Article: No scientific link between childhood vaccines and autism

Oct 08, 2009

A new article recently published in the Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing explored vaccination history, vaccine safety monitoring systems in the U.S., and the two most publicized theoretical vaccine-related exposures associated with autism - the vaccine preservative thimerosal and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. A review of published research shows that there is not convincing scientific evidence supporting a relationship between vaccines and autism. The article is part of a special issue, which includes five articles focusing on the topic of autism.

By definition, the onset of autism occurs prior to age three. No clear cause of autism has been identified, although various possible associations have been examined. There has been growing interest in environmental exposures, including vaccinations. Childhood vaccinations are administered as early as possible to assure that infants are protected against diseases that occur in early childhood. This time period often coincides with the time period that autism may be suspected or diagnosed.

A British paper published about 10 years ago seemingly made the claim that receipt of the MMR was associated with autism.
This initial report of a possible relationship between the MMR vaccine and the onset of autism received significant attention, and in England, MMR immunization rates dropped and the number of measles cases rose dramatically over the next decade.

In response to this concern in the U.S., the CDC and NIH examined vaccine safety issues and after performing an in-depth review of the relevant literature, rejected a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Eventually most of the authors of the original British paper also asked to retract the interpretation of their findings.

Concerns have also been raised about thimerosal, a preservative in multidose vaccines that was removed from routine vaccines in 2001 in the US and in 1992 in Denmark and Sweden. Despite the removal in Denmark and Sweden, autism rates have continued to increase there. Other studies have failed to find a link as well. Finally, in February 2009, the U.S. Court of Federal claims found that the MMR vaccine and thimerosal containing vaccines were not causal factors in the development of .

"Nurses are often in the unique position of providing advice regarding vaccines in their formal practice areas as well as in their daily lives," the authors note. "It is thus imperative that they have knowledge of the research and its results when discussing vaccines with parents, peers, and medical health professionals."

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vaccines and autism: Many hypotheses, but no correlation

Jan 30, 2009

An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism. The review, in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, looks at the ...

Does the H1N1 vaccine contain mercury?

Sep 15, 2009

In the words of President Obama "don't be alarmed, be prepared" for the swine flu (or, officially, the H1N1 virus). But what if the preparation is more alarming than the flu?

Survey confirms parents' fears, confusion over autism

Oct 03, 2008

The first national survey of attitudes toward autism reveals that a small but significant percentage of people still believe the disease is caused by childhood vaccines. The survey of 1000 randomly selected adults was conducted ...

Recommended for you

Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

9 hours ago

West Africa intensified its response to the deadly Ebola epidemic on Sunday, with Sierra Leone uncovering scores of dead bodies during a 72-hour shutdown and Liberia announcing hundreds of new hospital beds.

Sierra Leone reaches final day of Ebola lockdown

12 hours ago

Frustrated residents complained of food shortages in some neighborhoods of Sierra Leone's capital on Sunday as the country reached the third and final day of a sweeping, unprecedented lockdown designed to ...

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

Sep 20, 2014

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

User comments : 0