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Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine May

Be Causing Autism

Julie Briggs

Timeline of Important Events

7. B.C- References to measles was noted.

1911- Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler coined the term autism.

At this time autism referred to adult schizophrenia.

1943- Dr. Leo Kanner of John Hopkins described autism for the
first time. This came from his discovery of 11 children he
observed between 1938 and 1943. He studied children who had
withdrawal from human contact as early as age 1.

1963-Licensed measles vaccine became available.

1965-Autism Society of America is established by psychologist

Bernard Rimland. This was the first advocacy group for parents of
children with autism.

1988- Wakefield and colleagues published a paper that suggested

that the MMR vaccine was liked to cases of autism.

Timeline continued

2000- In response to broad government concerns, vaccine

makers removed thimerosal from all routine childhood
2007- Autism hearings took place in the U.S. They were legal
hearings where parents who thought their childs autism was
caused by vaccines grouped together to sue the government
and vaccine makers.

MMR Vaccine
The combined vaccine known as MMR became
available in 1971.
Children receive two doses of the vaccine. The first
dose is given at 12-15 months of age, and the second
dose is usually around 4-6 years of age before entering
Children are given a second dose because 5-10% of
children are not fully protected against the disease
after the first dose. That percentage drops to 1% after
the second dose.

The Autism Society of America defines autism as a
complex developmental disability that typically appears
during the first three years of life and affects a persons
ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism
is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a
"spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently
and to varying degrees (Autism Society of America,

There are several major

brain structures that are
implicated in children
with autism.

Autism rates are at an all time high!
Many professionals can not point to one reason why rates are
high, but professionals do provide some possibilities for the increase.
o Broadened definitions
o Increase in public awareness
o Diagnostic substitution

The Issue
History of the issue
o Andrew Wakefield

-Studied Chrons disease and measles in

early 90s.
- Studied Autism and measles, and
published his study in the mid 90s.
o Wakefields study produced worry and huge
controversy. And was ultimately the start of the

The Issue
The Government and health Organizations

The U.S government, along with many health

organizations, have constantly denied the link
between MMR and autism. Some of these health
organizations include the Center for Disease Control
and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and
the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.

The weight of the evidence indicates that the vaccine

are not associated with autism (CDC, 2008).

The Issue
Scientist and Parents
o Scientist like Arthur Krigsman have mirrored

Wakefields study and found the same results.

o Some Parents of children with autism are now
suing. And other parents refuse to immunize their
o Hannah Poling case. The Government settled in
the Poling case saying that MMR vaccine did
cause her autism.

The Future

There is need for further research to see if there are

certain DNA and genetic abnormalities in some
children that the vaccine affects and therefore causing
the childs autism.

During an interview on CNN Dr. Jon Poling (Hannah

Polings father) suggests that it is important to
continue vaccinating children but for pediatricians to
assess their patients individually and develop safe
vaccine schedules for each individual patient
Poling Interview


o Autism Society of America, (2008, January 21). About
autism. Retrieved February 3, 2009, from Autism
Society of America Web site:
o National Institutes of Mental Health, National
Institutes of Health, (2007, October 10). Autism brain.
Retrieved March 22, 2009, from Wikipedia Web site:
o Fighting Autism, (2007). Autism state rankings .
Retrieved March 22, 2009, from Fighting autism:
Research, education, treatment Web site:
o Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (2008,
September 4). Is there a relationship
vaccines and autism? Retrieved February 24, 2009,
from Center for Disease Control and Prevention Web