SAN ANTONIO---Bexar County District Attorney Nico La Hood's recent comments that vaccines were responsible for autism set off a firestorm on social media. But if scientists are right and vaccines are not responsible, then what does cause autism?
"I’m Nico La Hood. I'm the Criminal District Attorney in San Antonio, Texas. I'm here to tell you that vaccines can and do cause autism."
When Nico La Hood said that statement, he was giving his opinion after watching a documentary. But do the facts back that up?
"My beliefs about vaccines causing autism are that there's no connection between those two," said Dr. Patricia Del Angel, Medical Director for Autism Community Network. "And the reason that I am saying that is because there have been countless studies."
So what does the medical research say about it?
"Medical research suggests that we look into genetics, spontaneous mutations and other changes, environmental factors, and that may include toxins and other triggers such as viral infections," Dr. Angel explained.
Jennifer Allen, who is president and founder of the non-profit organization Asperger’s 101 and the mother of a 21-year-old man with autism, explains it this way, "Within this circle, you have low functioning autism, which are typically non-verbal and rocking back and forth would be traits you would see in a child early on. The higher functioning autism, or Asperger Syndrome, that are also within the autism diagnosis, all from low functioning to high functioning have a different brain than the neuro-typical normal brain."
There are so many more questions than answers it seems. And the La Hood family and so many others are just looking for answers to the questions 'Why did this happen and how do we cure it?'
All of them share a deep love for their children.
"Love, love motivates you, because you love that person that is your child, and their brain is wired differently," Allen told us. "And when you don't know a lot about it, you want to learn."