A Danish autism researcher who helped conduct two studies dismissing a link between vaccines and autism is under investigation after $2 million in U.S. research grants went missing.

Now, many who believe that vaccines cause autism are seizing, saying that the researcher’s suspected misuse of funds suggests that his research may have been flawed as well.

The commotion surrounding researcher Poul Thorsen began in January when officials at Aarhus University in Denmark found that funds from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were missing from a research project that Thorsen was overseeing. Law enforcement officials are currently looking into the matter.

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But for long-time critics of vaccines the issue goes far beyond missing money. They say that the allegations against Thorsen cloud the findings of Thorsen’s previous work. In particular, critics are targeting two high-profile studies looking at vaccines and autism that Thorsen was involved with.

The studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the journal Pediatrics in 2002 and 2003, respectively, both examined incidents of autism in Danish children and found evidence to suggest no link between autism and the drugs.

Other researchers involved in the two studies insist that Thorsen’s role was minor and that any improprieties he’s now accused of have no bearing on the scientific accuracy of the studies. The CDC concurs, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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