March 7, 2010
Danish Scientist Absconds with $2 million More Info - Key character who "proved" vaccines don't cause autism.
A Danish scientist who was a key researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark according to reports in the Copenenhagen Post Online and a statement from Aarhus University.
Poul Thorsen, MD PhD, headed up a research unit at Aarhus University that was hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare a series of studies that would exonerate thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine from any role in causing autism. The veracity of the three studies he co-authored is now in doubt.
These studies formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports that claimed that it was highly unlikely that thimerosal or MMR were implicated in autism.
In a statement Aarhus University officials said that believe Poulsen forged documents supposedly from the CDC to obtain the release of $2 million from the University. Poulsen resigned abruptly in March 2009 and left Denmark. Since then Thorsen has held several jobs in the US, first at Emory University in Atlanta and then at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Documents show that as late as January 22, 2009. Thorsen was employed at Drexel. Any reference to Poulsen has now been deleted from the Drexel website.
Investigations also revealed that while employed full-time for the University of Aarhus in Denmark, Poulsen simultaneously held a fulltime position at Emory University in Atlanta, and drew salaries from both Universities despite a contract with Aarhus forbidding outside employment. According to the statement from Aarhus University.
Autism advocacy groups have published extensive analyses on Thorsen's studies and found many problems in methods, assumptions and conclusions that are supported by the data. And Thorsen is the lynchpin in the series of studies used to dismiss concerns about thimerosal and MMR causing autism.
See SAFEMINDS analysis of Thorsen's role in the discredited studies here:
See the Copenhagen Post Online article at:
See the statement from Aarhus University
Read more at Age ff Autism at: www.ageofautism.com
The two studies now in doubt include:
Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB, Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.
A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism.
Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M., N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.