CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Autism is reaching epidemic levels in the United States.
Many theories have been proposed. For a while thimerosal, the mercury based preservative used in vaccines was suspected. Many parents, not wishing to put their infant children at risk, have refused to have their children vaccinated.
Now comes the news that the culprit is not the vaccines, or even the mercury based preservative. (In 2007 the FDA prohibited the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines). Instead, convincing evidence from multiple studies now points to the action of acetaminophen.
Since 1978, acetaminophen has routinely been given by American pediatricians with vaccinations to prevent fever and pain. That was the year a study was published linking aspirin to Reyes syndrome. (Subsequent studies have shown no linkage between aspirin and Reyes). A study from California shows how the autism rate rose sharply as acetaminophen was substituted for children's aspirin.
Enter William Shaw Ph.D., Director of the Great Plains Laboratories, who had been wrestling with the problem of the causes of autism for many years. His breakthrough Aha! came when he looked at the autism rates in Cuba. That island nation with a population of 11 million has only 185 cases of autism for a rate of 0.00168 percent. By comparison the Center for Disease Control on March 30 published data that shows the prevalence of autism in children up to age 8 to be 1 in 88 for a rate of 1.13 percent. This was a 23 percent increase over the previous survey in 2006.
The Cuban vaccination rate is 99 percent, and by age 6 each child has received 34 shots. By comparison vaccination rates in the United States for most shots are in the 85 percent range. The major difference is that in Cuba acetaminophen is available only by prescription, and is never given with vaccinations. Indeed the attitude of the Cuban medical establishment is that fever is a normal and beneficial side effect of vaccinations. It is seen as proof that the body's immune system is responding appropriately to the challenge of the vaccination. Their rule is not to give medication unless the fever is above 104F or lasts longer than two days.
The stark differences in rates of autism between the two nations led Shaw to conclude that it was not the vaccinations, but rather the acetaminophen that was the culprit for the sharp rise in autism in nations that routinely use products like Tylenol for children.