Vaccine-autism connection debunked again
March 29th, 2013
11:08 AM ET

Vaccine-autism connection debunked again

Many expectant parents are wary of all the recommended vaccines their newborns are supposed to get in the first hours, days and even the first couple of years, believing that too many vaccines too soon may increase their child's risk for autism.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics Friday may put them at ease. Researchers found no association between autism and the number of vaccines a child gets in one day or during the first two years of the current vaccine schedule.

The research was led by Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together with two colleagues, DeStefano and his team collected data on 256 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 752 children who did not have autism. The children were all born between 1994 and 1999 and were all continuously enrolled in one of three managed-care organizations through their second birthday.

The researchers not only counted how many vaccines a child was given, they also counted how many antigens within the vaccines children were exposed to over three different time periods: birth to 3 months, birth to 7 months and during the first two years. They also calculated the maximum number of antigens a child would receive over the course of a single day.

An antigen is an immune-stimulating protein found in a vaccine that prompts the body's immune system to recognize and destroy substances that contain them, according to the NIH.

Some vaccines, like Hepatitis B, only contain one antigen for this one virus. However, at the time these children were vaccinated, the typhoid vaccine had 3,000 antigens per dose and the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine had 24.

"When we compared those roughly 250 children with ASD and the roughly 750 children who did not have ASD, we found their antigen exposure, however measured, were the same," said DeStefano. “There was no association between antigenic exposure and the development of autism."

The researchers also found no association between antigenic exposure and ASD.

Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of the science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, called the research a "well-done study." She was not affiliated with the research.

"The big challenge that we face is the fact that we still don't understand the causes of autism - genetic or environmental," she said. "So while this answers one question parents may have, we still have many more to be addressed."

Dawson and DeStefano both believe the study should be reassuring for parents concerned about the vaccine schedule. Vocal critics have argued that children receive too many vaccines too soon, and that the frequency of the shots is one factor in why some children develop autism.

"I would tell an expectant mom that one of the more important things you can do to protect an infant's health is get them vaccinated on time according to the recommended schedule," DeStefano said. He says vaccines protect against serious life-threatening diseases and delaying them can put your child unnecessarily at risk.

"The bottom line is the number of vaccines, or the number of antigens in the current schedule, given on time ... is not associated with a risk of autism."

In 2011, the British medical journal BMJ said a now-retracted study linking autism to the vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella was an "elaborate fraud" that did long-lasting damage to public health. An investigation by the journal said the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study.

Wakefield told CNN's "AC360" that his work had been "grossly distorted" and he was the target of a "ruthless, pragmatic attempt to crush any attempt to investigate valid vaccine safety concerns."

The now-discredited paper panicked parents and led to a sharp drop in the number of children getting the vaccine. Measles cases increased in the ensuing years.

soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. TomK

    Please don't show these findings to Michelle Bachmann!!! She'll go ballistic and find another cause/cure for autism.

    March 29, 2013 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred Grant

      Please don't show them to nutty Democrat Congresswoman Diane Watson or Hollyweirdo Democrat Jim Carrey. Watson will cry racism and Carrey will do another video attacking a dead person.

      March 30, 2013 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • AutismWhisperer

      Mr. TomK. . ..apparently you don't have any children or know of any children who, indeed, regressed into AUTISM after vaccinations. I do! Shame on you!

      April 1, 2013 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I am friends with a person in my town who has an autistic child. He was walking and talking, interested in having books read to him. Very normal child. I saw this myself. Within 1 week of the MMR shot everything changed. He stopped talking. He totally stopped listening and interest in everything he liked before stopped. His behavior changed. All of these studies are done by people who believe that the shots are more important because they save lives. I agree they do save lives. But I also believe these shots can trigger something in some children. Maybe it's even a bad mix in some cases. I don't know. But there is no doubt in my mind this shot did harm this child. All of the studies in the world will not convince me or the 1000's of people who saw the same exact change in their child right after that MMR shot.

      April 1, 2013 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
    • Albert911emt

      AutismWhisperer, facts are facts, no matter how much you believe otherwise. There is no connection between autism and vaccines. It's been proven again and again, through multiple studies, by multiple scientists. Remove the tin-foil hat, and start living in the real world.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • ellid

      @AutismWhisperer – no, you don't. No one does. Vaccines do NOT cause autism, regardless of what that noted scientific expert Jenny McCarthy may have told you.

      However, vaccines do protect against death or permanent damage from entirely preventable diseases like mumps (which causes sterility in boys), measles (which can kill), rubella (which can kill children and adults, and cause irreparable harm to fetuses), whooping cough (which has made a comeback in recent years because of foolish parents who fell for this nonsense), diphtheria (ditto), and a host of other diseases that can and do kill.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  2. L Land

    Puff, smoking does not cause cancer. Puff

    March 29, 2013 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pat

      Smoking can cause cancer and has no health benefits. Vaccines do not cause autism and have many health benefits. Puff that away.

      March 30, 2013 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • L Land

      Puff. Your memory is short. Health benefits of smoking were commonly claimed. Puff

      March 30, 2013 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • gager

      The claim that smoking was healthy was not from the medical researchers. Idjut.

      March 30, 2013 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • Mik

      When a trand happens its because its unthinkable. Maybe not vaccines but how about high dose pre-natal vitamins or something new that women are doing.

      March 30, 2013 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • loucozz

      The research was led by Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.- Isn't that a bit of a conflict of interest...are we all drones people? I have a friend, his kid was fine, took a shot at 4 years old, stopped talking for 2 years. Any questions? 1980 6-10 shots. 2013 over 70 shots by age six, over 90 by 17, serious? Could drug companies be making money? I will take my chances with polio, than 1 out of 4 boys with autism in NJ.

      March 31, 2013 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
    • Steve P

      Smoking causes cancer. Vaccines do not cause autism. Two mutually exclusive and unequivocal truths despite ridiculous and paranoid assertions by the uneducated and ill-informed masses.

      March 31, 2013 at 20:38 | Report abuse |
    • Steve P

      Lou...clearly you are not in healthcare. It is ridiculous anecdotal nonsense such as yours that propagates paranoia. Uninformed fear-mongering with no basis whatsoever in truth. Take your chances, if you care to be, quite frankly, stupid.

      March 31, 2013 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
    • Steve P

      And, no, it has nothing to do with the pharmaceutical companies making money. There are many, many, many studies that show no connection between the truth. Your assertion is about as accurate as stating that kids eat a lot of ice cream and kids develop autism and thus ice cream causes autism. These ridiculous assertions are the most dangerous on the internet. If you want to be a moron, at least don't try to scare others into stupid decisions as well. Unbelievable, unequivocally dumb.

      March 31, 2013 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
    • Luc

      L Land you can have any opinions you want just keep your unvaccinated children away from my family. All of who vaccinate our children would prefer home school and isolation for yours!

      April 1, 2013 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • ellid

      I think this poster was being sarcastic.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Ellen

    Let's apply this same rationale to other agents that potentially cause illness. For instance, if 100 people smoke for the same length of time and only 25 develop lung cancer, than the fact that 75 people did not develop lung cancer is proof that the cigarettes do not cause this illness. After all, the 75 people who did not get lung cancer also smoked (same number of cigarettes, same brand).

    This study establishes nothing other than the fact that children with autism and neurotypical children both receive vaccines. What a waste of research funds.

    March 30, 2013 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michaela

      Your simplistic view of science is the reason this money is being wasted. No matter how many studies come out and fail to associate vaccines with ASD, you will discredit them. In a study of cigarette smokers, you will find that a smoker is X times more likely to have heart attacks, develop lung cancer, etc, than the SAME population of non smokers. The same cannot be said of children on the ASD who never had vaccines. In other words, it appears at the same rate in both vaccinated and not vaccinated children. Please, start with Science 101 and work your way back up to adult reasoning.

      March 30, 2013 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Augie

      Thanks Ellen for pointing out what should be obvious to most of the commenters here who can't see it–along with the CNN writer and Pediatrics (which is known to publish pro-vaccine "studies" and those that are fraudulent or worthless. I wonder why). Fact is probably 95% of those 256 had the full 50 or so doses of vaccines before age 6 and developed autism. Fact is the 750 had no autism because this is those the selected. If you want to show or not show that vaccines cause autism you want to study rate of autism for vaxd vs unvaxed children== a study that the government has refused to fund.

      March 30, 2013 at 04:30 | Report abuse |
    • Paulwew

      Ellen, you forgot the control group....of nonsmokers. Your experimental design is completely flawed.

      March 30, 2013 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
    • Margot

      I don't see anything about a control group. Maybe it's in the study but I can't find it. Given the facts in the article, I think Ellen makes perfect sense.

      March 30, 2013 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      There are controls in the study. Read it through before you comment. They used around 700 controls birth year, gender and organization matched for this study. And statistics found no significant difference between the control group and the group with ASD in terms of antigen load. Therefore the vaccine does not have a role in ASD beyond pure random chance. They used a Confidence interval of 95% which is the standard for these types of statistical analysis.

      March 30, 2013 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      To Michaela:

      Please re-read this article. In your comments, you compare smokers to non-smokers - and correctly note that there is a difference in the rate of lung cancer, heart disease, etc. between the two groups. The non-smokers are a control group.

      In the current study, the authors do not use a control group of non-vaccinated children. They lump all vaccinated children together and come to the conclusion that because all of the children did not develop autism then a causal association does not exist. This reasoning is no different than lumping all smokers together and pointing out that all smokers do not develop lung cancer therefore smoking does not cause lung cancer.

      I encourage you to start with Science 101 and work your way up to adult reasoning. If you are so smart, you should have recognized the flaws in this study design yourself.

      March 30, 2013 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Correlation is not causality.

      March 30, 2013 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • Quixoticelixer

      The study is trying to find a link between antigen count and any increased incidence in autism diagnosis among both autistic children and non-autistic children. The results of the study show that there is no statistical association with the number of microbial antigen concentration and the onset of autism in children up to age 2.

      There are other studies out there that use other variables. Your "lung cancer" argument does not make sense because simply comparing two numbers doesn't tell you anything. You need to insert statistical formulas into the equation to deduce whether there is a correlation or not.

      March 30, 2013 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
    • PedsDr

      Actually, this is a very well understood type of study design called a "Case Controlled" study. We studied it extensively in medical school in an area of medical science called clinical epidemiology. To follow up on your analogy, let's use the lung cancer and smoking case. To do the same study but to study to link between smoking and lung cancer, we would find 250 cases of lung cancer patients. Then we would find 750 people who did not develop lung cancer. How do we do this? For every cancer patient (say for one 60 year old caucascian man with lung cancer), we pick 3 matched controls (3 other 60 year old caucascian man without lung cancer). Then we proceed to see if there is any difference between the amount of exposure to cigarette smoke in the two groups. If the group with cancer has more past exposure to smoking, then we can say that there is an association between smoking and cancer. Association is not sufficient for cause and effect, but it is necessary. In other words, if there isn't an association, then there cannot be a cause and effect relationship.

      Is this method fool-proof? No. For example, there is recall-bias. People who are told the exposure is harmful may be more inclined to remember the exposure. For example, parents of children with autism may be more prone to report vaccinations. However, in this study the vaccinations are recorded in the medical records themselves. This type of study is also prone to differences between the two groups. Maybe there could be something about autistic children we do not yet understand, and that the two groups do not have the same distribution of this characteristic. You also have to make sure that you have enough numbers for the statistics to work out, something we call the "power" of the study.

      I hope this helps everyone's understanding of this type of study its reliability and flaws. No doubt medical science is subject to publishing bias (we only want to publish studies with results we hoped for), but after the initial study (a much weaker study called a case series) showed the initial link, there have been many many attempts to duplicate the link between autism and vaccinations, with no positive results. However, there have been a definite increase in cases of preventable infections that are not only life-threatening, but with the ability to cause brain damage (e.g. measles and brain inflammation).

      As a peds doctor, I will continue to support the study of vaccine safety. However, for now, medical science supports the use of vaccines to keep our children safer from infectious.

      March 30, 2013 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
  4. Jacksonian4350

    Looking over some of the comments here, I have to wonder if some of these people have ever read a book before. If you think you are so insightful because you "question the experts", then I challenge you to actually read this study. The actual journal article, not the article on CNN. Better yet go to the library and find an updated book about immunology. And then find one about statistical analysis. If you can manage to read both through and actually understand what they are presenting, then you can "question the experts". Please do yourselves a favor and properly educate yourself. YouTube is awesome, but its not the kind of place to learn about undergraduate level biology concepts.

    March 30, 2013 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. DanMar

    It is difficult to comment about something we have not found a cure for. However, my step son who is autistic received 7 vaccines on the same day. No one knows with certainty his genetic predisposition to fight these vaccines. With my younger son I was very afraid due to all the news. He is 5 years old now and he has all his vaccines. However, I was very clear with the doctor to spread his vaccines and never gave him more than one at a time. I would give him at least 3 weeks for his body to recover before given him the next vaccine. At this time I believe I made the right choice and my son is doing fine.

    March 30, 2013 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • fred

      People don't need to "fight" vaccines. Your lack of logic is astounding.

      March 30, 2013 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      What this article does not address is that if your child has been ill or is recovering from a recent illness, you should refrain from getting immunizations for at least a couple of weeks. BTW, my son did have 8 antigens in one day (3 pokes). Wanna know what happened? He lost his speech in a matter of 2 weeks and stopped smiling. His body was simply not designed for this type of onslaught. We did have our daughter follow the vaccine schedule. You better believe we held our breath in the days following her shots!

      April 1, 2013 at 00:44 | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Nine: Better Diagnosis

    Back in 1995 when the Autism rate went from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 500 we told them that the sudden rise was due to better detection. We were concerned that this explanation would not wash, but incredibly they believed it! In 2007, the rate jumped exponentially to 1 in 150 leaving us no choice, so in desperation we used the better diagnosis argument again. Could you believe it folks? Astoundingly, they fell for it, again! Now that the rate is 1 in 50 we are still saying its better detection and they are still buying it! Our luck is just not running out! Their gullibility is beyond words. We are starting to wonder if we were to tell them that they rate is really 1:1 and they too are autistic but we missed them whether they would also believe us.

    March 30, 2013 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joli

      That's the rate of people with a diagnosis not necessarily the rate of people with the disorder. Just about anyone with poor social skills can get an ASD diagnosis these days. I work with many kids with a diagnosis that would have never met criteria prior to 1994. I'm not saying the rate isn't increasing but I am saying it isn't increasing at the rate the media reports.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
  7. FT

    The guy who came up with the "link" between vaccines and ASD already admitted it was a scam. The media should publicize that it was a scam. People choose to believe in what is convenient, especially when they can blame others (vaccines) for nature's curve ball.

    March 30, 2013 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bearitstrong

      thank you for the facts – which will easily be ignored by those who choose other, non-scientific information.

      March 31, 2013 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
  8. Jan Miller

    Vaccines do not cause a mental illness.

    Vaccines can overstimulate the immune system of children who have an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction which can result in illness, seizures, encephalopathy, developmental delays and autistic behaviors.

    Stop calling the pain "Autism"!

    1 in 50 children who regress after being burdened with too many toxins should not be further insulted with a diagnosis of a mental disorder.

    Thankfully, many doctors are aware of how toxins can affect people and are treating the inflammation, infections, and the pain. Children are recovering as a result of meaningful medical treatment.

    Hopefully many more doctors will become aware of the pain 1 in 50 children are challenged with everyday and will not assume that the pain is a mental disorder.

    March 30, 2013 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Could you be a little more detailed in explaining exactly what a 'toxin' is? Can you give an example?

      April 2, 2013 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  9. Jay_Hawk

    If every one does not know what causes autism than they can not say what does not cause autism. Every few years they up the kids per 100 that get autism. The last info that I heard is 1 in 38 get autism. Get real.

    March 30, 2013 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dx2718

      Incorrect. Factors can be ruled out as causes with statistical analysis showing that people exposed to the factors have no increased risk of the disorder. It is the same method by which you may exonerate a crime suspect due to an alibi even if you haven't found the perpetrator yet.

      March 30, 2013 at 22:34 | Report abuse |
  10. mitsu

    I could have told you that, the cause of autism is people who used drugs, no matter when, and have babies.

    March 30, 2013 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • girl

      i've always thought that may have something to do although not the only reason

      March 31, 2013 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  11. mitsu

    Doctor CNN in Atlanta ,which is the City of my Birth Place, you've withheld my comment because it was the true reason for autism, shame on you.

    March 30, 2013 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. mitsu

    My Bag, there must be a time delay

    March 30, 2013 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Peter

    Don't let the facts get in the way of what you believe.

    March 30, 2013 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mark Casper

    This is without doubt the most ignorant article I have ever read produced by people of science. No one is saying vaccines cause autism. No ONE. This is the ultimate straw-man study. They have proved that getting vaccines doesn't always trigger ASD disorders. Wow ... really? Money was spent for this ridiculousness?

    Some of us believe that a percentage of children have underlying issues that make the vaccines dangerous to THEM. More vaccines, more kids with somewhat less severe underlying issues might now be affected. But even if you take the highest reported incidence of ASD in children ... 1 in 50 ... That means 98% of kids can tolerate vaccines.

    There has never been a drug invented that had no risk to anyone. Why is it heresy to say that it sounds plausible that introducing so much to kids so young could have adverse effect in a small number? Why does dismissing a known part of medical science "adverse reaction" become such an article of faith when it comes to vaccines?

    The thing we need to study is how do we find the 2 in 100 kids who are at risk, before we put them at the risk. THAT would be money well spent. It might not help the snarky headline writer. But it would certainly help a lot of kids.

    March 30, 2013 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Science5

      You obviously don't understand how the scientific method and medical studies operate.

      March 30, 2013 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Tiffanie

      Well said. Our son has SPD, and we believe that if we had him immunized he would be autistic.

      March 30, 2013 at 22:29 | Report abuse |
    • bearitstrong

      Don Iman's wife says vaccines cause autism

      March 31, 2013 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Alissa

      Right on Mark!

      March 31, 2013 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • fyre

      The underlying issues idea has been tossed around and it is an interesting one. There do seem to be some ways to diagnose autism by brain activity shortly after birth, so it would be interesting if an immune challenge makes autistic symptoms worsen. But I would then suggest that *any* immune challenge during development – vaccination, bacteria, cold, flu – would then be capable of making it worse. It's worth looking into – there is a huge increase in autoimmune diseases in this country in the past few decades, could be linked.

      March 31, 2013 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      "Why is it heresy to say that it sounds plausible that introducing so much to kids so young could have adverse effect in a small number?" This study is intended to determine if plausibility is reality. All the results so far indicate that there is no connection. It's plausible to believe that people who drink a lot of soda pop will have children who are more likely to be autistic. But there is no evidence that that plausible idea is reality. It's uncritical thinking like that which leads to the crackpot ideas about medicine and science that are floating about.

      April 1, 2013 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
  15. bestdayeverstore

    What a completely irresponsible and dangerous piece of journalism

    March 30, 2013 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      Truth is indeed dangerous to ideas based on ignorance and irrationality.

      April 1, 2013 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
  16. Greg

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Five: Curse The ‘Quacks’ And Their Internet

    Despite your stonewalling, the anti-vaxers will continue to hound you to the point that you feel compelled to relieve stress by cursing them and their Internet. Do so tactfully by following the script below:

    ‘The Internet is home to a legion of quacks, conspiracy theorists that like nothing better than to spew the most outrageous lies and misinformation about vaccines. Through their insidious campaign they sew unfounded doubts in the mind of parents and endanger the public good. These individuals are the ultimate menace to society. All decent people should avoid getting vaccination information from the Internet because it's infested with the views of these rabid trolls. Being that they hate vaccines so much, we lament that they did not develop the worst bouts of polio and meningitis, thereby rendering them terminally incapacitated and unable to spew their nonsense.’

    March 30, 2013 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Eddy S

    Vaccination isn't the cause of autism nor the cause of any other condition. Peanut butter is good for you, and yet a small number can die because he/she is allergic to it. Peanut butter is not to be blamed for this, but the allergic reaction from the person is the cause. If you are allergic to peanut butter, or to anything, say to a certain antibiotic, then you should avoid it. The same reason why there is no statistical connection between vaccine and any dangerous adverse reaction to it. How would anyone know unless the person has had an allergic reaction towards it? In the case of vaccination, no one knows whether you child will have a dangerous adverse reaction to the vaccine. 1 percent of children that died because of adverse reaction to vaccine may be statistically insignificant. But not to the grieving parents. So vaccination isn't the cause of it, the problem maybe in the child. Maybe studies should be done whether it's possible to screen a child for underlying problems before the child gets vaccinated.

    March 30, 2013 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. magnus

    case closed. i agree with the findings.

    March 30, 2013 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dx2718

    What is completely dangerous and irresponsible is using pseudo-science to scare people into thinking vaccines cause autism (or anything else scary), then causing them to forgo vaccinating their kids, thus causing the rate of preventable diseases to rise and KILL CHILDREN. It is important to reassure parents that vaccines are safe because having as many kids as possible vaccinated SAVES LIVES. Vaccines are not 100% effective, so in addition to the protection from the vaccines, children may need to limit their exposure, which happens when other children are vaccinated. The more people are vaccinated, the less chance the disease has of finding hosts with which to spread. Measles, pertussis, and the flu kill hundreds of children every year. Most have not been vaccinated.

    March 30, 2013 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. dx2718

    Vaccination isn't 100% effective. So if your child isn't vaccinated, and is exposed to the pathogen, they will get sick. Then, if they are exposed to a bunch of vaccinated people, some of those people will get sick. Not to mention that if they are exposed to babies too young to be vaccinated, those babies will get sick, and probably die. Vaccination is a public good and is more effective the more participation. If you choose not to vaccinate, you are not only putting your child at risk, you are selfishly putting other people at risk as well.

    March 31, 2013 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Odalice Feliz

    vaccination is a very important key in any child life....

    March 31, 2013 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Greg

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Six: Autism Is Not So Bad

    When discussing autistics personally, always make reference to only high function autistics that are well adjusted in society. Never – and I repeat NEVER – mention non-verbal autistics, who scream, head bang, and are still in diapers. Continue with the accolades discussing how great individuals such as Einstein were suspected of being autistic. Refer to the excellent memory and recall skills of autistics and praise them for their savant abilities. Discuss how they are an evolutionary advancement. If the other side ever force you to concede that autism is not always a picnic, quickly counter by explaining it’s just a different way of being. Argue how it’s a common, childhood affliction to be celebrated. Leave no parent feeling that he or she is unfortunate for having an autistic child.

    March 31, 2013 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephanie

      This is a remarkably offensive post. The inferences it makes about children with autism are horrifically ignorant.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • educationcomboplatter

      Compared to encephalitis (sp), pneumonia and death......no even "low-functioning" autism is not that bad.

      August 15, 2015 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  23. James

    Where are the CNN reports of the studies that do show the possibility of a link? They probably don't report those because it goes against the interests of the pharmaceutical companies that advertise with them.

    Until there's a study that shows why my son started showing signs of neurological regression 2 weeks after being injected with a known neurotoxin (and many other children who started regression in almost the EXACT time frame) I'll continue to believe that it is the mercury in the vaccines that causes Autism.

    March 31, 2013 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jax

      Cnn does not report those findings, because there aren't any studies that show a link!

      March 31, 2013 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
    • TheSchmaltz

      They took Mercury out of vaccines a long time ago.

      April 1, 2013 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
  24. Tony Bateson

    Well here we go again – read my lips – autism – vaccines is not science – it is math. So this study from two eminences of the CDC says there's no link – along the way some sage says – association is not causation – but absolute association must surely be absolute causation – and step by step these pseudo scientists – wrap it all up in slippery words and phrases – and arrive at absurd conclusions. The almost total absence of unvaccinated autistic people is due to not having the vaccines not making them autistic. Stick to the obvious and try dismiissing that before entering into nonsense.

    Tony Bateson, Birmingham, UK

    March 31, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • asylum

      The whole point of the article is that the rate of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children is exactly the same. So you're wrong.

      March 31, 2013 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • Quixoticelixer

      Where is your proof that the majority of autistic individuals received vaccinations? You obviously have no idea how biostatistics work, or research for that matter. The results of this study show that there is no statistical association with antigen content with the diagnosis of autism. Period.

      March 31, 2013 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
  25. WAKEUP48

    IT MAKES ME SICKKKK....These "so-called" doctors STILL push these effin vaccines...What about pushing to STOP GMO'S????


    March 31, 2013 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Quixoticelixer

      So "it makes you sick" that doctors continue to push vaccines: the instruments that have allowed for the continued decrease in preventable diseases worldwide? Vaccines, which have allowed for the eradication of smallpox and the vast decrease in incidence of polio virus? Wow, your sense of priorities intrigues me.

      March 31, 2013 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
  26. MysteriaKiito

    I have two children, one of which is on the autism spectrum. I have never once believed the baloney about vaccines causing Autism. I knew something wasn't "normal" from a very early stage, long before my son got the bulk of his vaccinations. I believe it starts in the womb. I'm pregnant again and have refused to take any medication unless it's necessary. While I was pregnant with my son with autism I was on anti-depressants, which I was told "were safe" but it's the only thing I did during my pregnancy that I can think of that could explain my son being on the spectrum. I did not take them while pregnant with my daughter and she is not on the spectrum.

    March 31, 2013 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. loller

    ITs funny how they always say vaccines are not connected to autism..where the underlying issue isnt the entire vaccines itself, but the preservative.

    March 31, 2013 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheSchmaltz

      Why is it funny? The study covered people who got the entire vaccine, preservatives and all, and found no link between vaccination and autism. Just like every other credible study ever done on the subject.

      April 1, 2013 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • jc

      Child vaccines have been 100% free of mercury for over a decade now. Autism has increased at an ever greater rate during that time. If mercury based preservatives caused autism, wouldn't autism rates have gone down? Or does magical-based thinking not allow you to entertain that thought?

      April 1, 2013 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Tootoot

      the flue shots, DTaP, and Meningococcal vaccines still have mercury it in.

      April 2, 2013 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
  28. GonzoG

    Yeah, but now that the morons have it in their minds, they treat any evidence contrary to their beliefs as falsified and part of some grand conspiracy to cause them injury.

    The problem with these people is they keep breeding. SO, Morons make MORE-RONS.

    March 31, 2013 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrick

      I'm never naming my child Ron. No way we need more of them! 🙂

      April 1, 2013 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
  29. Fred

    Did anyone really read the study? It seems they compared the amounts of antigens that the autistics and controls received, yet they did not compare them on how many doses of vaccines they received. They did this despite making it clear that they counted doses. Why is this important? Because more doses of vaccines correspond to more adjuvants. Could it be then that the autistics had more doses of vaccines, hence proving the 'anti-vaxers' correct?

    March 31, 2013 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Quixoticelixer

      Seeing as how all of the individuals in the study were on the same vaccine schedule, there is no difference in the number of vaccinations that each person received. Thus, these individuals were receiving the same number of vaccines as do the regular population. The only variable that was changed was the concentration of antigen in each dose.

      March 31, 2013 at 22:03 | Report abuse |
  30. Fred

    Here is a link of the study if anyone would like to read it for themselves.

    March 31, 2013 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Fred


    Where in the study does it explicitly states that all the subjects were on the same vaccination schedule? In the method section it simply said, "we obtained the children’s vaccination histories from computerized immunization tracking systems and abstracted medical charts." Further, in the discussion section they indicated the possibility that some of the subject may have had less vaccines, mentioning that, 'subjects in the control group who showed early signs of neurodevelopment their parents may had opted to alter the amount of vaccines they received.' Yes, the parents may have followed a recommended schedule, but this may not have meant 100% compliance.


    April 1, 2013 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Greg

    Vaccine Proponents Playbook, Argument Four: MMR And Thimerosal Studies Mean Everything

    When the anti-vaxers attack us, after the Wakefield Card (see argument three) our next best defense are our MMR and Thimerosal studies. Employing them effectively requires that we do so in the craftiest fashion. Yes, we know that MMR is only one vaccine and thimerosal is also only one vaccine ingredient. This, however, should not hinder us. Refer to the MMR and Thimerosal studies as implying that ALL vaccines and vaccine ingredients have been vindicated. Further, continue trumpeting these studies as being so conclusive that further researches such as comparing vaccinated/unvaccinated populations are simply unnecessary.

    April 1, 2013 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Concerned Mother & Grandmother

    I dont believe this for one moment..Sure it causes Autisum !! I am 51 and when i was younger and growing up never heard Autisum and didn't see kids with the symptoms of Autisum, not even when i had my kids did i hear of such a thing, it's all about money with the government!!!..there using our babies as guneia pigs and killing our babies..I never trust anything the government says !!! In fact i believe opposite of what they say....How can so many shots at one time be healthy for our babies? Little innocent babies..my kids only had one maybe 2 shots when it came time for shots...not 4 and 5 at a time..Thats why we're having an all time high of babies dying..In the last month i have seen 2 babies die for unknown reason at 5 months..hummm i would called that for caution !! Please don't be fooled by this PEOPLE !!! Refuse it !!!!

    April 1, 2013 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephanie

      I'm guessing you saw plenty of kids suffer and die from now-preventable diseases. Yes. The good old days.

      April 2, 2013 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
  34. X

    Interesting read! Read the study also, not sure how many of you previous commenters did. I would be curious to know how many unvacinated children get diagnosed with autism. Are there any? Btw, all of the children in this study were vacinated.

    April 1, 2013 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. John

    How many kids who have not had vaccines (they exist due to some whose religious beliefs preclude them getting vaccinations) have ASD? Should be the easiest way to add weight to either side of this issue. If kids who do not get vaccines DO have ASD, that would say a lot. However, if kids who get no vaccines do NOT have ASD, ever, that would also say a lot.

    April 1, 2013 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tootoot

      That is why a true non-vax versus vaccinted study needs to be done.

      April 2, 2013 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
  36. jon

    Yeah I read this supposed "study" and it sure as heck doesn't debunk this at all. These "studies" aren't scientific at all. They're just sales and propaganda studies. Why don't they use a control group? Why don't they use the scientific method? Why don't they use any credible scientific procedure at all? And most of all why does the media continue to quote these sales studies as though they are scientific studies? Why doesn't the media stop catering to their largest advertiser (pharma) and do some legitimate journalism. Why not look at the actual scientific studies that show autism is caused by vaccines? It's amazing with all the scientific information out there that it's completely ignored then the media chooses to refer to these junk studies as though their fact. It's just like the days when the media swore smoking didn't cause lung cancer. We're living in absurdistan.

    April 1, 2013 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bob

    More lies from the communist news network

    April 1, 2013 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. tamarahvt

    Every time I see this subject come up there are people demanding to know where the unvaccinated autistic children are, yet, when I point out that my child showed signs before ever receiving *any* shots I'm written off as a "troll" or liar by these people. smh

    April 1, 2013 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • X

      Was your child diagnosed with autism before getting vacinated? If not that is why you're getting blown off. I want to know if any unvacinated kids are getting diagnosed with autism. Considering that you said your child was vacinated does not help answer my question.

      April 2, 2013 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
  39. magnum12

    Who are you going to trust, crooked big drug companies that are only interested in profits or parents that have seen normal children develop autism right after being vaccinated. Of course vaccines work but there are risks associated with them like any other medical procedures and parents need to be told so they can make educated decisions regarding the health of their children. Health officials and drug companies are afraid that people will panic and stop vaccinations so they keep coming up with bogus research. They believe that collateral damage in the form of autism is acceptable for the greater good of preventing epidemics. Scientists and doctors who believe otherwise are either muzzled or blackballed.

    April 1, 2013 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Fred


    You spend quite a lot of time rebutting anyone who criticizes this study, so I am still waiting for you to answer my question of where in the study did it say that the subjects received the same amount of vaccines. Again, they made it clear by providing charts showing that they counted vaccine doses. How come they did not provide figures about how the autistics and controls compare on this count? Again, I suspect that the figures may had actually showed that the autistics received more vaccines and thereby supporting the 'anti-vaxers' position.


    April 1, 2013 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Seth

    Sadly, what most people consider "educating themselves" means today is to google a topic until they find "evidence" that supports their position, rather than seeking reputable information and sources (celebrities are notoriously bad about disseminating misleading or wholly inaccurate information). This study is rigorous and insightful, but will continue to be ignored by the ignorant and distrusting people for whom this was done. No amount of effort in this area will assuage all the grieving parents whose children expressed ASD after vaccination, because their anecdotal correlation is no different than actual causation to them. Hopefully, no more time and money will be wasted on this dead end and a genuinely helpful line of research can commence.

    April 1, 2013 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. AsReportedHere TheResultMeansNothing

    The quote: "When we compared those roughly 250 children with ASD and the roughly 750 children who did not have ASD, we found their antigen exposure, however measured, were the same," said DeStefano. “There was no association between antigenic exposure and the development of autism."

    It seems from this statement that there is no control group who did not get exposed to the antigens. So since all the children received roughly the same antigens, all we know is the percentage of children who get autism when exposed to the antigens. In order for this study to mean anything, it would also need to have a group of children who did not get vaccinated, who did not get exposed to the antigens and compare the percentage of children who developed autism in that group with the percentage in the group who did.

    April 2, 2013 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Fred

    Sorry, Helen, but that is the ultimate red herring argument. Thousands of parents around the nation refuse to vaccinate their kids so these kids could be available for a study and health officials do not have to make the 'unethical' choice of withholding vaccines. Further, other communities who could be studied to determine if their autism rate is 1 in 50 exist. They include the Amish, and kids who are home schooled.

    April 2, 2013 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Helen Birch

      Except that to use those who deliberately avoid vaccines, especially groups like the Amish with a whole plethora of differences from mainstream culture, is to introduce other variables besides vaccinated/unvaccinated (Home schooled versus regualr schooled alone would be difference enough.) If you want a valid control group, they should be, as a whole, as like the test group as possible, ideally by choosing a group as statistically similar in age, living place, culture and class as possible, and not give a random selection of them the vaccines.

      April 5, 2013 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  44. stacell

    Like they would actually admit it!!!!

    April 2, 2013 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. SRG-SC

    Can we talk about how there is a lack of a control group? Testing groups who have already been vaccinated in no way proves or disproves causation. A more appropriate study would involve a group who had never been vaccinated and then see the statistical instance of autism between the unvaccinated and vaccinated group. Good luck finding an American unvaccinated kiddo though, much less a representative sample of American unvaccinated kiddos.

    April 2, 2013 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. VV

    Even if vaccines were a cause of autism I would rather risk my child having autism (and being alive) than risk them dying from a disease that could have been easily prevented.

    April 2, 2013 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. kk

    Nobody ever speaks of the IVF link...but I have noticed it firsthand....older mothers, autistic children. But it's a taboo to say that...

    April 2, 2013 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Clayton Emery

      Actually, that's my wife's theory. She's a physician. People pushing child-bearing years WAY back. Old eggs, old sperm, less healthy children.

      April 2, 2013 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      It's an interesting thought, but it's been examined, and the evidence doesn't seem to support it. There's no discernible link between a mother's age at birth/conception and incidence of autism. Nor for fathers.

      April 2, 2013 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
    • P

      I have heard the theory that the father's age (and even the grandfather's age at the time he became a father) influences the risk of autism. Not so much the mother's age, though. I have no idea how much truth there is to that, though, scientifically speaking.

      April 2, 2013 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • birch please

      BS, there is def a link with age of the father and and increase of spectrum in they children.... even to their grandchildren

      April 2, 2013 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
  48. thesaj

    I have long believed the link between vaccines and autism was a weak if not non-existent one. But the link between vaccines and other reactions I do believe to be present, and often very under-reported.

    Largely because the VAERS system is fundamentally flawed, because doctors refuse to report incidents because they believe vaccines do not cause adverse reactions. So any adverse reaction is clearly not the vaccine. It's circular logic, and bad practice. But almost everyone I know who's child had a reaction to a vaccine, the doctor refused to report it.

    April 2, 2013 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Vancancy

    The paranoid have been pulling this stunt since the 1980's where they all warned parents of the myths of the DTap vaccine causing problems in children. Then a few years later we get a celebrity with no credentials at all telling parents again not to use vaccines. These stupid theories that the paranoid use harm not only the kids involved but also future generations of children in general. Please Parents of children get them the vaccines they need to stay healthy and strong people, and never believe anything that has no data to back up it's claims

    April 2, 2013 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. James

    to the non-intellectually challenged, this is not news.

    April 2, 2013 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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