Thimerosal in vaccines did not cause an autism epidemic

13 Sep

There have been two main theories linking vaccines to an “epidemic” of autism. Both theories have been studied. Both have been heard in the courts. Neither theory had a sound scientific basis and epidemiological data has shown that neither theories explained the increase in autism prevalence in the last 20 years.

First it was proposed that the MMR vaccine resulted in persistent measles infections that lodged in the intestines of children leading to “leaky guts” and that harmful substances were leaked into the blood, traveled to the brain and resulted in autism symptoms. This was proposed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and has since been shown in epidemiological and other studies to be unsound. (This theory morphed for the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, the vaccine court. The argument there was that the measles virus itself traveled to the brain. Again, it is not supported by epidemiological data and is not scientifically sound).

The second theory was that mercury in vaccines from a compound called thimerosal caused autism. In that theory, it was proposed that autism symptoms were similar to mercury poisoning (autism was a “novel” form of mercury poisoning). This theory was not scientifically sound as autism symptoms are not like mercury poisoning. Previous epidemiological studies have also shown thimerosal was not behind the rising numbers of people diagnosed with autism.

In 2007 there was a study which looked at 1,000 kids aged 7-10 to see if various neurological symptoms were more prevalent in those who received higher exposures to thimerosal. Orac at Respectful Insolence blogged it and Kev posted that piece here on LeftBrainRightBrain as well. That study showed indications that in some measures children may perform more poorly with thimerosal exposure. It also showed that in some measures children may perform better with thimerosal exposure. This mixed result is (a) not very strong in either direction and (b) not very surprising when you look at a lot of different measures at the same time. Chance will result in some measures positive, some negative.

The 2007 study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine as Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years, by Thompson, et al.. (Thompson (2007))

What was missing in that report was a direct study of autism. Given the numbers of children (1,047) selected, there would only be about 10 kids with ASD expected in the group. This is too few for a strong conclusion on autism. At the time of that study it was noted that another study would follow concentrating on autism alone.

That study has just been published in the journal Pediatrics as Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism. They studied “256 children with ASD and 752 controls matched by birth year, gender, and [managed care organizations]”. I will give some details here. I expect the treatment on the Science Based Medicine and Steven Novela’s Neurologica blogs to cover the science thoroughly should you wish more detail.

Short answer: thimerosal exposure doesn’t cause an increased risk of autism. Neither thimerosal from vaccines given to the children nor thimerosal from products like Rhogam are behind the increase in autism prevalence we have seen.

It is worth noting that the authors looked at autism with and without regression.

Here is the abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Exposure to thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that is used in vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations, has been hypothesized to be associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study was designed to examine relationships between prenatal and infant ethylmercury exposure from thimerosal containing vaccines and/or immunoglobulin preparations and ASD and 2 ASD subcategories: autistic disorder (AD) and ASD with regression.

METHODS: A case-control study was conducted in 3 managed care organizations (MCOs) of 256 children with ASD and 752 controls matched by birth year, gender, and MCO. ASD diagnoses were validated through standardized in-person evaluations. Exposure to thimerosal in vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was determined from electronic immunization registries, medical charts, and parent interviews. Information on potential confounding factors was obtained from the interviews and medical charts. We used conditional logistic regression to assess associations between ASD, AD, and ASD with regression and exposure to ethylmercury during prenatal, birth-to-1 month, birthto-7-month, and birth-to-20-month periods.

RESULTS: There were no findings of increased risk for any of the 3 ASD outcomes. The adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for ASD associated with a 2-SD increase in ethylmercury exposure were 1.12 (0.83–1.51) for prenatal exposure, 0.88 (0.62–1.26) for exposure from birth to 1 month, 0.60 (0.36–0.99) for exposure from birth to 7 months, and 0.60 (0.32– 0.97) for exposure from birth to 20 months.

CONCLUSIONS: In our study of MCO members, prenatal and early-life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations was not related to increased risk ASDs. Pediatrics 2010;126:656–664

My guess is that there will be much discussion of the methods on many websites. For now, here are the data from Table 2 and Table 3.

Table 2 (click to enlarge)

Table 3 (click to enlarge)

As with Thompson (2007) the authors will make longer reports available on their website and will allow access to the data.

This study is not the first of its kind. Here are a few of the large studies which have shown a lack of association between thimerosal exposure and autism in the past.

Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence From Danish Population-Based Data

Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Database

Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association

Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association

There are more.

One question is whether this will finally quiet those claiming an autism epidemic caused by mercury in vaccines. Unfortunately, I sincerely doubt it. This study included Sallie Bernard of SafeMinds in the acknowledgments. Ms. Bernard was also involved in the Thompson study of 2007. At that time she was listed as a “dissenting” member of the team. She submitted a letter to the NEJM discussing the reasons for her dissention, Perhaps the lack of the word “dissenting” this time is a good sign. I’ll wait and see.

The main question is how much impact this will have on the next generation of families with autistic children. I can’t but wonder that the age of the mercury hypothesis has seen its peak. Not only in research but in general acceptance.

127 Responses to “Thimerosal in vaccines did not cause an autism epidemic”

  1. Dawn September 14, 2010 at 20:13 #

    @Tony: I agree that you haven’t offered money before last week, if that’s when that was posted. I don’t read AOA without a lot of alcohol in my system, so can’t speak to the date. However, you have been asking for YEARS about autistic, unvax children and continually ignore the answers you have been given. If you were honest, you would respond to CS about her child in these comments, or have contacted Ms Stagliano (she’s not hard to contact, either through AOA or her own blog), or any of the others who have pointed to their OWN unvaccinated, autistic children. That you have not, instead just jump from blog to blog denying those children exist, says to me that you are not honest.

    @Sullivan: I don’t really know why I even bothered to respond to Tony. I suppose because he bugs me. And the goalpost moving has really ticked me off, along with his “no autistic unvax – no, no autistic, unvax with unvax mother” junk. Sorry. I’ll shut up now and ignore him.

    • Sullivan September 14, 2010 at 20:21 #


      There are some kids in the recent thimerosal study who were unvaccinated. If I can find that one (or more) of those kids is autistic the question is whether Tony Bateson will pay $1,000 to LBRB, $1,000 to the CDC or will he find an excuse to not pay.

  2. Tony Bateson September 14, 2010 at 21:59 #

    Sullivan should know that when an offer is made it is for the respondent to respond not for Sullivan or anyone else to ask me what I’ve done to search them out, nor to suggest I make vague enquiries about this piece of research or another. I want the evidence of parents or people acting on their own behalf not cobbled up nonsense which is the stuff of the CDC and others like them. As for my conversation with the UK Head of the vaccine advisory service my dialogue with him is on video and if I though Sullivan was the least bit important or even impartial I would obtain it. But here we go again the vaccine bigots at their best can only drum up less than a handful of scientifically important unvaccinated autistic people. My government says that vaccination is neutral to autism, there should be at least 50,000 cases, one in ten! Where are they? Sullivan goes on about his figures, he means some selective figures. The HPA in Britain has published data since 1966 – that’s what I mean not figures from 1993 when massive coercion and increased bribery of GPs bullied parents into resuming vaccination after the peak of the MMR farce. Sullivan might also consult UK uptake figures for the mid seventies when DTP uptake fell to the low 30% level. What is astonishing in this issue is the rubbish spouting from the vaccine militia in which they repeatedly promote the same malign ideas.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Sullivan September 14, 2010 at 22:37 #

      Tony Bateson,

      your assertion that the UK levels of vaccination dropped to the level that 10/12 kids were unvaccinated is complete nonsense. Demonstrably wrong.

      Don’t they know there are possibly two to three millions of unvaccinated kids in the UK – the Chief Advisor to the government vaccines body agreed in person with me that around the height of the MMR farce 10/12 of parents were not vaccinating their kids.

      Here are the data

      MMR rates fell to a low of 80%. Uptake for other vaccines (e.g. diptheria, polio, pertussis…) remained relatively high at over 90%.

      You claim to have video of someone making the same erroneous claim as you but you won’t share it because I don’t meet your criteria. Do you understand that it doesn’t matter? If someone says something wrong, no matter his/her credentials, it remains wrong. The fact that you won’t back it up only makes it less likely that your claimed conversation actually occurred.

      You claim to be seeking out unvaccinated autistics, yet you claim they have to seek you out now. Fine. We will leave it at that. You aren’t really trying to seek them out and they aren’t really trying to contact you.

  3. Science Mom September 15, 2010 at 00:41 #

    Tony, What about all of these unvaccinated children on the autism spectrum that were found by Generation Rescue?

    • Sullivan September 15, 2010 at 05:41 #

      Science Mom,

      none of the families interviewed by Generation Rescue have flown to the UK and camped out on Mr. Bateson’s door with sworn affidavits and complete video records of their entire lives. They are thus excluded from the exhaustive search he has made.

  4. Joseph September 15, 2010 at 02:36 #

    And I have not changed the goal posts I have always referred to an unvaccinated child where neither mother or child were otherwise exposed to vaccine materials.

    That’s completely ridiculous. Everyone is exposed one way or another to most vaccine ingredients at some point in their lifetime.

    Essentially Tony is saying: OK, I’ll give you cash if you have never come in contact with planet Earth. (Pretty safe – and absurd – wager Tony’s come up with.)

  5. Chris September 15, 2010 at 04:53 #

    Tony Bateson:

    I have been searching for autistic people for over fourteen years and have literally never found any.


    My totally unscientific research in the UK and elsewhere (including Washington USA) has revealed only five possible unvaccinated autistic individuals in thousands of direct enquiries to parents and professionals.

    Five does not equal never!

    More Tony:

    And I have not changed the goal posts I have always referred to an unvaccinated child where neither mother or child were otherwise exposed to vaccine materials.

    Um, where did you ever include the word “mother” in this exchange, other than a case you dismiss? You say:

    Only two or three people came forward to say they had an unvaccinated autistic child or knew of any, one’s mother had dental amalgam treatment in the early stages of pregnancy, one had not had the MMR and the other didn’t follow up when I asked the further questions.

    At no other point do you request information about the mother, but just repeat:

    Over three million kids have not been vaccinated in the UK where vaccination is optional and parents have chosen not to vaccinate. More than ten years of aggressive searching in this group has failed to find autistic people!


    However, I am still waiting for a comment or response to my assertion that not a single autistic person in the UK can be found from the unvaccinated 3 millions whose parents chose not to vaccinate.

    … and …

    None of the hundreds of autistic children I know is unvaccinated nor seenibgly any of the thousands or even millions who have had my message.

    You are referred twice to Kim Stagliano in that thread. It seems you added the “mother” bit only recently. I see by checking Orac’s blog for “bateson stagliano” that there are at least three threads since last April that tell you Kim Stagliano’s youngest autistic child is not vaccinate. Actually, on August 26, 2010 you posted these words on Orac’s article titled “Vaccine exemptions in California threaten herd immunity”:

    My long held position is simply based upon the fact that extraordinary amounts of my time over fourteen years have sought to find unvaccinated people who are autistic. I have not found any, many thousands of competent and even tempered people have read my claims and have not opted to disillusion me by providing some contrary facts. I now believe that my claims about the UK where I live and work, attend conferences, read millions of words about autism and meet hundreds of parents etc., are probably true of the USA and elsewhere. If so the conclusions are absolutely damning. In Britain there are between two to three million people whose parents chose not to vaccinate them since 1966 none of them however, choose to tell me that their children bacame autistic. It boggles belief that there are such people and they are too reserved to speak!

    Do you mind telling me where you included the mother’s history that posting?

  6. Dawn September 15, 2010 at 12:56 #

    @Sullivan: well, THAT explains it. Since the unvax kids and their parents haven’t sought out Tony, they don’t exist! WOW. I never would have realized that meeting Tony was crucial to existance. Thanks for figuring that out.

    @Chris: rhubarb?

  7. Dawn September 15, 2010 at 13:01 #

    Can’t get the edit to load so will have to add this comment:

    Oh, and I also didn’t realize that Tony didn’t want exposure to vaccine ingredients. Since many ingredients of vaccines are part of living on earth (aluminum, our bodies make formaldehyde, etc), I guess his money is safe. He will NEVER find someone who has not been exposed to vaccine ingredients. I also suppose that getting measles, chicken pox, pertussis, eliminates you too, because you have been exposed to vaccine ingredients naturally.

    Good going, Tony! Making a bet you know you can’t lose…what a man! Those goalposts must be heavy, though. When will you put them down and leave them alone?

  8. Dan September 15, 2010 at 15:49 #

    What does Tony mean by independent third party verification?

  9. Science Mom September 15, 2010 at 16:11 #

    @ Sullivan, yes, no doubt that Master Bateson is pulling the internet equivalent of La-la-la can’t hear you.

    @ Dan, it sounds as though Tony has taken a page from Jock Doubleday’s book.

  10. Orange Lantern September 15, 2010 at 17:02 #

    Dawn (and Tony), we’ve determined elsewhere that autism is caused by rhubarb deficiency.

    Keep up with the research!

  11. Dedj September 15, 2010 at 17:31 #

    “What does Tony mean by independent third party verification?”

    What he means is that he will not accept the possibiltity that vaccines do not cause autism until parents of unvaccinated people with autism spend a significant level of time and money having a expert comb over their childs medical records, in order to meet the demands of a total stranger with an obvious agenda who has never validated his request or methods despite repeated questioning, and who can and has been shown to change his demands as and when it benefits him.

    Basically, he thinks he has the right to make significant and quite intimate demands of other people for no other reason than he wants people to take him seriously.

    Has he ever managed to prove that his methods are valid? No, he has even refused to do so when I asked him to. He is not a man to be taken seriously.

  12. Orange Lantern September 15, 2010 at 18:22 #

    Dedj has it exactly. I guess that if Tony is convincing in his money offer he might actually have the potential to get a few bites. But personally, a thousand dollars would not be enough for me to give a stranger access to my child’s and spouse’s medical records.

  13. Dawn September 15, 2010 at 18:28 #

    @Orange Lantern: I know…I was in on that pie conversation. On RI I’m either MI Dawn or triskelthecat depending on SciBlogs mood as to whether it thinks I’m signed in or not.

    And I love rhubarb pie but leave out the strawberries.

  14. Orange Lantern September 15, 2010 at 18:55 #

    I thought as much, I just misinterpreted your rhubarb question above. But it does gratify me to let Tony know how much we “mock [his] claim”.

  15. Chris September 15, 2010 at 19:08 #

    Ah, I get it now Dawn!

    So, shall we say that Tony needs more rhubarb?

  16. Orange Lantern September 15, 2010 at 19:21 #

    “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more rhubarb!”

    Oh, I feel bad that I have infected this serious thread with nonsense.

    Wait, I mean more nonsense. Sorry, Mr. Bateson.

  17. Tony Bateson September 15, 2010 at 20:19 #

    Corresponding with the typical LBRB writer is very wearing, exactly what they hope of course because I have rarely seen so much bunkum in so little sense. But it takes a really big brain to see a distinction between a wholly unvaccinated child and one who himsel/herself or mother had been exposed to vaccine materials. I am glad to see that LBRB has such massive intellects and along the road they have confirmed to me excluding these materials is really unfair as they can obviously be very harmful and might be included in vaccines and probably often are.
    PS I have still not heard from such a parent directly any of whom would understand that I obviously don’t mean hydrogen or oxygen say, but obviously do mean mercury! Buck up.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Sullivan September 15, 2010 at 23:24 #

      Tony Bateson,

      I can imagine it would be wearying to have a discussion with people who keep up on what you have said and point out when and where you have have changed your story. It must be wearying to hold discussions with people who are able to see that you promote ideas which are easily falsified and, yet, you neither respond to the facts nor change your story.

  18. Dedj September 16, 2010 at 00:06 #

    “But it takes a really big brain to see a distinction between a wholly unvaccinated child and one who himself/herself or mother had been exposed to vaccine materials.”

    Biologically, unless you can prove there is persistance in vaccine materials in the mother to the extent that it may affect a pregnancy which may be up to a decade or so afterwards, then there is no difference at all.

    If you can’t see that it is you who has to prove this persistance, and not everyone else that has to spend significant amounts of time allowing a biased and quite possibly dishonest total stranger who makes bizarre and unreasonable demands access to intimate and personal information, then you don’t have a very big brain.

    I may not be back until after the weekend. I expect to see at least 3 references to peer-reviewed studies that indicate that vaccine materials have chronic persistance when I come back.

    If you fail to provide them, I will assume that no such mechanism exists, as is your logic.

    “I am glad to see that LBRB has such massive intellects and along the road they have confirmed to me excluding these materials is really unfair as they can obviously be very harmful and might be included in vaccines and probably often are.”

    This isn’t what was made clear to you at all.

    You will quote the direct passages that lead you to think this.

  19. Dawn September 16, 2010 at 00:06 #

    @Sullivan: yes, it must be very frustrating for poor Tony because so many of us see his story all over the internet and actually remember him and his lines.

    And he didn’t answer about vaccine ingredients: which ones are dangerous, Tony? Thimerosol has been out for almost 10 years except in very trace amounts (which means very, very tiny amounts), aluminum is the most common element on earth so you can’t avoid that, your own body makes formadehyde and other things used as adjuvents, the risks of getting a complication from a vaccine-preventable disease are greater than from the vaccine. So what is dangerous, Tony? Please be explicit. You can’t just say mercury, because the mercury used in vaccines is not the same kind of mercury that has caused poisonings all over the world. So, spell out what is so dangerous.

    You are so very demanding about your “no autistic, nonvaxed child (oh, I need to add – of an nonvaxed mother and father, of nonvaxed grandparents, of nonvaxed great-grandparents, ad infinitum) proofs; how about giving us some of YOUR proof of the dangers?

  20. Emily September 16, 2010 at 02:59 #

    Tony, send the check to Kim Stagliano and call it a day, man.

    I preemptively (or maybe not so much) addressed the potential antivax complaints about this paper here:

    There’s no point in addressing Kelly or Jennifer here or anywhere else. I think The Onion has said it best:,15375/

  21. dt September 16, 2010 at 15:28 #

    Re Jake Crosby’s “Tobacco science”.

    I guess he is referring to the alleged claim from Bigtobacco that since lung cancer occurs at roughly the same rate in 20 a day smokers as in 40 a day smokers, that means smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

    I believe he is making a specious comparison with this thimerosal study, while completely misrepresenting its findings and methodology.

  22. brian September 16, 2010 at 16:42 #

    No, you give Jake too much credit: He wasn’t thinking for himself, he was just parroting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “Tobacco science! Tobacco science! Squawk!”

  23. Visitor September 16, 2010 at 17:12 #

    I think I may have said this before. Anything involving Tony Bateson involves repetition. I don’t think he’s the least bit interested in finding anything out, or making any kind of point. He simply wants to cause distress.

    If the best he can do is to keep repeating the same thing, so as to cause a mild frustration in any intelligent, well-adjusted person, then that’s what he will do. It’s not much of a life for him, but there we are.

  24. Tony Bateson September 16, 2010 at 18:15 #

    You have proabaly said a lot before Mr/Ms Visitor,I have a name and I do continue to say what is patently true to most reasonable people who do the work and look at the facts. There are no unvaccinated autistic people. QED. But you would prefer to believe that Dan Olmsted did not find an absence of hundreds of these in the Amish nor did Mayer Eisenstein point out a similar absence of hundreds of these in the Homefirst community. Rather you believe that two or three possible cases advised by third parties sways the argument. No, I am sorry argument is not the word, vested interest is probably better. I have never received a penny for any work I have done on autistic causes I would like to know that you too are wholly ethical and that your interest is wholly altruistic and that you too are truly engaged in no more than defending your beliefs.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK

    • Sullivan September 16, 2010 at 18:20 #

      Tony Bateson,

      what you write is not patently true. Multiple instances of your errors have been pointed out. Repeatedly.

      Dan Olmsted put in more effort than you have, and still failed to find that there were, indeed, autistic Amish. I don’t see how his story helps your case. Mayer Eisenstien has made unsubstantiated claims of no autism in his unvaccinated patients.

  25. Tony Bateson September 16, 2010 at 18:40 #

    Virtually no instances have been pointed out to me at any time. Please remind me if there are any that have been notified by the people involved not third parties. Also this should not include people who fatuously suggest I should send money to those well known charities RBRB and CDC or to any other person who is not party to the notification. Regular readers like you may also notice the apparent dearth of any notifications whether malign or not. Where are the many thousands of unvaccinated autistic people who could validate the ‘vaccination is neutral to autism’ claim of our government in Britain?

    You haven’t the foggiest idea how much effort I have put in but I have attended meetings in a dozen cities in the UK, two in Scotland and one in the USA, twenty such meetings in all, and no one has come forward with any sort of verified claim that they even know of the existence of unvaccinated autistic people out of the aggregate audiences of over 3,000 parents and professionals I addressed.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK

    • Kev September 16, 2010 at 18:45 #

      Tony, two things…

      ‘virtually’ no instances is not the same thing as no instances. Do you understand that?

      Secondly, I would imagine anyone attending a conference where you got up and spoke would be embarrassed for you and not wish to embarrass you more. You even outdo John Best for ridiculousness.

      • Sullivan September 16, 2010 at 19:16 #

        “You even outdo John Best for ridiculousness.”


        you are either being mean or your memory is fading.

  26. Tony Bateson September 16, 2010 at 19:22 #

    Being lectured by Kev is quite something isn’t it, he thinks I don’t know what virtually means. It’s simple, like most things, if someones says to me ‘I’m not certain because it was such a long time ago’ I count that as being a ‘don’t know’ but I give it the possibility of being an unvaccinated child and I ask them to let me know please, later. They don’t ever do so,I then no longer count them but it is sufficient I recognise the possibility and use the term virtually none. That’s clear to me.

    On the contrary I am always well received many people ask questions and many come up to me afterwards and I could stay for a long time talking to them. Unlike, I believe, Kev and his friends I have actually met hundreds of parents and my claim remains undented. Suggesting that I outdo somebody for being ridiculuous just shows what an ignorant person you must be.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  27. Chris September 16, 2010 at 19:47 #

    Mr. Bateson:

    . There are no unvaccinated autistic people. QED.

    What happened to the five you knew about in 2007 (see link in red letters where I quote you)? What about the ones found on Generation Rescue’s survey? What about Kim Stagliano’s youngest daughter? How about the several parents who have told you over the years that after having one autistic child they did not vaccinate the next, but that child also was autistic?

  28. Tony Bateson September 16, 2010 at 20:44 #

    None of the five were substantiated, Kim Stagliano has not approached me, Generation Rescue has not approached me, several parents have not told me any such thing about having a next child who was unvaccinated. These are in your imagination. It has to be hard for you to realise that upon the pathetically small individual cases you mention your claims that they exist are preposterous and it will only get worse as vaccine uptake falls and there is a larger unvaccinated pool in which not to be able to find autistic people. The days of your self serving claims will disappear like Dr No, Poul Thorsen.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Sullivan September 16, 2010 at 22:16 #

      Tony Bateson.

      you don’t seem to realize that the discussion has changed. Where you are concerned in this post, the discussion is about your lack of fervor in trying to substantiate your claims. All you have done in this comment is make it clear to us all–you are sitting back and waiting for people to contact you.

      Good luck with this hobby of yours. Given your level of effort, it should bring you years of enjoyment.

  29. Chris September 16, 2010 at 22:45 #

    None of the five were substantiated, Kim Stagliano has not approached me, Generation Rescue has not approached me, several parents have not told me any such thing about having a next child who was unvaccinated.

    Oh, so you are just lazy. Sitting in your jammies typing away at your computer and expecting these people to approach you!

    And I can bring up several links of parents telling you that their unvaxed child is autistic from this blog and Respectful Insolence. It is not my imagination that you are just ignoring them.

  30. Visitor September 17, 2010 at 09:56 #

    “Kim Stagliano has not approached me”

    What a clown. Now it turns out that what he’s saying is that he hasn’t been approached by parents of unvaccinated autistic children.

    I see. So you are the great center of epidmiology. What, do you have some kind of booth, where the world’s peoples are expected to present you with their papers?

    That’s pretty grandiose, if I might say so.

    Guess what Tony: I’ve never met anyone with a relative who died in 9/11. Maybe there aren’t any.

  31. Tony Bateson September 17, 2010 at 11:36 #

    As well as not receiving any responses from the families of claimed unvaccinated autistic kids I can’t help noticing that LBRB seems to be the plaything of about five jokers having their own private fun by disparaging everything they don’t like without ever once making a sensible or even reasonable comment on the issues. So I’m out.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

    • Sullivan September 20, 2010 at 05:09 #

      Tony Bateson,

      sorry to reopen this, but I stumbled across this passage in a news article:

      Ricci King, a Washington state autism advocate, says she has long noticed a connection between farm backgrounds and autism, especially in children who never had been vaccinated. That fits with a link to fungicides, she says.

      “For some reason in the back of my brain I was filing the fact that some of these parents were farmers, or lived near farm communities,” says King, who has a 14-year-old son, Robert Hedequist, with autism and moderates an international autism biomedical discussion group for parents and professionals,

      “A light bulb went off for me at a conference in Portland [Ore.] in 2001 where I met a mother of five children, all on the spectrum, all unvaccinated,” King recalls in an interview. “She was from eastern Washington, she came from a family of farmers, and her husband was a farmer as well. All five of her children had regressive autism. Meeting her changed the way I look at autism, and prompted me to explore the connection.”

      Five kids. All unvaccinated. Seems like someone you would like to talk to.

      The author of that specific article is a guy named Dan Olmsted. Perhaps if you are interested in the answer you can (or could have) contact Mr. Olmsted for some details.

      The piece is linked to on the Age of Autism main page, if I recall correctly.

  32. Kev September 17, 2010 at 12:15 #

    translation: nobody believes me!! Waaaaaaahhh!

  33. Visitor September 17, 2010 at 14:07 #

    He’s like the folk who once offered (and possibly still offer) cash prizes for anyone who could show that HIV-1 had been isolated, and when they did, the terms changed and changed until nobody was ever going to get the dough.

    Sadly, Tony Bateson is a troll, who creeps around the web hoping to cause distress: probably ideally to a working class mom with a grade school education who becomes utterly distraught over his nonsense.

    Nice one, Tony.

  34. Dedj September 17, 2010 at 16:10 #

    “So I’m out.”


    Funny that, Tony always claims that he’s being bullied/made fun of whenever people start asking hard questions about his methodology or his hypothesis. You’d almost think he was afraid to answer and is just accusing other people of being too harsh as a dodge.

    I won’t wait for those references then. Shame, I was looking forward to trying to understand the Tonys point of view.

    It seems he doesn’t want us to understand him, he just wants us to do as he says.


  35. stanley seigler September 17, 2010 at 19:52 #

    opine, based on seat of pants and what passes for critical thinking: VAXes do not cause autism…but i and others could be wrong…eg, vax could be the trigger in some cases. see previous seigler post re science.

    “…concluding that in the face of so much that is inexplicable there is no scientific or moral truth.” (Nietzsche)

    stanley seigler:

  36. John Fryer Chemist November 14, 2010 at 20:08 #

    This illness of autism is a serious and lifelong illness with no cure.
    Not completely true but for many it is just that.
    Some people here take pleasure in proving that a brain destroying chemical THIMEROSAL is OK to inject in 2010 into the unborn child and that it should be dismissed from concern for causing autism.
    It is not out of vaccines and should never have been in them.
    This research which seems to have been ignored in the animosity of exchanges does actually show a 12 per cent increase in autism after just 3 micrograms of mercury

    • Sullivan November 15, 2010 at 03:03 #

      John Fryer Chemist,

      First, you would do well to drop phrases like “…inject in 2010 ino the unborn child…”. Vaccines are not injected into unborn children.

      The mercury exposure to infants is lower (by a lot) than it was in the early 1980’s. And, yet, the autism rate is much higher now vs. then. Multiple studies have looked at whether thimorosal as a cause of autism. I don’t know where you get 12% increase with 3micrograms of mercury, so please provide a link to the source for that “fact”.

  37. Chris November 14, 2010 at 20:38 #

    Mr. Fryer, why did it take you so long to find this thread? Funny how you failed to cite that “research.” Just like anything else you say, we will assume you just made it up.

  38. John Fryer Chemist November 15, 2010 at 12:19 #

    Yes, why so long to find the thread? Because there is a huge amount of information on this and related issues and I am not a full time or even paid researcher.
    I would like to see those interested in autism and the causes to work together as some threads already talk of tobacco science involved by government, industry and regulators. At the end of the day it is science and making things up does not help. Many even those that suggest a brain destroying chemical is wrong to inject do not always get things right. The issues are complex.
    The 3micrograms and 1é per cent comes from the research paper talked of here for this year.
    Take Table 3 above for example. Ratio of 0.21 to 0.95 but for pre-natal children 1.03 to 1.86. Doesnt that mean there is huge concern for unborn babies injected? 1-U is a 1 microgram difference in exposure for these figures.
    Perhaps you would like to explain them in everyday English and what it means. For me although there is an increase of ASD given for prenatal children with 3 micrograms compared to those without the thimerosal, table 3 is showing 31 per cent to 86 per cent increases and from the figures of less autism after birth when exposed to 1 microgram difference the research does not put thimerosal in the clear.
    As said the 12 per cent comes from prenatal results ie 1.12 in this research. Perhaps if this is not correct you can explain what your interpretation of this 1.12 means to you. Perhaps bad research?
    There are lots of work showing variable results for vaccinated and non vaccinated but do you know the one which found 8 cases of ASD from vaccinated families and none from unvaccinated. work done in last three years or so but not in USA, UK or Denmark from memory.

  39. Julian Frost November 15, 2010 at 12:38 #

    I can’t make head or tail of what you’re trying to say. As to your claim that thimerosal is a “brain-destroying chemical”, cite please. Ditto for your comments that 3 micrograms of mercury cause a 12% increase in autism and your claim that thimerosal is still in vaccinations.

    At the end of the day it is science and making things up does not help.

    My Irony Meter just exploded. Andrew Wakefield made up his data. The Plaintiffs’ experts in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings had their testimony shattered by the Respondent’s experts. Unigenetics was shown to be so incompetent that their results had to be discarded. I ingest more mercury in a pigout at a sushi bar than is in an inoculation, and I’ve had mor of the former than the latter.
    Your premise is false and has shown to be false. Thimerosal did not cause an epidemic of Autism.

  40. Joseph November 15, 2010 at 15:04 #

    Take Table 3 above for example. Ratio of 0.21 to 0.95 but for pre-natal children 1.03 to 1.86. Doesnt that mean there is huge concern for unborn babies injected? 1-U is a 1 microgram difference in exposure for these figures. Perhaps you would like to explain them in everyday English and what it means.

    To me, it means that there were 48 measures in the study, so you’d expect 2.4 false positives/negatives by chance alone, beyond any errors due to the fact that you can never control all possible confounds.

  41. Tony Bateson November 15, 2010 at 15:30 #

    Why is it that lbrb appears to have no more than a dozen or so contributors? Have they heard the one about the woods and the trees? Few of their responses actually address the points raised instead they denigrate, attack, even demonise anyone who doesn’t share their view that vaccines are harmless. Most people know beyond doubt that vaccines can cause harm. I argue that such harm can include autism and I believe the simple facts show it. For the sake of consistency my claim too is simple. No one who doesn’t get vaccinated or otherwise exposed to vaccine materials such as Thimerosal gets to be autistic QED. Unvaccinated = Unautistic.

    Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  42. John Fryer Chemist November 15, 2010 at 16:35 #

    Hi Julian

    Thanks for your comment. We are here to learn and hopefully get on the same side to put a halt to autism.
    Every time authority covers up, everyone loses and other catastrophes follow.
    You mention Wakefield which doesnt have a place here by any stretch of the imagination. So I will interpose the Camelford Water pollution which is another example of catastrophe going unanswered and as it involved people dying in the 50’s from Alzheimer type illness very worrying.
    You claim Wakefield made up his data. Not sure which data he made up? But if you inist on total honesty what is your take on Verstraeten and his correlation of autism with thimerosal that never got published. From memory he lost more than 95 per cent of his ASD children to make thimerosal into a brain improver.
    A couple of reasons why thimerosal is a brain destroyer 1 the film by the university of calgary shows thimerosal undoing brain cells with the precision of a watchmaker dismantling watches. Also Bayer tried to get thimerosal labelled as not too bad and got roundly picked on by USA government machinery. Again the paper is out there with hundreds of thousands of others but am sure someone will have better filing system than me.
    And remember autism is a death sentence or a sentence of a bad life for many and unworthy of picking squabbles. I have to say people on my side ie thimerosal injections are murder dont seem to have the same tenacity as those that insist like Bayer its ok for us poor folk. If I was Wakefield i would see Deer in court but thats for the dozen doctors who also presumably made up data with Wakefield and are still employed and getting into the top jobs in the UK. More made up data in the future?

  43. Chris November 15, 2010 at 18:41 #

    Mr. Fryer:

    You claim Wakefield made up his data. Not sure which data he made up?

    Testimony from Chadwick at the Autism Omnibus trial explained that Wakefield did not accept that the PCR data was false positive. Also, it has come out in the GMC hearings that many of the children were identified before their MMR vaccine.

    The film from the university in Calgary is in vitro, not in vivo, and at concentrations not in vaccines.

    And remember autism is a death sentence or a sentence of a bad life for many and unworthy of picking squabbles.

    Not only do you make stuff up, but you are not a very nice person. I do not believe that many of the autistic persons who comment on this blog are dead, nor have that bad a life. If they have a “bad life” it is because of people like you.

    Also, Wakefield has seen Deer in court. And he lost: here is a picture of the check.

  44. stanley seigler November 15, 2010 at 19:33 #

    [Tony Bateson say] Why is it that lbrb appears to have no more than a dozen or so contributors?

    and this relates to VAX v anti-VAX how? the true believer, ad hominem, logic on either side adds nothing to the search…

    stanley seigler

  45. Julian Frost November 15, 2010 at 19:44 #

    @Tony Bateson:

    For the sake of consistency my claim too is simple. No one who doesn’t get vaccinated or otherwise exposed to vaccine materials such as Thimerosal gets to be autistic QED. Unvaccinated = Unautistic.

    Complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers. Your hypothesis is wrong. You have repeatedly been told here that Kim Stagliano’s third daughter was not vaccinated and is autistic. Ipso facto, unvaccinated != unautistic.

  46. John Fryer Chemist November 16, 2010 at 11:07 #


    We are talking of chalk and cheese.

    Ther bad effects of vaccines are sudden infant death. Are you telling me people have a good life like Harry Clark when vaccinated at 4.30pm and is dead at 10.30pm;

    Yes we know of autism savants that not only have good lives but make themselves famous and rich.

    Sadly I talk of those that suffer from vaccines.

    However you twist and turn the facts the fact of life is that Harry was passed as fit and well and then coincidentally after several vaccines arrived DEAD.

    SIDS has taken a million lives like that of Harry.

    Tell me they are better off dead. It is not me that makes stuff up.

    I still maintain we need to get our heads together on this issue for those with autism and quality life and to STOP new autism cases needlessly arising.

    Watching the reverance of French people in the war for Petain contrasts with his anti jew and anti many other groups only discovered recently.

    Politicians have a habit of telling lies and pulling the wool over gullible people.

    The Camelford incident is a prime example chillingly like autism with statements from UK government and science that aluminium poisoning is in the mind (Wesselely, David et al) and the water is no more poisonous than lemon juice (a la mode de thimerosal is like lemon juice by regulators in CDC et al)

    The problem with the autism debate is everyone looks for arguments and disagreements and ignores facts.

    The level of mercury in that Calgary experiment was that of one mercury vaccine evenly diluted in babies body. It may be in vitro but the taking apart of a brain cell was not random but an action of deliberateness by the organism. Further we know from SIDS that 1999 out of 2000 are not SIDS, so unlike the experiment in a petri dish when it succeeds in destroying brain cells 100 per cent of the time we only need success 1 time in 2000 to cause a million dead babies.

    It also means that everyone of us today is fighting off toxic exposure every day and eventually it ages us and for Camelford we find this aging accelerates so Carole Cross died of old age before her 60th birthday.

    Only one of 20 000 because of the interest, research and despair for proper science from UK govt by ecologist husband Mr Cross.

  47. John Fryer Chemist November 16, 2010 at 11:28 #

    The Wakefield Paper was not an easy paper to read and for me told me that autism children also commonly had upset stomachs. A finding that this group claimed was previously unrecognised. In fact it is true that this had been known for decades so amounted to just confirmation and bringing to peoples attention.

    I am not aware that he ever made the claim that measles virus was discovered in the guts of any of these children in this paper.

    Can you cite the part of the article that says this?

    The paper was retracted for several reasons highly disputed but one was that the patients were not consecutively chosen. I believe this is a valid criticism but arose simply because he allowed a USA case into the study and of course how could a USA case be in the Royal Free intake. Impossible;

    I find the level of compromise for a retraction by more than a dozen honest workers at this hospital a slur on them and their honesty not justified.

    I repeat that Verstraeten reworked his data to remove a more than 20 fold link of thimerosal to autism and removed himself from discussing his paper in the Pediatrics of 2003.

    This and many others are blatant fraud but still remain unchallenged.

    I can accept that foul play went on against Wakefield but nobody wants to reexamine Verstaeten when it is fait accompli by means of freedom of information extraction of what happened but without this we would be fooled.

    We are not fooled, we just accept lies as proof that a brain destroying chemical is like lemon juice and watch the results as mercury is now given to unborn infants by injection.


  48. John Fryer Chemist November 16, 2010 at 11:36 #


    I have looked at many of the papers that claim there is no harm from brain destroying thimerosal but as this paper is being discussed it does show harm to the unborn infant and as the child gets older the effect of thimerosal is less and less. This fits in with elementary toxicology so to write off harm as a false positive seems very hard on the infants that become autism and also very hard on the unexplained million SIDS since introducing mercury vaccines.

    Wouldn’t it be logical to ban mercury vaccines, look at the harm caused by early vaccines and not use controls with mercury assumed by grandfather acts to be safe?

    6 per cent of people vaccinated in one trial died recently. Vaccines are on the market with several deaths in the trials made OK as the thimerosal placebo killed almost as many.

    People defend vaccines almost to spite the evidence of harm.

    As a person that was glad for his TB vaccine that kills more than a thousand people every year in USA alone. I ask where the XXXX are the TB vaccines today. We worry of one death to a vaccinated child from measles but keep very quiet that TB is a vaccine preventable illness that we choose not to vacinate people and protect them.

  49. Ryan W. December 12, 2010 at 04:45 #

    I acknowledge that there are a number of epidemiological studies claiming no link between mercury and autism. However I have trouble squaring this with the biochemical evidence that autistic children tend to be more susceptible to mercury poisoning, and am made more skeptical by the fact that every single ‘refutation’ of the mercury-autism link ignores this research rather than addressing it.

    At the very least, I think that thimerosal is likely to cause a significantly greater adverse reaction in those with autism than those without autism (even if it is not, in itself, the entire root cause of this disorder.) Such a view could be supported by the anti-oxidant deficiencies in many autistic children. While there are a lot of ways for an engine to break and there are a lot of genes which ’cause autism,’ novel polymporphisms in the glutathione gene relative to one’s parents are statistically more common in children with autism whose parents are healthy. Glutathione is an critical anti-oxidant that is also critical for bodily removal of certain toxins including mercury. So there seems to be a fairly well established mechanism to support the notion that children with autism would, at the very least, be much more likely to have an adverse reaction to thimerosal-containing vaccines. There have been numerous studies strongly supporting such a mechanism, as posted below. So I’m suspicious of arguments which simply gloss over those opposed to thimerosal in vaccines by saying that their actions aren’t “evidence based.”

    Most of the research posted below is 2008 or 2009. This is just a small sampling of the research available.

    (note GSH = Glutathione)

    We compared levels of SOD, GSH-Px, and MDA in children with autism and controls. In children less than 6 years of age, levels of SOD, and GSH-Px were significantly lower in autistic children compared with their controls

    OBJECTIVES: The study objectives were to determine whether … improvement is associated with increased plasma concentrations of glutathione (GSH) and an increased redox ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG), both of which have been previously identified to be low in children with autism.

    Early post-natal toxicant administration to mice has been used to model autistic regression. To test the hypothesis that genetically altered mice might be more sensitive to toxicant exposure early in life, mice with a deletion of glutathione-S-transferaseM1 (GSTM1; a gene associated with increased risk of autism that codes for an enzyme involved in the management of toxicant-induced oxidative stress) and wild-type controls were exposed to valproic acid (VPA; a toxicant known to cause autism-like behavioral deficits that, in part, are mediated through oxidative stress)… VPA treatment caused significant increases in apoptosis in granule cells of the hippocampus and cerebellum. There was a genotype by treatment by sex interaction with wild-type females exhibiting significantly fewer apoptotic cells in these regions compared to all other groups. VPA treatment also resulted in long-lasting deficits in social behaviors and significant alterations in brain chemistry. VPA-treated GSTM1 knockout animals performed significantly fewer crawl-under behaviors compared to saline-treated knockout animals as well as wild-type controls receiving either treatment. Collectively, these studies indicate that VPA-treatment causes cerebellar and hippocampal apoptosis and that having the wild-type GSTM1 genotype may confer protection against VPA-induced neuronal death in female mice.

    The severity of autism is associated with toxic metal body burden and red blood cell glutathione levels.

    Multiple positive correlations were found between the severity of autism and the urinary excretion of toxic metals. Variations in the severity of autism measurements could be explained, in part, by regression analyses of urinary excretion of toxic metals before and after DMSA and the level of RBC glutathione (adjusted R(2) of 0.22-0.45, P < .005 in all cases). This study demonstrates a significant positive association between the severity of autism and the relative body burden of toxic metals.

    De-novo mutations and advanced parental age as a risk factor for ASD also suggest a role for environment. Systemic and central nervous system pathophysiology, including oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction can be consistent with a role for environmental influence (e.g. from air pollution, organophosphates, heavy metals) in ASD, and some of the underlying biochemical disturbances (such as abnormalities in glutathione, a critical antioxidant and detoxifier) can be reversed by targeted nutritional interventions.

    Reduced glutathione regenerating enzymes undergo developmental decline and sexual dimorphism in the rat cerebral cortex.

    Oxidative stress during development may predispose humans to neurodegenerative disorders in old age. Moreover, numerous ailments of brain disproportionately affect one of the genders. We therefore hypothesized that, activities of enzymes regenerating and utilizing glutathione (GSH) show sexual dimorphism and developmental differences in rat brain. …Our results showed that sexual maturation had an impact on activities of enzymes that regenerate and utilize GSH and rat female cortex had more anti-oxidant capacity. Moreover, age-related decline in the activities of these key enzymes were observed. Reduced glutathione and NADPH protects the brain from oxidative stress. Thus, our results may have implications for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease and developmental disorders of brain like autism in which oxidative stress plays a key role.

    Cellular and mitochondrial glutathione redox imbalance in lymphoblastoid cells derived from children with autism.

    Lymphoblastoid cells (LCLs) derived from autistic children and unaffected controls were used to assess relative concentrations of reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized disulfide glutathione (GSSG) in cell extracts and isolated mitochondria as a measure of intracellular redox capacity. The results indicated that the GSH/GSSG redox ratio was decreased and percentage oxidized glutathione increased in both cytosol and mitochondria in the autism LCLs. Exposure to oxidative stress via the sulfhydryl reagent thimerosal resulted in a greater decrease in the GSH/GSSG ratio and increase in free radical generation in autism compared to control cells. Acute exposure to physiological levels of nitric oxide decreased mitochondrial membrane potential to a greater extent in the autism LCLs, although GSH/GSSG and ATP concentrations were similarly decreased in both cell lines. These results suggest that the autism LCLs exhibit a reduced glutathione reserve capacity in both cytosol and mitochondria that may compromise antioxidant defense and detoxification capacity under prooxidant conditions.


  1. Not Every Parent of an Autistic Child Believes Vaccines Are To Blame | Shot of Prevention - September 15, 2010

    […] who accept the evidence that thimerosal exposure does not cause autism.  Yet, in reading the blog piece from Left Brain, Right Brain, that also covered the Pediatrics study in detail, I came across a reader comment that went so far […]

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