The success of vaccines seems to have given people cause for not vaccinating as much as they once did, said Los Angeles resident Derek Bartholomaus, who runs a website called "the anti-vaccine body count."
The site keeps a ticker of preventable illnesses (144,886), preventable deaths (6,312), and number of autism diagnoses scientifically linked to vaccinations (0) since June 3, 2007.
Still, Bartholomaus is not sure how many minds he's changing.
"It's really hard because it gets into the conspiracy theorist mentality," he said. "If it were just a rational and logical discussion, there's no debate. Vaccines are safe and effective.
One thing about Google trends is that they normalize their graphs. They take the highest interest level and set that at 100. So the two graphs above don’t tell us how the “autism mercury” search compares with interest in autism in general. Let’s graph them both, shall we? (click to enlarge)
Blue is autism. Red autism mercury. Yes, that line at the bottom that is so small you can’t see the trend at all is autism mercury. And that’s the point that I found most interesting. For all the noise made by the “mercury moms” in the past, the mercury idea was never as big a movement as they would like you to believe.