CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism


David Kirby


Posted: March 18, 2011 05:46 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to study autism as a possible clinical outcome of immunization, as part of its newly adopted 5-year research agenda for vaccine safety, the agency said on its website.

The CDC will also study mitochondrial dysfunction and the potential risk for post-vaccine “neurological deterioration,” and convene an expert panel on the feasibility of studying health outcomes such as autism among vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

The CDC plan adopts recommendations approved by the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the US Department of Health and Human Services. It also comes one month after the federal government’s leading autism body, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), announced a shift in research priorities toward environmental triggers for autism, which the IACC said could include toxins, biological agents and “adverse events following immunization.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Safety Office Scientific Agenda indentified the need to research “Neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” as a possible clinical outcome of vaccination.

The plan also seeks to deternine if the mercury-based preservative thimerosal is associated with increased risk for “clinically important tics or Tourette syndrome.” The CDC cited one study (Thompson, NEJM, 2007), which “found that increasing exposure to mercury from birth to age 7 months was associated with motor and phonic tics in boys,” and added that “an association between exposure to thimerosal and tics was found in two earlier studies (Andrews, Pediatrics, 2004; Verstraeten, Pediatrics, 2003).”

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