Skip to comments.Science trumps speculation: MMR not linked to autism
Posted on 04/12/2009 8:19:47 PM PDT by neverdem
A special vaccine court dismissed claims that the vaccine can cause the cognitive disorder.
The pitched debate regarding the purported link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine -- a battle viewed on both sides as critical to shielding the defenseless from harm -- took the encouraging turn for which many physicians were hoping and landed in favor of protecting public health.
At issue was the consideration by a special vaccine court of test cases to determine if certain hypotheses of how vaccines could cause autism were legitimate and, therefore, warranted compensation to the affected parties through the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
On Feb. 12, a panel of U.S. Court of Federal Claims judges, known as special masters, released its findings. The special masters ruled that the vaccines were not to blame. In doing so, they lined up on the side of a massive amount of scientific evidence gathered by diverse and unrelated groups of investigators from all over the world -- including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine -- that failed to find a connection between the vaccine and the disease. They also made clear the petitioners could not receive settlements through the VICP.
The vaccine court was right to reject the idea that the MMR vaccine, combined with the preservative thimerosal, caused the disabling autism that affects these children and their families.
Granted, the families confronting this reality every day are in a heart-wrenching situation. And their search for answers is acutely understandable. But science has long shown their arguments were misguided. The court's ruling will add momentum to efforts to redirect that search in a way that may lead to real progress in uncovering autism's causes, while not letting unfounded myths keep other children from receiving the proven protection from dreaded infectious diseases that vaccines provide.
That sentiment, at least, is the hope emanating from science, public health and organized medicine, including the American Medical Association. The AMA has long advocated the importance of childhood vaccination and worked to dismiss the flawed arguments that vaccines trigger autism. The AMA also urges that more research be done regarding the reported increase in incidence of autism, Asperger's and other pervasive developmental disorders and more training of physicians to enable them to identify these children and to assist families in accessing early intervention services.
It was from a mountain of research that the court's ruling flowed. A key element that makes the vaccine's court decisions so meaningful is the exhaustive nature of the proceedings -- tallying 5,000 pages of transcript and more than 700 pages of post-hearing briefs. The official record contains 939 medical articles, compared with the 10 articles cited in a typical vaccine case. In addition, 50 expert reports were filed, and 28 expert witnesses testified. By contrast, a typical vaccine case presents between two and six experts.
Thus, the court findings add significant weight to the already overwhelming body of evidence. It is important to note that physicians often recoil when judges make determinations about the practice of medicine. In this case, though, the court took on the task of determining causation based on evidence -- an inevitable question raised in light of the VICP -- and ruled with the strongest scientific backing.
This decision will not mark the last time the issue finds its way into a courtroom. The special court is still examining evidence regarding another causation theory that links autism with vaccines containing thimersol.
But many doctors in the trenches can view this development as a timely teaching tool -- and for good reason. It is one more authoritative voice helping to address credibly the tension parents feel about vaccination risks. After all, nearly 10 million doses of the MMR vaccine are distributed every year. At the same time, autism has become every parent's nightmare, and everyone hears the stories that fuel anxiety. But the court's decision, coupled with the scientific record, underscores the fact that vaccines continue to be one of public health's greatest accomplishments -- helping to protect against harm, not cause it.
The print version of this content appeared in the April 13, 2009 issue of American Medical News.
There are no long term double blind studies of vaccines.
Educate before you vaccinate!
Marking for later...
BS. We are living it with our 2 1/2 year old. It isn’t only the MMR by the way. 9 month MMR and was a different kid the next day. 18 month MMR plus flu shot and he was over the edge and onto the Autism spectrum. Unless you walk a mile in our shoes then I suggest you should probably keep all of the “science” nonsense to yourself. There is a lot of money at stake. The issue isn’t public health. As usual, follow the money.
Find another way to preserve the vaccine than using mercury.
There is no reason to be injecting babies with a known nerve toxin.
Not only mercury but aluminum, monkey dna, fetal cells, and so on. It’s some nasty stuff.
Thimerosal (sp?), the mercury containing preservative hasn't been used in more than 5 years in any vaccine.
I’m sorry to hear about your tragic situation. Have you looked into alternative therapies for detox?
Thankfully I researched the vaccine issue in depth before deciding against the shots for my children a few years ago. It was a tough call because of my inlaws’ pediatric background. Thank God we held firm.
Does anyone believe in science here? Anyone?
Autism sets around the same time vaccines are administered. That does not mean the vaccines cause autism. People who neglect to give their children vaccinations are putting their children at risk and should be ashamed of their selfish behavior. I for one am glad we don’t live in a world where children die from measles mumps and rubella and we must thank the vaccine for this.
There have been numerous studies that prove no statistical significant relationship between autism and MMR.
One study below:
“Results Of the 537,303 children in the cohort (representing 2,129,864 person-years), 440,655 (82.0 percent) had received the MMR vaccine. We identified 316 children with a diagnosis of autistic disorder and 422 with a diagnosis of other autistic-spectrum disorders. After adjustment for potential confounders, the relative risk of autistic disorder in the group of vaccinated children, as compared with the unvaccinated group, was 0.92 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.68 to 1.24), and the relative risk of another autistic-spectrum disorder was 0.83 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.65 to 1.07). There was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder.”
yes, we are on the right roads to recovery. Thanks for the support.
Ignorant statements. You must be a member of the American Pediatric Society who doesn’t want to get sued. I also suspect that your family has not been affected. Good for you.
According to the FDA it's still in the flu shot. And several other vaccines have reduced amounts or trace amounts of it.
Boiled down, the city of Yokohama stopped vaccinating in 1993 but the autism rates kept rising in the unvaccinated children. Something is increasing the rate of autism, but it isn't vaccines.
“Something is increasing the rate of autism, but it isn’t vaccines.”
It’s not JUST vaccines. I don’t know about Yokohama, but here in the US, non-vaccinating populations such as Amish and to a large degree homeschoolers have much lower (Amish is zero) autism rates.
And it’s not just autism. There are a whole host of serious medical conditions linked to vaccination.
Educate before you vaccinate!
Out of curiosity, what did you try? Chelation? Did you make dietary modifications (eg. low gluten, low dairy)?
My heart goes out to you. I feel like you are right. The main reason no connection will ever be found it that it would probably pretty much bankrupt the drug companies that produce the vaccine and put doctors at risk of malpractice lawsuits.
Yes I believe in science and I firmly believed in vaccinating my children and now my grandchildren.
It would be nice if that were true, but it isn't. A quick google brings up several sources debunking the "Amish don't vaccinate and have no autism" myth. See here.
Thimerosal (sp?), the mercury containing preservative hasn't been used in more than 5 years in any vaccine.
"The special court is still examining evidence regarding another causation theory that links autism with vaccines containing thimersol."
It's spelled thimerosal. That's an FDA link.
It hasn't been given for at least a few years for pediatric vaccinations that are now supplied as single unit dose vials. Only annual influenza vaccinations supplied in multiple dose, aka multidose, vials uses thimerosal as a preservative, IIRC.
Coleus, did you have a link showing the various vaccines and all their ingredients?
Why would ANYBODY wanting to stop the epidemic then, do a “study” designed to exonerate a vaccination program? Shouldn't REAL scientists be trying to FIND THE FRIGGING CAUSE, instead of PROTECT THE VACCINE INDUSTRY?
I have had it with GOVERNMENT FUNDED PSEUDO-SCIENCE.
Thimerosal was removed from vaccines in 2001 and autism is still increasing so what will be the next scare?
I read something in the WSJ. I believe it hasn't been used in the production of vaccines since 2004. Certainly, there was some excess supply, but I don't think most Vaccines have a shelf-life past 12 months.
So it's definitely time to work on finding the cause, rather than keep blaming something that isn't the cause.
I don't think that the reason this study was done is to "exonerate" the vaccination industry. But, for the purposes of this discussion, let's stipulate that indeed the only reason was to validate the safety of modern day vaccines.
That is a great reason.
Vaccines are safe. Period. The real threat of increasingly un-vaccinated children is exponentially greater than the (to use your words) pseudo-scientific lynching of vaccines and their makers. Vaccines manufactured by "Big Pharma" that have all but completely eradicated real and dangerous disease that ravage parts of the undeveloped world.
In short, THANK GOD for the US vaccine industry the last 50 years. The benefit they've brought to the US and mankind is INCALCULABLE.
The Amish do vaccinate.
“It hasn’t been given for at least a few years for pediatric vaccinations that are now supplied as single unit dose vials. “
Not correct. It isn’t used in production of new vaccines, but there isn’t any law stopping old stocks which contain thimerosal from being administered.
Regardless, the aluminum adjuvant may be even worse than mercury.
“Vaccines are safe. Period.”
Show me the double blind studies with placebo.
They don’t exist.
Vaccines are an abomination. Thank God they are voluntary.
Had you taken your own advice you would know that it was ethyl mercury that formed the thimerosal in vaccines and that ethyl mercury is cleared from the body three times faster than methyl mercury.
Long term exposure to mercury is what accounts for its damaging effects and methyl mercury, mostly from industrial sources, is what most people are exposed to.
Education supports vaccination.
I can't show you "double-blind" studies showing the safety or the benefit of...
But, that doesn't mean they're not safe and it certainly doesn't mean that they're not great ideas.
As for your charge itself, there's not a drug regulatory agency in the world that has more stringent approval procedures that the FDA. That is a fact and is why so many people with terminal cancers and other diseases travel outside the US for otherwise experimental or unapproved or vetted procedures.
If a vaccine, or any drug for that matter, is approved for use in the US, IT HAS GONE THROUGH EXTENSIVE double-blind trials.
They come with lot numbers and expiration dates. IIRC, you have to keep a separate log for vaccines in addition to a note in the patient's chart in NY including lot numbers and expiration dates.
Aluminum is ubiquitous in the environment.
Everyone who has, or knows someone who has, an autistic child should check out a therapy called Quigong, which has been developed by a Salem, Or DR named Verma. Through a pilot program at Oregon Special ED, we got our autistic Son started at age 4. in a few days the difference was noted, and after a couple of weeks, the neighbors began to comment on the changes in him.
After the 5 mos of therapy, we continued alone with him for 2 more years until he decided he was “too big a boy” to continue. now, at 8 yo he gets lonely without his friends around and is a normal chatterbox, who notices when I say uhm hmm and asks if I am listening. the whole program is to get the kid’s attention turned back outwards from self. Dr Verm’s offfice is in Indepedence OR, google or you can talk to me at email@example.com, or call at 503-363-1769 (call between 7pm and7 am EDT ) Ron
oops I got the name of a DR wong in a post, it was Louisa Silva, not Verma
Autism has been increasing as has childhood allergic disease and type 1 diabetes.
So what does that say about the effectiveness of our safety testing approaches for chemicals and drugs as per prenatal, neonatal and juvenile risk? Seems obvious based on the data. No way we are getting the job done.
Drugs and chemicals are not routinely tested for risk of childhood allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases? Yet that is what has been increasing among children. We apply the highest technology imaginable for drug development, but our safety testing is archaic and has lagged need by about 30-40 years.
As a kid growing up, the only MMR we had was to actually get the disease.
I had all THREE! My brother had measles and mumps at the same time! My parents were pretty worried about that, but he made it through and is still kicking today.
The only thing I remember about it was that the doctor said it was good we got the mumps before reaching puberty.
I also had scarlet fever and survived that, too. I was about 7 years old.
One of my uncles survived a bout with Typhus, and another survived Rheumatic fever. One is 64 and the other is 76 and they remain in good health.
After WWII, MMR ceased to be “dreaded” diseases here in the States and were almost rites of passage for many of us who were elementary school age in the 50s.
so what’s the cause, I grew up in a big city and went to big schools and a big church and i never heard of anyone with autism. today, it’s one in 150 births.
Yes, I believe in science. I also believe in liberty, which must include the liberty to be wrong.
It wasn’t diagnosed properly back in the day and autistic children usually were classified as having some other disease or just weird or socially in-ept.
i don’t know, we had over 2,500 kids in high school and I’ve never seen one act like some of the kids with autism do today and this was during the 70s when special ed. was started and they were classifying everyone who didn’t seem average.
And who has mentioned the tons, quite literally tons, of illicit drugs gong into the bloodstreams of Americans every year, women of childbearing age included? How much effect is this having upon the incidence of autism, etc.?
What is the effect of repeated infections with STDs, lack of breast feeding newborns, abortions? And how can the later effects of these be tested for?
So you see it's not just too many environmental chemicals or lack of testing of medicines that may play a role in the incidence of childhood illnesses.
In some states, like NJ, it is around 1 in 60.
ping for later