Review of 2004 Institute of Medicine “Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism”

Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism
Immunization Safety Review Committee
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
ISBN: 0-309-53275-2, 214 pages, 6 x 9, (2004)

The committee reviewed the extant published and unpublished
epidemiological studies regarding causality and studies of potential biologic
mechanisms by which these immunizations might cause autism. The committee
concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal
relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The committee also concludes
that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal
relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. The committee
further finds that potential biological mechanisms for vaccine-induced autism
that have been generated to date are theoretical only.
The survey does not consider aluminum, contaminants, or multiplicity and timing interactions. Nor do they consider the possibility that vaccine virus takes lodge in the gut of some individuals and causes autism. For all of these there are peer reviewed papers that tie them to autism or brain damage. It does not consider the possibility of multiple causes– which invalidates pretty much all the studies they cite. If both thimerisol and
timing or contaminants or aluminum of other vaccines are independently contributing to autism, its going to obscure and make it impossible to see any statistically significant effect in the studies they consider, which compare kids getting numerous vaccines to kids getting numerous vaccines.

They do not consider the possibility that parents see their kids damaged by vaccines and thus stop vaccinating or delay vaccinations.
A kid that visibly develops problems on the first thimerisol shot may well never get another. And also, kids miss vaccinations and have them delayed because they are sick.
It is a systematic and huge bias in every study they consider that some kids are placed into the low vaccine or low thimerisol bin *because* they were vaccine damaged or sickly. This by itself invalidates all the studies they rely on for establishing safety.

There’s plenty of evidence to confirm such visible problems. The IOM study in fact says they reviewed 1348 VAERS reports of autism immediately after a vaccination. Even if adverse events may be purely circumstantial, their perceived nature will bias the experiments putting damaged kids into low vaccine bins. Its putting the cart before the horse to assume parents can’t ever recognize their kid be damaged, as an assumption in testing whether vaccines damage.

In fact there is significant evidence to show this is exactly what is happening. There is a repeated finding that early Thimerosal is significantly preventative of general developmental disorders, unspecified developmental delay, and attention deficit disorder[1] ASD[2], and thatMMR is signficantly preventative of ASD in younger siblings of ASD victims[3]. Each study’s authors put this down to chance, but the repeated finding makes this unlikely. These consistent results support the alternative hypothesis that children are having visible reactions (or in the latter case, their sibling has the reaction) and being pulled from the high vaccine or high thimerisol pool by parents choosing to delay or cancel their vaccines.

[1]Nick Andrews; Elizabeth Miller; Andrew Grant et al, Thimerosal Exposure in
Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United
Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association, Pediatrics September 2004,

[2]Cristofer S. Price, William W. Thompson, Barbara Goodson,et al, Prenatal and
Infant Exposure to Thimerosal From Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of
Autism, Pediatrics October 2010, VOLUME 126 / ISSUE 4

[3]Anjali Jain; Jaclyn Marshall; Ami Buikema; et al. Autism Occurrence by MMR
Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism,
JAMA. 2015;313(15):1534-1540. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077.

The studies the IOM rely on have other problems as well.

Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M. 2003. Association between thimerosal-containing vaccine and autism. JAMA 290(13):1763-6.

Click to access HG_8.pdf

This paper took advantage of the fact that Denmark reformulated its Pertussis vaccine to take out the thimerisol for a while to try to compare kids who got more thimerisol vaccines to kids who got less thimerisol vaccines. “Doses administered before June 1, 1992, were considered to contain thimerosal, and doses administered after June 1, 1992, were considered thimerosal free.”
The first problem as noted above is that if parents observe the child having problems, they withhold or delay further vaccines, which biases the problem children to the low thimerisol group.

A second problem is they changed the definition how they diagnose autism during the period from in patient to in and out. “In 1991-1994, only inpatients were included in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register. From 1995, both inpatients and outpatients were included.
So the kids getting high thimerisol (early) are almost certainly more underdiagnosed (or less overdiagnosed) than the kids getting low thimerisol (later in the period.)
And this relative underdiagnosis appears plausibly to be by an order of magnitude or more, since another study on Danish Data reported 13.5 times as many outpatient diagnosis
as inpatient.
Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M. A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(19):1477-82.

Thomas Verstraeten, Robert L. Davis, Frank DeStefano, et al.
Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized
Health Maintenance Organization Databases
Pediatrics 2003;112;1039-1048

Patients were classified not by total Thimerosal, rather by Thimerosal in a period such as 0-3 or 0-7 months, and then the patients are evaluated later. In Vaerstraten et al, for example, only neuro-developmental diagnoses made after 1 year are included, so that patients that were more immediately damaged by early Thimerosal could have been excluded and the low- Thimerosal patients may be diagnosed due to proximate effects from post 1yo Thimerosal containing vaccine administration that the high-Thimerosal patients were not subject to, having had them earlier.

Vaerstraten et al also observed that the patients who received the most Hg in the
first 7 months of life also had many more well-child visits, and many more URI visits
in the second year of life. Rather than contemplate the possibility that this is
evidence that the Thimerosal or the vaccines are damaging the immune systems of
the patients, they adopted criteria that selected sicker than random controls, using
controls “restricted to children who had made at least 1 visit to a clinic or an
emergency department at the same month of age as cases.

And, of course, their study is invalidated by parents observing vaccine damage and withheld vaccines.

Its also interesting to note that some of these same authors were making presentations on their data showing relative risk of as high as 7.6 in the high thimerisol group, but somehow these results never were published. See
for the abstract of such presentation.
and for additional evidence see:

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