The Truth About Vaccines and Autism: Here's What You Need to Know to Keep Your Child Healthy

Why do the rumors that vaccines cause autism persist? Experts explain the science behind the issue (12 Photos)

Cynthia Ramnarace and Erika Rasmusson Janes on Apr 20, 2012 at 12:52PM

chime in now
So does this mean vaccines don't cause autism?

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a Cynthia Ramnarace and Erika Rasmusson Janes on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:32AM

In a word, yes. “There is no link between any vaccine and autism,” says Dr. Brown.

As the autism rate increased over the last two decades, different theories surfaced blaming vaccines for the rise. In addition to Dr. Wakefield’s theory, that the MMR vaccine caused a “leaky gut,” which developed into autism, some people believed that thimerosol, a mercury-derived preservative found in several inoculations, was the culprit.

But thanks to numerous scientific studies, including a definitive 2004 Institute of Medicine report, both theories have been debunked. In fact, before BMJ released its recent findings, the Lancet completely retracted the Wakefield study. And not only has Thimerosol been removed from most childhood vaccines (it’s still in some versions of the flu shot), studies show that babies exposed to it don’t have an increased risk of autism.

Even so, one study found that 1 in 4 parents believes some vaccines cause autism, but still follow doctors' advice to vaccinate their children. Confused? Don't be.

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