Is This the Proof Parents Need That There's No Link Between Vaccines and Autism?

It's been five years since the link between autism and vaccines was proven to be based on fraudulent data, yet many parents are still convinced that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine can be linked to autism spectrum disorders.

But a new study, just released today, should put an end to any theories that there is a link between the two. The study, published in Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 95,000 US kids — some with older siblings with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and some without — and was unable to find any correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism. Researchers for this study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, focused on siblings of children with ASD — a group that is typically considered at increased risk of autism — and found that they were no more likely to develop ASD than kids who were vaccinated and don't have autistic older siblings.

"These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD," the lead researchers wrote.

The number of studies proving the lack of a link between the vaccine and ASD keeps growing, but given the measles outbreak at Disneyland this Winter and the lack of understanding about where ASD comes from, it seems many families still need convincing.

"We may not understand what is causing autism in these kids or families," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Anjali Jain. "There could be a host of both genetic and environmental factors. But we are able to look at the vaccines themselves and show there is no association with autism."