Dec 18, 2007
Former MTV personality and model Jenny McCarthy has recently published a book, and has appeared on numerous television shows, promoting the notion that autism is caused by vaccines. She claims that vaccines caused her son’s autism and also claims that her son has been cured via chelation, diets, antifungal medication, and various other unsubstantiated therapies. McCarthy also writes in her book that she “chain smoked” throughout her pregnancy prior to deciding to live a healthier life after her son was born. Smoking during pregnancy has been well documented as being associated with a higher prevalence of autism and other psychiatric symptoms (e.g., Rizwan et al., 2007).
NECC has closely followed the autism-vaccine hypotheses and research related to it. As we have reported in the past, the findings of many large scale studies show no link between autism and either thimerosal in vaccines or the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. (Previous coverage in our Research Newsletter can be accessed at the first link below). In fact, the September 27th issue of this year’s New England Journal of Medicine contains a study that “does not support a causal association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing and immune globins and deficits in neuropsychological functioning…” (This study can be accessed at the second link below.) Though this study did not specifically investigate autism, it is likely that children with autism would perform poorly on the neuropsychological testing used. Furthermore, a similar study that specifically tested for autism will be completed and published in the near future. Despite the accumulating evidence against the link between vaccines and autism, it is likely that people will continue to ignore this scientific evidence in favor of a belief that a link exists.
NECC Research Newsletter: