Thimerosal Not Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Prenatal, early-life vaccines do not up risk of autistic disorder, ASD with regression
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal and early-life exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulin preparations does not increase the risk of either autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or two subcategories of the disorder, according to research published online Sept. 13 in Pediatrics.

Cristofer S. Price, of Abt Associates Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues conducted a case-control study to examine relationships between prenatal and infant ethylmercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines and/or immunoglobulin preparations and ASD. Relationships with two ASD subcategories -- autistic disorder and ASD with regression -- were also examined. The study included 256 children with ASD and 752 matched controls.

The researchers observed no increased risk for any of the three ASD outcomes associated with exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines or immunoglobulin preparations. A two-standard deviation increase in ethylmercury exposure was associated with adjusted odds ratios for ASD of 1.12 for prenatal exposure, 0.88 for exposure from birth to 1 month, 0.60 for exposure from birth to 7 months, and 0.60 for exposure from birth to 20 months.

"The results of our study of managed care organization members do not support the hypothesis that ethylmercury exposure from thimerosal-containing injections administered prenatally or during infancy is related to increased risk of ASD," the authors conclude.

Two study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, some of which manufacture vaccines.

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