Autism Risk Not Affected By Measles Vaccine

Armen Hareyan's picture

Many health professionals have been trying to clarify if measles vaccine increases autism risk or not. This is an emotional issue for parents and now it is finally answered: there is absolutely no link between autism and Measles vaccine.

Before 1963, when there was no MMR vaccine developed, there were about 3 or 4 million people contracting measles and about 400 or 500 people dying from it each year. However, in 1999 there were only 100 infection and 2 cases, and this is only thanks to vaccine.

In 1998 a small study by British scientists examined measles vaccine and concluded that MMR RNA exists in gastrointestinal tract of vaccinated children, which leads to GI problems and autism risk. They suggested that the RNA can cause inflammation in bowel, making it more permeable. Permeable bowel itself can let the virus into circulation system and penetrate into nervous system. Once the virus appears in the nervous system, it can lead to developmental problems, particularly autism.


Now researchers conducted a study very similar to the mentioned old study. All techniques were almost the same, with a difference that modern technologies provide with more accuracy and detailed information. Researchers looked at two similar groups of children: the first one (25 children) with autism and GI problems, the second one (13 children) with GI problems only. Both groups received measles vaccine.

"Scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health's Center for Infection and Immunity and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Trinity College Dublin, evaluated bowel tissues from 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls) by real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR for the presence of measles virus RNA. Samples were analyzed in three laboratories blinded to diagnosis, including one wherein the original findings suggesting a link between measles virus and autism had been reported."

"Our results are inconsistent with a causal role for MMR vaccine as a trigger or exacerbator of either GI difficulties or autism," states Mady Hornig, associate professor of Epidemiology and director of translational research in the Center for Infection and Immunity in the Mailman School, and co-corresponding author of the study. "The work reported here eliminates the remaining support for the hypothesis that autism with GI complaints is related to MMR vaccine exposure. We found no relationship between the timing of MMR vaccine and the onset of either GI complaints or autism." The above two paragraphs are quoted from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

To examine the possible autism and Measles link researchers checked bowel tissue for measles virus RNA. Both groups reported to have only one child with measles virus in bowel, but the level of infection was just a little bit above the acceptable level.

The conclusion comes from a joint team of researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts General Hospital and Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, who assure that measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is absolutely safe and in no way linked to a possible autism risk.



How on earth with a study of 38 children, can one conclude that there is absolutly no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. True, there is also not an absolut link that it causes autism, but there are countless stories of normal 2 year old children who seemed to be "switched off" after recieving the MMR. A larger study, and a suggestion to the actual cause would be needed to convince many otherwise.
A number of important points arise from your article on a new study into an MMR/autism connection. It should be noted that only five children involved in this research met the criteria of the original hypothesis (normal development, MMR vaccination, bowel disease, leading to autism). Too small a sample, one would have thought, particularly in view of the criticism levelled at Dr Andrew Wakefield's team for publishing research in 1998 based on only 12 children. (In fact, an addendum to that original study revealed the assessment of a further 40 patients, 39 of whom had the novel form of bowel disease as described.) Your article also failed to reveal that by establishing that one of the five children was found to have measles virus in the gut, it inadvertently validated the O'Leary findings of 2002 which looked at bowel biopsies of 91 children whose autism and bowel disease followed MMR vaccination. The fact is, this study does not really address whether MMR causes autism, let alone rule it out, as the authors erroneously claim. It does, however, confirm the presence of distressing and painful bowel disease in many autistic children. One author has specifically pleaded that autistic children be urgently given treatment for the intolerable pain of their bowel disease. A plea that has been made repeatedly by parents over many years only to fall on the deaf ears of a compassionless medical hierarchy. Bill Welsh, President, Autism Treatment Trust, Edinburgh.