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Thursday, March 28, 2024

More on Shanahan's Falsehoods

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

One of those issues also happens to be a passion of mine and a focus of my philanthropic work, chronic disease. I got into it through my own journey of reproductive health, followed by a steep learning curve for caring for my daughter who has an autism diagnosis. In that journey, I discovered that women's fertility is in precipitous decline around the world. We are facing a crisis in reproductive health that is embedded in the larger epidemic of chronic disease. Because it has been so personal for me and my daughter, I got deep into the research and consulted some of the best scientists and doctors. Let me tell you what I found. There are three main causes. One, is the toxic substances in our environment, like endocrine disrupting chemicals in our food, water, and soil, like the pesticide residues, the industrial pollutants, the microplastics, the PFAs, the food additives, and the forever chemicals that have contaminated nearly every human cell. Yes, and it makes you angry to hear this. It makes me angry to say it because we shouldn't be here right now.

Second is electromagnetic pollution. You don't hear politicians talking much about that either, but it is something we need to look at. As Bobby says, we need to investigate every possible cause of the chronic disease epidemic that is devouring our nation from the inside.

Third, I'm sorry to say, is our own medications. Pharmaceutical medicine has its place, but no single safety study can assess the cumulative impact of one prescription on top of another prescription, and one shot on top of another shot on top of another shot, throughout the course of childhood. We just don't do that study right now and we ought to. We can and we will. Conditions like autism used to be one in 10,000. Now here in the state of California it is one in 22. One in 22 children affected. Allergies. Obesity. Anxiety. Depression. Our children are not well. Our people are not well. And our country will not be well for very much longer if we don't heed this desperate call for attention.

 D'Angelo Gore, Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson at
Her remarks ignored the main reasons for the rise in autism prevalence, and they left the impression that childhood vaccines are a cause — a debunked idea that Kennedy has repeatedly pushed for years.

The prevalence of children identified as having autism has increased significantly over the past several decades. But, while there may be some true increase in autism, the major reasons for the rise are increased awareness of the disorder and changes in how it is defined and diagnosed, as we’ve explained in previous articles.

As we’ve also explained before, in a story debunking Kennedy’s false and misleading assertions about autism, there are some known factors that have likely led to a slight true increase in autism, including a rise in births to older parents and in infants with birth complications who survive.

And an increased risk of autism also has been associated with genetics, prenatal exposure to air pollution or pesticides, as well as certain maternal health conditions.

However, there’s no evidence childhood vaccines are linked to the neurodevelopmental disorder, and scientists have studied the issue extensively, looking into multiple suggested components and vaccine types.

David Mandell, a psychiatric epidemiologist, health services researcher and director of the Center for Mental Health at the University of Pennsylvania, told us for our prior story, “Every single rigorous study we have” shows “no association” between autism and vaccination.