Thursday, January 6th, 2011
In 1998, a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield published a research paper suggestion autism in children was linked to the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine. The groundbreaking research was published in The Lancet, a medical journal specialzing in oncology, neurology, and infectious diseases.
While some medical professionals were skeptical of the research results and discredited it, some doctors and parents voiced their support for the research and became suspicious about other vaccines. Some moms, including celeb mom Jenny McCarthy, became pickier about vaccinations or stopped vaccinating their children completely.
Even though The Lancet retracted Dr. Wakefield’s research in early 2010, a recent editorial in the the British Medical Journal has publicly denounced Dr. Wakefield’s research as “fraudulent.” The editorial asserts that Dr. Wakefield “falsified data” and tampered with his research results to give the (MMR) vaccine bad publicity. At the time, Dr. Wakefield was involved in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the (MMR) vaccine and would have gained money for winning–an obvious conflict of interest.
After the research was released in 1998, there was a sharp decrease in parents giving their children the (MMR) vaccine. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 90% of children in the United States are vaccinated, mumps remain the second most common disease that can be easily vaccinated. Also, in 2008, reports for measles reached an all-time high since 1997, and about 90% of the kids with measles hadn’t been vaccinated.
Since Dr. Wakefield has been unable to reproduce his research results and there are no other conclusive studies, there is no proof that autism is linked to the (MMR) vaccine or other vaccines. However, the new information has lead parents to wonder if they should have vaccinated their children, while doctors are disturbed how one study prevented children from getting necessary medical attention.
More Health Content on Parents.com:
- Expert Q&A: Is There a Link Between Autism and Vaccines?
- 14 Common Vaccination Questions Answered
- Health 101: The Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
- Is It Autism? First Signs and Immediate Treatment
As a parent, do you believe autism is still linked to vaccinations ? Do you vaccinate your children and will you continue to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments section.