Do vaccines cause autism? If you read the newspapers or watch the news, you would feel inclined to think so. Parents have a lot to think about – we have all head stories about an 18 month old child getting a vaccination and then losing all their language and the ability to maintain eye contact the next day. However; after more than a decade of research and dozens of large scale studies from many countries, the medical and scientific community* has stated their unanimous findings that there is no credible evidence that exists that supports a connection between autism and vaccines.
*The medical and scientific community embraces the scientific method, with its emphasis on peer review, objective measurement, and testing of all hypotheses. Findings can be replicated across settings and researchers.
Here is what the national organizations are saying about the vaccines and autism link:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
"Many studies have looked at whether there is a relationship between vaccines and autism. The weight of the evidence indicates that vaccines are not associated with autism.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
"There is no conclusive evidence that any part of a vaccine or combination of vaccines causes autism, even though researchers have done many studies to answer this important question. There is also no proof that any material used to make or preserve the vaccine plays a role in causing autism. Although there have been reports of studies that relate vaccines to autism, these findings have not held up under further investigation.”
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
"Scientific data does not show a link between vaccines and autism."
Institute of Medicine (IOM)
"The body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Potential biological mechanisms for vaccine induced autism that have been generated to date are only theoretical."
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As you know, there has been a media frenzy lately regarding Dr. Wakefield's 1998 research paper that linked the childhood measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to the onset of autism. Recently, Dr. Wakefield's paper and research have been discredited since follow up studies could not replicate the findings casting doubt on its conclusions. NPR's, The Diane Rehm Show, has done a great job of discussing this issue and has had some experts come on and speak about it. Check out the latest edition - Vaccines and Autism: A Story of Medicine, Science and Fear. Click listen to this hear this discussion.... (Read more)