Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby Behavior in the News: Autism and Vaccines

New Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released shows autism is not linked to the MMR vaccine.

Who is the IOM?
The IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of the government to provide unbiased and evidence-based information about health and healthcare topics. Their goal is to provide the information necessary for people to make informed decisions about their health. The IOM reviews studies applying a rigorous research process involving leading scientists and extensive peer review. In other words, they know what they’re talking about and provide sound evidence-based advice.

The New Report: Adverse Effects of Vaccines
A new report published by the IOM reviewed adverse effects from 8 common childhood vaccines: chickenpox (varicella zoster), influenza or flu (except 2009 H1N1), hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), hepatitis A, meningococcal, and those that contain tetanus (like Diptheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis or DTaP). A panel of medical experts reviewed a mountain of evidence, including both studies of whole populations and case reports of adverse events related to vaccines reported by individuals.

Vaccines and Autism
After reviewing a number of large, rigorous studies, the committee determined that the evidence does not support a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Although there were not enough studies to accept or reject a link between autism and the DTaP vaccine, experts did say that they were “not finding a strong signal" that there was any link.

For a list of all of the findings of the IOM report, please see the link provided below. Please note that there the committee’s findings are presented in a variety of ways, including a 2-page Research Brief that provides a short summary of the committee’s review process and general findings and the full report, which includes extremely detailed information about the studies included in the evaluation.

A Final Word
According to this report, in general, few adverse effects were caused by the 8 common childhood vaccines, though there were some adverse events linked to some of the vaccines. We encourage all of our readers to take a look at the findings of this report. The protection that vaccines provide significantly improves the quality of life in our communities. We hope this post and the links to the full IOM report we provided will help you make an informed decision about vaccinating your children.

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