I am a scientist (physicist) so I also wanted to read these articles for myself and make a decision. Here is my take:
The studies that proposed a link between MMR and autism were looking for a link between bowel disorders and autism. They found measles virus in the bowels of a large percent of patients. This study was not controlled - meaning it wasn't randomized, there was no double-blind, placebo control etc. Because it didn't use these stringent scientific guidelines it can not be called conclusive proof of a connection. However, it did indicate that further studies were needed. These studies are by Wakefield et. al. You can read them yourself on google scholar.
This caused an uproar and several "studies" to debunk Wakefield's findings. I use studies in quotes because all of the research has been Epidemiological studies. An Epidemiological study looks a large populations and reviews of previous literature (research) to find any existing causal relationships between two things (MMR vaccination vs. autism diagnosis for example). Epidemiological studies are valuable in public health but can NOT prove or disprove a cause/effect relationship. It is purely a statistical review that can provide indications. When I explain this to people I often point out that an example: There has been found to be a causal relationship between violence on TV and violence amongst children. This does not mean that a particular child who watches a violent movie will go out and do a violent act. It means that given a large population of children increased violence on TV relates to a higher incidence of violent behavior. It is a numbers game.
An example of a "debunk" from these Epidemiological study: the median age where parents identify regressive behavior relating to autsim is similar regardless of if they had an MMR or not. This leads the authors to say that "there is no evidence of a link." Really? The actual numbers are "age-of-exposure to MMR vaccine was significantly lower (mean age 14.38 months) when compared with the remaining autistic population (mean age 17.71 months)" (Quoted from this
). They are kind of playing those statistics loose and free don't you think?
So what about actual research? As in laboratory studies of measles and bowel disorders and autism? Laboratory controlled studies of MMR exposure and neurological results? Not so much. I haven't found any disproving Wakefield's original hypothesis in a scientific (as opposed to epidemiological) study and I have found some that repeated the findings of measles in the bowels of autistic persons.
"We" as a society should not be saying "it has been proven there is no link" because that is patently untrue. Until real, controlled, repeated studies are done that provide scientific evidence that autism can not be caused by MMR then the possibility still exists. It seems that with vaccinations (as opposed to other types of drugs) the burden of proof rests on the patients to prove it isn't safe instead of on the vaccine manufacturers to prove that it is safe.
Here is some research that is more scientific (although being funded in a dubious way) that is currently underway:http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publication...m/mmr/sub4.cfm
I hope this helps! Let me know if I can answer anything else!