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September 1st, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Autism-vaccine appeal ruling disappoints family

The family representing thousands of families who believe the measles vaccine caused their children's autism are "extremely disappointed" a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  It upheld a special vaccine court’s ruling denying a link between vaccines and autism.

The vaccine court’s decision was  found to be “rationally supported by the evidence, well-articulated and reasonable.”

Theresa and Michael Cedillo filed the appeal on behalf of their now 16-year-old daughter, Michelle, who suffers from autism.

“We are extremely concerned with the proceedings in regards to Michelle's rights to a fair hearing and due process,” Theresa Cedillo said Tuesday evening in a statement to CNN.

The Cedillos claim the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine their previously healthy daughter received at 15 months triggered her autism after her immune system had been weakened by childhood vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal.

The Cedillos filed a claim under the Vaccine Act, which in 1988 established a special federal court to handle claims against vaccines and a tax on vaccines to pay for judgments.

The vaccine court consolidated 5,500 families’ cases claiming a vaccine-autism link.  The vaccine court chose the Cedillos case as one of three test cases representing the entire group.

Last year, the vaccine court's presiding special masters rejected their claims, saying they were based on “bad science.”

In this appeal, the Cedillos claimed the vaccine court used an incorrect standard of proof and made procedural errors during the three-week hearing in 2007.

The appeals court rejected those claims in a 35-page decision Friday.  The appellate decision backs the medical establishment view that vaccines do not cause autism, but that has failed to convince the Cedillos and a vocal group of families with autistic children.

Theresa Cedillo said the family was reviewing its legal options.

In their initial suit filed before the vaccine court, the Cedillos asked for compensation to help pay for the constant care their daughter requires.


soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. J Rota

    Mr. Martin, Check your facts- the MMR vaccine is a live virus vaccine- it has never contained thimerosal.

    September 1, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Verasign

      U R a MORON. Even the courts agree there was mercury in the vaccines.

      September 1, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
    • JR

      No, he's not, there was never thimerosal in the MMR vaccine.

      September 1, 2010 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
    • Sullivan

      Mr. Martin did make an error there. The MMR can not have thimerosal in it as it would kill the very viruses which make up the vaccine. MMR doesn't and never has had thimerosal.

      However, the Cedillos argued that it was a combination of thimerosal–from other vaccines–and the MMR which caused their child's autism.

      They were unable to make an argument which is convincing on this point, however. The science their experts presented was sorely lacking.

      September 1, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • lisablu

      Ok i am confused. Didn't the article say that there was thimerasol in the MMR vaccine, when her daughter received it at 15 months? I'm so glad that I opted to get my daughter vaccinated when she was older, like just before she was ready to go to school, she may have had to play catch-up, but at least her immune system was stronger at 4 years old, than it would have been at 2,4,6mo.,etc. I really feel bad for these parents, I'm sure there is a link between certain vaccines and autism triggers, but the medical profession nor the drug companies will never admit it, that would be like taking a loaded gun, putting it to their heads, and pulling the trigger.

      September 2, 2010 at 00:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Dawn

    These people have no clue what happened to our children after they received this shot....I was with my child and I watched it happen and I tell the doc and NO one would listen to my story ,now my son is in special education and needs help along.
    This is very disspointing for all parents who have suffered with this booming epidemic. Why so many now , Why all of the sudden come on world doc's scientist, lawyers wake up this is nothing parents born with happy heathy children just one day came up with.......LIke after the shot I asked my husband do you think the shot did this to him....He was healthy right on time walking and even talking by 1 1/2 after his mmr shot he was drifting off somewhere's else he would stare stop speaking almost all together GOD WHY DOES NOT ANY PROFESSIONAL COME FOWARD!

    This is a very unkind society we live in when they do not protect the children our children-shots effect everyone diffrently.
    Wake up USA

    September 1, 2010 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      Its because its all about money. Medicine is a business with a bunch of cold and heartless humans running it. There probably isn't a medical PROFESSIONAL is this country who gives a damn about your child unless the treatment will make them wealthy enough to live in an exclusive area, drive the best cars and take months long vacations to Europe where they can get really good medical care themselves. Sorry for you pain, but until we all stand up to these bankrupt people, they will never help your child.

      September 1, 2010 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jason Wood

      Dawn, I'm sorry to hear about your child, but just because he/she developed symptoms following the vaccination is not evidence of causation. At most it is a reason, when combined with many other similar stories, to investigate further. The research in this matter has been exhaustive and no connection has been found. You have to accept that.

      You also have to understand that vaccination is one of the most productive medical programs across the country and worldwide. Do you have any idea what life would be like if the majority of the population were not vaccinated against these terrible diseases especially Measles, Mumps and Rubella? People like you are confusing the general public about the safety of these essential medical programs and you are putting us all in danger.

      September 1, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Thomas, vaccines are not the cash cow you think they are. The proverbial cow is insulin, heart medication, things that need to be taken consistently for the rest of your life. If measles/mumps were not still at risk of reoccurring, then we would not be taking the vaccine – look at the smallpox vaccine, for instance. While a few people refusing vaccinations are fine, if enough people stop taking them these diseases WILL recoccur, and unfortunately the children who can't take vaccines due to health issues or age rather than choice are the ones that suffer the consequences.

      The age range at which children get many of their vaccines is around when signs of 'autism' start presenting. I say this loosely, and as someone who is 'autistic' themselves (what used to be called high functioning autism). The vast majority of autistic children have Aspergers or HFA, and not full blown autism. Most autism is not the be all end all of your life, it is not an excuse or a death sentence if you don't let it be. Yes, it does take more work on behalf of the child and the parents.

      September 1, 2010 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • FreeSpeaker

      Dawn, I know you are angry because you believe someone robbed you of the perfect child you anticipated for 9 months. It is fully understandable. It is equally understandable that vaccines had nothing to do with that. Your special needs should be addressed by government. My son's both had special needs, and still do. One is fully self-supporting and the other is not. Services are woefully lacking, and we do for ourselves as best we can. Spend your energy getting better services.

      September 2, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
    • Maddie

      Dawn, I am so sorry about your child. I too have an autistic child but I started noticing regressive symptoms before we got the shot. My daughter went from talking, laughing, playing to sitting quietly and stimming. It just coincided with the time she was due the MMR vaccine. Her pediatrician held off doing the MMR because we didn't want any confusion with the diagnosis. I've been there with all the hearing tests and everything else. The vaccine doesn't cause it. It just happens. We all want someone to blame like maybe there's something in the water. But with every challenge, it's better to just accept and make the best not to victimize ourselves.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  3. Karen

    The blame was placed on the thimerosol that was once in vaccines. The thimerosol was subsequently removed, but the cases of autism have continued to rise – including among children who have not recived any vaccines (due to parents fear.) I realize parents who are faced with such a situation want and need answers, but shouldn't we be concerned with truth and not simple finger pointing? Focusing so heavily on the vaccine industry will only take effort away from finding the truth behind autism. Only then will we be able to curb the number of cases and perhaps find a cure.

    September 1, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Kate

    If autism was actually linked to the shot, how come more children are not diagnosed?

    September 1, 2010 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason Wood

      Autism diagnosis is going up all the time, but this is due mainly to the expanding definition of autism (Some of the patients being diagnosed with some form of autism these days have very mild symptoms that once would have been classified as simple behaviour issues), and greater awareness of the condition.

      None of the numerous scientific studies that have examined this issue have found any correlation between being vaccinated and later being diagnosed with autism. Vaccinated and unvaccinated children are diagnosed with autism at the same rate.

      September 1, 2010 at 18:20 | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      Autism numbers are going up, but it's not because of the expanding definition. It's because toxins are all around us – in our food, in our air, our water, the soil... "Better living through Chemisty!" Yeah – right. All this toxicity has impacted our health (just look around at your own age group – Bet you can count 80% of your immediate circle that has high cholesterol, diabetes, fibromyalgia, mild/chronic depression, acid reflux, IBS, or even lupus). Its not just the kids folks – we're ALL falling apart! Only our kids basic physical health is SO compromised, when something like a vaccine is introduced it can tip the scales – Maybe it's not the preservatives, but some other component of the vaccine or the "inactive" virus itself. I just think that the toxins have accumulated in some of our kids, and it's caused this epidemic. And it IS an epidemic people... It's the future of our country, so instead of blaming or attacking parents who have to fight for proper services and care for their kids, I think it's time people started trying to help – the future of our country is truly hanging in the balance here. Current counts for autism are 1 in 56 kids under 8 yrs of age!!

      September 1, 2010 at 20:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jason Wood

      Laurie,

      Several studies have shown that there is no sufficient evidence to conclude that autism rates are or have risen at all.

      The "toxins" in our environment may be affecting us in many negative ways, but autism doesn't appear to be one of them.

      Why do you insist that this is an epidemic when the evidence suggests otherwise?

      I know it's upsetting, and I know how important it feels to find an explanation, but your conspiracy theories don't help anyone.

      September 1, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • Morgan

      People with autistic children insist there's an epidemic because their emotions demand that there be one. They feel guilty for having an autistic child, and project that guilt everywhere, anywhere at all, just so they can feel better. A very human, reaction, but not a very logical one.

      September 2, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  5. Karen

    Thomas,
    I'm curious what you do for a living? Do you give your services away for free or are you one of those "heartless" people who expect to be paid for your talents and education?

    September 1, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Samuel Jennings

    Just because the courts are distorting the facts does not mean that the vaccine did not cause the autism. What does mercury do to a baby and why doesn't the drug company make vaccines with salt solutions instead of mercury. I would not vaccinate my children with any vaccines, its all about money, profit, greed and corruption. The courts are siding with drug companies and that is not only unethical but damages the court's reputation. The thimerosal is still in vaccines today and the CDC -FDA admitted it was last year with the H1N1 vaccine, mercury, formaldehyde is still in vaccines in 2010 and anyone who says differently is lying.

    September 1, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason Wood

      Samuel, thimerosal is still used in many vaccines because it is SAFE, just as it always has been, and in those cases where it is used, it's generally because it's the best tool for the job. It has never been used in the MMR vaccine, which is the topic of this discussion. Nobody is trying to hide the the fact that many vaccines still use the components you mention.

      Your opening sentence is offensive to reasonable discussion. It isn't even a logically coherent statement.

      My question to you:
      1) Do you really think you know enough about this topic to assert that the court has distorted the facts about vaccines?
      2) Have you even read the court's decision?
      3) Or have you simply decided in advance that you are right and evidence doesn't matter.

      It's as simple as this to you: Corporations are evil – vaccines are made by corporations – therefore vaccines are evil.

      Really sound reasoning there. What are you, 15 years old?

      September 1, 2010 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • El Gordo

      Withholding vaccines from a healthy child is child abuse. My mother had polio as a girl. When the polio vaccine became available in the fifties, she made sure my brother and I were in the front of the line. She said no child of hers would go through what she did if she could help it. Even in her eighties, her doctors were blaming some of her health problems on post-polio syndrome.

      If you're not going to vaccinate your kids, then home school them so they don't mingle with other kids.

      September 1, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • burr

      I hope you never have to explain to your child why they are in wheelchair or an iron lung due to polio with "I didn't protect you against a disease that had been eradicated for 60+ years because- its all about money, profit, greed and corruption."

      I hope you never bury a child victim of diptheria having to take comfort in "at least he didn't get autism".

      But if there was any justice in the world, anti-vaccine nuts would lose custody.

      September 1, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • lisablu

      Jason, so tell me, who do you work for? The medical profession or the drug company?

      September 2, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Lisablu, which anti-science organization do you work for? Because if Jason's not allowed to have his own personal opinion, then you aren't allowed either.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  7. El Gordo

    When Denmark stopped using thimerasol ten or twenty years ago, the rate of autism continued to go up. That fact alone seems to invalidate the thimerasol explanation to autism. I suppose that thimerasol in combination with something else could be considered. I've read a little about it, and I've never found a reputable scientist who supports any connection between thimerasol and autism.

    September 1, 2010 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sarah

    I took the JE-VAX series of shots and three days later began experiencing a number of very scary neurological symptoms (too many to name). Every doctor was prepping me for a MS diagnosis. After an MRI that came back normal, I was left with no answers. Not to mention that my mercury levels were NEVER tested. A word of advice: never let yourself or your child be a guinea pig. Once the damage is done no one wants to deal with it for fear of legal action. It angers me to hear all of the apathetic responses by doctors after children develop autism following vaccinations.

    September 1, 2010 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason Wood

      Did you consider that your symptoms may have happened anyway?

      You seem think they should have measured your mercury level because you just had a vaccine containing mercury... but the level of mercury in the vaccine is known (and known to be safe)... so what would be the point?

      People experience medical problems all the time. *some* event always precedes the appearance of those symptoms, and sometimes *many* events do – it doesn't mean they are connected!

      September 1, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
    • Tia

      What about the children who develop autism and didn't receive vaccines? What about people who develop all sorts of conditions and didn't receive vaccines? Wouldn't the time and effort be better spent trying to find out what does cause autism instead of scaring parents into not vaccinating their child against deadly but preventable diseases?

      September 2, 2010 at 03:45 | Report abuse |
  9. Zebula

    Amen! It's so ignorant to claim that vaccinations have caused autism. Finally, a sensible ruling.

    September 1, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. KeithInVA

    There is Z E R O evidence of A N Y link between vaccinations and autism. Not only that but 1 in 110 children is currently diagnosed with Autism which is lower than the rate of infection of Polio or any of the MMR illnesses pre-vaccination, all of these diseases being potentially far more serious than Autism. Even if all children with Autism became Autistic as result of vaccines (which NONE of them did) any risk factor assement would favor vaccination. And as far as letting parents decide for themselves, the simple answer is no, because by not vaccinating you are potentially helping to spread potentially deadly diseases esspecially amoung pre-vax aged infants who are already the most susceptable.

    I'm very sorry your child has autism, but let's think rationally for moment: You knew your child had autism because starting missing important developmental milestones... talking, interacting etc. When did you notice these things wheren't going like they should? It's pure coincidence that a normal child just happens to hit the milestone which clearly indicate normal development around the age when they get's most vaccinations, it's two thigs that happen about the same time for completely diffrent unrelated(and completely well established) reasons.

    And yes, I'm saying all this as parent, and I'll add something more: keep your plague zombie children away from mine so they can eliminate your idiot line from the gene pool safely.

    Oh, and all conspiracy theorists are correct... follow the money, mainly in that as revenue streams for pharmacuticle companies go, vaccines suck. The give it to you and your healthy forever, they'd make more if you got sick.

    September 1, 2010 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mom

    The ONLY difference between my child diagnosed with autism spectral disorder and his older siblings is that I was given oxytocin, a uterine contractor hormone, intravaneously when I was in labor. It has become recent COMMON PRACTICE to administer this to ALL women in labor -whether they need it or not- because shorter labor equals a shorter stay and hospitals save money. We can monitor the baby's heart during labor but we don't monitor *intracranial pressure*. Is damage done by increasing uterine pressure on a baby's brain? The cranial skull plates haven't fused yet, so the skull can compress during birth. Obviously babies don't talk at birth and damage done to the "language loop" (different brain areas that work together to allow speech) is not immediately evident. The size and location of brain structures is not typically the same in girls and boys which may explain the prevalence of autism in boys. Is the rate of autism different in children born non-hospital (midwifes don't use oxytocin)? On a positive note, lots of interventional therapy and prayer have resulted in my child now having a fully functional life.

    September 1, 2010 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Desi

      I've had 3 children in 6 years in 3 different states. I was never once given oxytocin at the hospital, only a saline drip and an oxygen mask. I'm guessing you are trying to make a link between oxytocin and autism. I, like others, have no idea why autism is on the rise, but I do know several parents who have decided not to immunize and their kids still have autism.

      September 1, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • Sullivan

      I believe you mean pitocin, not oxytocin.

      To claim that the only difference between two children is the pitocin is not accurate.

      There are many differences between you children–they do not share the same genes. They did not have the exact same environment before birth. They are very different individuals, even without the pitocin and the autism.

      September 1, 2010 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • Jason Wood

      Mom,

      The ONLY difference is the administration of oxytocin during labour???? By that logic, I suppose all your other kids are identical in every way? Please. This is why MOMs need to take a step back from this debate and let scientists do their work.

      The facts are readily available: Kids who get vaccinated get autism at a normal rate. Kids who don't get autism get vaccinated at a normal rate. Kids who's mothers are administered oxytocin during labour almost certainly get autism at a normal rate, and so should those who don't. As oxytocin isn't the topic of this discussion I don't feel compelled to research whether any study has been done on this specifically, but you could check it out. Considering that there's no evidence to suggest that autism rates are even rising at all (only diagnosis), I don't see why you would expect any new medicine or technique to cause autism.

      September 1, 2010 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
  12. Truth

    None of these crackpots who claimed that "vaccines cause autism" want to admit that they whacked Junior on the noggin.

    September 1, 2010 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Andacar

    I can certainly understand how these folks feel. I know if it was my daughter or my son, I'd fight like crazy. This is one of those things that's very hard, at the least, to prove a causal link. I have a son with some borderline issues in this area, but they have developed gradually over many years, there was no all at once sort of thing. I sincerely hope this cruel disease gets conquered eventually. I know exactly what you folks are going through.

    September 1, 2010 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Deborah

    Why are people so hung up on vaccines? By the same logic, you could say autism is caused by television, computers, video games and Baby Einstein videos. After all, the use of those has increased with the increase in autism. Or maybe it is due to all the pot you smoked or years of a junk food diet? Oh, but, those are not your favorite scapegoats.

    September 1, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. MomofTwo

    I'm not an expert... but, hey that hasn't stopped anyone else from sharing an opinion – so here's mine.

    First, my heart goes out to these parents. No on wants to see their kids struggle with a developmental issue. It's totally understandable that they want to find a cause. But the case against vaccines is based on paranoia, bad sciences, and assumptions.

    I believe the autism "epidemic" is the result of increased awareness and broadening the 'spectrum' of autism. Many kids diagnosed today would have been just considered "different" or "quirky" a generation ago. Another variable to consider is the age of parents. "Older" parents (above 35 or 40) are at much higher risk of having a child with autism. Now, much more than in the past, we have more mother's giving birth at 40++. We'd expect to see a rise in autism if there is a rise in a known risk factor, right?

    The truth is, the increase in autism is likely due to many different factors. We are unlikely to discover one big, evil (and sue-able) entity to blame. But everyone loves a scapegoat, and those that are strongly "anti-vax" seem unlikely to change their point of view. I hope these parents get satisfying answers, but they are blind to other possibilities because they are so sold on the idea of blaming the vaccine. I hope they can redirect all that time and energy into looking for other possibilities... or, hey, maybe just enjoying their kids and trying to accept that they may never know if any single thing trigger the autism.

    September 1, 2010 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tia

      MomofTwo, I think you're right in your thinking. The same could be said of other conditions, like bipolar disorder - more cases are diagnosed not because it is more common but because the medical profession is better at diagnosing it.

      September 2, 2010 at 03:50 | Report abuse |
    • TWHTIE

      Man, i should have read more of comments before leaving mine. Ive only been reading the "comment" section in the last couple weeks. Ive always looked at news sites, but ignored the comment section, and after reading them, should have continued to do so. I think this is the first comment section ive read so far that have actual thoughful, reasoned arguments. Too bad theyre none to be found on the political ones

      September 2, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  16. rachel

    Sorry to sound like a hippy but try going organic. You would be in shock to know how your food is produced or what's in your shampoo. Research it . It may not be the cause of autism but no one can tell me that this isn't causing a lot of these disorders/diseases on the rise. After about one month of research its safe to say I'm about as organic as I can be. I feel and see the difference in myself and my son. Unfortunately my bank account does too but id rather spend money on this than radiation/ chemo/add drugs later on down.the road.

    September 1, 2010 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Randy Crawford

    If a million people watch TV today, a few will keel over from a heart attack tomorrow. But they would have anyway, and TV was not a cause. If a million kids get MMR shots today, a few will shortly after suffer autism. But they would have anyway, and MMR was not a cause. We can feel sorry for the Cedillos, but if they really want to help their daughter, they need to quit pursuing a specious correlation, and instead look for the true cause of autism. I have had dozens and dozens of MMR shots, including every day for weeks at a time. This was in conjuction with other shots that provided repeated doses of thimserosal mercury, and still other shots that provided other live viruses such as yellow fever and chicken pox. These combinations, and MMR alone, helped settle down my immune system hyperactivity problem. MMR alone and in combination not only calmed down my autoimmunity, it had (in all permutations) no bad side effects. Until people look for the true cause of autism, they are neglecting the needs of their suffering children.

    September 2, 2010 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Stefan

    Its actually interesting to look at a chart of the rise of diagnoses of autism compared to the decline in diagnoses of mental retardation. It appears that the increase in autism diagnosis matches the decline in mental retardation. Because mental retardation is a major symptom of autism it may be that doctors and clinicians are simply now giving the autism diagnosis instead of giving just a mental retardation label as they did in the past. The autism population in the U.S could have remained steady, we just labeled them as mentally retarded in the past instead of now labeling them as autistic, thus making the appearance of an insanely high increase in the incidence.

    September 2, 2010 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jane

      The decline of Mental Retardation is due to CVS and Amnio early in pregnancy. A fetus with downs is almost always aborted at a rate of 90%. There is no genetic test for most children who develop autism. There are a few genetic forms of autism such as Rhetts, Fragile X, Angelman Syndrome and possible others. I would suspect the abortion rate for those would be in the 90% area as well. Autism symptoms can be an indication of some form of brain damage for which genetic testing would be unavailable. FAS which has no testing in early pregnancy is just about the only mental retardation group left. FAS retardation is linked to mother alcohol consumption causing brain damage. So no your assumption that doctors are replacing diagnosis is most likely wrong. There really is a decrease of mental retardation because those fetuses are the most likely to be aborted.

      September 17, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
  19. ash

    perhaps it's worth considering that the causation of autism is genetic, but there's no compensation in that being shown to be the case, is there ? and a degree of personal guilt despite the impossibility of choosing your progeny's genes with any finesse

    despite the challenges of having an autistic child, the causal link to any simple reason is lacking absolutely, and the original study (now comprehensively refuted, and culminating in prosecution of the author, who had a vested interest in flogging his own mono-valent measles vaccine) is flawed on many levels, not least being the 12 (yes! only a mere twelve) subjects who were the sum total of the original report

    September 2, 2010 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Skeptic Provaxington

    To the parents questioning the safety of vaccination, I encourage you to watch this short video by Penn and Teller (there is some strong language, so NSFW): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdZTZQvuCo

    The point is, even if you think there's a link between vaccination and autism (there isn't) the statistical chance that your child will get autism is insignificant to the risk that you put them at for not vaccinating them against these horrible diseases.

    September 2, 2010 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Karen

    Ash, you make a valid point in saying perhaps autism is genetic. The fact that autism is an autoimmune disease points to the fact that it is genetic. My son has type I /juvenile diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease which has a genetic link. Rather than going after the medical industry and demanding why this happened and looking to sue someone (the true money trail) I have to accept that it was going to happen regardless of what I or his father did or didn't do, regardless of previous medical intevention. It's a tough pill to swallow, but if one person in the family (generational, not just immediate) has any autoimmune disease, all members of that family have an increased chance. And this does not mean all will be diagnosed with the same form. One may have Type I diabetes(my son), another may have lupis(my sister), another parkinson's(my grandfather) and another may have autism(my cousin's child). It demonstrates itself over three generations through my father's line.
    I understand the pain parents go through when they receive news their child will be struggling with an incurable illness for the rest of their lives, believe me. I cried and agonized over it for a long time. Emotional healing came when I realized no one was to blame. We have to look at the possitive side of it – Diabetes care is far better today then it ever was in the past, for example. We have to accept that no one is to blame, and that true healing will have to come via intellectual understanding. No amount of finger pointing or cash will ease even one ounce of pain.
    I encourage everyone who is struggling with the diagnosis of autism to please look up autoimmune diseases and the genetic connection. It may be eye opening to find the links throughout your family line, and it may actually help in yur emotional healing.

    September 2, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CJ

      Autism is not an "autoimmune disease." It's a mental disorder. Some autistic people also have an autoimmune disease, so some people believe there is a link. However, not all autistic people have an autoimmune disorder.

      September 3, 2010 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      To autism is all genetic. There is no one and I mean no one on either side of my child's genetic code who has Autism. Not one single person in either extended family has this condition. That is zero and this includes children born to my grandmothers who were in the mid-forties when they gave birth to their last children back in the 1940s before it was Hollywood hip to have late in life pregnancies. There is no quirky anti-social grand cousin who was diagnosed with something else. This would indicate there has to be an environmental trigger component involved in causing brain damage which leads to autism. There is no genetic condition which represents itself in all the children in a family yet there are many entire families where ever last child has autism. And they have no one in their family make up with autism except their children. To claim it is all genetic is a grossly over used excuse to eliminate culpability for toxins in our environment which could be a contributing factor to the rise in autism.

      September 17, 2010 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  22. Virologist

    A common problem in our society is the idea that one's personal feelings or beliefs trump external evidence. This has been proven to be an unreliable way of determining truth. Felling like something is true is not the same as knowing it is true. While I think we should always remain skeptical, it is best to rely on what the experts and people that have studied these things say. If you don't trust these people the burden is on you to do your own research. Reading random accounts on the internet is not research. Research is a carefully controlled study checking if autism rates are higher in vaccinated individuals.

    By the way I do not work for a pharmaceutical company. A lot of this type of research is funded by the government. Not all scientists have a conflict of interest.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Chris

    Sadly, as with too many things around us in this day and age, we will never know if there is a link between these vaccines and autism. If there's a report that proves the link, do you think we'd ever hear it? And if it made the light of day, the writers would be discredited fast that you can say "spin doctors." Think of the groups in the 70s that cigarette companies hired to argue that cigarettes weren't bad for you. The same group is out there spreading confusion about global warming... but those are different topics... If a report came to light that these vaccines caused autism, the lawsuits against the companys, not to mention the governments that encourage these things as quick as they recommend an apple a day, would bankrupt all parties involved. Same goes with microwaves, cell phones, wifi, etc... If there's ever any proof that this stuff is harmful, we will never hear about it. Not to discredit these people's plight. My heart goes out to them. I cannot imagine having a healthy vibrant child slowly changing before your eyes.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Skeptic Provaxington

      So we'll never hear about it? This a giant conspiracy? Come on. There's independent research on this stuff that uses good science and has proven that autism is not caused by vaccination. Even the one example you give, tobacco, isn't an argument. We discovered through good, proper science that tobacco use can cause cancer. Then came the lawsuits. Was it clean and easy? No. But that's how we do science. The world moved on and if the same were found to be true about wireless technologies, it would be messy, but the world wouldn't end.

      I think the real problem here is cynicism. Why are people so ready to believe that scientists have no ethics and would go to great lengths to lie to the population or form impossibly large conspiracies? It's certainly not fame and fortune. It's not like there's some giant Scientists' Union mandating scientific results. That's just not how it works. Science is bottom up, not top down.

      September 2, 2010 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      If vaccines are not a factor, why do they need special laws and courts established just to protect them from independent investigative science. You will not find an independent study on vaccine safety. The members of the CDC and the FDA jump back and forth to big paying jobs at the companies for which they are charged to investigate. The conflicts of interest are so blatant that only the gullible would see nothing wrong. The scientific survey which congress charged the CDC to do concerning vaccinated and unvaccinated population as they relate to health outcomes has never been done. Even though this report was demanded back in 1982. If you don't think conspiracies can happen just look at the coverup in bringing Aspartame to market. And if you think government officials care about people. I would like to quote Madame Albright, "Whether its 5000000 dead Southeast Asians or 500000 dead Iraqi children, the price is worth it."

      September 18, 2010 at 00:15 | Report abuse |
  24. Milton

    Ran across this on the internet:

    "Vaccines can cause awful side effects. They include believing that vaccines cause autism. Many are particularly susceptible to this belief when it is spoken by ex-playboy centerfolds that say it convincingly while wearing low-cut dresses. Vaccines can also cause people to believe that anecdotes and coincidences have equal merit to epidemiological studies that have sample sizes of 10,000 or more and are reported by Danish people. Occasionally vaccines cause people to be unable to comprehend statistics or the nature of random events. Further side effects include equating modern vaccines with those made 50 or more years ago. In severe cases, vaccines can induce people to think that polio and smallpox eradication were flukes and that your uncle's bunion was caused by his polio vaccine.

    Well, I would write more but I'm late for my blood-letting and incantation session. I gotta get rid of my pellagra somehow and my eugenics methods just aren't working."

    September 2, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Allie

    Do some reading on the original study in the UK which found an association between vaccines and autism. This study has recently been discredited for various reasons, but here is the one I found most interesting: several of the parents of children in the study who claimed that their children had developed autism immediately after the vaccine were proven to be lying. In some cases, the children had been seen by doctors for autism-related concerns BEFORE receiving any vaccine. In others, the symptoms of autism did not develop for many months after receiving the vaccine.

    So why was this particular doctor doing a study about autism and vaccines in the first place? Turns out – the doctor who found the connection had been hired by these parents to find a connection so that it could be used in a lawsuit.

    Although the parents involved with this study were most likely intentionally dishonest, research has shown that even honest parents tell stories about when their children's autism started that don't match up with medical records. These parents are so desperate to find a cause for their children's illness, and they start swapping stories with other parents, and soon they unintentionally edit their memories to create a story that fits what they want to believe. However, if you talk to grandma, you may find that, for example, one mom's story "she was perfect before she got the vaccine and then the day after she was unresponsive and has never been right since" is simply not the reality of what happened. Grandma can tell you the child was never completely normal, and after the vaccine there was no sudden change. After reading some of the evidence about what REALLY happened as opposed to what parents SAY happened, I'm very reluctant to believe any anecdotes.

    I have talked personally to a woman who insisted that her child had been harmed by mercury in vaccines until somneone else pointed out that the particular vaccine series given to her child did not contain any mercury. You would think this would change her opinions, but no, she simply shifted her belief slightly to believe that it must have been something else wrong with the vaccine.

    I do feel sorry for any parent of a child with health problems, but I don't see that coddling these parents in their false beliefs is going to help their children, and I know for sure that refusal to vaccinate is KILLING OTHER CHILDREN. Mounting evidence suggests autism has a genetic basis, and approaches to helping those who are autistic need to be based on the truth, not on fairy tales.

    September 2, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TWHTIE

      THANK YOU! The way one thing goes into the Ether, and goes from conventional wisdom to gospel in a year. I knew about that study being bunk for, at least 5 years, and i knew it in passing reading something years ago, I didnt even care. So when I still see "news" reports that link the autism to the vaccines useing this report, it makes me sick to my stomach. Responsible newscasters shouldnt even be mentioning docotored (no pun intended)up studies, unless in the context of why to be wary of such studies, let alone actually pointing to it to make the vaccine/autism argument.
      Do we think what may be a more believable link is the fact that people are having children MUCH later in life these days than ever before? That was always risk factor #1 that was taught about autism, now, for some reason (which i think has more to do with not upsetting certain demographics than a lower mitigating factor in autism) you hear about the vaccine link MUCH more in the media. And it seems that these stories, no matter how thin they turn out to be when you decide to look past the headline on the magazine in the check out aisle and actually read just a little bit more, seem to hit the media, and theyre off and running. This, Obama=Muslim (which i could care much less than how his election may very well create the biggest population of cynical voters than we've had since the 60's, seeing as so many put everything onto a guy that turned out to be all show, and no go. but i digress), all these things, that are rediculous once you look past the first page, becomes part of the public consciousness and is near impossible to break free from.

      September 2, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  26. TWHTIE

    i saw an interview on some PBS show with a few mothers who decided to not have their kids immunized. I was kind of surprised to see that they can still go to school, when i was in elementry up to senior year in high school (class of 94) I dont think you could be. Anyways, this interview was done after another CA community had an outbreak of something that i wish i could remember, but alas cant. I think it was a form of measles, one of those that has essentially been eradicated, but due to some of the parents who are all scared of vaccines, didnt get their childrens, so a bunch of kids caught it, and a baby died (this was an infant too young to be able to get immunized). I was in shock when the interviewer spoke of the incident, and asked the mothers if THEIR kid's were the one's that introduced the measles to the community, maybe catching it on a trip, and it ended with the same result; the death of a newborn too young for the shots, would they feel responsible. THEY SAID NO!!! That's the problem today. No one feels any responsibility for anyone but themselves, and their immediate family. Vaccines worked because when they were introduced, especially polio, everyone got the shot, and it was gone fast. And because so many people got it, it protected the few who didnt, they very young, old, or people who lived far beyond good health care (think the Ozarks or Appilacian in the 1950's). Now, that doesnt necessarily work. One of the mothers actually said "If these vaccines worked so well, and got rid of the diseases in this country, then why should my kid have to still get them?" She cant think beyone 2 feet infront of her. The thought of someone from another country being around her child while they were sick never even entered her mind.

    September 2, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Christy Ford

    Autism is something you are born with. I wish people would just accept this and move on. So we can focus on getting children, youth and adults with this condition the help, support and understanding they need to live well and be happy.

    September 3, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 13, 2010 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Michele Walker

    My Son passed away about 18 years ago after recieving his first set of vaccinations. He reacted with a fever which I was told was normal and to administer tylenol. Within 24 hours he was dead. Get it ? DEAD. His doctor intially said it was probably due to the vaccines. The very next day she changed her opinion and said it was not. When questioned why, she replied that was her human side speaking and that now she has to speak as a doctor. I am sick of watching the cover up and proliferation of dangerous vaccines. The US Court of appeals is a kangaroo court. I am basing my opinion on personal experience. I will give you one example as there are too many to write about. 31 children died (including my son) after recieving a vaccine from the same batch and lot number. These where reported to the CDC. This information was inadmissible in court relative to our case. Why one may ask? Because they make the their own set of rules. This is the truth. It has been many years and it seems that children are being exposed to even more harmful vaccines. Parents are bullied into decisions that put their children at risk. I have to speak out. You can not rely on so called journalism to formulate an opinion relative to anything really. We now live in an age where information is at your finger tips. I suggest you research. I mean really research any subject before formulating an opinion ( let alone a strong one) on any subject. God help the people who will take something like Anderson Coopers segment with Dr Wakefield at face value. Reading the comments I am amazed at the opinions people have. I never knew there were so many experts on autism. I say prove the efficacy and safety of vaccines. I dont think they can do that. Unfortunately I think money is that bottom line and most people do not realize the amount that is involved. Can you imagine if they said vaccines did trigger autism, who would pay for that?

    January 11, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply

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