Study funded by anti-vax group finds no link to autism

A STUDY funded in part by anti-vaccination group SafeMinds has found no link between vaccinations and autism.

Results from the six-year study come as no surprise the majority of the scientific community but are hotly contested in some parts of the Northern Rivers, like Mullumbimby, which has the lowest rates of childhood vaccination in the country.

Vaccination rates are so low in Mullumbimby they've been compared to South Sudan.

The issue of non-vaccination recently made headlines when Tabulam resident Juanita Halden put forward a proposal to start a childcare centre strictly for non-vaccinated children.

The vaccine research was carried out by a team of scientists who injected infant rhesus macaques monkeys with vaccines containing the ethyl mercury preservative thimerosal, which is commonly attributed to autism, and or the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

"Here we gave the nonhuman primate infants similar vaccines given to human infants to determine whether the animals exhibited behavioural and/or neuropathological changes characteristic or autism," the report states.

"No behavioural changes were observed in the vaccinated animals, nor were there neuropathological changes in the cerebellum, hippocampus, or amygdala.

"This study does not support the hypothesis that thimerosal-containing vaccines and/or the MMR vaccine play a role in the etiology of autism."

Despite the scientific evidence from their own study, SafeMinds put out a statement saying the results were skewed.

"Safeminds has concerns about changes in the study design protocol and analysis that may have led to contradictory results," Lyn Redwood, SafeMinds co-founder said.

"The initial phase found a series of negative effects in infant reflexes and brain growth among those exposed to vaccines.

"The second, recent phase purported to find no effect."

The discrepancies pointed out by Ms Redwood refer to preliminary results from a smaller trial which apparently supported their position, before the study was expanded to include more subjects and higher testing standards, which eventually found no evidence of a link between autism and vaccines.

The organisation has so far refused to say how much was spent funding the research.

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