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LETTER: Setting record straight on vacanations

To the Editor: I'd like to congratulate Dr. Christine Arnold on her recent award and recognition for supporting childhood vaccinations. However, in the recent news article describing this award there were several statements that I feel should be ...

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To the Editor:

I'd like to congratulate Dr. Christine Arnold on her recent award and recognition for supporting childhood vaccinations.

However, in the recent news article describing this award there were several statements that I feel should be clarified.

The article stated that the link between autism and the MMR vaccine was started by a French scientist who only saw it in three kids, and this is not accurate. The original controversy was started by a British physician named Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet. He made a very weak association between the MMR vaccine and autism through a biased and poorly done study on 12 children.

The article has since been retracted from The Lancent and Andrew Wakefield has had his license revoked. Since then there have been numerous studies performed by multiple different groups that have not been able to show any association between MMR and autism.

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Time magazine has an excellent review of this topic from Feb 28, 2018 called "The Vaccine-Autism Myth Started 20 Years Ago. Here's Why It Still Endures Today"

Another misleading statement in the article describes outbreaks and "non-immunized children ... especially on the coasts." There have already been disease outbreaks from groups choosing not to vaccinate in the Midwest, including areas of Nebraska, Minnesota and even Mitchell, in recent years.

Finally, one might see signs of autism by 9 months, but one would be irresponsible to suggest that it can be diagnosed with certainty one way or another at that age. I'll refer to a statement from Lauren Elder, PhD who specializes in autism and provided an answer to this on the website autismspeaks.org: "As for autism, studies demonstrate that behavioral signs can begin to emerge as early as 6 to 12 months. However, most professionals who specialize in diagnosing the disorder won't attempt to make a definite diagnosis until 18 months. This is because autism symptoms can continue to emerge - or fade away - until around 24 months. At that time, we say that an autism diagnosis tends to become 'stable.'"

Jesse Barondeau, MD

Mitchell

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