Letter Urges Autism Speaks to Correct Website Statement Regarding Autism and Vaccines
(September 10, 2010—New York, NY) —The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, today announced that it has signed on to an open letter written by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) to Autism Speaks, calling for Autism Speaks to revise statements posted on its website regarding autism and vaccines to bring them more in line with current science.
On its website, Autism Speaks writes, “Several epidemiological studies have explored whether either the MMR vaccine or thimerosal, a preservative previously used in vaccines, are linked to autism, and these studies have not supported a link. But these studies were not designed to identify effects in a small population of potentially vulnerable children due to rare genetic and/or medical conditions.”
The letter from ASAT asks Autism Speaks to correct its website, specifically where Autism Speaks suggests there is a credible scientific rationale for a “vulnerable population” hypothesis, the implication being that there is a group of children for whom vaccines may cause autism. No data yet exist that support a “vulnerable population” hypothesis; it is entirely theoretical. Moreover, because no criteria are offered by which a parent can determine whether his/her child is in this supposed “vulnerable population”, some parents may assume his/her child is in the risk group, and may then choose to withhold potentially life-saving vaccinations.
“Of course we signed onto this letter,” said Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation. “The mission of our organization is to ensure that parents and other stakeholders have accurate, evidence-based, scientifically-relevant information about autism. The data are very clear regarding autism and vaccines. There are no studies indicating autism is caused by vaccines and no data to support a “vulnerable population” hypothesis.”
The full text of ASAT’s open letter to Autism Speaks can be viewed here: http://www.asatonline.org/media_watches/40
The Autism Science Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.
ASF’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of Dr. Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom (UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, past program chair of the International Society for Autism Research); Dr. Ami Klin (Yale Child Study Center); Dr. Sharon Humiston (University of Rochester); Dr. Harold Koplewicz (The Child Mind Institute); Dr. Eric London (New York Institute for Basic Research); Dr. Catherine Lord (University of Michigan); Dr. David Mandell (Univ. of Pennsylvania/CHOP; past program chair of the International Society for Autism Research); and Dr. Matthew State (Yale Medical School).