A study published earlier this month concluded African-American boys are more at risk for autism if they're given the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine before the age of 2. The study author says researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew about the link in 2004 -- and covered it up.
CDC researchers are standing by their original findings: that there is no link between autism and vaccination schedules.
The new study was funded by the Focus Autism Foundation, which says it is dedicated to exposing the causes of autism, "focusing on the role of vaccinations."
The study has since been removed from the public domain pending further investigation, according to Translational Neurodegeneration.
In an online statement, the scientific journal said the paper had been removed "because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions."
Brian Hooker, author of the study and a biochemical engineer, found African-American boys who were given the MMR vaccine before age 24 months were more likely to be diagnosed with autism. To reach this conclusion, Hooker said he analyzed the same set of data that was the basis for a 2004 study done by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2004, scientists at the CDC's National Immunization Program published their study in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers compared 624 children with autism, age 3 to 10, with 1,824 developmentally healthy children. Most of the children, according to the study, were vaccinated between 12 and 17 months of age in accordance with vaccination recommendations.
The CDC study authors found no link between the age children were given their first MMR vaccination and autism diagnoses. Nor did they find a statistically significant increased risk for a particular racial group.
The CDC's raw data was made available for other scientists to use when its study was published in 2004. Hooker said he began his research after he was contacted by one of the original study authors, William Thompson, in November 2013. Thompson is a senior scientist with the CDC, where he has worked since 1998.
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