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Study “rules out” MMR autism link


There is no evidence to support claims that the MMR jab damages the intestine and in turn causes autism, according to a new report.

Researchers from the UK’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and the University of Edinburgh, examined the so-called “leaky gut” theory, which suggests that vaccines such as MMR can damage the wall of the intestine.

This causes digestive problems which lead to the production of peptides, which can damage the brain and possibly cause autism, according to the theory.

But the latest study found that children with autism do not produce higher levels of peptides, which are detectable in their urine.

Researchers examined 65 boys with autism aged five to 11 and 158 boys acting as controls, aged four to 11, and found “no significant differences” between the two groups when it came to levels of peptides.

Dr Hilary Cass, from Great Ormond Street, said: “It is very distressing to have a diagnosis of autism, a lifelong condition.

“Many families are driven to try out interventions which currently have no scientific basis.

“For example, advocates of the leaky gut hypothesis offer children a casein and gluten-free diet which as yet lacks an evidence base.

“Our research throws serious doubt on the putative scientific basis of that diet and indicates that further work is needed to understand the role and outcomes of dietary intervention.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Great Ormond Street Hospital

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