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Myth Busted: Autism Is Not Caused By MMR Vaccine

Myth Busted: Autism Is Not Caused By MMR Vaccine

Throughout the past several years there has been a controversial debate over whether or not the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine has any connection with children that developed Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Now there is an answer to the question that has been asked by hundreds (if not thousands) of people. The myth is busted and there are facts to prove it. The MMR Vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are not connected and here’s why.

The Theory

It all started in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield and about 11 other authors had an article published, which hinted there was a possible connection between the MMR vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Eventually the study was discredited, the Lancet retracted the article and “the General Medical Council ruled that he acted dishonestly and irresponsibly in doing his research” according to Science and Medicine. That did not stop people, especially parents, from giving the theory a second thought.

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The Study

According to The Journal of American Medical Association, the MMR vaccine does not have any connection at all to children developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There was a study done that involved about 95,727 children that were “continuously enrolled in a health plan from birth […] and at least five years of age during the yeas 2001-2012”. All of the participants received “doses of the MMR vaccine (0,1,2)” from birth up until they were the age of five. The results speak for themselves. Out of the entire group of participants (95,727 children) with older siblings only 1.04% (994) were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Also, the study gathered information about their older siblings as well and about 2.01% (1929) of those had an older sibling with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Simple Answer

To people like me (who’s brain shuts off when any type of medical terms are mentioned) this means that they monitored a pretty sizable number of children who went in and got their MMR Vaccination and out of that handful of children, only about 1% of them were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the rest did not (some of them even had older siblings that were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)).

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The Support

Other websites and organizations such as The Pharmaceutical Journal, The Center of Disease Conrol (CDC), Science Daily, and Cleveland Clinic’s website accept the study. On the Cleveland Clinic’s website they state that there have been countless studies in the last fifteen years that have also shown no possible link between the MMR vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dr. Frazier II, PhD., who is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Health Center, states:

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“There are treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), children cannot avoid Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by avoiding things like vaccinations.”

Well known organizations like the CDC have stated:

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“The MMR shot is very safe, and it is effective at preventing measles [and] scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully studied the MMR shot. None has found a link between Autism and the MMR shot”.

There are still many people that disagree with vaccinating their children, and they have the right to have that opinion, but at least now they know that the MMR Vaccine will not lead to their child developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This vaccination was made to help protect you from disease and it was developed to keep our communities from having a measles outbreak. Whether you believe in vaccinating your children or not, you can be certain that scientists went through great lengths to prove that the MMR Vaccine will not cause children to develop Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Featured photo credit: Little girl getting vaccination from pediatrician at office-Ronny Richert via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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