Home | News | No link between MMR vaccine and autism: new study

No link between MMR vaccine and autism: new study

A new study has shown no increased risk of autism after a vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella.

The 10-year cohort study of 657,461 children “strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination,” wrote the authors of the paper, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

International researchers followed the children from the age of 1 year until August 2013.

Of the 657,461 children, 6,517 were diagnosed with autism while they were a part of the study. Senior scientist Anders Hviid said this occurred as frequently among the children who had been vaccinated, as it did among the 31,619 children who had not been.

“Therefore, we can conclude that the MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of developing autism,” Hviid said.

The team helped perform another large study on the issue back in 2002. That also found no association between autism and the vaccine.

The more recent study looked at children known to have an increased risk of developing autism themselves, such as those with siblings diagnosed with autism.

Hviid said: “We also focused on other risk parameters: children with old parents, children whose mothers experienced pregnancy-related complications, or children whose mothers smoked, children with low birth weight, as well as time-related associations between the time of MMR vaccination and development of autism.

“In none of the cases did we observe a higher risk of developing autism among the MMR-vaccinated children compared with the non-vaccinated children.”

The Danish research team, from Statens Serum Institut, added that the study results are timely because Europe is currently witnessing a tripling of measles cases in just one year.

Dr Hannah Kirk from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences said while it's fantastic to see another high-quality study refute the notion that there’s a link between autism and MMR vaccine, she added it’s disappointing that substantial research efforts, time and funds continue to be directed toward disproving something that “we already know to be incorrect, rather than investigating more accurate causes of autism”.

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