The suggestion that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine cause autism, was first published in 1998 by Wakefield et al. (Lancet 1998, 351:637-641) and has generated substantial concern among parents. The findings were challenged in a subsequent study by Taylor et al. (Lancet 1999, 353:2026-2029) and the debate has continued.

On February 8, the BMJ published online a fast-track article with new evidence suggesting there is no link between the MMR vaccination and the increase in autism over time.

Epidemiologist James Kaye and colleagues from Boston University School of Medicine used the UK general practice research database to evaluate the temporal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism. In an annual birth cohort analysis of 114 boys born 1988–93, they found that the four-year cumulative risk of a diagnosis of autism at age 2–5 years increased nearly fourfold over time. It increased from 8...

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