By F. Edward Yazbak MD, FAAP
PubMed is a service of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the US National Institutes of Health. According to its main page, “PubMed comprises more than 20 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.”
On March 25, 2011, I accessed PubMed and searched for “thimerosal, vaccine”.
I found 396 citations, the most recent of which (listed as # 1- PMID: 21350943) published on-line February 25, 2011. It was titled “Integrating Experimental (In Vitro and In Vivo) Neurotoxicity Studies of Low-dose Thimerosal Relevant to Vaccines” and authored by Dr. J G Dórea of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil. This article will be discussed in some detail later.
Readers interested in following this discussion may want to access PubMed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/. Alternative searches for “thimerosal vaccine”, “vaccine, thimerosal” or “vaccine thimerosal” will also lead to the same listing.
The 396 titles with authorship and publication details are listed 20 per page on 20 pages. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=thimerosal%2C%20vaccine]
As of March 25, 2011, there were only three listings for the year: #3 (PMID: 21252391), #6 (PMID: 21185424) and the Dórea paper.
Not all 396 listings deal with the safety vs. neurotoxicity of Thimerosal or of Thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCV), the subject of this three-part series. For example the article listed as # 2 is a report from France of a “case of allergic contact dermatitis three weeks after the H1N1 vaccine, probably involving thimerosal additive.”
The reason for this tedious exercise, probably the first of its kind, is simply to try to determine when peer-reviewed articles related to toxicity /neurotoxicity of Thimerosal-containing- vaccines (TCV) – both pro and con – were first published. The fact that Thimerosal causes allergic reactions such as reported in the publication listed as #2 has been known and reported for decades and is not relevant to this review.
As mentioned in Part 1 and II, the CDC, the FDA and WHO usually start a discussion of the issue of Thimerosal in vaccines by mentioning that the mercury preservative has been used since the 1930s, thus suggesting that it must have been safe and effective.
What those agencies are careful not to ever mention is that the very first article related to Thimerosal in vaccines on PubMed (presently listed as # 396 (PMID: 14249458) was published in October 1964, thirty four years after the 1930s.
[I started practicing pediatrics in 1964 and was just as interested in vaccines then as I am now. I can safely say that I had never heard of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Elsevier) where that article was published and that it certainly was not readily available to most practicing US pediatricians at the time.]
The next listed article (presently listed as # 395 (PMID: 14253616) was by the same authors and was published in the following issue of the same journal in November 1964: “Thimerosal as a preservative in biological preparations. 3. Factors affecting the concentration of thimerosal in aqueous solutions and in vaccines stored in rubber-capped bottles.
For some reason, the second part of that apparent 3-part series was not listed.
Those two Birner & Garnet articles were followed by a very long silence probably because no US pediatrician in his right mind, including this writer, could have ever dreamed that FDA-licensed pediatric vaccines on the market contained any more than an infinitesimally small and innocuous amount of the mercury preservative.