Study finds no association between autism and vaccination

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 03 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2095
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

No association between vaccination exposure and the development of autism spectrum disorder was found in a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.1

The case-control study mined the records of three managed care organizations to compare 256 children with the disorder with 752 control children in the same organizaion, matched by birth year and sex (85% male). The children were born in the calendar years 1994 to 1999 and were continuously enrolled with the care organization from the time of birth. They ranged in age from 6 years to 12 years at the time of the analysis.

The researchers compared the two groups for total one-day exposure to vaccine antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides, as well as for cumulative exposure at ages 3 months, 7 months, and 24 months. They obtained antigen loads of specific vaccines from the published literature.

The adjusted odds ratio for autism per antigen exposure was 0.999 at every point of comparison. “We found no evidence indicating an association between exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides during the first 2 years of life,” the authors wrote.

Whole-cell pertussis vaccine was commonly used in the 1990s, but newer vaccines substantially decrease the antigen load they deliver.

“Although the current routine childhood vaccination schedule contains more vaccines than the schedule in the late 1990s, the maximum number of antigens that a child could be exposed to by 2 years of age in 2013 is 315, compared with several thousand in the late 1990s,” they wrote.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2095