Major brain structures implicated in autism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are probably hundreds of blog posts and articles and thousands upon thousands of Facebook posts regarding this specific article and reblogging it dragging it up as if it’s new and shiny and a huge blow to the medical community and Pro-Vaccination Supporters: Courts quietly confirm MMR Vaccine causes Autism (source is “Whiteout” click here). It’s very misleading and the article ignores facts, as usual. But this article and dozens like it are being spread around as gospel truth without fact checking. I suppose what’s understandable is that most people that fall for what’s in that article is because they don’t really follow through and find out the facts. People rely on those they trust to interpret these things for them. They rely on assumptions that what they’re reading is true and correct and unbiased. That it’s factual. That it can be proven. Scientifically, even.
The “court” that is referred to in the Whiteout article and ruled against vaccines for causing an injury was the Italian court. Court rulings, especially from the Italian court, do not equal science. No court ruling, if we’re being accurate, equals science especially if it’s not the specially set up Vaccine Court. The judgment from the Italian court wasn’t based in scientific fact or forensics, but they’re not typically known for that. Hell, they like to retry people who were already found innocent in their own court system if their prosecutor didn’t like the result so that he has another chance to try to prove them guilty (Amanda Knox). They even found six scientists guilty and gave very severe sentences to all six of them for failing to predict an earthquake (2009 earthquake). EVEN THOUGH it’s beyond the ability of ANY modern scientist to predict an earthquake. An Italian court ordered a father to pay his 32 year old employed, professional daughter that still lived with him her allowance and since he had stopped paying her, and he was forced to pay over €12,000 in arrears plus reinstate a €350-a-month allowance. My point is to take the original article for what it’s worth, which is less than nothing.
Additionally, the claim by the petitioner was originally that Ryan Mojabi had Autism as a result of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, but the Secretary of Health and Human Services did believe that he had Encephalopathy as result of the MMR vaccine. Also, they ruled only that compensation is appropriate under their rules.
Regarding whether the MMR actually causes Encephalopathy ie. Enchephalitis ie. disorder of the brain:
…In the section Post-Marketing Reports, encephalitis (infection of the brain) was added to reflect the receipt of reports following ProQuad vaccination. Previously, this adverse reaction was listed under adverse events seen after MMR or varicella vaccination. Encephalitis has been reported approximately once for every 3 million doses of MMR vaccine. Post-marketing surveillance of more than 400 million doses distributed worldwide (1978 to 2003) indicates that encephalitis is rarely reported after MMR vaccination. In no case has it been shown conclusively that encephalitis was caused by a vaccine virus infection of the central nervous system. There was no proven causal relationship between ProQuad and any of the reported cases that prompted the change in the label…
It sounds scary but even in cases where someone contracted Encephalitis/Encephalopathy after receiving the MMR vaccine, it can’t be considered a causal link. One huge reason why is because Autism and Encephalitis are not the same aka Encephalitis is not Autism. It may share some similarities but it is not Autism. Encephalitis does not lead to or cause Autism. Secondly, someone contracting a disease after they receive the vaccination against it is not proof that the vaccination caused the disease. Other contributing factors are ignored. Thirdly, someone showing symptoms of a disorder after receiving a vaccination is not, again, not proof that the vaccination caused the disorder. Many times the signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder NATURALLY do not begin to show persistently until the same time certain vaccines are routinely given. In someone who already has ASD in their genetic code, it’s possible that vaccines could be one of the environmental triggers, sure. That’s being researched by reputable scientists. We saw a dramatic increase in symptoms and massive regressions when we moved house at the age of 18 months. At the same time, we tried to take away the pacifier and and encourage moving out of the crib to a toddler bed.
There are many causes of Encephalitis. The claimants ended up revising their claim to (paraphrasing) saying that the MMR caused Encephalopathy/Encephalitis that led to Autism. However, in an U.S. court it’s very unlikely that they would have won.
Oh wait… more facts. I love facts.
The The Encephalitis Society that’s based in the UK has a brilliant fact sheet about Encephalitis (go ahead, click here). They clearly state their view on MMR vaccination:
Measles infection and encephalitis
Measles causes encephalitis in around 1 in 1,000 children. Measles encephalitis
caused the death of Roald Dahl’s daughter Olivia in 1962. He became an ardent
supporter of measles vaccination as a result of the tragic loss of his daughter. He wrote
a letter to parents encouraging them to get their children vaccinated (see copy of letter
attached). He dedicated James and the Giant Peach and the BFG to Olivia.
Other countries such as Italy and Ireland have had epidemics of measles in recent
years because not enough children have had the MMR vaccine. As a result, children
have developed encephalitis and children have died from measles in those countries.
Measles is also the cause of a disease called Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis
(SSPE). This is a rare condition that can develop some years after natural measles
infection. The average time between someone having measles to the ﬁ rst symptoms of
SSPE is around 8 years. It is a degenerative neurological condition which progressively
destroys nerve cells in the brain almost always leading to mental deterioration and death.
Children are especially at risk of SSPE if they are very young when they catch measles. It
affects around 1 in 8,000 children who are infected when they are under 2 years old.
SSPE is not caused by the MMR vaccine. Measles vaccine and MMR vaccine directly
protect against SSPE.
Since the introduction of measles vaccine in the 1960s, the numbers of people
diagnosed with SSPE has decreased dramatically, and the death rate from SSPE is
expected to fall even further if measles remains under control.
Mumps infection and encephalitis
Mumps virus frequently infects the central nervous system. Before the MMR vaccine
was introduced mumps used to be the most common cause of admission to hospital
with meningitis or encephalitis, occurring in 1 in 200-5,000 children. It also causes
deafness. MMR vaccine has had a dramatic impact and hardly any children are
admitted to hospital with mumps these days. Outbreaks of mumps have occurred in
the last few years in older children and young adults who were too old to have received
the two doses of MMR vaccine recommended before going to school.
Rubella virus and encephalitis
Rubella virus causes severe brain injury in children if their mother is infected in early
pregnancy. The brain injury is caused by meningo-encephalitis, part of the “congenital
rubella syndrome”. Rubella virus can also cause a progressive “pan-encephalitis” later
in life in children who were infected in the womb and survived but remain chronically
infected. Before MMR was introduced cases of congenital rubella still occurred in the UK. We could not
control the infection when we only gave the vaccine to teenage girls because the rubella virus
continued to circulate in younger children, teenage boys and young men. The small percentage
of mothers who were not protected fully by rubella vaccine caught rubella, often from their own
children or their partner. The only way to be sure of protecting unborn babies is to stop the rubella
virus circulating in the whole community. Now this has happened, and it is one of the great
successes of MMR vaccine.
Few young mothers will have any personal experience of the effects of rubella today, which were
well known in the past. Agatha Christie illustrated it very well in her murder mystery story, The
Mirror Cracked from Side to Side. An actress murders the person she ﬁnds gave her rubella years
before when she was pregnant with her only child, who was born severely brain injured.
Charities such as Sense are campaigning to help restore MMR vaccination coverage to previous
MMR vaccine is a very effective way to prevent measles, mumps and rubella. All three of these
infections are important causes of encephalitis, and before MMR vaccine was introduced all three
infections were common in the UK
There is a wide range of authoritative information available on the good safety record of MMR
vaccine (see http://www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk/). The vaccine is unequivocally safer than letting
children catch the diseases.
Useful and reliable websites
The fact is that United States Vaccine Courts have not ruled in favor of claims that vaccines cause Autism Spectrum Disorder. The reason is because there is no factual, scientific link. There was no “black out” in U.S. media regarding the Italian court ruling because no one really takes the Italian court seriously except to ask, “What the ever-loving fuck were they thinking?”
Check this out:
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, better
supported by the weight of scientific research and authority, and simply more
persuasive 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.
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS
OFFICE OF SPECIAL MASTERS
The decision made on the above-quoted court case has in fact been upheld since the 2009 ruling when appeals were processed and heard.
Here are additional U.S. Court Federal Rulings: http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/node/5026:
- Court Rulingas Dont Confirm Autism-Vaccine Link – Forbes.
- The General Medical Council to Andrew Wakefield: “The panel is satisfied that your conduct was irresponsible and dishonest” « Science-Based Medicine.
- Washington Post Article Regarding U.S. Federal Rulings
- Washington Post Article Regarding the Debunking of Wakefield’s Hoax
- Neurologica: Summary of the Court Ruling That MMR Vaccine Doesn’t Cause Autism
- The worst of times for antivaccine believers: Yet another study fails to show any link between the MMR vaccine and autism « Science-Based Medicine.
- One Thing We Know About Autism: Vaccines Arent to Blame (via National Geographic).
- The Hannah Poling case and the rebranding of autism by antivaccinationists as a mitochondrial disorder (worth noting with this one: Hannah Poling’s mother SHARES THE SAME GENETIC MITOCHONDRIAL DISORDER THEY SUED FOR « Science-Based Medicine.
- ‘The MMR-autism theory? There’s nothing in it’ Michael Fitzpatrick talks to Stephen Bustin, whose devastating testimony in a US court demolished the last shred of evidence against vaccines.| Dr Michael Fitzpatrick | spiked.
- Statistics Reports Directly from the Health Resources and Services Administration
- The Health Resources and Services Administration Vaccine Table (every parent and person who receives vaccinations should have this) AND the revision here
In each of the U.S. court cases and rulings above, when appeals were heard, they were still denied as being unfounded. However, this is very interesting to note in the Cedillo case, and I think it’s wonderfully compassionate because of the decision by the Vaccine Court:
….. “After studying the extensive evidence in this case for many months, I am convinced that the reports and advice given to the Cedillos by Dr. Krigsman and some other physicians, advising the Cedillos that there is a causal connection between Michelle’s MMR vaccination and her chronic conditions, have been very wrong. Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment. Nevertheless, I can understand why the Cedillos found such reports and advice to be believable under the circumstances.
I conclude that the Cedillos filed this Program claim in good faith….
HASTINGS, Special Master.
This is an action in which the petitioners, Michael and Theresa Cedillo, seek an award under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (see 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-10 et seq.2) on account of several conditions, including autism and chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, which afflict their1On October 30, 2008, petitioners filed a notice waiving their 14-day “waiting period” pursuant to Vaccine Rule 18(b) and 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-12(d)(4)(B). Accordingly, this document will be made available to the public immediately, as petitioners have requested.
2The applicable statutory provisions defining the Program are found at 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-10 et seq. (2000). Herein after, for ease of citation, all “§” references will be to 42 U.S.C. (2000). I will also sometimes refer to the act of Congress that created the Program as the “Vaccine Act.” Daughter, Michelle Cedillo. I conclude that the petitioners have not demonstrated that they aren’t entitled to an award on Michelle’s behalf. I will set forth the reasons for that conclusion in detailbelow. 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 (1) that thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause immune dysfunction, (2) that the MMR vaccine can cause autism, and (3) 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.”
Regarding the Hazelhurst decision:
The published articles on which petitioners rely most particularly are the Wakefield series of articles and the 2002 Uhlmann article (the judge here is referring to Wakefield’s hoaxed article in the Lancet). These articles were addressed in Section III.C.1 and Section III.C.4.e, above, and were determined to be scientifically unreliable. Dr. MacDonald testified about the problems identified by the scientific community with
each of the articles in the series of publications by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues. See Hazlehurst Tr. at 629A-638. Dr. Bustin, Dr. Chadwick, Dr. Griffin, and Dr. Ward also testified about the published findings and the practices at the Unigenetics lab where similar findings were made; they addressed in detail the questionable test results reported,
the irregularities in laboratory test procedures, and the inability of accredited laboratories to replicate the positive measles findings. See Section III.C.4.g and Section III.C.4.e, above.
Dr. Corbier’s opinion regarding the role that vaccines play in causing autism is premised, in part, on studies that have reported a finding of measles virus in the tissues taken from the gut of autistic children. See id. at 327A. Dr. Corbier admitted during his testimony that if there were no evidence of persistent measles virus, his current position of vaccine-related causation would be “lessen[ed].” Id. at 416A
Because the linchpin of petitioners’ theory, the finding of persistent measles virus in the biopsied tissue taken from the gastrointestinal lining of autistic children, is glaringly unreliable, the basis for Dr. Corbier’s opinion that the MMR vaccine was causally related to Yates’ autism and his gastrointestinal symptoms is critically flawed and scientifically
untenable. Petitioners have failed to prove that their theory of vaccine-related causation is biologically plausible as required by the first prong of Althen. Nor have petitioners demonstrated that the unsupported links of their proposed causal chain cohere to establish a logical sequence of cause and effect as required by the second prong of Althen. Having failed to satisfy their evidentiary burden, petitioners cannot prevail on their vaccine claim.
Accordingly, the undersigned need not reach or consider any alternative theories of causation.
The Hazlehursts’ experience as parents of an autistic child, as described during the evidentiary hearing in this case, has been a very difficult one. The undersigned is moved as a person and as a parent by the Hazlehursts’ account and again extends to the Hazlehursts very sincere sympathy for the challenges they face with Yates. The undersigned’s charge, however, does not permit decision making on the basis of sentiment but rather requires a careful legal analysis of the evidence.
The parties have submitted a wealth of evidence and have presented the testimony of a number of experts who have extensive clinical and research experience in the particular areas of interest in this case. 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. Absent the filing of a timely motion for review, the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment accordingly.
So. You’ll also hear that bowel disorders, which are statistically high in people that have Autism and other neurological disorder, are “linked to vaccines.” Remember that this claim comes from Andrew Wakefield. When he first claimed this his peers worldwide rejected his hypothesis and his findings as fraudulent immediately. Do you want to know why it’s common for there to be bowel disorders in autistics? Because when the baby is still developing and the cells are forming, the cells that will become the brain and the cells that will become the bowels ARE RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER and there’s a possibility that some of those cells were initially shared. That also explains food sensitivities and allergies that are common in autistics. The biological basis for this is factual, not supposed or guessed at. I think I’ve written about this before. And because I love to point out how Wakefield is a jackass that can’t be trusted:
The General Medical Council stated this in their actual report against Wakefield:
In reaching its decision, the Panel notes that the project reported in the Lancet paper was established with the purpose to investigate a postulated new syndrome and yet the Lancet paper did not describe this fact at all. Because you drafted and wrote the final version of the paper, and omitted correct information about the purpose of the study or the patient population, the Panel is satisfied that your conduct was irresponsible and dishonest.
The Panel is satisfied that your conduct at paragraph 32.a would be considered by ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people to be dishonest.
The General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield UNFIT TO PRACTICE MEDICINE due to his fraudulent claims. He was stripped of his license to practice. It only took 20 years but it happened in 2010 and it was a glorious day for Autism Advocacy. Why? It was acknowledged in the scientific community publicly that he intentionally produced fraudulent results. There is actual proof of this.
Hmmm… how do I know this? I don’t know…. maybe I have more proof such as this: The General Medical Council Fitness to Practise Panel Hearing 28 January 2010: Andrew Jeremy Wakefield: It lays out very clearly the fraudulence and how it was determined. It’s very, very thorough. He is called dishonest, misleading, and irresponsible by a council of his peers. It was found that he lied to an Ethics Committee about his findings and how he obtained them. He even gave the few “clinical” subjects he had experimental drugs of his own that weren’t approved for trial. The General Medical Council applies the standards of the Criminal Justice System. That means that they rely on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. They can not apply the standards of the Civil Justice System. Remember…. these are medical professionals in a medical hearing poring over every single shred of Wakefield’s recorded actions, words, “studies,” and anything else he provided himself.
All of that said, I do not deny that vaccines can cause injuries. I know it happens. There is a VERY GOOD REASON FOR VACCINE COURT TO EXIST. There is a VERY GOOD REASON AND RESOURCE IN THE VACCINE TABLE. I know that vaccines can affect the nervous system. Most sensitivity reactions and allergic reactions are temporary, thank God. When those reactions do happen, it makes perfect sense to never give that person the same vaccine as a booster later on and question the safety of vaccines and their specific ingredients as triggers for that specific person and their family members. My own mother can’t have the egg-based vaccines due to a serious egg allergy. She can’t have the annual shot in the arm for influenza. I have friends that are so immune compromised that they can’t have the vaccines at all due to the risks of their disorders. So I weigh the risks. I weigh statistics.
My efforts here are about debunking the harmful beliefs and harmful spreading of lies that vaccines cause Autism. It perpetuates the idea that Autism is an injury, and therefore horrible something to discriminate against. Let me state this clearly. Autism is not brain damage. AUTISM IS NOT BRAIN DAMAGE. Ask some adult autistics and see how they feel about that. You might be shocked at their opinion of the Vaccine Denialism movement.
I know I’ve said this before: As secure as I am in my choice to vaccinate my family as a very safe and very sound judgment call FOR US… I do have moments of doubt. They’re fleeting and maybe once every couple of years. Sort of like any other parenting decision my husband and I make. It’s hard to feel like an adequate parent when you have a child with Autism. I do often wonder if I’m the mother she needs. But I see so much improvement in her with each passing year. I remember the complications in my pregnancy and delivery. I remember how my doctor was hesitant to intervene so that we could see if the delivery complications would resolve themselves. I remember hearing she had a murmur and tiny hole in her heart that resolved itself, but we still have to check it every well child visit. We still made sure that all of our children, even before having an autistic child, were on the delayed vaccination schedule because that’s just how we roll and we found a pediatrician who automatically followed the recommended delayed schedule. From birth she NEVER hit any of her physical milestones and at birth (in fact in utero) showed immediate signs of Sensory Processing Disorder. The nurses and pediatrician noticed, as did I. But I didn’t realize what the SPD would mean. Throughout her babyhood, she was always in the extremely late end of typical in achieving milestones. We did have her neurologically tested but it was inconclusive. She didn’t walk until she was a week or two away from turning 2 years old. And yet when we had her evaluated then…. it was within normal limits.
So I guess the purpose of this post is to ACTUALLY educate people. Fear tactics only use partial truths to try to boost their arguments, and that’s simply not right. It’s downright dangerous. Make decisions, even if you’re still uncomfortable vaccinating in the end, having read fact instead of fear-based propaganda. Weigh the risks… because there ARE risks. In other words if your instincts tell you not to do something? If your gut says, “We shouldn’t vaccinate.” then that’s splendid reason enough not to do it if you have support from your pediatrician and your own primary care physician. You don’t need my approval. I won’t pass judgment. Truly I won’t. I might judge if your decision was based on advice from Jenny McCarthy, though. ;-) I don’t really care one way or the other because my family IS vaccinated. That means I’ve given my family the protection that I felt was safe.
What I care about is being truly informed and educated rather than relying on partial truths and twisting them around to fit an agenda. But the suggestion that Autism and other neurological disorders are caused by vaccines doesn’t make sense. There has never been evidence supporting the claim that vaccines cause Mitochondrial Disease or Autistic Disorders or Encephalopathy. Autism is mitochondrial ie. genetic and there is more and more overwhelming proof of this coming out year after year, day after day. It’s so easy to find. So, so so easy. It’s not hard to understand the information when you find it.
Relating to fear-mongeringand the dangers :