It has been suggested that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) is a cause of regressive autism. As MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993, this time period affords a natural experiment to examine this hypothesis. Data on 904 patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) were analyzed. During the period of MMR usage no significant difference was found in the incidence of regression between MMR-vaccinated children and non-vaccinated children. Among the proportion and incidence of regression across the three MMR-program-related periods (before, during and after MMR usage), no significant difference was found between those who had received MMR and those who had not. Moreover, the incidence of regression did not change significantly across the three periods.
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The definition we followed was that of pervasive developmental disorders in DSM-IV, but, following most current practice we have used the terminology of autism spectrum disorders.
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We appreciate the advice and expertise of Professor Sir Michael Rutter. Special thanks are expressed to Dr. Hiroshi Fujioka, Dr. Yuko Yoshida and Dr. Masami Sasaki for their assistance.
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Uchiyama, T., Kurosawa, M. & Inaba, Y. MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan. J Autism Dev Disord 37, 210–217 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0157-3