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MMR jab not linked to autism

22nd September 2009

Figures released by the NHS Information Centre have shown that the number of adults with autism in England is "identical" to the rates for children.

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The Centre said this would allay parents' worries that autism was somehow connected to the MMR vaccine given to children.

The study showed that one in a hundred adults in England had the condition, which was equivalent to the number of children with autism.

If the vaccine, which was introduced in the 1990s, had caused autism, the rate in children would have been expected to be higher.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said the groundbreaking study was the first of its kind into how prevalent autism spectrum disorders were.

"While the sample size was small and any conclusions need to be tempered with caution, the report suggests that, despite popular perceptions, rates of autism are not increasing, with prevalence among adults in line with that among children," he said.

"It also suggests that, among adults, rates of autism remain broadly constant across age groups," he added.

The study involved 7,500 adults. It found that 1% had an autism spectrum disorder and males were more likely (at a rate of 1.8%) than females (0.2%) to have the condition.

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