Paul Offit has written an op-ed in today's New York Times which hastens to point out what other news stories have largely misrepresented in the Hannah Poling autism lawsuit: The outcome of the court ruling does not mean the government is admitting to a causal link between childhood vaccines and the onset of autism. Rather, it is an indication that a special federal claims court enlisted to hear vaccine-related cases has made a ruling based not on the preponderance of evidence but on biological plausibility.
Hannah Poling is a now nine-year-old girl who, at the age of 19 months received a handful of vaccinations. In the following months, she presented symptoms of autism. Her parents filed suit against the government, claiming the vaccines caused her autism. During the trial, it was revealed she had a cellular disorder that keeps her body from absorbing nutrients correctly, which was thought to be a catalyst for her autism. The plaintiffs argued the vaccines stressed her weak cells and made the disorder more severe. At no point was this claim verified; the court simply conceded that it was biologically plausible and therefore awarded in her favor.
The international scientific literature is remarkably consistent and clear on its having demonstrated no link between autism and vaccines; yet a vocal minority of parents across the country continue to further the notion that the government is lying about the evidence. What is harmful about this decision, Offit argues, is that it opens the door to legitimize unfounded theories in the face of peer-reviewed fact.
Ultimately, the worry is that the misinformation campaign will take hold and lead more parents to forgo vaccination for their children. While this is not a problem for the population at large when only a small number of children are not immunized, it becomes a serious public health threat when the numbers increase.
the research is correlational at best. There's just no strong evidence one way or the other. At the end of the day, vaccines are doing far more good than anything. Vaccines always carry a certain degree of risk.
Also this cellular disorder could never explain the explosion in cases of autism over the last couple decades.
Many of the arguments against the vaccines (when discussing autims) are based off out dated studies about vaccines that contained mercury.
Critical thinking: important.
Joel, it's important to understand that the rise in autism reports in the past decade can largely be accounted for by the broadening of the definition of autism. It's not that more people are developing autism, but instead more people are being included in the definition. If you study the numbers closely, there has been no "explosion in cases."
As far as the article, I'm very glad you guys published this. I had read about it previously and feared the same thing you did. This was a very, very specialized case. However, it was revered because it was supposed to be a test case for a class action lawsuit. In the long run however, this is not a win for the anti-vaccination crowd, as they cannot base a class-action lawsuit on a settlement.
If Autism happens more frequently now in nature, it is probably intended and should not be altered by man. Alot of autistic children and adults have very powerful minds.
I know these parents are just looking for something to blame, but they do a disservice to everyone when they try to discredit vaccination. As a parent of two children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, on the Autism Spectrum, I know perfectly well that I have nothing to blame but genetics, as my brother is similar. But other parents could be misled by this ruling. They should be reminded that a judge is not a scientist, and to listen to the scientists.
I dont think the parents should of been awarded anything. Making a law suit on the people who most likely saved there child's life from some painful and possibly cronicly damaging disease is very ungreatful.
Further more them encourageing other parents not to use vaccines on there new borns is absoulutley rediculous. Id rather have my child get a slight disorder (Which from what ive read is very unlikely) than die because i was an idiot and didnt give a few extra dollars towards a vaccine because i was to afraid of an unproved theory.
We don't know (for sure) the cause of autism. Plain and simple. However, It *appears* to be genetic.
The form of mercury in vaccines is NON-TOXIC, and DOES NOT convert to a toxic form in the body.
Sorry your parents have bad genes, kiddo. Such is life.
I guess you can link any sort of birth defect to someone with money if you want to...