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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine is not linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders

The previously supposed link between autism the MMR jab, a vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella, has been discredited, according to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood on February 5, 2008. The MMR vaccine had been linked to the development of autism in the light of a 1998 publication, which has since been discredited by the scientific community.

Autism spectrum disorders are a set of psychological conditions that are similar to autism, characterized by abnormal social interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behavior. They are found in approximately 6 to 12 cases per 1000 children depending on the specific diagnostic criteria that are applied.

The group studied was taken from a population of approximately 57,000 in one area of Southern England. Almost 250 children, born between 1990 and 1991 and aged between 10 and 12, were selected for examination. Of these: 98 children had an autism spectrum disorder; 52 were characterized as children with special educational needs, but no evidence of autism spectrum disorders; and 90 children were developing normally. A set-back or regression early in development had been experienced by some of the autistic children. All of the children in the sample had been administered the MMR vaccine, but not all had been given both doses.

The study analyzed blood samples from each child to investigate the presence of any circulating measles virus or increased antibody levels. Such results might indicate the presence of persistent measles infection or an abnormal immune response. this examination revealed no significant difference between the two groups of children. This conclusion was not affected by whether the child was administered both MMR doses, or by any regression of development.

Additionally, no bowel symptoms (entercolitis) were found in the autistic children, regardless of any early regression. Notably, autistic children and children with special educational needs had fewer instances of the second vaccination. This could reflect parental concern about vaccination following the diagnosis of a developmental abnormality.

This is now the third, and largest, study which has failed to show a link between the MMR jab and autism, note the authors.

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