Posted by: shoji | September 28, 2007

Thimerosal Redux

Yet another study was published concluding:

Our study does not support a causal association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immune globulins and deficits in neuropsychological functioning at the age of 7 to 10 years.

However, the controversy around thimerosal will likely not dissipate. One reason is the conspiracy mentality. Another, on the pragmatic side is that it’s impossible to prove that there is no connection: one can always argue (sometimes convincingly, sometimes not) that the researchers didn’t measure the appropriate things; the study wasn’t long enough; it lacked the appropriate subject numbers, etc.

Derek Lowe asks a very important question:

What data would suffice to make you abandon your belief?

Thimerosal. Again.. In the Pipeline:
As a scientist, I’ve had to take a lot of good, compelling ideas of mine and toss them into the trash when the data failed to support them. Not everything works, and not everything that looks as if it makes sense really does. It’s getting to the point with the autism/thimerosal hypothesis- has, in fact, gotten to the point quite some time ago – that the data have failed to support it. If you disagree, and I know from my e-mail that some readers will, then ask yourself what data would suffice to make you abandon your belief? If you can’t think of any, you have moved beyond medicine and beyond science, and I’ll not follow you.



  1. […] used this quote from Derek Lowe in a previous post called Thimerosal redux. It’s rather salient given the comments elicited in my post on Smoking bans (which, […]

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