Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

MMR Vaccination Not Tied to Rise in Autism Rate

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

MMR Vaccination Not Tied to Rise in Autism Rate

Article excerpt

Whatever has caused the increased incidence of autism in recent years, it is not the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, according to findings reported by two groups of investigators.

Using the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database, Dr. James A. Kaye and his associates at Boston University identified 305 children (including 254 boys) under 12 years of age who had been diagnosed with autism between 1988--the year the MMR vaccine was introduced in the United Kingdom--and 1999. Their median age at diagnosis was 4.6 years and did not vary substantially over time.

The estimated yearly incidence of diagnosed autism among children younger than 12 years increased sevenfold from 0.3 cases per 10,000 person years in 1988 to 2.1 cases per 10,000 person years in 1999.

Subsequent time trend analysis done on data from 114 boys born between 1988 and 1993 showed that the 4-year risk of diagnosed autism increased nearly fourfold over that period. In contrast, the prevalence of MMR vaccination was constant at 97% for each annual birth cohort and for boys and girls alike (BMJ 322[7284]:460-63, 2001).

There was no time correlation between the prevalence of MMR vaccination and the incidence of autism. If the MMR vaccine were a major cause of the increasing incidence of autism, one would expect the risk of autism in successive birth cohorts to stop rising within a few years of the vaccine being in use, Dr. Kaye and associates said.

Findings from this time trend analysis show that while use of the MMR vaccine has been constant at 97%, the incidence of autism continues to grow dramatically. …

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