Court Weighs Autism-Vaccine Link
Perspective: Parents Sue Federal Government, but Do They Have a Case?
WebMD News Archive
Experts Say 'No' continued...
The CDC says there is no evidence to suggest a link. The Institute of
Medicine, a nonprofit, nongovernment organization, takes it one step further
and says the MMR vaccine absolutely does not cause autism.
Since 1999, when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that
thimerosal be taken out of vaccines as a precautionary measure, kids’ exposure
to the preservative has dropped significantly.
Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines
routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger. The exception is
the flu vaccine. A preservative-free version of the flu vaccine (contains trace
amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply for infants, children,
and pregnant women.
Some vaccines, such as the tetanus-diphtheria booster for older children and
adults, are also available in formulations that are free of thimerosal or
contain only trace amounts.
If Not Thimerosal, Then What Causes Autism?
The exact cause of autism is not known, but research has pointed to several
possible factors, including genetics, certain types of infections, and problems
occurring at birth.
Recent studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic
predisposition to autism, meaning that a susceptibility to develop the
condition may be passed on from parents to children.
Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to this
increased vulnerability. In some children, environmental factors may also play
a role. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several
regions of the brain, which suggest that autism results from a disruption of
early brain development while still in utero.