New Study Finds No Link Between MMR Vaccine, Autism

Desiree Burns
March 6, 2019

"The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks", Hviid said by email. One teen who defied his anti-vax parents to get inoculated became a folk hero of sorts last week.

The study followed 657,461 children born after 1999 to see if there was any link between the vaccine and autism. That study involved 537,000 Danish children.

The claim that MMR vaccines could increase children's risk of developing autism has existed for 20 years, but researchers in the Danish study said it could be rejected entirely. Of those children, 6,517 were diagnosed with autism over the next decade, NPR explained. There was no significant increase in rates of autism between children who received the MMR vaccine and those who did not, a major blow to the anti-vaxxer argument, given the significant size of the sample.

Gary Freed, professor of health management and policy at the University of MI, expressed similar thoughts. And, the results showed that there was no clustering of autism cases following vaccination.

Outbreaks of measles reported in several states have been attributed to parent's fear about an autism link with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. They followed kids from age one through the end of August 2013.

"We felt that it was time to revisit the link in a larger cohort with more follow-up, which also allowed for more comprehensive analyses of different claims such as the idea that MMR causes autism in susceptible children", Hviid said.

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Boys were four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, the study found.

The research also found that vaccines are not to blame for autism in certain groups of children who may be more susceptible to getting autism - such as siblings of children with autism or kids of mothers who smoked during pregnancy.

In 1998, a study by Andrew Wakefield that linked vaccines to autism published in the medical journal The Lancet, kicked off the modern anti-vaccine movement. According to CNN, "Wakefield had been compensated by a law firm intending to sue manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, and in 2010, he lost his medical license".

Since Wakefield's fraudulent study was released, there have been over 140 peer-reviewed articles, published in relatively high impact factor or specialized journals that document the lack of a correlation between autism and vaccines.

The findings come amid heightened concerns about people forgoing vaccination with the World Health Organization recently naming vaccine hesitancy to its list of top 10 threats to global health in 2019.

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