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Court Rules Against Vaccine-Autism Claims Again

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-were-any-court-members-in-playboy dept.

Medicine 416

barnyjr writes "According to a story from Reuters, 'Vaccines that contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal cannot cause autism on their own, a special US court ruled on Friday, dealing one more blow to parents seeking to blame vaccines for their children's illness. The special US Court of Federal Claims ruled that vaccines could not have caused the autism of an Oregon boy, William Mead, ending his family's quest for reimbursement. ... While the state court determined the autism was vaccine-related, [Special Master George] Hastings said overwhelming medical evidence showed otherwise. The theory presented by the Meads and experts who testified on their behalf "was biologically implausible and scientifically unsupported," Hasting wrote.'"

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416 comments

Litigious society (4, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457904)

Not only that, but why should the parents be entitled to "reimbursement" even if the immunization did cause the autism? Yes, the product should be immediately pulled, but do they have a right to get rich because of some hitherto unknown side-effect of a well intentioned vaccine? I don't think so.

Re:Litigious society (5, Insightful)

TwiztidK (1723954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457956)

The parents shouldn't be given enough money to become rich but, in the case that the vaccines did cause the child to be autistic, they should be given money to assist with treating their child's autism.

Re:Litigious society (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458038)

+1. If you sell a product and it causes a medical problem you didn't warn them of, I feel like you should at the very least pay the expenses. From what we know the manufacturer had no reason to think, and still has no reason to think, that the vaccine caused autism, so if it were actually proven later, I don't think the manufacturer should be fined as punishment, making the parents or rather their lawyers rich, but if it were causing autism, medical expenses covered would be expected.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458390)

It is worse than just selling a product. Where I live, you can not put your child in school without them being vaccinated, and it is against the law to keep your child out of school, so in effect vaccinations are required by law.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458302)

The parents should be given money to assist with their child's autism regardless of whether the state or any agent thereof had a hand in causing it.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457960)

Word. The child and his parents need to suck it up and be bootstrappy. It's unChristian to expect to get rich quick on the disability of your child.

Bloodsuckers disgust me.

Re:Litigious society (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457980)

If the government is going to force people to get vaccinated (and they do; you can't go to school without it), there is at least some burden on them to pay for the negative effects, no matter how well intentioned.

In the US there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to handle precisely this sort of thing. Some people genuinely are harmed by those well-intended vaccines. They do help out everybody (herd immunity), and everybody pays into the compensation fund, to the tune of 75 cents per shot.

Clearly, that's a tempting pile of money, and desperate parents of autistic children are willing to ignore the data that says quite clearly that there's no connection in order to get to it.

Re:Litigious society (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458196)

Actually you CAN choose to not have your child vaccinated and still attend (some) public schools. Theres also religious exceptions but these are on a state-by-state basis.

Re:Litigious society (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458202)

If the government is going to force people to get vaccinated (and they do; you can't go to school without it),

I thought the government required you to send your kids to school? So if you don't want to send your kids to school you just need to skip the vaccinations?

Re:Litigious society (1, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458258)

Nowhere in the us are you required to send your kids to school.

mandatory school attendance Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458416)

What you do with baby goats is pretty much unregulated, barring cruelty. You can eat them, for instance. and, in fact, you can't generally send them to schools by themselves (all those animal control regulations)

But with respect to children: At least in California, you don't have to "send them to school", but they must be schooled none-the-less. You're not required to send them to public school, but you could send them to private school or home school. In all cases, there are some requirements on the "school" to prevent gaming the system (why yes, my "school" consists of improving the manual dexterity of the children by having them assemble tiny things for long hours.)

Re:Litigious society (5, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458454)

You are required in all US states to provide your child with an education that meets state guidelines. This is usually done via public and private schools, but some choose to home-school their children. In some states, home schooling is allowed only by persons with teaching credentials, meaning that parents must get such credentials if they wish to be their child's teacher, or hire a tutor.

Re:Litigious society (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458534)

You have made an informative and unbiased post. Report immediately to the /. reeducation facility.

Re:Litigious society (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458370)

If the government is going to force people to get vaccinated (and they do; you can't go to school without it), there is at least some burden on them to pay for the negative effects, no matter how well intentioned.

In a town near me, 1 in 6 kids is skipping vaccination, due to the religious exemption. That's crazy, and I expect a wave of something really nasty to hit the town soon, killing some kids. I wonder if those parents could be sued for the public health risk they're creating?

It's a very liberal college town, by the way (Ashland, Oregon). It's not the crazy fundamentalist Christians doing it; it's the crazy crystal-sniffing hippies.

Re:Litigious society (1, Troll)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457996)

Not only that, but why should the parents be entitled to "reimbursement" even if the immunization did cause the autism? Yes, the product should be immediately pulled, but do they have a right to get rich because of some hitherto unknown side-effect of a well intentioned vaccine? I don't think so.

I'm sorry, but you must be new here.

And no, I don't mean new here, but new to the last decade or three. Dunno if you know this or not, but there have been radical developments in greed and corruption over the last couple of decades, which in turn have flooded our court systems and practically gave birth to a whole new breed of Government. It's sickening, really.

It can all be solved and summarized in two simple words; loser pays. That would likely flush out 80% of the crap clogging the system today.

Greed is nothing new (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458288)

Dunno if you know this or not, but there have been radical developments in greed and corruption over the last couple of decades,

People are just as corrupt as they ever have been. If you think people are more corrupt now than in years past you are either very naive or very stupid. Go pick up a history book. The methods (sort of) change but people don't.

It can all be solved and summarized in two simple words; loser pays. That would likely flush out 80% of the crap clogging the system today.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? Because it sounds vaguely logical? Yes loser pays would solve some problems but it would create others. It would reduce some of the more frivolous lawsuits but it would also make some needed lawsuits too risky to attempt. Loser pays strongly tilts the playing field towards those with the most money - even more so than it already is. I don't necessarily have a problem with the general concept of loser pays but please recognize that it isn't something that is going to cure every ill in our legal system.

Frankly if you want to reduce the load on our legal system, stop the ridiculous "war on drugs" - at least the portion related to user and possession charges. The US incarcerates a percentage of the population on minor drug charges that is way out of proportion with other industrialized nations. The war on drugs has FAR more to do with our clogged legal system than frivolous torts.

Re:Litigious society (4, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458294)

Problematic given that lawyers of differential quality have differential cost. So if I try to sue a big corporation, and they decide to run up the court costs into the millions, I'm screwed if I lose? I may as well not sue, no matter how legitimate my claim.

Re:Litigious society (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457998)

Medical treatments have risks. As a culture, we want everyone to be vaccinated to prevent communicable diseases.

More explanation from the article:

The families sought payment under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a no-fault system that has a $2.5 billion fund built up from a 75-cent-per-dose tax on vaccines. ...
More than 5,300 cases were filed by parents who believed vaccines may have caused autism in their children. The no-fault payout system is meant to protect vaccine makers from costly lawsuits that drove many out of the vaccine-making business.

more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_court [wikipedia.org]

In my opinion, for any family that loses a loved one or experiences significant morbidity from a vaccine, money is a reasonable social method of reimbursement for them.

Re:Litigious society (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458016)

It has been a central principle of legal systems world-wide, for several thousand years, that if one is wronged or harmed, one can expect to receive recompense from the perpetrator. When you buy a faulty product, do you expect to get your money back? If a drunk crashes into your car, would you not sue for damages?

What you are advocating is not justice. You are advocating for a complete lack of responsibility for wrongdoers.

Re:Litigious society (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458452)

It has been a central principle of legal systems world-wide, for several thousand years, that if one is wronged or harmed, one can expect to receive recompense from the perpetrator.

He didn't say otherwise. What he said was that the parents shouldn't be entitled to get rich off the deal. They should be compensated for a whole list of things, such as any and all medical treatments, special care needs, lost income, etc. No one has ever disputed that. But none of that adds up to the multi-tens-of-millions amounts that some people are suing for.

My dad's idea - that I still haven't found fault with - is that you should be able to sue for all the punitive damages you want, but that you shouldn't be able to collect them. If you want to punish a manufacturer for $25,000,000 then go right ahead, but the judgment should go to the state or federal general fund. That maintains the purpose of punitive damages as, well, punishment, while removing all profit motive.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458462)

You are correct in pointing this out.

There should really be 2 rulings here.

1, Scientific: determining whether it was/is physically possible for the vaccine to cause Autism. As we do not fully understand biological diversity amongst the human population, and the resulting drug interaction for every person on the planet, this should be a fairly simple ruling of possibly, or plausible. The answer is most certainly not NO. (Yes, this is a case where law hasn't caught up to Science. Or, is ignoring it altogether. Sorry)

2, Harm: Whether or not the intended recipient of a government mandated vaccine, that ends up doing harming to said recipient, should be compensated for said harm.

Re:Litigious society (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458532)

The difference is simple, negligence. Is a drug company that develops a vaccine --and spends decades testing it-- negligent because it had a hereto-unknown side effect? I don't think so. Is the drunk driver negligent? Absolutely. Is the manufacturer of a car negligent if one tire blows at highway speed and injures someone? A lot harder of a question. Was it caused by a defect in design or defect in manufacture? If not, it wasn't negligence. If so, did they know about it or --and this is the key point-- SHOULD they have known about it (basically were there standard (or at least commonly used) tests that could have found it? If not, I don't think it's negligence. It's a very dangerous idea to say that if a company wasn't negligent, they should still pay (I'm talking above and beyond a refund). That's the exact reason that healthcare costs are spiraling out of control. Not because THAT many doctors have been negligent, but because courts have found them guilty even though there was no negligence... That's not justice, that's punishing the innocent... It's a fine line, but it's a line that must be respected and defended...

Re:Litigious society (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458030)

For the same reason that if you start your new car one day and it explodes due to a design flaw crippling you for life, the manufacturer owes you damages. Because they're supposed to test against that possibility before they start selling them.

In this case, though, the evidence does not support the theory that vaccines caused the problem.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458178)

The product shouldn't be pulled. There are known VERY RARE side effects to vaccines. Getting the disease has more prevalent and more serious effects, and can even be fatal, so vaccination is still the right choice.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458218)

If you ppl thing that "Big Pharma" is out there to help you, think again. Money = Power, they don't care about anything else....So how is mercury healthy for you?

Re:Litigious society (1)

jdcope (932508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458330)

This will get more interesting in the future. Wait until federal healthcare gets fully underway and vaccines are a requirement of health coverage.

Re:Litigious society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458516)

Does the government have the authority to ruin my child's life? I don't think so. If the vaccines were in fact the cause, what more do you need to say it's alright for the victims to sue?

Clearly some doctors believe these victim's symptoms could have been avoided. If it's acceptable to sue drunk drivers for maiming and killing their victims, I am 110% in support of suing the government.

facts? (0, Troll)

Carthag (643047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457908)

how is this a matter for the courts, thats retarded.

Re:facts? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458054)

If somebody sues a drug company, then it's made a matter for the courts. That's just the way it works.

Re:facts? (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458170)

Because, if it were true then the drug's manufacturer would be, directly, responsible for the child's medical condition and would have to compensate the parents.

This won't stop... (5, Insightful)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457910)

This won't stop the paranoid from preventing their children from being immunized because some of these same people have interesting theories about how the vaccines are deliberately nefarious in other ways (going as far on out there as mind control, etc). These people and their little theory have done more to damage public health in a short amount of time than a lot of other things...

Re:This won't stop... (3, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458056)

darwin award, perhaps?

Re:This won't stop... (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458228)

Nah, you only get a Darwin award if you do society a favor by killing your dumb self off _before_ reproducing (thus taking your genes out of the pool). Not only does this situation, explicitly, require them to have had children, it also means that they have, directly, done society a dis-service by increasing the chances of other children getting sick because they're too stupid to get their child immunized.

Re:This won't stop... (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458266)

allow me to explain - if their idiot offspring doesn't get to reproduce, then their genes are out of the pool anyway.

Re:This won't stop... (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458480)

Except they may not even kill themselves, they may kill other, innocent random people who can't get vaccinated for legitimate reasons: eg: Immuno-compromised (transplant, chemotherapy, genetics, other), too young (just recently born, see Dana McCaffrey in Australia), etc.

That pushes them over into the category of criminally negligence, IMHO, but we just aren't at that level yet.

Re:This won't stop... (3, Insightful)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458342)

That is the mean thing here, the vaccination system can support a certain number of freeloaders, so on an individual level these do not select themselves out of the genepoop. They can rest their hands and still reap the benefits from those who actually take the really really small risk of complications stemming from an inoculation. Risk of catching and dying from an infection c*X%, risk of vaccination complications Y%. But after a vaccination quota of Z% the c modifying the X% outweights the Y% - so you are an egoist and don't go, perfectly logical!

Classical game theory, the Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org] subtype to be precise. The fact that rational individuals all acting in their own self interest (which you can show mathematically) can ruin it for everyone is a very good for cause for government to step in and fix this if the egoism becomes too prevalent.

Now, back to Darwin, on a larger level this can of course endanger an entire species, but also drive selection towards a new species which has the rules of cooperation, i.e. altruism, written into their genes, voilá, social animals!

Re:This won't stop... (1, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458092)

To paranoid people this sort of thing is only more proof that the government is owned by corporations and drug companies. These sorts of people never stop to consider evidence to the contrary, it just flies by their head without ever entering. Dangerous state to get into.

Re:This won't stop... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458184)

Some day it will be discovered that autism is actually caused not by thimerosal itself, but by the way thimerosal interacts with certain proteins present only in children whose parents are predisposed to excessive paranoia. This discovery will cause parents' heads to explode.

Nor will it balance out the recent news (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458206)

I agree. The paranoid parents are going to ignore this, not get their kids immunized, and thereby put them at real risk for neurological damage from measles.

Sadly, this won't even balance out the recent discovery that Poul Thorsen, one of many scientists disputing the link between autism and vaccines, was a fraud. Figure one: a random blog post on the subject reheadlined "The vaccine autism link is real" [cafemom.com] .

So one study and one researcher disputing the link has been invalidated, there are many more that remain, and there are plenty of studies claiming a link between vaccines and autism that have been shown false.

It's kind of like those leaked global warming e-mails. They didn't show that global climate change was a fraud, but that's what people wanted to hear, and that's what they remember, not boring things like the facts or court findings.

Re:This won't stop... (0, Troll)

lewiscr (3314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458222)

Some of us were just skepitcal. I held out on the shots, because I weighted the relative risks. Since my children and I are in a relatively low risk group for catching the diseases, I decided that unimmunized had a better probability * damage profile than immunization. At the time, it appeared that getting autism from the vaccine was a higher probability than getting the disease itself. For most of these diseases, Autism is more life altering the actual disease (assuming access to first world health care, which I have).

But now that studies have been completed, the probability has dropped (maybe to 0%, maybe not, but definitely lower). Upon re-evaluation, getting the shots is the lower risk option, so we will.

I'm not completely convinced that there is no link between the shots and autism. The probability of contracted autism has been shown to be lower than the probability of catching the disease being vaccinated against, so I'll guard against the higher probability risk.

Re:This won't stop... (1)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458442)

This won't stop the paranoid from preventing their children from being immunized because some of these same people have interesting theories about how the vaccines are deliberately nefarious in other ways (going as far on out there as mind control, etc). These people and their little theory have done more to damage public health in a short amount of time than a lot of other things...

And it won't stop me, as a parent making healthcare decisions for my children, or as an individual making decisions about my own healthcare, from refusing any injection that contains thimerisol. I take reasonable precautions to avoid ingesting heavy metals, including having them injected into my body. Every vaccine that I have been offered or required to take since I've realized that thimerisol contains mercury, is also available in single-use vials that are essentially mercury-free (and with a single-use vial, you have a much lower chance of getting cross-contamination from something even worse). My children and I get vaccinated, just not with vaccines containing known neurotoxins. Our pediatrician and my personal physician agree with this stance.

"antivax" people (5, Informative)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457918)

The use of vaccines is a public health necessity; vaccines are by far the most cost effective tool we have for preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

There have always been controversies about vaccines: there is non-zero risk to individuals from any medical treatment, and significant benefit to the population as a whole. As a single individual, you remove the (very small) risk by not having the vaccine, and you gain most all of the benefits if most everyone else around you has been vaccinated.

Spreading fear and misinformation about the safety of vaccines can cause direct, measurable and irreversible harm. Measuring the connection between a medical treatment and possible harmful effects is something drug companies can do very well, and the FDA approvals process (when it works) keeps the companies honest. We have solid, irrefutable and repeatable scientific evidence that shows vaccines do not cause these diseases, like autism.

The best article covering this was in the Bad Astronomy blog from Discover, aptly titled Antivax Kills. [discovermagazine.com]

Re:"antivax" people (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457982)

I think there is a valid question though of what diseases should you be immunized for as a society. Smallpox is wiped out, should we still immunize for it? Chicken pox also has a vaccine, but if you get it as a child you only risk a week at home, some itching, and maybe a scar if your parents can stop you from itching too much. With such minor risks I probably wouldn't have a kid get the chicken pox vaccine (hell, I'd probably go send him to play with the kids who just came down with it- get immunity the old fashioned way). Risk/reward is off there. I would get him immunized for mumps, measels, rubella, etc the risks of the disease there outweigh the negative of immunization.

Re:"antivax" people (4, Informative)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458126)

"Chicken pox also has a vaccine, but if you get it as a child you only risk a week at home, some itching, and maybe a scar if your parents can stop you from itching too much."

Actually chicken pox can lead to shingles later on, so it's not just an itchy week at home.

Re:"antivax" people (3, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458472)

As does the vaccine. In this case, shingles is tied to the virus itself. Since the vaccine consists of live, but attenuated viruses, the vaccine can lead to shingles just as much as getting chicken pox can.

Re:"antivax" people (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458128)

Smallpox has not been wiped out. A live virus is needed for the immunization. Wiki [wikipedia.org]

Re:"antivax" people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458314)

Did you even read the article you linked to? The live virus that is used to vaccinate against smallpox is NOT the smallpox virus, it's genetically distinct.

Re:"antivax" people (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458348)

It has been wiped out as a threat to public health. If you're in the United States, you're not likely to have been vaccinated if you're under 40. You don't need to be vaccinated, because there's no disease.

Re:"antivax" people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458368)

Just an FYI. smallpox the disease has been wiped out. smallpox viruses still exist in few labs. smallpox vaccines no longer exist.

Correction (0)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458310)

Smallpox has not been wiped out, as in "no longer exists". There just are no outbreaks in the wild anymore.

There are currently 2 sources of the smallpox virus that need to be monitored.

First is the biological weapons stock piles, they have developed smallpox variants that will kill 90+% of the infected and for which even the current vaccines are useless.

Second is the fact that smallpox can remain viable for decades, all someone would have to do is dig up a well preserved body of a person who died from smallpox and they could harvest viable virus cultures to use on a population that currently has no defense against it, which is most of the world since smallpox vaccinations are not routine anymore.

A side note: an single vaccination with a vaccine using thimerosal would not raise mercury levels to unsafe amounts in a child, it is believed that the multiple injections with a very short time, sometimes all on the same day, would raise the mercury level in the blood to levels that caused damage.

No matter what the court or the pharmacorp sponsored studies may say autism went from 1:10,000 to 1:120 in the span of a decade at the same time that new vaccination protocols where implemented.

Now that thimerosal is being replaced it will be interesting to see if the autism rate changes.

Re:"antivax" people (2, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458324)

You can still die from chicken pox. Despite the vaccine, about 100 Americans die from it per year.

Re:"antivax" people (1)

dj961 (660026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458394)

I take it you don't know how vaccines work. Why you would think that getting infect with a fully working microbe is safer than getting infected with a attenuated(weakened) microbe is beyond me.
The fact is that children are routinely vaccinated against chicken pox as part of the measles mumps rubella vaccine.
There is NO benefit in being sick over vaccinated, it's not logical.

Re:"antivax" people (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458426)

Chicken pox also has a vaccine, but if you get it as a child you only risk a week at home, some itching, and maybe a scar if your parents can stop you from itching too much.

Cellulitis, ataxia, encephalitis... yeah, I'll stick with the vaccine, thanks.

Re:"antivax" people (1)

RocketRocketship (1416283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458466)

My 3 year old and 11 month old were both diagnosed with atypical chicken pox, today. The doctor told me that the 3 year old's vaccine prevented them from being about 50 times worse (in terms of number of rashes, severity of symptoms & fever, etc). He also immediately ordered the vaccine for the younger one, as it has a proven benefit if given immediately after diagnosis. So I'll go ahead and recommend that you give your hypothetical kid the vaccine.

As an aside, the doctor was asking about where they could have picked it up. I mentioned that they had recently started at a new daycare. The doctor immediately remarked that it was probably an un-vaccinated classmate. So, once again, I recommend you vaccinate your hypothetical kid. If not for your own kid, then for everyone else's.

Re:"antivax" people (4, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458042)

there is non-zero risk to individuals from any medical treatment,

Yep, something to always remember about any drug you might take or any treatment you might undergo. But it's also worth remembering that there's a non-zero risk to eating food (could be tainted), driving a car, or sticking your face in a fan*. Life is all about balancing the risks, not eliminating them entirely. In some ways, we're victims of our own success at risk mitigation: we've come to view risks as optional rather than a matter of course. (Applies to not just medicine, but also space travel, the way we raise our kids, and pretty much everything else.)

* With a tip of the hat to Frank Drebin, Police Squad.

The urge to lay blame (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457928)

I can understand these parent's hurt and anger, and why they would seek to find a cause, a reason, someone to blame for their troubles. It's a natural human reaction in such a case, where so little is known of the real causes. And big Pharma has certainly proven, over and over, that it feels no responsibility towards it's customers and will choose 'making a buck' over 'doing the right thing,' pretty much all the time. But this is still ridiculous. At this point, you either have to buy into a full-blown whackadoodle conspiracy theory, or admit that vaccines do not, and never have caused autism.

Re:The urge to lay blame (2, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458010)

It's not simply urge to blame, it's also the human tendency to believe something and then do anything possible to not have to change your belief.

Although we've been blessed with the power of rational thought that allows us to override such urges, most people seem loathe to use it in that way.

How to cope. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458072)

There is way for them to cope.

If i had an autistic kid, when he hit, say, three, I'd put a deck of cards in his hand and grandually build up to ten decks or so and teach him how to remember and calculate the odds for BlackJack. I would also buy him underwear from K-Mart. Then, in about 15 years when he's old enough to be in a casino, profit!

In a Jim Gaffigan whisper: "He's so insensitive!" He hates handicapped people! Hooooot pockets!"

Those parents are just too short sighted. I mean, just exactly what is a healthy kid? Normal?

This won't change anything... (5, Funny)

silverpig (814884) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457934)

...because Jenny McCarthy can't read.

Re:This won't change anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458076)

...because Jenny McCarthy can't read.

Who cares? She's got really nice tits.

vaccines (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457974)

The link between autism and vaccines will never be officially acknowledged even if it truly exists, as the ramifications will be devastating to the established government institutions.
I personally find the abundant anecdotal evidence of such a link quite disturbing, requiring thorough investigation, though this is unlikely to happen due to the above reason.

Re:vaccines (4, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458040)

I personally find the abundant anecdotal evidence . . .

You could have put that in your first sentence and saved us the trouble of reading the rest.

Re:vaccines (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458214)

I personally find the abundant anecdotal evidence of such a link quite disturbing, requiring thorough investigation, though this is unlikely to happen due to the above reason.

The thorough investigation has happened. Several times. See for example here [plosone.org] and here [plosone.org] . Or you could read the CDC article [cdc.gov] . Oh, but wait, they're all government institutions! They would all be devastated by that link! That's why they lie! They all lie! The cake is a lie! Wait, wrong channel...

The point is that the anti-vaxxers - and yes, the derogative term is appropriate - are about as concerned about truth and as scientifically literate as all the Moon-hoaxers. There is nothing that scientists can do to change the minds of the anti-vaxxers, because the anti-vaxxers do not operate on a scientific basis. I just hope this blows over before too many people stop vaccinating.

look at the amish (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458020)

the amish don't get vaccinated so autism is virtually unknown amongst them
http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted.html [whale.to]

Re:look at the amish (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458118)

The Amish also don't drive cars. Maybe your mom driving a car while pregnant with you causes autism!

Re:look at the amish (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458154)

ok i'll bite.

1. there are many other factors that are different in the amish lifestyle that could be the reason

2. they are too much of a small sample size compared to the rest of the nation to be useful.

3. the only reason they aren't being wiped out by preventable illness is because WE are protecting them through herd immunity.

Re:look at the amish (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458274)

they're also isolated from a great many other things that commonfolk are exposed to daily. If you create 100,000 changes and then see an effect, you can't point to any one of those changes and call it the cause of the effect.

Re:look at the amish (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458300)

Ok, so this one person talks to a few other people in one area, and only finds a few cases of autism. Shocking. I'd like to wait for a proper field study that does at least some proper random sampling. Not to mention that the article fails to account for the possibility that the Amish, being a very segregated group, just might not have the genetic predisposition that leads to autism.

Re:look at the amish (4, Informative)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458328)

Also, the number of Carribean pirates has dropped since the 1800's. Obviously, it's the lack of pirates that is causing global temperatures to increase.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458052)

What do they mean by 'the autism was vaccine-related?' Last time I checked, stuff like this [treelobsters.com] aside, the evidence strongly indicated that vaccines don't maybe cause autism or sometimes cause some forms of autism, but that they don't cause autism. Period. At all.

Vaccines aren't as simple as people think (1, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458062)

Vaccines aren't as simple as people think.

Many, many vaccines can cause seizures, and not all seizures result in physically obvious symptoms. Once a person experiences a seizure, regardless of the cause, they are significantly more likely to have seizures in the future.

Various vaccines are being promoted by their manufacturers, not because they have actual benefits, but because it's a money making position to have a vaccine that will be forced onto the general population. Look into the HPV vaccines, actual risks. The HPV vaccines may have future benefits, but the promotion by the manufacturer has been mostly to school boards and politicians; not the public. The current commercials are based on fear mongering, not education.

Many vaccines are simply about money, not health.

Re:Vaccines aren't as simple as people think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458150)

+1

Re:Vaccines aren't as simple as people think (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458216)

Look into the HPV vaccines, actual risks.

Yes, let's look at them. [informatio...utiful.net]

Odds of dying of cervical cancer: 500 to 1.

Odds of dying from the HPV vaccine: 145,000 to 1.

Re:Vaccines aren't as simple as people think (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458284)

That the primary motivator for the vaccine is greed does not change the fact that the vaccine will (assuming no scamming) also provide a health benefit. This shouldn't be an argument against taking a vaccine, especially since you can't go in the head of everyone who worked on the vaccine in some form or another to determine whether it actually is greed. After all, who's to tell the scientist(s) who did the actual vaccine discovery was(were) greedy?

Re:Vaccines aren't as simple as people think (1)

rich3rd (559032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458356)

I see many other ways that public safety is compromised over money and the bottom lines of many big industries besides just Big Medicine. What if, just to idly speculate, the root cause(s) of Autistic Spectrum Disorders turned out to have something to do with one or more of the Persistent Organic Pollutants that pregnant women and developing babies in this and other "developed" nations are pretty much marinating in for most of their lives? You think Big Petroleum or any of its marvelous industries (electronics, personal care and fragrance, cleaning products, plastics, processed food, etc.) are going to like being implicated in that? The army of lawyers they unleash will make a horde of Uruk-hai look like Tribbles.

I find it funny (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458114)

That people are so quick to blame pharmaceuticals for everything that may happen post vaccination. I understand that a lot of it comes from people not knowing whats in the vaccination - they don't know what they are putting into their children and they realize "Hey this could be cause" after something harmful happens. Don't get me wrong, I agree that its a problem, I don't ever go and get my flu shot because the local health regional offices won't tell me what's in the vaccine. [tinfoilhat] How do I know they aren't adding some kind of emotional suppressant that makes me less angry about taxes being raised [/tinfoilhat].

I think the ridiculous part of it though is that they only do this with the drugs. People don't think to blame the food, or the beverages, or anything else they are introducing into their system. They heard a smear campaign on the radio saying that a Vaccine might be linked to a disease or syndrome - time and time again these reports turn out to be faked. But for whatever reason, this kind of stuff continues.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: Stop trying to push the laws to treat a symptom of the problem. Transparency is the issue here - without having complete ACCURATE transparency, laymen (like myself) have an even tougher time determining what is true and what is false. If I had my way, everything we drink, every menu we read, every swimming pool you enter, anything that we interact with would have a label somewhere telling you -exactly- what goes into it. And don't get me started on current Nutritional labels - those things are a disgrace.

Re:I find it funny (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458458)

That people are so quick to blame pharmaceuticals for everything that may happen post vaccination.

The parents in this case are suffering from the logical fallacy post hoc, ergo propter hoc, or, "after this, therefor because of this." That is, they believe that the fact that their child developed autism after being vaccinated is proof that the vaccine was the cause of the autism. This makes as much sense as saying that if you get hungry for breakfast after sunrise, the Sun's rising must have caused you to get hungry.

Let me be crystal about this (5, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458124)

Let me be crystal clear about this, vaccines do not cause autism nor is there any decent study that is statistically and/or scientifically valid which shows such a provable correlation.

And we're running studies of autism here, led by one of my colleagues who has an autistic child herself.

You really need to move on.

The problem is that, for most people, they grasp at straws and try to find some observable "cause" they can link with autism. It's quite possible that it has more to do with environmental and/or emotional stresses on the mother but people try to put the cart before the horse and "prove" that a vaccine - which may have been due to travel (hint - enviro/emo stress) or bad health conditions (same) - was the cause.

Please, move on, you're just embarrassing yourselves.

Re:Let me be crystal about this (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458290)

Not to mention the opportunity cost. The more time knowledgeable people have to spend debunking obvious garbage, the less time they have to develop better autism treatments.

"Expert" witnesses for the plaintiffs? WTF? (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458132)

From the summary and article:

[blockquote]The theory presented by the Meads and experts who testified on their behalf...[/blockquote]

Who are these "experts"? Are their identities in the public record? I want to know how these fools can possibly considered qualified, expert witnesses when they clearly lack the medical and scientific judgment to critically and objectively evaluate and analyze the facts in front of them. Really. How is it that these people still have jobs?

Re:"Expert" witnesses for the plaintiffs? WTF? (2, Insightful)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458212)

You'd be surprised. There's a lot of people out there with no knowledge on a particular subject area, but who are quick to come up with a 'theory' and pass it off as fact and themselves as 'experts' in that area. Financial advisers, anyone?

Vaccine Related? (0, Troll)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458138)

So Autism is vaccine related?

and Mercury? that cannot be healthy.

Re:Vaccine Related? (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458282)

Small amounts of mercury have been used for ages in the silver amalgam used for fillings in teeth, with no dangerous side effects. Just a counterpoint about the mercury. Under certain conditions its perfectly safe.

Re:Vaccine Related? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458434)

Health Canada (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/merc-eng.php) seems to think that all mercury exposure is bad (since small amounts add up to be a problem) and even mention how the use of these fillings (on their own pretty much harmless) is one more exposure to a dangerous chemical. "you may want to consider using a product that does not contain mercury."

Re:Vaccine Related? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458514)

No scientific study has come even close to proving that vaccines can cause autism.

On the mercury thing, a degraded vaccine can do way more damage than the abysmal dose of mercury you can get from a shot containing the preservant. Also, I remember something about it not being metabolized and being expelled without releasing the mercury. You might want to do some research on that, tough.

It's not like someone just made this up (1)

frog_strat (852055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458208)

There were some fascinating correlations about autism rates before and after the mixed injections. And the same data was replicated in England. There was even a piece on 60 minutes about this. Of course, this is only correlation, not proof that the mixture causes autism.

Re:It's not like someone just made this up (2, Informative)

Mr Otobor (1097177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458484)

Uh, please tell me you are not referring to the Lancet article by Dr Whackjob (Wakefield for the interested) The one that all the co-authors pulled out of, the Lancet withdrew it's endorsement from, and the author was discredited for not only cooking data but for not revealing that he has both direct and indirect financial conflicts of interest (including, if I remember correctly, a patent application outstanding for a new vaccine... or vaccine preservative... something, I forget.)

All the big, peer reviewed studies have revealed only one, single fascinating correlation between autism rates before and after both mixed and "mercury-containing" vaccines... 0 (or, technically, 0, since I believe in the big British one autism rates continued to climb in the non- or different vaccine group... which the above mentioned Dr. Whackjob then attempted to explain as being because there were still stockpiles of the old vaccine, a claim that was also resoundingly discredited... and so forth.)

giggly (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458320)

biologically implausible and scientifically unsupported

When someone says something like this, I don't know whether to giggle or be scared.

Less collectivism please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458392)

If it's "proven" they're harmless and do more good than evil, why is it obligatory to take them? Why not treat people like people, and not animals "for their own good"?

Make it voluntary, and the conspiracies halt. Till then, I'll side with those in doubt.
That goes for things beyond vaccination too.

At first (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458406)

we had evidence based medicine. Now we have court based medicine?

Remind me exactly when were politicians, judges and lawyers given a license to practice medicine again?

Blame the Lancet (4, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458446)

The Lancet didn't retract that ridiculous paper from 1998 until last month [cnn.com] and it pretty much started all this ridiculous BS. It's absolutely unconscionable that they didn't retract it sooner. Ten of the original 13 authors retracted back in 2004. That should have been a hint.

The problem with vaccines is that being vaccinated as an individual isn't what makes you safe. It's the vaccination of the herd that protects. That is, for a particular disease that you might be vaccinated against, let's say measles, it's safer to be the only person in a crowd who isn't vaccinated than to be the one person in the crowd who is vaccinated. Vaccines aren't 100% effective and what makes them truly effective, is having everyone take them.

Back in 2006, some girl in Indiana [medpagetoday.com] got measles on a trip to Romania. She came back and shared that gift with the people in her church, simply by showing up. Roughly 10% of the 500 people present weren't vaccinated and 32% of those people developed the measles. One person who got the vaccine also got the measles, but 94% of the cases were unvaccinated people.

The problem these days is that people don't bother to learn history. Anyone who's been to an old cemetery (I live in Arkansas, and we have tons of them) pretty much can't miss the fact that there are tons of kids aged 10 and under buried. Why? In the early 1800s, infant mortality was about 20%. Think about that. One in five infants (1 year old and younger) died. A lot more died before the age of 5. Not all of that is vaccines, but a lot of it is! Before the vaccine, smallpox alone was killing 400,000 Europeans a year.

Personally, I think vaccines ought to be required by law because they're a public safety issue and people who won't do it should go to jail.

Inconceivable! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458488)

2010:

"It's absolutely impossible that a few children may have an allergic reaction to MERCURY or multiple-series of IMMUNE SYSTEM MANIPULATION proteins being injected into them."

2005:

"It's absolutely impossible that a soldier inhaled the smoke from the BURN PITS in Area 51 or Iraq or Afghanistan may develop health problems!"

2001:

"It's absolutely impossible that anyone exposed to the carcinogens in the air at GROUND ZERO may develop lung cancer!"

1998:

"It's absolutely impossible for a teenager on PSYCHOTROPIC drugs to develop depression or go on a psychotic killing spree!"

1995:

"It's absolutely impossible that soldiers or civilians who inhaled the DUST of URANIUM shells used in Iraq may develop cancer or reproductive problems!"

1970:

"It's absolutely impossible that soldiers exposed to AGENT ORANGE may develop cancer."

1960:

"It's absolutely impossible to develop lung cancer from SMOKING cigarettes."

1959:

"It's absolutely impossible that anyone would have an allergic reaction to FOOD DYE and die!"

1950:

"It's absolutely impossible that a soldier may develop cancer as a reaction to RADIATION in nuclear testing."

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