Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data
Translational Neurodegeneration 2014, 3:16 doi:10.1186/2047-9158-3-16
A retraction article was published for this article. It is available from the following link; http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/22
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.translationalneurodegeneration.com/content/3/1/16
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A significant number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder suffer a loss of previously-acquired skills, suggesting neurodegeneration or a type of progressive encephalopathy with an etiological basis occurring after birth. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectof the age at which children got their first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine on autism incidence. This is a reanalysis of the data set, obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), used for the Destefano et al. 2004 publication on the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism diagnoses.
When comparing cases and controls receiving their first MMR vaccine before and after 36 months of age, there was a statistically significant increase in autism cases specifically among African American males who received the first MMR prior to 36 months of age. Relative risks for males in general and African American males were 1.69 (p=0.0138) and 3.36 (p=0.0019), respectively. Additionally, African American males showed an odds ratio of 1.73 (p=0.0200) for autism cases in children receiving their first MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age versus 24 months of age and thereafter.
The present study provides new epidemiologic evidence showing that African American males receiving the MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age or 36 months of age are more likely to receive an autism diagnosis.
The present study provides new evidence of a statistically significant relationship between the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African American males. Using a straight-forward, Pearson’s chi-squared analysis on the cohort used in the Destefano et al.  (CDC) study, timing of the first MMR vaccine before and after 24 months of age and 36 months of age showed relative risks for autism diagnoses of 1.73 and 3.36, respectively. Future studies should be completed to further evaluate the relationship of first MMR timing and neurodevelopmental maladies, including autism, especially in underserved populations.
Routine childhood vaccination is considered an important public health tool in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases. However, consideration should be made in the current United States vaccination schedule for genetic subpopulations that may be associated with vaccine adverse events. Additional research is required to better understand the relationship between MMR exposure and autism in African American males.