Autism not linked to children’s vaccines Local physician discusses recently debunked study


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A recent study conducted by the British Medical Journal has proven that a previous study stating that vaccines may be a cause for autism is untrue and fraudulent. East Tennessee State University physician Dr. Demetrio Macariola, director of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, part of Mountain States Health Alliance, supports this conclusion. While speaking Thursday at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Macariola stated that the study published in 1998 alluded to the fact that MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shots were the cause of autism in some patients. Twenty-three studies since 1998 have debunked the original study and proved every time that there is no research to support the link between vaccines and autism. 

Macariola cited a specific study conducted in Japan that found no difference in the amount of children who suffered from autism spectrum disorders (autism) in a group that received the MMR vaccine and a group that did not. He advised that if there were indeed a link between vaccines and autism, the group that received the MMR vaccine would have shown an increased amount of children with autism. Since its release in 1998, the article supporting this link has been removed from the medical journal in which it was originally printed, and 10 out of the 13 authors connected to it have pulled their names from association with it. 

Steven Godbold, CEO of Niswonger Children’s Hospital, also spoke on Thursday and said that a goal of Niswonger Children’s Hospital is not only to treat children when they are sick but to reach beyond the walls of the hospital to help them before they become ill. 

“Niswonger Children’s Hospital, with our pediatric specialists, is a tremendous resource for parents needing information about health care needs of their children from birth to 18 years of age,” Godbold said. 

“We will be reaching out into our communities to make sure that this region has the most healthy population that we can have, especially in our pediatric population,” he added. Both Macariola and Godbold advised that one of the most important things parents can do is to vaccinate their children. 
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