In a month when I’ve written first about the meningitis vaccine working (yay!) and the death of a child from a disease his parents refused to vaccinate against (bad), I’m starting to feel like I’m beating the non-vaccinators out there over the head with all this pro-vaccine talk.
And then, there’s more good news!
The study in Pediatrics comes out of Italy, and it’s centered on the whole “thimerosal causes autism” debate. Children in Italy were given two different sets of shots in the early 1990s. According to the AP: Ten years later, 1,403 of those children took a battery of brain
function tests. Researchers found small differences in only two of 24
measurements and those “might be attributable to chance.”
Out of more than one thousand kids, only one case of autism was found – and that child received the lower level of thimerosal in his or her vaccine. Overall, the kids tested all scored – on average – within normal ranges on mental acuity tests.
The significance in this study is in the varying amounts of thimerosal, and its affects. If thimerosal causes autism, scientists who worked on the Italian study say it would stand to reason that increased dosages would show marked effect on kids. Yet the only autistic child in the randomized study to fall on the autism spectrum received a lower dose. The kids exposed to more thimerosal (which breaks down as ethyl mercury, hence some advocates’ claims that mercury poisoning causes autism) should have been at higher risk if the theories held true.
“Put together with the evidence of all the other studies, this tells us
there is no reason to worry about the effect of thimerosal in
vaccines,” said the new study’s lead author, Dr. Alberto Tozzi of
Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.
So, is it time those who don’t vaccinate their kids stop looking cross-eyed at those of us who do?
Image: USA Today