In recent years, there has been much talk and fear among parents because of the supposed link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Some parents began to refuse the MMR vaccine or seek to get the shot as 3 separate measles, mumps and rubella shots instead of the single combination vaccine.
The CDC has long held that 'the weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.'
Although there have always been parenting groups that are against vaccines, the fear over MMR and autism began in 1998 when two studies by Dr. Andrew Wakefield suggested that the two were linked. However, according to Paul A. Offit, MD, who is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, these studies had 'critical flaws' that made them unrealiable.
And an Institute of Medicine report, MMR Vaccine & Autism1, concluded that 'the vast majority of cases of autism cannot be caused by MMR vaccine,' and that 'MMR cannot explain the recent increasing trends in autism diagnoses.'
Some parents have still been afraid to have their child immunized with the MMR vaccine.
A new study, and all of the publicity it is getting, will hopefully reassure parents that the MMR vaccine is safe for their kids.
This new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism2, concluded that "there was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder."
Although other studies have had similar results, this is the largest study so far that "provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism." In this study, all of the children who were born in Denmark between 1991 and 1998, totalling 537,303 children, were looked at to see if there was an increased risk of developing autism in the 82% of children that received the MMR vaccine.
This will hopefully ease any fears that parents have had about fully immunizing their children to avoid them from getting vaccine preventable illnesses, such as measles, mumps and rubella.
1MMR Vaccine & Autism, An Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report
2K. M. Madsen and Others. A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism. New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 347:1477-1482
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