BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT
20 July, 2005: Child vaccines have no proven link to autism, top officials from three of the US’ premier public health agencies announced in an unusual news conference held in Washington.
The statement in defence of vaccines achieves significance in light of a growing number of parents contend that a mercury-containing vaccine preservative called thimerosal caused their children to become autistic.
Thimerosal was largely removed from all childhood vaccines in 2001. Flu shots were an exception, experts in the conference revealed.
Doctors from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health Development and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted parents to examine the data concerning vaccines so that they will realize that the benefits of the medicines far outweigh their risks.
The National Institutes of Health has quadrupled financing for autism research since 1997, to $102 million in the current fiscal year.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that are caused by an abnormality in the brain. People with ASDs tend to have problems with social and communication skills. They also are likely to repeat certain behaviors and to not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to different sensations. ASDs begin during childhood and last throughout a person's life.
It is estimated that out of the 4 million children born in the United States every year, approximately 24,000 of them are eventually diagnosed with an ASD.