From our friends at Safeminds:
Wednesday afternoon we got a voicemail from a reporter at Newsweek asking SafeMinds how much money we spent on a primate vaccine safety study that was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. We weren’t sure why Newsweek wanted this dollar figure, and what relevance it had in the endless mudslinging in the vaccine-autism debates.
We sent the reporter this following statement:
“The epidemic of autism is expected to cost the country $1 trillion by 2025 if prevalence trends continue. In a recent study, over 40 percent of parents agree or strongly agree that vaccines played a part in the development of their children’s autism. The vaccine primate study in question consisted of multiple phases. The initial phase found a series of negative effects in infant reflexes and brain growth among those exposed to vaccines. The second, recent phase purported to find no effect. SafeMinds has concerns about changes in the study design protocol and analysis that may have led to these contradictory results. We are in the process of collecting and reviewing additional information regarding this study.”
The reporter, Jessica Firger, told us she was delaying her article until she could speak with us directly about the statement. We thought this was a good sign, so Thursday afternoon my colleague and SafeMinds Board President, Sallie Bernard, and I spoke with Firger for about 20 minutes by phone.
We explained that we had no preconceived notion of what the outcome of the study should have been but that we were quite perplexed that the recently published findings—that show no correlation between vaccines administered to primates and autism-like neuroanatomy and behaviors—are at such great odds with the scientific findings that have been reported from this study, both in published literature and in a poster presentation at a scientific conference in 2013, using the same monkeys that were reported on in the study.
Earlier findings of phase one of this study, which SafeMinds has been funding since 2003, were published in 2010 in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis and the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Researchers then reported that the infant primates exposed to the vaccines displayed a different pattern of maturational changes in the brain and also evidence of greater total brain volume compared to the control group. And in the second publication that a single dose of hepatitis B vaccine routinely administered to human infants at birth resulted in significant delays in the development of root, snout, and suck reflexes compared to unexposed animals.
Disturbing indeed. Read the full article at Safeminds.