Wakefield's study from 1998 is now refuted as fraudulent, however there must have been subsequent research by others looking for a link between vaccines and autism. Did any of this research find a positive correlation?

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    I'm not sure how to label it but I'm voting to close this. We don't need endless variants of "Do vaccines cause autism" asked in a slightly different fashion to be a new question. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 2:57
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    possible duplicate of How dangerous is thiomersal (thimerosal) really? Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 10:38
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    The important thing isn't whether there are any other studies. It is easy to do poor studies that produce dodgy results through random chance alone. The issue is whether carefully conducted large studies repeat the results. Or whether the balance of results from many studies do.
    – matt_black
    Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 8:32
  • On the subject generally, and also mentioning most of the studies mentioned here, see list of references here: fda.gov Questions About Vaccines
    – user15018
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 0:12
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    This is an old question asked very early during the Beta period. If it was asked today, it would be closed, as there is no claim. (There is a claim that MMR vaccine causes autism, but there isn't that subsequent research to Wakefield supported this.)
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 11:59

4 Answers 4


The reason that Wakefield's study was found to be fraudulent is a result of the plethora of studies that were done after his. Not only could they not replicate the results of his study, but larger, better designed studies refuted the conclusion in his paper. Very large studies such as this Danish study found no correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism.

For more information, see the CDC's web site:

Some people believe increased exposure to thimerosal (from the addition of important new vaccines recommended for children) explains the higher prevalence in recent years. However, evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association. Furthermore, a scientific review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that "the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines an autism." CDC supports the IOM conclusion.

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    No, that would be a reason to find that his study was wrong. It was found to be fraudulent because he had a huge financial interest in arriving at the answer he arrived at and behaved in an unethical fashion to get those answers. note, your links are great, hence the +1, but that's not why it was found to be fraud. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 2:55
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    @Russell Steen, @Michael Shaw: As a matter of interest, fraud is a deception for gain. Neither financial interest nor subsequent refutation nor unethical behaviour constitute fraud, in and of themselves anyway. Wakefield's study was found to be a fraud because he lied for financial gain. The subsequent studies revealed the dishonesty, and induced inquiry into his financial incentives. The sine qua non of his fraud though, was the dishonesty itself. Commented May 29, 2011 at 3:03
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    @Russell Agreed, sloppy methodology is one thing, but not disclosing your biases and/or sources of funding upfront is pretty unethical and unscientific, not to mention the fraudulent bit.
    – John Lyon
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 5:17
  • @John Lyon: Yes, they always must put a "conflict of interest" disclaimer. It still isn't "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" but it dues further discredit the study. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 10:46

In a single word: No.

If anything, there is a greater correlation between autism and linoleum floors than there is to vaccines. Or even vitamin D deficiencies: What If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism? (Scientific American, 24 Apr 2009).

If you wish, visit The Truth About The "Evils" Of Vaccination at factsnotfantasy.com for a point by point debunking of Wakefield and the errors anti-vax proponents like to repeat.

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    "visit factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php for a point by point debunking" I did "both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines are safe and effective." Very funny. How do you define "safe"? (hint: in any scientific setting, you need to describe the expected precision of the measurement) This is simply not a serious scientific page.
    – curiousguy
    Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 0:23
  • @curiousguy: safe and effective are serious terms used by the CDC every day to summarize what they are willing to approve. Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 23:11

In my work on Rett syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder), I once came across a paper claiming that vaccination could be to blame for Rett syndrome. I'm rather ... skeptical about the paper.

On the other hand, scientists were able to put some parents' minds to rest about vaccination causing Rett syndrome. An Australian girl developed symptoms of Rett syndrome, and died of pneumonia at the age of 7 in 1991. In 2004, scientists analyzed DNA from a tooth they had kept, and confirmed she had had a mutation that causes Rett syndrome.

This was a relief to the parents, as she had been vaccinated a month before symptoms of Rett syndrome started, and she had a fall when she was 17 months - they were worried whether one of those things had caused their daughter's disorder.

(Declaration - I used to work with some of the people who retrospectively diagnosed the girl)

  • Nice report, thanks also for the declaration. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 12:29

This one from 2011 did. It's certainly low impact and I haven't gone through it to find the flaws. I'd be interested to look at the data and see if there is anything there. The study has garnered strong condemnation for a variety of reasons.

Not a scientific study, but DHHS conceded that vaccines contributed to the autism-like symptoms of this neurologist's daughter. There is some more study to do regarding mitochondrial disorders, vaccination and autism, imho.

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