Autism And Vaccines: No Link Found

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Autism Vaccine
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According to a review published in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, studies linking autism to vaccines can be confusing. However, the majority of studies show there is no link between MMR vaccine, thimerosol in vaccines and autism. Nor do multiple vaccinations in childhood cause autism from a weakened immune system.

Study author Paul Offit, MD, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, expresses concern about declining vaccination rates in children because one study contradicts another. He says, "When one hypothesis of how vaccines cause autism is refuted, another invariably springs up to take its place."

The current study looked at three major theories, showing that biological and epidemiologic studies disprove the link between autism and vaccines.

As parents refuse vaccination for their children, the threat to public health continues to increase. The most recent evidence involves the measles outbreak in California last year, and more recently the death of one child in Minnesota.

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Dr. Offit and his colleagues reviewed more than a dozen large studies from five countries to find if there is any substantial evidence linking MMR vaccine to autism. They concluded the appearance of autism following MMR vaccine is nothing but coincidence because MMR vaccine is given at the same time autism usually manifests in children.

The researchers also reviewed seven studies from five countries. They found that thimerosol, used for fifty years in vaccines could not be linked to autism. Vaccines with or without thimerosol did not affect autism rates.

Finally, the current study addresses hypotheses that vaccine weakens the immune system in children, leading to autism. They conclude that there is so little material in the vaccines, that the result of childhood immunization could not weaken immunity and cause autism.

The researchers clearly cannot find a definite link between autism and childhood vaccines. They only find hypotheses when looking at available studies.

The researchers do not say childhood vaccines are completely risk free. Dr. Offit says not getting your child vaccinated is…"just a choice to take a different, and far more serious, risk."

Source:
Vaccines and Autism: Many Hypotheses, But No Correlation

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Comments

This kind of 'paper' is what has me so skeptical about most things the medical community says about vaccines and autism; and especially anything from this particular author. A quick look at the supporting evidence for his claim ought to leave anyone who cares about details feeling the same way. "Multiple vaccinations do not weaken the immune system. Vaccinated and un-vaccinated children do not differ in their susceptibility to infections not prevented by vaccines. [33-35]" These studies are good for anyone who likes their science to date back to the early nineties, as they are from 1991, and 1988. On study was on the DTP, which since 2002, whole-cell pertussis vaccines are no longer used in the US. One study had primary measures of death or hospitalization from respiratory infections; but from this we can conclude the smallest clue about autism? How? Why? One wonders if he's read the study that tells us that particular brands of Hep B are shown to increase the risk of an MS diagnosis by almost 3 times. Or that the DTAP has been shown to create persistent TH2/TH1 changes in children? The author continues: "Unlike autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, there is no evidence of immune activation or inflammatory lesions in the CNS of people with autism [38]. There is a difference between something that is fact free versus something that is completely, dead wrong; and this statement most definitely falls into the latter category. In the past two years we have several studies that tell us exactly the opposite:
Dr. Offit did one of these reviews for the NEJM in November, another one for Pediatrics in January and now this one for Clinical Infectious Diseases. When does he find time to do real work? I wonder why the CEO of Jack Daniels doesn't get to do reviews in these journals explaining how all the tavern leage studies show that alcohol does not cause any problems?
Hi there, Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure which study you are referencing re: DTAP. One study does discuss localized reactions (redness at the injection site) in 4- 6 year olds, related to Th2, also measuring systemic Th2, published 2005. You can read it here: http://iai.asm.org/cgi/content/full/73/12/8130?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=matched&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=1840&resourcetype=HWFIG That study was small, and the authors recommended further investigation. The association with MS and hepatitis has not been proven. You can read about that at the The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (NCIRS) website at the following link: http://www.ncirs.usyd.edu.au/facts/f-hepb.html Thank you again, and please share any links you may have related to the research you are referencing. This certainly is a subject muddled with controversy, and I'm certain that more information would be welcome by all.