Vaccines and Autism

A worldwide increase in the rate of autism diagnoses—likely driven by broadened diagnostic criteria and increased awareness—has fuelled concerns that an environmental exposure like vaccines might cause autism. Substantial data demonstrate immune abnormality in many autistic children consistent with impaired resistance to infection, activation of inflammatory response, and autoimmunity. T lymphocytes (t cells) are abnormal in many autistic children. Cytokines from t cells regulate the full spectrum of antibody and cell-mediated response, the latter being particularly important in resistance to viral infections. In autism, there is clear-cut evidence of activation of the immune response system, which may be due to innate, toxic, or infectious influences - or some combination of these factors.  Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child (even if the parent does not have autism). Certain environmental influences may further increase – or reduce – autism risk in people who are genetically predisposed to the disorder.

  • Do vaccines for children cause autism?
  • Research supports vaccinating
  • Autism genetic risk factors
  • Autism environmental risk factors
  • A pattern of depressed resistance in autism

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