Is the vaccine-autism debate over? Not according to the co-founder of the largest, most mainstream, most influential autism organization in the world.
In an article published in the Daily Telegraph of the UK, Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright, former head of NBC and grandfather to an autistic child, is quoted rather extensively on the vaccine controversy.
Mr. Wright is essentially saying the same thing as I have been saying for quite some time: This debate is not over, and it is incumbent upon our government to study the long-term effects of our national vaccine schedule on (genetically) susceptible individuals.
Here is what he said:
There is no question but that autism is partly genetic and partly environmental, but we don't know whether environmental factors account for 30, 50 or 60 per cent of cases ... we ought to be able to zero in on some of the environmental factors in early childhood. Vaccines are one of the variables.
The last vaccine (my grandson) Christian had before he regressed was MMR - that's why my daughter concentrates on that. I don't know whether his autism is linked: it was certainly coincidental, what we don't know is if it was causal. Nor do we know whether the thimerosal (the mercury-based preservative used in vaccines) is a factor, although mercury is clearly poisonous.
Governments want to run from that issue but they should become more aggressively involved. They have to follow children through to see if there are any effects. When we spend so much money on vaccines, we should be spending money tracking each year group.
Mr. Wright's comments are very much in line with other prominent Americans, including Barack Obama, John McCain and former NIH Director Dr. Bernadine Healy.
Since 2002, I have been researching the potential connection between mercury, vaccines and other possible environmental "triggers" and autism. I believe that the majority of autism cases are caused by a combination of genetic susceptibilities and environmental factors.
In my recent lectures, I lay out evidence to suggest a scientific link between autism and heavy metals and multiple simultaneous vaccinations in at least some subsets of genetically vulnerable children. My main sources are leading studies done at major universities and published in top-flight peer-reviewed and indexed journals, as well as officials, agencies and panels of the United States government.
Research into mercury, vaccines and autism continues today at universities and within the federal system, as well as at large mainstream private organizations such as Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks recently authorized three studies on thimerosal and autism, and I know for a fact that the foundation is considering funding some more groundbreaking, unprecedented research into the possible links between vaccines and autism.
Some of the most vocal opponents of the autism-vaccine theory have received grants from Autism Speaks for their own research projects - mostly genetic in nature. One might legitimately wonder now if their criticism will remain as harsh and shrill towards Mr. Wright's beliefs as they plan their return to Autism Speaks for more research grants.
They will be in good company. In 2008, the following groups and individuals have all advocated or considered exploring possible links between vaccines and autism:
The Director of the CDC
Chairman of the U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Investigations
HHS Vaccine Safety Working Group
CDC Vaccine Safety Research Agenda Authors
Medical personnel at HHS Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Strategic Planning Workgroup of the IAC Committee
Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network - CISA
Autism researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical School
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
America's health insurance companies
The former head of the NIH and American Red Cross
Both Presidential Candidates