Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor

Is there a link between vaccinations and autism and related problems?

Vaccinations are one of the great advances of medicine. They have saved millions of lives, avoided countless cases of disability, and alleviated immeasurable suffering.

The Hib vaccination is an excellent example. Before this vaccine, there were approximately 20,000 cases of Hib related disease in the U.S. each year. Of those, 600 children would die. Survivors suffered from deafness, seizures, or mental retardation. Measles is another good example. If the vaccination were discontinued, there would be 2.7 million deaths worldwide each year.

Nonetheless, the presumed link to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is of increasing concern among parents and medical professionals.

While there are theories that vaccinations may be involved, genetics is a likely contributor. Scientific studies show no link between ASD and vaccinations: ASD rates don’t vary with vaccine practice; vaccinations do not cause or contribute to ASD. As always, your primary care provider can be an invaluable source of information.

“Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)” is a collection of disorders of brain development that affect about 1 in 160 children. There are combinations of factors that relate to an increase in incidence. These include more behaviors and disorders being included in the definition of ASD as well as being more readily recognized by medical professionals.

Ralph Locher, MD, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, joined Ministry Medical Group in 1995.

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