Many people continue to doubt the evidence for climate change, evolution, and vaccine safety, even though the scientific consensus on these issues is rock solid. Among the most troubling evidence-resistant theories is the long-debunked yet persistent myth that vaccines cause autism—a completely unfounded belief–leading to general doubts about vaccine safety, with dangerous public health consequences.
Autism is incredibly frustrating from a genetic point of view. Every study clearly shows that genetics plays an important role in this disease. But when these studies try to find a cause, they keep coming up short.
The scientists estimate that environmental factors common to twins explains 55% of susceptibility to autism, whereas genetics accounts for only 37%.
Learn more about the origins of the debate over vaccines and autism and what the current theories are from author of The Panic Virus, Seth Mnookin, at tonight's Down to a Science.
Post on Mar 08, 2011 by Laura Khalil
Concerned by the increase in the number of children who are starting kindergarten without all their vaccines, public health officials in the Bay Area will look into the possibility of tightening the system that allows parents to opt out from mandatory immunizations.
Post on Oct 13, 2010 by Gabriela Quirós
February was a big month in the debate about the possible role of vaccines in causing autism, a subject we covered in last year's TV story, Autism: Searching for Causes and several blog posts. The claim-–that there might be a link between the immunizations children receive and the onset of autism–-has recently taken some hard hits.
Post on Mar 04, 2009 by Rachel Zurer
It's challenging to report on an illness such as autism, which scientists and doctors are only beginning to understand (the disease was described in the 1940s) and over which there is so much debate. There is even disagreement around the question of whether or not there has been a real increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism in California.
Post on Aug 19, 2008 by Gabriela Quirós