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The Mmr Debate: A Review Of The Primary Evidence.

6575 words - 26 pages

ContentsAbstract Page 3Autism Pages 4-7The Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine Pages 8-10Evidence Supporting the Link Between MMR and Autism Pages 11-12Evidence Abolishing the Link Between MMR and Autism Pages 13-19Conclusions Pages 20-21References Pages 22-23Acknowledgements Page 24AbstractConsiderable concern has been generated as a result of the publication of a paper in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues, who postulated an association between autism and childhood immunisation with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.The passing years have seen a number of media campaigns initiated by the government in an effort to calm the hysterical press and confused families, and to once again restore faith in the MMR vaccine.This paper sets out the facts about autism and measles, mumps and rubella and goes on to critically review the primary evidence surrounding the 'MMR Debate'.This paper is written with health professionals and parents in mind.Autism'Autism' is word the world is slowly becoming accustomed to hearing. But how many of us can truly say that we know and understand what is meant by the phrase 'autism'? This section of the report discusses the history, impairments, prevalence and diagnostic criteria of autism.First AccountsAutism was first described by Leo Kanner in 1943 and then again by Asperger in 1944. Both independently used the term 'autism' to label a disorder that they described in children whose behaviour followed a category of features (Bishop 1989). At this point, however, there was no attempt to specify defined diagnostic criteria (Bishop 1989).Kanner described two main features in the children he diagnosed to be autistic namely 'autistic aloneness' and 'desire for sameness'. Autistic aloneness refers to the child's inability to relate to others while 'desire for sameness' describes the autistic child's aversion to change (Smith et al. 2001).In 1978 Rutter suggested that the diagnosis of autism should adopt a structured criterion so as to avoid such chaos as that which reigned for some years after Kanner's early report (Bishop 1989).While these criterion devised by Rutter have not been without their critics they are widely adopted and form the foundation for the DSM-III and the DSM-III-R (Bishop 1989).The term 'autism' is now increasingly being replaced by the concept of a spectrum of autistic disorders, so as to take account of the numerous levels and manifestations of this disorder (Scottish executive 2002).Triad of ImpairmentsEver since Leo Kanner first described the autistic behaviour pattern, workers in the field have tried to define its essence. This essence has come to be known as the 'triad of impairments' affecting social interaction, social communication and imagination (Health Education Board for Scotland 2001).Social Interaction Although most autistic children enjoy certain forms of active physical contact and show attachment on a simple level to parents or carers the child can often appear aloof and...

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