Generally, you know when a group is trying very hard to find support for their fringe beliefs when they have to find an insignificant court ruling in a small city in Italy. It’s like confirmation bias taken to the highest level of fallaciousness, trying to find that one irrelevant item that supports their pseudoscientific beliefs. In this case, it was a court in Rimini, Italy, a small city on the northern Adriatic coast. The court ruled that an anonymous child was diagnosed with autism about a year after receiving the MMR vaccine, which is a very safe vaccine that prevents mumps, measles and rubella, all diseases that are harmful to children.
All of the court documents are in Italian, but a Francophone blog, roughly translated here, gives some details about the case. It was a local court that made its decision based on the testimony of one physician, ignoring documents from all of the major medical societies in Italy. Insanely, the court based much of its arguments on the debunked and fraudulent Lancet article foisted onto the world by Mr. Andy Wakefield. The court apparently ignored the vast body of evidence that shows that there is NO LINK between MMR vaccines and autism.
- In October 2004, a meta review, financed by the European Union, was published in the October 2004 edition of Vaccine and assessed the evidence given in 120 other studies and considered unintended effects of the MMR vaccine. The authors concluded that “exposure to MMR is unlikely to be associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism or aseptic meningitis.”
- In February 2005, a study compared autism in Japan before and after the 1993 withdrawal of the MMR vaccine and concluded that “MMR vaccination is most unlikely to be a main cause of ASD, that it cannot explain the rise over time in the incidence of ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and that withdrawal of MMR in countries where it is still being used cannot be expected to lead to a reduction in the incidence of ASD.”
- In October 2005, the Cochrane Library published a review of 31 scientific studies, and concluded that, “Exposure to MMR was unlikely to be associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism or aseptic meningitis.”
- A 2007 review of independent studies, performed after the publication of Wakefield’s fraudulent article, found that evidence did not support a causal association between vaccines and autism.
- A 2009 review of studies on links between vaccines and autism concludes that “twenty epidemiologic studies have shown that neither thimerosal nor MMR vaccine causes autism. These studies have been performed in several countries by many different investigators who have employed a multitude of epidemiologic and statistical methods.” They also stated that the large size of these studies would have identified even minor correlations, and even then nothing was found.
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