MMR vaccine and Autisim...more research says NO LINK!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26532147

MSNBC.com
Autism, measles vaccine link further debunked
New research coincides with a surge of the disease in unvaccinated children
The Associated Press
updated 8:00 p.m. ET, Wed., Sept. 3, 2008

WASHINGTON - New research further debunks any link between measles vaccine and autism, work that comes as the nation is experiencing a surge in measles cases fueled by children left unvaccinated.

Years of research with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, better known as MMR, have concluded that it doesn’t cause autism. Still, some parents’ fears persist, in part because of one 1998 British study that linked the vaccine with a subgroup of autistic children who also have serious gastrointestinal problems. That study reported that measles virus was lingering in the children’s bowels.

Only now have researchers rigorously retested that finding, taking samples of youngsters’ intestines to hunt for signs of virus with the most modern genetic technology. There is no evidence that MMR plays any role, the international team — which included researchers who first raised the issue — reported Wednesday.

“Although in fact there was evidence that this vaccine was safe in the bulk of the population, it had not been previously assessed with respect to kids with autism and GI complaints,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who led the work published in PLoS One, the online journal of the Public Library of Science.

“We are confident there is no link between MMR and autism,” Lipkin said.

Added co-author Dr. Larry Pickering of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “I feel very certain that it is a safe vaccine.”

Significant spike in U.S. measles cases
Measles, a highly infectious virus best known for its red skin rash, once routinely sickened thousands of children a year and killed hundreds, until childhood vaccinations made it a rarity in this country. But so far this year, the U.S. has counted 131 measles cases, the most in a decade. Most patients were unvaccinated. Some were infants too young for their first MMR shot, but nearly half involved children whose parents rejected vaccination, the CDC reported last month.

No one knows just how many autism patients also suffer gastrointestinal disorders, pain that they may not be able to communicate. But Lipkin said that by some estimates, up to a quarter may be affected.

The MMR fear was that the vaccine’s weakened measles virus somehow lodged in and inflamed intestines, allowing waste products to escape and reach the central nervous system, Lipkin said. So his team had two questions: Does measles virus really persist in children with both disorders and not other youngsters? And did vaccination precede the GI complaints which in turn preceded autism?

Researchers studied 25 children with both autism and GI disorders, and another 13 children with the same GI disorders but no neurologic problems. The youngsters — the average age was 5 — all were undergoing colonoscopies for their GI conditions anyway, allowing tissue samples to be tested for genetic traces of measles virus. All had been vaccinated at younger ages.

The tests uncovered traces of measles genetic material in the bowels of one boy with autism — and one boy without autism. That doesn’t prove virus never temporarily lodged in more children, but it contradicts the earlier study that raised concern.

Nor was there a relationship with vaccine timing: Just five of the 25 autistic children had MMR precede GI complaints that in turn preceded autism symptoms.

Researchers consulted some prominent vaccine critics in designing the study. California advocate Rick Rollens praised the work but said it didn’t eliminate other vaccine concerns that deserve similar study. Meanwhile, he said it should draw much-needed attention to the suffering of patients like his son, who has both autism and GI disorders.

“No longer can mainstream medicine ignore the parents’ claims of significant GI distress,” he said.
© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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I agree with you, mammabear, about vaccination. But that won't dissuade someone who has a child with autism. Since there's no explanation for why this spike is occurring, people will look at everything.

I have a child on the spectrum. I highly doubt that the vaccination causes autism, but there are people I know whose kids had big reactions to the MMR and swear the child was never the same after.

THe problem is that there is a lot of evidence for heredity also. Many have found that some form of autism can be found in earlier generations. THe other problem with the thimerosol (spelling?) theory, is that even after the mercury was eliminated, the numbers of spectrum kids continued to grow.

What annoys me about the anti-vaccine group is that if our kids weren't vaccinated, the measles would be even more widespread. If their kid got as ill as kids used to before the vaccinations, I think they would reconsider. Blindness, and death were not unusual. There were many ghastly illnesses that have been almost eradicated because of the numerous vaccinations that have been developed.

Posted By: gerrylWhat annoys me about the anti-vaccine group is that if our kids weren't vaccinated, the measles would be even more widespread. If their kid got as ill as kids used to before the vaccinations, I think they would reconsider. Blindness, and death were not unusual. There were many ghastly illnesses that have been almost eradicated because of the numerous vaccinations that have been developed.


Exactly. People have no frigging idea what it was like before vaccines. Kids died from childhood illnesses all the time. Many were also many who were left handicapped in some way. Vaccines have kept billions of us protected for some time now, thank you very much. We are lucky that the kids of today have a good chance to become adults. And now there is a rise in Measles thanks to the Autism/MMR connection BS. That really freaks me out!

One of the local pediatricians wrote a compelling essay on this recently, I think in Motherhood (the free local magazine).

I've known several parents with very strong anti-vaccine beliefs, who were certainly concerned about their kids' health but seemed to have very little concern about the community effect of epidemics. (They did not have children with autism.)

The genetic predisposition to vaccine reactions seems to be key for the cases where children newly identified with autism had recent vaccine histories.

One argument of theirs that seemed worth considering for all of us was the timing/ spacing of vaccinations. I still remember vividly the trauma of multi-vaccine days, especially the first one for our daughter who experienced a barrage (5? 6?) on her first day after we came home from China where we adopted her. It was an awful introduction to "home" and pediatrician. If I'd had a better sense of the vaccination protocols I might have been able to negotiate with the pediatrician's office to wait till the 2nd visit, maybe just do 2 or 3 at most at one time. The fever/ soreness is hard to avoid with that load. I know fever is one of the triggers associated with autism, so that may be a component, though not sufficient, element in its development.

Posted By: susan1014One of the local pediatricians wrote a compelling essay on this recently, I think in Motherhood (the free local magazine).

I am aware of the article since I have a personal connection to the magazine. I'd like to point out, however, that that article was written months ago...and this is new info released on MSNBC.

Just wanted to praise Motherhood for a good article -- since you have a personal connection to the magazine, I hope you can accept my praise without too much criticism of my delay in giving it. I thought that Dr. Cotler(?) give a compelling reminder of why vaccines matter.

My comment was certainly not meant to undermine your posting of important new information, but to mention another source that recently caught my attention. I'm on your side on this one.

Bumping this old thread because there's been some big recent news.

The only study to ever show any correlation between autism and the MMR vaccine was one published in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

It turns out Dr. Wakefield may have fixed his data. This is aside from the fact that the study was already weak since it was based on a sample size of 12.

If this turns out to be true, I hope they figure out a way to put him in jail. I've seen enough of the anti-vaccine movement here, but it's particularly bad in England. MMR vaccine rates are under 50% in London right now. How many kids are going to sick and how many people are going to die because of Wakefield, a sensationalist press, and hysterical parents?

It doesn't help to have people who should know better like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. out there promoting the conspiracy.

I'd like to think this would put an end to the vaccine-conspiracy movement. But I also thought this would happen once they removed thimerosal from vaccines (the old boogeyman) and autism rates didn't change. People just seamlessly shifted the blame from thimerosal to the MMR without batting an eye.

It's pretty hard to get people to pry off the tinfoil hats once they've put them on.

This American Life (a public radio show) had a story about a measles outbreak in California, which was a direct result of parents deciding against vaccination. It wasn't good. Measles is (are?) very dangerous.

Yep, they can be. As a second grader, I had measles ("old fashioned" and the milder German Measles) and was extremely sick with this, delirious, lost 25% of my body weight, very, very sick. It hit a lot of elementary school kids that way, and many of us missed 2-3 weeks of school from it (Scotch Plains, NJ for those interested). Blindness and various permanent impairments were a real concern with the measles in the '50's and '60's. Organic produce and hand sanitizer alone are not much of a defense, especially in densely populated, highly mobile locales like metro NYC/NJ.

I understand the worry about loading up kids with vaccines all at once, but I am more concerned about how little we remember of our recent medical past. These vaccinations are not just the result of some of some errant profit motive on the part of the great enemy, "Big Pharma." I get suspicious of the corporate medical establishment, the government and so on too, but new parents would do well to ask older relatives about how these diseases were experienced before they buy into some of the hysteria.

I'm probably at the other end of the spectrum, as a direct result of when I grew up. Any vaccination going, I'm there. Been getting 'flu shots for decades it seems, kid has done the Gardesil round etc.

The "german measles" cynicalgirl had is a.k.a. Rubella and is the 'R' in MMR.

I remember when the rubella vaccine (they had a campaign called "Rubella Umbrella") came out in 69. My father was a doctor and took all of us to his office for shots as soon as it was available.

I just don't get the anti-vaccine people. Their arguments don't work either as selfishness or public consciousness.

And we forgot to mention the trouble, expense, and lost work for parents caring for their sick kids!

I think there is a happy medium between being anti-vax and being informed and concerned about the amount of vaccinations our kids get at an early age. I absolutely vaccinate my children and I will give them all available vaccines--I just will not do 3, 4, or 5 shots at once, some with multiple vaccines in them, at ages like 2 months, 4 months, and so on. It's incredible how many vaccines a 2 month old is supposed to get at once. I don't need any research to tell me that spreading them out might be a better alternative. It's a pain in the butt for me---I have to go to the dr pretty much once a month, but it's worth it because when they have a reaction (and they have, to DTaP), I know which one it is and I am ready for it. The drs wanted to give the MMR at one year and I was not ready. Not because I think there is autism link, but because it is 3 vaccines in one and my 1 year olds were not big babies--these vaccines are one-size-fits-all, and that means delaying it until my kids are bigger. I'm even planning to split them up, which a person who believed in an autism link would not do (the preservative is the alleged concern). I get really irritated by people who discuss delayed vaccination as though it's some process that was made up by parents who have bought into the autism "hype." There are other reasons to delay vaccination.

dobler88 - I get your point. There is the issue that the longer you take to vaccinate your kids the longer you are leaving them at risk for the diseases addressed by the vaccines.

I supposed the other issue is a general public health question about consumption of doctor's resources; it's more efficient to give the vaccines in fewer injections. Do you get any crap about this practice from your insurance?

Dogbert, I pay for the "nurse visits" for the shots out of pocket--I don't even involve insurance. They pay for the vaccine itself, but I pay for the nurse's time to give the shot. It's not a long visit and I forget the charge, but it's not much. It really is only the burden of my time and my wallet. I realize that not everyone has the option of dragging their kids to the dr every month and paying out of pocket, though, and that is concerning.

I know what you are saying re exposure. But the risk in whether my kid gets the diptheria vaccine at 2 months versus 3 months seems to pale in comparison to the risk of potential reactions from multiple vaccines at once on a tiny baby's system. Also, the MMR "range" is 12 to 18 months, and when they offer the shot varies among doctors.

One thing that I think influences the timing of some of the vaccinations (maybe not the clumping, but the "get it by" date) is the point at which the biological child "loses" the biological mother's immunities. Three months, isn't it? That is, assuming the biological mother either had the diseases in question, or vaccinations for same.

Yep, dogbert, Rubella. A danger to pregnant mothers as I recall. And I did get the mumps in high school, passed it to my boyfriend. Who is sterile, most likely as a result. Sadly, I don't think having had Chicken Pox protects me or anyone from the adult variation, Shingles. Do you remember lining up in the school cafeteria for the oral polio sugar cube thing? Ah, those were the days.

I do understand wanting to space out vaccinations, for whatever set of reasons. But I also understand the urgency of having them, and within certain timeframes.

Like Dobler, I have also been spacing the vaccinations. I did not want to tax my daughter's system with so many at once. However, I am still nursing as her main source of nourishment, so she still has my immunities. She is also not in daycare so she does not have that exposure risk. I just finished reading Dr. Sears's Vaccine book and I thought it was well-rounded. It was not anti-vaccine at all, but explains each one and why it is given at that time. It also gives an alternative schedule that you can follow that spaces them out so not so many are given at one time.

The next ones my daughter is supposed to get are MMR and Varicella (chicken pox). I had considered splitting the MMR but just found out that, at this time, they are not available as M-M-R. I will be doing MMR at one visit and Varicella at another. Just my own personal preference.

Cynical girl, I don't have my book next to me, but I think that a Shingles vaccine is in the works. I could be remembering that wrong, but I think there is. Funny thing, when I first typed it, I typed Singles Vaccine! How many people would line up for that one?! LOL

I'm a huge proponent of vaccine usage, but I don't understand the Hepatitis B vaccine schedule at all. Babies need a whole slew of vaccines; why rush to give them one shortly after birth for a disease transmitted only by sex or IV drug use ? Doesn't make sense to me, and this comes from someone who participated in the original testing program for it.

I don't have a problem with parents who space out the shots, as long as their kids get them all before starting kindergarten or preschool. It's a matter of social responsibility.

And I think that parents who prevent their daughters (and hopefully soon, their sons) from getting Gardesil should be required to set up a trust fund to pay for their kids' future cancer care.

Okay, here is the Shingles vaccine for those 60 years and older. Zostavax is the name and the CDC has a whole Q&A page about it.

ditto mellie re breastfeeding, no daycare, and Dr. Sears's book. I really feel like there is a reasoned position on vaccines that isn't always "give every vaccine per the set CDC schedule"-- a position that isn't based on the autism fear or a mistrust of government or anything other than parents thinking a bit and making choices based on their own info. That's all.

mellie, I'd get a Shingles vaccine. Both my parents got it in their 60's and it was way more painful and longlasting than Chicken Pox. I wonder whether it can be had at a younger age? A guy I work with -- very stressful job -- got Shingles last year and he's in his mid-40's. About drove him crazy, and disfiguring facial scars from scratching in the night.

Posted By: metaphysicianwhy rush to give them one shortly after birth for a disease transmitted only by sex or IV drug use ? Doesn't make sense to me, and this comes from someone who participated in the original testing program for it.



Via google:
Why should I vaccinate my newborn child if I know that I am not infected with hepatitis B virus?
Before the hepatitis B virus vaccine, every year in the United States about 18,000 children were infected with hepatitis B virus by the time they were 10 years old. This statistic is especially important because people are much more likely to develop liver cancer or cirrhosis if they are infected early in life, rather than later in life (most people are infected with hepatitis B virus when they are adolescents and young adults).

About 9,000 of the 18,000 children infected in the first 10 years of life caught the virus from their mother during birth. However, many young children didn't catch the disease from their mother. They caught it from either another family member or someone else who comes in contact with the child. Because the disease can be transmitted by casual contact, and because many people who are infected with hepatitis B virus don't know that they have it, it is virtually impossible to be "careful enough" to avoid this infection.

For these reasons, all young children are recommended to receive the hepatitis B vaccine. The best time to receive the first dose is right after birth. This will ensure that the child will be protected as early as possible from catching the disease from someone that doesn't know that they are infected with the virus.

So, pretty low incidence (9000 total), but there is a reason.

Zostavax is the shingles vaccine; varivax is the one given to children (generally age 12 months) to protect against the initial chicken pox infection. It's about 85% effective. Even if the child does later contract chicken pox (as one of mine did), it's a much milder infection.

The difference between zostavax and varivax IIRC is dosage, basically; you have to deliverer a much higher dose of vaccine to older people to get them to form antibodies (1400 "plaque forming units" for varivax versus almost 20,000 pfu's for adults; says a lot about how our immune systems age, doesn't it?) IIRC varivax has been around for a long time.

I have a child on the spectrum. I think the reason parents were convinced that vaccines had something to do with it is because a lot of autistic symptoms emerge after the first year. But that has everything to do with child development rather than "acquisition" of disease.

The identical twin studies show that autism is heavily determined by genes. Why then is it so much more prevalent? Well, that's the big question. Duplication of those genes in the course of reproduction is possible. I think we really don't know. I've always considered the MMR vaccine controversy to be an enormous distraction.

So, other kids in daycare, playground, library program, kindergarten playing and touching common toys etc. would do it, eh?

>>Sadly, I don't think having had Chicken Pox protects me or anyone from the adult variation, Shingles.

Actually, I think it guarantees that you'll have shingles, if you live long enough. Shingles isn't just the adult version of chicken pox; it's the latent version of the infection you had as a kid.

Posted By: malphigianThey caught it from either another family member or someone else who comes in contact with the child. Because the disease can be transmitted by casual contact, and because many people who are infected with hepatitis B virus don't know that they have it, it is virtually impossible to be "careful enough" to avoid this infection.

I stand corrected. Thank you for posting the information.

Posted By: lurker
The identical twin studies show that autism is heavily determined by genes. Why then is it so much more prevalent? Well, that's the big question. Duplication of those genes in the course of reproduction is possible. I think we really don't know. I've always considered the MMR vaccine controversy to be an enormous distraction


Yeah, it is.

My personal theory (and I doubt I've looked into as deeply as you have), is that the increase is actually not an increase. It is due to changes in diagnostic criteria (autism went from a diagnosis only used in severe cases to a spectrum disorder which includes something like Asperger's).

The other part of this is the huge increase in awareness. 30 years ago autism was generally only used in the public sphere (if at all) when referring to (and pardon the terrible term) "idiot savants". Kids who didn't talk but could carve perfect animals out of wood or some such. Now, every parent, doctor, and child care professional knows what autism is and has some idea of what the symptoms are.

There have been numerous studies which support this theory, for example this one from Pediatrics:
CONCLUSIONS. Prevalence findings from special education data do not support the claim of an autism epidemic because the administrative prevalence figures for most states are well below epidemiological estimates. The growing administrative prevalence of autism from 1994 to 2003 was associated with corresponding declines in the usage of other diagnostic categories.

Basically, in the past children were getting labeled with a different or undefined problem, but now they are classified as autism spectrum. The amount those diagnoses has decreased as equal to the amount autism has increased.

That said, it's very hard to pin down given the number factors. The anti-vaccine movement certainly isn't helping to find the cause or a treatment, that's for sure.

Posted By: malphigianBumping this old thread because there's been some big recent news.

The only study to ever show any correlation between autism and the MMR vaccine was one published in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

It turns out Dr. Wakefieldmay have fixed his data. This is aside from the fact that the study was already weak since it was based on a sample size of12.

If this turns out to be true, I hope they figure out a way to put him in jail.
... snip ...


along with the biggest enabler of this - RFK Jr.

Sign me up for the Shingles vaccine! Do I have to wait until I'm 60? I'm not sure my calendar goes that far ahead.


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