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Autism ruling fails to convince many vaccine-link believers

Posted in News by Skepdude on February 13, 2009

A special court’s Thursday ruling that no proven link exists between autism and certain early childhood vaccines seems to have done little to change the sometimes-passionate opinion fueling the debate.

Thousands of parents have sought compensation saying, early childhood vaccinations triggered their children's autism.

Thousands of parents have sought compensation saying, early childhood vaccinations triggered their children’s autism.

Amanda Guyton, a mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism, was “incredibly happy” with the decision and said it reaffirmed her belief that her son’s autism has nothing to do with vaccines.

“We’re ready for them to get on real research like educational strategies and help for kids,” she said. “An awful lot of money and effort and time were spent on vaccines when three or four studies said no, there isn’t a link.”

Meanwhile, John Best, the father of a 12-year-old boy with autism, said: “The whole thing stinks.”

Guyton and Best were not involved in the cases, but were following the news because of their interest in autism.

Three families — the Cedillos, the Hazlehursts and the Snyders — had sought damage awards from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for their children who have autism, a disorder that the parents contend was triggered by the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella combined with vaccines containing thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative.

The panel of “special masters” ruled that these petitioners had not presented sufficient evidence to prove that the childhood vaccines caused autism in their children.

A vocal segment of autism parents has contended that childhood vaccinations recommended by the government cause the disorder. Health agencies and the scientific community have disputed that notion. In defending its conclusion that no link exists, the Institute of Medicine cited five large studies that have failed to prove any connection between autism and thimerosal and 14 large studies finding no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.


3 Responses

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  1. Tim Ziegewied said, on February 14, 2009 at 12:28 AM

    I wish that somebody would provided me with a credible explanation why my daughter suddenly started seaking for the first time in her life three weeks after starting mercury-chelation therapy at age seven if the mercury in her ssystem was not harming her in any way as the pro-thimerosal folks contend.

  2. Rodibidably said, on February 14, 2009 at 8:24 AM

    My first question would be to ask what was the purpose of the Chelation Therapy? Generally Chelation is used to remove heavy metals from a person, so if your daughter was going through Chelation Therapy, it would seem she had some medical issue previously.

    I would also suggest looking into mercury further. There are multiple “types” of mercury, including methylmercury (which is very dangerous and can kill people) and ethyl mercury (which is, according to all studies done to this point, relativly harmless, and also happens to be the form of mercury that used to be included in vaccines).

    How mercury generally harms people is through bioaccumulation. Unlike methylmercury, ethylmercury has not been found to bioaccumulate.

    Perhaps a study will come forward in the future showing a possible link, but as of yet, EVERY SINGLE STUDY has shown no link between autism and vaccines. As well the rate of autism had not dropped, but has continued to increase since thimerosal was removed from children’s vaccines.

    While I have nothing but sympathy for parents dealing with their children being diagnosed with autism (or any other health issues), there is no evidence that vaccines have anything to do with their children’s health.

  3. Skepdude said, on February 14, 2009 at 9:32 AM


    The important question is how many children that undergo this chelation therapy do in fact show the same progress as you daughter did? While it is possible that temporally in your case her improvement came after the chelation therapy, we cannot come to conclusions based on one anecdote.

    Was she receiving other treatments at the same time? Are you sure you’re not committing a bit of confirmation bias? Why do you credit the chelation with her improvement? Can you be sure that there wasn’t other changes that could have contributed, such as your own behavior in anticipation of the promised results of the chelation therapy?

    All these are important questions that should be considered.

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