A new paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has once again debunked the link between the MMR vaccine and autism as global instances of measles rise by almost three-quarters.

Written by a team of Danish researchers, the paper is a follow-on from a 2002 study carried out by the same team, who again concluded that there was no connection between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism.

This most recent study was specifically aimed at criticisms made by anti-vaxxers, who have suggested that children who receive the MMR vaccination are “more susceptible” to autism as a result of being vaccinated among other claims, all of which the researchers debunked.

The paper states: “We found no support for the hypothesis of increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination in a nationwide unselected population of Danish children, no support for the hypothesis of MMR vaccination triggering autism in susceptible subgroups characterised by environmental and familial risk factors, and no support for a clustering of autism cases in specific time periods after MMR vaccination.”

It was disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield who first attempted to establish a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine in his 1998 study, originally published in the Lancet, in which he claimed that the triple vaccine caused some children to develop the clinically-unproven condition autistic enterocolitis.

Wakefield’s study has been repeatedly disproven by researchers and over a period of three years the General Medical Council, who ruled that the study was dishonest in its findings, with Wakefield being paid by solicitors who represented parents who believed the MMR vaccine had harmed their child, acted unethically, failed to disclose correct medical information about the children, and purchased blood samples at his son’s birthday party to use as a part of his study.

This resulted in Wakefield being struck off the medical register in May 2010, with the Lancet formally retracting the original paper in the same year, stating that: “The claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false.”

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Source: The Guardian/NBC
Image: Flickr/Government of Prince Edward Island

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