Medicine

Measles vaccine doesn't cause autism

Measles vaccine doesn't cause autism

"To the extent that there has been a recent increase in measles cases due to parents not vaccinating their children, this study provides compelling evidence that the measles vaccine does not lead to autism in healthy children or in children believed to be at increased risk for autism", said Adesman.

The researchers have compared autism risks in children who have received the MMR vaccine versus those that were unvaccinated.

The study is the latest addition to a series of scientific reports which are being cited to boost efforts of immunizing more children from diseases which were once predicted to go extinct in the future.

The study followed 657,461 Danish children born between 1999 and 2010.

"Multiple studies done both in the United States and in other countries have shown that if you look at a bunch of kids who got the vaccine and those who didn't, you see the same rates of autism", said SLU Care pediatrician Dr. Joshua Arthur at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. During this time, 6,517 kids were diagnosed with autism.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study also discovered that children with siblings suffering from ASD were more seven times more likely to develop the condition themselves, and that males were four times more likely to be diagnosed than females.

"It is time to bury the hypothesis that MMR causes autism", Dr. Mads Melbye, study author, professor, and director of the Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark, told Healthline.

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"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 e-mail.

Measles is highly contagious, remaining for as long as two hours in the air of a room where an infected person has been. Children with measles are quite ill and may develop complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation). The researchers further concluded that vaccination is not likely to trigger the developmental disorder in susceptible populations and is not associated with a clustering of cases appearing after immunization. The people opposing the MMR vaccine often cite the Andrew Wakefield's 1998 study published in medical journal The Lancet.

The factors that the scientists considered in determining the risk of autism are having a sibling with an autism diagnosis, low birth weight, maternal age, paternal age, and smoking during pregnancy.

"For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it", the CDC says.

The study wasn't a controlled experiment created to prove whether or how vaccines might cause autism.

The myth linking MMR to autism continues to circulate even though it was completely debunked years ago. It's also possible that the onset of autism symptoms might lead parents to skip the vaccine.

Dr Saad Omer and Dr Inci Yildirim from Emory University wrote an accompanying editorial saying that it was important that such a large study was carried out to reiterate the safety of the vaccines.