Alicia Silverstone spouts nonsense about vaccines, pregnancy, and autism

Actress Alicia Silverstone is clueless not only about genetically-modified organisms, but also about vaccines.

From her website:

I know many of you have asked in the forum about whether vaccines are okay for our children, and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what age children should be when they receive specific vaccines, as well as whether kids should receive vaccines at all. Researchers have been debating a correlation between vaccines and autism for some time, and this study provides new evidence that vaccines given to pregnant women could be correlated with autism. 

[Emphasis added.]

Go ahead and click on the link provided by Silverstone.  Is it a JAMA or New England Journal of Medicine article? No, it’s a New York Times op-ed piece. The first two paragraphs read as follows:

In recent years, scientists have made extraordinary advances in understanding the causes of autism, now estimated to afflict 1 in 88 children. But remarkably little of this understanding has percolated into popular awareness, which often remains fixated on vaccines.

So here’s the short of it: At least a subset of autism — perhaps one-third, and very likely more — looks like a type of inflammatory disease. And it begins in the womb.

There is nothing in the article about vaccines causing autism. The  author’s point is that the risk of autism may be caused by an immune disorder, not by vaccines.

There was a study last fall that linked flu in pregnant women to increased risk of autism. That study, however, argues in favor of flu shots — not against them.

Doctors trying to find some of the causes of autism put another piece into the puzzle on Monday: They found women who had flu while they were pregnant were twice as likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism. Those who had a fever lasting a week or longer — perhaps caused by flu or maybe by something else — were three times as likely to have an autistic child.

The study of 96,000 children in Denmark raises as many questions as it answers. But it fits in with a growing body of evidence that suggests that, in at least some cases, something is going on with a mother’s immune system during pregnancy that affects the developing child’s brain. Health officials said the finding reinforces their recommendations that pregnant women should make sure to get flu shots.

[Emphasis added.]

And liberals say conservatives are the ones who aren’t committed to sound science.

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