MMR & Autism
There’s a belief out there that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination is linked to autism, with some scientific sounding hypothesis as to what the causal link is. The BBC is reporting on a study done by Hideo Honda of the Yokohama Rehabilitation Center, along with Yasuo Shimizu and Michael Rutter of the Institute of Psychiatry in London. New Scientist has detailed science, which I’m not going to wade through here. The short form is that Yokohama, Japan stopped administering the MMR vaccine, and autism continued to rise. This is strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccine causes autism.
However, autism campaigners said they would want to see more conclusive proof from UK-based studies before being convinced the jab was safe.
I’m sorry to break it to the campaigners (who are unlikely to be reading this anyway), but you don’t get conclusive proof. You get disproofs. That’s the result of a good experiment, the new knowledge that some theory is wrong. What more can you ask for than a study that shows “eliminate agent X, Y continues unabated.” If we had a theory that nitrogen gas was integral to things burning, and we eliminated nitrogen, and a log kept burning, then we would know that theory was wrong. Ditto, MMR. Autism is a huge challenge for parents, but MMR doesn’t cause it.