Immunization Science

No Evidence that MMR Vaccine Causes Autism

The article

Association of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: A Systematic Review of Current Epidemiological Evidence. Wilson K, Mills E, Ross C, McGowan J, Jadad A. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 2003;157:628-634.

The question

What is the evidence for and against an association between Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)—autism and related disorders—and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine?

The study

This study reviewed the evidence from published articles available until January, 2003 for and against an association between ASD and the MMR vaccine. The authors searched English and non-English language articles on medical-literature databases and found 12 epidemiological studies on MMR and ASD.

The findings

None of the 12 studies provided evidence of an association between ASD and MMR vaccine. “The current literature does not suggest an association between ASD and the MMR vaccine,” the researchers wrote. “However, limited epidemiological evidence exists to rule out a link between a rare variant form of ASD and the MMR vaccine. Given the real risks of not vaccinating and that the risks and existence of variant ASD remain theoretical, current policies should continue to advocate the use of the MMR vaccine.”

The relevance/bottom line

No epidemiological evidence exists of an association between ASD and the MMR vaccine in the medical, peer-reviewed literature.

NNii’s comment

Measles, German measles and mumps are serious diseases that can be prevented by immunization.  There is no evidence that MMR vaccine causes ASD.