R. G asked in Science & MathematicsMedicine · 1 decade ago

Autism - Vaccination controversy?

First off, I agree with mainstream science that there isn't compelling evidence that autism is caused by vaccinations.

However, Mutter's 2005 article, "Mercury and autism: Accelerating Evidence?" appears to dispute this. He concluded that "repetitive mercury exposure...is one potential pathogenetic factor in autism". Here is the link to the article: http://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de/iuk/live/forschun...

I am interested in learning if this article has been refuted or not?

Update:

Patricia, thanks for your input, but I should have clarified my question better. I'm looking for a *credible source* that specifically addresses *this article,* not anectodal evidence nor opinions (and this is not saying that your opinion doesn't matter!) on the vaccination controversy in general.

Update 2:

Again, I'm looking for a *credible source* that refutes or supports *this article.*

3 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here's a recent meta-analysis of around 20 studies worldwide on the autism/vaccination link (yes, the studies exist, despite all the anti-vaccine nuts saying that they don't and that there's some big cover-up): http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/... . Aside from the original, retracted and universally criticized Wakefield paper published in the Lancet, NONE have shown a link between routine childhood vaccinations and autism. Basically all "evidence" to the contrary cited by people now are either anecdotal, or from sources out of mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific journals - it just gets a lot of press because there are a lot of celebrity endorsements.

    Regarding the specific article you cited - to my knowledge, it has not been retracted - however, it also does not specifically link vaccines to autism either. It points out a correlation between mercury exposure and autism - thimerosol in vaccines is only a very minor source of mercury, and in fact, it is gone from childhood vaccines in the US (except for influenza vaccine given to older children, and some non-standard variations of DTaP). As the article points out, exposure in utero to mercury from the mother eating fish, or environmental exposure, etc. can be much more significant sources. Also, I didn't read the associated studies themselves so I could be wrong, but in animal studies to determine the toxicity of different chemicals, the dosages are many times in excess of what a human would normally be exposed to, because the studies are designed to maximize the potential injury caused by a substance (the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer is an example of this). In terms of the link between mercury and autism, as far as I know, chelation treatments to "remove toxins" as treatment for autism is still pretty much fringe science, but at the same time, I don't think there is definitive evidence saying that environmental toxins are NOT the cause of autism either, so I guess that is still an area up for debate and study.

  • 1 decade ago

    Dr. Andrew Wakefield was the forefather of this theory and he just had his license to practice medicine in the UK revoked.

    I am the father of a child with a few complications on the autism spectrum, so I don't easily dismiss such theories. But for some reason, the medical board found his research to be unethical and displaying professional misconduct.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm inclined to believe there is some legitimacy to this theory because when I was growing up eons ago there was nothing like autism. I don't mean that it just wasn't diagnosed properly but that I never saw any child that showed symptoms anything like autism and neither does anyone else my age that I know of.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.