Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

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."'
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Court Rules Autism Not Caused By Childhood Vaccine

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:03PM (#26831311)
    Maybe now he'll let his poor kids get their polio shots.
  • Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcsestretch (926118) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:09PM (#26831433)
    Good, now maybe that idiot Jenny McCarthy will shut her mouth about this. There are no telling how many kids have been put at risk because they're listing to celebrities harping their pseudo-science.
    • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:28PM (#26831765) Homepage

      Not gonna happen. The anti-vaccine movement has long since stopped being about science (if it ever was) and has become a self-sustaining community of believers. Once a community like that develops around an issue, it's virtually impossible to get rid of it. These people have built an entire support system built around the idea that they are all bound by the fact that their poor kids got autism from the evil vaccines. They do not want to give up that support system, and will rationalize however they need to to keep it.

      They will likely claim the court has no right to make medical decisions (already happened in this thread!) or that the court is being manipulated by Big Pharma with its legions of lobbyists. Under no circumstances will they simply admit they were wrong.

      • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:30PM (#26831813) Journal

        We can only hope natural selection will manifest itself on this group.

      • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jaypifer (64463) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:15PM (#26832623)

        You are painting with too broad a brush. All anti-vaccine people do not have autism fears. Some people just don't want the government to dictate the shots that go into their children. The government isn't always right. Be thankful that people are fighting for right to choose what you do with your children.

        That said, the fact that science cannot find a cause for the incredibly rapid increase of autism in industrialized nations isn't helping matters. People are looking for a common link and keep coming to a solution that is common to these nations and immunization stands out. It may not be true, but it isn't that irrational.

        • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Atriqus (826899) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:20PM (#26833787) Homepage
          Is it a rapid increase in the actual condition in industrialized nations, or a rapid increase in the ability to identify the condition?
        • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:24PM (#26833867)

          The initial hypothesis that immunization might be responsible is not irrational. Hanging on to that hypothesis as truth in the face of more and more studies showing no link (and the original positive study that showed a link and started the whole thing being exposed as a fraud) is irrational.

          If you don't want to get your kids vaccinated because you're afraid of the government, I think you're wrong, but go for it. Trying to scare other people into agreeing with you using the autism bogey man is just plain wrong.

        • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by waxigloo (899755) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:39PM (#26835257)
          The problem is that it is not a matter of individual health -- it is a matter of community health. To prevent epidemics, a certain threshold of the population must be vaccinated. By not vaccinating your child you are not just threatening its life, but the communities overall well-being. As the husband of a pediatrician who honestly believes that not vaccinating your child is tantamount to child abuse (perhaps another thing that parents should be able to choose to do to their children?), I think this is exactly the sort of thing the government should dictate.
        • Re:Jenny McCarthy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by snowgirl (978879) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:02PM (#26835635) Journal

          The last time parents chose about vaccinations was the vast public trial of the polio vaccine.

          The government didn't authorize it, and the FDA still didn't even regulate vaccines at that point. Parents simply offered their children up to be experimental guinea pigs because the fear of polio was THAT BAD.

          I'd rather not see mumps measles and rubella get so common that parents are willing to risk their children's safety upon unproven technologies, when the vaccines are proven.

          Universe knows we need to protect people against bogus medicine... there's a reason why we started regulating drugs, because of patent medicine and swindlers.

          There are some choices that are just so simple and basic that the government should be dictating them. Like "hey, the only active ingredient in a drug should not be cocaine."

        • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:59PM (#26836549) Homepage Journal

          You are painting with too broad a brush. All anti-vaccine people do not have autism fears. Some people just don't want the government to dictate the shots that go into their children.

          And some are against innoculations in general, believing vaccinations are short-sighted, saving people now at the expense of future generations becoming more susceptible to the diseases. As well as starting an arms race with the diseases -- the diseases develop resistance, and you have to change the vaccine. Instead of becoming less lethal and less disabling over time, diseases become angrier.

          Most people would save their own children today rather than thousands of people in the far future.
          I can't blame them, but I find it illogical.

        • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:25PM (#26836915) Homepage Journal

          "Be thankful that people are fighting for right to choose what you do with your children."

          Not in this case, not getting a child vaccinated hurts everyone. Non vaccinated children may cause mutations in a virus rendering the vaccines useless. This can not happen in a vaccinated child.
          Communities getting sick is bad for economics, overall health.

          "That said, the fact that science cannot find a cause for the incredibly rapid increase of autism in industrialized nations isn't helping matters."

          That's incorrect. It is the broadening of the term. In fact, the 'increase' follows the broadening of the term exactly. In fact, when the vaccines where changed in 1998 it had NO impact on the 'autism' rate; which was expected.

          "People are looking for a common link and keep coming to a solution that is common to these nations and immunization stands out."

          It's no more a common link then drinking water is a common link. It was rational to think this 30+ years ago, not any more.

          "It may not be true, but it isn't that irrational."
          Based on all the evidence, and there is mountains of it, it is irrational to keep thinking vaccines are the cause.

  • Ahh, the stupidity (Score:5, Informative)

    by dk90406 (797452) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:09PM (#26831437)
    or nativity of some people. Contrary to evidence (e.g. a Danish study showing no adverse effects of the vaccinations, and possibly a reduction of asthma due to them http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/06/bad-science-mmr-vaccine [guardian.co.uk]), some folks still prefer urban legends over real science.
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:10PM (#26831463) Homepage

    Autism occurs and makes itself known about the same time as the vaccination occurs, which may explain why some people makes that connection.

    But even if there was a small risk of autism related to the vaccination the risks involved by not being vaccinated are higher and the risk of an epidemic is higher if there is no vaccination performed.

    So if it's possible to get a vaccination - get it. People avoiding vaccination are a breeding ground for diseases like polio and a lot of other nasty things. The only disease successfully erased is smallpox - unless it escapes a laboratory somewhere, in which case we may have a disaster on our hands.

    Personally I would call parents that are fighting against vaccinations as irresponsible and a danger to society.

  • Joy in Guilt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:14PM (#26831513)

    I think for some reason a lot of people find joy in finding problems with progress. They seem to want every advancement we make as people to have some dark side effect that will lead us to our doom.
    There is being vigilant not taking things at face value, then there is going overboard and jumping to conclusions just to prove progress is bad.

    Just recently a bill was passed to stop a chemical from being put into children's toys, however there is no evidence that it is actually harmful in that amount. And is being replaced with new chemicals that could be just as bad, if not worse.

    Is it that they want to be Hero's saving us from them selfs or do they take joy in preventing progress.

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:16PM (#26831559) Homepage Journal

    I guess that's settled.

  • by 5pp000 (873881) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:17PM (#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 Haeleth (414428) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:28PM (#26831763) Journal

    The one disappointing thing here is that the court blames physicians for the public misconception. In reality, the blame lies more with the mass media, who turned the original claims into a massive health scare.

    The vast majority of physicians correctly investigated the claims and determined that the evidence did not stand up to scrutiny. But the media took that and turned it into their beloved "lone rebel" story, with a parents' champion fighting to get the truth out while the sinister establishment tried to suppress it. Result? Massive decrease in vaccine uptake, threatening public health and risking a deadly epidemic. All because "your children are at risk" sells more papers than "oops, we goofed up, turns out vaccines are safe after all".

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:30PM (#26831819)
    There was no scientific evidence that Silcone Breast implants caused illness [nytimes.com] either, but that didn't stop them from driving Dow Corning into bankruptcy with claims that they did. 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. What they don't have is a right to is compensation for harm that occurred after another event with no evidence that the other event actually caused the harm. In this case, the original claim was that the mercury (Thimerisol?) caused autism; it was quickly removed from vaccines, and then the claim was changed to the vaccination itself caused autism. When that couldn't be proved, then the claim was changed to several different vaccines taken closely together cause autism. (This last claim isn't quite as ridiculous as the other claims, since vaccine safety is tested a single vaccine at a time, not in combinations.) Yeah, I'm sorry about your kids' medical problems, but, like silicone implants, there is no statistical evidence that the medical problems occur any more frequently in kids that have had the vaccinations than kids that have not. Post Hoc, ergo propter hoc [wikipedia.org] is still a logical fallacy.
  • by Big Smirk (692056) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:06PM (#26832441)

    Because many vaccines are mandated by law, there was sort of an inusrance fund setup to cover cases of adverse reaction.

    From an article:
    http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/12/court-rules-vaccines-not-to-blame-for-autism/ [cnn.com]

    "It is worth noting the standard the court was using allowed for the petitioners (the parents of the children with autism) to demonstrate âoebiologic plausibilityâ as opposed to direct cause and effect. Scientifically, biological plausibility is an easier standard to meet."

    So the courts ruled that it is not even plausible that the vaccines caused autism.

    Of course one day there might be a theory and some evidence that changes this ruling.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

Working...