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A new study has confirmed a definite causal link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism - and it has used the same data employed by an earlier study that governments have relied on to deny the link.
The vaccine increases the risk of autism by 850 per cent, or nearly 500 per cent if we allow for greater diagnostic awareness, one of the major arguments put forward for the sudden increase in autism.
This conclusion contradicts that of the Madsen study carried out in 2002, which found no link, and which governments have gratefully clung to ever since.
So why the enormous discrepancy between the two trials? Autism is usually diagnosed only at age 5 or older, or it is in Denmark from where the data for both studies has been gleaned. The Madsen study monitored the progress of vaccinated children in Denmark only for four years, so it's hardly surprising that few, if any, cases of autism were established. Less severe cases, which might have become apparent even later, were certainly not included in the findings.
The new study, carried out by American paediatrician Dr Fouad Yazbak and Dr G S Goldman, tracks levels of autism in Denmark from 1980 - seven years before the MMR vaccine was introduced in Denmark - until 2002. Prevalence of autism among children aged from 5 to 9 stood at 8.38 cases per 100,000 in the pre-vaccine years of 1980 to 1986, and then rose to 71.43 cases by the year 2000.
Dr Samy Suissa of McGill University had similar problems with the Madsen study. When he analysed the statistics he discovered that the rate of autism increases to a high of 27.3 cases per 100,000 two years after vaccination compared with just 1.45 cases in non-vaccinated children.