Autism is a neurological, developmental disorder, which can inhibit the normal developmental growth of individuals. Symptoms of autism include impairments in social skills, as well as communication skills, repetitive behaviors, and poor speech patterns. Because the severity of the symptoms will vary, some individuals diagnosed with autism may be able to live on their own, while others become totally reliant on someone to care for them. While there have been theories that autism may be caused by immunizations, there has been no scientific data found to link the two together.
Research has been conducted to find a connection between autism and immunizations and research will be continued to discover what causes this damaging disorder. However, none of the data collected, from the research conducted so far, has been able to prove this theory. The National Childhood Encephalopathy Study was investigated in 1997. The study was to find a connection between neurological function and the measles vaccine. Researchers did not find any connection between the two and if anything, only confirmed that the measles vaccine did not contribute to any neurological disorders or dysfunction.
Several other studies done over the course of the next nine years were also conducted to find the link between immunizations and autism. Again, none of these have shown as strong link between the two. One of these studies, conducted in 1998 by Wakefield and colleagues, suggested that the MMR vaccine caused intestinal abnormalities and developmental regression in children within a few weeks of receiving the MMR.
However, this study had its problems, including the fact that only 12 children were used in the study, they did not use any healthy children for control subjects, and at least 4 out of the 12 children involved had behavioral problems before they experienced any symptoms of bowel abnormalities. Due to the fact that so much was wrong with the research, many of the researches retracted their opinions of the results and none of the results gained can be used as supporting evidence.
What does all of this mean? Generally, for any theory to be proved, scientific data must point one toward the answer. None of the research conducted in trying to find a link has been proven. Many studies are going on that are following the theory that autism is linked to a genetic abnormality.
Recently, a study was conducted on over 30,000 Japanese children, born in Yokohama between 1988 and 1996, that has really taken hold as proof that there is no connection between the MMR and autism. Basically, what this study shows is that even after the MMR was replaced with single vaccines, the number of children diagnosed with autism has continued to rise. What this means is that parents should no longer be worried they are putting their children in danger when they get the MMR.
The fact is that throughout the years of research, not one study can prove that there is a link between the triple immunization, MMR, and autism. The research will continue, however, for the cause of autism in the hope that we will not just find a cause, but a cure, as well.