Critical research shows no link between vaccines, autism
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Two recent studies released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) re-affirm the safety of vaccines, supporting evidence that there is no link between vaccines and autism.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at the prevalence and incidence of autism in California, Sweden and Denmark as compared to exposure to the vaccine preservative, thimerosal. Scientists concluded there is no data to support the theory that there is a link between thimerosal and autism.
The study, which was funded by the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that the rising rates of autism are a result of other factors such as “an increased recognition of the disorder in the most developmentally delayed children…and/or possibly other as-yet-unidentified environmental or genetic factors.”
In the United States, thimerosal was voluntarily removed from vaccines in 1999, as a precautionary measure agreed to by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Public Health Service agencies and the vaccine manufacturers.
“I am encouraged by the continued evidence of the safety of vaccines. As the father of an autistic child, I know how important it is to understand the disease and this is further evidence that vaccines are not the cause,” commented Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at The George Washington University and a Senior Fellow and Chair of the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Scientific Advisory Council.
Additionally, a second study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that autistic children have a “reduced head size at birth and a sudden excessive increase in head size between 1 and 2 months and 6 to 14 months.”
The study’s senior author, Dr. Eric Courchesne, stated in a recent press release, “This burst of overgrowth takes place in a brief period of time…so, we know it cannot be caused by events that occur later, such as vaccinations for mumps, measles and rubella or exposure to toxins.”
The JAMA study, which was conducted at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine and the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital Research Center, was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Editor’s Note: The Sabin Vaccine Institute has arranged for a number of experts to be available to discuss these recent studies as well as immunization issues generally. Experts include Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at The George Washington University, Senior Fellow and Chair of the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Scientific Advisory Council and father of an autistic child; Dr. Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Dr. Sharon Humiston, faculty at the Pediatric Emergency Department of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y., author of “Vaccinating Your Child; Questions and Answers for the Concerned Parent,” and mother of an autistic child; Dr. Louis Cooper, Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Interim Executive Director of the National Network for Immunization Information; and Dr. Samuel Katz, codeveloper of the measles vaccine in conjunction with Nobel Prize winner Dr. John Enders, former Chairman of Pediatrics at Duke University for 22 years and currently the Wilburt C. Davison Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus. Please contact Raymond MacDougall at 202.265.6517
to arrange an interview.
The mission of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute is to save lives by stimulating development of new vaccines and increasing immunization rates throughout the world. Founded in 1993, the Institute pursues Dr. Albert Sabin’s vision of a world protected from disease by vaccines.