Generation Rescue has over the years been one of the more vocal promoters of the vaccines-cause-autism notion. Like any organization, they have changed over the years and their website reflects that. Their website started out with the title “Autism Mercury Chelation” and a very simple (and wrong) statement:
Generation Rescue believes 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.
Of course, later during the early years of Jenny McCarthy, when Generation Rescue became “Jenny McCarthy’s autism organization. By this point, GR had a prominent link on the main page to “vaccines”. This included a page with Generation Rescue recommended vaccine schedules. Their “favorite” being a schedule that offered no protection against many diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diptheria and tetanus.
They had a page of “science”, including statements claiming that Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper linked MMR to autism (a position Mr. Wakefield has tried to distance himself from in the past few years):
“This study demonstrates that the MMR vaccine triggered autistic behaviors and inflammatory bowel disease in autistic children.”
They had a science advisory board, which included S. Jill James, Ph.D., Richard Deth, Ph.D., Woody R. McGinnis, M.D. and Jerry Kartzinel, M.D.. Not exactly heavy hitters, but at least a couple of people who actually publish in journals.
Times have changed again. The website is revamped. And vaccines seem to be much less prominent. For example, in the current version of the Generation Rescue website, I can’t find “recommended” vaccine schedules (they refer people to Dr. Bob Sears). A search for Wakefield shows he is only mentioned once “Studies by researchers: Horvath, Wakefield, Levy, and Kushak highlight a myriad of gut problems present in children with autism, including abnormal stool (diarrhea, constipation), intestinal inflammation, and reduced enzyme function”. The science advisory board is down to one person (Jerry Kartzinel) and an unnamed “cohesive group of professionals committed to healing and preventing autism”.
Sure, it’s still not a place I would recommend to anyone, especially a parent who just found out their kid is autistic. But just a few short years ago the trajectory was increasing with the vaccine discussion, not decreasing.