The early signs of autism can be identified in the first months of life, according to new research. Scientists used eye-tracking technology to measure the way infants look at and respond to social cues.
We found a steady decline in attention to other people's eyes, from two until 24 months, in infants later diagnosed with autism.
– Dr Ami Klin, director of the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, US
Children later diagnosed with autism showed a reduced tendency to notice the gaze of other people from the age of two months onwards.
Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that the website makes clear that the original allegations of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism by Andrew Wakefield was "strongly rejected" by government and the medical establishment".
"We understood that the position held by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health was that no evidence existed of a causal association between the MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders, and that the Cochrane review, looking at the general evidence available, could find no significant association between MMR immunisation and autism.
But the ASA said consumers are likely to infer from the website's claims that the vaccine might have played a role in the "increase" in the number of children with autism.
The Babyjabs website claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus has been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents' belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.
Defending the claims, Babyjabs referred to one study in particular from 2002, which concluded it could not be ruled out that there were some children who had an increased risk of autism if they were vaccinated.
The website, which promotes single vaccines, also cited The Truth About Vaccines, a book written by Babyjab medical director Dr Richard Halvorsen, which made similar claims.