Findings of a new study have provided another evidence that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine does not raise risk of autism, nor trigger autism in children who are at risk.
Study Involved 657,461 Children
Study researcher Anders Hviid, from Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, and colleagues used a population registry to find out if the MMR vaccine increased the risk of autism in children who were born between 1999 and 2010.
The researchers documented diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder, and known risk factors, which include preterm birth, low birth weight, diagnosis of autism in a sibling, and the age of the parents.
ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual's ability to communicate, behave, and interact appropriately with others.
Of the 657,461 children who were followed through August 2013, 95 percent received the MMR vaccine and 6,517 were diagnosed with autism.
The researchers found that none of the subgroups that received the MMR vaccine showed elevated risk for autism. The vaccine was, in fact, even linked to a slightly reduced risk of autism in girls and children who were born between 1999 and 2001.
Groups With Highest Risk For Autism
While the biological mechanism behind the condition is still unclear, the researchers were able to identify groups that had the highest risk for autism. These include boys, those who were born between 2008 and 2010, children who had no early vaccinations, and those who had siblings with autism.
"The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, March 4.
"It adds to previous studies through significant additional statistical power and by addressing hypotheses of susceptible subgroups and clustering of cases."
Study That Linked Vaccines And Autism Retracted
The link between vaccines and autism grew out of a 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield that was published in The Lancet. Wakefield received compensation from a law firm that intended to sue manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. He lost his medical license in 2010.
The Lancet retracted his study in 2011 following an investigation that revealed Wakefield misrepresented or altered the information of the children who were the basis for the conclusion of the study.
Subsequent studied that attempted to reproduce the results did not find any link between the vaccine and autism.