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MMR, autism, and Adam

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 05 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:389
  1. David Goldberg, consultant clinical epidemiologist
  1. Glasgow

    Adam was born in January 1990. His early development was uneventful though slow by comparison with that of his older sister. At 15 months, when Adam received his measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, he was beginning to articulate two word utterances. After 18 months, however, Adam began to show signs which gave my wife and me cause for concern. He became distant, disinterested, and inattentive, and he started to flap his arms and twirl. Our concerns, which had initially been greeted by some friends and professionals as those of neurotic parents were confirmed by experts at the time of Adam's second birthday. Our son was autistic and the regression experienced during his second year was characteristic of the condition. The cause, we were told, was likely to be genetic though environmental factors could not be excluded.

    One reaction which we, and other parents in similar circumstances, had was to search for a possible cause. Had there been an infection …

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