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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

One last time: The latest Geier & Geier paper is not evidence that thimerosal causes autism, part 2

The other day, in response to several e-mails asking me about the latest bit of bad science and epidemiology purporting to support the idea that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in many childhood vaccines is a major cause of autism, I posted links to EpiWonk’s thee-part (so far) takedown of this execrable study, whose passage through the peer-review system unchallenged is evidence of just how screwed up peer review can be at some journals. I forgot at the time that there is another, equally, if not even more, detailed takedown of this new bit of pseudoscience posted at a blog I hadn’t heard of before, Pathophilia. Just to complete the piling on of the latest Geier & Geier (& Young) crapfest, I would be remiss if I didn’t included links to these deconstructions as well, which show that I really didn’t need to do one of my own:

  1. IRB Approval of Geier Autism Study: Yes or No?
  2. I’ve Been Sucked Into the Thimerosal-Autism-Geier Vortex
  3. Young-Geier Autism Study: What the–? (Part 1)
  4. Young-Geier Autism Study: What the–? (Part 2)
  5. Young-Geier Autism Study: What the–? (Part 3)
  6. Young-Geier Autism Study: What the–? (Part 4)

Ow! That’s gonna leave a mark! Thus endeth the lesson, but not the disgust with the Geiers. Indeed, Kevin Leitch has coined a hilariously apt term to describe researchers like the Geiers’ coinvestigator in this study Heather Young did:

I propose that any researcher or scientist who unwittingly gets into a quagmire with the Geier’s should be referred to as being ‘quag-geier-ed’. Its a handy way of referring to people who’ve (possibly accidently) stumbled into a great big pile of shit.

“Quag-Geier”? It’s perfect. I still haven’t figured out how an apparently able investigator like Heather Young managed to get mixed up with such nonsense. Maybe it’s a lack of experience and too much trust. She is, after all, only an Assistant Professor. If she keeps putting her name on studies like this one by the Geiers, that may be as far as she ever advances.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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