Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature
Because of a temporal correlation between the first notable signs and symptoms of autism and the routine childhood vaccination schedule, many parents have become increasingly concerned regarding the possible etiologic role vaccines may play in the development of autism. In particular, some have suggested an association between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism. Our literature review found very few studies supporting this theory, with the overwhelming majority showing no causal association between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism. The vaccine preservative thimerosal has alternatively been hypothesized to have a possible causal role in autism. Again, no convincing evidence was found to support this claim, nor for the use of chelation therapy in autism. With decreasing uptake of immunizations in children and the inevitable occurrence of measles outbreaks, it is important that clinicians be aware of the literature concerning vaccinations and autism so that they may have informed discussions with parents and caregivers.
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