makes it clear that there are experts on both sides and a lot of serious questions that need to be asked. The medical community and health officials promote vaccines as the greatest achievement in modern medicine yet there is growing fear over vaccine side effects.

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/

  • Anne Dachel says:

    A great resource is the Homefirst Medical Practice in Chicago, run by Mayer Eisenstein, MD, author of Don’t Vaccinate Before You Educate. http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Vaccinate-Before-You-Educate/dp/096704443X

    Dr. Eisenstein has a medical practice with no autism. He’s had over 35,000 children in his care and they don’t receive vaccines.

    http://recoveringnicholas.com/2011/04/02/dr-mayer-eisenstein-why-my-practice-has-virtually-no-autism/

    http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted_h.html

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    Autism now affects one in every 50 U.S. children, including one in every 31 boys, as of March 20, 2013. The cause, cure and prevention are all unknown officially.

    In the 1970s, the autism rate was one in every 10,000 kids and almost no one knew anyone with autism. That changed when the definition was broadened in 1994 to include other behaviors doctors were seeing in children. At that point the numbers exploded.
    1995 1:500
    2001 1:250
    2004 1:166
    2007 1:150
    2009 1:110
    2012 1:88
    2013 1:50
    Some people claim that all the autism is the result of better diagnosing of a disorder that’s always been around. If that were true, the rate would have leveled out between 1995 and 2000, after the definition was changed in 1994. That hasn’t happened.

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism.

  • Anne Dachel says:

    It isn’t “celebrity driven fear” that’s behind the controversy over vaccines and autism. It’s the tens of thousands of parents everywhere talking about their children who were born healthy and were developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly they lost learned skills and regressed into autism. Doctors can’t explain this but they do have lots of studies—all found to have ties to the vaccine makers—that show no link.

    This link shows the dramatic increase in the number of vaccine our children received between 1983 and 2012.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-arqv6t8VacY/T7QvOcTrpmI/AAAAAAAAD-U/EBqU4n3R0SE/s1600/VaxCDC.png

    Where is even one study on the cumulative effect of the increasing number of vaccines in the childhood schedule? THERE ISN’T ONE.

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    No one is saying that every case of autism is caused by vaccines, but the mounting evidence points to vaccines as major factors.

    There are over 200 independent studies done by well-credentialed experts that raise serious concerns about vaccine side effects shown on The Greater Good website. http://www.greatergoodmovie.org/learn-more/science/

    Also see the National Vaccine Information Center http://www.nvic.org/,

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism http://www.ageofautism.com/.

  • Anne Dachel says:

    The MMR vaccine has not been cleared of a link to autism. The controversy is very much alive. The debate began in the 1990′s and one British doctor, Andrew Wakefield has been blamed for linking this vaccine to bowel disease and autism. Many powerful forces have tried to silence him but he continues to talk about the evidence he’s seen.

    Oct 7, 2009 CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson interviews Andrew Wakefield: Controversy Over Vaccine Research http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTh97pANTxc

    Apr 8, 2010 Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield on His MMR Study http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIsFW5phHas&feature=related

    Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Andrew Wakefield talk about autism, childhood vaccine safety, and his controversial MMR study.

    Sept, 2011 Alex Jones: Deadly Inoculations with Dr. Andrew Wakefield http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUpahcqC2OM

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    To understand the damage from the MMR, listen to the parents of the injured children.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id_AxZ3zHAc

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    The stunning movie, Hear the Silence, http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/03/hear-the-silence-a-film-about-autism.html stars the outstanding British actor, Hugh Bonneville, as Dr. Wakefield. I interviewed Dr. Wakefield about the making of this film.

    Anne Dachel, Medical editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    To understand how autism is affecting children and families, look at the new book, The Thinking Moms’ Revolution.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Thinking-Moms-Revolution-Inspiring/dp/B00BYB0KE0

    “The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR) is a group of 23 moms (and one awesome dad) from Montana to Malaysia who all have children with developmental disabilities. Initially collaborating online about therapies, biomedical intervention, alternative medicine, special diets, and doctors on the cutting edge of treatment approaches to an array of chronic and developmental disabilities, such as autism, sensory processing disorders, food allergies, ADHD, asthma, and seizures, they’ve come together into something far more substantial.

    “Suspecting that some of the main causes may be overused medicines, vaccinations, environmental toxins, and processed foods, they began a mission to help reverse the effects. In the process, they became a tight-knit family dedicated to helping their kids shed their diagnoses.”

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

  • Anne Dachel says:

    One of the mothers included in the book, Alison MacNeil, was just on Fox
    News talking about the book: http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/04/alison-macneil-on-fox-friend-leading-the-thinking-moms-revolution.html

    Anne Dachel, Age of Autism

  • John Stone says:

    But Schultz et al in 2008 highlighted the combination of MMR and Tylenol:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445737

    So, these are not necessarily alternative theories. Another paper revealed that MMR caused high fever in 6% of infants:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/4/1422.full

  • amanda says:

    No one is blaming autism solely on vaccines.
    Obviously there are a host of genetic and environmental causation factors. The problem is we cannot change our genes but we can avoid environmental triggers.
    I would LOVE for there to be no autism/ vaccine safety debate. How wonderful that would be!
    But I took a healthy typically developing toddler for 7 vaccines and he was never the same. 12 hrs of screaming followed, refusing to sleep, rashes everywhere, constant diarrhea, loss o language. It was wasn’t a coincidence, the reaction STARTED ON THE CAR RIDE HOME from the doctor.

    There is nothing celebrity driven about this! Ha! Right, I wanted all this to happen because I read about in “Us” magazine. The CDC study of its own products (it holds vaccine patents and creates the schedule) is so terrible. Go to SafeMinds.org or 14 studies.org to see vaccine safety studies conducted by those with no conflicts of interest.

    Moms like me believe in vaccination but there is no “moving past” my son. There are too many stories like his.

  • nhokkanen says:

    You don’t realize that the CDC’s own statistics, emails and other documents show that vaccines cause autism. Parents and advocates have obtained them via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA).
    http://putchildrenfirst.org/index2.html
    http://www.fourteenstudies.org/studies.html

    In 2011 the Pace Environmental Law Review looked at vaccine injury cases compensated by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program; 83 victims of vaccine-induced encephalopathy were labeled autistic. The true question is, how many more similarly injured children exist?
    http://www.ebcala.org/unanswered-questions
    http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss2/6/

    Regarding the MMR, read about the exoneration of UK Professor John Walker Smith, who participated in the 1998 MMR autism study. Meanwhile around the world, parents discuss online how their children with autism suffer from a variety of painful gastrointestinal disorders; some have lab tests showing vaccine-strain measles in lesions lining their GI tracts.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mmr-doctor-john-walkersmith-wins-high-court-appeal-7543114.html
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/03/professor-john-walker-smith-exonerated-in-autism-mmr-case.html

    Last year an Italian court conceded that the MMR vaccine caused autism in a nine-year-old boy.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/italian-court-reignites-mmr-vaccine-debate-after-award-over-child-with-autism-7858596.html

    Much, much more referenced reading material is available linking autism to vaccines, if one is open-minded to inconvenient truths beyond environmental causality.

    If you truly desire to help heal children, listen to all parents — not skewed statistics from pharmaceutical companies and their government cronies. Vaccines have physical effects beyond what scientists know… or choose to know.

  • Jeff Walsh says:

    It’s not about the MMR vaccine per say, but all toxins in general, which includes all vaccines. There is a genetic factor (not being able to deplete toxins) so vaccines and other environmental toxins get built up in the body and create toxic-overload. This causes things like leaky gut, allergies, candida, parasites, bad bacteria like clostridium, etc. Heavy metals create a perfect environment for these kinds of things to live and the out come from all of this create the physical and mental symptoms we call autism. Heal the gut, and you heal the brain. Once you start removing the candida, heavy metals, parasites, etc, the autism symptoms go away and kids are being healed. There’s obviously a lot more to it diet, support, etc… but this is the main idea and it works. Also to say the hype is caused by celebrities is simply not true. The “hype” is caused by parents with vaccine injured kids and there are thousands. You are correct regarding methylation and glutathione etc…but vaccines are a big part of this poisoning of our kids. There is genetic testing available to determine if your kids should be vaccinated to see if they have any of the genetic issues with detoxifying.

  • cycle3man says:

    Dear Dr Dr. Erika Krumbeck Quote from your article: “I believe we are doing the autistic community a disservice by continuing to wage a war of words regarding autism and vaccines. Though no study has looked at the totality of vaccines, at least the MMR vaccine/Autism link has been emphatically disproven in literature.”

    My Response: I can care less what you believe. Tens of thousands of parents have seen their children leave a normal developmental path and drop into the world of Autism, after meeting all developmental milestones while receiving the CDC prescribed sequence of vaccines, until around the 18th month after receiving the MMR jab they faded. Now vaccines may not be the only contributor to this epidemic but sure as all get out vaccines are a heavy contributor. Vaccines are not tested to a standard of “DO NO HARM” before being approved to be brought to market. For example do you know of any testing that is done to prove that there isn’t a negative synergism between a new vaccine being considered and existing vaccine that are presently approved??? That’s one example of a test deficit. I can run on but I think you get the idea. Things just may not be the way you would like them to be>>> Have a nice day!

  • Ann Bauer says:

    Please continue to discuss acetaminophen and help the research community to see this is an exposure worth investigating. Acetaminophen is one of the most prevalent exposures in pregnant women and children. It can reduce gluthathione and induce immune dysfunction and oxidative stress, all known to occur with autism. There is gender specific toxicity affecting boys more than girls. The timeline of it’s widespread use corresponds with the timeline of autism. A paper by Shannon Dean et al. 2012 shows that acetaminophen and NSAIDs administered to rats during the early postnatal period alters normal brain development specifically in males. Since the mid-1990′s, boys have routinely been given 5-7 doses of acetaminophen when circumcised. A peer reviewed paper soon to be published identifies a very high correlation between the human population rates of circumcision and autism. There is only one small case-control study investigating this and no published cohort studies, why?

  • Bob Moffiitt says:

    Hi Dr. Krumbeck

    As the proud grandfather of a lovable thirteen year old .. non verbal boy .. who “regressed” in many areas .. not the least of which was his just developing communication skills .. I thought I would “share my thoughts” on the possibility of the many vaccines he received, most of which contained thimerosal, a mercury based preservative then routinely an ingredient in childhood vaccines .. as a contributing factor to his “regression” and subsequent diagnosis as autistic.

    I think we can agree there are a whole host of environmental chemicals and individual immune system factors .. that may be contributing to the autism epidemic .. such as those you mentioned: flame retardants, heavy metals, defects in detoxification pathways (sulphation or methylation) or glutamine dysfunction.

    Do you agree a new born infant should receive the HEP B within hours of birth, ostensibly to protect that new born infant from a disease that is primarily spread through unprotected sexual promiscurity or exposure to contaminated needles?

    Do you also agree that new born infant should then be administered the recommended and approved schedule .. eight vaccines at two months, eight vaccines at four months, nine vaccines at six months, with twelve additional vaccines between twelve and eightteen months .. for a total of 38 vaccines by the time they are one and a half years old?

    Can you understand why some parents remain concerned regarding the exposure by “injection” .. of toddlers .. to numerous antigens .. and.. numerous adjuvants in vaccines .. at the most critical time of their neurological and physical development? Especially when so many toddlers are suffering numerous chronic autoimmune diseases, not the least of which is autism? Why these parents may be more concerned regarding the numbers of vaccines their toddler receives .. than their toddler being exposed to”flame retardants, pet shampoos, air pollution, too much television watching, etc”?

    Just wondering if you believe that families such as my own are “wackos” for being hesitant to continue vaccinating their child according to the approved and recommended schedule after personally witnessing and experiencing the “regression” our child suffers to this day?

  • joejoe says:

    Erika Krumbeck, is an MD wanna be since she talks as if she’s pushing the medical agenda.With that kind of language and ignorance in the vaccine induced autism epidemic, its a wonder she gets any patients at all!

  • Nancy says:

    Finally the voice of reason!!! Thank you for this piece. the need to look for environmental influences on autism other than vaccines has been way underplayed. On top of the environmental factors you mentioned, wireless radiation may also have an influence. Please check this out. http://www.scribd.com/doc/87560084/It-Just-Makes-Sense-2012

  • DC Hardy says:

    You are obviously a thoughtful and caring pediatrician. But so was the pediatrician who told me, a concerned mother, that all those people who thought there was a connection between autism and vaccines were deluded, and that vaccines were both completely safe and necessary for my child’s health. When my son began having seizures following his MMR, that same pediatrician shuffled away and found every excuse not to continue as my child’s doctor.

    You believe we should move beyond the debate, but as the parent of a child who regressed immediately following his vaccines, I can promise you that it will never be time to move beyond the debate until the questions are *legitimately* answered. The study that looked at one ingredient in one vaccine (which was done by a researcher who is now on the FBI’s most wanted list) cannot possibly be considered firm scientific evidence that the current vaccine schedule of 36 vaccines (many combined in a single visit) and all given in the first fragile years of life is safe for children with developing immune systems.

    Why are there no studies that comparing the reactions of fully-vaccinated children versus the many, many children who are not vaccinated by choice?

    You asked if I saw regression in my child, and I almost had to smile because “regression” is such a nice, safe word for my beautiful, wonderful child’s future, and mine, being stolen from us because no doctor had the courage to give me true informed consent and warn me that vaccine damage can, and does happen.

    My son was five years old when I brought him in to be vaccinated for school. His vaccinations had been delayed because we had been displaced for three years due to Hurricane Katrina. He was bright, full of laughter and healthy- a typical five-year-old. Within hours of receiving his MMR, he began to seize. Within weeks, he lost skills, lost skills, lost eye contact, became rigid in his limbs, could no longer eat certain foods without vomiting, and began crying almost daily from being in pain. My son didn’t regress. He was brain-damaged from vaccines that not only alter the natural pathology of infectious disease by going straight into his bloodstream (and right into his brain), but continue their damage thanks to lovely neuro-toxic ingredients like formaldehyde and aluminum.

    He is now labeled as autistic, and may be dependent on us, and society, for the rest of his life. He struggles every day, as do we, his family. No insurance will cover him, and no life insurance will take him because the chances of him dying before he reaches the age of 15 are too high. I have given up my career as an attorney to become an advocate of one- my child. And I have now joined the ranks of those parents who are called “deluded” because I dare to believe what I saw happen with my own eyes.

    My son was medically damaged by the very people who were supposed to “first, do no harm.” As a fellow mother, I plead with you to read the science between vaccines and autism, because it is there. If it wasn’t, the Supreme Court would not have been able to concede that Hannah Poling’s autism was caused by vaccination, and the Vaccine Injury Court would not have awarded damaged in 80 cases where they also admitted that children had been brain-damaged, resulting in autism, by vaccines. It happens. IT HAPPENS. It is happening, and will continue to happen until doctors have the courage to speak the truth, even if it affects their bottom line. Vaccine science provided by vaccine-makers and those with vested interests in vaccine sales is not science at all. It is tobacco science, and reeks of the age when doctors did cigarette commercials and urged pregnant women to light up to calm their nerves, because the CDC and AMA , heavily lobbied by tobacco companies, promised them that tobacco was safe.

    You asked if I had a child with autism who has not been vaccinated, but I would like to tell you that I have two children: one who was vaccinated, and regressed into autism, is constantly sick, and one who was *never* vaccinated, and has had exactly one cold in all two years of life, hitting every milestone and strong as an ox. My second child is undoubtedly my healthiest child, and I am forever grateful in the knowledge that my first-born, brain-damaged son will have a healthy, strong, and vocal advocate to look after him when my husband and I are gone. Perhaps by then, doctors will have begun to listen to the tidal wave of parents who saw their children regress, and will have the courage to put science, medicine, and the safety of *people* before the safety of their careers.

    I pray that it happens sooner than later, so that the next mother’s child never has to watch her child slip away from a supposedly “safe” vaccine. I pray that you will be one of the doctors who has the courage to dig deeper than the party line, and to learn of the many, many studies that connect the side-effects of vaccines with brain damage, gut damage, and yes, autism.

  • Maria says:

    Why doctors and media keep defaulting to the, “celebrity driven fear” line? Many of us with children who have Regressive Autism suspected vaccines LONG before Jenny McCarthy ever opened her mouth. I mean, Barbara Lowe Fisher wrote, “Shot in the Dark” back in the 80′s. It’s not like Jenny McCarthy made us all collectively go, “Yeah, gee…it must be the vaccines. I’d never thought of that before.” Please give parents more credit than that.

    Yes, I saw a change in my son after a 6 month DPT/Prevnar visit, but I also look at the context of what was going on with his health around the time he got that shot. He had been sick, so sick that he was admistered two antibiotic Rocepherin shots, which obviously would have wiped out all those good bacteria in his gut, which comprises 60% of the immune system. We took him in a few days later to see if he was getting better and he was. Pediatrician said he was due for two shots and it never occurred to me not to allow it since he had just been sick and was still on antibiotics. And yes, I gave him Tylenol because the doctors told me to (and my son has consistently been shown to have low glutatione and cysteine levels and he has genenic mutations along the transulfation and other methylation pathways). He was never the same after that. I had to struggle to get his attention. My baby, who once would not nap unless curled up next to me, now didn’t notice when I came and left from a room. And he became so floppy.

    I don’t blame the vaccine companies; I blame the doctor. I honestly believe if he would have been given those shots while healthy we would not be having this conversation. With more and more vaccines being crowed on the schedule the likelihood of a baby being vaccinated while sick and on antibiotics at some point is very high. When I was a child if a child was sick, or even had been sick, doctors would wait. Now for so many of them it is grab ‘em and stab ‘em, even if they are sick.

    I think you are right that we need studies that just look at the Regressive cohort. I’ve never thought all or even most autism is triggered by vaccines, but that doesn’t rule out them being part of the picture for a subset. I think Autism research will always be biased until it studies that condition in subgroups. Like former NIH Director Bernadine Healy said, you have to actually study the population that regressed. This same problem happens with that GFCF diet research. The Rochester study excluded kids with GI issues then concluded GFCF not helpful in Autism. But it was only even the parents of kids with Autism/GI issues that claimed CFCF diet helpful in the first place.

    Question: since you acknowledge that these kids have problems along the transulfation pathway and that heavy metals could be a problem for them, then wouldn’t it follow that they’d also have a problem extreting the metals in the shots?

    Thank you for your article and for asking for our opinions. So few doctors actually want to hear our opinions on this issue, so it means a lot to me when someone does.

  • David H. Payne M.D. says:

    VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM

    Dr Krumbeck there actually is no debate. There is the American Academy of Pediatrics who are paid tools of the Pharmaceutical industry shoving vaccinations down the throats of the American public with ABSOLUTELY no level 1 research to base it on.

    Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated prospective randomized double blind study done by a party with no financial or other relevant conflicts is the order of the day. Then it should be repeated for confirmation- this should have been done first

    We really do expect pediatricians to be ethical scientist who are well read and informed and practicing medicine with a “do no harm first” posture as you swore you would do.

    There will not be very many pediatricians if ANY in heaven. SAVE YOURSELF DO THE RIGHT THING

    VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM

  • Thank you all for your comments, I truly appreciate your thoughts.

    There clearly is much more to be said about the autism/vaccine debate than can fit into the Missoulian’s 300 word space. My point regarding autism is that we need to move beyond just vaccines – that autism is a multifactorial neurological process that is much too complex to be explained away by vaccinations.

    I understand that many parents have seen regression in their children after vaccines – this post isn’t to diminish that observation in any way.

    I think that Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride (Author of the now famous “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” book) has a very intelligent answer to this debate. She basically states that vaccines can end up being the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” so to speak. I agree. For children who are genetically predisposed (low sulfation and methylation abilities), with environmental insults the vaccine ends up being the last thing that completely depletes glutathione. When that happens the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals is compromised which leads to oxidative damage, especially in the brain (or possibly at the blood-brain barrier). The result is regressive autism.

    My point is that it is not the vaccine that is the culprit, necessarily. Epidemiological research shows us that rates of autism are similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated children – if not the vaccine, then something else would likely end up being the “final straw.” Many of the parents in my practice have the same hunch.

    To that end, I believe that MMR is actually LESS likely to cause or be a partial culprit in precipitating autism compared with other vaccines. (Actually, one piece of literature shows LOWER rates of autism in children vaccinated for MMR!) As a physician I am much more concerned about the aluminum-containing vaccines like DTaP, PCV and HiB which I think place a greater strain on the body’s ability to detoxify. It is incredibly unfortunate that no study has ever been performed comparing the full CDC schedule of vaccines vs. unvaccinated children. It is also very concerning that the latest Cochrane review for the MMR vaccine states that safety data is lacking (though they did state that there is no evidence to support an MMR-autism link, since that is one thing that HAS been studied).

    So no, I am NOT a “pro-vaccine” physician, though I am also in no way an “anti-vaccine” physician. There is much that needs to be worked out in science. Physicians like myself need to educate our patients to weigh the pros and cons of vaccinating vs not vaccinating. These vaccines were developed for a reason – to save parents the anguish of potentially devastating diseases. Some are more severe and more common than others, and some are much more likely in certain situations.

    I am 100% supportive of parents in whatever decision they make, as long as they are aware of all these “pros” and “cons.”

    Please read Jeff Walsh’s comment above as well, there is definitely a gut component to autism – I very much agree.

    Okay, so I tried to respond to as many comments as I could! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

  • Lastly – if you believe your child has a vaccine injury please PLEASE report it to VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). Your doctor does NOT have to agree with you.

    I am pulling all the hard data from VAERS for my vaccine talk at the end of this month. It is obvious from the numbers I’m seeing that most adverse events are NOT being reported (there would be more events even in a random population!).

    Here is the link to report an event: http://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index

  • Maria says:

    Dear Dr. Krumbeck,

    Thank you. You are clearly a nuanced thinker who considers data and parent reports.

    I think it makes the most sense to learn to identify ahead of time which babies are at risk for vaccine injury due to methylation issues or family history of autoimmune conditions and allow them to opt out, rather than for parents to opt their kids out on a population basis. Most vaccines need 90 -95% compliance rate for the herd effect, some lower than that even. If the percentage of people who cannot tolerate them is 1% to 2% or less then we could still protect them and protect the rest of the population at the same time. But I don’t think that will ever happen because the powers that be will never acknowledge that even small perctage of people might not be able to tolerate all vaccines. They want this to be E for everyone and that is just not reality. So those of us with metabolically sensitive kids will have to continue under this immense pressure to further vaccinate our already harmed children under the threat of exclusion school, and who knows what else in the future.

    • Maria,

      I totally agree. As it stands right now a chunk of the population isn’t vaccinating anyways due to fear! Some of those kids probably should be vaccinated (to create herd immunity) and some very well may have methylation or sulfation defects and perhaps shouldn’t be vaccinated. And some kids who are vaccinated probably shouldn’t be!

      It’s just another example of how one-size-fits-all is really one-size-fits-no-one-very-well. Medicine never works well when we lump everyone together.

      Also, our vaccination schedule needs some close attention. Hepatitis A for low risk populations? HiB vaccines for everyone to prevent a total of ~250 cases of invasive HiB per year? Inactivated Polio Vaccines which don’t promote herd immunity at all?

      The other piece that infuriates me is the lack of philosophical or religious exemption in many states, including Montana where I practice. I don’t believe children should be forced to be homeschooled just because a parent refuses to vaccinate. Believe me, I completely understand the public health authority and why the mandate is in place (to “protect” the weakest kids!), but I believe it is in violation of our rights.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hi Mary, I recently became pregnant and am weighing this debate in my mind. I really appreciate your non-biased and caring take on this subject. My grandmother believes my aunt’s autism is linked to her getting her booster shots. She came home with a 105 degree fever that very day and it resulted in severe brain damage. With this in mind, I am not sure if my own children would have what you referred to as methylation and sulfation. Is there anyway to predetermine this with prenatal tests? I am considering using a delayed vaccination plan and am also debating which ones are necessary and which aren’t. I am vaccinated and have suffered no ill side effects- no food allergies, depression, obesity, ADD, etc which some believe are linked to ingredients in vaccines. But I also understand the the number of vaccines children receive on average is higher than any of us who grew up in the 50s-90s. I have so much to research and am trying to find credible sources. This can be tricky, especially not being a medical professional and trying to seek alternative information. Have you heard of Mary Tocco? I was really interested in her research but coming across your page I know I have much more sources to consider. This has been a very emotional and heated topic to even try and converse with people about! I will be getting the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book.

        • Hi Elizabeth,

          Vaccine resources can be incredibly tricky. I did an extensive research project and created a webinar for my patients exactly for that reason. I highly recommend checking it out – http://udemy.com/vaccines-demystified It is 100% research-based, unbiased vaccine information, my patients have found it to be very helpful in trying to narrow down which vaccines they want to do first and which they are comfortable with delaying. Some vaccines, for example, prevent diseases which are incredibly rare in breastfed babies, whereas others are more common and potentially more dangerous. I also discuss all the information about aluminum in vaccines, thimerosal, autism, etc.

          Let me know what you think!

          In Health,

          Dr. Erika

  • Pingback: AnneDachel.com » Blog Archive » The Missoulian (MT) Op Ed: “It’s time to move beyond the autism/vaccine debate”

  • epiann says:

    There is new preliminary data supporting an association between acetaminophen and autism. Please help shape the research agenda in this country and demand rigorous epidemiologic studies.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673819/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534986

  • Hello! I hope you do not mind but I decided to post your
    web site: http://www.mtwholehealth.com/2013/04/its-time-to-move-beyond-the-autism-vaccine-debate to my online directory.
    I used, “It’s time to move beyond the autism/vaccine debate.” as your blog title.
    I hope this is alright with you. In case you’d like me to change the title or perhaps remove it entirely, email me at jim-slayton@arcor.de. Thank you.

  • Tina says:

    Thank you for posting this article. Whenever anyone blames autism on vaccines I want to punch them in the face. There are several reasonable arguments against not vaccinating your children, to prevent autism is not one of them. My son is autistic and he is vaccinated, but the vaccinations did not cause his autism. I’ve found that many people who are “anti-vaccine” don’t know squat about autism, other than it’s some horrible thing you don’t want your children to have. Yes, that is true on the surface, but it is SO MUCH more than that. So again, thank you for this post.

  • Pingback: Just say “NO” to Tylenol! (Acetaminophen causes autism) | Wausau News

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