I wonder why it took so long to discover this. Controversy has surrounded this subject for over 10 years now. That makes me a little bit suspicious, but to see that the “study” only had 12 children in it is beyond shady. I am coming to this many years late as I was not paying attention to childhood vaccines and I really didn’t know what autism was back then.
However, I believe dozens of follow-up studies have been done on this supposed “link” between the mercury in MMR vaccines and the increased rate of autism. Note that since the initial scare, mercury has been removed from the MMR vaccine and rates have held steady. More importantly, the supposed correlation was between the vaccine and the rate of autism diagnosis. After the Education of All Handicapped Children Act from 1975 was revised into what we know as IDEA, schools and health professionals started paying a lot more attention to autism (and many other special needs for children) because the law mandated it. Shockingly, diagnoses skyrocketed throughout the 90’s. Overall, this is a good thing as we know so much more about autism because of it. It has also led to Jenny McCarthy crusading around the country describing how she “healed” her son’s autism that was caused by a vaccine.
The Lancet, if you recall (or most likely don’t) also published this gem (registration required for full text) a few years ago that said over 650,000 Iraqis had died violent deaths due to the invasion and occupation. I could easily link to about a thousand different commentaries on how poorly this work was done, but will restrain myself. My point is that I wonder what is going on at this journal. It’s almost 200 years old. I think they need to tighten up.