By Jake Crosby
Last May, I deconstructed a talking point of millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, who claimed that studying anything other than Thimerosal besides the MMR vaccine was “moving the goalpost” and therefore “classic for pseudoscience.” (HERE)
However, before anyone abandons the Thimerosal/autism theory, they should consider reading the CDC website first. In case you were unaware, the CDC has been conducting a case-control study using the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project that should have been published last January as the agency promised. The description reads:
“VSD researchers have begun a case-control study to examine the association between Thimerosal and autism rigorously.” (HERE)
They want to “examine the association between thimerosal and autism rigorously” in a study not even published yet? Isn’t that what the CDC should have done all along?
“…this VSD study will be the first rigorous, epidemiological study conducted on the issue of thimerosal and autism.”
The first rigorous, epidemiological study? Now, given the CDC’s history of not being honest, and given that this study is eight months overdue, I somehow doubt it will be “rigorous.”
Yet, the important point is not that the CDC is conducting a study that it claims will be rigorous, but that even the CDC admits that no rigorous study refuting the relationship between thimerosal and autism has been done. In over 10 years since concerns about thimerosal were first raised, all of the studies that the CDC relied on over the years to deny a connection admittedly lacked rigor. That means the CDC-sponsored IOM Report rejecting a relationship, which forms the sole basis for the bogus “scientific consensus” in the U.S., lacked rigor, too – and all of the studies involved, the CDC supported.
This quote really boiled me over:
“Data from this VSD study should provide the best available scientific information on whether a causal association between exposure to thimerosal and the development of autism is possible.”
I would think so if the CDC is saying this study will be the first to actually be rigorous. From this perspective, it seems the CDC is tacitly repudiating any of the current published research used to exonerate the role of this preservative in autism causation. In fact, that is exactly what it seems to do. (HERE):
“Preliminary results from the VSD Thimerosal Screening Study published in 2003 did not find an association between thimerosal exposure and autism risk and recent ecological studies have not found a correlation between thimerosal content of vaccines and autism rates. Autism, however, can be difficult to diagnose and the studies to date have relied on computerized clinical or administrative databases in which the validity of the autism diagnoses have not been fully validated.”
I just love the vague way the CDC has refuted its pile of tobacco science, which is certainly of the “forked-tongue” vernacular that comprised the British Cochrane Review, according to our U.K. Editor John Stone. CDC has acknowledged its worthlessness without actually saying it’s worthless.
The CDC’s justification for this study, however, was the kicker:
“The IOM Immunization Safety Review Committee recommended such a study in 2001.”
2001? The original IOM Report that said the evidence was insufficient to accept or reject an association? That is bizarre.
Even though just three years later, the IOM produced its CDC-sponsored report rejecting a relationship between autism and thimerosal, the CDC has still not followed through on the IOM’s recommendation of conducting what would supposedly be the only rigorous study after nine years. If this is not further proof that the “scientific consensus” of organizations like the CDC and IOM is a sham, I don’t know what is.
After more than ten years of reports concerning autistic regression following shots, CDC has still not followed through on its promise to conduct the first rigorous study of thimerosal. Even worse, it is almost certain that after this upcoming study gets published, the promise of conducting the first “rigorous” study of thimerosal will remain unfulfilled.
What I’d really like to know, however, is what the CDC will be saying about this study five years down the road – assuming it even gets published by then – and whether or not it will still be considered "rigorous.” I wish I could look into a crystal ball and find out right away, but only time will tell. I have a feeling that history will repeat itself.
Jake Crosby is a college student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University who is double majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He is a contributing editor to Age of Autism.
*Cart before the horse. Cart is full of money. Get it? :) KS