Thimerosal/autism study fails to show...
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|Tue, 05-20-2003 - 10:30pm|
Study fails to show a connection between thimerosal and autism
"The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following information for clinicians who may be aware of recent press surrounding an article that claims to show a correlation between thimerosal and autism.1 This paper uses data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) inappropriately and contains numerous conceptual and scientific flaws, omissions of fact, inaccuracies, and misstatements.
The most important weakness of the article is the reliance on VAERS data to draw conclusions about adverse event associations or causality. VAERS is a passive surveillance system for reporting possible vaccine adverse events that depends on health care professionals, patients, and others to file reports. Health effects reported to VAERS as being associated with vaccines may represent true adverse events, coincidental occurrences, or mistakes in filing. Inherent limits of VAERS include incomplete reporting, lack of verification of diagnoses, and lack of data on people who were immunized and did not report problems. Data from VAERS are useful for hypothesis generation (raising questions) but should not be used for research aimed at determining whether vaccines cause certain health problems (hypothesis proving), as was done in the article by Geier and Geier...."
"The authors failed to acknowledge the inherent limitations of the VAERS database when drawing conclusions of adverse event associations contained in this report and their other publications. They are equally unclear as to how their data were generated, thus preventing accurate review of their methods and replication of their outcomes."
"No scientific data link thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines with any pediatric neurologic disorder, including autism. Despite this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Institutes of Health, and US Public Health Service have continued to investigate this issue to put theoretic concerns about this mercury-containing compound to rest. Thimerosal continues to be used widely as a vaccine preservative in many other parts of the world where economics and sanitation concerns mandate an effective means to safeguard vaccines from contamination when stored in bulk in multidose vials. Any scientific article that can prove a thimerosal link to significant adverse events in children must be published in respected and widely read journals because of the great general interest today in vaccine safety. These journals can be expected to apply the highest standards of critical peer review to the results of any research that purports the existence of these associations and claims of causality."
Posted May 16, 2003