Monday, March 3, 2003

Vaccine-autism theory gaining ground

In 1998, British researchers suggested a link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. There's been a subsequent backlash against vaccines in England - and recent measles outbreaks.

The theory has gained increasing attention in the United States, along with another theory linking autism and thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in some vaccines.

The controversy even ended up in a debate over a provision attached to Homeland Security legislation enacted last fall. The provision, aimed at protecting drug makers from lawsuits over vaccine-related injuries, prompted vocal protests in Washington in January by parents who see a connection between vaccines and autism.

The Institute of Medicine reviewed the issue and in 2001 said there was no proof that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine or thimerosal.

But vaccine foes note the IOM report said a link between thimerosal and an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders is "medically plausible."

Dr. Neal Halsey, an influential vaccine proponent from Johns Hopkins University, agrees that thimerosal could theoretically be linked with subtle developmental problems including delayed speech, "but the available data show no evidence of an association with autism."

Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, a developmental pediatrician specializing in autism with the Kelly O'Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, doubts the vaccine connection.

Enquirer reporter Peggy O'Farrell contributed to this report.

Photo exhibit explores O-hi-Ohhh
Autism caseload growing quickly
Autism treatment
Vaccine-autism theory gaining ground
Kid safety-seat instructions too tough for adults
Get to It: A guide to help make your day

Channels' acronyms all about marketing

First notes echo in world's longest concert
Escovedo switches to subdued side
Broadway musicians headed for strike
Ashanti and Musiq lead winners at Soul Train Awards
Rap, martial arts pairing helps 'Cradle' rock to top
Rookie director wins top award

Fit City home page
Exercise tapes stretch, pep up your workouts
Sport will give workout focus, bigger challenge
Fit Bits: Ways to stay active & healthy
Fitness Calendar

Movie muscle
Cammys honor careers of H-Bomb, Rusty York, Lemon Pipers
NY cop to sing with the Pops