Do you know why some folks still think vaccines are associated with autism?
It is simply because we can’t tell them what does cause autism.
“In the absence of a specific etiology for ASDs, and a tendency among parents of children with a disability to feel a strong sense of guilt, it is not surprising that parents attempt to form their own explanations for the disorder in order to cope with the diagnosis.”
Mercer et al on Parental perspectives on the causes of an autism spectrum disorder in their children
So if we don’t have another answer – then it must be vaccines.
That helps explain a lot of vaccine injury stories too.
For example, doctors often can’t tell you why your child has allergies, asthma, Celiac disease, diabetes, eczema, multiple sclerosis, POTS, SIDS, or thyroid problems, etc., which makes some people look to the mistaken theory that they were triggered by vaccines.
Of course, the answer isn’t that these are vaccine-induced diseases.
It simply demonstrates the limits of medical technology. Even if we don’t know what does cause many of these diseases, in almost all cases, it has been shown that they are not associated with vaccines.
Limits of 21st Century Medical Technology
Even in the 21st Century, science and medicine don’t have all of the answers.
And sometimes the answers are there, but are misinterpreted.
For example, the National Association of Medical Examiners makes the following distinctions on a medical certificate between manner of death:
- Natural — “due solely or nearly totally to disease and/or the aging process.”
- Accident — “there is little or no evidence that the injury or poisoning occurred with intent to harm or cause death. In essence, the fatal outcome was unintentional.”
- Suicide — “results from an injury or poisoning as a result of an intentional, self-inflicted act committed to do self-harm or cause the death of one’s self.”
- Homicide — “occurs when death results from…an injury or poisoning or from… a volitional act committed by another person to cause fear, harm, or death. Intent to cause death is a common element but is not required for classification as homicide.”
- Could not be determined — “used when the information pointing to one manner of death is no more compelling than one or more other competing manners of death when all available information is considered.”
- Pending investigation — “used when determination of manner depends on further information”
Why is this important to know?
Because many people confuse a natural cause of death as meaning that there was nothing wrong. That’s actually the opposite of what it means! A natural cause of death in a child means that they died because of a disease or condition.
Which disease or condition?
What was the underlying or immediate cause of death in these cases?
Limits and Uncertainty in Medicine
That’s where the limits of modern medicine and modern medical technology come in…
Maybe technology will change the future of healthcare – hopefully for the better, but there are still many things it can’t do.
Sure, we have indexed or mapped the entire human genome, but we still can’t often tell you why your child has a cough or runny nose, has developmental delays, or didn’t make it out of the PICU.
“…finding an underlying diagnosis for many conditions can be a very long and frustrating experience. A diagnosis can take as many as five years, and occasionally may never happen, especially with rare conditions. In addition, some experts say that between 30 to 40 percent of children with special needs do not have an exact diagnosis.”
NIH on Learning About An Undiagnosed Condition in a Child
Everyone wants answers when a child is sick or has unexplained signs and symptoms, especially when a child dies.
Unfortunately, while it may not get talked about often enough, there are many limits to modern medicine. There is often some uncertainty too.
“…when parents perceive greater uncertainty, they perceive less control over their child’s condition.”
Madeo et al on Factors Associated with Perceived Uncertainty among Parents of Children with Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
Doctors don’t know everything.
The best doctors are the ones that actually know that they don’t know everything.
But just because they don’t know everything, that doesn’t mean that they don’t know anything.
For example, not knowing what does cause autism doesn’t mean that we don’t know many of the things that aren’t linked to autism.
And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should use this an excuse to blame vaccines or to skip or delay any vaccines. Continuing to try and associate vaccines with autism doesn’t just frighten parents and leave kids unprotected, it hurts autistic families.
What to Know About Uncertainty in Medicine
While there is much uncertainty in modern medicine and doctors don’t have all of the answers, there is no evidence that vaccines are associated with autism.
More on Uncertainty in Medicine
- This Just In … Being Alive Linked to Autism
- Study – Parental perspectives on the causes of an autism spectrum disorder in their children.
- WHO – Autism Spectrum Disorders Fact Sheet
- Uncertainty in Medicine
- Nick Catone’s son dies tragically – blaming vaccines with no evidence
- A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine–Autism Wars
- Study – Wakefield’s affair: 12 years of uncertainty whereas no link between autism and MMR vaccine has been proved
- CDC – Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting
- Cause of death statements and certification of natural and unnatural deaths
- CDC – Sudden, Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Curriculum Guide
- CDC – National Center for Health Statistics
- What Does It Mean To Die Of Natural Causes?
- Possible Solutions to Common Problems in Death Certification
- National Association of Medical Examiners
- NIH – Learning About An Undiagnosed Condition in a Child
- Syndromes Without A Name
- Study – Factors Associated with Perceived Uncertainty among Parents of Children with Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
- Study – Factors Associated with Parental Adaptation to Children with an Undiagnosed Medical Condition.
- Coping with clinical uncertainty
- Tolerating Uncertainty — The Next Medical Revolution?
- Improving Diagnosis in Health Care
- When doctors know that they don’t know
- Joann Elmore: When diagnostic uncertainty hits home
- Study – The Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment of Medical Uncertainty.
- Study – Parents’ Perceptions of the Usefulness of Chromosomal Microarray Analysis for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Turning Science Fiction Into Science Reality