April 03, 2013
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Additional CDC data rule out vaccine-autism link

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Even as the number of vaccines administered to children grows, children are not at an increased risk for developing autism, according to study findings published online.

Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, compared vaccination histories and antigens of 256 children with autism and 752 children who did not have autism.

“The aOR (95% CI) of autism spectrum disorder associated with each 25-unit increase in total antigen exposure was 0.999 (0.994-1.003) for cumulative exposure to age 3 months, 0.999 (0.997-1.001) for cumulative exposure to age 7 months, and 0.999 (0.998-1.001) for cumulative exposure to age 2 years,” the researchers wrote. “Similarly, no increased risk was found for autistic disorder or autism spectrum disorder with regression.”

DeStefano and colleagues said their findings are particularly timely, given that a recent survey found that parents’ top vaccine-related concerns included administration of too many vaccines during the first 2 years of life, administration of too many vaccines in a single doctor visit, and a possible link between vaccines and learning disabilities, such as autism.

“This study is the first to evaluate the issue of ‘too many vaccines too soon’ and the development of autism. The study found no relationship between the amount of vaccine antigens received during the first 2 years of life and the development of autism,” DeStefano told Infectious Diseases in Children.

The researchers said they hope their research will help to reassure parents that the recommended vaccination schedules are safe.

Disclosure: DeStefano reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, can be reached at fdestefano@cdc.gov.