Dr. David Gorski Admits Thimerosal Might Cause Autism
The blogosphere’s vaccine industry front man Dr. David Gorski once said that if autism prevalence falls by 2015, he will concede that it would be “pretty good” epidemiological evidence of a possible connection between autism and the neurotoxic mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal, if not outright proof. Since he said this, autism prevalence in one U.S. state, Alabama, has gone down, and Dr. Gorski has not followed through on his promise.
Seven years ago, while blogging under the pseudonym “Orac,” Dr. Gorski said:
“I propose as quite a reasonable measure that, if autism rates fall by 50% or more in 2010 or even 2015, I will happily admit that I was incorrect in my assessment and rejoice that such a blow has been struck against this condition. If rates fall by less than 50% but still inarguably statistically significant, I will concede that this would be pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection, although in that case the connection would clearly not be nearly as strong as the link claimed by some activists, like J.B. Handley, founder of Generation Rescue, whose website states quite bluntly that 'childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.'”
On January 7th, 2008, he broke his own promise to wait until 2015 to draw any hard and fast conclusions about thimerosal’s role in causing autism when he wrote a blog post on “Science”-Based Medicine titled:
“Mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): A failed hypothesis”
What was his basis for jumping to this conclusion? A study purporting to show an increase in autism prevalence after thimerosal was removed from vaccinations in California (one state, just as Alabama is just one state):
“The scientific data, taken in totality, do not support a link between mercury in vaccines and autism. Today yet another important study by Robert Schechter and Judith Grether was released published in the Archives of General Psychiatry entitled Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde1, that utterly failed to support the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines is an etiological factor in autism. It is yet another nail in the coffin of the medical myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism.”
Aside from the problems with the Schechter and Grether study that the authors fail to even acknowledge, they do admit:
“Continuing evaluation of the trends in the prevalence of autism for children born in recent years is warranted to confirm our findings.”
So, even these authors admit the findings are premature and are yet to be confirmed. So much for Dr. Gorski's claim that it is “another nail in the coffin of the medical myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism.” Even worse, Dr. Gorski had all but neglected the deal he made with the so-called mercury militia in 2005, when he stated that even if autism rates decreased in the US by less than 50% as late as 2015, he would admit that it “would be pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection” to thimerosal.
But even in his broken promise blog post, Dr. Gorski admits a flaw in the database used by Schechter and Grether:
“The weaknesses of the CDDS is that its data is derived from an administrative system that was designed to track enrollment and fiscal data and is not as well suited to measuring the occurrence of developmental disabilities in the population.”
Unlike the California Department of Developmental Services, however, the Alabama Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is designed for just that purpose of measuring the occurrence of autism and developmental disabilities, hence the name.
And what has happened in this system's most recently reported prevalence of autism in eight-year-old children from 2008 compared to eight-year-old children in 2006? A 20% decline in prevalence – the first statistically significant decline to have occurred anywhere in the US CDC's ADDM Network. And what was Dr. Gorski's promise seven years ago?
“If rates fall by less than 50% but still inarguably statistically significant, I will concede that this would be pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection...”
Dr. Gorski has yet to make good on this promise, even though he stated in an April 2, 2012 blog post on the latest ADDM autism prevalence report (which included the declining in Alabama):
“If mercury in vaccines were a cause of autism, we’d expect to start to see a decline in autism prevalence.”
He then immediately contradicts himself with the following statement:
“Even if the cause of this apparent increase in autism prevalence is better detection, broadening of the diagnostic criteria, and increased awareness, this report is not good news for those who believe that mercury in vaccines cause autism.”
The fact is, this report is “good news” for “those who believe that mercury in vaccines cause autism” because it does show a decline in autism prevalence – albeit in one state. Who this report is not “good news” for are people like Dr. Gorski. Is he going to argue that “this apparent decrease in autism prevalence is worse detection, restricting of the diagnostic criteria, and decreased awareness” and that this phenomenon only occurred in Alabama?
Of course, that argument does not make sense, especially for a state like Alabama where the autism prevalence in eight-year-olds, prior to the drop in 2008, saw the second-fastest increase in prevalence of any other state in the system. Alabama's Gross State Product for 2008 has increased since 2006 and the poorer ADDM client state of South Carolina saw a continued increase, so he could not argue the drop is due to economic factors. So what would suddenly cause such a dramatic change to occur? The year 2000 was the first birth year reported in ADDM after the 1999 joint statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service issued the call to remove thimerosal from vaccines as soon as possible. No reliable thimerosal estimates exist, but according to the Council of State Governments, thimerosal was not completely out until “early 2004.” Was Alabama the first reported ADDM client state where thimerosal-free vaccines became widely available?
Health Maintenance Organizations cover specific geographic areas and purchase vaccines in bulk for given years. So the age and place of residence of a patient could certainly impact the types of vaccines that patient receives, including whether or not those vaccines are preserved in thimerosal. By matching participants in the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project with and without autism on the basis of shared birth year and HMO/geographic region, the CDC was effectively able to erase any elevated risk for autism associated with thimerosal exposure; it’s called over-matching. Even though the CDC admits that changes in thimerosal exposure are unknown, let alone for certain states, a decrease in autism starting in one particular state before others is the type of trend one can expect to see in autism prevalence if indeed thimerosal causes autism.
What makes Alabama's reported prevalence all the more valuable is that the ADDM Network only includes a small fraction of US states, and unlike Alabama, not all states in ADDM are consistently reported. Some are removed permanently, others are newly added, and then there are states that were removed from the network only to be added during later years. So the ADDM Network overall is not dealing with a consistent population of people, which makes consistently tracked prevalence from states like Alabama the most informative and the fact that the autism prevalence decreased in Alabama when it did particularly damning of thimerosal. Additionally, prior to the CDC’s 2008 autism prevalence report, Alabama’s prevalence was increasing faster than all but one other state in the network. Had its prevalence continued to grow at the same trajectory, instead of declining in 2008, the state prevalence would have been roughly approximate to the average prevalence of all the states in the network.
Although Dr. David Gorski broke his promise to concede that this decrease in autism prior to both 2015 and even 2010 is “pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection,” he still implicitly said the connection is plausible.
Add this quote of his to former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding conceding on CNN that vaccines cause autism, millionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit admitting vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders in his interview with Medscape, former CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer Dr. Thomas Verstraeten saying in email to his colleagues that he would conclude thimerosal causes harm, namely autism, former AAP president Dr. Renee Jenkins going so far as saying on Good Morning America that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh risks since vaccines cause autism in less than three percent of all children and even Dr. Gorski’s blogging buddy Dr. Steven Novella inadvertently linking more vaccines to the onset of autism. The result is a growing number of doctors from CDC, AAP and even the vaccine industry conceding that there is proof or at least “pretty good evidence” that vaccines and vaccine ingredients cause autism, like the mercury-based neurotoxic vaccine preservative thimerosal.
Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.
I have always said it is not science, Mercury, Thiomersal, Thimerosal, aluminium, Adjuvants, Salts, ppb, ppm, WHO, CDC, FDA, its Math. How many wholly unvaccinated kids, no DTaP, no Rho-Gam, no Anti-D, no Flu, no Hep, no MMR, have autism? In my book the figure is NIL. It's Vaccines. Now let them argue amongst themselves about what it is in Vaccines. In the meantime start all over again with Vaccines and let the proponents be the first users.
Tony Bateson Birmingham B1 1SR UK
Posted by: Tony Bateson | November 15, 2012 at 06:16 AM
My 84 year old mother was in rare form tonight.
She says that I don't know enough to be for sure that vaccines are causing all of this.
She ask me if I really thought they were hurting people and not stopping doing it. If it is as bad as I believe they would stop those vaccines right now.
She really is a smart woman, and knows her history. I asked her how Rockefeller and Carnige treated their workers and how much they paid them -- all so they could make more money.
It got through to her, that those in power just lose all perspective when running after the almighty buck.
Posted by: Benedetta | November 14, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Dr Gorski states..........“Even if the cause of this apparent increase in autism prevalence is better detection, broadening of the diagnostic criteria, and increased awareness........"
Although I have an Autistic son, no-one in the immediate family have ever been assessed by any psychologist to determine whether they may or may not have Autism.
So how can it be determined as better diagnosis?
Posted by: AussieMum | November 14, 2012 at 07:37 PM
"Gorski Admits Thimerosal Might Cause Autism"
IMO we should not be looking for a "single" CAUSE of autism. Mercury is strongly implicated as a FACTOR in autism that may be usually REQUIRED to produce autism. In other words IMO mercury appears to be USUALLY a necessary but not sufficient condition in the etiology of MOST autism.
That said I do believe that if we administer say a few dozen "flu shots" to mister Offit we may be able to produce adult onset autism (Alzheimer's) in this purportedly willing human pincushion.
Posted by: Lou | November 14, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Is the California study Gorski references just another smoke-and-mirrors gimmick, wherein they show an increase in autism after removal thimerosal where the increase is actually in children who were vaccinated BEFORE the removal of thimerosal?
This is an area where we have to keep screaming the truth loudly, because everywhere you turn, somebody is shrieking that the 2012 autism rate went up, thus proving that thimerosal has nothing to do with it because thimerosal was removed in 2001; they have absolutely no CLUE that the 2012 autism rate is for children born in--AND VACCINATED IN--2000. With the highest number of thimerosal-preserved vaccines ever.
So is that California study doing pretty much the same thing?
Posted by: Taximom | November 14, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Pharmaceutical companies squeezed a few more years of profit out of one of the greatest medical disasters ever. Financial History books
The Age of Autism was a Return to the Age of Sacrificing Children to the Idolized, Worshipped and Adored White Coats - Biblical texts ala The Harbinger
Posted by: What will historians say? | November 14, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Thank you for this most interesting article, Jake.
If anyone wonders why the American Psychiatric Association is reconstructing their manual for diagnosing mental disorders, commonly called the DSM, there is an answer in this piece. Imagine all the denials and head scratching that there’ll be after the new DSM is published in May 2013. If there are claims of a drop in number of affected children, it’ll be blamed on the changes in the diagnostic criteria, regardless of when they were diagnosed. The press will happily eat it up and give it lots of coverage.
All those who pretend to care about children’s health and seem to be doing everything to find an answer to the mystery of autism have really one goal---to make the epidemic go away. The first lie has always been that all the autism is better diagnosing thanks to a broader definition of the disorder. When they change the definition and the rate decreases, more proof. They’re willing to stand by and watch the destruction of a generation of children because they know they’re culpable.
• The New York Times published a review of the award-winning movie, The Greater Good, in Nov 2011 http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/movies/the-greater-good-review.html
• in which they told the public that even if vaccines do cause autism, “all that matters is that its victims number significantly fewer than those of the diseases vaccinations are designed to prevent.”
All those covering up the truth must take solace in the belief that the victims of autism were for the greater good.
Anne Dachel, Media
Posted by: Anne McElroy Dachel | November 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I totally agree we need to have a Nuremberg trial- willful crimes against humanity.
I want front row seats.
Posted by: casey | November 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM
It seems to me that I am not seeing the severely damaged young kids that I used to see here in my neck of the California woods. I would ask a longtime kindergarten teacher if I needed a definitive answer.
Here's DeSoto's interesting paper "Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence": http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7021.pdf
Posted by: Carol | November 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM
We've already had clues. For example, autism is listed as a possible adverse side effect from vaccination. The vaccine insert is still on the FDA's website.
However, I would never expect an apology.
Posted by: Jeffry | November 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Very Angry Hairy Man, where did you hear of Gorski advising friends to avoid certain vaccines? That would be very interesting to know.
Posted by: Jen | November 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM
I read that over at least three times to make sure I wasn't seeing things. I am in training again to move on to the next step in my new job so there is alot of info rattling around in my brain.
This on top of reading some interesting info at Disability Scoop linking the flu to autism....
This is all starting to get very interesting!
Posted by: The Aspie Formally Known as Theodora Trudorn (aka Tiffany) | November 14, 2012 at 08:48 AM
The article is so encouraging , I think we need to start discussing and planning the end game .
How much compensation would you accept as damages ?
the figure I have always had in my head is £2M sterling.
And the future of Muck , Govt Sponsored Killing GSK , Sanofi and the others ?
Well I see them in much the same light as IG Farben (the manufacturer of ZyklonB and the first to fluoridate water in the death camps) . So I want to see these companies fully dissolved .
And then the Nuremberg equivalent trials of those culpable . I think we can go back 20 years , and first thing is first , we tear up all government granted immunities . I suppose we will have to deal with our own William Joyce equivalent Lord Ha-Ha , Brian dear , very tiresome that one , but perhaps the easiest to deal with .
Pleasant musings . mmmmm
Posted by: Very Angry Very Hairy Man | November 14, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Jake .. it should not surprise anyone the cabal defending thimerosal's use in childhood vaccines continues to delay and deny research showing thimerosal to be a contributing factor to what developed into the autism epidemic.
(Heck .. they even deny there is an epidemic)
A recent headline read: "German Drug Maker Apologizes to Victims of Thalidomide"
Indeed,if history is to be our guide .. today's staunch defenders of Thimerosal appear to have embraced the same strategy employed by the Gruenthal Group, a family owned German phamaceutical company that manufactured Thalidomide in the 1950-1960's.
Consider .. Thalidomide was withdrawn in 1961 .. and .. after 5o years of silence .. the company finally issued an "apology" to the victims and families of some 10,000 babies around the world who had been born with Thalidomide induced birth defects.
The passage of 50 years has .. conveniently for Gruenthal .. greatly decreased the numbers of Thalidomide victims who will hear of their apology. The article quotes one victim of the 26 known American Thalidomide victms thus:
"They've had 50 years to make billions of dollars whle we struggled and our parents committed suicide. And now, they're apologizing for not saying anything. How dare they do that and think it's going to be enough?"
There is no other description of Greunthal's strategy than to suggest it was a deliberate attempt to "delay, deny and hope they die" .. before admitting the damage the drug caused.
Perhaps we will get a similar .. meaningless apology .. sometime in the years between 2050-2060.
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | November 14, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Yeah well he did advise his own friends to duck some childhood vaccines ...didnt he ? the scoundrel .
While continually opposing us all on here .
So this is no surprise to me .
This story just gets worse and worse . A governement sponsored killing ! lets call it GSK for short .
Posted by: Very Angry Very Hairy Man | November 14, 2012 at 06:38 AM