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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2004 Sep;11(3):214-7.

Immunizations, immunology, and autism.

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Department of Neurology, The Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL, USA.


Public fears of rising rates of children being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders has led to a fear that immunizations, specifically the measles-mumps-varicella vaccine (MMR), may trigger autism. This article reviews theories of immunization as a risk factor for autism, including thimerosal exposure. We also review theories of autoimmunity as a predisposing genetic risk in autistic patients. We summarize from multiple population-based studies and extensive review committee reports that neither immunization nor thimerosal exposure has been conclusively linked to autism. Current treatments for autoimmunity in autism are reviewed and summarized as being only anecdotally effective, with no controlled studies to conclusively determine effectiveness. The goal of this article is to allow child neurologists to effectively counsel parents of autistic patients about vaccination risks and treatment options in presumed cases of autoimmune dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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