Thimerosal exposure in early life and neuropsychological outcomes 7-10 years later

J Pediatr Psychol. 2012 Jan-Feb;37(1):106-18. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr048. Epub 2011 Jul 23.


Objective: The authors used a public use data set to investigate associations between the receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines and immune globulins early in life and neuropsychological outcomes assessed at 7-10 years.

Methods: The data were originally created by evaluating 1,047 children ages 7-10 years and their biological mothers. This study developed seven latent neuropsychological factors and regressed them on a comprehensive set of covariates and thimerosal exposure variables.

Results: The authors found no statistically significant associations between thimerosal exposure from vaccines early in life and six of the seven latent constructs. There was a small, but statistically significant association between early thimerosal exposure and the presence of tics in boys.

Conclusions: This finding should be interpreted with caution due to limitations in the measurement of tics and the limited biological plausibility regarding a causal relationship.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / adverse effects*
  • Public Health
  • Thimerosal / adverse effects*
  • Tics / chemically induced*
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Vaccines
  • Thimerosal