Thimerosal does not cause autism, study concludes

Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines, does not increase the likelihood that a child will be diagnosed with autism, according to a new study.

For the study, which will appear in the online journal Pediatrics on September 12, researchers reviewed medical records and interviewed 256 autistic children and 752 children without the disorder who received vaccines containing thimerosal in utero or after birth. They also looked at those who received thimerosal laden doses between 1994 and 1999, according to

On average, those with and without autism received approximately the same dose. The study found that those who developed autism were no likelier to have received thimerosal or to have received it in a larger quantity than those that did not develop autism.

The results confirm the findings of similar studies that have examined the role, if any, of vaccine use in the development of autism, reports. There is widespread consensus in the medical community that there is no connection.

In recent years, many parents of autistic children and autism advocates have come to blame the use of vaccines for causing the condition. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, and those that include thimerosal have been widely blamed. No widely accepted medical study has confirmed those beliefs.