Study shows no connection between measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism

September 4, 2008

In a case-control study, the presence of measles virus RNA was no more likely in children with autism and GI disturbances than in children with only GI disturbances. Furthermore, GI symptom and autism onset were unrelated to MMR vaccine timing.

Prior to the implementation of measles vaccines in 1963, three to four million people were newly infected each year, 400-500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. From January 1 through July 2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received 131 reports of confirmed measles virus infection in the U.S., the highest number for the same time period since 1996. Of these 131 cases, 91% occurred in individuals who had not been vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status.

In 1998, a report of the presence of measles virus RNA in intestinal tissue from children with autism spectrum disorders and GI disturbances (Wakefield et al.) resulted in public concern over the safety of MMR vaccine. Although epidemiological investigations found no associations between MMR vaccine and autism, no subsequent studies tested for the presence of viral RNA in GI tissues of children with autism and GI disturbances or examined the temporal relationship of MMR, GI disturbances, and autism. Failure to have done so may have contributed to persistent concerns that have influenced vaccine acceptance rates, resulting in outbreaks of measles.

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."

Analysis in all three laboratories found two biopsy samples with measles virus RNA, one from a boy in the autism/GI group and the other from a boy in the control group, showing that the presence of measles virus sequences was not associated with an autism diagnosis (autism/GI group, 4%; control, 8%).

The temporal order of onset of GI episodes and autism relative to timing of MMR vaccine administration was examined as well. If MMR is causally related to either GI disturbances or autism it should precede their onset. Analysis indicated no role for MMR vaccine in either the pathogenesis of autism or GI dysfunction. Only five of 25 subjects (20%) had received MMR vaccine before the onset of GI complaints and had also had onset of GI episodes before the onset of autism.

"Over 20 epidemiologic studies have reported no temporal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism, however, no published studies from other research groups have addressed whether measles virus RNA is present in bowel of autistic children with GI disturbances. Here we report results of independent, blinded testing in this particular subgroup for the presence of measles virus RNA in bowel tissues," says corresponding author W. Ian Lipkin, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and director of the Mailman School's Center for Infection and Immunity.

He adds, "The study design process was a critical piece for us, as there is still so much public concern over the safety of the MMR vaccine. For this reason, we involved the autism parent/advocacy community as we designed the study to ensure that all issues were being addressed. We are hopeful that this process of community engagement will build important partnerships among members of the autism community, physicians, public health agencies, and clinical researchers; serve as a paradigm for the conduct of future studies to understand the causes of this disorder; and facilitate the rapid communication of clinically relevant scientific findings to the broader community."

Study findings are reported online in the Public Library of Science on September 4 (>).

Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

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2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2008
What a totally bogus study. The argument for MMRs causing autism has nothing to do with virus DNA in intestines. They argue that the heavy metals in the suspension kill/harm the brain, which is amplified because the shots are generally given during the ages when brain development occurs.

I'm not taking sides on this one, but injecting heavy metals into infants/children, let alone adults, sounds like a bad idea. 'Studies' like this are just fuel for the conspiracy types.
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2008
Actually Glis, there are several things that anti-vaccination types argue. What you said is one of their campaigns, and this article is about another. They're a shifty bunch, and every time *yet another* study comes out showing that there is no link between vaccinations and autism, they switch attack strategies.

Of course there is no link, but that doesn't bother them. The crazies who are ultimately behind all of this (using and abusing the parents of autistic children to further their goals) don't care about autism, they just hate vaccines. It's one of those religious... things that some fundamentalists have.

The same thing is going on in various Muslim countries, except instead of preying on people's fear of autism, they're claiming that vaccines (all of them) were invented by the United States government to sterilize Muslims. (Hence the reason why the project to irradiate polio has been stopped in its tracks, and why polio is starting to make a huge comeback.) Different strategy, same religious nutjobs behind it.
2 / 5 (4) Sep 04, 2008
Of course! The studies of heavily diluted MMR vacccines destroying neurons instantly are BS too. No one died from Gardasil either. No soldiers have gotten sick or had their reproductive organs destroyed from immunisations either.

The vaccines have trade-offs and people should be able to decide for themselves and not have them mandated.
5 / 5 (1) Sep 05, 2008
They argue that the heavy metals in the suspension kill/harm the brain, which is amplified because the shots are generally given during the ages when brain development occurs.

Well, then they're morons. Thimerosal is no longer in use. When it was in use the amount of bioavailable mercury was trivial, similar to eating a piece of fish. Countless studies found it safe and effective.

The vaccines have trade-offs and people should be able to decide for themselves and not have them mandated.

It's not a personal choice. Vaccines are typically about 90-99% effective and some people have medical reasons that prevent them from taking them(e.g. immunocompromised people, the ones who would be hurt the most by catching the diseases vaccinated for). If a significant amount of people stop taking vaccines you get under the herd immunity threshold and outbreaks occur. A few percent can be the difference between a single digit cases and an epidemic with tens of thousands of cases, many of which occur in the people who have taken the vaccine.

Mumps, measles and rubella(vaccinated for with MMR) are not benign diseases; they do kill and they do cause serious complications(like brain damage, infertility, hearing loss, damage to a developing foetus...).

The people who have no medical reason not to take vaccines but choose instead to gamble on being protected by herd immunity are selfish bastards; they're the reason these diseases are making a resurgence and we're seeing all these outbreaks in recent years.

These diseases have no natural reservoir besides humans; if we get serious about it we can achieve herd immunity in all parts of the world, which would quickly drive these diseases extinct, just like smallpox.
2 / 5 (1) Sep 05, 2008
Indeed Soylent. Vaccines are *not* about individual protection, but rather herd immunity. The idea behind vaccines is to stop the exponential spread of a virus/bacterium, not to stop an individual from becoming infected.

The great thing about vaccines is that if healthy people take them, then immuno-compromised people who can't take them are also protected by the herd immunity:).
1 / 5 (1) Sep 06, 2008
Vaccines are a great but lets face it they still don't really know what they are doing. Lets face it the common cold is still out there. All these things harden the bodies own systems. Natural stuff also does this be it a bit slower some time but then again the side effects are next to nil for most of these. Billions spent to keep drug companies happy and the public...

Not everything is perfect but used the right way we can help most things to health. Maybe even planet Earth.

Rip this apart if you like but when you are on the operating table the words too late come to mind.

Keep taking your drugs or start taking control of your own body.

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