Researchers Blast Another Link Between Autism and Vaccines

Filed under: Medical Conditions, In The News, Special Needs, Research Reveals: Babies, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Big Kids, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

Pediatricians say you don't have to delay vaccines. Credit: Getty Images

Some myths never go away; they just change form. Take the whole debate over autism and child vaccines.

People who insist autism is caused by childhood vaccines saw their argument obliterated when scientists proved conclusively there's no link between the disorder and thimerosal.

Now, many are saying, it's not the thimerosal, but vaccines still cause autism because children get too many vaccines too soon. Their little bodies are overloaded.

Meanwhile, scientists are heaving a collective, exasperated sigh.

The Los Angeles Times reports an increasing number of parents are asking their pediatricians to space out vaccines and booster shots. There's no need to do that, according to pediatric infectious disease specialists Drs. Michael J. Smith and Charles R. Woods of the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

They released a study in the medical journal Pediatrics
on Monday that states unequivocally there is no relation between autism and the frequency of childhood vaccines.

It was tough research.

The physicians obviously couldn't take a group of kids, purposefully delay their vaccinations and put them at risk of polio, rubella and other horrible diseases.

Instead, the Times reports, Smith and Woods analyzed data on 1,047 children from a previous study investigating the thimerosal claim.

The children were born between 1993 and 1997, and had been vaccinated on a schedule of their parents' choosing. They were later given a series of 42 neuropsychological tests between the ages of 7 and 10.

Smith and Woods report roughly 47 percent of the children received their vaccines on a regular schedule. Another 23 percent received their vaccines, but not on schedule. The remaining children received only some of their shots.

The researchers reported in Pediatrics that the spacing of the vaccines had no effect on whether or not the children developed autism.

"This study provides the strongest clinical outcomes evidence to date that on-time receipt of vaccines during infancy has no adverse effect on neurodevelopmental outcomes 7 to 10 years later," the authors write.

"These results offer reassuring information that physicians and public health officials may use to communicate with parents who are concerned that children receive too many vaccines too soon," they add.

Related: 10 Common Autism Myths

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.