13 February 2009

The Autism Verdict

Well, the verdict is in: no money for the families of the three children with autism who were seeking a court award from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, claiming that thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative formerly used in vaccines, caused their childrens' disorders.
Here is what this does not mean:
-That thimerosal has NO link to autism
-That vaccines in general have NO link to autism
-That the MMR in its traditional form is the ideal schedule for infants
-That physicians have not mislead parents on many subjects related to vaccinations

Here is what this does mean:
-That thimerosal has very little effect on the immune system (saying nothing about the neurological or gastrointestinal system)
-That these families are not entitled to relief from this particular fund, based on what this fund was set up to support
-That based on the evidence presented to the court, the link was weak (saying nothing about the scientific evidence available)

Autism is a mysterious disorder with a complex etiology that clearly involves multiple systems, genetic predisposition, and environmental triggers, all in a combination that is currently unknown. No one can say for sure that vaccines cause autism, but until there is conclusive evidence that it does NOT, which currently does not exist, we should continue to research.

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