I am often asked my opinion about whether or not vaccines are safe. Is there a connection between inoculations and autism? As the numbers of children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum has increased so has the concern over vaccinations. Now there is a body of research that conclusively disputes the claim that autism is caused by childhood inoculations.
The concerns began in 1998 when a study was published that hypothesized that the MMR vaccine caused intestinal issues that resulted in an autism diagnosis. A second study in 2002, by the same team, came to the same conclusion. However, both studies were exceptionally flawed and did not follow standard research protocols.
Since that time, there have been many studies on various aspects of autism and vaccinations. The findings, put together, create a firm conclusion that autism is not caused by vaccinations. Here are some of the most compelling findings.
- The MMR was introduced in England in 1988. If the MMR had some causal connection to autism one would expect to see a rise in the number of diagnoses of autism after the MMR was introduced. However, data show that there was no difference in the rate of autism before and after the MMR was available.
- Another study in Denmark reviewed the records of 537,303 children born between 1991 and 1998 to compare the risk of being diagnosed with autism in two groups: those vaccinated and those who were not vaccinated. The rate of autism was the same in both groups. In addition, no association was found between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of the vaccination and the development of autism.
- Autism has a genetic component. When using a broad definition of autism that includes the spectrum, 92% of identical twins and only 10% of fraternal twins have autism.
- A blind review of home movies of children diagnosed with autism and those who were not diagnosed showed that early signs of autism were present and identifiable to neurodevelopmental specialists before the receipt of the MMR vaccine. Specialists were able to separate autistic and non-autistic children before the age of 1 year by watching home movies alone. Another similar study used videos of babies 2-3 months old and found that subtle signs of autism can be found in early infancy, long before the MMR is given.
- In countries where the use of the MMR has been discontinued, there is still a rise in the number of diagnosed cases of autism.
If you are concerned about the risk of vaccinations or you know someone who is, please read the links below. There is a lot of evidence refute the claim that the MMR can cause autism.