NEW YORK — A new study provides further evidence that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism, Reuters Health reported Jan. 4.
Concerns that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella could cause autism were first raised a decade ago by British physician Andrew Wakefield, who, based on a study of 12 children, proposed that there was a link between the vaccine and bowel disease and autism.
That research has since been widely discredited, and numerous international studies have failed to find a connection between MMR vaccination and autism.
This latest study included 96 Polish children ages 2 to 15 who had been diagnosed with autism. Researchers compared each child with two healthy children the same age and gender who had been treated by the same doctor.
Some of the children had received the MMR vaccine, while others had not been vaccinated at all or had received a vaccine against measles only.
Overall, the study found, children who had received the MMR vaccine actually had a lower risk of autism than their unvaccinated peers. Nor was there any evidence of an increased autism risk with the measles-only vaccine.
"Parents should be convinced about the safety of MMR vaccine," lead researcher Dr. Dorota Mrozek-Budzyn, of Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
She noted that the infectious diseases the MMR shot prevents could sometimes have serious complications.
Most of the children in the current study had received either the MMR or measles vaccine, according to a report in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.