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Can childhood autism be blamed on childhood vaccinations? Many would tell you yes as Tthat the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which until recently included a mercury-containing preservative known as thimerosal, is alleged to cause neurological damage leading to autism.

The Times Online reports that the safety of the MMR innoculation, the combination vaccine given to young children and widely supported by scientists, will be questioned again this week in a presentation that claims to provide proof of a link to autism. American researchers say that their study supports the findings of Andrew Wakefield, the discredited gastroenterologist who raised fears that the measles, mumps and rubella injection might be causing autism. The research will be presented in Montreal.

American researchers say that their study supports the findings of Andrew Wakefield, the discredited gastroenterologist who raised fears that the measles, mumps and rubella injection might be causing autism.

The latest study, led by Arthur Krigsman, of New York University School of Medicine, involved 275 children. Serious intestinal inflammations were found in some of the autistic children and biopsies of gut tissue were performed on 82 of them. Of these, 70 are said to have shown evidence of the measles virus, which so far has been confirmed in 14 cases by more stringent DNA tests. Steve Walker, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Medical Centre, North Carolina, who analysed the gut samples, said the work mirrored Dr Wakefield’s study. All the children involved were diagnosed with autism and had come to Dr Krigsman and Dr Walker seeking help for symptoms of serious digestive problems for which no explanation could be found.

This research, which has yet to be accepted by mainstream science, still needs to be peer reviewed.

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