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Health Team

Study: Vaccines don't harm brain development

Posted May 28, 2010 12:33 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2010 7:24 p.m. EDT

Many parents are spacing out their children's vaccines for fear that too many might harm brain development, but a new study finds that the traditional shot schedule is best.

Santa Jones echoed their fears, saying she felt "horrible" and "scared" about her daughter Myesha getting her first vaccine shots at 4 days old.

However, researchers say the new study shows there is no reason to worry that vaccines could harm brain development.

"In fact, receiving immunizations probably has the opposite effect. It probably helps your development," said Dr. Kenneth Gottesman, with St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.

(Recommended vaccine schedules from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

The study followed more than 1,000 children who received vaccines. Researchers tested them several years later and found that those who received timely shots fared better on tests for language, memory and intellect.

Vaccine critics have also put forth persistent claims of a link between autism and vaccines, but numerous studies have not shown a connection.

Doctors say that delaying vaccines puts children at risk for disease.

"Pneumonia, polio, tetanus. These are all potentially very serious diseases," Goettesman said.

Jones said getting vaccines has assured her that her child will get some protection from life-threatening illnesses.