NAAR Founder Eric London Resigns from Autism Speaks citing Disagreement over Vaccine Research

Dr. Eric London has announced his resignation from the Autism Speaks Scientific Affairs Committee.  London is the Director of the Autism Treatment Laboratory at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. He is also Chief Scientific Advisor of the New York State Autism Consortium and a member of the Autism Science Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board.  He is the co-founder of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR).  

Dr. London’s letter of resignation is below:

After three years of great hopes for Autism Speaks being the optimal vehicle to advance autism science and treatment, I regretfully and sadly must announce my dissociation from this organization, including resignation from the Scientific Affairs Committee.

Despite the very excellent work that Autism Speaks has done in the area of awareness and legal advocacy, there are many differences which I have with the organization, mostly concerning the direction and prioritization of the science program. There have been numerous decisions made which I believe have adversely impacted autism research and none of those decisions were made upon the advice of the Scientific Affairs Committee. The processes with which science decisions have been made have been contrary to my hopes and expectations when the NAAR-AS merger was effectuated.


If this were the only issue, I might have continued to try to work from within the organization to influence science policy and direction. However, the pivotal issue compelling my decision is the position which Autism Speaks is taking concerning vaccinations.  The arguments which Dr. Dawson and others assert– that the parents need even further assurances and there might be rare cases of “biologically plausible” vaccine involvement –are misleading and disingenuous.  Through its website and other communications, Autism Speaks has been influential and contributory in encouraging parents’ doubts.  By preferentially investing and advocating for the use of limited financial resources on the “biological plausibility” argument, the organization is adversely impacting the advancement of autism research.

Recent reports have documented significant outbreaks of measles and other infectious diseases which could have been controlled and even eradicated.  The lowering of the vaccination rate has already led to deaths.  If Autism Speaks’ misguided stance continues, there will be more deaths and potentially the loss of herd immunity which would result in serious outbreaks of otherwise preventable disease.  I further fear that if and when herd immunity is lost, there may be a societal backlash against the autism community.
 
In my role as an Autism Speaks Scientific Affairs Committee member, I would be lending credibility to an organization whose scientific agenda and positions I can no longer ethically support. Please accept my resignation, effective immediately.  If anyone would like to discuss this with me further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
Sincerely, Eric London MD
 
Read more about autism and vaccines here
 

12 Replies to “NAAR Founder Eric London Resigns from Autism Speaks citing Disagreement over Vaccine Research”

  1. This is a brave move by Dr. London. I hope those scientists who are affiliated with AS and have principles will follow his lead. Autistic people do not benefit from having research funds that could help them siphoned off into fueling a vendetta.

  2. I agree with the above comment. It is high time the other scientists affiliated with AS resign as to not keep perpetuating fraud. In my opinion AS is raising money under false pretenses.

  3. I applaud Dr. Eric London’s decision to disassociate himself from Autism Speaks.
    As a former ‘associate’, I too feel that Autism Speaks has done an important job in disseminating information about Autism. They should stick with what they do best – Autism awareness, and leave science to the scientists.

  4. Read press coverage in:

    Newsweek: Another Resignation at Autism Speaks
    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2009/07/01/claudia-kalb-another-resignation-at-autism-speaks.aspx_

    About.com: Second Resignation from Autism Speaks Reflects Concerns Over Vaccine-Related Research
    http://autism.about.com/

    Education Week: Autism Researcher Resigns from Position Within Advocacy Organization
    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2009/07/autism_research_resigns_from_p_1.html

  5. Great news about Eric London resigning. I was always hesitant to speak critically of Autism Speaks, but this vaccination issue has been bugging me for years. Autism Speaks has done so much for awareness nationally and internationally and it is such a powerful group. It’s unfortunate that the platform they have is wasted on fruitless endeavors when there is so much that needs to be done…

  6. Both of the London’s have been such a driving force in autism awareness and research for more years than I wish to count. It saddens me to see this separation from an organization that should represent such hope for the autism community. I hope the London’s re-surface and continue their mission.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: