Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study in March that proves there is no connection between the number of vaccines a child received and his or her risk of autism spectrum disorder. The study also showed that even though more vaccines are administered, today’s vaccines contain fewer substances that provoke an immune response.
Frank DeStefano is the director of the Immunization Safety Office of the CDC and led the study. The CDC researchers compared the vaccine histories of 250 children who had autism spectrum disorder with those of 750 typical kids, looking at antigens. Antigens are substances in vaccines (also naturally found in bacteria or viruses) that cause the body to produce antibodies, proteins that help fight off infections.
DeStefano noted that the antigens from vaccines received during the first two years of life weren’t related to the development of autism spectrum disorder. It was also proved that there are fewer antigens in today’s vaccines. In the late-1990s there were several thousand antigens in vaccines, but today’s vaccine schedule only contains 315, because vaccines have become much more precise.
“The sad part is, by focusing on whether vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders, they’re missing the opportunity to look at what the real causes [of autism] are. It’s not vaccines,” states Ellen Wright Clayton, a pediatrics professor at Vanderbilt University who works with the Institute of Medicine.
Geraldine Dawson, the top scientist for Autism Speaks, an advocacy and research group, noted that the study results should clear the way for research on other potential causes of autism. Other causes of autism may include: nutrition (which can affect a baby’s brain development in the womb), medications and infections during pregnancy, or an infant’s exposure to pesticides or pollution.
Dawson concludes: “As we hone in on what is causing autism, I think we are going to have fewer and fewer questions about some of these things that don’t appear to be causing autism.”
Vaccine Watch encourages parents to carefully review the CDC study and consult with their child’s pediatrician to make informed choices.