Should court ruling end autism debate?

What do you make of the court ruling that says vaccines are not the cause of autism in children. The ruling went against parents who believe that vaccinations caused the neurological disorder in their children.

Judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

If you recall, last fall federal health officials agreed that vaccines contributed to an autistic Georgia girl’s symptoms.(Hannah Poling, at left, with parents Jon and Terry Poling)

– By Fran Jeffries

Do you think this court ruling will now end the debate? Should it?

31 comments Add your comment

Dr. Marks

February 12th, 2009
12:53 pm

Great! Now can we just get back to injecting babies with levels of organic mercury 100’s of times higher than all safety standards. Our profits have started to slip.

Jerry

February 12th, 2009
12:57 pm

Who would have ever guessed that the U.S. goverment would rule in favor of the drug companies, the CDC, IOM, FDA, HHS, AAP, AMA, NIH and all the other suspects in the case. We’re on our own folks.

MNmommy

February 12th, 2009
1:06 pm

It should, but it won’t.

Tom

February 12th, 2009
1:32 pm

Hannah Poling’s case is a red herring; she has a mitochondrial disorder. Mito experts universally recommend vaccination because the diseases they prevent can overwhelm someone w/ a mito defect.

The recent investigation that found Andrew Wakefield falsified data and the omnibus decision are the death nell for the MMR hyopthesis. Also, today’s omnibus decision telegraphs how the court will rule in the thimersol cases as today’s decision considered thimerosal as a component in the causation.

There is a small but committed group of parents who sadly lack scientific literacy and mistake a temporal event for a causal factor. They need to consider that they are mistaken, swallow some pride, and turn their anger toward all those charlatan quacks who have taken advantage of their children. Andrew Wakefield should be enemy #1

ZDNet Healthcare mobile edition

February 12th, 2009
1:52 pm

[...] has now been charged with faking his study in concert with plaintiffs’ attorneys. Does this end the matter? It should. After all Keith Olbermann has already called Wakefield his “worst person in the world.” [...]

RA

February 12th, 2009
1:52 pm

Is Maurice Hilleman a quack? He’s the world famouse vaccine inventor who wrote the internal memo to Merck executives warning about high levels of mercury.

This isn’t a scientific issue at all. It’s an ethics issue. It’s an issue of true informed consent. Not fear tactics and arrogance like Tommy Boy uses. I know he doesn’t know the science because. Come back with some numbers. I’ll come back with more numbers. You’ll come back with some different ones and we’ll go round and round until you say the benefits outweighs the risk. And I’ll say to whom.Public health officials. Vaccine Makers? Individual parents. You’ll talk about disease, I’ll talk about informed consent. Unfortunately, you can’t scientifically say that vaccines are healthy for children. You can only infer from statistics.

RA

February 12th, 2009
2:01 pm

Just like the pro-vaccine community would not concede the Hannah Poling case. This doesn’t settle the issue. We don’t even know what was said. What was the evidence? I don’t have a problem with someone vaccinating their child. I have a problem when the state says you have to vaccinate because a bunch of misinformed parents, the pro-vaccine community, and a judge says you have to. And they will not take responsibility if something happens. Are vaccines 100% safe? NO way! So what happens to those who fall in the gap between whatever percentage on 100%. They get dismissed and stonewalled. they say it was your fault you had a genetic condition. Don’t dare say it was my beloved vaccines.

Jerry

February 12th, 2009
2:07 pm

“After all Keith Olbermann has already called Wakefield his “worst person in the world.” Actually he retracted this statement and apologized last night after reading this;

“What the Sunday Times did not report was that the GMC investigation into Wakefield was triggered by a complaint from… Brian Deer, who furnished the allegations against him four years ago. He has thus been reporting upon the hearing into his own complaint. Since when has a reputable paper published a story by a reporter who is actually part of that story himself — without saying so – and who uses information arising from the disciplinary hearing which he himself has instigated and which is investigating allegations he himself made in the first place?”

David

February 12th, 2009
2:08 pm

All I know is that my son is Autistic and no one can tell me why he is. No one can say Vaccines were the cause but no one can say they are not the cause. I and my wife must alone make a gut decision of what is best for our son. I am no suing anyone but I do require the right to raise him the way we feel is best.

Tom

February 12th, 2009
2:17 pm

RA is a great spokesperson for anti-vaccinationists.

concerned parent

February 12th, 2009
2:17 pm

RA, your logic is absolutely correct. This often gets reduced to a numbers game. Informed consent is not what happens in most states and Dr. offices b/c the medical community practices to the lowest common denominator. As you said, and science would agree, there is always a risk when a benefit exists but only the most insistant, informed and borderline compulsive parents are given the opportunity to make a true choice.

Tom

February 12th, 2009
2:32 pm

I have a question below about autism. But first, infants who sleep on their backs compared to infants who sleep on their stomachs have increased rates of:

- Social skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998)
- Motor skills delays at 6 months (Dewey, Fleming, et al, 1998)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) (Corvaglia, 2007)
- Milestone delays (Davis, Moon, et al., 1998)
- Plagiocephaly, torticollis, strabismus, etc. etc. etc…

My question is:

If a doctor was presented with a baby that had social skills delays, motor skills delays, and gastroesophageal reflux what would a doctor say if a child had these three things but not too bad. The doctor might tell the parent to be patient and that different kids develop differently. But, what if the case was more severe – what if the kids social skills were worse? The doctor might diagnose him with ADHD. But, what if the kids delays were really far behind – that is the kid had very large delays in social skills and motor skills? The doctor might diagnose him with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I think part (if not all) of the Autism Epidemic is caused by the SIDS Back to Sleep campaign.

BTW, the theoretical reason why back sleep prevents SIDS is because back sleep (aka supine sleep) does not allow an infant to get Deep Sleep (Stage 3/4 NREM sleep) which is when Babies primarily die of SIDS. Stage 3/4 NREM sleep is also when much of a babies plasticity and memory consolidation takes place. This interference with Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) may be the reason why so many infants today have social skills delays and motor skills delays.

RA

February 12th, 2009
2:37 pm

Not anti-vaccination. Pro information. Pro choice. Pro science. Pro life.
And… my spouse works for a pharmaceutical company. I didn’t want to get into this debate. I used to despise those vaccine activists. I thought they were a bunch of liberal, hippy, troublemakers that spread disease. I didn’t have any kids. What did I care? But one day I stumbled onto the CDC mortality statistics for the flu and my life and view towards public health authorities changed. I thought something is not right here. This is all one big charade. If they are doing this with the flu vaccine, are pharmaceutical companies and doctors doing the same with childhood vaccines?The answer I discovered was Yes!

You can get vaccinated if you want to. But don’t try to use propaganda to persuade the public that we are too stupid to look at the facts and make a value judgement. Public: don’t give up your right to informed consent. It just may save your life.

peter syms

February 12th, 2009
2:57 pm

this isn’t a debate. A debate is two rational, reasoned arguments comparing the merits of their case, i.e free market vs govt regulation. This is a BELIEF contending with contradicting FACTS.

Jerry

February 12th, 2009
3:53 pm

The special master is right. Vaccines do not cause autism. Autism is simply a term from the psychiatric DSM-IV manual. It’s nothing but a smokescreen. It provides an alibi for the drug companies who added mercury to vaccines at levels 250 times higher than hazardous waste levels (based on toxicity characteristics). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the other drug company cronies who are responsible for the safety of our children. It provides an alibi for the people who administered this poison. It provides an alibi for health insurance companies so they don’t have to pay for treatment for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for psychiatrists so they can force powerfull anti-psychotic drugs on these kids who are already terribly confused.

There will never be an identifiable cause for autism. There are though 11 published papers which identify the underlying medical condition of autism as neuroinflammatory disease. My favorite is ‘ Neuroglial activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism’. This was published by John Hopkins University. Now, do you want to debate whether mercury, a known neurotoxin, added to childhood vaccines at levels 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste, causes neuroinflammatory disease? Do you want to debate whether brain damaged kids behave in a way so that some psychiatrist can label them as somewhere on the ’spectrum’?

RA

February 12th, 2009
4:07 pm

The facts are the same. The a priori is different. The same as with political ideology.

Dr. Cottingham

February 12th, 2009
9:48 pm

Vaccines will never be shown to be the cause of autism, as long as researchers work in silos without communicating. Mercury alone is not the cause of autism… when babies have high levels of lead (obtained inutero) the synergistic effect of lead and mercury renders the mercury more toxic by 100 X. The government and the pharmaceutical companies are correct: “Mercury” is not the cause. LEAD + mercury, however, is a completely different story. It also explains why some babies are born autistic, and others become autistic after a vaccine. Vaccines are not the only source of mercury that unborn and new born babies are exposed to.
Interestingly, another potentiating agent is testosterone… the explanation of why males are disproportionately represented not only in autism popualtions, but in other lead-related neurological damage, such as learning disabilities, ADHD, etc.

Dr. Profit

February 12th, 2009
10:16 pm

Is it time we question if mercury really is toxic? Come on! The EPA says mercury in liquids exceeding 200 ppb is hazardous waste. Today the “special masters” say its alright to inject infants with a solution that contains 50,000 ppb mercury 10 times or more. We need to re-think the mercury toxicity question.

RA

February 13th, 2009
10:41 am

Researcher Corinne Zoli from Syracuse wrote an article in the journal Pediactics about the vaccine issue. The title of the article is “Vaccine Debate as Cultural Symptom of Public Distrust in Medical Institutions.” There is a bigger picture here. People don’t trust Pharmaceutical companies and their motives. Doctors are a major part of the pharmaceutical industry. The majority of their education is influenced by them. Most experts in any medical area have an incestous relationship with pharma companies. They use their presitge and power to shape the standard of practice.

On top of that, their are 2 pharma lobbyist for every congressman. They have never lost in congress. With the wave of conflicts of interest and medically induced deaths that have been surfacing its know wonder that people are skeptical of the medical knowledge base. It won’t change until doctors divorce themselves from industry and stop listening to industry sponsored doctors. Not going to happen though. So… the debate will continue.

Concerned

February 14th, 2009
8:20 am

Let’s suppose there is a group of people known as the National Planetary Information Center or NPIC that believe the world is flat. Study after study says otherwise. The government has spent millions of dollars, NASA regularly tells people our Earth is indeed round. All the geographers agree. But the NPIC keeps saying the “the earth is flat. It is conspiracy. “Big Travel” wants you to believe the earth is round so they can sell you plane tickets. And the cruise lines and pilots are in on it too. Don’t believe NASA either. People are dying falling off the ends of the earth. ”

This is a weak attempt at humor, and I apologize to all those whose children suffer from autism. But it is also so very sad. There is no link between autism and vaccination. Continuing to argue about it only wastes precious medical resources that could be used to find the true cause of autism and treat these children. Time to move on.

RA

February 14th, 2009
11:07 pm

Dear concerned,

Unfortunately your argument doesn’t solve or end any debate, it just fuels it. This is precisely the one Paul Offit and his lady friend, Dr. Nancy Snyderman use and want the public to use. It’s the authoritarian equivalent of “Because I said so!” Consensus doesn’t always equal truth. It may be the truth. But it doesn’t necessarily equal the truth.

The analogy you used is great because it’s essentially the flat earth analogy. But it’s been taken out of context. A long time ago people thought the earth was flat. Intellectuals said it was flat, Scientist type said it was flat, business people said it was flat. Essentially anyone with any type of “education” said it was flat. Even the evidence said it was flat. Anyone could look at the horizon and determine that was the truth. But someone came along and said that it was round. The majority said it was flat. So it continued to be flat. Eventually the flat earthers died off. They were never persuaeded.

If you study the history of medicine, this is the overlying theme. Some of the Giants of medicine were considered heretics. Mark twain said “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” The Mass vaccination program should be able to stand up to open scientific questions. Instead of answering the debate, it says “it’s over because I said so!” Not very scientific at all.

Why don’t the pro information and freedom (the ones that are called anti-vaccination by the pro-vacciners) concede to the court rulings? The same reason the AAP, AMA, CDC, Paul Offit and his philosophic followers didn’t concede to the Hannah Poling case.

There are some crucial questions that need to be answered scientifically. Until they are, I’m afraid that no debate will end. Because the truth will be out there. But…science itself will not be able to end this debate because it is an ethical debate just like the Eugenics program. Does anyone remember when Eugenics was actually called a science? It was approved by the AMA and the National Academy of Science. Not until the public rose up and cried did these people crawl back and stop hiding behind the name of science.

catlady

February 15th, 2009
9:21 am

I don’t think there is a link between autism and vaccination. This is not scientific; it is merely based on 36 years as a teacher and the observations I have made. The children I see with autism, most I have been around since they were babies, were already showing signs of problems before they had injections (folks around here rarely give their kids the shots at the recommended times). I think the causes of autism are much more varied (as the problem is varied in its manifestation) and much more complex than some folks want to think.

Still Concerned

February 15th, 2009
9:54 am

The court ruled that the “crucial questions that need to be answered scientifically” has already happened. Study after study after study shows no link between autism and vaccination. These studies have been published in journals like the New England Journal of Medcine etc etc.

Of course you don’t have to believe the New England Journal or even your own doctor. Just go ask your parents or grandparents. My mom was in high school in the early 1950s and dreaded the first day of school every year because she knew some of her friends would have died over the summer of polio. In the 1960s there tens of thousands of babies born with congential rubella syndrome, which includes deafness and heart defects. My mother in law told me she would bang pans together the first day home with her new baby to be sure that they did not have this problem. It has been several years since a case of this disease has been seen in the United States. And just a month ago a seven month baby died of Hib, a vaccine preventable disease. That seven month had not received any recommended vaccinations. It was the first death from Hib in Minnesota since 1991, about the time vaccine was introduced.

The point about the flat earth is certainly valid – of course everyone believed the earth was flat. Just look at the window, you don’t see the curve of the earth. But to continue to hold that belief after the time of Columbus and John Glenn is not very realistic. And that is the point about autism and vaccination, we need to move on. There are a limited number of tax dollars for medical research and they need to be spent on the true cause and better treatments for the horrible disease of autism.

Mercury and vaccines

February 15th, 2009
11:56 am

mercury is not in vaccines anymore…. autism rates continue to go up.
unbiased information at http://www.immunizationinfo.org/thimerosal_mercury_issues.cfm

RA

February 15th, 2009
12:36 pm

Let’s look at what the Merck manual says:

Measles: Before widespread immunization, measles epidemics occurred every 2 to 3yr, with small localized outbreaks during intervening years. In recent years in the USA, outbreaks have occurred most commonly in PREVIOUSLY IMMUNIZED adolescents and young adults and SOMETIMES in unimmunized preschool aged children. An infant whose mother has had measles receives transplacental passive immunity lasting most of the first year of life , thereafter susceptiblity is high. One attack of measles confers lifelong immunity.

Atypical measles syndrome usually occurs in persons PREVIOUSLY immunized with the original killed virus measles vaccine…atypical syndrome may also follow immunization with live, attenuated measles vaccine…

Prognosis: In healthy, well-nourished children, measles has a low mortality rate unless complications ensue. {Where are all the deaths? Typically in third world type conditions. The question is: should I be allowed to uses this information and make an educated decision about my child’s health? Or will other parent’s tell the govn’t to force me to make a decision based on their fears. If that’s the case, then I don’t need to know any statistics because the CDC, AAP, and DFACS will decide for me.

Polio: According to the PBS special that ran last week there were 20,000 cases of polio per year in 1950. A deadly and paralyzing disease. It then showed people in iron lungs and crippled. By 1960 the cases were down to 3000. (I’m going off memory so correct me if I’m wrong). This clever statement didn’t lie, but it was deceitful. Less than 2% of polio cases were paralytic and permanent. Not 20,000. The Cutter Labs incident caused 40,000 cases of polio from the vaccine. More people die from hospital infections than this. Where’s the outrage on that?

If vaccines were 100% safe, this would be a no-brainer. Everyone should get vaccines. No harm in trying. But, when you inject people with 76 vaccines and ingredients, something bad, known or unknown, is going to happen. Parents should be a part of the decision process and they deserve to know all the facts.

RA

February 16th, 2009
8:04 pm

“The court ruled that the “crucial questions that need to be answered scientifically” has already happened. Study after study after study shows no link between autism and vaccination. These studies have been published in journals like the New England Journal of Medcine etc etc.”

I’m still waiting for the controlled trial that compares vaccinated against un-vaccinated complications. Until that trial is done, then how can anyone say that this has been settled scientifically? What’s the problem? The Pro-vacciners say that would be an unethical experiment.

When someone says that a debate is over because they say so is just bullying.

Concerned

February 17th, 2009
7:28 am

that study has already been done and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. It involved > 500,000 Danish children and compared vaccinated to unvaccinated. Their conclusion was “this study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism.”

RA

February 17th, 2009
8:05 am

Thanks. I’ll check it out. I haven’t heard of any study that compared the two.

RA

February 17th, 2009
2:45 pm

I’ll get back to this study later. Its far from definitive. But let’s suppose it is “hard” science. It’s the scientific consensus. And their conclusion is the truth, not just a scientific opinion (whatever that is).

How dangerous are vaccines? Paul Offit says they are so safe that you could inject a child with 10,000 of them (presumably with mercury because he said that should’t be taken out).

Why not make them over-the-counter. Look at all the benefits and virtually no draw backs. Tylenol has a known track record with liver failure and deaths. Aspirin deaths are much higher than Tylenol. These have never stopped a disease by the millions like vaccines. Besides, according to these experts the only side effects from vaccines are anectdotal and coincidental. VAERS reports are scientifically useless. The only immediate danger would be a flesh wound with a small gauge syringe. Maybe you could poke an eye out. But you could do that with a pencil. Plus the benefits would outweigh the risks anyway.

We need to be more aggressive in our fight to eradicate these killer diseases. I would hate to see a dangerous and vaccine preventable disease like chicken pox come back because of the ignorant and selfish few. If it mutates, we would have no recourse against the Avian Chickenpox. The epidemic would come back and wipe out millions. (Show black and white film of children with sores screaming and running out of school buildings.) What are the draw backs? None, if the vaccines are as safe as the pure in heart doctors are saying. If we don’t do this, we risk millions of lives around the world.

There, you convinced me. I’m on your side now. Let’s campaign for OTC vaccines. Let’s not let doctors stand in the way of science and our children’s health.

Dr. Cottingham

April 14th, 2009
3:06 am

RE: Mercury and vaccines
February 15th, 2009
11:56 am
“mercury is not in vaccines anymore…. autism rates continue to go up.”

Actually, independent random checks on “Thimerosol-free” vaccines are turning up trace amounts in some samples. The manufacturers use it in the production process and the remove it.

But the bigger issue is that vaccines are one of many sources of mercury that newborns and young children are exposed to. And there are countless other ways an expectant mother can come in contact with it.

And then there is the synergistic effect ( AKA potentiation) between lead and mercury. It is a key piece of the autism puzzle that is being missed.

For the full story, you can read LEAD BABIES, a new book that ties mercury to autism, without being blown off course by the vaccination debate. http://www.nomoreleadbabies.com.

julie

June 2nd, 2009
4:46 pm

i beleive that it the debate will not end with the judges rules because you could never know if the vaccinations was the cause of autism because there is nothing saying that it wasent the cause because thers things that subject to change what if it happens to someone else they going to say the same thing that there is no eveidence they never know