Autism and MMR Vaccinations Term Paper

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Autism MMR

"MMR-Autism? The Research Says, NO!"

MMR-Autism? The Research Says NO"

Vaccinations, associated with the prevention of many once common and deadly diseases that cannot be combated by traditional medicine have saved millions of lives all over the world. As vaccines provide prevention from viruses, pathogens that modern medicine has had very little success with in post-treatment they are indispensable to the ability of medicine to help people avoid serious disease in individuals and in large outbreaks. Vaccinations have evolved over the years to forms that the current medical body believes are as safe as they can possibly be, and medical professionals agree that there are still some untoward medical risks that are associated with them, and yet the results of eradicating or seriously reducing rates of these once deadly diseases far out way mostly minor possible complications. (Izakson, 2003, p. 40)

Yet, in the last fifteen or so years the concerns about vaccinations, and particularly the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccination (MMR) have come to the forefront of societies debates, and in turn the vaccinations have been denied many children as a result of parent's fears of some connection to autism and an accompanying serious bowel disease. In some locations the vaccination rates have dropped below acceptable levels and the diseases, especially the sometimes deadly measles, are increasing once again to pre-vaccination rates.

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This is mostly in response to a very small study conducted in the UK (n-12 children) who exhibited signs of autism and the bowel disease after receiving MMR vaccinations. (Izakson, 2003, p. 40) Though even the professional researchers who conducted and published the research considered it tentative and the co-authors of the work have since dismissed the results, the fear it generated among parents has led to a drop from 95% vaccination status to 75- 70% in some areas. ("MMR-Autism Findings 'Resoundingly Negative'," 2005, p. 6) "Immunisation levels in some parts of the country have fallen to as low as 75 per cent, way below the World Health Organisation threshold of 95 per cent needed to guarantee so-called 'herd immunity' for the whole population." ("Autism Ruled out by," 2001, p. 6)

Regardless of the many dollars and hours that are being spent to try to find a causal link between, nearly everything and the increased rates of autism the research is still in its infancy and will likely remain so for many more years.

Autism is the term commonly used to refer to autism spectrum disorders, a group of neurodevelopmental disorders involving sensory processing problems and social and language difficulties. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the exact prevalence of autism is unknown. Estimates range from 1 person in 500 to 1 in 1,000 in this country; and the number of people diagnosed with autism is growing. (Steuernagel, 2005, p.138)

The desire of the scientific community to give parents and others answers about this mind boggling disease and the sometimes extreme social depravity that results from the neurological disorder have led to many scares, only one of which is the MMR vaccination link and the ensuing research and reaction, by vaccine opponents and parents, who refuse to give their children the vaccine protection out of fear of the unknown.

One of the initial movements has been to separate the three vaccines and administer them alone, which many argue will increase rather than decrease risk of side effects. "Head of vaccination at the Department of Health, Dr. David Salisbury, said that if vaccinations were administered separately it would increase the risks to children. 'They will get measles, some of them will die,' he said." ("Autism Ruled out by," 2001, p. 6)

Since the beginning of the vaccination scare, there has been both a decrease in vaccination rates in many nations, an increase in disease incidents as well as an increase in larger, more foundational long-term studies that attempt to address the concern of the link between autism and MMR. What the research community is finding, contradicts the early finds of the one very small study, which was likely meant not as a scare tactic, but a resolution to do just what has been done, study the situation further with the understanding of a potential red flag connection between the MMR and autism. As with most scientific endeavors the goal of the early research was to spurn others to do much more extensive research that would solidify or reject the early theories of a connection. The research community has answered the call and many long-term studies have been conducted, with exponentially larger numbers of participants and all have come up with a resounding negative association between autism and MMR. In other words the early study's results have been unable to be repeated, the test of any scientific theory.

Some researchers sought to dismiss additives as the causal factor, by removing the one that many identify as the most volatile, thimerosal, which is an aluminum derivative that is added to vaccinations to boost the bodies immune response to disease. Other researchers have tested the combination vaccination concern, by studying a large population of children receiving the three vaccines separately, as has been done in Japan, and still others seek to correlate autism rates with those children who have received the traditional MMR over many years. All three large bodies of research have been unable to repeat the early findings of the Wakefield 12 study. (Izakson, 2003, p. 40) the study mentioned below occurred in Japan, where the MMR was replaced with three independent vaccinations, as a result of another finding that linked the combined vaccination to possible cases of meningitis.

A new study of more than 30,000 children has provided the strongest evidence yet that no link exists between the MMR jab and increasing autism rates. The research showed the number of children with autism continued to rise even when the controversial measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was replaced with single jabs. ("MMR-Autism Findings 'Resoundingly Negative'," 2005, p. 6) larger study conducted in Finland, was a representative study of all children receiving the MMR over a period of fourteen years.

The 14-year Finnish study said the vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella does cause other side effects, but does not contribute to the conditions." More than three million doses were taken by 1.8 million children during the duration of the study with 5.3 per 100,000 showing serious adverse effects. The research, published in a recent edition of the United States journal the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, followed 1.8 million individuals over a 14-year period. Established when the drug was first available in 1982, all hospitals and health centres in Finland reported their findings to the researchers... Comprehensive analysis of the reported adverse reactions established that serious events causally related to the MMR vaccine are rare and greatly outweighed by the risks of natural MMR diseases. ("Autism Ruled out by," 2001, p. 6)

The foundational result being that by the year 2005 there had been no real corroboration, in large or small studies that demonstrate the results of Wakefield as consistent or repeatable.

In the years since Dr. Wakefield's claims not one epidemiological study has revealed a link between the vaccine and autism, even though parents of children with regressive autism maintain they were damaged by the vaccinations. ("MMR-Autism Findings 'Resoundingly Negative'," 2005, p. 6)

The increased rates of autism are then considered a medical mystery, with some claiming yet unknown environmental exposures and still others stating that the increased rates of autism are associated with increased awareness and refined diagnostic procedures. ("MMR-Autism Findings 'Resoundingly Negative'," 2005, p. 6)

In a New England Journal of Medicine 2002, cohort study the results were also a negative correlation between autism, autism spectrum disorders and the MMR vaccination. The statistics found in the results of the rather large study show a clear disconnect between autism and the MMR.

Of the 537,303 children in the cohort (representing 2,129,864 person-years), 440,655 (82.0%) had received the MMR vaccine. We identified 316 children with a diagnosis of autistic disorder and 422 with a diagnosis of other autistic-spectrum disorders. After adjustment for potential confounders, the relative risk of autistic disorder in the group of vaccinated children, as compared with the unvaccinated group, was 0.92 (95% confidence interval, 0.68 to 1.24), and the relative risk of another autistic-spectrum disorder was 0.83 (95% confidence interval, 0.65 to 1.07). There was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder. (Madsen, Hviid, Vestergaard, Schendel, Wohlfahrt, Thorsen, Olsen, and Melbye, Novemeber 7, 2002, p. 1477)

Within nearly all the research there is no or little connection between the two factors, making it irresponsible to say the least, to continue to reject and deny the lifesaving vaccination to children. Yet, fear and the extreme nature of the disease seem to continue to drive an overall anti-vaccination movement, as parents wish to make absolutely certain that if there is even a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Autism and MMR Vaccinations.  (2007, October 29).  Retrieved July 11, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Autism and MMR Vaccinations."  29 October 2007.  Web.  11 July 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Autism and MMR Vaccinations."  October 29, 2007.  Accessed July 11, 2020.