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Autism, childhood vaccinations, and safety

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A study that linked a childhood vaccine to autism was withdrawn by the medical journal Lancet and more recently in January 2011 the study was declared fradulent.

The 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield that linked a childhood vaccine to autism was withdrawn by the medical journal Lancet. Although the study was withdrawn, the controversy continued over the years. As a result of Andrew Wakefield's study, many parents feared that the vaccine preventing their child from specific childhood diseases - measles, mumps, and rubella - caused autism.

More recently, in January 2011, the British journalist, Brian Deer found that Andrew Wakefield's study was based on falsified data.

The implications of this falsified data are far reaching. First, precious funds have been used over the years to determine whether Andrew Wakefield's study was accurate and if the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is associated with an increase in autism. These funds could have been more appropriately allocated to finding a cure for autism.

Second, a significant number of parents decided not to vaccinate their children, because they feared that administering vaccines for childhood diseases would cause their children to develop autism. As a direct result of withholding vaccinations, as a society we are seeing an increase in childhood diseases.

As parents, it's vital that we seriously consider information on childhood vaccinations from experts in the field of medicine so we can make informed decisions about our children's medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommendations and guidelines for childhood and adolescent vaccinations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the book Immunizations and Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide edited by Margaret C. Fisher, MD, FAAP. Immunizations and Infectious Diseases is written for parents and offers information about vaccinations, safety, and the importance of vaccinations. For ordering information click here.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like more information about autism contact The Help Group or the Los Angeles Chapter of Autism Speaks.