By Scott Hensley
Proving a negative is one of the biggest challenges in medicine. Even if a bunch of studies show an absence of serious problems with vaccines, for instance, skeptics can fret that a risk still lurks in the scientific shadows.
Worries that vaccines cause autism have proved remarkably durable, even after years of solid scientific work to the contrary. Most recently, an influential 1998 paper that contributed to the controversy was withdrawn by the journal that published it.
Yet a national survey of parents found more than 1 in 10 had refused a vaccine over worries about safety. Twenty-five percent agreed with the proposition that "some vaccines cause autism in healthy children."
Perplexingly, 90 percent of the parents responding to the survey also agreed with the idea that vaccination is "good way" to protect kids from disease.
Researchers from the University of Michigan who did the work concluded that information to address parents' safety concerns isn't reaching them effectively or convincingly.
The results were published online by the journal Pediatrics.