A recent blog post on Amish and autism I stumbled across takes on the controversial view that childhood vaccines and autism are linked.
Many have pointed to the Amish, who often forgo vaccination, and according to some have low-to-nonexistent rates of autism, as evidence of the link.
Seems like much of the attention has focused on Lancaster County, with those in the know saying the Amish just don’t exhibit the condition.
“I have not seen autism with the Amish,” said Dr. Frank Noonan, a family practitioner in Lancaster County, Pa., who has treated thousands of Amish for a quarter-century.
“You’ll find all the other stuff, but we don’t find the autism. We’re right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none, and that’s just the way it is.”
Others in this story (no longer online) point to the complete absence of autism among large numbers of never-vaccinated urban Chicago kids.
An interesting yet unresolved issue. You can hardly object to the great good that has resulted thanks to vaccination programs.
But it also raises the question of whether trying to protect against everything can actually harm us.
Some Amish see vaccination as on the same level as formal insurance programs, which they abstain from. The idea being: God is in charge, and we will try not to pre-empt or refuse what he has in store for us–though that doesn’t mean Amish won’t seek professional medical care. They readily do.
(Source: see Chapter 9, ‘Health Care’ by Gertrude Enders Huntington in The Amish and the State for more on the Amish and immunization)
Bonus: more on the Amish and unusual illnesses