Link with bowel disease fuels controversy over vaccine

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:723
  1. Hilary Bower
  1. London

    Doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London believe they have uncovered a new bowel disease in children that may be linked to autism and triggered by the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). The claim follows controversial work from the same team suggesting a causal link between measles vaccination and inflammatory bowel disease.

    The report stems from the investigation of 12 children aged between 3 and 10 years who were consecutively referred to the department of paediatric gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital (Lancet 1998;351:637-41). After a period of apparently normal development, the children had lost acquired skills, including language, and had developed gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and bloating.

    All 12 were found to have lumpy swellings of the lymph nodes and patchy recurring inflammation in the intestine. In nine of the children autism had also been diagnosed, and in eight children the parents or the …

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