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Researchers Find No Link between Vaccination and Autism

May 19, 2014 07:42 AM EDT

A new study, conducted by researchers in Australia, finds no link between vaccination and autism. 

The study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Sydney and is published in the journal Vaccine.

Autism Spectrum Disorders can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. People with ASD's handle information in their brain differently.  Estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network suggest that one in every 68 children in the U.S. have ASD.

Several parents fear that common vaccines can up the risk of autism in children. The vaccine scare began in 1998, when Andrew Wakefield published a paper in the journal The Lancet, claiming that measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism.

Brian Deer of the Sunday Times carried out an investigation and exposed the fraudulent study paper. The paper was fully retracted in 2010 and Wakefield was found guilty of misconduct.

CDC's current position on the subject is that there is no causal relationship between certain vaccine types and autism.

"This has in recent times become a major public health issue with vaccine-preventable diseases rapidly increasing in the community due to the fear of a 'link' between vaccinations and autism," Guy Eslick said in a news release. "This is especially concerning given the fact that there have been 11 measles outbreaks in the US since 2000, and NSW also saw a spike in measles infections from early 2012 to late 2012.

The Sydney Medical School's study was based on data from five cohort studies that included a total of 1.25 million children and five case-control studies with 9,920 children.

Researchers found no statistical data to support the idea that vaccination for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough is linked with development of autism.

Wakefield tried to defend himself in a commentary posted on The Telegraph 12 April 2013, by saying that he recommended the use of single measles vaccine instead of MMR.

"The data consistently shows the lack of evidence for an association between autism, autism spectrum disorders and childhood vaccinations, regardless of whether the intervention was through combination vaccines (MMR) or one of its components, providing no reason to avoid immunisation on these grounds."

Wakefield's research was mentioned in the recent study. "He is viewed by the anti-vaccination lobby as a demigod, (but) we don't know what causes autism," Eslick told the Herald Sun.

 According to Eslick, he has no vested interest in the vaccine-autism debate and that he wasn't funded by any drug company, according to Herald Sun

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