Archive for Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Study indicates autism not related to mercury exposure

January 8, 2008


— Autism cases in California continued to climb even after a mercury-based vaccine preservative that some people blame for the neurological disorder was removed from routine childhood shots, a new study found.

Researchers from the state Department of Public Health found the autism rate in children rose continuously during the 12-year study period from 1995 to 2007. The preservative thimerosal hasn't been used in childhood vaccines since 2001 but is used in some flu shots.

Doctors say the latest study adds to existing evidence refuting a link between thimerosal exposure and autism risk and should reassure parents that the disorder is not caused by vaccinations. If there was a risk, they said, autism rates should have dropped between 2004 and 2007.

The findings show "no evidence of mercury poisoning in autism" since there was no decline in autism rates even after the elimination of thimerosal, said Dr. Eric Fombonne, an autism researcher at Montreal Children's Hospital who had no role in the research.

Some advocacy groups blame thimerosal for the impaired social interaction typical of autism. Nearly 5,000 claims alleging a vaccine-autism link have been lodged with the federal government, which is deciding whether victims should receive compensation from a government fund.

Dr. Daniel Geschwind, a neurologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the focus now should be on exploring the causes of autism such as possible genetic links.

"Something else must be at play and we need to know what that is if we're really serious about preventing autism," said Geschwind, who had no connection with the study.

For their study, California public health officials calculated the autism rate by analyzing a database of state-funded centers that care for people with autism and other developmental disorders.

They found the prevalence of autism in children aged 3 to 12 increased throughout the study period. For example, 0.3 per 1,000 children born in 1993 had autism at age 3 compared with 1.3 per 1,000 children born in 2003. Similar trends were found in other age groups.

"These time trends are inconsistent with the hypothesis that thimerosal exposure is a primary cause of autism in California," the researchers wrote.

Results were published in January's issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry. The study did not explore why there was an increase in autism cases.

Federal statistics show about one in 150 children in the United States have autism, higher than previous estimates. Researchers say it's unclear if the increase is due to changes in how the disorder is classified or whether it's an actual spike.

Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication skills. There is no cure, but early therapy can lessen the severity.

Geraldine Dawson, the chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, called the California research "a very important study," and said all possible causes - genetic and environmental - need to be explored aggressively.

"The bulk of the evidence thus far suggests that mercury is not involved, but I think parents still have many questions," said Dawson. "I think until parents are satisfied, we need to continue to examine the question."


Ragingbear 9 years, 9 months ago

I got a flu shot in November that has still not healed properly.

I also love WHO made this report. The same people that have been claiming this all along. Nope, no bias here. Move along citizen.

Brent Garner 9 years, 9 months ago

Interesting. While I do not have access to the research that went into this article, I will share this. In the last 5 years whenever my doctor has asked me to get a tetnus shot or suggested updating vaccinations for my children I have always asked if the medication comes with a Thimeresol-free designation on it. To date, I have not been shown any injectible which has that statement on it. IF indeed, thimeresol was removed clear back in 2001 why is it that no pharmaceutical company is willing to put it on the label? Also, everyone should know that the thimeresol removal was NOT a mandatory action but a voluntary action. Further, there were huge stockpiles of already manufactured injectibles which were not destroyed. Simply ending manufacture using thimeresol did not remove thimeresol from the vaccine supply on hand. These stockpiles were permitted to be used. Therefore, it is entirely likely and probable that a great number of us, children and adults alike, have been injected with thimeresol containing injectibles even though the use of thimeresol ended in 2001. When drug companies are willing to guarantee that their product does not have thimeresol in it, then I will be willing to be injected.

Ragingbear 9 years, 9 months ago

Yeah man. They are like watching us and everything we do. Because you know, they want to watch us doing things like watching TV and using the bathroom man.

tom321 9 years, 9 months ago

The SIDS Prevention "Back to Sleep" Campaign which began in every Western Industrialized country between 1987 and 1993 is the cause of the U.S. and worldwide "Autism Epidemic." The U.S. campaign began in 1993.

I recommend the following to articles for anyone interested: "A reassessment of the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign" by Ralph Pelligra, et al.

"The flip side of the 'Back to Sleep' Campaign" by Stevens

Supine and Prone Infant Positioning: A Winning Combination by Wilson

I believe the "autism epidemic" is actually an increase in the cases of PDD-NOS Autism and not "Classic AUtism" or Asperger's. Also, I think it is essentially caused by increased rates of sleep apnea and sleep stage fragmentation caused by the switch from the prone (stomach) sleep position to the supine (back) sleep position. Before 1993, over 70% of American babies slept on their stomachs, 13% slept on their backs and the rest slept on their sides. Now over 75% of American babies sleep on their backs and only about 10% sleep on their stomachs.

Back (supine) Sleep when compared to stomach (prone) sleep in infants causes the following in infants: - Social skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998) - Motor skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998) - Below norm AIMS scores (Majnemer, Barr, 2005) - Milestone delays (Davis, Moon, et al., 1998) - Increased duration of sleep apnea episodes during REM sleep at both 2.5 months and 5 months (Skadberg, Markestad, 1997) - 6% decrease in sleep duration (Kahn, Grosswasser, et al.,1993) - 1 in 300 infants had plagiocephaly in 1974 (Graham, Gomez, et al., 2005) - 1 in 60 infants had plagiocephaly in 1996 (Graham, Gomez, et al., 2005) - Possibly as high as 1 in 12 infants as of 2005 (Siatkowski, Fortney, et al., 2005)

Considering the following associations (I'm not implying causation) - 51% of children with Developmental Speech and Language Disorders have definite to borderline motor problems (Visscher, et al., 2007) - 10% of children with deformational plagiocephaly have mild to severe mental delay (Kordestani, Patel, et al., 2006) - 26% of infants with deformational plagiocephaly have mild to severe psychomotor delay (Kordestani, Patel, et al., 2006)

lweinmaster 9 years, 9 months ago

This is not a scientific study. To see science on mercury induced autism visit KOMU "Combating Autism from Within" at I think we have all heard this before with the tobacco companies saying cigarettes do not cause cancer. The back to sleep campain was done at the same time when the whole cellular pertussis vaccine was replaced with the A Cellular because there was evidence that SIDS was vaccine related to whole cellular.

Ragingbear 9 years, 9 months ago

This goes along with the polio vaccines that have a definitive, but very slight chance of giving the recipient polio.

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