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No Benefit Seen in Delaying Infant Vaccinations
Date:5/24/2010

Some parents worry babies get 'too much too soon,' but study finds no impact on neurological health

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Some American parents are choosing to space out and delay recommended vaccines because they're worried that their infants are getting too many shots too soon, potentially contributing to later mental health issues.

The issue has been especially persistent when it comes to autism, which some believe is tied to vaccines, although numerous studies have discounted such a link.

However, a study published online May 24 in the journal Pediatrics finds no neurological benefit to delaying immunizations during the first year of life.

Researchers at the University of Louisville analyzed the health records of more than 1,000 children. After comparing the kids' performance on 42 neuropsychological tests between the ages of 7 and 10 against the timeliness of vaccination during the first year of life, the researchers found no evidence that delaying vaccines gave children any advantage in terms of brain development.

"Our study shows that there is only a downside to delaying vaccines, and that is an increased susceptibility to potentially deadly infectious diseases," said lead researcher Dr. Michael J. Smith, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. "We hope these findings will encourage more parents to vaccinate according to the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule, and reassure them that they're making a safe choice when they do so."

Smith said the study is the first to evaluate the long-term neuropsychological impacts of multiple vaccinations received in the first seven months of life. In the past few years, more and more parents are asking their pediatricians for an alternative vaccine schedule, "but we found that nobody had really looked at whether there are any advantages to delaying vaccines," he said.


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