More research finds no link between autism and preservative in vaccines

    Another big study found no link between a mercury-based preservatives in vaccines and autism – but experts say this issue still won’t go away any time soon.

    Another big study found no link between a mercury-based preservatives in vaccines and autism – but experts say this issue still won’t go away any time soon.

    Researchers examined over 1000 babies who were exposed to vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal during the first 20 months of their lives. They found no link between the vaccines and developing an autism spectrum disorder. This is the tenth big study discrediting a potential connection. Dr. Michelle Rowe of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at St. Joseph’s University says still – parents will continue to worry:

    Rowe: No one can guarantee with 100 percent certainty that something introduced into the body will be 100 percent safe.

    This is the tenth big study discrediting a potential link – but Michelle Rowe says many parents get information from talking to other parents, and not researchers. Then they are not sure whom to believe:

    Rowe: Parents certainly want to trust this information, but then they talk to families who feel that this has had some impact on them. It’s hard for families to actually come to terms with questions like where do they turn in making the decision about these vaccines.

    Dr. Margot Burke from the Center for Autism in Philadelphia agrees that despite a good body of research on vaccine safety, lingering fears remain among parents. She says that many of the symptoms of autism – lack of language, eye contact, or social relationships emerge around the age of 18 months, which is when children are getting a lot of vaccines. So the timing seems to support a connection in the opinion of some parents.

    Philadelphia pediatrician Alexis Lieberman says she spends a lot of time with new parents discussing vaccine safety. She explains how vaccines work, the risks of not vaccinating children, and how adverse reactions to vaccines are tracked and analyzed. But what parents tend to respond most to is when Lieberman shares her own decision-making process as a parent:

    Lieberman: A lot of parents are very reassured that I vaccinated my child, and that should be reassuring, that’s really putting my money where my mouth is.

    The new study is published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics

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