Sept. 30, 2009
New Research Study Shows Developmental Delays in Monkeys Given Hepatitis B Vaccines
(Austin, Texas) – A new research study published today in a leading scientific journal, NeuroToxicology, found that a Hepatitis B vaccine containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal caused significant delays in the acquisition of critical survival reflexes in newborn rhesus macaque monkeys. In this first-ever study comparing vaccinated animals with unvaccinated controls, thirteen of the animals were given a Hepatitis B vaccine containing a standardized amount of thimerosal to match that given to babies; four received a saline placebo, and three were not given any shots. The unvaccinated animals developed normally. Delays in vaccinated infants involved three critical reflexes associated with feeding, which are essential for survival in the wild.
“Infants of lower birth weight and gestational age were at greater risk” explained Dr. Laura Hewitson of the University of Pittsburgh, one of the principal investigators of the study. “The reflexes affected in this study are controlled by the brainstem, which regulates functions like heart rate, breathing, and intestinal activity, so these findings give us cause for concern, especially for low birth weight and pre-term infants who might be more susceptible to functional brain injury from this vaccine.”
According to Hewitson, the study was not designed to determine whether it was the thimerosal preservative or another component of the vaccine that caused the observed delays. Although the FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 1999 that thimerosal be removed as soon as possible from vaccines in the US, it is still used as a preservative in flu shots, including the recently licensed H1N1 vaccines. Flu shots are currently recommended for pregnant women and children 6 months of age and older.
“We undertook these experiments largely because we were unable to find any safety studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated animals,” said Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Executive Director of Thoughtful House and a co-investigator of the project. “This study is part of a larger research program looking at the safety of the vaccine schedule from birth to age four years. What is particularly concerning is that in spite of the recommendation to remove thimerosal from vaccines a decade ago, millions of people, many of them children and pregnant mothers, are about to get mercury in their flu shots.”
Thimerosal is also still routinely used in Hepatitis B and numerous other vaccines world-wide.
About Thoughtful House:
Thoughtful House advocates and provides multi-disciplinary treatment for autism and related developmental delays and disorders. The Thoughtful House research program is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders; Thoughtful House supports a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœsafety-firstÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ vaccination policy.
Delayed Acquisition of Neonatal Reflexes in Newborn Primates Receiving a Thimerosal-Containing Hepatitis B Vaccine: Influence of Gestational Age and Birth Weight.
Hewitson L, Houser LA, Stott C, Sackett G, Tomko JL, Atwood D, Blue L, White ER and Wakefield AJ.
NeuroToxicology, In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 30 September 2009. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuro.2009.09.008.
- Fact Sheet
- Dr. Hewitson’s Bio – Lead Author
- Dr. Wakefield’s Bio – Senior Author
- High Resolution Photo: Dr. Laura Hewitson
- High Resolution Photo: Dr. Andrew Wakefield
- High Resolution Photo: Dr. Laura Hewitson and Dr. Andrew Wakefield
James C. Moore