A comprehensive new study from the Institute of Medicine says there is no evidence that childhood vaccinations cause the brain disorder autism.
While that settles the long-standing controversy for many scientists, some parents aren't so convinced and want more research to be done.
Dora Wilson can't think of a job that's more rewarding or exhausting than the one she has at Riverview School, working with children with autism and other special needs. With an autistic son of her own, she knows what parents go through when they hear that diagnosis and all the questions they have for doctors: Why? What causes this mysterious brain disorder?
Wilson says, "They really don't know. They don't know. And here ten years later, they still don't know." There's plenty of speculation that Thimerosal may play a role, the mercury-based preservative that used to be found in many childhood vaccines.
But, scientists from the Institutes of Medicine recently looked at five large studies that tracked thousands of children and found no such link. as an advocate and relative of someone with autism,
Nancy Boyett with the Autism Society of Western Kentucky thinks it's too coincidental that children are often diagnosed with the disorder right around the time they're vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. She wants more research to be done on autism's cause and its effects. Boyett says, "What's more important is to try to work on what's going to enhance and make the day to day of the life of a person with autism more productive and more successful."
Dora Wilson doesn't point the finger solely at vaccines, but thinks it may be piece of the puzzle . "So I don't know that you can truly rule it out 100 percent. I think that you can't stop looking at anything. Until you find one thing definite then you can't stop looking at anything."
In 1999, public health officials ordered manufacturers to start phasing out mercury-based preservatives in vaccines. Many critics are waiting to see if autism cases start dropping off, which will be final proof, they say, that vaccines were to blame in many instances.