Neil Goldfinger, M.D.
Arch Health Partners
Is there a link between the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine and autism?
Answer: Concerned parents often ask me about this and I always tell them there is no good scientific evidence showing an association between the MMR vaccine and autism. Even though several online sites suggest such a link, those reports are not backed by any scientific proof. I encourage parents to check credible websites that provide information based on scientific fact.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents understandably want an answer as to the cause. While the cause of autism is not yet known, there is a theory gaining great acceptance that it may be related to a genetic abnormality that occurs before birth, rather than an environmental trigger.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of children identified with autism. I believe this is due to increased awareness by parents, teachers, the media and physicians about social behaviors related to autism. Also, it was only about 10 years ago that definitive criteria were approved for evaluating a child’s behavior and making an accurate diagnosis of autism.
For parents who are concerned about the safety of immunizations, I remind them that scientists have spent decades researching vaccine effectiveness and formulating the recommended vaccine schedule. Vaccines protect children from diseases that sometimes have serious complications, such as deafness, encephalitis and even death.