Inside the “Vaccine Court”

A court with no judge, no jury and a controversial treatment of science takes center stage in the autism-vaccine debate.

An unconventional court's rulings may determine how the public views the alleged autism-vaccines link. [Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
By | Posted July 25, 2008
Posted in: Featured, Health, uncategorized
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Kevin Conway, a vaccine injury lawyer who represents hundreds of families with autistic children, does not beat around the bush when he discusses the facts in his cases. “I agree that there is no scientific proof that vaccines cause autism,” he says.

It may seem counterintuitive that the absence of scientific evidence isn’t enough to merit the dismissal of every one of the 5,000 autism cases pending in federal court, including all 1,200 of Conway’s. However, these cases are being heard in a “vaccine court” that employs a considerably different decision-making process than scientists and even most courts do. In the wake of the recent ruling that vaccines contributed to 9-year-old Hannah Poling’s autism, the vaccine court is suddenly in the spotlight, and its approach toward weighing evidence is being criticized.

Many doctors and government officials worry that parents will mistakenly interpret the court’s findings as scientific conclusions and make rash decisions to stop immunizing their children, potentially causing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. They fear that the very program Congress created to protect universal vaccination could inadvertently play a part in undermining it.

“The message can definitely get misconstrued,” says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “People are implying that vaccines are the cause even though that’s not what the court said.”

In 1988, reacting to a different anti-vaccine protest that focused on the neurological side effects of the diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine, Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The idea was to maintain successful national immunization while also providing fair damages to people harmed by vaccinations. Through the program, funded by a 75-cent tax on vaccines, the government shields drug companies from lawsuits that might dissuade them from producing vaccines vital to public health. The federal government acts as the defense in cases before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a.k.a. the vaccine court, which then awards appropriate compensation. The claiming party can only take its case to other federal courts after a decision from the vaccine court, which typically takes two or three years.

Over the next few years, the court will set criteria for deciding the thousands of pending autism cases based on testimony in test cases that explore the link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, the mercury additive thimerosal and a combination of the two. The court heard the second round of these test cases in May.

In February, documents leaked to Huffington Post blogger David Kirby revealed that last year the government had awarded compensation to the Poling family, who claimed that vaccines had aggravated Hannah’s preexisting mitochondrial disorder and led to autism. Officials from the departments of Justice and Health & Human Services, who represent the government in vaccine court, conceded the case in November without a trial.

Mainstream media quickly picked up the story, while some activists claimed that the government had admitted vaccines cause autism. However, government health officials emphasized that Hannah’s rare disorder made the case irrelevant to almost all of the pending autism claims—although nobody knows how many other cases involve patients with malfunctioning mitochondria, the powerhouses of the body’s cells.

The buzzword over the vaccine-autism controversy is causation, specifically the difference between the scientific and legal definitions. If a case ends up in a regular civil court against a vaccine maker, lawyers have to prove both that the vaccine led to the injury and that the manufacturer knowingly distributed a harmful product. According to Stephen D. Sugarman, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, many federal judges would throw these autism cases out without letting them reach a jury because of failure to satisfy the latter requirement. However, since the vaccine court’s decisions place no blame on vaccine manufacturers, the outcome of each case relies solely on whether the vaccine causes injury—making the role of science in proving causation such a pivotal issue.

For scientists, evidence of causation can only result from carefully controlled, peer-reviewed clinical studies. The data would have to establish 95 percent confidence that such a link existed—in other words, science’s version of beyond a reasonable doubt. When it comes to vaccines and autism, an overwhelming majority of studies have found no such evidence. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine cited 19 large studies that found no link between autism and either the MMR vaccine or thimerosal.

These data should dictate the course of vaccine injury lawsuits, says Dr. Paul Offit, the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an outspoken critic of autism-vaccine activists. “If you were reasonably trying to determine if vaccines could cause autism, the best way would be to sit down 20 people who are experts and have them review all the scientific literature,” he says.

But in the vaccine court, the burden of proof is drastically lower than science’s. Like a civil court, its decisions rely on a preponderance of the evidence. If the court decides that the position of the person making a claim (the petitioner) is more likely than not to be correct, then the petitioner wins. Conway, the vaccine court lawyer, calls it “50 percent and a feather.” The court has also adopted a tie-goes-to-the-runner mentality, thanks to a 2005 federal appeals court decision, in which borderline cases tend to go to the petitioner. As a result, the vaccine court has awarded compensation in almost a third of the roughly 7,000 cases it has heard since 1988, adding up to $1.8 billion in damages.

The vaccine court has other distinctive qualities, too. Instead of a judge or jury, appointed lawyers known as special masters preside. Rather than employing the rigid structure of the scientific method, the court’s guidelines emphasize informality, stating that “special masters are not bound by formal rules of evidence” and that both sides should “be creative” in presenting their arguments “quickly and less expensively.”

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  1. Despite the motto on your website there is considerable gap between this article and science. There is plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury – you only have to look at the manfacturers’ leaflets, and no studies which show definitively that they cannot. In fact the claim was only ever that having the vaccine was a lesser risk than the disease, but the risk is going to increase if everyone gets dozens of vaccines as a matter of course – sometimes several at a time.

    In fact there is huge scientific bias over this issue. If it does go wrong – and in the US the only redress is to go to court – how many case really come to light?

    John Stone, July 25, 2008 at 2:35 am
  2. PS Mr Grant

    On the basis of science why do you even have an opinion on the merits of any one of these cases?

    John Stone, July 25, 2008 at 4:16 am
  3. Hi John,

    I think this article was pointing out Kevin Conway’s position – which I’m sure you’ll agree is a rather remarkable one for someone trying to prove vaccines containing thiomersal, or MMR or a combination of both cause autism.

    You say there is plenty in the literature to suggest vaccines can cause injury which is of course the absolute truth – and also not what is under discussion either in this article or in the Omnibus hearings. They are hearing the arguments to whether thiomersal containing vaccines, MMR vaccines or a combination of both caused autism.

    There is nothing in the scientific literature to link autism aetiology to any vaccine, any vaccine component or any vaccine schedule. If you believe that there is such evidence, lets hear it.

    I’m also curious to hear your idea elaborated on about scientific bias over this issue as it sounds a bit like your insinuating there’s a conspiracy going on?

    Kev, July 25, 2008 at 4:36 am
  4. John,

    For several months now you have been suggesting that the evidence is at a tipping point to prove that vaccines are a cause of autism. In fact, your confidence seems to rise in inverse proportion to the amount of evidence that supports your position. There is no evidence of such a link. It is thoroughly discredited.

    If you have any evidence, put it up.

    Save your conspiracy theories for your anti-vaccine friends at the JABS forums.

    Anthony, July 25, 2008 at 6:42 am
  5. Once again one of the anti-vaccination merchants of disease, disability and death pontificates that there is evidence to support the claim that something about vaccines cause autism. He claims that there is evidence. Wakefield had “evidence” that the MMR caused autism. His “evidence” was based on his ability to ignore the facts that the samples were contaminated. The other “evidence” comes from dubious sources such as the Geiers, Haley, et al. Their “studies” do not stand up to rigorous review, and are often published in non-peer reviewed journals or rags such as JPANDS.

    And, note how John Stone goes right to criticizing the messenger instead of providing facts.

    TheProbe, July 25, 2008 at 8:49 am
  6. The author unfortunately misdirects the reader (due to his lack of scientific acumen?) with two particular statements that the 3 responders who attack John Stone seem also to have missed.

    The first

    “…’I agree that there is no scientific proof that vaccines cause autism,’ he says…….It may seem counterintuitive that the absence of scientific evidence isn’t enough to merit the dismissal of every one of the 5,000 autism cases pending in federal court, including all 1,200 of Conway’s.”

    The equating of “scientific proof” with “scientific evidence”, indeed of “proof” with “evidence”, in the sentence is incorrect. There may be no definitive scientific proof but evidence certainly abounds in the analysis of vaccinations and ASDs.

    The Second

    “For scientists, evidence of causation can only result from carefully controlled, peer-reviewed clinical studies. The data would have to establish 95 percent confidence that such a link existed—in other words, science’s version of beyond a reasonable doubt. When it comes to vaccines and autism, an overwhelming majority of studies have found no such evidence. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine cited 19 large studies that found no link between autism and either the MMR vaccine or thimerosal.”

    Equating CLINICAL studies with the 19 studies cited by the US IOM is incorrect. The 19 are in the main EPIDEMIOLOGICAL studies, not clinical studies and therefore have no basis for opining on causation.

    Principled, July 25, 2008 at 9:29 am
  7. I do not see any studies which show that thimerosal or MMR cannot cause autism. I do see studies – which look to me highly flawed – which suggest that they may not cause many cases, but it is not clear what bearing this could have on a vaccine court where they are deciding about individual cases. And I have not, for instance, seen anyone tackling the allegations I made against the Andrews study, which disregarded the leap in autism in N London synchronous with the introduction of the accelerated DPT schedule in 1990 (click on my name above for links).

    Kevin’s misbehaviour over the Poling case has been documented here:

    http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/lies-damn-lies-and-blog-posts/

    The reality is that the is unlikely to be a one-off – the US government conceded the case rather than let it be heard. Meanwhile, Kevin accuses the Poling family of sitting on the evidence.

    What people like Mr Grant do, when they talk about “science”, is actually to talk about great vested interests and heavy-handed institutions. That this might all be about to unravel was suggested by former NIH director Bernardine Healy on CBS news:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/12/cbsnews_investigates/main4086809.shtml

    John Stone, July 25, 2008 at 9:40 am
  8. John you may not see any studies that show that vaccines cannot cause autism. I equally do not see any studies that show that hopping on one leg cannot cause autism.

    Now, your answer above seems a very long winded way of saying that despite ‘There is plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ you can’t actually tell us about any that relates to autism. If there is ‘plenty’ your job should be easy.

    I’m not sure what my ‘misbehaviour’ is or why you are suddenly deciding to disappear down that side road. I’d be happy to explain the Poling case to you and why no one has actually conceded anything. Or maybe after you find this ‘plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ you can find and link to where the word ‘concede’ appears in any court statement relative to Hannah Poling.

    But we can go down that road later John. First I want to hear your ‘plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ that relates to autism. Oh and your bias theory would be good to hear about too.

    Many thanks.

    Kev, July 25, 2008 at 10:08 am
  9. Autism is simply a term from the psychiatric DSM-IV manual. It’s nothing but a smokescreen. It provides an alibi for the drug companies who added mercury to vaccines at levels 250 times higher than hazardous waste levels (based on toxicity characteristics). It provides an alibi for the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the other drug company cronies who are responsible for the safety of our children. It provides an alibi for the people who administered this poison. It provides an alibi for health insurance companies so they don’t have to pay for treatment for these sick kids. It provides an alibi for psychiatrists so they can force powerfull anti-psychotic drugs on these kids who are already terribly messed up.

    There will never be an identifiable cause for autism. There are though 11 published papers listed in pubmed which identify the underlying medical condition of autism as neuroinflammatory disease. My favorite is “Neuroglial activation and Neuroinflammation in the Brain of Patients with Autism”. This work was done at John Hopkins University. Now, the debate is whether mercury, a known neurotoxin, added to childhood vaccines at levels 250 times higher than what the EPA identifies as hazardous waste, causes degenerative brain disease? Do you want to debate whether brain damaged kids behave in a way so that some psychiatrist can label them as somewhere on the “spectrum”?

    Gregg, July 25, 2008 at 10:19 am
  10. Andrew Grant wrote: “In the wake of the recent ruling that vaccines contributed to 9-year-old Hannah Poling’s autism…” However, the judge did not “rule” in this case. Instead, after a review of the evidence, HHS conceded that Hannah Poling’s autism symptoms were likely to have been induced by her incident of multiple vaccinations at one time. Andrew Grant is invited to revise his rhetoric in accord with the HHS concession.

    Teresa Binstock, July 25, 2008 at 10:29 am
  11. Kev

    I have already provided the link which documents your elaborate distortions of the Poling case, but here it is again in case you missed it the first time.

    http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/lies-damn-lies-and-blog-posts/

    I note that no one seems very keen to discuss the rise in autism incidence in N London between the birth cohorts of 1989 and 1991, most particularly not Elizabeth Miller, Brent Taylor and Nick Andrews (not to mention Kevin, Anthony – of the UK medicines licensing authority yellow card scheme – and Probe).

    http://adc.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/88/8/666#2773

    Excellent points by Principled, Gregg and Teresa.

    John Stone, July 25, 2008 at 11:10 am
  12. John Stone has conflated the fact that vaccines do cause injury, disability and even death with the “hypothesis” that they might cause autism.

    Nobody disputes the straw-man argument that vaccines cause injuries – the issue is whether vaccines cause autism.

    The same can be said about arguments that “mercury, a known neurotoxin” causes autism. We happen to know, from centuries of sad experience, what mercury can do to the brain. Autism is not one of those things. Again, knowing that mercury can cause brain injury is not the same as showing that it can cause autism.

    The other blatant straw-man is the argument that there are no studies showing that vaccines don’t cause autism. True enough. There are also no studies showing that it wasn’t the rapid increase in soya bean consumption that led to the rise in autism diagnosis.

    Based on that sort of “reasoning”, the large number of epidemiological studies that fail to link autism with vaccines should raise our concerns that autism is caused by soy products. Or cell phones. Or any number of things that also have not been definitively shown to not cause autism and – for that matter – have no studies that fail to show such a link.

    If there were studies showing that vaccines do cause autism, I assume that Mr. Stone would have directed us to them. Unfortunately, there are no such studies, only tangential and tantalizing bits of information that point to how vaccines might possibly cause autism, if it were ever shown that they do (which, to be redundant, has not been shown).

    Prometheus, July 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm
  13. Prometheus

    I don’t know about fire, but certainly loads of hot air there, I am afraid.

    John Stone, July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm
  14. Hey Andrew, Kev, Orac, TheProbe, Promethius, Ms. Clark, NotMercury, Do’c, Pal, etc., whats up with this;

    In a June 27, 2008 Autism Omnibus Proceeding (OAP) conference, attorneys for the DHHS announced that they were withdraw- ing two key written reports and any state- ments which relied on those reports.

    Those key reports, written by two world-renowned toxicologists (Dr. Laszlo Magos, formerly from the Medical Research Council Labora- tories, England, and Dr. Thomas Clarkson, from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY USA), were the toxicological pillars underpinning the government’s claim that Thimerosal does not cause autism.

    On July 3, 2008, the three OAP Special Masters recorded that they had granted the DHHS’ request to withdraw the expert reports of Drs. Magos and Clarkson. In addition, their court order[1] stated: “… respondent would be permitted to withdraw any reliance on those two expert reports, and that we would not consider those reports at all in resolving those test cases.”

    Gregg, July 25, 2008 at 3:09 pm
  15. Are you kidding? Once again, the Vaccine Court did not settle the Hanah Poling case. It was conceded by the government: Dept of Health and Human Services before it could go before the vaccine court. If you don’t understand the vital difference here, don’t blather on about it.

    Sarah, July 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm
  16. John, I didn’t ask for the link to my ‘elaborate distortions’ (which are neither elaborate, nor distortions), I asked if you’d like me to explain to you the bits you didn’t get.

    I note that no one seems very keen to discuss the rise in autism incidence in N London between…blah blah

    Tell you what John, I’ll discuss it as much as you like immediately after you provide this ‘plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ (autism) and after you elaborate on your ‘bias’ point. I’ve asked you politely three times now – anyone would think you weren’t very keen to discuss it.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 2:52 am
  17. I invite Teresa (or anyone else) to link through to the HHS document that states that:

    …after a review of the evidence, HHS conceded that Hannah Poling’s autism symptoms were likely to have been induced by her incident of multiple vaccinations at one time.

    In fact, a document from HHS regarding Hannah Poling that includes the word ‘concede’ would be a start.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 2:55 am
  18. Hey Gregg – whats up with this?

    The Petitioners in the Autism Omnibus hearings seemingly withdrew four of its highest profile experts to support the various claims that say that vaccines cause autism. The experts are James B Adams, Mark Robin Geier, Boyd E Haley and Andrew J Wakefield. The ‘New’ experts are those we recognise from the testimony offered thus far. Indeed, this reporter can find no further mention of Adams, Geier, Haley or Wakefield as expert witnesses for the petitioners.

    Drs. Adams, Geier, Haley and Wakefield were apparently unwilling or unable to testify about the substance of their beliefs and ‘science, leaving only the report and testimony of Dr. Asphosian.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 2:57 am
  19. A quick check of the official Autism Omnibus docket shows that the word ‘concede’ originates with one Thomas B Powers, part of the petitioners legal team. It has never, as far as I can see, been used by HHS or even the Special Masters. Here’s the section in question:

    Within the past week we learned that respondent is conceding in one of the potential cases [Poling] that vaccines caused the “significant aggravation” of an underlying condition. That concession places the Poling case in procedural posture that makes it inappropriate as a test case for hearing in May 2008.

    As we now know, that underlying condition was mitochondrial in nature. And as we also all know, no one has raised significant doubt that Hannah Poling’s vaccines cause her some injuries. What is in doubt – as it has never been claimed by anyone aside from the Poling’s – is that Hannah Poling’s vaccines caused her to develop autism. Even Jon Polings co-author (John Shoffner) in the case study he did on his daughter that lists all the symptoms resulting from vaccine injury said:

    Jon Poling, says Shoffner, has been “muddying the waters” with some of his comments. “There is no precedent for that type of thinking and no data for that type of thinking,” Shoffner says.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 3:59 am
  20. Sorry, the reference for the Shoffner quote is SciAm.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 4:01 am
  21. Kevin

    It is just semantic games, isn’t it? I am not sure why anything you say now is more credible than what you said before:

    http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/lies-damn-lies-and-blog-posts/

    I do not see anything which has happened which closes the issue of whether vaccine causes autism, but I do see certain people trying to shut the lid on the argument, and I can see no logical or scientific grounds for this.

    John Stone, July 26, 2008 at 4:30 am
  22. Semantic games John? The only person who seems to be playing games is the person who still, after four times of asking, cannot backup their own statements. Thats you John, in case you wondered.

    Its really simple. I’m not suggesting any evidence here that closes the issue of whether vaccines cause autism. I am doing two things:

    1) Asking you to back up your statement in your first comment that ‘There is plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ (autism).

    2) Declaring that there is no evidence at all for a causative link between any vaccine, any vaccine ingredient or any schedule of giving vaccines and autism.

    As for my credibility John, well, maybe the fact that I can reference everything I say whereas you still can’t reference the content of your first comment here might give you an inkling as to credibility. All you’ve done after that is post the same URL three times and avoid the issues that you raised and I’m asking you to provide evidence of (that ‘There is plenty in the literature to suggest that vaccines can cause injury’ (autism)).

    I’d also like to suggest to you that maybe John Shoffner – who co-authored the Poling case study and who is a mito specialist – might have a little bit more insight than you into Hannah Poling’s medical status.

    Kev, July 26, 2008 at 5:31 am
  23. Kevin

    Can we actually say that the kind of brain injury could never include the symptoms of autism? What evidence do we have for that?

    You say there is no evidence for the mechanisms but that is exactly one of the issues that the court is trying to determine. You, however, are certain from the start. Of course it does not help if the US government is trying to suppress the evidence by conceding cases. It doesn’t matter whether the word “concede” was first used by Thomas Powers, they “threw in the towel”, gave up..It doesn’t matter what you call it, that’s what they did.

    John Stone, July 26, 2008 at 5:46 am
  24. John, you can wriggle around the issues as much as you like. I’m simply asking you to back up the statements you presented as facts with evidence. You can’t. Thats fine, but a more realistic person would start to think that maybe they had certain things wrong.

    Whatever. I’m bored of coming back to this thread to find more prevaracation and avoidance. When you can answer the questions I put to you, please drop me an email.

    Kev, July 27, 2008 at 2:10 am
  25. Kev

    All the evasion is yours. You cannot get round the fact – misrepresented also by this article – that the US government conceded in the Poling case. To argue that it didn’t happen because the word “concede” was first used by a member of the petitioner’s legal team is just a pathetic smoke-screen.

    John Stone, July 27, 2008 at 3:05 am
  26. Kev, provide evidence from the Omnibus documentation to back up this second statement of yours. Otherwiswe you have no credibilty.

    “John, you can wriggle around the issues as much as you like. I’m simply asking you to back up the statements you presented as facts with evidence.”

    “The Petitioners in the Autism Omnibus hearings seemingly withdrew four of its highest profile experts to support the various claims that say that vaccines cause autism. The experts are James B Adams, Mark Robin Geier, Boyd E Haley and Andrew J Wakefield.”

    Gregg, July 28, 2008 at 11:01 am
  27. No scientific proof.”MMR” “Ecephalitis” Is in the injury table as a possible side affect from the vaccine.What is autism? My child was diagnosed with it after his MMR. All of his symptoms are right there under aids to interpretation for the vaccine injury table under encephalitis but the docters call it autism is that a fancy name to get away from having to aknowledge that they have been harmed by the vaccines.

    Lynn, July 30, 2008 at 2:03 am
  28. I read a lot of hot air in these comments. Is mercury poisonous or not? If the answer is yes, then the only question is: How much does it take to poison? And in actuality it doesn’t really matter what type of mercury we are talking about. Another question: Has Thimerosal ever been tested by acceptable standards? I know the answer for that one. Thimerosal has never gone through any acceptable drug trials. Thimerosal was grandfathered in. So much for the credibility of any studies that prove or disprove Thimerosal’s toxicity. All studies mentioned in these comments are epidemiological; I have read them all. So far I have not seen a single, unbiased, study that proves that Thimerosal is harmless. Want of evidence does not mean that there might not be evidence. It only means it has not been found.

    My last comment is. Let’s hear about all those studies that prove Thimerosal is harmless. It is unethical to test a known toxin on children. There are studies showing that Thimerosal is toxic. That’s why Thimerosal was taken out of animal vaccines a long time ago. And one more, why use Thimerosal when there are so many people wasting so much time talking about this subject who could instead use this time to invent a preservative that does not contain mercury.

    Science does matter, and I hope the three special masters are up to the task of finding justice for those unfortunate autistic chidren and not beholden to pharma.

    Birgit Calhoun, November 3, 2008 at 7:33 pm
  29. MMR NOT ONLY SAFE, IT ALSO HELPS REMEDIATE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

    from – Randy Crawford 3701 Second St. #10 Coralville, Iowa 52241 (319)400-2837
    randycrawford52241@hotmail.com rancrawfo@hotmail.com

    The federal vaccine court is to be congratulated for ruling Feb. 12, 2009 MMR does NOT cause autism and other diseases. I have been using dozens and dozens of repeated doses of MMR for years, because it is the only thing that will alleviate my autoimmune disease processes. I know from direct experience that MMR is completely safe and free from side effects. It is effective to alleviate autoimmune disease, and works best when injected every day for weeks at a time. MMR works even better when given with other live virus vaccines like varicella and yellow fever. The stories that mercury combines with MMR in some weird way is also demonstrably false, because when I took a dozen tetanus-diptheria shots with thimerosal the same days I got MMR, there were no side effects either. When kids get sick about the time of getting a vaccine, it’s only an event that would have happened anyway and had nothing to do with the shot– like with a million people watching TV today some will have heart attacks next week, but the heart attacks would have happened anyway and had nothing to do with watching TV the week beforehand. Now that the courts have ruled intelligently, doctors don’t have to be paranoid about using MMR and they can help more people with multiple MMR injections. And that’s good for people who need relief from autoimmune disease. MMR works against autoimmune disease by acting as an immunodistractant to down-modulate eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and other leukocytes.

    Randy Crawford, February 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm
  30. Gee..Randy Crawford can think all he wants to about the love of vaccines..sounds more like science fiction. Getting back to this issue of vaccines..PROMETHEUS say’s “Knowing that mercury can cause brain injury is not the same as showing it can cause autism”. So a parent takes their toddler to a recommended doctor to be diagnosed by visual testing and the word ‘autism’ mild to severe is the opinion of the doctor. The word autism stays with the child under the umbrella of mental disorders. To be labled with autism with no ‘real tests’, just visual, seems to be a guess instead of What is wrong and What caused it. If testing shows that the mercury is high and measles virus very high..is that autism? Not every parent has the financial means or health insurance to have many doctors look at the child or even test the child for various hidden problems that may be the cause or combined cause with vaccines. I feel autism is a misused word among doctors and the health agencies of the government.
    Also, why did they (DHHS) not state WHAT vaccines ‘activated’ the Poling girl’s underling problem causing autism. I am not saying the vaccines did not contribute to her problem..just that the DHHS made a decision without explaining how they got to this result.
    I still have thoughts as to why the DHHS said they were going to withdraw the 2 key reports from the case. Wonder what the reports had to say?? HMMMMM

    Marilyn Abdilla, February 25, 2009 at 4:30 pm
  31. Autism is indeed proffered somewhat cavalierly these days. Doctors used to take tonsils out all the time because it was the accepted fad of the day. It also provided for a tidy income, and generally made no difference one way or the other. So, who’s to know as long as the doctors’ bank accounts benefitted? Autism is high on the current fad list, and it makes tidy sums for those who diagnose it in order to enable more money to be made when it is later treated. As Daniel Boone observed: as soon as lawyeers started settling the frontier, the rate of lawsuits being filed tended to rise rather dramatically. And, as I demonstrated above, attributing autism to vaccines is about as dubious a situation.

    Randy Crawford, February 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm
  32. With autism once being 1, or 2 per 10,000, but in some areas of the world, has now reached 1, in 150, even 1, in 67, vaccination seems the only common denominator. It would be probable for a statitician to explore the spread of vaccines in any or all parts of the world, and then the spread of autism. I once read a story about the spread of sugar and then the rise in diabetes. You don’t hear much about that today either, sugar producers, like vaccine producers have likely lobbied against releasing info that would harm their bottom line. Its all TOBACCO SCIENCE, who cares about harming people when their is money to be made. Its THE AMERICAN WAY!

    ROSS COE, November 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm
  33. The ultimate dichotomy. Two sides lining up their armies, both believing God is on their side (or the new god, medical science). A court ruling although inspiring and important cannot be used as a basis for declaring victory, and neither can science. Much is not understood. This dichotomy creates a dilemma of uncooperation, truth is sacrificed by the need to win. Surely as vaccines are known to have side effects, some side effects are less known. Vaccine experts have conceded they don’t know how human immune systems work. Then how do they gauge a vaccine’s effect? How can they, with any certainty state they are completely and utterly sure vaccines don’t cause autism? They don’t know, thats the truth. They are protecting their reputations and their profit-making products, they are not making sound judgments based on science, because the ultimate science of vaccine related side-effects does not yet exist. Our dichotomy is at present, precluding the true search for that knowledge.

    Ross Coe, January 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm
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