Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Help me make sense of MMR - hype or theory

(942 Posts)
felicity10 Thu 17-Feb-11 20:53:35

OK, so I've been through a few pages of previous posts, I must be missing something because I can't make sense of it!

DD is 1 and I've had a letter about the vacs from the GP. I've heard about the MMR in the news few years ago and about the link to autism, but I just would really value your views.

Single vacs with no mumps or the MMR? confused Can anyone point me in the direction of key MMR issues?

I just don't want to get to the gp's and then feel like I am getting bullied into having the mmr - it is normally very no nonsense nurses who barely speak english, so will be unlikely to give me a clear answer as to any risks.

I am amazed that we have this lack of clarity in the UK.

Many thanks in advance!

ScramVonChubby Thu 17-Feb-11 21:00:57

OK so here's a summation of the issue as I see it:

There have been no research studies done that when deeply considered prove MMR is safe for an incredibly tiny percent of the population that some beleive to be at risk for a certain path of autism development. the research quoted as proving it does not in fact focus on the issue.

In the US money ahs been paid to a girl- google hannah poling.

BUT non vaccination comes with a lot of risks too and isn't to be chosen lightly. Measles etc are all nasty diseases on occasion. personally I have given ds4 singles BUT we have a family history of autism; if you don;t then the chances of your child being at riska re minute, there are otehr risk factors adherents to this theory report that do have some basis in science as linked such as parental auto immune disease.

there are no answers, what we do know of course is that no cause for autism has been proven (if anyone tells you there is well I got a Bplus in my MA essay on that alst week PMSL)- and nobody ahs proven MMR causes anything, and indeed measles etc can be nasty- Mum's preganancy before me was lost due to rubella.


go read. All you can do.

felicity10 Thu 17-Feb-11 21:18:18

Thanks Scram, will make a start on the reading.

Is there an argument to have the 12 month boosters separately from the MMR? If I do do the MMR that is!

LivingDead Thu 17-Feb-11 21:39:36

My understanding is that Andrew Wakefield did a study regarding mmr, meaning that a very small sector of the population, those with auto immune problems where at risk from the mmr, ie it could contribute to autism. (This is what I have gathered)

There have been lots of rebuttals/arguments about the validity of the study. It has been misrepresented in the media as "MMR causes Autism", lots of back and forth about Wakefield, "he was in it for the money" etc. God knows what is true.

Tbh I think, mmr is safe as long as vaccines are safe. Lets face it,at the start of life most children have a shit load of vaccines (2,3,4 month ones) these have a greater variety of diseases in them than the mmr, but nobody bleats about those.

I don't get the whole single vaccine thing. If it's the additives that cause autism then you are giving 3x the dose.

If it is the actual measels mumps or rubella vaccine that is dangerous, then don't give it at all.

Some children are sensitive to vaccines and shouldn't be vaccinated, this is obvious. If my children had an auto immune disease I would be wary.

It's the concentration on the mmr I don't understand, when the earlier ones have loads of diseases included, caused a bad reaction in my dd.

mamofK Thu 17-Feb-11 21:50:36

Wakefield's original paper in the Lancet journal has been dismissed as fraudulent research by the General Medical Council. He carried out a "study" on a cohort of 12 children and made up a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and bowel disease. On the other hand, in actual scientific research, the very real dangers associated with catching either measles, mumps or rubella have been well categorised. I actually think Wakefield could be charged with wrongful death in the cases where children died from measles when the parents didn't vaccinate due to their fears and concerns caused by his lies.

ScramVonChubby Thu 17-Feb-11 21:52:27

LD I thinkWRT to singles people are looking mroe at the spacing issue.

The focus on MMR is purely due to the Wakefield circus i think.

I don;t know if MMR is linked or not; I know we are very far from understanding how genes and the environment interact especially in atypical individuals. DS3 regressed post MMR but DS1 also has ASD and ds4 seems to be showing it too.

ScramVonChubby Thu 17-Feb-11 21:55:22

mamakk youa re porbably right to take Wakefield oput of the equation in terms of understanding- for a start many disagree with your assessment of what happened but am not an AW specialist.

There still remain many people who watched a post MMR regressin, regardless of MMR.

Reality though is ALL vaccinations have a risk: nursed a child made quadriplegic after a vaccine that wasn't MMR. Which is why people should read everything they can find and make their own conclusions: there is no risk free option.

Normantebbit Thu 17-Feb-11 21:57:18

I recommend you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. He makes a devastating critique of all the media hype surrounding MMR, the misleading information, the initial 12 case studies which led to the media circus.

Honestly, read it.

Normantebbit Thu 17-Feb-11 21:58:08

And yes all vaccinations, all medical treatments carry a risk and many are not nearly as well tested and research as MMR.

mamofK Thu 17-Feb-11 22:00:33

@Normantebbit - I LOVE ben goldacre. I especially love his scathing chapter on "Dr"Gillian McKeith - have you ever seen a less likely poster girl for health? She looks like a jaundiced gnome

@ScramVonChubby - I agree, no risk free options in medical care. However, I think people should be weighing up known (and quite common) risks versus very rare and, in many cases, as yet unsubstantiated risks

silverfrog Thu 17-Feb-11 22:02:15


Wakefield did not carry out a study on 12 children.

he reported a case series.

he did not make up the new form of bowel disease that he (and his associates) found. this finding has been replicated time and again around the world.

he did not lie, he did not misrepresent, and most of all, he did not say that mmr causes autism.

LivingDead has it about right - if there is a history of auto-immune disease in the faimily, allergies, hayfever, etc, then I would be very wary.

Richard Halvorsen's book is a good read. sets out the case for each of the vaccines (not just mmr - no axe to grind). he also does consultations if you are so inclined.

Hannah Poling is not the only child who has had a payout in the States - Bailey Banks is another, amongst many others.

ScramVonChubby Thu 17-Feb-11 22:03:22

Perhaps mamofK- well indeed. And of course Ben goldacre should be on the reading list: not a fan myself but many are.

My own opinion if I may is that MMR does not cause ASD per se but in a very tiny number of people it might trigger a genetic tendency towards the syndrome. there is absolutely non research to back that up (am doing ASd research for uni postgrad) but so far actual research is just at the 'some environmental factors trigger ASd and these might bemany small things'

LivingDead Thu 17-Feb-11 22:07:50

Yes but people happily give the multi-vaccines at 2,3,4 months of age. They surely have more diseases given at the same time than the mmr.

I don't understand the mmr spacing issue,when these vaccines are given as standard, without general uproar.

I honestly think the mmr thing is a media creation. Like I say, more diseases are given over a shorter amount of time at 2,3,4, months. Hardly anybody cares about this, because it hasn't been flagged in the media. It seems that people are quite stupid.

If they are questioning the mmr because 3 diseases are given together, why did they not question the earlier vaccines?

If you are anti any vaccines then fair enough I respect your opinion, but just the mmr, you are a media led sheep.

ScramVonChubby Thu 17-Feb-11 22:13:11

Sf how amusing to see you here- did we not both exile ourselves? wink

I gave my child the 3 separately for this reason: I am petrified of MMR becuase I had to watch my son become severely autistic after it, and of course I also eliminated many otehr things- such as milk and gluten.

But equally my Mum lost a baby to rubella so something was important as well; it wasn;t easily done, in facct Dh did it in the end because I simply got too upset and indeed he- a science undergrad so not exactly arty farty- was scared as well.

I honestly think anyone who struggles to understand that alcks empathy.

As for media led sheep- that really is funny! media led sheep don;t advocate reseacrh to people, they say ooh no you mustnt becuase some sleb said so.

mamofK Thu 17-Feb-11 22:15:22

@ScramVonChubby - excellent point. There is an emerging branch of study called pharmacogenomics which investigates why some people have adverse reactions to some medications (incl vaccinations) and others don't. It is not a flaw in the medication itself usually, but rather, as you say, an unfortunate combination of many seemingly unrelated factors including a person's individual genetic makeup.

@silverfrog - the man was struck off and his research dismissed as fraudulent. The Lancet withdrew his paper. Why would you believe him and his tiny study rather than the rest of the medical world?

silverfrog Thu 17-Feb-11 22:18:54

I just swore off SN, Scram wink (although not entirely successfully grin). I have been mooching around the rest in a strop ever since grin

nice to see you though.

LivingDead: there is well documented evidence that catching certain diseases within a short frame of time leads to a higher chance of autism. combos like chicken pox and measles in a short space of time, for instance.

it is also well documented that, along with the new form of bowel disease, Wakefield et al found measles strains in the gut tissue samples, where they were certainly not expected to be. this is what lead to his hypothesis re: mmr and the bowel disease.

FWIW, I wouldn't touch any of the new 4/5/6in 1 jabs either.

silverfrog Thu 17-Feb-11 22:22:09

mamaofk: his research wasnot dismissed as fraudulent y anyone who actually counts. Richard Horton described (at the gmc trial, while appearing for the prosecution) the paper (which is still not a study, however much you might like to continue to call it one) as "good science, which still stands"

yes, it was withdrawn form publication in the Lancet - tbh, he couldn't do much else about that. but he (Horton) also, at the same time, said he wished the clock could be turned back, and the paper considered in the light it was presented, without all the media hoo-ha, because it resented a valid scientific point. he supported the findings in the paper.

ladylush Thu 17-Feb-11 22:24:37

We have a history of auto-immune disease on both dh and my side of the family. I wouldn't give the dc MMR. Now that we've just discovered dd has CP I'm not even sure whether she should have the single vaccines.

LivingDead Thu 17-Feb-11 22:26:46

No, media led sheep only question that which has already been questioned by the media.

Why has only the mmr been questioned, when lots of diseases are included at 2/3/4 months old?

Nobody has ever answered me on this question, this vaccine is very loaded, my dd had a massive lump on her leg, was very unwell after this vaccine.

They include more and more with these vaccines, meningitis c etc.

Nobody seems to give a shiny shite, lots of diseases given at once, yet the whole 3 mmr thing, which has actually been tested over a long period of time and seems to be safe.

Every time I have had a child they have added something to the initial vaccines. Or in the case of my latest child added a whole new booster.

Surely at such a young age,these have much more potential to affect development.

mamofK Thu 17-Feb-11 22:30:15

@ladylush - what's CP? excuse my ignorance

LivingDead Thu 17-Feb-11 22:33:07

I must admit though that I have actually given my children all of the relevant vaccines.

But I still do not understand why people concentrate on the mmr.

silverfrog Thu 17-Feb-11 22:36:15

clearly people concentrate on the mmr because of all the media fuss over the last 14 years.

tbh, I don't get it either.

if you are aware of the mmr stuff (and is there anyone who isn't aware of the media storm?), and feel you want to research that more thoroughly, I don't understand why you wouldn't want ot research all jabs more thoroughly.

but that is just me, speaking a ssomeone who did the research, and then was ignored when it came to dd1's injections - the urse went ahead and jabbed her anyway, despite both dh & I saying we did not want it done hmm.

so fat lot of good my research was.

felicity10 Thu 17-Feb-11 22:37:09

LivingDead that is a very good point, DD has had all the vacs up until now, so has had many together in one go.

I'm not meaning to just be a media sheep in questioning MMR in particular, it is just that I've only heard of a scare around MMR and want to understand it more. It was more that I am interested in what might make a child more susceptible to a reaction.

Thank you for all these posts, it may take me a while to go through all the info, but has pointed me in the direction of some good reference material!

ladylush Thu 17-Feb-11 22:38:47

CP is Cerebral Palsy.

Livingdead - I think it's because 1)the link between auto-immune traits and risk of autism
22) many parents feel the DTP is more important as it protects against more than one nasty disease. MMR - only measles is potentially life-threatening.

felicity10 Thu 17-Feb-11 22:39:36

Just to add, I did research the content of the previous vacs, just not the fact that they were given all in one go!

I was particularly concerned by whooping cough one because a childhood friend had it and was damaged in some way, I can't recall the details, but as a result, I didn't have the vac and then guess whooping cough. My mother still has nightmares about that.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now