There's "convincing evidence" that the rise in autism and immune-related disorders in children is related to the "rapid increase in the number of vaccines given to children in the U.S.," according to noted immunologist Dr. J. Bart Classen.
Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, allergies, cancer (e.g. acute leukemia and myeloid leukemia), rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease have been on an alarming rise in children at the same time autism rates have climbed. For example, 1 in 133 people in the U.S. are now affected by celiac disease, in which the body's immune system attacks the small intestine.
The dramatic increases have occurred since the U.S. vastly increased the number of vaccines for children in the 1990's. Many scientists believe environmental factors, such as pollution and chemical exposures, play a role in disease prevalence. However, some differ on whether vaccines, as a specific environmental factor, play a role.
Dr. Classen sees a link: that the increasing number of vaccines administered to infants and children to boost their immunity causes an overload in some of them that makes their immune systems go haywire. His newest peer-reviewed paper is published in Molecular and Genetic Medicine (s1:025)(s1:2014). It presents evidence that U.S. vaccinations have created a "state of immune overload in the majority, or close to the majority of young U.S. children and that this is being manifested by related health issues including epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and autism."
"We have been publishing for years that vaccines are causing an epidemic of inflammatory diseases including diabetes, obesity and autism," says Dr. Classen. He says that his research indicates that the large number of vaccines is resulting in "an epidemic of chronic inflammation" leading to the disease epidemics and "a comprehensive inhibitory response manifesting as obesity and metabolic syndrome."
"The best data indicates that vaccine-induced chronic disease is now of a magnitude that dwarfs almost all prior poisoning of humans including poisoning from agents like asbestos, low dose radiation, lead and even cigarettes. Most patients don't even realize that they are suffering from the adverse effects of vaccines. Even more concerning patients and or their parents are being harassed, accused of practicing poor dieting and exercise habits leading to development obesity and diabetes when in fact they suffer from vaccine induced obesity and diabetes," says Dr. Classen.
The World Health Organization (WHO) examined the alarming rise in immune diseases among children. It did not discuss vaccines as a specific environment factor, but stated "Environmental factors may act many years before clinical disease becomes apparent and clinical diseases may be apparent after the altered immune system is challenged by other risk factors... there is increasing evidence that immune-associated diseases are dependent upon specific windows of early life exposure, the gender of the exposed offspring, and the genetic background of the offspring." WHO also stated that immune diseases are "associated with a wide range of risk factors" including "pharmaceutical."
Dr. Classen has published previous research supporting his hypothesis that the Hib vaccine causes insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. He states that a large percentage of cases of autism have an inflammatory or autoimmune component and that autism is strongly linked to type 1 diabetes, "another epidemic inflammatory disease where the epidemic has been proven to be caused by vaccines."
The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that about 1 in 68 children born in 2002 now have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The CDC says it supports an earlier conclusion by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) that addressed one vaccine-autism theory: it said that there was no strong evidence to support a "causal" relationship between autism and thimerosal, a mercury preservative used in some vaccines.
However, "causal" could be an operative word. The government and its top medical expert did, in fact, secretly acknowledge in federal vaccine court in 2007 that vaccines "led to" the autism of a child. When the case of Hannah Poling was leaked to the public, government officials explained that they felt vaccines led to Poling's autism-- because they caused brain damage that resulted in autism-- yet they claimed the vaccines did not directly cause it, so there was no causal relationship. Vaccine safety advocates said that was a difference without a distinction: but for the vaccines, Poling wouldn't have the autism.
The CDC itself has been the subject of conflict of interest questions by Congress and vaccine safety interests. Critics say the CDC has a vested interest in downplaying vaccine side effects because it's in charge of promoting vaccines to achieve high vaccination rates. The head of CDC in 2007 when the government settled and sealed the Poling case was Dr. Julie Gerberding, who went on to become President of Merck vaccines.
Dr. Classen and other vaccine safety researchers have been targeted by pharmaceutical interests and vaccine activists who have long fought a PR campaign to falsely portray them as "anti-vaccine." The vaccine pharmaceutical activists use social media, bloggers and other forums to launch their attacks. They monitor and edit Wikipedia pages in an effort to downplay research that demonstrates associations between vaccines and autism, and to disparage scientists and journalists who investigate the links.
In a report released in August of 2011, the IOM reviewed evidence regarding 8 vaccines given to children and adults and "found the vaccines to be generally safe and serious adverse events following these vaccinations are rare." The CDC says that "an infant’s immune system is capable of responding to a large amount of immunologic stimuli and, from time of birth, infants are exposed to hundreds of viruses and countless antigens that are not associated with vaccination. This study demonstrates that autism spectrum disorder is not associated with immunological stimulation from vaccines during the first 2 years of life."
Dr. Bernardine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a member of the IOM, told me in 2008 that she felt the government and many IOM scientists were "too quick" to dismiss the possibility of an autism-vaccine link and abandon further research because they were "afraid as to where it might lead."