Sunday, July 10, 2005

Salon and the Thimerosal conspiracy News | Deadly immunity

Salon has a long article alleging a widespread conspiracy on the part of clinicians, government agencies, and scientists to conceal a link between Thimerosal, a vaccine preservative, and autism.

The author lost me at when he claimed a heroic researcher who'd uncovered this connection had switched to the dark side and buried the data:
By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.
Scientists and researchers aren't always trustworthy. The risks of mad cow disease were underestimated by UK scientists, but so were the estimates of activists. Even so, this article reads like it's straight from the tin hat brigade. Physicians are notorious blabber-mouths; there's no way they could keep such a conspiracy going.

As best as I can tell, the Institute of Medicine is reasonably trustworthy. They felt we should look elsewhere to explain autism. I wouldn't say a connection to Thimerosal is impossible, but we have only so much time and money. Let's try looking at terrain that's not been so well walked.

When would I consider looking at Thimerosal again? I don't believed it's used much anymore. If the incidence of autism nosedives in areas where Thimeraosal is no longer used, then I'd say reverse course and resume the conspiracy investigation. If not, then forget about it.

PS. Someone has done a rather good job of dissecting the Salon article. He thinks it's nonsense and shows why. I'm adding skeptico to my bloglines!

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