iReport, CNN’s user-generated news community, published a study this month that concluded African American boys are more at risk for autism if they are given the MMR vaccine before the age of two. The author stated that researchers at the CDC knew about the link in 2004 and covered it up. I was shocked to see that this controversy was again on the table. We know that many, many more children are experiencing serious childhood diseases because parents declined vaccinations due to the possible autism link. Rather than simply report this finding I decided to investigate the validity of this claim.
What did I find?
- The new study was funded by the Focus Autism Foundation, which is dedicated to exposing the causes of autism specifically on the role of vaccinations.
- The study originally published in the scientific journal Translational Neurodegeneration was removed from public domain pending further investigation “because of serious concerns on the validity of its conclusions”
- I learned from Snopes.com that the CNN iReport is a platform on which anyone can submit content. The story did not clearly designate the report’s crowd source nature and many readers, including myself, incorrectly believed CNN was doing the reporting as a news network.
- Never take a report at face value. Verify the source and do your own research into the validity of the story.
- Review well respected, scientifically based organizations to see their position on the issue.
- Determined who funded the research and if they have an agenda or if it is an independent study.
I continue to support the findings of the CDC 2004 study and will strongly encourage parents to have their child vaccinated for protection from serious diseases.