" Nancy J. Minshew is finally ready to take off the gloves.After years of sitting back and hoping the science would speak for itself, the director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Excellence in Autism Research has decided it's time for her to take a personal stand. Autism is not caused by vaccinations, she says, and those who continue to push that theory are endangering the lives of children and misdirecting the nation's scarce resources for autism research." The weight of the evidence is so great that I don't think there is any room for dispute. I think the issue is done," said Dr. Minshew, who runs one of nine top autism research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health.
One of the main pieces of evidence against the vaccine theory, Minshew said, is that thimerosal has been banned from most childhood vaccines in America since 2001, and yet reported autism rates have continued to increase.
Dr. Eric Fombonne, an autism researcher at McGill University in Montreal, has an even more telling example of that. In Quebec, children who got vaccines from 1987 to 1991 had about half as much mercury exposure as those in the United States; from 1992 to 1995, they had the same amount; and from 1996 on they had no exposure at all because mercury preservatives were removed. Yet the autism rates in Quebec increased steadily through that entire period, and actually went up faster after the mercury was eliminated."
Mark Roth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ScrippsNews, January 31, 2008
Followers of Dr. Eric Fombonne (eg. Luna the Cat) insist that the good Doctor does not maintain that autism is rising. They claim that he has published articles and made comments to the contrary. They assert that his view is that the dramatic increases in autism disorders do not reflect real increases in autism; that they are due entirely to diagnostic definition changes, increased autism awareness etc.
I agree that Dr. Fombonne has elsewhere argued that increases in autism are not real. That is exactly why I pointed out that in the Mark Roth, ScrippsNews article above Dr. Fombonne said exactly the opposite. The article is still available on line and, two years after it appeared, there is no indication that Dr. Fombonne has sought to clarify his statements to Mr. Roth or to have his position as set out therein retracted or clarified.
Mr. Roth claims that Fombonne used rising autism rates in Quebec after the alleged removal of thimerosal from vaccines in that province to demonstrate that thimerosal did not cause autism. That argument would have no merit if the rising autism rates referenced by Dr. Fombonne did not reflect REAL increases in autism.
Nor did I take Dr. Fombonne's views as set out by Mr. Roth out of context. His position that autism rates rose in Quebec after removal of thimerosal is identical to that of Dr. Nancy J. Minshew's statement as quoted by Mr. Roth.
Dr. Fombonne and Dr. Minshew both argued that autism rose after removal of thimerosal from vaccines and that therefore thimerosal does not cause autism. Dr. Minshew even called it one of the main pieces of evidence against the vaccine (thimerosal) causes autism theory. She said that the weight of that evidence was so great that their was no longer room for doubt. But that argument can only be right IF Dr. Minshew and Dr. Fombonne were asserting that rising autism rates reflect a REAL increase in autism.
Autism is rising, it is actually and really rising. Take it from Dr. Minshew .... and Dr. Fombonne.