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08 Aug

‘Strong Link’ Between Autism And MMR Vaccine

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Vaccines And Autism: New Evidence Shows ‘Strong Link’ Between Autism And MMR Vaccine

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Autism Linked To MMR Vaccine In New Study

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A new study of 125 children with autism suggests a “strong link” between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder, providing vindication for some vaccine resistors.

New scientific evidence suggests a strong association between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, following nearly a generation of contentious debate on the vaccine’s safety.

Investigators at Utah State University found evidence of an abnormal reaction to the vaccine in children with autism, providing some encouragement to parents who have refused to vaccinate their children with the typical three-shot regimen.

The MMR combination vaccine, made by U.S.-based Merck, was approved by U.S. regulators in 1971 to protect children from the three common infectious diseases, which government health officials say can be potentially deadly. Every year, nearly 10 million doses of the vaccine are distributed in the United States for recommended two-dose regimens for children beginning at 12-15 months old to four to six years old for the second dose.

In comparing 125 children with autism spectrum disorder with 92 others, Vijendra Singh and his colleagues found antibodies demonstrating an unusual reaction to the vaccine, with 90 percent of those children testing positive for antibodies suspected to be linked to the condition. Such antibodies target myelin in the brain, which serves as an insulator allowing nerve fibers to develop properly.

In children without the condition, no such response to the vaccine was observed.

“Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism,” the investigators wrote in a report.

However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service maintain the vaccine is safe and effective for children. Additionally, the American Medical Association continues to promote the vaccination of children against measles, mumps, and rubella with Merck’s vaccine.

International resistance to the vaccine erupted in 1998 when British researcher Andrew Wakefield published a study in the Lancet claiming a link with autism. By 2004, however, 10 of Wakefield’s 12 co-authors withdrew support for the conclusions after other researchers failed to replicate the data, and financial conflicts of interest were exposed by journalists in the UK. Following an investigation by the British General Medical Council, which found ethical problems with the study, the Lancet retracted the article, stating that some elements were found to be falsified.

Pockets Of Resistance

Not convinced of the refutation, some parents in the U.S. — and elsewhere — refused the vaccine for their children, along with others, invoking the medical, philosophical, and religious exemption from public health law requiring childhood immunizations. Overall, the CDC reported in 2011 that exemption rates nationwide ranged from less than one percent to 6.2 percent for all vaccines, with pockets of vaccine resistance running higher in certain counties in California and the Pacific Northwest.

Read more: Jenny McCarthy’s Anti-Vaccine Crusade Gains New Audience On ‘The View’

Jonathan Harris, a spokesman for the UK’s National Autistic Society, said that although government and public health experts have yet to review this latest study, the organization supports partial suspension of MMR vaccination. “The evidence is building up tremendously,” Harris told the Daily Mail. “I really feel there’s a very, very strong case now for suspending MMR while further investigations are carried out.”

The organization believes that the vaccine causes a “new type” of autism in children, a subset of the overall condition prevalence, Harris said. Therefore, parents should be allowed to choose a single shot rather than the double-dose regimen required by law.

“At the moment parents only have the choice of MMR or nothing,” Harris told the Daily Mail. “We think that’s irresponsible of the Department of Health.”

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported a resurgence of measles in the UK, from a typical few dozen cases per year to more than 2,000 last year, as well as some 1,200 cases by May. British health officials blamed the “legacy of the Wakefield scare,” as David Elliman, a spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics, said.

Although measles was eradicated in the U.S. by 2000, disease outbreaks from international travel have been reported to the CDC as well.

Read more: Legacy Of The Wakefield Scare: Measles Resurges In UK, Threatening Global Health

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the oleary

The sensible thing to do would be to let parents choose single vaccination shots. Their children can still be protected but they will not be harmed in the process. And why aren’t we doing research to find out how to test for the condition that makes some children vulnerable to the harmful effects of the vaccine.

Mark my words: in the end the American Medical Association is going to be held responsible for this epidemic among our children.

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