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Independents' Day

Researchers claim vaccines cause nine out of 10 neurodevelopmental disorders

GPs have been warned to brace themselves for a controversial study to be published in a peer-reviewed journal that 'confirms and extends' the work by Dr Andrew Wakefield on MMR, autism and bowel disease.

GP leaders fear the national press will 'sensationalise' the research causing confidence in childhood vaccinations ­ and especially MMR ­ to plummet to an all-time low.

The US researchers also claim to have established a causal link between mercury in thiomersal-containing vaccines and brain disorder in a further three papers due out this


Dr Mark Geier, leader of the studies and a geneticist at the National Institutes of Health in the US, concluded from his research that 'thiomersal contributed to about 75 per cent of cases of neurodevelopmental disorders while MMR contributed to 15 per cent'.

Dr Geier told Pulse: 'The studies tend to confirm and extend the work by Dr Andy Wakefield that caused so much concern in the UK.'

The research has been presented to solicitors and medical advisers at law firm Alexander Harris, which is leading the MMR litigation against the manufacturers of the vaccine in the UK.

Dr Geier told Pulse the study, to be published in International Paediatrics, found statistically significant increas-ed relative risks of autism, cerebellar ataxia, mental retardation and encephalitis within five to 20 days of MMR immunisation. He based his study on the official US Vaers database of vaccine reactions.

One of his papers on thiomersal-containing vaccines is due to appear in Experimental Biology and Medicine


Dr Peter Fellows, chair of the GPC prescribing sub-committee and a GP in Lydney, Gloucestershire, warned: 'Every bit of anti-publicity makes our lives more difficult.

'This is bound to be damaging. There is a fairly high level of suspicion anyway in terms of patient regard of the establishment and the Department of Health.'

Dr Liz Miller, head of the immunisation division at the Government's Health Protection Agency, was aware of the research but warned studies based on reports to the Vaers database should be treated cautiously because of the possibility of flawed results.

Whole-cell DTP, single diphtheria and tetanus and some influenza and hepatitis B vaccines contain thiomersal.

MMR uptake in the UK currently stands at a record low of just 81 per cent in two-year-olds.

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