Feb 12 2009

Autism Court Ruling – Vaccines Didn’t Cause Autism

The much awaited decision on the first test case of the Autism Omnibus was just announced – and it’s good news. They have found that the petitioners failed to make their case that vaccines caused their children’s autism, and that therefore compensation was not appropriate.

The Autism Omnibus hearings were set up to evaluate for thousands of petitions for compensation under the vaccine injury compensation program. This is a program set up in the US to compensate those who suffer adverse effects from vaccines, and it is paid for by a tax on all vaccines. This is a sensible system because it allows manufacturers to produce much needed vaccines without risking bankruptcy over fad pseudoscientific accusations – like those that took down Dow Chemical. It also more quickly and fairly compensated families, which is fair given that vaccines are somewhat compulsory in the US (although in most states it is all too easy to get an exemption).

These cases arise out of the now scientifically discredited notion that certain vaccines or something in vaccines (like thimerosal) is linked to autism. I have written extensively about this controversy, and what we can say at this time is that the scientific evidence is solidly against any link.

We have been watching these cases closely as they constitute a review of this evidence. It is not a scientific review, but rather a legal one. This can go either way. On the one hand, courts have rules of evidence and when the evidence is given a proper hearing and it strongly points in one direction, that usually becomes clear. Also, this is a hearing before special judges – not a jury whose emotions can be manipulated.

On the other hand, the standard of evidence for the compensation program has been significantly lowered recently. To make it easier to compensate families, they only have to provide a plausible theory of injury – not evidence that the theory is correct.

Here is a thorough summary of the process over at Neurodiversity.

So while we were confident that the evidence clearly favored no link between autism and vaccines, there remained an outside chance that this lower bar of evidence might have led to a decision that “compensation is appropriate.” This would not have meant the evidence supported a link, but certainly would have been spun that way by the anti-vaccine crowd.

The decisions that were published today are therefore both a relief that the system worked, and a thorough smackdown of the anti-vaccine claims.

There were three test cases decided on today, each one representing a theory of harm – that MMR alone causes autism, that thimerosal alone causes autism, and that a combination of MMR and thimerosal causes autism. The decisions published today only affect the thimerosal + MMR theory of causation.

Special Master Hastings wrote the decision on the Cedillo case, which alleged that a combination of MMR and thimerosal caused her autism:

I conclude that the petitioners have not demonstrated that they are entitled to an award on Michelle’s behalf. I will set forth the reasons for that conclusion in detail below. However, at this point I will briefly summarize the reasons for my conclusion.

The petitioners in this case have advanced a causation theory that has several parts, including contentions  that thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause immune dysfunction, that the MMR vaccine can cause autism, and  that the MMR vaccine can cause chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction. However, as to each of those issues, I concluded that the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners’ contentions. The expert witnesses presented by the respondent were far better qualified, far more experienced, and far more persuasive than the petitioners’ experts, concerning most of the key points. The numerous medical studies concerning these issues, performed by medical scientists worldwide, have come down strongly against the petitioners’ contentions. Considering all of the evidence, I found that the petitioners have failed to demonstrate that thimerosal-containing vaccines can contribute to causing immune dysfunction, or that the MMR vaccine can contribute to causing either autism or gastrointestinal dysfunction. I further conclude that while Michelle Cedillo has tragically suffered from autism and other severe conditions, the petitioners have also failed to demonstrate that her vaccinations played any role at all in causing those problems.

It’s good to know that overwhelming solid scientific evidence still counts for something.

Writing the decision for the second case, Hazlehurst, Special Master Campbell-Smith wrote:

Having carefully and fully considered the evidence, the undersigned concludes that the combination of the thimerosal-containing vaccines and the MMR vaccine are not causal factors in the development of autism and therefore, could not have contributed to the development of Yates’ autism. The weight of the presented evidence that is scientifically reliable and methodologically sound does not support petitioners’ claim. Petitioners have failed to establish entitlement to compensation under the Vaccine Act.

And, writing the decision for the third case, Snyder, Special Master Vowell wrote:

After considering the record as a whole, I hold that petitioners have failed to establish by preponderant evidence that Colten’s condition was caused or significantly aggravated by a vaccine or any component thereof. The evidence presented was both voluminous and extraordinarily complex. After careful consideration of all of the evidence, it was abundantly clear that petitioners’ theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive. Respondent’s experts were far more qualified, bettersupported by the weight of scientific research and authority, and simply morepersuasive on nearly every point in contention. Because of pervasive quality control problems at a now-defunct laboratory that tested a key piece of evidence, petitioners could not reliably demonstrate the presence of a persistent measles virus in Colten’s central nervous system. Petitioners failed to establish that measles virus can cause autism or that it did so in Colten. They failed to demonstrate that amount of ethylmercury in TCVs causes immune system suppression or dysregulation. They failed to show that Colten’s immune system was dysregulated. Although Colten’s condition markedly improved between his diagnosis and the hearing, the experimental treatments he received cannot be logically or scientifically linked to the theories of causation. Given the advice that petitioners received from a treating physician, Colten’s parents brought this action in good faith and upon a reasonable basis. However, they have failed to demonstrate vaccine causation of Colten’s condition by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, I deny their petition for compensation.

One, two, three strikes, your out!

The decisions reflect the overall impression of the scientific community – the theories behind the notion that vaccines cause autism are speculative and the evidence is strongly against them. Also, the experts who have looked at the evidence and have concluded that vaccines do not cause autism simply know what they are talking about, while the anti-vaccine experts were unimpressive and not persuasive.

This is a solid victory, much as the Dover decision (which thoroughly went through the scientific arguments for evolution and the nonsense of Intelligent Design) was for science and the teaching of evolution.  We can now expect desperate spin from the anti-vaccine crowd. That should be fun (while also depressing) to watch. And, just as with ID, it is unlikely that even this solid trouncing will end anti-vaccine pseudoscience.

40 responses so far

40 Responses to “Autism Court Ruling – Vaccines Didn’t Cause Autism”

  1. mziegenfusson 12 Feb 2009 at 2:18 pm

    This same story was also reported by CNN on their noon podcast (CNN News Update (2-12-2009 12 PM EST)) available through iTunes at the following link (hope it works):

    http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=74254419

    Good stuff.

  2. HHCon 12 Feb 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Do you think parents, like Jenny McCarthy will stop pointing at vaccines and reflect on how their own wild life style impacts an egg and fetus growth?

  3. JustinWilsonon 12 Feb 2009 at 3:11 pm

    We take our wins where we can get them. With all the pseudoscience support going through the media and government. It’s nice to know we can still knock them down with evidence.

  4. Jim Shaveron 12 Feb 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Be careful there, HHC! If you’re going to charge Jenny McCarthy with causing her son’s autism (or whatever physical and developmental problems he actually has), you’d better have some darn good evidence for it. Otherwise, you’re just blaming the victim, and that’s neither fair nor skeptical. It’s just cynical.

  5. _Arthuron 12 Feb 2009 at 4:46 pm

    This disposes of the first 3 test cases.
    The Petitioners will have the possibility to present two other sets of 3 test cases.

    It took the Petitioners several years to com up with the Cedillo, Hazelhurst and Snyder cases as the best test cases within their 5000+ plaintiffs.

    One other proposed test case, H. Polling, removed itself of the thimerosal+MMR causation, because a mitochondrial deficiency was the proximate cause that made the kid vulnerable to _any_ virus, or vaccine containing an attenuated virus. She received compensation for a “Table” (already scientifically established) injury.

  6. guitarseanon 12 Feb 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Aw man, I made the mistake of reading Dr. Gupta’s blog post on this on CNN. Within the first 10 replies the “I’m not a doctor but I know my kid” parents and the “big pharma conspiracy” nuts are already out in full force.

    Since this ruling doesn’t totally slam the door on this issue I think the true believers are going to dig in deeper and get even louder.

  7. weingon 12 Feb 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Did I hear correctly that the Obama administration weighed in on this ruling and basically told them not to give up hope?. Anyone know about this? I was driving at the time and had to attend to the traffic so I am not sure if I heard right.

  8. mindmeon 12 Feb 2009 at 5:07 pm

    It’s been a bad week for Wakefield, who takes a bit of a pounding in Hasting’s decision. Sorry, long quote from the ruling, but kind of satisfying in a Dover sense:

    4. Dr. Krigsman’s general lack of credibility as a witness

    As explained above, Dr. Krigsman based his general causation theory squarely upon the Wakefield article and the Uhlmann study, which have been shown to be unreliable, and pointed to no other evidentiary support for his general theory. Thus, the only remaining support for Dr. Krigsman’s general theory is whatever general credibility he personally has as an expert witness. However, I did not find Dr. Krigsman to be an expert upon whom I could reasonably rely for sound opinion and judgment.

    There are several reasons for this conclusion concerning Dr. Krigsman. First, I note the problems concerning Dr. Krigsman’s practice history and resume, set forth above at pp. 138-39. Second, I note that Dr. Krigsman’s testimony concerning Michelle’s own case put his general reliability as an expert into a poor light. As explained below at pp. 149-50, Dr. Krigsman based his testimony concerning Michelle’s case on a grossly mistaken assumption as to the history of cause the combination of autism and gastrointestinal disorders, during much of the 1990sDr. Wakefield had advocated a theory that the MMR vaccine caused Crohn’s disease and/or other inflammatory bowel diseases. (E.g., Hazlehurst Tr. 629A-33A; Ex. BB, p. 10; Ex. BB, Att. 89.) However, when that theory was examined by other scientists, it was not confirmed. One research group demonstrated a flaw in Wakefield’s testing procedures for measles virus. (Hazlehurst Tr. 631A-32A; Ex. BB, p. 10; Ex. B, Att. 45, pp. 167-68.) Further, several research groups published studies indicating that, contrary to Wakefield’s claims, measles virus was not present in the gastrointestinal tissue of Crohn’s patients. (Hazlehurst Tr. 632A; Ex. BB, pp. 10-11.) The British Medical Research Council reviewed that theory of Dr. Wakefield, and issued a report pointing out problems with the theory. (Hazlehurst Tr. 631A.) Thus, the theory was “largely dismissed” by the medical community. (Ex. BB, p. 10.)

    Michelle’s chronic GI symptoms. Clearly, Dr. Krigsman presented an opinion concerning Michelle’s caseeither without examining Michelle’s medical records at all, or after badly misreading those records. Either way, such a mistake reflects poorly on the general reliability of his expert opinion.

    Similarly, Dr. Krigsman’s reliability as an expert witness was also damaged by his application of his general causation theory to Michelle’s case. That is, while his stated theory involves chronic intestinal inflammation caused by a persisting measles virus, he applied his theory to an individual case–Michelle Cedillo–in which there exists no persuasive evidence of chronic intestinal inflammation, as opposed to other, noninflammatory, GI symptoms. I note that, in Dr. Krigsman’s view, Michelle has suffered for manyyears, beginning about threeweeks after MMR vaccination, from chronic intestinal inflammation–i.e., chronic “enterocolitis,” which means inflammation of both her large and small intestines–caused by a persisting measles virus infection. (E.g., Ex. 59, p. 7; Tr. 489A.) However, on the issue of whether Michelle in fact has suffered from any form of chronic intestinal inflammation, I found that Dr. Krigsman’s testimony was quite unpersuasive, and was substantially outweighed by a combination of the medical records and the testimony of Dr. Hanauer and respondent’s other experts. Dr. Hanauer spent considerable time during his hearing testimony pointing out in detail how the results of Michelle’s gastrointestinal examinations were inconsistent with Dr. Krigsman’s conclusion that Michelle has suffered from chronic intestinal inflammation since her vaccination. (Tr. 2108A-43.) I have set forth a full discussion of the evidence concerning the issue of alleged intestinal inflammation at pp. 150-61, below. The general point here, however, is that while Dr. Krigsman stated a general theory involving intestinal inflammation (“enterocolitis”), in practice he seems to be willing to apply his theory to a case with no persuasive evidence of intestinal inflammation. He seems willing to apply his theory to any case involving any type of chronic GI symptoms, whether those symptoms involve evidence of intestinal inflammation or not. 180 In my view, this adds further reason to doubt Dr. Krigsman’s general credibility as a witness, and, therefore, to doubt the validity of his general theory that the MMR vaccine can contribute to the causation of chronic GI symptoms.

  9. medmonkeyon 12 Feb 2009 at 5:33 pm

    This is welcome news, especially on Darwin Day!

  10. Watcheron 12 Feb 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Beginning of the end? I doubt it for a topic that has taken on religious tendencies …

  11. BAon 12 Feb 2009 at 6:36 pm

    # Jim Shaveron 12 Feb 2009 at 4:42 pm
    Be careful there, HHC! If you’re going to charge Jenny McCarthy with causing her son’s autism (or whatever physical and developmental problems he actually has), you’d better have some darn good evidence for it. Otherwise, you’re just blaming the victim, and that’s neither fair nor skeptical. It’s just cynical.

    Not sure whether this comment was serious but JMcCarthy writes in one of her books that she chain smoked through her pregnancy. Given the correlation btw smoking and increased prevalence of neurologic disorders, the smoking gun was left by her.

  12. Dave The Drummeron 12 Feb 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Once again science and rationality has won the battle in the courts.
    Shame we seem to be so inept at winning the battles on TV, newpapers and other mass media.
    There must be some way to become acceptable to the media and the public without any compromise in what we stand for.
    Of course this presupposes that the public will understand our new and shiny TV representitives which means they have to be educated.
    Hmmmmm. Difficult to achieve. Especially when governments of all stripes seem hell-bent on deifying ignorance and raising crass stupidity to an art form.
    We need to clone Phil Plait and Richard Wiseman. Several thousand times.

  13. Gibon 12 Feb 2009 at 6:44 pm

    One, two, three strikes, your out!
    should be “you’re”, not “your”

  14. Gibon 12 Feb 2009 at 6:45 pm

    This is good news, but only because I don’t trust the courts…

    If I could trust the courts to always make the right decisions, then this wouldn’t be any news at all…

  15. irishjazzon 12 Feb 2009 at 7:15 pm

    The time, energy and effort wasted on this fantasy of mercury-caused autism on all sides is an object lesson in the cost of establishing the fact of the unknown in the face of a sincere hunger for conclusive truth.

    People want the world to make sense, and perhaps the hardest job for science isn’t selling its explanations, but convincing those who feel they need an immediate answer that, for now, there isn’t one.

    Of course there are some that will still believe. But stupid never sleeps, and even now, in some dark corner, it’s hour come at last, another irrational beast is slouching toward Oprah to be born.

  16. Jim Shaveron 12 Feb 2009 at 7:17 pm

    BA said:

    Not sure whether this comment was serious but JMcCarthy writes in one of her books that she chain smoked through her pregnancy. Given the correlation btw smoking and increased prevalence of neurologic disorders, the smoking gun was left by her.

    Thanks for that. My comment was serious, and I admit that I was expressing an abundance of caution, which I think is the correct approach for these types of investigations. I did not mean to imply that there is no chance that McCarthy’s behaviour could have contributed to her son’s problems. I just don’t think we, as good skeptics, should make such assertions without very good supporting evidence.

    The lady’s a maniac. No argument from me there. I’m not aware of her prenatal habits or their possible relationship to her son’s problems. Those would be details worth knowing, though.

  17. daedalus2uon 12 Feb 2009 at 7:34 pm

    There is some evidence that smoking decreases the incidence of autism. It isn’t very powerful evidence.

    http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/107/4/e63

    My explanation is that the carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke binds to some of the same heme containing enzymes that NO does and produces “cross-talk” that mimics a higher NO state.

    I suspect that the association of smoking with some neurological disorders is due to the same mechanism, that smoking is a form of self-medication due to the carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke. Carbon monoxide hasn’t has as much research done on it as has nicotine (which is the addictive drug in tobacco).

  18. tooth fairyon 12 Feb 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I was glad to hear this was reported on the news here in Australia! good win

  19. wertyson 13 Feb 2009 at 12:48 am

    So now you’re telling me that the judges and Federal Judiciary have joined with Big Pharma (cursed be their name) and the Medical-Industrial Complex to ensure final eradication of the sheeple of the world ?!?!?

    Kinda makes sense I guess….I should have seen it coming in my dowsing this morning..

  20. salzbergon 13 Feb 2009 at 9:55 am

    Steven, as a physician, and in light of this comment from one judge: “Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.”
    Do you think this might open up possible malpractice claims against physicians who recommend that parents *not* vaccinate? I.e., could they later be sued for malpractice when a child comes down with measles or another illness that a vaccine could have prevented? If so, that might be another benefit of yesterday’s ruling by the vaccine court.

  21. tmac57on 13 Feb 2009 at 9:57 am

    wertys,
    How dare you come on a science blog and misrepresent the ancient art of dowsing that way!!!. Everyone knows that dowsing is for locating UFO’s and Bigfeet er Bigfoots…hmmm Bigfetuses? Well anyway, and aren’t sheeple raised on big Pharmas in the first place? So there !!!

  22. DevilsAdvocateon 13 Feb 2009 at 10:17 am

    I took a google tour of comment sections beneath articles and blogs reporting this court decision. I didn’t see one post where an antivax jihadist recanted. The PR aspect of the battle is not over. *sigh*

    In the above string of comments, I see we have Guitar Sean and Dave the Drummer. I play guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and banjo, and can sing a bit. Maybe it’s time to form a Neurologica band? We could back up Dr. N on his next speaking tour. We’d need a good name though.

    How about The Flying Neurito Brothers? Led Ganglion? Nervana?

    Any suggestions?

  23. BAon 13 Feb 2009 at 1:27 pm

    daedulus,

    Thanks for the ref. That is clearly a reputable research group and I generally have followed much of Courchesne’s groups impressive work on abnormal brain growth regulation in autism. I was referring to neurologic and psychological problems more generally linked to smoking and the fact that there are plausible mechanisms occuring at a plausible time in which an environmental event could affect development for JM. There are a number of studies that do link smoking to adverse outcomes for those prenatally exposed to smoking. A few exemplars abstracted below:

    Environ Health Perspect. 1999 Dec;107(12):991-1000. Links
    Association of prenatal maternal or postnatal child environmental tobacco smoke exposure and neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems in children.Eskenazi B, Castorina R.
    Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA. eskenazi@uclink4.berkeley.edu

    We review the potential neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects of children’s prenatal and/or postnatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Children’s exposure to ETS has been assessed in epidemiologic studies as a risk factor for a variety of behavioral and neurodevelopmental problems including reduced general intellectual ability, skills in language and auditory tasks, and academic achievement, and behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and decreased attention spans. We review 17 epidemiologic studies that have attempted to separate the effects of maternal active smoking during pregnancy from passive ETS smoke exposure by the pregnant mother or the child. Based on the available data, we found that ETS exposure could cause subtle changes in children’s neurodevelopment and behavior. However, studies to date are difficult to interpret because of the unknown influence of uncontrolled confounding factors, imprecision in measurements of smoking exposure, and collinearity of pre- and postnatal maternal smoking. Although some evidence suggests that maternal smoking during pregnancy may be associated with deficits in intellectual ability and behavioral problems in children, the impact of prenatal or postnatal ETS exposure remains less clear.

    PMID: 10585903 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Acta Paediatr. 2007 Mar;96(3):377-82. Links
    Prenatal smoking exposure and psychiatric symptoms in adolescence.Indredavik MS, Brubakk AM, Romundstad P, Vik T.
    Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway and St Olavs Hospital, Trondheim, Norway. marit.s.indredavik@ntnu.no

    AIM: Explore associations between smoking in pregnancy and psychiatric symptoms in the adolescent offspring. DESIGN/SUBJECTS: A prospective population based follow-up of 84 adolescents at 14 years of age, of whom 32 of the mothers reported smoking during pregnancy. Main outcome measures: The Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA), ADHD-Rating Scale IV, Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ), Children’s Global Assessment Scale (CGAS), estimated IQ based on four subscales of WISC-III. RESULTS: Adolescents who were born by smokers had significantly more rule-breaking and aggressive behaviour, externalizing and total problems on the ASEBA than adolescents of non-smokers (p /=20 cigarettes per day, respectively, compared with nonsmoking and secondarily by smoking determined at the 5-year follow-up (RR = 1.52, 1.87, 1.29) for 1 to 9, 10 to 19, and >/=20 cigarettes per day respectively, compared with nonsmoking. This association appeared to be independent of a wide range of possible confounders such as maternal age, education, social class, marital status and mental health, gestation at FCV, complications during pregnancy, the child’s sex, gestational age at birth, and age at last follow-up. Adjustments were also made for the mother’s employment since birth, family structure, and maternal mental health at the time of the CBCL assessment. Associations between externalizing behavior problems and maternal smoking at other times, and those between other behavioral problems examined and maternal smoking were not significant. CONCLUSION: Although previous studies have found evidence for an association between maternal smoking and child behavior problems, the strength of this study lies in its size, its detailed and consistent measurement of maternal smoking, and its ability to control for many social and biological factors linked to maternal smoking and child behavior. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)

    PMID: 9651463 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  24. daedalus2uon 13 Feb 2009 at 3:34 pm

    One of the major regulators in the brain is NO (if not the major regulator). That is what causes the vasodilation that is observed in fMRI. Many growth factors cause activation of nitric oxide synthase and so modify the NO level local to their receptors, both where they are acutely activated, and in the vacuole as the receptor and nNOS are endocytosed together, and along the axon as that vacuole is transported back to the cell body where the receptor and NOS are disassociated in the recycling endosome.

    That NO release during the retrograde transport back to the cell body probably is part of how NO causes long term potentiation, and the action of NO at the cell body likely mediates some of the effects of growth factors, important for maintaining cell body integrity.

    Low NO does cause neuronal hyperplasia, but neuronal hyperplasia can only happen when nerve cells are dividing. I am pretty sure that low NO is the mechanism for neuronal hyperplasia observed when animals are exposed to stress in utero. I suspect that is the mechanism for neuronal hyperplasia in autism too.

    Some of the other associations discussed in that paper could be consistent with that mechanism too; contraceptive hormones increase NO levels and infections could increase NO via iNOS, or by bacterial reduction of nitrate to nitrite. Hemoglobin destroys NO, so bleeding, Rh incompatibility and hyperbilirubinaemia are consistent with lower NO levels.

    None of it is simple, and there are lots of different pathways involved, but low NO could be the final common pathway involving neuronal hyperplasia in autism.

  25. Watcheron 13 Feb 2009 at 4:48 pm

    How about The Flying Neurito Brothers? Led Ganglion? Nervana?

    Need a saxophonist B)

  26. DevilsAdvocateon 13 Feb 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Sure! I also note an ‘irishjazz’ in the comments.

  27. Watcheron 13 Feb 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Got the makings for sure 😀

    Also, love “Nervana” … I mean, that’s catchy enough not to be taken already!

  28. randycrawfordon 13 Feb 2009 at 10:56 pm

    from – Randy Crawford 3701 Second St. #10 Coralville, Iowa 52241 (319)400-2837
    randycrawford52241@hotmail.com rancrawfo@hotmail.com

    The federal vaccine court is to be congratulated for ruling MMR does NOT cause autism and other diseases. I have been using dozens and dozens of repeated doses of MMR for years, because it is the only thing that will alleviate my autoimmune disease processes. I know from direct experience that MMR is completely safe and free from side effects. It is effective to alleviate autoimmune disease, and works best when injected every day for weeks at a time. MMR works even better when given with other live virus vaccines like varicella and yellow fever. The stories that mercury combines with MMR in some weird way is also demonstrably false, because when I took a dozen tetanus-diptheria shots with thimerosal the same days I got MMR, there were no side effects either. When kids get sick about the time of getting a vaccine, it’s only an event that would have happened anyway and had nothing to do with the shot– like with a million people watching TV today some will have heart attacks next week, but the heart attacks would have happened anyway and had nothing to do with watching TV the week beforehand. Now that the courts have ruled intelligently, doctors don’t have to be paranoid about using MMR and they can help more people with multiple MMR injections. And that’s good for people who need relief from autoimmune disease. MMR works against autoimmune disease by acting as an immunodistractant to down-modulate eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and other leukocytes.

  29. DevilsAdvocateon 14 Feb 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Watcher – Got a good name for your Neurologica solo sax player/act, you know, for when you’re the only one who can be there:

    Abdullah Oblongata

  30. mindmeon 18 Feb 2009 at 9:45 am

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090218/sc_nm/us_vaccines_offit_3

    A not insane article about vaccines and Dr. Offit from Reuters via Yahoo news. Hope it got picked up.

    One of the claims made against Offit is he invented a vaccine and has been paid “millions of dollars” for it. So of course he’s motivated to jab children six ways to sunday. Lines his pocket. The article, however, has an interesting back story:

    ||His determination to invent a vaccine began in 1979 when, as doctor in training at the University of Pittsburgh, he helped a team struggling to save a 9-month-old baby with severe diarrhea and vomiting from rotavirus.

    “I have never seen a child so dehydrated,” Offit said. “We tried to get an IV line into her. She never moved,” he said.

    “We all just stood there in shock that someone had died of viral diarrhea. The mother was outside. Then you have to open the door and tell her to come in and see her dead girl, this previously healthy, 9-month-old girl.” ||

    Amazing someone motivated to save the lives of young children can be so vilified by anti vaxxers, people ostensibly working hard to protect children.

  31. […] “best” that the antivaccine contingent could throw at the courts, the Special Masters decisively rejected all three hypotheses of causation. Indeed, the results surprised me, as I had expected, given the extremely low bar for evidence, […]

  32. khepion 23 Feb 2009 at 7:30 pm

    The court did not say autism is not caused by vaccines. The court said that was not supported by the evidence presented sufficiently to proceed on liability.

    People are saying that autism is not caused by vaccines because of (or because of other information plus) the court’s ruling, which is very different from the court declaring autism is not caused by vaccines. Courts don’t actually decide things like that.

    Autism is one of the most emotional, publicly warped subjects I have ever seen in my entire life. Movies show children that ‘become autistic’ after having mommy and daddy argue, and autistic children that spontaneously and perfectly recover after hearing the right words from a sensitive and helpful person.

    A British study found that parents had actually modified their child’s medical history to support a vaccine causality after being told that the liability of vaccine companies was being investigated.

    Two adjacent northwest school districts serving peopand le with the same financial, geographic, health and age distribution characteristics, have rates of autism diagnosis that are exponentially different.

    We still have such bizarre and distorted ideas about mental disabilities that we willfully distort and ignore research, chase after insane quack cures, and insist that the children are ‘normal, just misunderstood’.

    And who suffers?

    The children.

  33. […] part of the originator of the claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism, Andrew Wakefield, and the resounding defeat of the first three test cases of the Autism Omnibus proceedings, was that it took longer than I had […]

  34. adrianpatrickon 12 Mar 2009 at 4:47 am

    It is difficult sometimes being a skeptic. When dealing with a subject that we are not very familiar with we do kinda ‘take things on faith’. I find myself ‘arguing from authority’ etc. by linking to this site or various wiki articles.

    I’m based in the UK where mercury and thimerasol arent used in vaccines, not in MMR at any rate. I know things may be different in the US. I’m losing a friend because she is directly affected by my protestations.

    Her son has Autism. And I don’t know what to say to her…

    “Adrian — not trying to be an arse, and I absolutely see your point with those articles, et al. I respect you highly, too, and see your point on so many things. But, I wanted to share my story about my son, Kai, who had mercury in his 2002 MMR vacine, and reacted to all of his prior vax’s that had thimerisol/mercury in them. He was hospitalised for a week after sustaining a vaccine injury after the MMR and Varicella combinations. This, of course, is using US vaxes in California. Vaxes triggered his immune system to go haywire, unfortunately, and he was entered into the Class Action Lawsuit for Vaccine Damage at age 2.”

    Maybe the child was already autistic and simply not diagnosed until after the hospitalisation, but it seems certain from her experience that vaccines are harmful.

    Since ‘science’ let her down in that area, I can completely understand her refusal to believe the ‘scientific evidence’ that the MMR didn’t cause her child’s Autism.

    If anyone can spare a few words of advice on anything I’ve said it is something I would wholly appreciate.

    Adrian Patrick

  35. […] According to an audio testimonial buried in the bowels of the website, the glutathione patch has been helping kids with autism. There are two testimonials, one from a father of a 6 year old boy who says he has tried everything including foot baths (?) and as a last resort sought a blood transfusion for his son, to remove the mercury from his system deposited following immunisation. I assume the reference to mercury comes from the scaremongering about thimerosal, the organomercury compound used as a preservative in some vaccines (but as I discussed last week, thimerasol was removed from childhood vaccines in the year 2000 as a precaution and recently the Autism Omnibus case in the States ruled there is not link between autism and thimerasol). […]

  36. HHCon 14 Mar 2009 at 11:41 am

    Adrian, If your friend’s case is under scrutiny of the courts, let the judge decide on the evidence.

  37. HHCon 14 Mar 2009 at 11:44 am

    The miracle patches are used as cues for the father and son that everything is normal between them.

  38. HCNon 14 Mar 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Adrian, the MMR has never contained any thimerosal. It is a live virus vaccine and thimerosal would render it useless.

  39. brittalynn0918on 20 Apr 2009 at 11:32 am

    i think that everyone should realize that every child’s system is very different and therefore reacts differently to these vaccines. there haas been no long term research done on the long-term effects of these vaccines. I have done quite a lot of research on this topic and I recently found that the average child under the age of 2 received levels of mercury that were 125 times the EPA safety limit. This raises an important question for me: Why are we possibly harming our children with a substance such as organic mercury?

  40. Steven Novellaon 20 Apr 2009 at 12:25 pm

    People are different – but medical science takes that into consideration, which is why we study large numbers of people and look for statistical effects.

    It is not true that vaccines have not been studied long term They have been, and they are safe.

    It is simply not true that mercury level in vaccines exceed EPA limits by 125 times.

    First, thimerosal which contains mercury had been removed from most childhood vaccines by 2002.

    But even at its peak, the levels of mercury did not exceed EPA limits. You are using the wrong limits – those set for DAILY intake through water, for example – not the total cumulative exposure, which is what you are comparing it to.

    Also, the EPA built in a 10 fold buffer of safety.

    And those level were for methlmercury, which is much more toxic than the ethylmercury in thimerosal.

    And, it turns out children excrete mercury much quicker than anticipated, so any mercury they got in one series of vaccines would be gone before the next one was due.

    see http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20021203/mercury-levels-in-vaccines-are-safe

    You have to be wary of your Google research – there is much more misinformation out there than reliable information.

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