Vaccinations and Autism Studies

A comparison: 2 Journal Articles on Vaccinations and Autism College AbstractThis paper deals on the significantly important controversy caused by Andrew Wakefield’s study which claimed a causal relationship between mumps, measles and umbrella vaccination (MMR)and autism. Using the descriptive method, the journal articles of Hensley-Briar and Gerber-Offit are analyzed in order to show that widespread fear over MMR is unfounded. It is shown that the two articles have similarity in focus and method, but differ in hypothesis presentation and content analysis. In the end, the two articles serve to support MMR by showing the solid scientific evidence that would support the development and use of MMR and other vaccines as preventive cures from harmful biological diseases which emerge and reemerge as new variants to endanger human lives in the world. A Comparison: 2 Journal Articles on Vaccinations and Autism Introduction Vaccines have benefited human society for more than two centuries since Edward Jenner first created the first vaccine for small pox in the 1970s (Health Affairs, n.d.). Defined as any preparation to produce immunity to a disease by stimulating the production of antibodies (WHO, n.d.), vaccines have saved millions of lives, making it an interesting subject to consider. On the other hand, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopment disorder which afflicts six out of every 1,000 children (Autism Fact Sheet, n.d.). Unlikely to cross paths, autism vaccines and autism did meet after the publication of a study by Andrew Wakefield who claimed mump, measles and rubella vaccination (MMR) was behind the increase in autism cases. This has caused a deep-seated fear for the use of vaccine agents. Using the descriptive method, this paper examines two scholarly articles which can clarify the issue. Hensley and Briars’ article Emily Hensley and Leslie Briars wrote the article Closer Look at Autism and the Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine (Medscape, 2010). Intending to reach pharmacists, they posed the hypothesis that MMR vaccine is linked to the development of autism. Then they identified 27 studies which all disclaimed any causal relationship between MMR and autism. Hensley and Briars pointed out that the myths presented to potentially support any relationship between MMR vaccine and autism have not been proven (Medscape). The 27 studies have used expert testimony which refute critical scientific theories on the MMR vaccine. Hensley and Brian’s article can play an important advocacy role for vaccine immunization, and the positive information which can regain confidence in the use of vaccines for medical healthcare. Gerber and Offit article The article by Jeffrey Gerber and Paul Offit Vaccines and Autism, A Tale of Shifting Hypothesis (Oxford Journals, 2009) gave focus to the sharp-edge condemnations against MMR among a large group of parents, researchers and activists (Rudy, L., 2008). It then set three hypotheses: (a) MMR vaccines cause damage to intestinal linings (b) Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, is toxic and detrimental to the nervous system (c) simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines weakens the body’s immune system. The article cited epistemological evidence from population-based studies which disproved the three hypotheses. These studies were done in various countries including the U.S. U.K. , and Finland, adopting substantial statistical processes. All in all the studies made an accurate analysis of outcome data. Apt to diminish fears about MMR, the Gerber and Offit article concluded that there is no scientific basis to correlate MMR vaccine with any variant of autism. Conclusion The two articles give cognizance to the deep-seated fear on the possible effects of vaccines on autism. Nonetheless, they serve to renew confidence for vaccine immunization, and argue against the Wakefield study which has been debunked by medical science for its having manipulated evidence, broken ethical code and had multiple undeclared interests. (Wikipedia, n.d.) The success of the past two centuries in containing ailments of epidemic proportion can now be freely sustained. And owing to newly emerging diseases which have to be contained, global health organizations and major philanthropic foundations need to maintain their justifiable support for vaccine research, distribution and application. References Autism Fact Sheet (n.a., n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/discorders/autism/detail_autism.htmGerber, J. and Offit, P. (2009). Oxford Journals. Vaccines and Autism, A Tale of Shifting Hypothesis. Retrieved from http://cid.oxfordjournals.or/content/484?456.fullHealth Affairs (n.a, n.d.). The History of Vaccines and immunization: Families Patterns, New Challenges. Retrieved from http://content/24/3/611.full Hensley, E. and Briars, L. (n.d.) Closer Look at Autism and the Measles-Mumps-Rubell Vaccine. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/73248 Rudy, Liza Jo (2008). About.com Guide. Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and Search for Cure. Retrieved from http://autism.about.com/od/bookaboutautism/fr/falseprophets.htmWikipedia (n.d.). MMR Vaccine Controversy. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMR_vaccine_controversy COMPARATIVE CHART HENSLEY-BRIARS ARTICLE GERBER-OFFIT ARTICLE Focus Reexamine MMR-autism causal link Content analysis One hypothesis proven untrue — Three hypotheses proven untrue Method Descriptive analytical method Using 27 studies Using population-wide studies in U.S., U.K., Finland, etc. Target subject Medical/and healthcare sector Especially Pharmacists In general, including the public Possible Impact Renewed confidence and support for vaccine development, distribution and application