Is there a link between childhood vaccines and
autism? Recent news says no. Credit: James Gathany

February was a big month in the debate about the possible role of vaccines in causing autism, a subject we covered in last year’s TV story, Autism: Searching for Causes, and several blog posts. The claim-–that there might be a link between the immunizations children receive and the onset of autism–-has recently taken some hard hits.

First, on February 1, two Philadelphia researchers published a scientific literature review that summarized a number of studies from around the world, all of which refuted the claim that there was a vaccine-autism link.

Then on February 8, the news came out that the doctor whose 1998 research had sparked the initial autism-vaccine scare had manipulated his data. Finally, on February 12, a special federal court ruled against three families who argued that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine had caused autism in their children, saying that the evidence was “overwhelmingly contrary” to the claims.

No doubt there will be more debate about this issue in the future, as families and researchers continue the search for the cause.


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Quest Topic in the News: The Autism-Vaccine Connection 4 March,2009Rachel Zurer

Author

Rachel Zurer

Rachel Zurer is an intern for QUEST. Originally from Washington, DC, she's been steadily making her way further west and deeper into the world of science. After earning her B.A. at Duke University, she spent two years as a crew leader with the Utah Conservation Corps, building trails, killing weeds, and learning first hand about the awesomeness of nature. Then she moved indoors to become the Gallery Programs Coordinator for the Utah Museum of Natural History. Now a Berkeley resident, she's pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing through Goucher College. She's thrilled to be helping explain cool science for people through as many types of media as possible

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