Young Scientist's Viral Video Takes on Debate Around Autism and Vaccines
Meet Marco Arturo. At only 12 years old he is a self-proclaimed scientist, and the latest to tackle the debate surrounding autism and vaccines.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, the youngster took the issue head-on. The two-minute video, titled “Vaccines DO cause autism,” begins with Arturo presenting what he calls a “folder full of evidence.”
Except, as it turns out, the papers that fill the folder are blank.
“I think it might be because there is no evidence to support the statement that vaccines are linked to autism in any way whatsoever,” Arturo says in the video.
The belief that vaccines cause autism is largely the result of a study published by The Lancet in 1998, which claimed autism was linked to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The Lancet retracted the study in 2010 after scientists were unable to replicate its findings. The study’s author, Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license the same year.
The controversy made headlines again this March when Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro, whose son is on the autism spectrum, nixed Wakefield’s film “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe” from the festival’s lineup.
In the midst of it all, Arturo began several months of research on the anti-vaccination movement.
“I realized that the arguments they used could be easily refuted, and that the actual scientific studies denied anti-vaxxers’ position on the topic,” Arturo told The Mighty. “After that, I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t you make a video about it?’ And so I did.”
His tongue-in-cheek video has already been watched 4.8 million times, racking up an impressive number of Facebook shares, including a repost from actor Ashton Kutcher.
Arturo said he’s been pleased with the acclaim his video has gained so far. “I thought it could be taken as a positive thing by the scientific and medical community as a whole, and I thought it could be a good idea,” he said.
Editor’s note: The headline of this article has been changed to avoid misrepresentation of the story.