April 21, 2010
by Kirstin Johns
Science is a laborious process; two steps forward and one step back. Quicksilver minds formulate a hypothesis and painstakingly set out to prove it, and then other researchers argue, test, counter, and prove or disprove the results. Science is only ever what we know so far.
So when I read a study showing that an aluminum adjuvant, used in various vaccines including Gardasil, DTaP, Tdap, hepatitis A and B, and anthrax, had caused serious neurological problems in lab mice, I relaxed. I confidently assumed that I’d find studies and comments utterly refuting the work. Probably the FDA or CDC would have something reassuring to say about it.
OK, then. I contacted one of the study’s authors, Dr Chris Shaw, a research scientist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He and his colleagues had, after all, set out to look at Gulf War Syndrome and the more than doubled rate of ALS in serving military personnel, not debunk vaccines.
Had he disproved his own study? Not at all. In fact, a second study had confirmed the first.
“We did do a second study with more animals that largely confirmed the first, including findings of altered memory functions,” he wrote back. “Additional histology from the first study also clearly showed the presence of aluminum in motor neurons in the spinal cord along with the expression of a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.