Journal Article

Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

Stanley Plotkin, Jeffrey S. Gerber and Paul A. Offit

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 48, issue 4, pages 456-461
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/596476
Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

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Although child vaccination rates remain high, some parental concern persists that vaccines might cause autism. Three specific hypotheses have been proposed: (1) the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism by damaging the intestinal lining, which allows the entrance of encephalopathic proteins; (2) thimerosal, an ethylmercury-containing preservative in some vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system; and (3) the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms or weakens the immune system. We will discuss the genesis of each of these theories and review the relevant epidemiological evidence.

Journal Article.  3879 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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