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Vaccine Researcher Flees with $2M

7:31 PM, Mar 10, 2010   |    comments
(AP)
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ATLANTA -- A Danish scientist who was a lead researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Dr. Poul Thorsen was also a research professor at Emory University from 2003 until June of 2009. Emory University officials gave no reason for Thorsen's departure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded research conducted by Thorsen and his colleagues at Aarhus University.

The CDC asked the researchers to conduct studies to determine whether thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, played ay role in causing autism.

The results of the studies, that there was no link between vaccines containing mercury and autism, formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports.

In a statement Aarhus University officials said Thorsen forged documents supposedly from the CDC to obtain the release of $2 million from the university.

Autism advocacy groups are demanding his studies be given a closer look. Those same groups have long claimed that the results of the studies were suspect.

CDC officials released a statement this afternoon saying, "CDC is aware of the allegations by Aarhus University against Poul Thorsen, a Danish doctor who participated in CDC funded research. For the past 10 years, CDC has had a cooperative agreement with the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) and Aarhus University in Denmark to conduct research studies on issues such as cerebral palsy, autism, alcohol use in pregnancy and Down syndrome. Dr. Thorsen was one of many co-authors on these research projects. All of these were subject to extensive peer review and we have no reason to suspect that there are any issues related to the integrity of the science. The allegations that are fiscal in nature against Dr. Thorsen are being looked into by appropriate authorities."

Thorsen still owns a home near Emory University.

Danish authorities are looking for him.

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