A new meta analysis study on 1.25 million kids shows no link between vaccines and autism. The study is the largest ever performed and the results were just released this week. This latest data adds to a huge body of scientific evidence that has already proven that vaccines do not cause autism. However, as the measles epidemic continues to grow because of the anti-vaccine movement, the CDC is concerned that a new massive study such as this one will do little to sway parents who have made up their minds that there is a link between vaccines and the dread disease.
Besides the missing link between vaccines and autism, the study has also proven that there is no link between mercury and thimerosal and autism. Some of the people who believe that there is a link attribute the causal agents as being mercury or other ingredients found in the vaccines. However, science has now shown that this is not the case.
The myth that vaccines cause autism began in 1998, when a doctor who has since been formally stripped of his medical license published a fraudulent study that showed a link between vaccines and autism as well as autism spectrum disorder. That doctor was found guilty of falsifying the results and the study was completely retracted by the original journal that had been duped into publishing it.
What’s more, say researchers, the new meta analysis on over a million kids shows not only no link between vaccines and autism, but it actually shows a reduced risk of autism in children who have gotten the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, also called the MMR vaccine. The study was massive and very well-controlled, even examining each of the sub-studies and evaluating them for possible bias. Additionally, the authors of the new study state that they have no conflicts of interest and are objective observers. The study has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Vaccines. Despite these findings, one out of four parents still believes that vaccines can cause autism and a host of other health complaints.
Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Alicia Silverstone and Kristin Cavalari have done much to promote the idea that parents should not vaccinate their children. McCarthy, in particular, has been vocal in her anti-vaccine stance and says that she believes her son’s diagnosis of autism was due to the vaccines he received.
While this new study is the largest of its kind and supports an extensive body of established research in this field, other studies have shown that the more pro-vaccine information is given to the public, the more the vaccine doubters resist the science behind the discussion. In fact, a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics showed that pro-vaccine information tended to strengthen the beliefs and fears of the people who believe that there is a link between vaccines and autism.
Some experts say that this is indicative of a trend toward science denial in U.S. society recently. The most common areas of science denial include climate change, evolution and vaccines. Sociologists point to the phenomena of motivated reasoning and the need to constantly reinforce the sense of self and individual beliefs as reasons for denying things supported by a large amount of scientific evidence.
A new meta analysis on over a million kids shows no link between vaccines and autism. As the measles epidemic continues to increase, public health officials have been ramping up their efforts to convince parents of the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
By: Rebecca Savastio