Posted: November 30, 2007 03:33 PMThe Autism-Vaccine Debate: Anything But Overhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-autismvaccine-debate-_b_74853.htmlMemo to those who wanted the autism-vaccine contretemps to just go away: You lost.
Exactly five years ago, I began research for my book Evidence of Harm, which looked into the possible link between mercury, vaccines and the tsunami of autism that now overwhelms our education system.
Along the way, I have encountered many people -- in the government, in medical circles, in the media, on the Internet - who are furious at my attempts to shed light on this controversy, and utterly contemptuous of parents, doctors and anyone else who supports research into the hypothesized link between autism and vaccines.
Many of these people, incredibly, still insist that autism is purely a genetic disorder with no known "cause" and probably no cure. They blithely claim that autism has always been with us, in the same epidemic numbers we see today, (If you're the parent of a young boy in New Jersey, by the way, you now face 1-in-60 odds of a diagnosis), we just never noticed, or else counted those kids as "quirky," or possibly retarded.
Even officials at the CDC, who traced an e-coli outbreak to a single patch of California spinach within months, cannot say if autism is actually on the increase or not.
Some experts, however, are beginning to understand that autism is clearly on the rise and, thus, must have an environmental component, coupled with a genetic underpinning. But they insist that vaccines or their ingredients (ie, mercury, live measles virus, aluminum) have nothing to do with the epidemic.
They really, really want this vexing vaccine chatter to cease. But it won't.
Buried beneath the usual tumultuous headlines of recent days were three tidbits of news that clearly underscore why this raging, sometimes vitriolic debate is not ending any time soon. In fact, all three reveal significant cracks in the federal government's hitherto impenetrable fortress of denial of any vaccine-autism link whatsoever:
1) The CDC granted nearly $6 million for investigators at five major research centers to study 2,700 children over the next five years, in what the Contra Costa Times called "the largest-ever U.S. study aimed at solving one of the most perplexing mysteries of modern times: the cause of autism."
Oddly, the study will not look at the mercury-based preservative thimerosal
. According to the FDA and the Institute of Medicine, the last batches of thimerosal containing vaccines for infants and immune-globulin given to pregnant women expired in late 2003 (except for the flu shot, which is still given to infants and pregnant women).
The new study will only study children born from September 2003 to August, 2005.
But the question remains, and I think it's legitimate: If an association between vaccines and autism has been completely "ruled out," then why are we spending taxpayer dollars to study autistic children's vaccination history?
2) The Department of Health and Human Services announced the formation of a new federal panel, the "Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee," which will help set public and private research priorities into the cause and treatment of autism, as mandated by the recently passed Combating Autism Act.
Among those named to the panel by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt were Lyn Redwood, president of the Coalition for Safe Minds (and chief protagonist in my book), and a leading advocate of the mercury-vaccine-autism connection, and Lee Grossman, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America, another staunch supporter of the hypothesis.
Which again begs the question: If the debate over vaccines and autism is over, then why did the Feds appoint two people to this important new panel who will relentlessly push for more taxpayer dollars going into research of vaccines and autism?
3) Lawyers for the US Justice Department and HHS are conceding an autism case that was to be tried in the so-called federal "Vaccine Court," (officially known as the Autism Omnibus Proceedings of the US Court of Federal Claims), according to papers filed on the court's on-line docket.
Nearly 5,000 autism cases are pending in Vaccine Court, though a small number of "test cases" are being tried, in which attorneys for the families attempt to link the symptoms of autism to thimerosal and/or the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (or MMR, which never contained mercury). It was a pending test case that the government conceded.
According to my source, however, the government is NOT conceding that mercury or vaccines cause autism. "In this case, the DOJ conceded that vaccines significantly aggravated a child's pre-existing autistic symptoms," my source said, "but the autism itself was caused by a congenital mitochondrial disorder that is entirely genetic."...(Read Full Article)