Immune To Reason

  • by: |
  • 02/06/2008
Think the latest study showing no connection between vaccines and autism will drive a stake through the heart through a sometimes vicious and violent movement that sought to replace science with emotional assertions?

Think again:

First this (and note the skeptical tone of the lamebrain reporter:

"A University of Kentucky chemist still thinks that a mercury-containing preservative in children's vaccines is behind rising rates of autism in youngsters, despite a recent California report that seems to dismiss the theory.

The California Department of Public Health reported that rates of autism have continued to rise in California, even though the mercury-based preservative thimerosal ostensibly was removed from most child vaccines by about 2001. Some scientists and medical groups are citing the report as disproving the theory that mercury in vaccines causes autism."

But UK's Boyd Haley, a mercury researcher and leading proponent of the mercury-autism connection, maintains that the California study proves nothing because it is based on a "false premise" that children in California haven't been getting any mercury from vaccines over the past several years.

...."They say that mercury was totally out of vaccines in 2001 ... and that's absolutely false," Haley declared.

Haley contends that some child vaccines still contained mercury preservative well after 2001, and that many children might have continued to receive the vaccines because California didn't actually enact a law banning them until 2006. If children were still getting mercury in vaccines after 2001, that could explain why autism rates didn't fall, Haley contends."

Never mentioned in the article is how reclassification of many behavioral diseases have been reclassified as autism, boosting rates.. The article gives "the other side" but barely. And it finishes with this precautionary note from pediatrician Erich Maul:

"Maul says research someday might conclude that mercury in vaccines can cause autism. But he says that evidence hasn't been found yet and that, for now, immunizations are essential to protect young children from serious infectious diseases.

I will continue to respect those parents who don't want it," he said. "But as someone who has a fourth child on the way, I guarantee you that she will be immunized. I've immunized all my kids, and I continue to recommend it."

For those looking for another source of speculation, scapegoating and sensationalism, David Mandell, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania medical school offer fields of gold. According to a recent article, Mandell "recently surveyed the adult patients in Norristown State Hospital in Eastern Pennsylvania, nearly all of whom are labeled schizophrenic, and found that about 20 percent of them meet the behavioral criteria for being autistic.

While he believes misdiagnosis in the past explains a part of the increase in autism numbers, Dr. Mandell also believes the growth has been too great to be accounted for just by continuing genetic abnormalities.

"The increase is probably too fast to be genetics," he said, "so there probably is something that is environmental, but there is nothing to suggest it's the vaccines."

Off we go.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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