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News of the Day ... in Perspective


Institute of Medicine (IOM) says no more research needed on vaccine/autism connection.

The headlines read “Vaccines with Mercury Ruled Out as Autism Cause.”

The actual report issued by the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the IOM on May 18 reads: “The body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism, … [and] between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.” Potential biological mechanisms for vaccine-induced autism are “theoretical only.” The Committee recommends that “available funding for autism research be channeled to the most promising areas”–without specifying exactly which areas that might be. www.iom.edu

While the Committee continues to recommend surveillance of autism spectrum disorders as exposure to thimerosal declines, it specifically states that cost-benefit assessments of the use of thimerosal either within or outside the U.S. should specifically not include autism as a potential risk.

Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D., (R-FL) said the report was premature, being based on “preliminary, incomplete information.” Many authors of the studies the Committee relied upon had conflicts of interest, including funding or employment by vaccine manufacturers or responsibility for implementing the policies they were investigating. He observes that Committee members bear no liability or accountability for their conclusions if proved wrong. Dr. Weldon believes the report will eventually be repudiated.

Additional information:

Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D. and David A. Geier. Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines, Neurodevelopment Disorders, and Heart Disease in the United States. J Am Phys Surg, spring 2003. (PDF file)

Letter to Editor Regarding above Geier Article

Jeff Bradstreet, M.D.; David A. Geier, B.A.; Jerold J. Kartzinel, M.D.; James B. Adams, Ph.D.;Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D. A Case-Control Study of Mercury Burden in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders e, J Am Phys Surg, fall 2003.

F. Edward Yazbak, M.D. Autism in the United States: a Perspective. J Am Phys Surg, Winter 2003.

IOM February, 2004, meeting on Vaccines and Autism (linked at www.aapsonline.org/vaccinenew.htm)

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