MMR: parents deserve an answer
There may be an explanation for the apparent link between MMR and autism, says David Pollard
If there is no scientific evidence of a link between the MMR vaccination and autism, then why is there so much anecdotal evidence from parents that there is a connection? We may have an answer.
Research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests there may actually be a connection between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella jab. Before this statement causes a renewal of decade-long hostilities between the two camps - parents shouting 'I told you so', and devotees of medical orthodoxy expressing outrage - read on.
There are two important factors: first, symptoms of autism tend to develop rather slowly and are not always immediately apparent; second, the report from the AAP shows that symptoms of autism may be reduced by fever.
Because mild fever can occur after an MMR vaccination - just as with other jabs - the sufferer's symptoms may therefore diminish while the fever lasts. So it is plausible that parents who have not previously noticed any symptoms might become aware of them once the fever abates and the symptoms return.
These parents might quite reasonably be convinced that the vaccination caused the autism. And they would not be swayed by the medical profession saying there is no association at all.
It is bad science to deny any connection and dismiss the parents' evidence as 'urban myth': it is tantamount to telling the parents they are lying when they are not. Medical science must explain the anecdotal evidence. If the report seems reasonable, or even only plausible, then more research is needed.
Only this month, a study at Great Ormond Street and three other hospitals found no evidence to support the theory that the MMR jab can damage the intestine and in turn cause autism. Like previous scientific reports, it will bring little comfort to those parents who believe there is a link. ·
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