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Another Study Finds No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism
Date:2/4/2008

Disease in Childhood.

The controversy about the potential connection between autism and the MMR vaccine began in 1998 when British researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet that claimed the vaccine caused brain damage, resulting in autism.

Since that time, numerous studies have failed to confirm Wakefield's hypothesis.

"This study refutes the data Wakefield presented 10 years ago," Filipek said.

Filipek thinks parents hold onto the MMR vaccine-autism theory because "it gives them something to grasp onto that could be altered to prevent future cases of autism."

Dr. Paul A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, also thinks the new study provides more conclusive evidence that there is no connection between autism and the MMR vaccine.

"The whole premise by Wakefield, that the measles component of [the] MMR vaccine caused a chronic intestinal inflammation that allowed harmful proteins to enter the bloodstream and ultimately the brain, causing autism, has not one shred of scientific evidence in its support," Offit said.

This new study follows the release last week of a study that showed the mercury preservative thimerosal, used in childhood vaccines until the turn of this century and thought by some to be associated with autism, doesn't remain in an infant's body long enough to build to dangerous levels.

And it follows a series of other studies, including a large-scale U.S. Institute of Medicine review in 2004, that failed to uncover a link between childhood vaccines and autism.

Current estimates by the U.S. National Institutes of Health say that one American child in 150 has been diagnosed with autism, although experts wonder if that increase is due in part to better diagnoses and a broader definition of the disorder.

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