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Is There a Link Between the MMR Vaccine and Autism?

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Our pediatrician weighs in on this controversial new study.


The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes neither autism nor gastrointestinal disorders, a study reported Tuesday--disputing a theory that has persisted for a decade.

Here's what our pediatrician, Dr. Cara Natterson, had to say: "This study confirms what a majority of pediatricians have been saying for some time now: There is no causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism. In order for a theory to be proven, the scientific standard is to repeat a study at least once--and often more than once--in order to make sure the results are consistent. This study replicated the one done by Andrew Wakefield in Britain 10 years ago. The original study is credited with sparking the current debate over whether the MMR vaccine causes autism.

"Critics point out that this study is small (only 38 children, 25 of whom had autism)--and this is a fair criticism. But the point of the investigation was to replicate the study that was done originally. Wakefield's study was even smaller, involving only 12 children with autism.

"It is critical that we come to understand why autism occurs and how it can be prevented. No one disagrees. But when it comes to pointing the finger at the MMR vaccine, hopefully this theory can now be put to rest. Measles and mumps are potentially life-threatening illnesses which are preventable with immunization. There is no data that this immunization causes autism. Perhaps now we can consolidate our efforts and turn the focus of autism research away from the MMR and towards a better understanding of this illness."

Dr. Cara Natterson, author of Your Toddler: Head To Toe is a pediatrician and mother of 2. To buy a copy of her book, click here She is currently working on the forthcoming book entitled Dangerous or Safe?

21 comments so far | Post a comment now
Natalie September 8, 2008, 1:36 PM

Finally! It’s about time. I think that the people who believe that vaccines cause autism just don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re basing their childrens health on scientific conjecture, not scientific fact. Both my children have their vaccines, and they don’t have autism. Why? BECAUSE VACCINES DON’T CAUSE AUTISM.

Liza September 8, 2008, 2:13 PM

The same year that the multiple vaccine was introduced there was a 1200% increase in autism. Now, there could be many factors to this but I personally still think there MAY be a connection. I still will be vaccinating my children but I will make sure that only single dose vaccines and not multiples are used. They are more expensive but they do not contain mercury which is used as a preservative in the multiple vaccines.

michal September 8, 2008, 2:56 PM

i have a child on the autistic spectrum. although he has been immunized, we do NOT believe that his immunizations led to his condition.
however, i have talked to and read the accounts of countless parents of children on the spectrum whose children had dramatic and traumatic reactions to their mmr shots, followed by a rapid or overnight decrease in skills and eye contact.
i am not saying that the mmr definitely triggered it. but autism is rampant and is probably caused by many things. just because natalie’s children were vaccinated and didn’t become autistic is not evidence that it cannot lead to autism. neither is a study of less than 50 children, 12 of whom are on the spectrum. the problem is that no one can get funding for a large enough study because the people with money (government and pharmaceutical companies) are not interested in finding out if they have triggered autism in thousands of people.
isn’t it possible that certain children are more susceptible to mercury and other additives to the immunizations, while many are not?

Cindy September 8, 2008, 3:17 PM

Does anyone really believe that getting a heavy cocktail of drugs for a baby and any side effects have no connection. The MMR shot is a powerful shot of drugs that I think everyone believes is important to vaccinate our children but does it have to be given in one shot. Can’t we spread the shots out so it is not so concentrated. We are not all created equally and while most babies can probably handle the mercury - a lot can’t! Why would we ever roll the dice if there is a small chance that our babies can get permanently affected adversely for the rest of their lives. I’m remember when Xrays were supposed to be so safe and then decades later the medical community says oops… they are not so safe without protection. There is no doubt in my mind that MMR has caused severe problems for children.

Stacey September 8, 2008, 3:31 PM

Cindy - I’m confused. MMR’s do NOT contain mercury (I have confirmed and reconfirmed with our pediatrician), so why would you refer to mercury with regard to MMR’s? This is the problem - that people latch on to mis-information and spread it without knowing the real facts. I am SO glad to read Dr Natterson’s article as even if one person is now more informed, I will be happy.

Leslie September 8, 2008, 3:32 PM

Some autism is caused by vaccinations when the mitochondria is involved. Other autism is caused, in non-familial cases by older paternal age. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and other disorders can be caused by DNA defects and imprinting defects in sperm.

I am so wise September 8, 2008, 4:58 PM

Arguments like “does anyone really believe that getting a heavy cocktail of drugs for a baby and any side effects have no connection” or “there is no doubt in my mind that MMR has caused severe problems for children” or even “but I personally still think there MAY be a connection” are referred to as logic fallacies and arguments from personal ignorance for a reason.

JT September 8, 2008, 5:46 PM

Your pediatrician is wrong on one point that I see…this study was a replication of Andrew Wakefield’s second study on this subject which had 91 subjects. His original study of 12 children was about bowel disease and autism, not MMR. This may seem petty, but inaccuracies like this are what cause concern…if you are going to be an authority figure and site a study you should have the facts straight.

Brad Campaigne September 8, 2008, 6:05 PM

You are a human being.
You are not a person, you “have” a person.
A person is your agent in commerce,. A fictitious entity to which rights and duties are ascribed.
To the government and industrialists you are an indentured slave or as the media refers to us, “consumers”.
Before you enter into the world arena let alone the Austim arena you must see where, as an individual, you stand.
Here in Ontario Canada there are over 1000 citizen children on a shameful waitlist to receive funding for ABA/IBI therapies. Time is their enemy. After four years and the Senate / Eggleton paper “Pay Now or Pay Later” and the Canadian National Autism Strategy lies dormant. (Although it is a good document , worth reading)
Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the Supremecy of God and the Rule of Law.
Both of which are being broken by the Canadian governments both Federal and Provincial.
The Magna Carta, the British North American Act, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the U.S. Constitution were all written to protect us from the Sovereign.

To all of us parents in the front lines all over the world “Hallelujah to Ya !
At the end of the day it’s just us, our little team and the clinic we run from our homes.

Why is the focus always only on thimerosal?
Included on this list of chemical concerns should also be formaldehyde, M.S.G., aluminum, Butylated hydroxytoluene or B.H.T. and many others.
Don’t let the mainstream media and pharma spin doctors lull you into only focusing on the thimerosal.
Remember these corporations would no doubt lose everything if a connection is made between the preservatives and the world wide vaccine programs.

Just to clarify … if you are getting a vaccine that is not kept in a fridge then It HAS preservatives in it.
Really bad ones as well.
Our great grandparents our grandparents and our parents were all infected with toxic preservatives through the inoculation programs.
I saw my 5yr old son’s live blood analysis taking place.
I saw live candida yeast in his blood.
I saw the heavy metals as well.
Where do you think it came from?
Leaky gut syndrome comes from the M.M.R jab.

We saw the change in our child right after the second round of vaccinations.

Freedom of the person requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities.
I have come to the conclusion that those who benefit from any societal mechanism rarely wish to understand that mechanism, especially if it appears to grant them power or authority and understanding it or any alternatives would restrict, diminish or destroy that power apparently granted.
They live in a vapid world of learned assumptions.
Lets face it if you have acronyms after your name your whole goal is to get published and funded no matter how ridiculous your position is.
Most if not all of the researchers and their research are in the pocket of Big Pharma. They have lobbied their way into the core of our societies. I feel sorry for the caregivers who actually administer the jab and wonder how they are going to live with themselves after the truth comes out.

If we put up with this our children will be next.

What do they all have in common?

Wake up people.

Good luck children…..

Anonymous September 8, 2008, 6:27 PM

Here is a link to another grand source of mercury (again, other than thimerasol) poisoning in our collective.
It’s the Canadian Dental Association’s dirty little secret.
Remember there were 4 - 5 generations of patients that have had mercury fillings.
Interesting to note that they are referred to as silver fillings when the actual percentage is about 60% mercury 40% silver and “other” metals.
Fun huh?

Mary September 8, 2008, 9:31 PM

This recent study only pertains to the attenuated viruses in the vaccines themselves, NOT THE THIMEROSAL (MERCURY)in the vaccine.
So the headlines “MMR does not cause autism” are HORRENDOUSLY MISLEADING.

Mary September 8, 2008, 9:40 PM

Ask your pediatrician to see the package insert for the MMR. If it does not say “Thimerosal” or “calomel” (mercurous chloride), he is telling the truth. He may not be aware that thimerosal contains mercury, or perhaps he does use a formula that is mercury free. If I had to choose again, I would never vaccinate my children for MMR. Everyone I knew growing up had measles, mumps and rubella, and had NO problems. Not worth life-long suffering from low level mercury induced diseasse.

cara September 8, 2008, 10:11 PM

When I gave birth to my oldest child, now 12, I was lucky enough to have a Lesbian (and I do think it’s revelant in that those who have been outcasts, or minorities are more apt to be wary or question the mainstream, the gov’t, ect) pediatrician who supported my decision to not vaccinate my child. That was in a town near Northampton, MA. I gave birth to my second child in Vermont where basically, anything goes, but my last child, I had her in Pa and was treated like the anti-christ for not vaccinating. I personally feel, if they were to go to Haiti, I’d get them vaccinated, but now, if there is a measles outbreak or some other outbreak at their school, I have to pull them, which I’d rather do regardless. As for that Merck and Co drug they were pushing for making mandatory for young girls, man that got me mad. It also put Merck and co on the forefront of my brain, and since then I’ve been keeping note of all the class action lawsuits filed against them for other drugs they’ve had on the market…and there’ve been about six!!! So and Nancy Reagan told us, “just say NO to drugs”

ashley September 9, 2008, 7:24 AM

My MIL’s cousin is a naturopath doctor or something like that, she even has her own line of natural medicines and she says the vaccines that cause the problems are the ones they take out of a large jar but that the ones that are already made up into their own syringe and packaged are safe. Do you understand what I mean. I don’t know if that’s true or not but every time my kids get shots I look to make sure she is opening up a fresh prefilled syringe.

Caronamy September 9, 2008, 7:58 AM

I don’t believe that vaccines cause autism. I believe it is the diet that the parents eat along with all the preservatives and such in today’s foods and water and ….

My two cents

Edith (FCC member/advocate) September 9, 2008, 12:38 PM

I belive that autism is like a blended spice … that is: part genetic … mixed with some external factors and then exaggerated due to reactions to toxic exposure (pre and/or post delivery).

Hypothisis: Some humans are more susceptible to the damages of MERCURY than others.
? = DO flu shots still have MERCURY?

Hypothisis: Some children who may be lactose intolorant or have various digestive troubles may be at risk if given the “regular vaccine doses at the regular ages/times”.
? = How can this be tested?

Mercury was in the vaccine that my son was given. My son became ill after (with a very high fever). He was “different” (far away)after “he recovered”.

Anonymous September 12, 2008, 11:24 AM

I have three children. I was very good at making sure I was on time getting their shots. While I was pregnant with my third child I had a cousin that was diagnosed with autism. This made me very nervous about what I should do about shots for my child that I was pregnant with. Yes the MMR shot does factor into getting autism along with other vaccines if they contain mercury (the flu shots contain a mercury base the drug company said they were mercury free but are now in a lawsuit for continueing to use a mercury base and marking them mercury free) also contributing to triggering autism is taking to many antibiotics. You should make your doctor test if your child has a bactierial infection or if it is a viral infection. They both have the same symtoms but antibiotics will not work on a viral infection.
I did have some shots for my youngest, but I will not have any more MMR shots until my children are older.
Did you ever wonder why you need to know the weight of your child to give them the correct amount of tylenol but that when they get their vaccines they get the same dose as a full grown adult?
After my cousins diagnosis I looked into other children with autisim in my own community. One of them had been ready to go to kindergarten. He could read and write and was ahead of many kids his age. He got his pre-school vaccines at the age of 4 and he started loosing the skills he had and was soon diagnosed with autism. Many like to say that autism shows up between 12 and 18 months and that it is just timing that makes people think that the shots are to blame. What is their answer to this boys parents.
It is easy to get shots when you beleive that you are doing what is best for your child and that the autistic accusations are false, but you try to hold your child down and let the shoot drugs into their leg just after visiting with your uncle and his autistic daughter. It is not an easy thing to do.
I did make sure that my youngest got his whooping cough and a couple of the other shots that are for deadly deseases. Measles, mumps, and rubella are not deadly unless you get them as adults. Yes when my children are older I will let them get the mmr shot. Do you remember this summers outbreak of measles in the USA I don’t recall any of those that died or even any that had life long complications from having measles.
Also you may want to check into the chicken pox vaccine. I thought how wonderful and my two older ones have had the vaccine. Now it is comming out that those that have been vaccinated may get chicken pox more than once since they do not get them very strong. This increases their chance of getting them as adults which can cause serious problems. So it may be better to let them get chicken pox like we did when we were little.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to be like I was with my first two children and just believe that the medical professionals know everything and would not do anything that had a chance of harming my children but I can’t do that now that I have seen to many things that contradict that.
For those of you that choose to get all you children vaccinated just as the doctor tells you and give them antibiotics without making sure that it is a bactierial infection not a viral one I pray that you never find out the hard way that those things really can lead to autism. All I ask is that you leave the rest of us alone to make our own hard decisions on how to best protect our children.
Remember 1 in 150 children will get autism. I am just trying to give my children a little better chance of not being the one that gets it.

Anonymous September 13, 2008, 10:12 AM

Autism is never caused by a vaccine, know your facts before spreading propaganda.

Anonymous October 2, 2008, 3:51 PM

vaccines are safe becuase i had 5 of my children have their mmr vaccines taken. none of them have autism.autism happens not because of mmr vaccines. MMR vaccines helps our children more.

Just Another Voice February 11, 2009, 1:27 PM

Is it possible that MAYBE, just MAYBE the MMR used to have the deadly Mercury and has been taken out? Now they say, “there’s no Mercury in the vaccine! Just don’t give your child the flu shot at the same time, because the flu shot has Mercury.” Just a thought…. never admit guilt, avoid lawsuits,gov’t doesn’t admit they’ve dropped the ball…..

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