Study claims vaccines-autism link; scientists find fake data, have rage stroke
A recent study linking a component of vaccines to signs of autism in mice is set for retraction after scientists thoroughly demolished the study’s design, methods, and analysis—and then, for good measure, spotted faked data.
The original study, led by Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia, suggested that aluminum in vaccines can alter immune responses and trigger the development of autism. (Aluminum adjuvants are used in some vaccines to boost protective immune responses.) The study is just the latest in a long line of publications from the researchers who appear unwavering in their effort to reveal supposed neurotoxic effects of aluminum in vaccines even though dozens of studies have found no evidence of such toxicity.
This isn’t the first time their work has drawn sharp criticism and a retraction; in fact, the researchers have been roundly criticized by peers, experts, and even the World Health Organization. In 2012, the WHO made the unusual effort to specifically call out two of Shaw and Tomljenovic’s publications, calling them “seriously flawed .” The WHO laid out specific failings of the work and noted an assessment by the Food and Drug Administration that reinforced the safety of aluminum in vaccines, which is backed by clinical trial and epidemiological evidence.