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Researchers studied 25 children with both autism and GI disorders, and another 13 children with the same GI disorders but no neurologic problems. The youngsters -- the average age was 5 -- all were undergoing colonoscopies for their GI conditions anyway, allowing tissue samples to be tested for genetic traces of measles virus. All had been vaccinated at younger ages.
The tests uncovered traces of measles genetic material in the bowels of one boy with autism -- and one boy without autism. That doesn't prove virus never temporarily lodged in more children, but it contradicts the earlier study that raised concern.
Nor was there a relationship with vaccine timing: Just five of the 25 autistic children had MMR precede GI complaints that in turn preceded autism symptoms.
Researchers consulted some prominent vaccine critics in designing the study. California advocate Rick Rollens praised the work but said it didn't eliminate other vaccine concerns that deserve similar study. Meanwhile, he said it should draw much-needed attention to the suffering of patients like his son, who has both autism and GI disorders.
"No longer can mainstream medicine ignore the parents' claims of significant GI distress," he said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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