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09 August 2005 @ 09:44 am
Autism discussion on Meet the Press  
Sunday's edition of Meet the Press featured a segment on the autism/thimerosal/mercury issue that was pretty interesting. (Transcript - you'll have to scroll about halfway down to get to the autism segment.) The guests were Dr. Harvey Fineberg of the Institute of Medicine, the agency that did the research for the CDC that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has indicted recently, and David Kirby, whose book, "Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic," is asking questions about why kids were subjected to such high levels of mercury during the '90s. (The segment did not address Kennedy's allegations of political cover-up/conspiracy - it was exclusively devoted to the medical question of mercury and thimerosal.)

The segment was remarkable for the rational, informed tone of the discussion. These guys clearly have some differences of opinion, but their exchanges were respectful and intelligent. No shouting, no posturing - at no point did they even interrupt each other. Russert himself closed by thanking them for the civility of the exchange. As a result, pretty much nothing got in the way of the analysis of the evidence, and a smart viewer couldn't help but come away knowing more about not just the issue, but how science goes about studying issues.

By the pro wrestling standards our media use to conduct public discourse these days this was pretty dry stuff, but I'd take this over Crossfire any day of the week. Those interested in the autism issue should read the transcript.

Also, as a side note, it was pointed out that thimerosal is no longer being used in most vaccines, which means that parents have one less thing to worry about, and also that we'll have some hard evidence with which to evaluate the alleged thimerosal/autism link here in a few short years.

 
 
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jentifredjentifred on August 9th, 2005 07:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, Sam.
angliss on August 9th, 2005 07:56 am (UTC)
Didn't you have a friend who had posted about a study done in California that supposedly helped this issue? If you can find the link, it might make a good followup.
jentifredjentifred on August 9th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
When I went back to look at it, there wasn't a ton of actual evidence provided.
angliss on August 9th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
Ahh. Bummer.
Samlullabypit on August 9th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
Well, the stuff earlier was mainly aimed at the controversy that Kennedy is talking about.
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