Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vaccine, Autism, and Statistical Nonsense

Since Med Journal Watch has comments turned off, I'm going to comment here.

He's right on nearly all his points, but he missed a BIG one.

The discussion of Autism related to the alleged prenatal exposure to Thimerosal from Rhogam requires a visit to the Rhogam web site

Since at least 2001, THERE IS NO THIMEROSAL IN RHOGAM. Scroll down. You'll find it.

Once again, statistical nonsense which totally ignores reality. Thimerosal must cause Autism, according to the anti-vaxers, so there must be thimerosal in Rhogam.

Even when there isn't.

Update: See Christian's comment. The only thing he missed was the date when the Rhogam (or similar product) was given. The study subjects were prior to the exclusion of Thimerosal.

I haven't been able to access the full text of the study yet. I'll keep trying, but I did a little investigation of the researchers. Christian, of Med Journal Watch, is quite right to be suspicious. The researchers definitely have a dog in this fight. Dr. Mark Geier is a paid professional witness in anti-vaccine trials. He has had his testimony stricken on at least one occasion because he did not have the necessary credentials to be an expert witness in that case.

Additionally, Dr. Mark Geier has been cited for attempting to breach confidentiality and had a different study suspended for that reason.

For some very interesting information on the Geiers, see this post on the Neurodiversity Weblog.

As an Rh negative mother of a young adult with ADHD (too old to have gotten prenatal thimerosal), I'd be interested in research that truly shows a higher incidence of any type of developmental issue in children of Rh negative women. The study population was only 53 and it truly was not a prospective study in the way I understand prospective studies. Further research would be interesting, but I'd want it done by someone who doesn't have anything to gain other than knowledge.


Christian said...

Sorry Judy, I forgot to mention that all participants of the study have been born before 2001 and that their mothers have received the old, thimerosal containing vaccine. I'll add your comment to my post. Thanks for the hint.

Judy said...

And I should have made more of an effort to find out the dates of the study participants. Thanks for letting me know that.

pippa said...

Judy, as late as 2003, my doctor's office still had thimerosal in the vaccines... it takes so darn long to clear through the stockpiles.

Also... you know I vax. ;) I had Rhogam with thimerosal with two kids. The other two kids I took BayRho, no preservatives. Guess which two have sensory problems with developmental delays?

Obviously, I'll never know if that contributed. But anecdotally, it preys on a mother's guilt.

Judy said...

Breathing makes moms feel guilty. You didn't breathe right when you were pregnant? Your fault they have problems. Statistically, there's no evidence that thimerosal ever caused problems -- but I don't miss it. I wish it was the problem. It would have been such a simple fix.

The only one of my children with whom got Rhogam with thimerosal prenatally has virtually identical learning issues to my middle child who didn't. His are a little more severe, but I don't think it's related to the Rhogam. Both of them are Rh negative, so at least the other RH issues don't apply.

Annika said...

There are "shortage loopholes" in every state thimerosal ban and parents need to be made aware that our local governments are still not protecting our children and pregnant women with this sort of crap language contained in the law.

From the article:

Citing a shortage of flu vaccines for young children, the California Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it would make an exception to a new law requiring mercury-free vaccines.

But only one manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, produces the vaccine that complies with California's law, and the company has experienced a delay in shipments this year, creating a supply shortage.

Judy said...

Nobody is making childhood vaccines with thimerosal any more, but thanks for the warning about the flu vaccine.

Thimerosal hasn't been demonstrated to cause autism, but people should know what is in the vaccines their kids are getting.