Yale Study on Vaccines and Brain Disorders
WHAT IS THE TRENDING NEWS STORY
A team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Penn State College of Medicine has found a disturbing association between the timing of vaccines and the onset of certain brain disorders in a subset of children. Analyzing five years' worth of private health insurance data of children ages 6-15, these scientists found that young people vaccinated in the previous three to 12 months were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with certain neuropsychiatric disorders than their non-vaccinated counterparts.
WHY THE STORY HAS MISINFORMATION
The controversy regarding the link between vaccines and neurological damage is not due to over-vaccination, but specifically about the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine being a causative factor in autism and other developmental disorders as a result of mercury toxicity caused by thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines. The study has shown no link between these products and the presence of developmental disorders. The CDC is also adamant about the safety of vaccines, and vaccine ingredients in general.
These statements from the article are misleading: "Scientists found that young people vaccinated in the previous three to 12 months were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with certain neuropsychiatric disorders than their non-vaccinated counterparts" and "children who had been vaccinated were 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anorexia and 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with OCD than their non-vaccinated counterparts". The findings did not state that vaccinated children were more likely to be diagnosed with neuropsyciatric disorders but that the diagnoses were only associated with past vaccinations. The findings of the study were that children with OCD, anorexia nervosa (AN), anxiety disorder, and tic disorders were more likely to have received the influenza vaccine during the preceding 1-year period, and that the receipt of any vaccine was highest for children with AN, followed by children with OCD.
The association therefore between modern vaccinations and serious neurological disorders is a true "urban myth". The true causes of many neurological diseases are largely unknown. In reality, the public should bear in mind that the case reports published in the literature have almost always shown only a temporal association between the administration of vaccines and neurological events, while controlled studies have either excluded such associations, as in the case of the MMR vaccine and autism, or have been unable to establish a causal link. Even the article mentioning the dangers of vaccines leading to neuropsychiatric conditions makes this concession.
Despite the initial observations, it is clear that inflammation does take place in neurodegenerative diseases, but its role is still a matter of debate. Neurodegeneration is also observed in neuropscyhiatric disorders. Neuroinflammatory responses may be helpful or harmful, as mechanisms associated with neuroinflammation are involved in normal brain development, as well as in neuropathological processes.
No vaccine is perfectly safe. An adverse event can be said to be caused by a vaccine (i.e., a true reaction) if it is associated with a specific laboratory finding and a specific clinical syndrome, or both. Alternatively, a clinical or epidemiological study is needed to find out whether the rate of a given syndrome in vaccinated individuals exceeds that expected among UN-vaccinated controls.
Children who are vaccinated may be simultaneously administered other medications such as sedative antihistamines, which may have a direct relationship to certain neuropsychiatric disorders.