Science Panel Finds No Link Between Autism and MMR Vaccine
WebMD News Archive
Robert Davis, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington in
Seattle, has recently published a study disputing the link between the MMR
vaccine, bowel disease, and autism. He agrees with the IOM report's
"In medical training, you have children like this die in
your arms from these diseases, and once that happens, you realize that the
vaccine actually prevents things that are very, very serious, and you never
want to see it again," Davis tells WebMD. He says he worries that adverse
publicity about the vaccine will cause parents to avoid it, which is happening
right now in Great Britain.
Still, the idea already resonates among concerned parents:
could the MMR vaccine -- a prerequisite of virtually all U.S. students to enter
school -- pose an autism risk?
And on Capitol Hill, Chairman Dan Burton of the House Committee
on Government Reform is planning hearings on the issue Wednesday and
Burton (R-Ind.) has a 3-year-old grandson who developed autism
shortly after getting an MMR shot, and the Congressman is a critic of U.S.
"His concern remains. ... He wants to get to the bottom of
this issue, because he's seen what's happened in his own family, and because as
a chairman of an oversight committee, he wants to ensure the safety of the
vaccine," Beth Clay, a committee staff member, tells WebMD.
While the IOM isn't recommending a change in a vaccine policy
based on its report, it does say more research is warranted. Experts call for
more studies that could identify currently unknown genetic or environmental
risk factors that might lead to autism. Today, government-sponsored studies are
trying to find out what happens to children who put off getting the MMR shot,
as opposed to those who get it as early as possible.