A recent study disproves any link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is used to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella. It was first introduced in 1963 and has reduced the rate of infection for measles from up to four million people newly infected each year to only 55 cases reported during 2006.
In 1998, a study suggested that the measles component of the vaccine can cause inflammation of the bowel and the release of neuroactive chemicals that promote developmental neuropathology. Since then several studies have researched the timing of the disorders and found no link between the vaccine and autism or gastrointestinal disorders. However, this most recent study by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University is the first to replicate the original 1998 study by also testing tissue samples for the existence of measles in the bowel tissue.
Neither part of the current study supported the hypothesis suggested in 1998 that there is a link to the MMR vaccine and autism.
If the hypothesis were true, the administration of the vaccine would come before the onset of GI symptoms and the GI symptoms would come before the onset of autism. This was not found to be the case. They also found no difference in the presence of measles viral RNA between the case and control groups.
Researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University are confident that there is no link between autism and the MMR vaccine.