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Capitol Health Call
June 13, 2012

Autism Research

JAMA. 2012;307(22):2362. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.6078

Despite evidence that there is no association between exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (, retiring Rep Dan Burton (R, Ind) remains concerned about that possible connection and has introduced legislation to convene a White House Conference to further explore the issue.

In a March 30 blog post, Burton, whose grandson was diagnosed with autism in the late 1990s, noted he has held no fewer than 20 hearings examining the state of federal scientific research into the cause of and treatment for autism, but that more needed to be done. “I’m not a scientist, but the committee heard from many credible scientists and experts who are convinced that mercury is a contributing factor; and the theory is no less worthy of exploration than the theories being propounded today that the pregnancy weight of the mother or the age of the father at conception influences whether a child becomes autistic,” Burton wrote. “When you have no idea what is causing a disease, policymakers and scientists should never be afraid to investigate any plausible theory (”

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