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No link between MMR jab and autism spectrum disorders

FEBRUARY 19, 2008

New research published this month in the Archives of Disease  in Childhood  finds that there is no evidence for a persistent link between the MMR jab and autism.    Professor Emily Simonoff, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry at King’s, was co-investigator on this collaborative study and said:  “This study provides an additional nail in the coffin refuting the causal role of the MMR vaccination in autism.  Parents should be reassured that the MMR vaccination is safe and an important measure in protecting their offspring against common childhood diseases.” 

This is the third study that has failed to show a link between the triple jab and autism.  As well as being the largest, the strength of this study was in the cohort, which was drawn from the general population rather than clinic derived and offered two comparison groups.  The sample comprised 240 10 to 12 year old children - 98 who had an autism spectrum disorder, 52 with special educational needs, but not autism and 90 typically developing children.  All the children had been vaccinated against MMR, although not all of them had been given both doses.

Researchers looked for evidence of persistent circulating measles virus and an abnormal immune response - which had been implicated in the (now discredited) Wakefield study.  Results showed that there was no difference between the groups, therefore showing no evidence of a differential response to measles virus or the measles component of the MMR.  This finding was not affected by whether the child had received one or two doses of MMR or whether they had regression or not.

The full study:  Measles vaccination and antibody response in autism spectrum disorders can be found in Archives of Disease in Childhood 2008; doi: 10.1136/adc.2007.122937.
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