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Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Feb 15;48(4):456-61. doi: 10.1086/596476.

Vaccines and autism: a tale of shifting hypotheses.

Author information

  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4399, USA. offit@email.chop.edu

Abstract

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.

PMID:
19128068
PMCID:
PMC2908388
DOI:
10.1086/596476
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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