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Study: MMR Vaccine Doesn’t Cause Autism

A longstanding debate over correlation versus causation has encircled the autism-vaccine link debate. A new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has added fuel to the argument that the MMR vaccine is not causing autism.

The linkage between vaccines and autism, spurred on through past study results, have been flocked in troubled retractions and corrections. Such studies and arguments have since been trumped with studies such as the one JAMA has released, refuting the connection and rather eluding to a mere correlation between the age vaccinations are administered and the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms.

Of the over 95,000 children included in the JAMA study all were between birth and five years old during 2001-2012 and had older siblings. 2% had an older sibling with ASD according to the JAMA Network Journals. 1% of the population included in the study were diagnosed with ASD on follow-up.

“Consistent with studies in other populations, we observed no association between MMR vaccination and increased ASD risk among privately insured children. We also found no evidence that receipt of either 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccination was associated with an increased risk of ASD among children who had older siblings with ASD,” the study’s authors detailed.

In an editorial accompanying the report, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Bryan H. King, M.D., M.B.A. argued, “The only conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that there is no signal to suggest a relationship between MMR and the development of autism in children with or without a sibling who has autism.”

He backed up his claims referencing a volume of two dozen studies that he says show, “the age of onset of ASD does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the severity or course of ASD does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and now the risk of ASD recurrence in families does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.”

One prominent study that asserted childhood vaccination may increase cases of autism was subsequently retracted as noted in a San Diego Union-Tribune article. Rolling Stone published a 2005 article penned by Robert F. Kennedy asserted a government cover-up sought to hide evidence of mercury from vaccines and a link to autism. Rolling Stone later published corrections according to the U-T, while website Salon, which also published the article, fully retracted it.

Participants in the JAMA study were taken from commercial health plan enrollees within an administrative claims database and with an older sibling also enrolled for at least six months between 1997 and 2012.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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