After two weeks of examining arcane biological theories for Michelle Cedillo’s autism, the federal “vaccine court” on Monday heard a final day of testimony that centered on two dozen population studies of the possible link between vaccines and autism—evidence that has convinced the world’s major health agencies there is no such connection.
The case was put forward by Eric Fombonne, a leading autism expert who described evidence from Japanese, European and North American studies that refute the link. Thimerosal was removed from the vaccine schedule in Canada and Denmark in the 1990s, while Japanese children have not routinely received MMR vaccination since 1992. These situations created experimental conditions for scientists to examine the thesis that removing thimerosal—or the triple MMR shot—would cause autism rates to decline. In no case did this occur. To the contrary, autism prevalence rates have increased in every country where awareness of autism has increased.
Continue reading "Epidemiology in the Dock" »
In April 2000, with the British MMR scare in full flower and thousands of alarmed parents refusing to vaccinate their kids, scientists Andrew Wakefield and John O’Leary appeared in the circus-like hearing room of Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind) to present their evidence that the measles-mumps-rubella “jab” was causing a gut infection that turned kids autistic.
With the approval of the partisan audience attending the Government Reform Committee hearing, O’Leary stated that his laboratory had found measles in 24 of the 25 samples from the GI tracts of autistic children under the care of Wakefield, whose 1998 article in the Lancet had kicked off the theory that MMR vaccination caused autism.
Continue reading "MMR Theory Comes Under Fire in Court" »
The government began its defense against the vaccines-cause-autism theory on Monday with expert testimony that Michelle Cedillo was showing symptoms of autism well before she got a measles vaccine. Using some of the same videos that the court had viewed during the testimony of Cedillo’s mom, Dr. Eric Fombonne pointed out behaviors in baby Michelle that he said were evidence of developmental delays.
Teresa Cedillo had presented the videos to show that the girl was normal before she got the MMR shot in December 1995, when she was 16 months old. But Fombonne, director of child psychiaty at McGill University in Montreal, asserted that her failure to respond to parental promptings, and her hand flapping, mouthing, and single-minded obsession with a Sesame Street video—all of these occurring when she was as young as 8 months old--were early warning signs of autism.
Continue reading "Painful home videos in the autism/vaccines trial" »
After the first week of a hearing into the claims of nearly 5,000 autistic children, the case of a tragically ill Arizona girl seemed to hinge on the legitimacy of an Irish laboratory’s findings of measles virus fragments in the girl's GI tract.
Continue reading "Are they seriously trying to win this case?" »
At 8:58 a.m. this morning, Teresa and Michael Cedillo of Yuma, Arizona pushed their 12-year-old, wheelchair-bound daughter Michelle to the front of a gleaming federal claims courtroom. While the court officers listened in silence, Michelle, a pudgy girl with short hair, yelled and groaned and punched herself in the face for a few minutes, before her guardians wheeled her back out of the room. No one was to misunderstand what this proceeding was about.
Continue reading "Autism in Court - Day 1" »
Fox News this week has a report on the dispute between Autism Speaks founders Bob and Suzanna Wright (he's chairman of NBC), and their daughter Katie. The issue of vaccines and autism is at the center of their argument. Katie, whose son Christian is autistic, blames vaccines for the disorder. But Autism Speaks has been soft-pedaling the issue as it seeks hegemony in the advocacy world.
Continue reading "Snarkiness at Autism Speaks " »
Am I the only one who noticed that the thimerosal theory has hit the Hollywood big time? In a most unexpected place. Tonight I saw the very crude, hilarious new movie Knocked Up, directed by Judd Apatow. It’s a very simple story—gentle, unemployed stoner (Seth Rogen) knocks up up-and-coming Hollywood entertainment journalist (Katherine Heigl) during a drunken one night stand; she decides to have the baby; they figure out how to get along while enduring a lot of shouting matches and hijinks, leading to a sweet conclusion.
Continue reading "The Vaccination Zeitgeist Reaches Hollywood" »