MMR vaccine not linked to autism,
even in high-risk kids
(Reuters Health) - The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is not linked to development of autism spectrum disorders, even among children considered to be at risk, a large new study finds.
Among nearly 100,000 children, receipt of the MMR vaccine did not increase the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), regardless of whether kids were at higher risk because an older sibling already had the condition, researchers write in JAMA.
"Even for children who are high-risk, the vaccine does not play a role," said lead author Dr. Anjali Jain of healthcare consulting firm The Lewin Group in Falls Church, Virginia. "We don’t know what does unfortunately, but it’s not the MMR vaccine."
The results should be reassuring, she said.
Autism spectrum disorder is a range of symptoms that often includes difficulties with communication and social interaction, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. It's may also include restricted and repetitive behaviors.
The 1998 study that claimed to find a connection between the MMR vaccine and ASD was later debunked. The Lancet, the medical journal that originally published it, withdrew it. Studies continue to vouch for the safety of the vaccine.
Still, some people continue to believe that the vaccine is connected to ASD.
Parents of children with ASD may also believe there is a genetic component, and so they decline to vaccinate their other children, Jain and colleagues noted in their report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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SOURCE: JAMA, online April 21, 2015.