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Researcher Behind CDC Vaccine Safety Claims Disappears with $2M


Dr. Poul Thorsen was a member of a research team that in 2003 reported a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after mercury-based preservatives like thimerosal (also  known as thiomersal) had been banned in its vaccines, supposedly indicating that mercury could therefore not be the cause of the autism epidemic.

This study has long been criticized as fraudulent, since it failed to disclose that the increase was an artifact of new mandates requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry.

Ongoing discussion:
Kennedy further explains: "Despite this obvious chicanery, the CDC has long touted the study as the principal proof that mercury-laced vaccines are safe for infants and young children. The mainstream media has relied on this study as the basis for its public assurances that it is safe to inject young children with mercury -- a potent neurotoxin -- at concentrations hundreds of times over the U.S. safety limits."

The article further states that Thorsen’s group, the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA), had strong ties to the CDC’s autism team and that the strength of this relationship kept him and his staff earning millions of dollars writing research papers that focused on vaccine safety and other issues. Thorsen’s partner Kreesten Madsen was even recently caught red-handed emailing CDC officials looking to prove vaccine safety using carefully selected “cherry picked” facts.

According to the Copenhagen Post, Aarhus University and CDC were investigating Thorsen and discovered he had falsified documents and was accepting salaries from both the Danish university and Emory University in Atlanta, which was a violation of university rules. The Danish news article further reported that:

"Until last March, the man was head of an 80 million kroner joint research project between the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University. Jørgen Jørgensen, Aarhus University’s rector, confirmed that police charges have been filed against the former researcher and that it concerns a sum of around 10 million kroner. Numerous applications for funding for the research were apparently signed with forged signatures. The scientist – who is reportedly living and working in Atlanta in the US – resigned from his post last March. But he allegedly continued to pass himself off as the head of the international project, which dealt primarily with research into the possible causes of autism. Aarhus University also claims that the researcher took another permanent position at Emory University in the US while still heading the Danish-based project.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long stated there is no evidence that the MMR vaccine, along with other Thimerosal-containing vaccines, cause neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Most recently, in February 2009 the U.S. "vaccine court" rendered judgments on three "test" cases alleging that a combination of thimerosal-containing vaccines and MMR vaccine caused three children to regress into autism, and ruled there was no connection once again.
On March 8, 2010 the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from parents who want to sue a vaccine manufacturer and who argue that they cannot get a fair hearing in the vaccine court.

Now, Dr. Poul Thorsen, who was involved in several key studies that the CDC uses to support their claims that MMR and mercury-containing vaccines are safe, has disappeared -- amidst serious fraud charges and with nearly $2 million that was supposedly used for research.

Given the fraudulent nature of Dr. Thorsen’s activities, autism groups and others are demanding the CDC take a second look at Thorsen’s research. However, according to a CDC statement released March 10, "CDC is aware of the allegations by Aarhus University against Poul Thorsen, a Danish doctor who participated in CDC funded research. For the past 10 years, CDC has had a cooperative agreement with the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) and Aarhus University in Denmark to conduct research studies on issues such as cerebral palsy, autism, alcohol use in pregnancy and Down syndrome. Dr. Thorsen was one of many co-authors on these research projects. All of these were subject to extensive peer review and we have no reason to suspect that there are any issues related to the integrity of the science."

The integrity of science reported by Thorsen's group might be questioned. If it is true that Thorsen forged documents and stole money, which are crimes demonstrating a complete lack of personal integrity, then all of his work should be considered suspect.

Michael Sperling

The questioned report

K.M. Madsen, M.B. Lauritsen, C.B. Pedersen, P. Thorsen, A.-M. Plesner, P.H. Andersen, P.B. Mortensen, Thimerosal and the Occurence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence From Danish Popuzlation-Based Data, Pediatricxs, 112/3 (2003) 604-606. DOI: 10.1542/peds.112.3.604

Related information

Wikipedia: Vaccine court
Wikipedia: Thiomersal controversy

Related News

Digital Journal, March 25, 2010:Robert F. Kennedy Jr. re-opens the vaccine-autism controversy
Age of Autism, March 19, 2010: Autism, Vaccines, Thimerosal: Further Study Needed
  Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2010: 'Vaccines court' rejects mercury-autism link in 3 test cases
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Huffington Post, March 11, 2010: Central Figure in CDC Vaccine Cover-Up Absconds With $2M
Laleva, March 10, 2010: Vaccine Researcher Flees with $2M
EVISA News, September 24, 2009: Huge field experiment for assessing human ethylmercury risk starting in october
EVISA News, July 15, 2009: New Study Finds: Thimerosal Induces Autism-like Neurotoxicity
EVISA News, December 14, 2008: New study investigates the interaction of thimerosal with proteins
EVISA News, May 15, 2008: New study will investigate the influence of environmental factors in autism
EVISA News, January 12, 2008: New California study concludes that thimerosal seems not to be the major cause for autism
EVISA News, May 3, 2006: Texas Study Relates Autism to Environmental Mercury
EVISA News, March 24, 2006: Mercury Containing Preservative Alters Immune Function
EVISA News, February 11, 2006: New findings about Thimerosal Neurotoxicity
EVISA News, April 27, 2005: New results about toxicity of thimerosal

last time modified: July 1, 2020


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