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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Research Finds No Evidence That Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines Affect Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Infant Primates

From lbrb
Left Brain Right Brain

By Matt Carey
April 26, 2015

"... the data in this primate study overwhelmingly provides support for the safety of pediatric vaccines.”

Below is a press release from the Johnson Center (formerly Thoughtful House). It is about a recent follow-up study they performed (discussed here). I’ll give the press release below with no further comment except to highlight this statement by the lead researcher: “Despite these limitations, the data in this primate study overwhelmingly provides support for the safety of pediatric vaccines.”

New Research Finds No Evidence That Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines Affect Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Infant Primates


(Austin, Texas) – February 18, 2015 – A research study published today in Environmental Health Perspectivesreported that vaccination of infant macaques with thimerosal-containing vaccines did not negatively impact neurodevelopment, cognition, or behavior. In this study animals received several pediatric vaccines containing thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) in a schedule similar to that given to infants in the 1990s. Other animals received just the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which does not contain thimerosal, or an expanded vaccine schedule similar to that recommended for US infants today. Control animals received a saline injection. Regardless of vaccination status, all animals developed normally.

“This comprehensive study of infant primate development, including analyses of learning, cognition, and social development, indicated that vaccinated primates were not negatively affected by thimerosal or the MMR vaccine; the same was true for animals receiving an expanded vaccine schedule” explained Dr. Laura Hewitson of The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development, the principle investigator of the study.

Hewitson worked with a team of researchers at the Center on Human Development and Disability Infant Primate Research Laboratory and the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington, Seattle WA. According to Hewitson, the study was designed to compare the safety of different vaccination schedules, including the schedule from the 1990s, when thimerosal was still used as a preservative in multi-dose vaccine preparations. Although in 1999 the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that thimerosal be removed from vaccines in the US, it is still used as a preservative in multi-dose flu shots, which are recommended for pregnant women and children 6 months of age and older.

“This is the first time the safety of the entire pediatric vaccine schedule has been investigated in a relevant animal model,” said Dr. Judy Van de Water from the UC-Davis MIND Institute, who was not involved in this study.

Hewitson also noted, “As with any animal study, assessments were implemented under controlled laboratory conditions. We did not test all of the interacting variables that could contribute to an adverse outcome, such as birth weight, gestational age, genetic vulnerability, or in utero and post-natal chemical exposures. The interaction between multiple environmental exposures or genetic factors that may impact vaccine response, which is an important aspect of the vaccine debate, was not addressed in this study. Despite these limitations, the data in this primate study overwhelmingly provides support for the safety of pediatric vaccines.”


Citation

Examination of the Safety of Pediatric Vaccine Schedules in a Non-Human Primate Model: Assessments of Neurodevelopment, Learning, and Social Behavior. Britni Curtis, Noelle Liberato, Megan Rulien, Kelly Morrisroe, Caroline Kenney, Vernon Yutuc, Clayton Ferrier, C. Nathan Marti, Dorothy Mandell, Thomas M. Burbacher, Gene P. Sackett and Laura Hewitson. Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb 18, 2015; doi:10.1289/ehp.1408257. Once the embargo lifts, this article can be downloaded for free at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408257.

This study was supported by The Ted Lindsay Foundation, SafeMinds, National Autism Association, the Vernick family, and the Johnson family. This work was also supported by WaNPRC Core Grant RR00166 and CHDD Core Grant HD02274.

Editor's Note

The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development, in Austin, Texas, was formerly known as Thoughtful House. Thoughtful House was established in 2004 by, among others, Andrew Wakefield, principal author of the now-discredited Lancet paper that purportedly linked autism to MMR vaccination. That paper was later retracted and, in disgrace, Wakefield was stripped of his license to practice medicine in the U.K. In 2010, Wakefield resigned from Thoughtful House, which shortly thereafter changed its name, presumably to distance itself from him. It also changed its mission statement. Previously, they had engaged in research related to Wakefield's claims and provided "alternative" autism therapies; now, The Johnson Center says they work,"to advance the understanding of childhood development through clinical care, research, and education."

SafeMinds is a strident (albeit lately, more moderate in tone) anti-vaccine organization established to combat what they perceive to be a vaccine-driven autism epidemic. It still subscribes to theories of vaccine toxicity and sponsors research "intended to determine whether the vaccine-injury risk has risen to an unacceptably high level, in comparison to disease-injury risk, which would indicate that smart action is needed to make the current USA vaccination schedule safer and more effective." Note the presupposition that there is significant "vaccine-injury risk" and that the current schedule is unsafe.

It is very interesting that their own research validates the safety of vaccination.

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