Autism questions still linger despite study retract - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Autism questions still linger despite study retract

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A medical group has declared that a 1998 study, suggesting a link between Autism and the MMR vaccine, is not longer valid. The group declared that Doctor Wakefield carried out his research in an unethical and irresponsible manner. It's been a controversy for years: Is there a link between autism and a common childhood vaccine?

Alyson Beytien knows what it's like to raise a child with autism, she has three. After Tuesday's retraction of Doctor Wakefield's study she wasn't surprised.

"Because there's been a lot of controversy surrounding that study since it was published. So it has been basically picked apart for 12 years," said Beytien.

But for 12 years, a growing concern about whether to vaccinate your child. Wakefield's study linked autism to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine; commonly referred to as MMR

"That study was never able to be reproduced. No other link between the vaccine and autism," said Dr. James Hubbarb.

Hubbarb of Medical Associates in Dubuque says experts don't know the cause of autism and treatment is difficult. Still parents are always looking for answers.

"Fortunately the MMR vaccine is not the cause we still have to look for answers there still has to be research to be done," said Hubbarb.

Beytien says despite controversy of the study, many of her peers didn't believe it, and while the retraction answers one question it leaves many more.

"It really wasn't an answer to start with. I think that would be a false impression that it was an answer to start with. It was a theory. And we have quite a theories that all being looked at," said Beytien.

When it comes to autism, nothing is ever really certain. But Hubbarb says there is one thing parents need to know.

"The MMR vaccine is safe and not linked to autism," said Hubbarb.

The British Medical council found that doctor Wakefield's actions were unethical, and that he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly." Still, Wakefield's supporters are standing firm, and he vows to press on.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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