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Vaccines, ADD/ADHD, and Autism

"I have heard many concerns about the risks of vaccinations and immunizations for children and that they can be the cause of ADD/ADHD," one reader tells us. "Could vaccines cause ADD/ADHD?"

by William Dodson, M.D.

Researchers have tried to determine the causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) for decades. Thousands of possible causes have been examined -- many debunked. Your concern about vaccines and ADD/ADHD may be an extension of the erroneous belief that autism is caused by vaccines.

There is no evidence that vaccines cause either autism or ADD/ADHD. The original research from England linking autism and childhood immunizations was based on falsified data, and the author lost his license due to his misconduct.

The best information currently available points only to a genetic cause for ADD/ADHD. The condition runs in families; it is rare that an ADD/ADHD child does not have at least one parent diagnosed with the condition.

William Dodson, M.D., is a contributor to ADDitude magazine and to ADDitude's ADHD Experts Blog.

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