The long awaited study that has been in the works for almost a decade regarding investigation between thimerosal and autism was published September 13, 2010 in Pediatrics. This study was funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and conducted by several parties with an interest in protecting vaccine use: CDC staff involved in vaccine research and promotion; Abt Associates, a contract research organization whose largest clients include vaccine manufacturers and the CDC's National Immunization Program; America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group for the health insurance industry; and three HMOs which receive substantial funding from vaccine manufacturers to conduct vaccine licensing research.
Planning for this study began in 2001. Over the nine year study period, the large external panel of consultants providing input to the investigators was reduced to a small subset by study end. The original large panel recommended against the study design ultimately employed, as insufficient to answer the question of early thimerosal exposure and autism rates. The CDC and AHIP overruled the external consultants.
The paper reported the curious finding that increased mercury exposure from thimerosal in vaccines is protective against neurodevelopmental injury and actually decreased the risk of having an autism diagnosis. The CDC's finding goes against a growing body of work in animal models of thimerosal exposure; this work provides overwhelming evidence of neurodevelopmental injury in infants from clinically relevant thimerosal exposure. Read more of SafeMinds response HERE.
SafeMinds is in the process of a detailed analysis of the paper and will be publishing an additional response in the near future.