Report: No link between autism, vaccines
Tuesday, May 18, 2004 Posted: 1:00 PM EDT (1700 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- There is no evidence that a controversial mercury-based vaccine preservative causes autism, concludes an eagerly anticipated scientific review that says it's time to lay vaccine suspicions to rest and find the real culprit.
Tuesday's conclusion by the prestigious Institute of Medicine pointed to five large studies, here and abroad, that tracked thousands of children since 2001 and found no association between autism and vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal.
Many parents of autistic children blame vaccination for the brain disorder.
But the panel of prominent scientists said that while high doses of mercury can cause neurological damage, there's no evidence that this type of damage causes the symptoms specific to autism -- and no laboratory or animal research that proves how the much smaller amounts of mercury in thimerosal could do so either, the IOM concluded.