It is time to face up to the problems of MMR vaccination and its possible relationship to Autism.
Since Wakefield published in the Lancet his observation that MMR vaccine might be involved with the development of autism, literally hundreds of publications have appeared that denied this possibility. (1,2,3)
Invariably, these publications used epidemiological data to make their print. (2,3) It is common knowledge that epidemiologic statistics can not establish absolutely that something does not occur, ie: “absence of proof is not proof of absence.” (3)
During the past seventeen years, concomitantly with the furor that occurred after Wakefields’ observation, hundreds of observations have appeared on internet chat rooms and in the public press that concluded that autism did appear after MMR vaccination. The observers were ,in the main, anguished parents whose children were affected with autism. When one listens to these parents carefully, it is hard to not conclude that in this case “where there is smoke there may be fire.” (4)
Accordingly, if for no other reason than to reassure these and other parents that MMR vaccination is safe, some surrogate studies in this regard are in order. By surrogate studies I mean carefully scripted in vitro studies that might reveal not only how MMR vaccine can cause autism but how this hypothetical phenomenon might be prevented. This suggestion was made in the 1980s by Westall and Root-Bernstein who used as their experimental model experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). (8)
Their work has been expanded and followed up on by a group of brilliant, dedicated researchers. Their body of work led to the suggestions that I have made here regarding surrogate experiments that should be done to approach the understanding of mechanisms that are possibly involved in MMR vaccine causing autism and to approach methods of prevention of a phenomenon of this type should it occur. (4-16)
The suggested studies of this type are as follows:
Will these studies be done or these added precautions be instituted in view of the fact that organizations such as the prestigious National Institute of Medicine feel that the matter is closed?(3) They will only occur if the parents of the children involved, through all avenues open to them, insist on it, for example, through their senators and house representatives, the internet, and attorneys who will advise the companies that make vaccines that these types of studies may protect them from future legal problems.
Until this is done there will be a cloud over MMR vaccination in spite of the fact that we all know MMR vaccination has been of benefit to children throughout the world.
1. Wakefield, A.L., Morsh, Anthoney A et al Ileal Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia, Nonspecific Colitis
and Pervasive Development Disorder in Children. Lancet 1998 351 637-641
2. McDonald, P.E., The MMR Vaccine Controversy, Winners, Loses, Impact, Challenges. British Journal
of Infectious Control 2007 8 18-22
3. Stratton, K. Immunization Safety Review NAP homepage @www.hap.edu
4. Frank, J.W., Coates RA, Brant R, Garbutt JM. Sample Sizes for Needles in a Haystack: The Case of HIV
seroprevalence surveys. Can J Public Health. 1990 Jan-Feb;81 (1): 50-2
5. Singh V.J. ://www.healing-arts.org/children/vaccines/vaccines-auto-immunity.htm
6. Fudenberg HH. Dialysable lymphocyte extract (DLyE) in infantile onset autism: a pilot study. biotherapy. 1996;9:143-7.
7. Wucherpfenning KW, Strominger JL. Molecular Mimicry in T-cell Mediated Autoimmunity: Viral
Peptides Activate Human T-cell Clones Specific for Myelin Basic Protein. Cell 1995 Mar 10 80(5):695-
8. Westall FC, Root-Bernstein R. Cause and Prevention of Postinfectious and Postvaccinal
Neuropathies. In light of a New Theory of Autoimmunity. Lancet 1986 Aug 2;2(8501);251-2.
9. Root-Bernstein RS. Multiple-Antigen-Mediated Autoimmunity (MAMA) in AIDS: A Possible Model
for Postinfectious Autoimmune Complications. Res Immunol 1990 May-Jun;141(4-5):321-39.
10. Schoenfeld Y, Aron-Maor A. Vaccination and Autoimmunity-‘Vaccinosis’: A Dangerous Liaison?
Journal of Autoimmunity 2000 Feb;14(1):1-10.
11. Oldstone, MB. Virus-Induced Autoimmunity: Molecular Mimicry as a Route to Autoimmune
Disease. Journal of Autoimmunity. 1989 Jun;2(suppl):187-194.
12. Fujinami RS, Oldstone MB. Amino Acid Homology Between the Encephalitogenic Site of Myelin
Basic Protein and Virus: Mechanism for Autoimmunity. Science, 1985 Nov 29;230(4729):1043-5.
13. Ziegler DW, Gardner JJ, Warfield DT, Walls HH. Experimental Allergic Neuritis-like Disease in Rabbits
After Injection with Influenza Vaccines Mixed with Gangliosides and Adjuvants. Infect Immun
14. Gran B, Hemmer B, Martin R. Molecular mimicry and multiple sclerosis--a possible role for degenerate T cell recognition in the induction of autoimmune responses. J Neural Transm Suppl. 1999;55:19-31.
15. Shoenfeld, Y., & Isenberg, D. (1989). The Genetic Components in Autoimmunity. In The Mosaic of
Autoimmunity, chap. 5, pp. 169-228. Elsevier: Amsterdam.
16. Trottier G. Etiology of infantile autism: a review of recent advances in genetic and neurobiological
research. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 1999; 24(2): 103-15.
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