Lindsay is currently doing a series of posts on the recent autism hearings in the US Congress. As you might expect from a hearing conducted by anti–science wingnuts, it quickly (as in opening statements) reached the completely discredited and absolutely refuted claim that vaccines (especially the MMR [measles–mumps–rubella]) cause autism.
I’m not going to re–debunk the claim that vaccines cause autism; others have already done that. And I don’t have much to add to what Lindsay is and will be saying. I’ll instead just draw your attention to this study. (Congenital rubella syndrome and autism spectrum disorder prevented by rubella vaccination – United States, 2001-2010, authored by Berger, Navar-Boggan, and Omer) Although not particularly recent,it is still important to read. Quoting the freely–licensed abstract (my emphasis):
Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is associated with several negative outcomes, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The objective of this study was to estimate the numbers of CRS and ASD cases prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States from 2001 through 2010.
Prevention estimates were calculated through simple mathematical modeling, with values of model parameters determined from published literature. Model parameters included pre-vaccine era CRS incidence, vaccine era CRS incidence, the number of live births per year, and the percentage of CRS cases presenting with an ASD.
Based on our estimates, 16,600 CRS cases (range: 8300-62,250) were prevented by rubella vaccination from 2001 through 2010 in the United States. An estimated 1228 ASD cases were prevented by rubella vaccination in the United States during this time period. Simulating a slight expansion in ASD diagnostic criteria in recent decades, we estimate that a minimum of 830 ASD cases and a maximum of 6225 ASD cases were prevented.
We estimate that rubella vaccination prevented substantial numbers of CRS and ASD cases in the United States from 2001 through 2010. These findings provide additional incentive to maintain high measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage.
And another irony meter bites the dust. Far from causing autism, the MMR vaccine actually prevents it.
A new study suggests that substance abuse and depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are more common in children who were physically punished (without meeting the legal definition of child abuse).
From the abstract:
Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.
CBC reports on a new study to be published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that physical punishment of children (such as spanking) has severe negative health consequences, and that the exemption in the Criminal Code that allows it should be repealed. The issue of spanking was covered by the Supreme Court in 2004, which allowed the exemption to stand.
Children who have experienced physical punishment tend to be more aggressive toward parents, siblings, peers and, later, spouses, and are more likely to develop antisocial behaviour, said Joan Durrant, of the department of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba and Ron Ensom of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.
Physical punishment is also associated with a variety of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and use of drugs and alcohol.
They noted that when parents in more than 500 families were trained to reduce their use of physical punishment, the difficult behaviours in the children also declined.
Although working to outlaw spanking is the correct move, one shouldn’t focus so much on corporal punishment that one neglects to target other forms of child abuse. There are destructive things that parents can do to their kids that don’t involve any hitting. For example, Clarissa has mentioned force–feeding. Another example is arbitrarily denying healthcare.
The title of this post is taken from a comment by Jake Squid at an old Pandagon thread.
Not like this is unexpected, but a new literature review published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry has asked a question— whether “there is an abortion trauma syndrome”— and has found an answer: No.
The review showed that studies that showed a causal link between elective abortion and mental disorders had problems with methodology, including failures to account for confounding variables and issue with sample selection. The conclusion was that, “…The most consistent predictor of mental disorders after abortion remains preexisting disorders, which, in turn, are strongly associated with exposure to sexual abuse and intimate violence. Educating researchers, clinicians, and policymakers how to appropriately assess the methodological quality of research about abortion outcomes is crucial….” (emphasis added).
In other words, the most likely women to have mental health problems after an abortion are those who have preexisting mental health problems before an abortion.
Hence, with this additional evidence, anti-choicers cannot claim that any sort of “abortion trauma” (or “post-abortion”) syndrome exists. To continue to claim otherwise would be just like Wag the Dog; where in the film political operatives invent a war for political purposes, in this case it would be anti-choicers inventing a mental disorder for political purposes. Hence, if they were really desiring to improve women’s mental health, they would stop shouting at, harassing, and hurling invective at women, and would instead work to prevent rape and sexual harassment.
Hat tip to Serena Freewomyn.