Antivax Trick #6: The Geier Articles in PubMed

Antivax Trick #6: The Geier Articles in PubMed

There is one author whose articles antivaxxers are proud to pass around, especially because it's hosted on PubMed.

A comparative evaluation of the effects of MMR immunization and mercury doses from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the population prevale... - PubMed - NCBI
Med Sci Monit. 2004 Mar;10(3):PI33-9. Epub 2004 Mar 1. Comparative Study

Unfortunately, Geier is the new Wakefield. It's not unscientific to post research that counters the consensus. In fact, that's one of the great things about scientific research and its objectivity. Here are more of Geier's articles.

An assessment of the impact of thimerosal on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. - PubMed - NCBI
Pediatr Rehabil. 2003 Apr-Jun;6(2):97-102.
Neurodevelopmental disorders following thimerosal-containing childhood immunizations: a follow-up analysis. - PubMed - NCBI
Int J Toxicol. 2004 Nov-Dec;23(6):369-76.

But for starters, research must be taken into account from multiple authors and sources to establish a preponderance of evidence. This prevents us from cherry-picking out only the research that supports our conclusion.

Most studies disagree with Geier

By just visiting the links in the sidebar of one of Geier's article, the ones that are not Geier's other studies, we see already three studies which disagree, all from separate authors

Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: prevalence and links with immunizations. - PubMed - NCBI
Pediatrics. 2006 Jul;118(1):e139-50. Multicenter Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t
The findings ruled out an association between pervasive developmental disorder and either high levels of ethylmercury exposure comparable with those experienced in the United States in the 1990s or 1- or 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations.
Vaccines and autism: evidence does not support a causal association. - PubMed - NCBI
Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Dec;82(6):756-9. Epub 2007 Oct 10. Review
Despite compelling scientific evidence against a causal association, many parents and parent advocacy groups continue to suspect that vaccines, particularly measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs), can cause autism
Autism and vaccination-the current evidence. - PubMed - NCBI
J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2009 Jul;14(3):166-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6155.2009.00194.x. Review
Rigorous scientific studies have not identified links between autism and either thimerosal-containing vaccine or the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

These are actually really easy to find, and I wasn't looking for articles against the Thimerosal-autism argument, just articles that explore the potential link.

Vaccines and the changing epidemiology of autism. - PubMed - NCBI
Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Sep;32(5):511-9. Review
There has (probably) been no real increase in the incidence of autism. There is no scientific evidence that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine or the mercury preservative used in some vaccines plays any part in the aetiology or triggering of autism, even in a subgroup of children with the condition.
IOM Report: No Link Between Vaccines and Autism
According to a recent IOM report, childhood vaccines are not associated with autism.
There is no link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or the vaccine preservative thimerosal, according to a report released by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Immunization Safety Review Committee.

The Rise in Autism and the Mercury Myth

The rise in identified cases of PDDs continued even after the prohibition of thimerosal.

Geier may sound like another Andrew Wakefield, who was shown to have falsified his research to arrive at the same conclusion and was stripped of his license to practice medicine after his study was retracted.

In fact, the same researcher who investigated and exposed Wakefield has also investigated Geier

Autism Research: What makes an expert?
Autism activists are behind a journal’s decision to retract a paper claiming a preservative once routinely used in vaccines is responsible for the condition. Brian Deer examines the facts

Geier's methods are "intellectually dishonest"

According to Deer, Geier was exposed by autism activist Kathleen Seidel, an autism activist who runs Seidel found some very interesting information about Geier, namely

  • Geier's license has been suspended due to the conduct of his study (see below).


  • Geier wrote some of his studies with his son David A. Geier who "is president of MedCon, a medical–legal consulting firm that helps vaccine injury claimants to try to obtain funds from both the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and through civil litigation" In other words, Geier's son and co-author can financially gain from having his father's research published saying there is a link between immunization and autism.
Court records show that judges also have become increasingly wary of Mark Geier, who has testified close to 100 times in vaccine-related cases presided over by "special masters" in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In what's commonly called "vaccine court," Geier testifies on behalf of parents seeking compensation for injuries their children allegedly suffered from reactions to thimerosal in vaccines.


Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
Objective. To assess the possible toxicity of thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) among infants. Methods. A 2-phased retrospective cohort study was conducted using computerized health maintenance organization (HMO) databases. Phase I screened for associations between neurodevelopmental disorders …
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and all the co- authors stand behind the science and findings of the study, “Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two- Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases” (1). Although Geier and Geier try to discredit the study by impugning the integrity of the investigators, they have identified no substantive deficiencies with the study’s methods, analysis, or results (2).
Physician team’s crusade shows cracks
Dr. Mark Geier has, he says, solved the riddle of autism. He says he has identified its cause and, in the powerful drug Lupron, found an effective treatment -- what he calls a “major discovery.” But behind Geier’s bold assertion is a troubling paper trail that undercuts his portrayal of himself as…
Time and again, reputable scientists have dismissed autism research by Geier and his son, David, as seriously flawed. Judges who have heard Mark Geier testify about vaccines' harmful effects have repeatedly called him unqualified, with one describing his statements as "intellectually dishonest."
  • Courts found Geier is unqualified to serve as an expert witness in vaccine trials
In particular, there is no evidence that Dr. Geier has either the training or the background to diagnose autism or to treat autism in any child. Simply having an “interest” in vaccines and the possible connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the development of neurodevelopmental disorders in children is not sufficient to qualify an individual as an expert in either pediatrics or neurology, or regarding the various forms of mercury and their neurotoxicity.


Adam Grant

Adam Grant