[back] Danish study

New England Journal of Medicine Study on Autism-MMR Vaccine in Denmark NOT Definitive

WILMETTE, Ill., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The new epidemiological study
appearing in the latest New England Journal of Medicine issue ("A
Population Based Study of Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination and
Autism" by Kreesten Meldgaard, M.D., et al) does not demonstrate that there
is no connection between MMR and autism.  Rather it emphasizes the fact
that MMR cannot be the cause of all autism, a conclusion with which Medical
Interventions for Autism supported researchers will wholeheartedly agree.

Medical Interventions for Autism is a US charity that generates funds,
co-ordinates and administers biomedical and clinical research into autism,
inflammatory bowel disease and measles containing vaccines.

Andrew Wakefield, M.D. whose research is supported through Medical
Interventions for Autism grants, makes the following points.

"This is a good study as far as it goes and the authors should be
congratulated for making a thorough attempt to approach this complex
subject in an epidemiological study. However, there are a number of
problems with this study that limit the conclusions that can be drawn. "

"It has become increasingly clear in recent years that autism is an
umbrella term for a collection of closely related disorders, whose
causation is likely to prove as varied and complex as the autistic spectrum
itself.  Our own research has always concentrated on a subset of children
specifically with a regressive autistic developmental disorder who
simultaneously suffer persistent measles infection at key sites in the
bowel and a well-documented bowel disease.  This subset is of unknown size.
 What the new study does suggest is that the proportion of Danish children,
specifically, with the form of autism described in our studies, may be
small, probably no more than 10% of diagnoses."

"I hope the authors will continue their analysis of this cohort to
establish and describe the various subsets of autistic spectrum disorder
that make up their study population."

Elizabeth Birt, Founder of Medical Interventions for Autism and a board
member, says: "The study proves nothing about the relationship between
regressive autism and MMR.  The study participants were selected from
psychiatric clinics and hospitals; no child was evaluated for immune system
dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease or the presence of measles RNA in
their blood, intestines and cerebral spinal fluid.  It is time that we
start looking for the biological basis of this disorder which has been well
documented in US and UK children and stop using epidemiology to declare 'no
relationship' when study after study fails to be designed to even look at
this issue.  When will the public health authorities stop their 'ostrich
like' behaviors and take a hard look at the peer reviewed published
science?  I am afraid that this generation of children may be permanently
lost if action is not taken now.  We owe it to the children and their
families who kept their part of the public health bargain and immunized
their children for the 'greater good.'  These children are being treated
like the Vietnam Veterans; they are being ignored because of a fear that
researchers like Dr. Wakefield may be right.  It is unconscionable and the
parents will not stop until we have answers as to what happened to our