Bernard Rimland - Conflicts With Medical Opinion

Conflicts With Medical Opinion

Many senior figures in medicine and psychology questioned Rimland's contributions to autism during the later period of his career. In 1995, Bennett Leventhal, a professor at the University of Chicago, tersely dismissed as "rubbish" Rimland's concern about the rise in autism diagnoses, and his assertion that vaccinations might be among the causes. Rimland was among a minority of researchers who believe that thiomersal (a mercury-based preservative) used in vaccines is a direct cause of autism. The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its 2004 report found that, "the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism." The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), National Health Service (NHS), World Health Organization (WHO), European Medicines Agency (EMEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and many other national and international medical organizations have issued statements of a similar nature, finding no link between autism and thimerosal based on the evidence currently available from a variety of studies.

In her book, Children with Starving Brains, Jaquelyn McCandless, MD, calls Rimland "The grand godfather of the movement for understanding the biological treatment of autism". Rimland's book, Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implication for a Neural Theory of Behavior (1964), is credited by many with changing the prevailing view of autism, in the field of psychiatry, from an emotional illness -widely thought to be caused by refrigerator mothers - to the current recognition that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder.

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