Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, May 13, 2005

Jab 'does not lead to bowel disease'

Jab 'does not lead to bowel disease'
By Sam Lister

THE triple measles, mumps and rubella injection does not increase the risk of Crohn's disease, a study has shown.

It has been suggested that the controversial vaccine raises the risk of Crohn's - chronic inflammation of the intestine - as well as autism.

The supposed link with autism has been the subject of many studies and has been rejected by the vast majority of experts. But a possible link with Crohn's has not been studied, leading to some confusion among parents deciding if their child should have the MMR jab.

Now Valerie Seagroatt, a statistician, has looked at rates of Crohn's disease after the triple vaccine was introduced in Britain in 1988. Writing in the British Medical Journal, she concludes: "The introduction of MMR vaccine, replacing the single measles vaccine, was not associated with an increase in Crohn's disease."

Fears about MMR surfaced in Britain in 1998 after Andrew Wakefield, of the Royal Free Hospital in London, claimed that the vaccine might trigger autism. This caused widespread panic among parents and led to MMR vaccination rates plummeting by up to 60 per cent in some areas.

Some parents have also claimed their children developed the bowel disease Crohn's after the jab. Not one study has revealed a link between the vaccine and autism.

Ms Seagroatt, of the Unit of Health Care Epidemiology at Oxford University, looked at hospital admissions for Crohn's disease in children over 12 between 1991 and 2003.

She said she found no increase in Crohn’s linked to the introduction of MMR, providing strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR increases the risk of the stomach disorder. “Initially, measles vaccine was reported to be associated with higher rates of Crohn’s disease but this was not confirmed by subsequent studies,” Ms Seagroatt said.

“My study provides strong evidence against that hypothesis and adds to the evidence that MMR vaccine is no less safe in this respect than the single measles vaccine.”