Multiple Vaccinations on Same Day Does Not Raise Autism Risk

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[Source: Wikipedia]

[Source: Wikipedia]

Despite the lack of scientific evidence to support it, many parents still believe vaccines can cause autism. A new study that should help assuage concerns shows that giving children multiple vaccines on the same day does not increase the risk for autism. How persuasive the study will be to doubting parents, however, is anybody's guess.

The principle behind vaccines is to expose the body to harmless amounts of infectious pathogens so that the immune system can “remember” it by developing the proper antibodies. One fear is that vaccines – particularly the common measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) – put excessive strain on young immune systems and thus render the children vulnerable to autism. Thus, many parents choose to not follow the vaccine schedule recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and delay or refuse entirely vaccines for their children.

To test the idea that overburdening the immune system predisposes children to autism, researchers at the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office compared the vaccine schedules of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those without ASD. If high amounts of vaccines raise the risk of autism, then those who had received more vaccines over the first two years of life or multiple vaccines on a single day should show a higher risk for ASD.

Data was gathered from 1008 children – 256 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 752 without. From their vaccine histories the researchers calculated the maximum amount of antigens – molecules that stimulate production of the antibodies by which the immune system “remembers” – that each child was exposed to while receiving their shots. They then split each group further based on how many antigens those children received over time – from birth to three months old, from birth to seven months, and from birth to two years. The researchers concluded that risk for autism was not affected by the amount of antigens the children were exposed to over any of the time periods. They also looked at maximum exposure cases when the children took multiple vaccines on a single day. Again, the amounts of antigen didn’t affect whether or not the child developed autism.

Jonas Salk's vaccine, introduced in 1955, eradicated polio, then thought the most frightening health problem. [Source: Wikipedia]

Jonas Salk's vaccine, introduced in 1955, eradicated polio, then thought the most frightening health problem. [Source: Wikipedia]

Further analysis considered whether taking more vaccines increased risk for regressive autism in which children appear normal before age 1 or 2 but then suddenly “regress” and lose language and social skills they previously possessed. Because of the timing of the disorder – developing about the time the child is finished taking all his/her vaccines – there’s a concern that this form of autism might be particularly related to vaccine exposure. But as with the larger analysis, no connection was seen between vaccine amount and regressive autism.

The researchers also point out that, while it is true that today’s children are taking more vaccines they’re actually being exposed to less antigens. Today’s vaccines subject them to an average of 315 different antigens designed to stimulate resistance against diseases such as mumps, measles and rubella. Vaccines given in the 1990s exposed children to antigens numbering in the thousands.

The study was published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

The fear surrounding vaccines can be traced to British surgeon Andrew Wakefield who published a study in 1998 that “showed” vaccines increase risk for autism. A panicked public responded with an 80 percent drop in vaccine rates as late as 2004. But an assessment performed in 2011 roundly discredited the study, calling it an “elaborate fraud” and accusing Wakefield of falsifying data to support his theory. Subsequently the original study was retracted – 10 out of the 12 co-authors of the study led the exodus – and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license. Accusations levied against the surgeon cited a lawsuit against the manufacturers of an MMR vaccine for which Wakefield was a consultant and for which he was compensated $750,000.

But the damage was done, and its lasting effects are still seen today. About one-third of parents in the US still believe vaccines can cause autism, and 1 in 10 parents delay giving their children vaccines or refuse to give it to them altogether.

The study further solidifies the consensus among healthcare officials that vaccines don't cause autism. A comprehensive review by the Institute of Medicine published in 2004 examined the possibility of a link between vaccines (specifically MMR vaccines) and autism, including vaccines containing thimerosal, a preservative high in mercury that had been used in vaccines since the 1930s but recently discontinued due to health concerns. After examining the medical literature, the review concluded that the “evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.” The CDC, FDA, World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine all strongly state that the data does not support a link between thimerosal and autism. And while the new study goes far in ruling out a link between vaccine amount and autism, most likely many parents will still require even more data before they're fully inoculated against their fears.

Peter Murray

Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.

Discussion — 9 Responses

  • kingdave April 4, 2013 on 9:11 am

    UCSD’s new cell danger theory suggests that autism is caused by a prolonged exposure to toxins that causes cells to stop communicating, which could very well mean that an MMR shot could be the tipping point that finally gets cells to shut down communication and make your child regress into ASD.

  • Achieve Beyond April 4, 2013 on 10:04 am

    Vaccines and Autism have been loosely linked for so long now that people really did start believing the link even though none has ever been proven. With awareness of the disorder at it’s highest points more research will be done then ever before to find the true causes of Autism. This process will take a long time and require copious amounts of research, but based on all recent indications the link between Autism and vaccines will not established.

    J. Drewes
    Achieve Beyond Pediatric Therapy & Autism Services

  • Vito Pavlovic April 4, 2013 on 11:43 am

    I see the author didn’t read the study that you refer to as the evidence that exonerates vaccines from the autism link. I was shocked at how pathetically it was designed, how intentionally misleading it is not only with its headline, but its content as well, there are so many factors that I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t missing something, in the end it was much of the same, a rehashed study from 2010 repacked as if “Breaking News” and right in time for autism awareness month. So far every-study funded by the CDC is extremely flawed/or just outright fraudulent, the CDC wants us to trust their star researcher Dr.Poul Thorsen when it comes to the exoneration of vaccines in the autism link, yet he is one of the most wanted men on the planet who used vaccine research money to fund his lifestyle instead of paying for lab fees and related expenses. I guess what Thorsen thought was why waste money on lab work when he knew what kind of outcome the CDC wanted and he did that by manipulating the results, hence he got no link, and the medical community continues to quote this guy, let me give you a hint congress is not too impressed with him either.

  • Nicole Boullé Diolot April 4, 2013 on 1:21 pm

    Yes, please read the study and then tell the world that there is a link between autism and vaccines.

    Table II ASD with regression 50 antigens relative risk 0.27

    3000 antigens relative risk 1.10

    This means there is more than four times the risk of autism after vaccines.

    For AD and ASD there is no such link and in fact probably beacuse of the choice of people the risk go down.

    But for those who are born healthy and who learn to walk and talk normally and then regress and lose these and other skills AFTER vaccines this more than fourfold link is disturbing not least because of the huge silence the authors give to it and then lie about no link in spite of this more than four times link.

    There are in fact no evidence for the title in the data shown!

    Even eliminating more than twice the number you select to look at could not hide every indicator of the long suspected link (now over ten years).

    But to get vaccine promoters to entertain a vaccine adverse effect and especially open up new adverse effects is too much to consider bearing in mind the total bill to even give these people some comforts most of us expect from life.

    Go back to work when the vaccines were first developed you will see that the evidence was there more than 50 years ago but has been conveniently FORGOTTEN as vaccines are mostly good and advantageous if you forget the more than one per cent with autism today in the USA.

    It seems as if we do foget these so the rest of us can enjoy healthy lives?

  • Che Mort April 6, 2013 on 11:06 am

    Since the autism rate only expolded only after the 15+ vaccination schedule was implemented and has been increasing ever since and we keep adding on more vaccinations and the develoing world has a far lower rate of autism and they recieve far fewer vaccinations, what then is the possible cause? I admit relation is not causation, yet still what factor is causing the reaction? No one has done the test where chirldren are segregated and one group gets the vaccinations and the other doesnt. This is needed as only an experiment like this can determine if there truly is or is not a link.

  • doctrue April 7, 2013 on 4:28 pm

    This article is missing an honest review of the current literature, unless you only choose to accept the manufacturers’ consensus opinion. The industrial soup found in vaccines has the potential to interfere with multiple metabolic processes in the mitochondrion, cell membrane voltage gated ion channels and glutathione production systems.
    Although mercury has been removed from all but seven vaccines, mercury (as well as aluminum) is a potent neurotoxin to all neurons exposed, the question is: how much is needed to produce an observable neurological deficit? As far as mercury is concerned, why should mercury be any less toxic if it is injected versus inhaled? Here’s a well-validated study supporting mercury toxicity. Certainly there is no simple answer; however there has not been a valid study comparing vaccinated infants to non-vaccinated infants.

    I hope everyone reading this realizes that a genetic-defect epidemic is an implausible explanation for more than a small fraction of the cases reported.

    • theonlyhumantristar doctrue April 9, 2013 on 2:54 pm

      Thanks for a much more detailed and logical explanation of why vaccines truly are toxic.

  • theonlyhumantristar April 9, 2013 on 2:52 pm

    Vaccines in general are dangerous. Mercury derivatives, aluminum, dna from monkey kidney, dog kidney, egg? Getting dna from another species is like mating with them. Would be different if it was consumed by eating and then assimilated. Anyway science HAS proven that those things in vaccines are toxic to humans. Big Pharma is just making too much money to let the truth be the truth so Big Media that also makes too much money is not letting the truth of it all come out. This is disturbing. Logically thinking….taking toxins into the body that are known to be toxic to humans will cause damage. Enough said….

  • Mental April 9, 2013 on 6:48 pm

    A study, published in Human and Experimental Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal indexed by the National Library of Medicine, analyzed more than 38,000 reports of infant hospitalizations and deaths following vaccinations.[1] Researchers found statistically significant correlations between the number of vaccine doses administered to infants and infant hospitalization and mortality rates: babies who receive the most vaccines tend to have higher (worse) hospitalization and death rates.

    Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a disorder where a patient’s immune system goes haywire and attacks the peripheral nervous system. GBS can be triggered by vaccinations such as the influenza vaccine, tetanus shot, Hepatitis B vaccine, the Menactra® (MCV4) vaccine, the Gardasil® vaccine, and other vaccinations. The symptoms of Guillain Barre Syndrome typically start within one day to several weeks after a vaccination, but usually peaks around 2 weeks after the shot is given.

    They are not telling the public a bout thease dangers why the hell would they tell any one the truth about autism.