Fake News: MMR Vaccines Cause Autism
The Origin: In 1998, British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, along with 12 co-authors, published a study in the medical journal The Lancet that claimed the mandatory measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine could lead to autism when given to children under the age of two.
The Aftermath: Wakefield lost his license in 2010 after the study was debunked and retracted, but the damage was done: vaccination rates in the U.S. and Great Britain plummeted once news outlets reported on the study. “We were able to trace [the U.S. measles outbreak in 2014], in part, to parents who found scary misinformation on the Internet and opted not to vaccinate their children,” said Seymour.
The Facts: Many peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, have been unable to find any link between MMR vaccines and autism. While the cause of autism is still unknown, experts suggest that it comes from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
This Canadian charity rallies assistance for South Asian families affected by autism.