A study published in August, 2014 once again linked vaccines to autism. However, the study was removed from public domain according to the journal, Translational Neurodegeneration, "because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions," and "continued availability may not be in the public interest."
According to CNN.com, the study indicated that African American boys who received the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine before the age of 2 years old had a higher risk of developing autism. The study was funded by the Focus Autism Foundation, which, according to its website, "is dedicated to providing education, investigation, advocacy and science"with a specific focus on the role of vaccinations."
The study was based on raw data from a study completed in 2004 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This study looked at 624 children with autism and 1,824 children who were developmentally healthy. The majority of the children in the study had received vaccines according to recommendations, which is between the age of 12 and 17 months old. The authors of the study did not find any link between autism and vaccines.
However, according to Brian Hooker, the author of the more recent study, there is a link for African American boys. He believes that because some of the data was not used (children without birth certificates were omitted from the results), the results were skewed. He believes that when this information is included, there is a link between vaccines and autism in African American boys.
The CDC stands by its original conclusion, that these is not a link between vaccines and autism and that the data used was more complete because the birth certificates provided more detailed information on the children.
Vaccines were first targeted as a cause of autism in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield. However, the original article was later rescinded by the coauthors and the journal The Lancet when it was discovered that Wakefield had received money from attorneys who planned to sue the vaccine manufacturers. Wakefield lost his medical license in 2010 and The Lancet retracted the study in 2011.
Another study, published in July 2014 states that there is no evidence to support a link between vaccines and autism. This study reviewed a number of previous studies and found that, while vaccines can cause rare side effects, they are safe and there is no link between receiving a vaccine and developing autism.
After the 1998 study was released, many parents chose not to have their child vaccinated, fearing autism. However, this led to a rise in some childhood illnesses, for example, in 2010 California reported the highest rate of whooping cough since 1947 in which a cluster of unvaccinated children played a role in the outbreak. The study released in July 2014 hoped to put an end to the question of the safety of vaccines and put parent’s minds at ease because vaccines do save lives.
If you have questions about any vaccines your child has received or if your child should receive vaccinations, you should talk directly with your pediatrician. Most experts agree that vaccines save lives and any possible side effects are worth the benefit vaccines offer our children. Autism, according to the research, is not cause by vaccines.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.