Earlier today, Ron Bailey blogged about a welcome decision in the U.K. to prevent vaccine fearmonger Andrew Wakefield from practicing medicine. Refusing vaccination (due to unfounded fears that vaccines cause autism) remains a minority phenomenon, but many cautious parents have taken to delaying their toddlers' vaccinations, or spacing them out over the course of many months or years to reduce perceived risk.
A new study published online today in Pediatrics demonstrates that the practice of delaying vaccines has no upside, and one notable downside:
Researchers at the University of Louisville analyzed the health records of more than 1,000 children. After comparing the kids' performance on 42 neuropsychological tests between the ages of 7 and 10 against the timeliness of vaccination during the first year of life, the researchers found no evidence that delaying vaccines gave children any advantage in terms of brain development.
The lead researcher on the study sums things up nicely:
"Our study shows that there is only a downside to delaying vaccines, and that is an increased susceptibility to potentially deadly infectious diseases. We hope these findings will encourage more parents to vaccinate according to the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule, and reassure them that they're making a safe choice when they do so."