Multiple vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal, administered to macaque monkeys on the schedule that pediatricians followed in the 1990s, resulted in none of the key brain or behavioral changes linked to autism, a new study shows.
The same study also administered a wide range of vaccines including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine–which never contained thimerosal–to rhesus macaques. Again, it found no evidence of changes in brains or behavior that would implicate either the much-maligned MMR vaccine or a combination of many vaccines as a cause of or contributor to autism.
Just two weeks after candidates for the Republican presidential nomination reprised the allegation that childhood vaccines may be responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of children with autism, the new research offers additional evidence against such a link.
A neurodevelopmental disorder now affecting roughly one in 70 children in the United States, the autism rate has been on the rise for several decades, confounding experts.
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