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Friday, August 7, 2015

The Donald and Autism

In The Politics of Autism, I mention the rise of autism as an issue in presidential campaigns.

In February, Brendan James reported at TPM:
Business magnate Donald Trump showed up on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham's show on Tuesday morning to declare he had personally seen vaccines cause "horrible autism" in children. But he insisted that he remains "totally pro-vaccine."

"I've known people that had totally magnificent children, functioning a hundred percent, everything beautiful, smart as a whip, and they go for this shot and get this shot of this massive dose, of everything at one time, and they end up with horrible autism," Trump said.
The mogul and sometimes presidential candidate repeated that he has seen children go from being "exceptional" to "autistic" several more times during the show.
"It's amazing that it's never discussed," he added, saying that he's gotten thanks from people who are "incensed in terms of what's going on with vaccines."
Emily Willingham writes at Forbes:
Donald Trump is leading the GOP field in polls of Republican voters. This fact has some grabbing the popcorn, others tearing out their hair, and still others shaking their heads at the state of US politics today. But if you’re among the one in four adults in the US with a mental health condition, if you have an interest in children’s health, or if you love an autistic person, then you might view Trump as more troubling than bemusing or amusing.
Eight years ago, Trump was evidently convinced that vaccines cause autism—or at least, vaccines as administered according to the recommended schedule. He decided in 2007, he said at the time, to have his son administered “one shot at a time” in what he described as “a very slow process.” He also said that his “theory is the shots” are responsible for autism.
Trump seemed to have been under the impression that a children gets a dozen or more vaccines at once, perhaps from a quart-sized syringe with a pump on it, given his comments at a 2007 press conference:
When a little baby that weighs 20 pounds and 30 pounds gets pumped with 10 and 20 shots at one time, with one injection that’s a giant injection
Seven years later, he still seems to have thought that the injections are “massive” and that children being immunized against infectious disease are being treated like horses. Here is the vaccine schedule for children ages 0 to 6 years. Here is the vaccine schedule for horses. Here is how vaccines have changed over the years, now having far fewer of the components that trigger the immune system while still being effective.