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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 00:14 GMT
MMR 'does not cause autism'
MMR
Some parents have expressed concerns about the jab
There is no link between the measles, mumps and rubella jab and autism, according to the latest research.

The Danish study, which looked at over 530,000 children, reinforces previous findings that there is no link between the jab and the condition.

It found the risk of autism was the same for children who had been vaccinated as those who had not.

There was also no cluster of autism cases seen at any time after immunisation.


Those arguing against vaccination forget how bad the illnesses and their complications can be

Dr Edward Campion, New England Journal
And no kind of autistic disorder was linked to the MMR jab.

Four years ago, Finnish scientists carried out a study based on 14 years worth of data, which ruled out a link between MMR and autism, or a chronic bowel inflammation.

Experts say this latest study reinforces those findings.

But it is accepted that some parents still have concerns over the vaccine's safety.

Vaccine introduction

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at all children born in January 1991 until December 1998.

Over 440,000 children who had been given the MMR vaccine and over 100,000 who had not.

No increased risk was linked to MMR.

The researchers, led by Dr Kreesten Meldgaard Madsen, wrote: "One of the main reasons for public concern has been that the widespread use of the MMR vaccine in some regions appeared to coincide with an increase in the incidence of autism.

"However, this is not a uniform finding.

"The increase in autism both in California and in Denmark occurred well after the introduction of the MMR vaccine."

'Further weight'

But in the New England Journal, editor Dr Edward Campion, said: "Unfortunately, objective data are not likely to put an end to the controversy.

"Strongly held beliefs are difficult to change."

But he added: "Those arguing against vaccination forget how bad the illnesses and their complications can be.

"Children everywhere deserve the protection that carefully developed, carefully monitored vaccines can provide against so much disease."

A spokesperson for the Public Health Laboratory Service, which covers England and Wales, said: "It is interesting research that adds yet further weight of evidence against the hypothesis that MMR causes autism".

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "This large, peer-reviewed study from Denmark, undertaken by independent researchers and published in the internationally respected New England Journal of Medicine adds to the increasing body of research from around the world which has found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism."


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06 Sep 02 | Health
09 Aug 02 | Health
03 Jul 02 | BMA Conference
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