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Court Rules Autism Not Caused By Childhood Vaccine 1056

Posted by timothy
from the thanks-court dept.
wiredog writes "From The Washington Post comes word that three special masters have decided that MMR vaccines do not cause autism. 'Special master George Hastings said the parents ... had "been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment." ... "the evidence advanced by the petitioners has fallen far short of demonstrating ... a link."'
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Court Rules Autism Not Caused By Childhood Vaccine

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  • by orclevegam (940336) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:08PM (#26831411) Journal

    Do we really want courts deciding scientific fact?

    Why not? The media industry decides on the law.

    OK, if I'm following this that means:
    Media -> Law -> Courts -> Science
    So the Media now defines science?... of course now that I think about it, that's probably not to far from the truth for a distressingly large portion of the population.

  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:12PM (#26831499) Homepage Journal

    My neighbor believed this, her husband was dumbfounded, but he and the doctor couldn't convince her otherwise. I had never even heard of it before I had talked to her husband. Kind of sad.

  • by 5pp000 (873881) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:17PM (#26831575)

    I didn't know about this until just last week, and I'm fifty! But apparently the evidence is pretty good. Search the Web for "paternal age autism" and you'll find a raft of stuff, such as a Washington Post article that says this:

    When fathers are in their thirties, children have about 1 1/2 times the risk of developing autism of children of fathers in their teens and twenties. Compared with the offspring of the youngest fathers, children of fathers in their forties have more than five times the risk of developing autism, and children of fathers in their fifties have more than nine times the risk.

    This hits home for me since there is actually some possibility I might attempt to father a child or two in the next several years. Food for thought.

    On the other hand, at worst the risk is less than 1% per child.

  • by grocer (718489) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:36PM (#26831915)
    Well, maybe not, but Cornell researchers found that autism spiked when cable TV became more widespread [slate.com]. It may or may not be related...of course, there is the factor of affluence and whether autism would be more likely to be diagnosed and treated in households that could afford cable. Maybe there's a statistically significance between whether or not parents of autistic children drive luxury cars or own large houses, too, but who knows. However, there was a difference in autism rates when correlated to television watching.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:40PM (#26831971) Journal

    The courts are simply (and fortunately) ruling based on the science. The studies are very clear, these vaccines do not cause autism. I feel very sorry for these families, but they (and their lawyers) have been trumpeting pseudoscience in a vain attempt to find a single target to blame.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:45PM (#26832047)

    I'm a little concerned. Is it possible that a specific batch of vaccines got contaminated due to poor quality assurance practises (sorta like how sometimes food gets contaminated with pathogens) and the contaminated vaccines started something like this? I once saw a hearing on C-SPAN by a congressman who basically accused a company of tainting the vaccines with a chemical that broke down into mercury in the blood resulting in mercury poisoning. But in that instance his complaint was not that the vaccine was the culprit, but that the company had not adhered to the regulations put fourth by the FDA and allowed tainted Vaccines in the wild anyway.

    Does anyone else know anything about this?

    Disclaimer:
    And by the way, I do trash the Christian Fundamentalists in the anti-Vaccine community. Seriously. They piss me off. But then again, Christians piss me off in general. And if they had their way we'd all be back in the dark ages and disease would run rampant.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:55PM (#26832261) Homepage
    Uhm...water is a chemical... h2o (lower-case so o is not mistaken for zero).

    The parents concern is stirred with the timing..autism and vaccinations happen around the same time, so they are using the logical fallacy "Post hoc ergo propert hoc". They are confused, frustrated and don't know any better - and there is always a lawyer or extremist looking to use that to their advantage.

    Another thing that gives them a basis is that chemicals are injected into their kids at the same time, and they believe there is a bad interaction...then throw in the word "mercury" - known for poisoning people and it is not hard to understand why people, who are confused, frustrated and don't know any better are pointing fingers at vaccinations.

    Given that - we need to slap around the idiots who like to argue in the face of evidence instead of hiring scientists to research and prove their claims.
  • Re:Mercury (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cfulmer (3166) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:59PM (#26832331) Homepage Journal

    Watch out -- that's the cancer cluster myth. In any population, random events will not be uniformly distributed throughout the population, but will sometimes cluster. People in the cluster then look for a reason behind the cluster instead of recognizing it for what it is -- a product of randomness.

    In answer to the first question, the special masters (3 of them in 3 different cases) said that the current scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that there is no link between childhood vaccines and autism.

    In the original study that showed some sort of a link, it was later discovered that 7 out of the 8 affected kids showed indications of autism before getting the vacccines.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mouse42 (765369) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:04PM (#26832413)
    The theory I have had is that autism is a genetic trait. I see it woefully common that people with severe problems are children of one or both parents who had only marginal problems.

    I think the rise in autism, then, is 1) increased social acceptance of differences, 2) changes in "mating patterns", 3) the ease of finding like-minded individuals.
  • Re:Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:05PM (#26832433)

    The right wing's form of anti-science tends to be evolution and global warming denial. They too think they have the 'true' science on their side, no different from lefties and their anti-vaxx and anti-synthetic chemicals propaganda.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:08PM (#26832479)

    Sugar does not cause hyperactivity!

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52516 [medicinenet.com]

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:09PM (#26832505)

    Obviously, something in our environment is making autism rates climb.

    Not at all. It's a combination of 2 things: 1. the definition of autism has broadened with time so that things that weren't considered autism 50 years ago now count 2. better detection means people with autism are more likely to get counted.

    The scientific consensus is that there is no reason to believe that autism is more common now than before.

    If only I had mod points...

    Having worked in autism research for 5 years, just determining which potential research subjects were "autistic" enough was a challenge. Using all the standard measures (ADI, ADOS, language abilities tests, etc.) wasn't always enough. Clincal judgement plays a huge role.

    I wouldn't say that the definition of autism has broadened, but rather autism is now considered a spectrum of disorders. It's more of a catch-all rather than a disorder in and of itself.

    In my time in autism research, I also saw that people were pushing hard to get their mildly affected kids officially diagnosed so that they would be able to get special services. The problem here is that the schools would refuse to provide services to kids who didn't get the diagnosis, and then kick the kids out of school when they would be disruptive. So the parents were left with no alternative but seek a doctor that would give them what they wanted.

  • by Well-Fed Troll (1267230) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:09PM (#26832521)
    It's so weird listening to all this hyperbole about vaccines causing the damage when it's not the vaccine itself, but the mercury they were using as a preservative in the vaccine. My personal belief is that there are two factors involved in acquiring Aspergers (and likely autism), one genetic and the other environmental. The problem is that if the research does not properly separate out the correct triggers, it will not come up with strong correlations. To top it all off, there probably is a pure genetic cause of Autism/Aspergers that isn't accounted for either.

    Given the above, I see this ruling to be the result of straight-up rear orifice covering by the drug companies. To rule that the autism was definitely NOT caused by vaccine when the cause in unknown is very suspicious. I wouldn't have a problem with them saying "We will not hear any more cases until you come up with real proof", but for them to say "Nothing to see here, please move along" raises the my TFH (Tin Foil Hat) level up a notch.

    Disclaimer: My brother has Aspergers.

  • by squish (64334) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:13PM (#26832593)

    Ben Goldacre writes for the Guardian in the UK with his excellent Bad Science column. http://www.badscience.net/2009/02/bad-science-bingo/ [badscience.net]
    He recently highlighted an ill informed rant by Jeni Barnett from LBC Radio on this issue of the MMR vaccine. They seem to be unaware of the Streisand effect in trying to shut him up and remove the clip from his website.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:14PM (#26832609)

    Personally, I blame Barney.

    There's been some research that has shown by certain ages a person's capability to learn an initial language drastically cuts off.

    Barney, and the rest of his never-change-facial-expressions-non-human-faced friends, deprive babies of the non-verbal cues normal human interaction produces. If non-verbal language follows verbal language, sticking a baby in front of Barney or Dora or any of those other disturbing computer animated baby shows is feeding the kid a language that doesn't sync with the human world.

    Does Barney express pain with facial expressions? You wonder why "autistic" kids can't tell when they are hurting other kids? They don't speak the same language as the rest of humanity.

    Of course something like this means that when mommy and daddy let Dora and Barney babysit the kid they were partly responsible for their kid's lack of development, and we can't have that...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:20PM (#26832709)

    Wait, how are they a risk? Supposedly the people they are a risk to have the immunization...

  • Re:Joy in Guilt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oasisbob (460665) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:21PM (#26832721)

    Many pthalates are antiandrogenic. It's not an impossible task to come up with a replacement that doesn't have this effect in vivo.

    Care to provide names of chemicals, and/or sources? It's hard to believe you otherwise, especially when you use weasel phrases like "can be more harmful."

    Pthalates are not exactly well-studied either, at least not for human effects. This isn't a case where perfect is the enemy of good, and we're throwing out a decent substance entirely... Personally, I'd much rather give my children toys that don't contain PVC at all. It's not a big deal to avoid this issue.

  • by caluml (551744) <slashdot.spamgoeshere@calum@org> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:24PM (#26832775) Homepage

    No, they don't, because unimmunized kids are a health risk for the entire community.

    Not if your kids have been immunised. Stop worrying about everyone else, and sort yourself out.

  • by Thaelon (250687) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:28PM (#26832845)

    No, they don't, because unimmunized kids are a health risk for the entire community.

    No kidding.

    Public schools won't let you in if you're not immunized. It was a great show stopper in OH were I grew up, but in SC where I live now public schools are terrible so it has no effect - unfortunately.

  • by thedudethedude (1462877) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:29PM (#26832865)
    No, infected kids are a health risk. Not immunizing does not mean a child is sick. In some cases it may mean a less compromised immune system.
  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:31PM (#26832893) Homepage

    You're misunderstanding. Autism is generally regarded as a spectrum of disorder, from those with mild behavioural difficulties all the way to those who cannot function independently in society. It's not something that can be an 'is or is not' like, e.g. Down's Syndrome.

    At the mild end of the spectrum it can be really difficult, and quite subjective, to differentiate mild autism from simple naughty behaviour, and it is often when the child gets a bit older that the diagnosis is much clearer because their level of social functioning becomes much more apparent compared to those around them.

    'Braver' doctors will overdiagnose and get the occasional complaint from parents saying "you labelled my child and now they're fine" because they had non-autistic spectrum behaviour problems that they grew out of. More conservative doctors will choose to watch and wait then get occasional complaints that they should have seen something subtle earlier - in fact, they probably did but decided to hold off.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mario_grgic (515333) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:33PM (#26832919)

    Obviously, something in our environment is making autism rates climb. But it doesn't look like it's the thimerosol. Even if it is from mercury (which I don't know of any data showing that it is), it seems to be mercury from some other source, not from thimerosol.

    Well, there are some people in the medical community claiming that fetal diagnostic ultra sounds, whose usage has increased significantly in recent years, may in fact account for increased incidence of autism in children.

    The theory is based on thermal effects of ultra sounds. Presumably heating neural tissue in early development phases by even 1 degree is quite bad. This is actually confirmed on mice studies.

    However, on the other hand, there are other people in the medical community who do not buy this argument and claim that ultra sounds are 100% safe, and that human fetuses (unlike mice) are well protected by inches of mother's tissue, and larger amount of amniotic fluid, and that ultra sounds are not focused narrowly enough to actually heat the fetus (or embryo).

    I guess Google search on the topic could be interesting but inconclusive.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:41PM (#26833081)

    I've started to wonder if the reason earlier cultures had some of those bad evil non-pc ideas wasn't to just be mean evil patriarchal societies.

    Maybe they figured out that bad things tended to happen if they had too many engineers having kids with other engineers. That it was better keep similar occupation men and women apart so you'd get the mathematically minded engineer procreating with the socially orientated receptionist. Like the shallow/deep roller spiel in Red Dragon (or was it Hannibal?). Shallow/Shallow or Shallow/Deep was okay. Deep/Deep, not so much...

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:47PM (#26833201) Homepage

    And the local public school district is still letting her attend?

    Why not? It's not like she could spread a disease to the other kids; they're all vaccinated!

    And in fact the kid herself is probably safe, since just about everyone who could give her the diseases is vaccinated. This is called 'herd immunity' and it's pretty effective.

    It's okay for some people to not be vaccinated, either due to medical reasons (allergic reactions etc) or the parents simply not wanting their kid vaccinated due to risk of autism or government conspiracy or whatever comes into their heads. Some people. The problem with these anti-vaccination movements is that if they spread and many people are convinced not to vaccinate their children, then the whole situation changes as now there's a significant sub-population for a disease to infect and spread in.

    And seriously, these poor deluded bastards have no freaking clue of the hell they'll be unleashing on their children and children's children if they have their way, and something like smallpox makes a comeback. Whatever the small increase in autism rates even the believers put forward doesn't compare to the millions and millions who will die.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:48PM (#26833215)

    How does that work? If you have one kid in a community that isn't immunized and the rest of the community got their shots like good citizens, isn't the only one thats going to catch it the non-immunized kid?

    I mean isn't that why all the other people got the vaccination in the first place?

    Now if you're going to tell me that "oooh, but the immunized people can still get it" then what the fuck is the point of the immunization?

    If you say "well it can wear off" then why the fuck isn't it mandatory to re-immunize?

    I just don't get it. If parents want their kids to die of ebola we should let them. Clean up the jean pool a little.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:55PM (#26833367)

    Wait. . .why?

    If the vaccine works. . . what risk is there in an unvaccinated kid? He can't spread it to be people who have the vaccine, can he?

    If he can, then what did the vaccine actually DO?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:59PM (#26833453)

    If my unimmunized kid is a risk to the immunized community, then what good is the immunization?

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Chosen Reject (842143) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:02PM (#26833513)
    Thanks for the info. However, if the kid is autistic enough to warrant being kicked out of school for autistim-related disrupions wouldn't that be easy enough for a doctor to detect early on? I assume that if a doctor is weary about diagnosing a kid with autism then the kid is probably not going to be kicked out of school for autism-related disruptions. So either my assumptions are wrong (could very well be) or I'm still misunderstanding what the problem is. The AC I replied to said the problem was school's refusing to offer services to kids who aren't autistic. But I don't see that as a problem. What I do see as a problem is parents shopping around to find a doctor willing to diagnose their kid with autism because their kid got himself kicked out of school because he was disruptive. But, again I'm assuming, if his disruptions were autism-related, you wouldn't need to shop around as any competent doctor would be able to diagnose that.

    That's not to say a kid can't have mild autism but still be kicked out for non-autistic spectrum behavior, but if that were the case, it'd still be parents trying to lay the blame on some thing that isn't the real issue (i.e., their kid is disruptive for non-autistic spectrum behavior).
  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss.Sean@gDEGASmail.com minus painter> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:07PM (#26833577) Homepage

    I offer you my non-existent mod-points.

    I was diagnosed with asperger's disorder 5 or 6 years ago. On the whole, my life has not been affected in any major way. While I can identify some of the signs quite easily, and I definitely have problems socializing, I would not say this somehow makes me all that far off from your usual nerd. Yes, I'm a shut-in, for the most part, with nothing but the cold glow of my LCD monitor to keep me warm, but, again, I'm posting on /. so no surprise.

    Kidding aside, the doctor who diagnosed me said it was obvious to see, but that it is not so much a condition as it is a personality trait. He explained how autism is a spectrum and how severe it can be. I wasn't doomed to a life at the end of the short bus nor was I "gifted" with incredible genius the likes of which man has never seen, despite what the average idiot and mother thinks, respectively.

    In most places I go, I can't mention the diagnosis without being mocked and told that I think I'm a "special little snowflake" blaming all of his problems and social defects on a made-up disease. It's really annoying.

    I guess I'm just trying to say... it's better to be more conservative with the diagnosis as you showed, and to remind people that it's not necessarily a world-shattering condition in many cases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:08PM (#26833605)

    People do have a right to their beliefs, even if they are paranoid delusions, they have a right to refuse to get their kids immunized.

    No, they don't, because unimmunized kids are a health risk for the entire community.

    How? Say our kids go to the same school. My kids don't get immunized. Your kids do. My kids get 'the disease.' Your kids can't get it. How're my diseased kids a danger to the community? To the community of people who didn't get immunized, sure. But that's pretty much an opt-in type group in our society.

  • Population Immunity (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:13PM (#26833671)

    Actually, so long as the unimmunized kids don't cross a certain threshold, population immunity makes it so they're not much of a risk.

    Basically, so long as most people are immunized, those few who do get sick won't have anyone to spread the disease to, so it will die out right away, rather than becoming an epidemic.

    That said, I think it's a really, really bad idea to skip vaccinations. I'd never do that to my kids if I had any.

  • by ezakimak (160186) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:13PM (#26833679)

    How is this logic sound?
    If vaccines actually work (I'm not claiming either way), then logic should say that only the unimmunized are ever at risk, and that the immunized are completely safe regardless. Otherwise, what's the point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:23PM (#26833849)

    No, they don't, because unimmunized kids are a health risk for the entire community.

    How so? If everyone else is immunized, the unimmunized kids are only a health risk to themselves. Your logic is flawed.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:28PM (#26833925)

    So? A vaccine is WORSE by the standards of your argument. Vaccines are dirt cheap and make sure nobody ever gets the disease. From an evil-drug-company-ruled-by-profit-motive point of view, it would be much better to invent a cure instead. Sick people are way more desperate than healthy ones.

  • by martyros (588782) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#26833973)
    Are they really a health risk if everyone else in the community has been vaccinated?
  • Re: Courts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#26833983) Homepage

    This is also why we need:

    1. Strong regulators who are funded to independently research this sort of stuff when needed.
    2. To stop fighting out these kinds of issues in lawsuits.

    When a medical procedure or drug enters the market the introducer should pay to have it tested to show that it is safe. Once this is accepted, the onus should then be on the government to show that it is not safe (or that there was clear fraud). If a government rules that a product is safe a court should not be able to award damages.

    The problem is now that anybody can come up with any theory they'd like and sue for billions of dollars in a class-action. This encourages:

    1. Plaintiffs to come out of the woodwork with any crazy theory to make some money.
    2. Companies to avoid even researching safety issues - not because the research would cost money but because the outcome would punish them with 20/20 hindsight.

    Go ahead and force companies to do safety studies if you must, but the outcome should be products pulled from the market - not lawsuits. And fraud means outright fraud. If a company finds one data point that suggests that there might be a risk, but doesn't pull a product until a study is completed several years later, they shouldn't be punished for this. If you pulled a product every time somebody got sick from it there wouldn't be anything on your pharmacy shelves. Lawyers love 20/20 hindsight. Now, if a company completes a definitive study and buries the results that is fraud. If a company completes a study and there is controversy in the data, and the company honestly reports the data to a regulator and gets the nod to put a product on the market, that isn't fraud.

  • by Eil (82413) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:48PM (#26834315) Homepage Journal

    No, they don't, because unimmunized kids are a health risk for the entire community.

    Explain how that works, then. I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but pretend I am. If I don't get my kids vaccinated and they come down with something nasty, how is that dangerous to your kids who did get the vaccine and are thus protected from it?

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:50PM (#26834347)

    Two reasons:

    1) Some people care about others, as well as themselves. Perhaps those people care whether your kids die.

    2) A small subset of people cannot benefit from immunization, or have not been immunized through no fault of their own. This includes immigrants who were not given the opportunity to be immunized and people with compromised immune systems. Oh, and children of people who think vaccines are bad. These people are protected by vaccines anyway, provided enough of the rest of the population IS vaccinated. This "herd immunity" keeps diseases from spreading. Yes, you and your kids are protected (congratulations), provided ENOUGH other people do get vaccinated.

    Oh, and 3) it's a whole lot cheaper to give even a whole bunch of people a three cent shot than it is to support them for the rest of their lives because something like polio has destroyed their ability to work, walk, or breathe on their own.

  • by TheMster (845236) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:57PM (#26834469)
    No, they aren't [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:10PM (#26834709)

    BS. If you're immunized, what's the worry?

    Ohhh, you mean that there's really no proof that vaccines actually do anything but harm? That big-pharma has been cherry-picking the numbers to sell you their poison? Say it isn't so!

  • Re: Courts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:10PM (#26835763)

    I'm sorry about your child's autism... and the tremendous toll it has taken on your family, but I have to tell you - reading your comment has made me ever so sadder for our society.

    Sir, the only place where either the value of vaccinations or any causative relationship between vaccines and autism are still debated, is in the public press and on the Internet. Anti-vaccination has become a subculture, that is so far off the chart of what is scientifically substantiated, that it is now the prime example of how people will eagerly buy into only the biggest lies.

    I have over 12 years of experience in immunology and virology... I have 2 degrees in biology and biomedical science... and after very carefully examining the peer-reviewed primary literature in the matter of autism vs. vaccines, I have found zero evidence to show a positive causative relationship... not even a strong, statistically-significant correlation.

    With regards to vaccines in general, to claim that their benefits are questionable is to render the last 50 years of research null and void. It's simply wrong.

    I know that my post hasn't made life any better for your family, but I do hope that it can at least help to get you back on track. Honestly, we in the medical research community have only your interests at heart. We're not all part of a giant conspiracy, and if we knew something to be harmful, we'd have withdrawn it long ago. Not trusting us, simply because there are websites full of hate and stupidity that tell you so, is quite a bit like hating black people after reading Clan literature. Every bit as insane, and may be even more damaging.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dryeo (100693) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:48PM (#26836387)

    Actually having an Autistic son, it was quite surprising how little equipped the average doctor was to diagnose him.
    While when he started preschool the people there immediately knew there was something different about him the doctors kept just sending us to more specialized specialists until we made quite a few trips to childrens hospital with a lot of testing including MRI's and things before he was diagnosed.
    Also when he started school he was not talking and very frustrated with attempting to communicate. The school principal started out not even believing in autism but after the first year agreed that autism was a real disability.

  • Re:Well then (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @09:08PM (#26837405)

    I'm not convinced that vaccines gave both of my sons their Autism, but the regression coincided with the high fever that followed a vaccine - no fiction there. There are also "fever effects" in my children's developmental pattern, nothing you can publish in a peer reviewed journal or anything, but they actually seem to make progress toward "normalcy" in spurts now that often coincide with fevers. What does that mean? Who knows - I worked with a Harvard educated neuroscientist for a couple of years, and based on his stated opinions of the state of the art in understanding these kinds of cause and effect relationships in the brain, I'd guess that there's definitely something happening there, but the world's leading experts would only have hunches as to what's really going on.

    It's one thing to speak in abstract probabilities, make historical references to plagues that ended before you were born, talk about the greater good, etc. etc. When you're the one on the front line watching human beings be maimed in the name of "the greater good," you start to question whose greater good is really being served, and do I really want to participate?

    I do think it's suspicious that the last vaccine-autism case which was decided in favor of the injured was treated as a very specific special case, not likely applicable to anyone else, yet this one which was presented by parents who weren't as sharp or knowledgeable is being portrayed as precedent setting and a "major setback" for future plaintiffs.

  • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @09:49PM (#26837853)

    I dont have autism, but I DID experience an adverse reaction to my Dyptheria/Thyphus/Pertussis (however you spell those) shots when I was an infant. Simply because forced immunization has been found non-causal to autism does not make them non-causal to other forms of child damage.

    For instance, I experienced lasting damage to one of my eyes after my reaction to my immunization shots. (Exact reaction was a high fever and convulsions, which resulted in nerve damage to one of my eyes.) While the number of such reactions is statistically quite low, the current laws on the books make it "Very difficult" for people who have had a KNOWN reaction to their first immunization series to forego getting additional shots of the same series in order to avoid additional reactions. Simply because a specific side effect has a low incidence, does not mean you can ignore that they in fact, do occur.

    My folks had to trot out my medical history EVERY YEAR I was in public school, due to the beauracratic pedanticism of the current methodologies. "Well, the law says your child has to have *ALL* his immunizations, even if he has a past history of life threatening reactions to them."

    The problem I have with the "Why wont you get your child immunized!? Are you some inhuman fiend who wants to start a super-plague!?" mentality, is that it discounts circumstances such as my own. Sometimes, NOT having your child immunized is the sane and rational thing to do, but the prevailing methodologies try to marginalize this into the "Nutter" fringe.

    I dislike that immensely.

  • by tukkayoot (528280) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @09:50PM (#26837871) Homepage

    The autism scare doesn't really have anything to do with how medical professionals and scientists in the United States treat mental disorders. Instead it has to do with how the media does business.

    It goes like this: some crackpot with a MD or phD (or sometimes not even that) makes a crackpot claim which nonetheless might appear credible to the layperson. If the crackpot claim plays on the emotions, biases and greed of the public (wanting someone to blame, distrust of big pharmaceutical companies, desire for large cash settlements) and the media, always hungry for a sensational new story, picks it up and relays it to a credulous public, and the movement builds momentum. Occasionally the media will host talking head debates where experts on both sides of the issues duke it on in sound-bite interview-exchanges. The result is that both sides appear equally credible (or whoever has the more charismatic expert appears more credible) and the public goes on thinking the crackpot theory may be/is probably true, in spite of whatever the evidence is, or overwhelming consensus that the crackpot theory is just that.

    And I believe the who autism scare was kicked off by a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield, and was picked up and spread by the UK media, so it's not a purely American phenomenon.

  • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @10:04PM (#26838019)

    Absolutely, if you've got an actual reason not to be immunized, you shouldn't be. A law that requires someone in your situation to be vaccinated is unconscionable. Procedures that make it overly difficult for you to avoid it are unfortunate, and should probably be changed.

    But, in your case, it's even more important that everyone else be vaccinated. Someone always trots out the "if you're vaccinated, what do you care what I do? You're not going to get sick anyway!" argument. It's really for people like you, who can't be vaccinated, that herd immunity is important. You shouldn't get sick because somebody thought Jenny McCarthy is a reliable medical expert.

    I also agree with you, it's too bad people can't seem to hold in their heads that sometimes there are rare, but legitimate reasons for something, as well as a whole host of much more common crazy reasons. It's better those simple minded people fall on the side of vaccinating (which is protecting you) than the other way, though.

    Finally, thank you. You're the unfortunate random one person in millions who have to take a hit so all of us can be much, MUCH safer. The least the rest of us can do is make sure we've got all our shots so herd immunity protects you as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:52PM (#26838971)

    Stop calling truth an unreasonable philosophy.

    Dr. Simoncini (http://cancerisafungus.com) remedied all cancer using sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda). He's in jail for 4 years on unrelated charges.

    Mary Tocco (http://www.marytocco.com/marytoccobio.htm) has over 20 years experience on the subject; she and her husband doesn't vaccinate their 5 children, and found philosophy & truth joined that the pre-dominant causes of vaccinating today that have caused all the ill health are in-effect more philosophical from ignorance as yours.

    Mike Witort ( http://wakeupwell.org/ [wakeupwell.org] ) is perhaps the simplest man in existence yet more effective than all the others, specializing in nutritional remedies to correct the bodies absorption of necessary metals and proper digestion combined with lymphnode/endocrine -activating massage therapy and more knowledge blended of ancient Chinese and competing "theories" that you might not be capable of reasoning. He is constantly harassed, and has spent years in prison for following through in his ministry of good will.

    Rick Simpson "Run From The Cure" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjhT9282-Tw [youtube.com] ) has been growing acres of high-THC marijuana on his estate over at Canada and the the Royals arrive to uproot it all without charges; they don't charge him because he has affidavits in place and compurgatorial statements from people that were about to die and his "gamble" saved them; he uses typical "junk" science to refine Hemp oil with THC from the plants, and gives it to whomever is about to die. There were many people with less than 2 weeks estimated to live, and letting their skin absorb the THC oil or just ingest it would kill the nastiest of diseases. The Royal Mounted Police continues to harass because they think the Royals estimated theirselves a street value of $10k worth of plants goes into making half a cup of his thick resin. He doesn't sell it for smoke, and will not get a license because people like your philosophy is what makes the truth such a hindrance to license everything that is free and good.

    All these people have 1 thing in common; they don't force anyone to abide, they just wait for you to receive them; free states. If you want to force people to accept innoculations, then you'll undoubtedly accept one of theirs in equal exchange to recompense the damages that occur.

    I would login if I could, but Slashdot moderation has slandered (user ID account "nradude") this from being seen.
    I approve this message,
      without prejudice,
      m. Gregory Thomas(tm).

  • Re:Whats next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Friday February 13, 2009 @10:18AM (#26842871)

    Did I say I am not going to get them vaccinated *or* did I say I wanted to wait until they had their own functional immune systems.

    This is illustrative of the degree of medical ignorance behind the antivaccine hysteria. The very fact that vaccines work in young children (and the medical evidence is unequivocal that they do) proves that have functional immune systems.

  • Re:No proof yet... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 13, 2009 @10:48AM (#26843363)

    My older son has a diagnosis of Aspberger's. We had one ultrasound done, and I still have the videotape. What is striking about this video is that he is "stimming" in the video using exactly the mannerisms he does now. At 8 weeks in utero!

    To me this says:

      * Vaccines did not cause his condition
      * Nor did ultrasound
      * Nor did anything else we may have done as clueless parents.

    So every time I hear of some new theory trying to explain this condition in terms of blame, I get cranky.

    It is also very clear to me that there is a likely genetic component - I am not on the spectrum (and my social intuition is fine when I bother to use it ;-) ) but I do have a lot of traits that I can use to help me with insights into his condition and needs.

    One poster above mentioned that there is a correlation between age of childbearing and autism. I am wondering now if this is really a correlation between age of marriage/commitment and being on the spectrum? That is, autism disorders are largely genetic and those with them take longer to "settle down and raise a family" because of the social obstacles?

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