By Hemant Mehta
Two decades ago, a later-retracted paper published in The Lancet by the now-disgraced Andrew Wakefield led to a conspiracy theory about how vaccines were linked to autism. Wakefield had falsified the data, used a small sample set, and his results were never duplicated. Yet the lie took on a life of its own, promoted by celebrities and crackpots alike.
With measles outbreaks and other diseases springing up again, it’s as good a time as ever to note that a decade-long study with 650,000 subjects has found no link — none — between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, even when other risk factors were taken into account. The study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers at the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, looked at every child born in Denmark between 1999 and 2010.
The study found no increased risk of developing autism after getting the MMR vaccine, no clustering of autism cases among children who were given the vaccine, and no increase in the rate of autism among susceptible children who were given the vaccine.Australian immunisation expert Professor Ian Frazer, who along with his team at the University of Queensland developed the vaccine for HPV, said the Danish study definitively confirms the findings of previous studies that vaccines do not cause autism.
This is as definitive as it gets.
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