The link or non-link between vaccines and Autism has been an ongoing debate since a British doctor, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, released a study in 1998 correlating Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination and the rise in Autism cases. The study appeared to show a correlation, but not actual causation. He has since been stripped of his medical license after an investigation showed that the research in his study had been fabricated and medical histories altered in all 12 of the patients in the study. This revelation did little to dampen the debate and now a new study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources has just released their findings.
One of the main focuses of this new study was children who have an older sibling with Autism, who are considered more at risk. This new research found no correlation between the MMR vaccine and Autism in these children. The study released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed 95,000 children over 11 years and found no link between Autism and the MMR vaccine.
However, Dr. Wakefield’s study, although discredited, has gained global support over the years including many celebrities, such as Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Donald Trump who have all publicly warned of a connection. Results of this anti-vaccine movement are already being seen in the population. In 2014, there were 644 cases of Measles in the United States. Several children who came into contact with Measles at Disneyland, and had not been vaccinated, were diagnosed with Measles bring the count already this year up to 172 cases.
This new research supports the medical community position in the vaccinations and Autism debate, yet many on the anti-vaccine side may not be so easily convinced.