E-Newsletter February 2009 #1

Here is your update on TACA (Talk About Curing Autism). If you are new to our site... WELCOME! This newsletter is produced two to four times each month.

We are an autism education and support group. We want to make this e-newsletter informative for you. As always, contact us your thoughts and/or questions so we can improve it.

We focus on parent information and support, parent mentoring, dietary intervention, the latest in medical research, special education law, reviews of the latest treatments, and many other topics relating to autism. Our main goal is to build our community so we can connect, share and support each other.

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides general information of interest to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources and TACA does not independently verify any of it. The views expressed herein are not necessarily TACA’s.

In this edition:


1. Find a TACA Meeting

2. Arrows for Autism

3. West Valley Autism Conference - March 7, 2009 - Hanford, CA

4. Parent Conquers Eight Triathlons to Raise Funds for TACA

5. Videos of Hope

6. What's New at TACAnow.org

General News

7. Take ARI's Treatment Effectiveness Survey This Week

8. MRSA Superbug Found in Raw Pork

9. Risk of Autism in Premature Infants

10. Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New Study Finds

11. Food products for which total mercury was detected, highest to lowest

12. If the First Child Had Autism

13. Kids are restrained, secluded

Vaccine News

14. US Court Rules In Favour Of Family In MMR Vaccine Case Ben Zeller Jr

15. Separate Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccines No Longer Available? What Can Parents Do?

16. Vaccine Court: Hepatitis B Shot Caused MS

17. Federal Decision On Vaccine, Autism Could Set Precedent

18. Shot in the Arm

19. Health Buzz: Obama Calls for FDA Review and Other Health News

20. An Addendum to February's "First Read"

21. Sixty Percent of Doctors Refuse to Get Flu Shots

22. Autism, Vaccines and the CDC: The Wrong Side of History

23. The Great Denial of Vaccine Risks & Freedom

24. The Implications of Hepatitis B Given at Birth: Ian's Story

25. Federal Vaccine Court Rules Against Autism Families: Government's Refusal to Fund Sound Science Stacks Deck Against Vaccine-Injured Children

26. National Autism Association Response to Autism Omnibus Court Decision

27. Statement by Autism Speaks Regarding February 12 Vaccine Court Decision

[go to home page]    

1 Find a TACA Meeting

Come to a TACA Meeting!

TACA holds monthly meetings in many locations throughout the United States that feature educational speakers on important topics and allow family members to connect with one another and stay on top of the latest information in the autism world. Each TACA group maintains a resource library of the latest autism books and tapes that can be checked out by members at no charge.

Check out our group listings: each contains information on TACA meetings and special events as well as a contact form.

Are you wondering what happens at a TACA meeting? Watch our video.

2 Arrows for Autism

3 West Valley Autism Conference - March 7, 2009 - Hanford, CA

Saturday, March 7, 2009
Hanford, CA • 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Location: Glad Tidings Church
750 E. Grangeville Blvd., Hanford, CA 93230
{please do not contact the church for information}
Driving Directions
Registration Only $15
Registration + Autism Journey Guide $20
Onsite (if available)
Registration Only $25
Registration + Autism Journey Guide $35

Register Online Now

Families in need are encouraged to request a scholarship.

Sorry, registration fees for this event are non-refundable.

Special Education Law
Advocating for your child is a complex and sometimes counter-intuitive process. Parents will learn the basic concepts of special education law and how to use this knowledge to gain control of their child’s education.

Biomedical Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
How can biomedical treatments help children with ASD, ADHD and Apraxia?  Discussion of GI, immune, and neurologic problems that can be helped by this approach. Diet, nutritional supplementation, medications, HBOT and more will be discussed.

Getting Started with a Gluten-free, Casein-free (GFCF) Diet
The GFCF diet is an important foundation for biomedical intervention. You'll learn how to implement the diet along with tips and strategies for getting picky kids to go GFCF.

Marriage, Coping & Holding It Together
Parents of special needs children have an exceptionally high rate of divorce. How can parents pull together and stay together when they are devastated by an autism diagnois or simply overwhelmed with how to help their child? You'll get practical advice and tips for coping, prioritizing and most importantly, working as a team for the child with autism.

Autism Boot Camp for Military Families
Military families often face special challenges in getting appropriate services for their child affected by autism. This session will explain how to access respite, applied behavioral analysis (ABA), and seeing a Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) doctor using TriCare.

 More conference info

4 Parent Conquers Eight Triathlons to Raise Funds for TACA

A triathlon requires a tremendous amount of endurance – a bone chilling swim in the ocean followed by a challenging race on a bicycle only to be met by a grueling pavement pounding run – almost as easy as attending an IEP!

Culver City, CA resident Chris Rosien not only completed in eight triathlons in 2008, (Castaic, Rage, Bonelli, Xterra Temecula, Los Angeles, Tinley, PumpkinMan & Xterra Maui), he also raised close to $2,000 for Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).  

Chris' motivation? Easy - his 8-year-old son Danny who was diagnosed on the spectrum in 2003. "As the diagnosis and the day to day struggles started to set in, I desperately needed an outlet for the stress. Exercise is great for stress and regaining lost fitness was important for my health and outlook. I also made a lot of new friends in the LA Tri Club and all that positive change helped me to keep it together as a father."

Chris competes for Train 4 Autism (T4A), a nonprofit dedicated to helping persons participating in any athletic event raise to funds for the autism organization/charity of their choice. The organization has quickly grown to more than 150 competitors in a few short months, with a dozen local Chapters in states including California, Florida, Maryland, New York, Missouri, and Texas. Each T4A participant is able to set up their own webpage to communicate their efforts to friends, family, and co-workers in order to raise funds, while at the same time networking with other athletes all committed to improving the lives of persons and their families impacted by autism.

"Chris Rosien represents everything that is good about T4A. As parents, particularly fathers, we are wired to be protectors and providers. When faced with the challenge of raising a child with autism, despite doing everything possible to help, we are often still left feeling powerless. T4A provides an outlet to channel this energy in a healthy way and at the same time promote awareness and unity among the autism community. Chris is a perfect example of how individuals can use T4A to support their chosen autism charity (TACA in Chris' case), and at the same time gain strength and support by being part of a group of parents and others with a common goal." Ben Fesagaiga, Parent & Co-Founder of Train 4 Autism.

Other families are joining the band wagon – even 5 year old Ella Rupe is raising funds through T4A for TACA and is competing in a Milwaukee race.  Click here (http://tinyurl.com/cykj79 <http://tinyurl.com/cykj79> ) to see her Train4Autism web page and see her video about her brother and autism.

Interested in doing a race, triathlon or walk for TACA?  We would love to hear from you.  We are looking at the possibility of participating as a group in a local Southern California marathon and would like to get sense of the interest. Please contact Violette Prentice and let me know if this is something you would like to participate in.


Train 4 Autism is a foundation dedicated to bringing together a community of athletic, physically active, and socially conscious people who are committed to raising awareness and funds for research and treatment for individuals and families who are affected by autism. Fundraising and volunteer opportunities for individual athletes, teams, and entire families include marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, walks, triathlons, swimming,s and/or cycling events. Train 4 Autism is unique in that we empower participants to direct the majority of the funds they raise to the autism program(s) and/or organization(s) of their choice.

Today, there are many treatment centers and research programs all doing vital work, and all carrying different yet important messages and missions. Train 4 Autism provides the infrastructure, technology and support for athletes, parents, teachers, caregivers, and others to raise funds and contribute to the programs about which they are most passionate.

Train 4 Autism is a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organization founded by parents and families of children touched by autism. For more information on Train 4 Autism please visit

5 Videos of Hope

Special thanks to families for sharing their childrens videos who are greatly improving. If you wish to share a video of your child with before, during and improving from autism - we would love to hear from you!

6 What's News at TACAnow.org

7 Take ARI's Treatment Effectiveness Survey This Week

Your responses help ARI chart the course for treatment research

Please take a moment to fill out the Autism Research Institute's free "Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions." To include your responses in the next release of the Treatment Effectiveness Survey please respond by this Friday.

Here's why: for 30 years ARI has collected and tabulated parent ratings on the usefulness of treatments. More than 25,000 parents before us have helped make this survey the premier information exchange of what works and what doesn't in treating autism.

Results are posted online as a general guide; the survey is also instrumental in developing research initiatives, so it's of incalculable value to both parents and scientists. Thank you for adding your piece of the puzzle to this impressive resource.

Submit treatment ratings online Now

View parent ratings:

8 MRSA Superbug Found in Raw Pork

by Patty Donovan

Natural News.com

In October, 2008, an investigation by KOMO-TV in Seattle, in partnership with Fisher Broadcasting stations across the region, found the super bug, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), in 3 packages of ground pork bought at grocery stores in California, Oregon and Idaho. They purchased a total of 97 packages of ground pork and pork cutlets and sent them to a USDA certified lab in Seattle for testing. This investigation was undertaken after one local young man died of MRSA pneumonia and another lost a leg to MRSA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has resisted testing pork for MRSA according to KOMO. Although the findings are ominous there is no way to know if these 2 young men contracted MRSA from raw pork. This multi-drug resistant bacterium already kills more people in the US than AIDS. MRSA was once a problem only in institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, but it is now increasingly diagnosed as "community acquired" meaning the patient was infected out in the community, not in an institution. MRSA is a multi-drug resistant superbug. Infections are extremely difficult to eradicate and MRSA pneumonia and sepsis have close to a 50% fatality rate.

"It all starts with just one bacterium which you cannot see with your naked eyes," said Dr. Mansour Samadpour, an expert bacterial microbiologist with IEH Laboratories where the testing was conducted. The USDA refuses to conduct testing although pigs are known to carry MRSA and a particularly virulent strain was discovered in pigs during a study conducted by the University of Iowa. "MRSA is a very different kind of bacteria," said Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, a biologist with Keep Antibiotics Working.

"As far as I`m concerned, the USDA and FDA are kind of asleep at the wheel on this one."

Canada and several European countries already test for MRSA in pork in grocery stores. KOMO investigators contacted the USDA with their findings and were informed again that there are no plans for testing. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration were also contacted with the results. The FDA says they have started a small pilot study of raw meat in Washington, D.C., but they don`t have any results yet and don`t know when the study will be finished. This is something that can be screened for to keep the public protected. Is this not the purpose of the USDA, CDC and the FDA?

The National Pork Board just began testing pork in retail markets. Their study won`t be finished until around April 2009, but their preliminary results are similar to KOMO`s: about a three percent positive rate for MRSA. The Pork Board said MRSA is a priority, but they don`t know if it`s a risk to you. Although all these studies have indicated MRSA in the pork, the tests are so sensitive that there is no way of quantifying just how contaminated the meat is, whether it is teeming with MRSA or just has a few. However, remember, it just takes one to cause an infection.

Although most people believe that cooking meat well eliminates any chance of infection, this is untrue for MRSA because it can cause skin infections, unlike E-coli or salmonella. A person can become colonized or infected simply by touching an object contaminated with MRSA. Touching your nose or having an abrasion on your hands while preparing raw pork could potentially lead to colonization or outright infection. Colonization means the bacterium is present, but not causing any problems. Colonization of the nose and skin greatly increases your risk of an actual MRSA infection. MRSA infections range from hard to heal boils to life threatening pneumonia, sepsis (bacteria in the blood) and joint infections.

Canada has also reported contamination of ground pork and pork chops across the country. Just under 10% of ground pork and pork chops tested positive for MRSA, while there was no contamination of pork roasts. Canada began researching contamination of pork with MRSA after discovering MRSA in pigs in Ontario. Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinarian based at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, is investigating the cause of the dramatic increase in community acquired MRSA in Canada. He stated: "My main concern is: if there`s MRSA on the surface of a pork chop and someone`s handling it and then they touch their nose, could they transmit it from the pork chop to their nose?" Although the investigators found nearly 10% of pork contaminated, he says that it is too soon to draw conclusions as to its role in the increase in community MRSA infections.

The Netherlands found MRSA in raw chicken in 2005 so the problem may not be limited to pork. Should you choose to continue to purchase pork, especially ground pork, make sure you use all safe food-handling practices such as defrosting in the refrigerator, not leaving raw meat at room temperature and washing your hands well with hot soapy water after handling. Besides the usual precautions, do not handle raw pork at all if you have cuts or abrasions on your hands. Always wear gloves when handling raw pork as tiny abrasions, especially around fingernails often go unnoticed. Buy range-fed meat from local farmers and avoid grocery store meat whenever possible.

9 Risk of Autism in Premature Infants
CHICAGO (Reuters) - One out of four toddlers born prematurely showed early signs of autism in a study, and the risk was greatest among those children who were the smallest at birth, Canadian researchers said on Wednesday.

Premature birth and low birth weight have been recognized in earlier studies as risk factors for a number of developmental problems, including autism and other illnesses.

But the study of 91 children, who were born around between 7 and 14 weeks prematurely and weighed 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) or less at birth, was the first to directly assess the risk of autism in this population, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

The initial screening test performed at around 21 months of age found suspected autism in 23 of the 91 children. The risk was greatest among those children who were the smallest at birth, and those born to mothers who suffered a prenatal infection or bleeding, Catherine Limperopoulos of McGill University said in a telephone interview.

10 Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New Study Finds
Brand-Name Food Products Also Discovered to Contain Mercury

See list of products and the study

Minneapolis - Mercury was found in nearly 50 percent of tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a new article published today in the scientific journal, Environmental Health. A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brand- name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient-including products by Quaker, Hershey's, Kraft and Smucker's.

HFCS use has skyrocketed in recent decades as the sweetener has replaced sugar in many processed foods. HFCS is found in sweetened beverages, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS. Consumption by teenagers and other high consumers can be up to 80 percent above average levels.

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms," said IATP's David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author in both studies. "Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply."

In the Environmental Health article, Dufault et al. found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. Dufault was working at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when the tests were done in 2005. She and co-authors conclude that possible mercury contamination of food chemicals like HFCS was not common knowledge within the food industry that frequently uses the sweetener. While the FDA had evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury four years ago, the agency did not inform consumers, help change industry practice or conduct additional testing.

For its report "Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup," IATP sent 55 brand-name foods and beverages containing HFCS as the first or second ingredient to a commercial laboratory to be tested for total mercury. Nearly one in three products tested contained detectable mercury. Mercury was most prevalent in HFCS-containing dairy products, followed by dressings and condiments. Attached is the summary list of the 55 products and their total mercury content.

In making HFCS, caustic soda is used, among other things, to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. For decades, HFCS has been made using mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants. The use of mercury cells to produce caustic soda can contaminate caustic soda, and ultimately HFCS, with mercury.

"The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury," said Dr. Wallinga. "The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients."

While most chlorine plants around the world have switched to newer, cleaner technologies, many still rely on the use of mercury cells. In 2005, 90 percent of chlorine production was mercury-free, but just 40 percent of European production was mercury-free. Four U.S. chlor- alkali plants still rely on mercury cell technology. In 2007, then- Senator Barack Obama introduced legislation to force the remaining chlor-alkali plants to phase out mercury cell technology by 2012.

The Environmental Health article by Dufault et al. can be found at: www.ehjournal.net.

"Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup," by David Wallinga, M.D., Janelle Sorensen, Pooja Mottl and Brian Yablon, M.D., can be found at: www.iatp.org.

IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. www.iatp.org

11 Food products for which total mercury was detected, highest to lowest
Product Name Total mercury detected (ppt) Laboratory detection limit (ppt)
Quaker Oatmeal to Go 350 80
Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce (Heinz) 300 100
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup 257 50
Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce 200 100
Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars 180 80
Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe 150 80
Market Pantry Grape Jelly 130 80
Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly 100 80
Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry 100 80
Hunt's Tomato Ketchup 87 50
Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth 72 50
Coca-Cola Classic 62 50
Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt 60 20
Minute Maid Berry Punch 40 30
Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink 30 20
Nesquik Chocolate Milk 30 20
Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk 30 20
Hy-Top Syrup ND 50
Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red ND 50
NOS High Performance Energy Drink ND 50
A & W Root Beet ND 30
Dr. Pepper ND 30
Wyler's Italian Ices ND 30
Market Pantry Ice Pops ND 30
Kool-Aid Bursts Tropical Punch ND 30
Kool-Aid Cherry Jammers ND 30
Sunny-D ND 30
Snapple Peach Iced Tea ND 30
Powerade Orange ND 30
Lipton Green Tea ND 30
Zoo Juice Orange ND 30
Tropicana Twister Cherry Berry Blast ND 30
Fanta Orange ND 30
Pepsi ND 30
7-Up ND 30
Hi-C Wild Cherry ND 30
Jell-O Strawberry ND 100
Market Pantry Applesauce ND 100
Mott's Applesauce ND 100
Campbell's Tomato Soup ND 100
Aunt Jemima Original Syrup ND 100
Hershey's Caramel Syrup ND 100
Hershey's Strawberry Syrup ND 100
Market Pantry Thousand Island ND 100
Smucker’s Strawberry Syrup ND 100
Heinz Hotdog Relish ND 100
Market Pantry Cranberry Sauce ND 100
Market Pantry Tomato Soup ND 100
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce ND 100
Mrs. Butterworth Original Syrup ND 100
Heinz Tomato Ketchup ND 100
Wish-Bone Thousand Island Dressing ND 100
Welch's Grape Jelly ND 100
Nesquik Strawberry Milk ND 20
Land O’ Lakes Chocolate Milk ND 20
12 If the First Child Had Autism
Kim Stagliano on The Huffington Post

As a Mom, one of the highlights of the inauguration was watching the first children, Miss Malia and Miss Sasha Obama, revel in their father's day. They were poised and yet still childlike. Eyes bright. Smiles wide.

Their mother, our elegant new First Lady, was able to fully share the day with her darling daughters. Did you notice the glances and grins they shared? I sure did.

And then I became sad.

As an autism Mom, I thought about how different the day would be if the First Lady had a child with autism. Here's one scenario:

The First Lady is holding her child's hand tightly as they walk toward their seats, her smile tempered by the interference from her autismometer, the scanning system she uses at all times to gauge her child's mood, temperment, ability to manage the input and to anticipate a meltdown. In her other hand she holds a metal ring on which hang dozens of plastic cards with simple pictures and words. It's an odd accessory.

The boy is wearing a pair of bulky, Bose noise canceling headphones to help him tune out the roar of the crowd. His eyes are cast down to the floorboards.

The lines laid out before him capture his attention. He stops. He sits down.

A brief look of panic crosses his mother's face. She erases it. Then gently, lovingly signs, "stand up."

He lies down.

She flips the pictures to the word "stand" and shows it to him.

He covers his eyes.

She starts to perspire despite the cold, turns to her Mom and nods. The older woman responds and reaches into the bag she is carrying. She hands the child a Thomas the Tank engine toy. He accepts it, clutching the toy, waving it in front of his face.

He stands.

His mother's shoulders drop a few inches as they make their way to their seats.

She tries to watch her husband, to admire his handsome face and take note of his momentous day. This is his day. But autism is along for the ride. As always. When the speaker (who was it again?) finishes, her son's voice rings out amid the cacophony of applause, "A clue! A clue! We need our handy dandy notebook!"

She breathes out -- shows her son another small card. "Quiet." He squirms. Her mother hands her a small surgical brush with which she strokes her son's palms.

Her husband is about to take the oath. He looks at her with his, "Are we OK?" expression. She will not add to the gravity of the job he is about to accept. She will not cloud his day. She smiles and winks.

She takes her son's hand and together they stand. Her mother wraps her arms around the boy, applying pressure to his torso.

The President takes his oath. "Elmo Loves You!" cries the boy. The crowd emits a nervous laugh. The President bends to his son, kisses his head. The new First Lady takes her child's hand and fights back tears, praying her face reveals nothing but love and pride.

The First Family waves to the throng of supporters. To the world. The boy waggles his fingers in front of his eyes. His head nods to a song only he can hear. The First Lady kisses her husband, her hands cup his face for a moment.

In that second, the boy bolts up the aisle. There is a large, wet stain on his pants as he scrabbles toward an exit. The day is simply too much for him.

His grandmother is right behind him. Leaving her daughter and son-in-law, now the First Lady and President of the United States.

The next day, the President announces an initiative to study every possible cause of autism from genes to vaccines and to spend millions on treatment.

In four years, he plans to have his son speak at the inauguration for his second term.

13 Kids are restrained, secluded
WASHINGTON (AP) — Schoolchildren across the U.S. have been injured or killed when they were restrained or secluded, a disability rights group says. A House committee announced a hearing on the issue.

The National Disability Rights Network, in a report Tuesday, identified cases across the country in which children, many of them with disabilities, were traumatized, injured or killed at school.

For example, 15-year-old Michigan boy with autism died while being restrained by four school employees, the report said.

In another case, a 13-year-old Georgia boy hanged himself in a locked concrete seclusion room after pleading with teachers not to isolate him for hours at a time.

The group said its report "is clearly just the tip of the iceberg" because the government doesn't have any system of collecting data about these abuses.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said he would schedule a hearing on the issue.

"This report raises serious questions about the treatment of schoolchildren, the qualifications and training of staff, and what actions have been taken to address these unconscionable practices," Miller said. "No child should be at risk or in danger while at school, no matter what the circumstances."

14 US Court Rules In Favour Of Family In MMR Vaccine Case Ben Zeller Jr

Watch Video

The US Court ruled [July 2008] in favour of this little boy Benjamin Zeller that as a result of the MMR vaccination received on 17 November 2004, Benjamin, suffered persistent, intractable seizures, encephalopathy, and developmental delay. All other published decisions are found here. Please note that:

  1. ...the standard of proof being applied in this special US Court is identical to that in the English Court.
  2. ...just like the English Court, these cases are decided by judge alone sitting without a jury.

"It also seems evident that the vaccine was a substantial factor in causing the injury found by the Court, which, prima facie, would appear to satisfy the element of proximate cause in this case. Applying the traditional legal rule from Tort law, that Respondent takes Petitioner as he finds him (a.k.a. the "Eggshell Skull Rule"), the fact that Benjamin may have had a genetic predisposition or a physiologic susceptibility does not defeat Petitioner's case as a superseding factor.

So long as the vaccine was a substantial factor, and its influence was not overborne by a superseding cause, the Court is justified in ruling that the proximate causation requirement is satisfied. The logical sequela of these findings of fact is that Petitioners have carried their burden of proof on the issue of vaccine-related causation. Inasmuch as the other elements of § 300aa-11 (b) and (c) have already been satisfied, the Court holds that Petitioners have met their burden on their case in chief, on the ultimate issue of entitlement to compensation.

The burden now shifts to Respondent to proffer a factor unrelated to the vaccine as either a more likely cause of the injury found by the Court, or as a superseding cause of the injury that obviated any effect of the vaccine. This Respondent has not done. The only medical explanation proffered by Respondent was the predestination of intractable seizures, encephalopathy, and developmental delay based on an undetermined genetic predisposition toward neurodegeneration.

As discussed by the Court above when addressing proximate causation on Petitioner's case in chief, the Court's findings in this case are inconsistent with a ruling that Benjamin's genetic susceptibilities overbore the effect of the vaccine as a superseding cause. Likewise, there is not a preponderance of evidence from within the medical records that any specific alternative diagnosis-not a single named etiology confirmed by testing-could be identified. Unconfirmed speculation by a few treating doctors, as with Dr. Wiznitzer's hypothesization, were unconfirmed by testing in the first instance, and unsupported by the medical records in the second. Consequently, the Court concludes that there is not a factor unrelated to overcome Petitioner's evidence on causation."

15 Separate Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccines No Longer Available? What Can Parents Do?
Ask Dr. Sears

One of the most challenging and controversial parts of the alternative vaccine schedule is splitting up the MMR into three separate shots, spread out over a few years. The reasoning behind this idea is to expose a child to only one live viral vaccine at a time to allow the child’s immune system to better handle each vaccine and possibly experience fewer side effects. Although there is no medical evidence that this precaution is necessary or even useful, some parents, long before my book came out, have been skipping the MMR over fear of side effects. Some of these parents are more open to getting the separated vaccines. I present this option as a way to allow such families to vaccinate for these diseases. I don’t claim that it is the best way to go. I simply acknowledge it as an option.

Now, however, it seems that this option has been taken away from these families. The official word on Merck’s website is that these vaccines are not available for order. I’ve called Merck to ask if they are planning to start making more, but I can’t get anyone from the company to call me back. I have heard from numerous people and some news reports that Merck isn’t currently making the vaccine. I haven’t heard that they’ve decided to stop permanently, just that they aren’t producing any at this time. So, it’s pretty clear that, at least for the time being, there is no more to be had. It is probably safe to say that there won’t be any more for at least 6 months to 1 year. It is also possible that they won’t ever make the separate vaccines again.

This puts many parents in a difficult position. Some children have already received part of the series and are now left without a way to finish it without getting the entire MMR (and thus accepting extra doses of some components). Part of me wonders if Merck has stopped production as a way to force parents into an all-or-nothing decision. The AAP and CDC continue to insist on a “one size fits all” approach to vaccinating, without offering any suggested alternatives. Is this their way of forcing parents into the full MMR? I don’t know. The official word from Merck is that they need to devote all of the manufacturing capabilities to the full MMR and Chickenpox. They also state that the demand for the separate vaccines is so low that it doesn’t justify its production. One news story stated that the separate components only make up about 2% of the total MMR demand. Well, with 5 million babies being born each year in the U.S., that could be as many as 100,000 families searching for the separate vaccines each year. That would be a lot of unvaccinated children if these parents refused the full MMR.

One issue that I don’t understand is that the separate rubella vaccine is routinely used for adult women after they have a baby. Any new mom who doesn’t have rubella immunity is given the vaccine. If Merck stops making it, such women will have to get the full MMR, even if they still have good measles and mumps immunity.

The separate mumps vaccine also has its usefulness. During the outbreak of 2005/2006, many teens and adults needed a mumps booster to help contain the disease. If separate mumps vaccine isn’t made available for such events, the full MMR will have to be used. The same would be true if a measles epidemic occurs.

So, what can parents do? Parents hate to give their children an extra dose of a vaccine if it isn’t needed. You’ve gone to all the trouble to try to split it up, and now you are faced with having to give it all together anyway. I know it’s frustrating. One note of encouragement is that there is no known harm in getting an extra dose, other than the fact that you are taking the small risk of a side effect an extra time and the frustration of knowing the separate shot you gave earlier was all for naught. If a child already has some immunity to one of the diseases from a previous vaccine, I’ve never seen any research that shows a child is any more likely to react to a second dose compared to anyone just getting their first dose. I’ve seen no evidence that getting an extra dose is dangerous. I know it’s very small consolation, but I just mention this so that parents aren’t afraid to get any extra components of the MMR if they decide to.

Part of me wants to rally the nation’s parents in a campaign to insist that Merck begin making the shots again. Write your Senators, email Merck (politely!), refuse to get the full MMR! But that just isn’t responsible. Skipping the shots altogether leaves children at risk, the riskiest disease being measles. Of course, parents do have the option to skip the vaccine altogether. Even in states with mandatory vaccines laws, parents can still exercise a religious exemption (except for West Virginia and Mississippi).

But for those of you (which is most of you) who do want MMR protection, I will offer you some choices. There isn’t one right choice here. When it comes to MMR there is so much controversy that I don’t believe there is one clear option. So, I will lay out all the choices so you can think it through. Most people who are very pro-vaccine feel my MMR recommendations should more closely reflect the standard American vaccine schedule. Now that the separate M-M-R vaccines are no longer available, most such vaccine advocates are hoping that I will now begin recommending the MMR at the standard ages of 1 and 5 years. To these people I would like to point out that I don’t make absolute recommendations. I present options. That’s what I’m going to do here.

Here are all the options, depending on whether or not your child has received some of the separate components:


  • Parents who feel confident in the safety of the MMR vaccine should go ahead and vaccinate at the recommended age of 1 and 5 years.
  • Parents who were planning to do it separately because they have some worry about side effects should wait until a later age to get the full MMR. I suggest waiting until a child is either 4 years of age or enters school, whichever comes first. The reason for the 4-year recommendation is two-fold: 1. Many kids don’t enter school until age 4, so their risk of catching measles, mumps, or rubella is very low, and the risk that they would expose other kids if they got sick is very low, and 2. Most states only require one dose of mumps and rubella if that one dose is given at age 4 or older, because the vaccine works much better for older kids like this. Some states do require a second dose of measles, however. See the State Requirements section below.
  • Parents who don’t feel comfortable leaving their children susceptible to these three diseases until age four, but want to delay it for at least a little while, can get the MMR at whatever age you feel most comfortable. If your toddler or young child is entering early preschool at age 2 or 3, you may want him to have the disease protection. If you get the MMR before age 4, your child would need a second dose around age 5 according to the regular vaccine schedule. This second dose is given because a small percentage of kids lose their immunity from the first dose and need a booster. From a health care cost perspective, it isn’t economical to test every child’s blood at age 5 to see which kids need a booster, then only give those kids a booster. So, the routine practice is to just give the two doses to everybody. If you don’t want to simply follow this routine 2-dose schedule, and instead want to try to get by with just one dose, you can do the one dose at any age, then get a blood test around age 5 to check immunity, then repeat the MMR if needed.
  • When you do get the MMR, I would suggest getting it alone, without any other shots. You can pick any time in the vaccine schedule to do it. There is no exact time that I would place it into my Alternative Vaccine Schedule. It’s an individual choice for each parent. If you get the shot at 1, 2, or 3 years of age, you can then either get the booster at 5, or do blood testing to confirm immunity and skip the booster if your child is still immune to all 3 diseases. There is also the possibility that in a few years we will have separate M, M, R component vaccines again, and you can give a booster shot for only those diseases your child needs a booster for, based on the blood immunity results. If the separate shots are not available, and 1 or 2 parts of the first shot (but not all three) have worn off, it’s okay to get the full MMR again. Or, you could just leave your child susceptible to a disease. The choice is yours.

The risk of skipping or delaying the MMR

Although these diseases are rare, outbreaks can occur. I encourage you to re-read the MMR chapter to refresh your memory on these diseases. The riskiest disease is probably measles. While most kids weather the disease without problems, occasional complications do occur. The risk of suffering a fatality from measles is about 1 in 1000 to 1 in 3000 cases. The risk of suffering a non-fatal complication that requires hospitalization (such as pneumonia, dehydration, and a variety of others) is unclear, but is probably 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 cases. Many years have gone by in the U.S. without a measles fatality. I pray it stays that way.


This decision is easy. Either get the 5 year booster of MMR, or do a blood test around age 5 to check immunity and don’t get any more MMR if immune to all three diseases. If your child is only immune to 1 or 2 diseases, but not all, it’s OK to get a full MMR. Or you can wait for the separate vaccines to come out again.


Those of you who have already begun the process of separated MMR vaccines, you probably did so with two things in mind: You at least had some concern about MMR safety, and you felt comfortable to some degree with leaving your child susceptible to some of these diseases during the early years until all three doses were given. But now what do you do?

  • If your child has already received 1 dose of rubella (but no mumps or measles yet), you either have to get the full MMR now or wait until 4 years of age and get it then. It all depends on how comfortable you are with leaving your child susceptible to mumps and measles. You can review the book information on mumps and measles to refresh your memory. Leaving a child open to measles is probably the riskiest of the three diseases. If you get the MMR at 4, you can verify mumps and measles immunity with a blood test about 6 to 12 months later if your state requires it, since your child only received one dose. If your state doesn’t require it, I wouldn’t bother with an immunity check since most kids get full immunity after just one dose given this late. See State Requirements below.
  • If your child has already received 1 dose of mumps (but no rubella or measles), the same information applies as the previous paragraph. Rubella is extremely rare, and harmless to young children. Review the disease information in the book to remind yourself of the risk to pregnant women.
  • If your child has received 1 dose of measles, but not mumps or rubella, then I suggest you wait until age 4 to do the full MMR. That will give your child the required 1 dose of mumps and rubella, and 2 doses of measles. I wouldn’t bother checking blood immunity levels in this instance – you are pretty well covered. Since rubella is harmless to young children, and mumps is virtually always harmless, it is generally safe to remain susceptible to these until 4, especially if not in school yet. However, you should fully inform yourself about the personal and public health risks of delaying these shots by reviewing those pages in the book.
  • If your child has received 2 out of the 3 components already, it is not worth getting a full MMR prior to age four just to get protection from the third disease now, only to have to get another booster dose at age 5. Just wait until age 4 or 5 to get the full MMR, as long as you feel comfortable with the disease risk for a couple years for whichever vaccine hasn’t been given yet. See State Requirements below if you worry that your state laws may require you to get the shot sooner. If the third disease that you haven’t gotten the shot for yet is measles, I would just wait until 4 to get the full MMR dose.
  • Technically you can get the full MMR as close as only 1 month after any doses of the separate vaccines. However, as a precaution I would suggest putting at least a few months between them if you move on to the full MMR


If you live in one of the 20 free states (these are listed on page 218 of the book) that allows parents to skip a vaccine for personal beliefs, and you chose to skip the MMR during infancy, I would suggest getting the MMR around age 4 or 5 when your child is going to have more exposure to other children and the general public. I wouldn’t bother with immunity blood testing – this one shot works very well in virtually all kids who get it late. If you want to skip the shot until the pre-teen years, it may be useful to check blood immunity around age 10 prior to the shot, since by that time your child will have been around many kids for many years and might have acquired some natural immunity. If your child does not have immunity to one or more diseases, you can either get the full MMR or separate components if they are available at that time.

If you live in one of the 30 states that have mandatory vaccine laws, and you don’t want to claim religious exemption, realize that this doesn’t mean you absolutely have to get the MMR at age 1 and 5 years. You only have to meet the state requirements by the time a daycare, preschool, or kindergarten is going to enforce it. So, this means that if you are worried about the MMR, you can delay it for a year or two (or more) until your child enters school. Most states only require one dose of mumps and rubella if given at age 4 or older (since getting the shot at this later age works much better). Most states, however, will require either 2 measles vaccines, or a blood test to verify immunity from just the one dose. I suggest getting a blood test 6 to 12 months after the shot to prove this immunity. If not immune to measles, a second dose may be required by your state. This may mean another full MMR if the separate shots aren’t being made yet. If you do need (or want) to get the full MMR at an earlier age (between age 1 and 3 years), I suggest you do it alone, without any other shots.


In the vaccine book I clearly state that vaccines are important, and that I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. Each vaccine can have a serious side effect, but in most cases this is rare. The MMR, however, is unique in that it is a triple live virus vaccine, and therefore has a more extensive list of possible reactions. These reactions mimic what the actual disease complications can be. Some of these reactions are very serious. Yes, the serious reactions are extremely rare, but it is a risk nonetheless. However, vaccinating for the MMR diseases is also a very important individual and public health concern. Measles will continue to increase if parents don’t vaccinate. Rubella may come back. The more people that don’t vaccinate, the more likely this is to happen.

I have presented the options here. It’s not based on what the right or wrong decision is. It all comes down to what you as a parent and individual believe about the safety of the MMR and the risks of the three diseases. Remember, my alternative vaccine schedule isn’t a reflection of what I believe all parents should do. It is a suggestion for parents who are more worried about vaccines than the average person, and want to vaccinate their child more carefully. Splitting the MMR was part of that approach, but now it’s not an option for the foreseeable future. If I was to have written my alternative vaccine schedule without the separate vaccines, it would probably look something like this: MMR at age one and five, with an asterisk that says if you are worried about a reaction to the MMR, wait until age 4 to get the first (and only) dose, or get it sooner if your child will be entering early preschool (and possibly need a booster dose around age 5 or 6).


I think that one of two things are going to happen:

1. Many angry parents are going to delay or skip the MMR vaccine (either out of protest against Merck or out of worry over side effects), and once the government notices this (as measles increases or reports on non-compliance grow) they will ask Merck to begin producing the separate doses again. Post-partum moms who need a Rubella shot, but refuse the full MMR, may add to this campaign. When outbreaks of measles and mumps do occur (and they will!), and the parents of any unvaccinated children refuse the full MMR (but make it known they would happily accept the single component vaccines), the government might take notice.


2. Only a small minority will skip the full MMR. Most parents who wanted the separate shots will go ahead with the MMR at the recommended age of 1 year, and enough children will be vaccinated so we don’t see any appreciable rise in measles, mumps and rubella. Merck won’t begin making the separate shots again.

16 Vaccine Court: Hepatitis B Shot Caused MS
David Kirby on The Huffington Post

All eyes are on Vaccine Court this week, as people await rulings in the autism “test cases” on MMR and thimerosal. But another omnibus proceeding involving Hepatitis B vaccine and autoimmune disorders in adults, including MS, has already been quietly ruling in favor of several petitioners. (HERE)

The most recent case was announced about a week ago. In it, the Court ruled that the victim, an adult female, had contracted a form of demyelinating disease and MS, and eventually died, after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine series. It was just the most recent case in a rash of rulings in the omnibus proceeding dealing with hepatitis B vaccine and “demyelinating diseases such as transverse myelitis (TM), Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease (CIDP), and multiple sclerosis (MS),” according to court papers.

“Petitioner has prevailed on the issue of entitlement. The medical records during decedent’s final hospitalization reflect that she died from demyelinating disease. Not only did decedent have a vaccine injury, but also her death was vaccine-related,” wrote the Special Master in the case.

Interestingly, the US government chose not to present any expert witnesses, nor to contest the case any further.

But the family of the deceased woman had presented testimony from an expert witness who stated that, “It is biologically plausible for hepatitis B to cause demyelination because vaccines are composed of organic compounds of viral or bacterial origin, whether recombinant or otherwise, whose purpose is to initiate an immune response in the recipient,: the Court noted in the ruling. “But if any of the vaccine antigens shares a homology with the recipient’s antigens, the host’s immune response will attack both the vaccine antigens and the host’s antigens, resulting in an autoimmune response. This concept is also known as molecular mimicry and is well-established in immunology.”

In the last few years, it turns out, the Federal Vaccine Court has issued a number of rulings in favor of petitioners seeking compensation for Hepatitis B vaccine-related demyelinating diseases, especially MS.

What is also notable about all the Hep B rulings is that they fly in the face of the reasoned opinion of an IOM panel that looked into the matter in 2002. That committee determined that “the epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the hepatitis B vaccine in adults and multiple sclerosis.” Likewise, the panel said that it “does not recommend that national and federal vaccine advisory bodies review the hepatitis B vaccine on the basis of concerns about demyelinating disorders.”

Apparently, Vaccine Court Special Masters are willing to make their rulings independent of what the IOM has decreed (and given the IOM’s spotty track record on the etiology of illnesses such as Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome, perhaps there is a solid legal underpinning for that).

So, what does any of this have to do with the autism cases? Perhaps nothing. But, if the autism Special Masters suggest that more research is needed, one area that scientists may want to explore is demyelination in autism and its many potential causes.

Myelin is the fatty acid sheath that protects and insulates nerve cells and the brain. Some people with autoimmune disorders, including MS, present with damage to myelin in the brain.

Myelin damage has long been suspected in autism, though the jury is still out on this question. One thing that does seem to be certain is that children with ASD appear to have unusually high levels of antibodies to myelin basic protein, or MBP. That would suggest they might have myelin damage as well. Some studies have also shown highly elevated levels (up to 90%) of MBP antibodies in ASD children who received the MMR vaccine. The development of MBP antibodies could possibly be caused by a reaction to the live measles virus in the vaccine, because the virus may mimic the molecular structure of MBP. (The finding of antibodies to MBP is also associated with MS, which is a demyelinating disorder).

This vaccine-myelin association was also supported by a study in the October, 2008 issue of the journal Neurology. It reported that exposure to Hep B vaccine in children was associated with a 50% increased risk for CNS inflammatory demyelination of 50 percent (OR: 1.50; 0.93–2.43). This was especially true for children who got GlaxoSmithKline’s Engerix B vaccine, in which case the risk was elevated by 74% (1.74; 1.03–2.95). Among ASD children with confirmed multiple sclerosis, the risk increased by 177% (2.77; 1.23–6.24).

“Hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood,” the authors concluded. “However, the Engerix B vaccine appears to increase this risk, particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis, in the longer term. Our results require confirmation in future studies.”

Of course more studies are needed, but it is becoming more difficult these days to argue that there is no active immune/inflammatory response going on in the brains of autistic individuals, and even harder to contest that MBP is associated with at least one aspect of that response, although there are likely others. The MBP findings are not 100% concordant, but there is a fair amount of supportive evidence.

Equally intriguing, along these lines, is a new study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. That paper reported that “anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein positivity” was found in a stunning 62.5% of the autistic children studied. And, a family history of autoimmunity was five times more common in ASD children (50%) than controls (9.4%).

“Anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein serum levels were significantly higher in autistic children than those without such history,” the authors wrote. “Autism could be, in part, one of the pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. Further studies are warranted to shed light on the etiopathogenic role of anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein antibodies and the role of immunotherapy in autism.”

This information is tantalizing, to say the least. And it could provide new avenues of research into the role of vaccines, demyelinating diseases, “autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders,” and autism.

If the HepB series can destroy myelin in some kids and adults, and cause full-blown MS in adults, then is it really that “fringe” to investigate the plausibility of a biological mechanism whereby some vaccines (including MMR) in a subset of susceptible infants might produce symptoms that are characteristic of autism and/or other neuro-developmental disorders?

For years, the US Government and the IOM have insisted that Hepatitis B vaccine does not and can not cause MS. But the Federal Vaccine Court has now, essentially, overturned that opinion. Will the Court now do the same for vaccines and autism? I don’t think so – not this week. But it just might keep that door slightly ajar for the future.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm and a contributor to Age of Autism.

17 Federal Decision On Vaccine, Autism Could Set Precedent
By Andrea Jackson, Times-News

A decision expected this week from the United States Court of Federal Claims could set a precedent on whether a common vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella can cause autism in some children.

For the first time, the federal claims court will rule on three cases asserting MMR vaccines substantially contributed to autism in children, said local lawyer Curtis Webb, who argued one of the cases. If Webb's case prevails, more people could become eligible for monetary compensation from the government.

The federal claims court runs the 22-year-old National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to reduce lawsuits against doctors and drug manufacturers. People claiming injury from vaccines can take their case to VICP and try to win money from the government. Payouts come from a trust fund holding excise taxes from each dose of vaccine sold in America. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services serves as the defense.

Webb, who specializes in vaccine injury law, says his 8-year-old client, Yates Hazlehurst, of Jackson, Tenn., wouldn't have gotten autism if he hadn't been immunized for MMR. The common vaccine Hazlehurst got "was a substantial contributing cause of his regressive autism," Webb said in court papers. The government, however, disagrees and says autism is genetic.

"To date there is no definite scientific proof that any vaccine or combination of vaccines can cause autism," according to the National Institutes of Health. "Vaccines actually help the immune system to defend the body." Webb, however, says MMR vaccines contribute to autism found in some children.

"We don't think children should stop getting vaccinated," he said. "We're saying genes were a factor, but so was the vaccination."

Hazlehurst lost his health insurance coverage for his condition and then he stopped improving, said Webb. The ruling could shape ideas on whether vaccines can contribute to autism.

But, "that's not what it's about," said Webb. "(The rulings) are about whether the family can provide the therapy needed for their child to have a normal life." As of May, 5,365 autism cases were filed with VICP, according to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Office of Special Masters.

18 Shot in the Arm
Why the flu vaccine may not save that many lives after all— at least among senior citizens

Mike Jackson '98 is an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. For his 2007 doctoral dissertation from the University of Washington, he studied the efficacy of the influenza vaccine among the elderly, closely examining the medical records of more than 3,500 people aged sixty-five to ninety-four. His findings, which radically depart from conventional wisdom, were published in The Lancet late last summer. They prompted international headlines, including extensive coverage in the New York Times.

Cornell Alumni Magazine: Should the average person get a flu shot?

Mike Jackson: Yes. The vaccine is safe; the risk of complications is vanishingly small. For most healthy adults, the flu isn't very dangerous, but it's certainly unpleasant—you feel like you've been hit by a truck for a few days.

CAM: Why is the vaccination particularly recommended for seniors?

MJ: They're the ones most likely to be hospitalized or die. The groups at highest risk of complications from influenza are seniors and children under two.

CAM: How is the flu different from other diseases?

MJ: The interesting thing about influenza is that it's seasonal. In the U.S., the virus circulates only during the winter. It shows up around November or December and spreads for two or three months, then disappears and goes into circulation in the southern hemisphere. Also, influenza is unique because you need a new vaccine every year, since the virus mutates so rapidly.

CAM: Why is there a flu season, anyway?

MJ: Nobody really knows. It's probably a combination of things. A temperature decrease and a humidity change make it easier for the virus to survive in the air longer. It could be because of being crowded indoors, or because there's less UV light coming from the sun in the winter so the virus isn't killed as quickly.

CAM: What got you interested in studying whether the flu vaccine really protects the elderly?

MJ: My PhD adviser had been reading the literature and noticed that a number of prior studies quoted implausibly large benefits for flu vaccines in seniors. It was on the order of vaccines preventing half of deaths from all causes: strokes, car accidents, heart attacks, everything. This is clearly impossible, because the flu doesn't cause half of all deaths.

CAM: What was wrong with those studies?

MJ: They looked at seniors who got vaccinated and those who didn't, and how many died the following influenza season. And because it's hard to know which senior actually died of flu, they looked at deaths from any cause. But the vaccine can only prevent deaths from influenza, which is a small fraction—maybe 5 percent in the average year—so you'd expect to see maybe a 5 percent difference in the death rate. These studies were reporting much higher benefits, but there was no way the difference was due to the vaccine; it had to be something else. It was clear that these studies were biased—that seniors who get vaccinated are somehow different from seniors who don't.

CAM: How are they different?

MJ: Those who choose to be vaccinated are healthier. Seniors who are in pretty good shape—they're mobile, taking care of themselves—are the ones who can go out in the fall and get a flu vaccine. Seniors who are more frail and less functional or can't walk as well, they're less likely to get one.

CAM: So the difference in their survival rates isn't so much about who got a flu shot, but the fact that the ones who did tended to be healthier in the first place?

MJ: That's right. The classic double-blind study, which was done in the early Eighties, showed the flu vaccine reduces the risk of influenza infection in seniors. But it focused on seniors who were younger and didn't have a lot of chronic health problems. The question is, once you use the vaccine in the general population of seniors, many of whom are over eighty and have heart and lung disease, how effective is it in practice?

CAM: Why might the vaccine be less effective in older, frailer people?

MJ: As people get into their later years, there's evidence that their immune systems become weaker. The way a vaccine works is that you present your body with pieces of the virus and your body reacts to it—so if you really encounter influenza your body can react more quickly. If your immune system is not working as well, then when you're exposed to the actual influenza your body can't mount a quick response.

CAM: What sort of policy recommendations might come out of this?

MJ: This was the largest case study of its kind, but it's still comparatively small, so it's not something worthy to shape policy on. We need other studies to confirm it, and home in more accurately on how well the vaccine works on seniors before we make those decisions.

CAM: Did this teach you any broader lessons about the scientific process?

MJ: You can have a bunch of studies that get similar results—and they're all wrong. We could literally point to twenty papers that came to the same conclusion: that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of death in seniors by half. Just because it's commonly reported doesn't mean it's right.

— Beth Saulnier

19 Health Buzz: Obama Calls for FDA Review and Other Health News
US News & World Report

President Barack Obama Calls for FDA Review Following Salmonella Outbreak

President Obama told the Today show that he is ordering a review of the Food and Drug Administration, following a salmonella outbreak linked to tainted peanut products that has made more than 500 people ill and may be tied to eight deaths. Obama called the outbreak the latest in a series of numerous incidents in the past several years where the FDA has failed to catch problems in a timely matter, according to the T oday show's website. A Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga., shipped salmonella-tainted food items, according to state and federal officials; hundreds of peanut products have been recalled as a result of the outbreak. Obama said that his 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, regularly eats peanut butter, so he is especially concerned about the outbreak.

The peanut processor knew in 2007 that its plant was contaminated with potentially deadly salmonella. This salmonella outbreak may be the scariest one yet because it involves peanut butter and peanut paste that manufacturers bought by the tanker-load and mixed into hundreds of products on supermarket shelves. Here's how to reduce your risk of becoming ill. During last year's highest-profile salmonella outbreak—which was initially attributed to tomatoes but turned out to be caused by jalapeño peppers—food safety experts said that cooking is the only sure bet to foil salmonella.

Vaccine Schedule: The Pros and Cons of Taking a Flexible Approach

More and more parents these days are deviating from the government's recommended vaccination schedule and either delaying some shots until their kids are closer to elementary-school age or spacing out shots in more frequent office visits, Deborah Kotz reports. Some worry that vaccines may be leading to more autism and allergies in kids or believe that it's unsafe to give their baby five shots against eight different diseases on a single day, as is typically recommended for 2-month-olds.

Given the controversy, should pediatricians work with parents who want a custom-made immunization schedule? U.S. News asked two noteworthy members of the American Academy of Pediatrics to explain their conflicting views. New Jersey pediatrician Lawrence D. Rosen, vice chair of the AAP's section on complementary and integrative medicine, favors a flexible approach to vaccinations, while Margaret Fisher, medical director of the Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., and chair of the AAP's section on infectious disease, says she doesn't see the rationale for taking a flexible approach.

20 An Addendum to February's "First Read"

It has been brought to my attention that in the study on thimerosal briefly highlighted below, I noted that groups did or did not get thimerosal and had similar results in terms of neuropsychological developmental outcomes. Reading of this study will indicate that both groups studied actually did have thimerosal in their vaccines, one group having 62.5 micrograms cumulative intake and the other 137.5 micrograms cumulative intake. While the amount of thimerosal in the lower group studied in Italy is less (according to the author of this study Dr. Tozzi) than the small amounts used in this country, I do want to correctly indicate there was no group studied that received no thimerosal whatsoever in their vaccines. The results of this study suggesting essentially minimal (if any) differences in developmental outcomes remains as stated--although a limitation as noted by Dr. Tozzi is that there was no comparison group with zero exposure to thimerosal. I appreciate the readers who have brought this to my attention so that I could more accurately clarify my interpretation of this study. Please read this article for yourself to learn more.

21 Sixty Percent of Doctors Refuse to Get Flu Shots
Natural News

If flu shots are so good for you, then why do sixty percent of doctors and nurses refuse to get them? ABC News is reporting that only forty percent of health care professionals opted to be vaccinated against the flu last year.

It's yet another case of health professionals telling patients to do one thing while they do something entirely different themselves. For example, according to surveys published earlier this year, most oncologists would never undergo chemotherapy.

Many doctors take vitamins and nutritional supplements, but they won't tell their patients to do the same because state medical boards have made it illegal for doctors to recommend nutritional therapies.

Thus, much of what medical professionals tell patients stands in contradiction to what they actually believe is best for their health. Flu shots have become the mad cry of quackery in modern medicine, which believes that the human immune system is useless to prevent infectious disease and must be artificially hijacked by invasive medical procedures (a shot) in order to function correctly.

Interestingly, related research just announced today reveals that half a flu shot produces the same results as a full flu shot. But they didn't test the "no flu shot but extra vitamin D" option, which would have been ever better.

Flu shots are pure quackery combined with clever hucksterism. And if you don't believe me, just check the medical records of the doctors themselves: Most of them aren't getting flu shots in the first place. Doctors aren't stupid people. If they're not getting flu shots, that tells you probably they think it's a waste of time.

22 Autism, Vaccines and the CDC: The Wrong Side of History
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby on The Huffington Post

US News & World Report

Even as the evidence connecting America's autism epidemic to vaccines mounts, dead-enders at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) -- many of whom promoted the current vaccine schedule and others with strong ties to the vaccine industry -- are trying to delay the day of reckoning by creating questionable studies designed to discredit any potential vaccine-autism link and by derailing authentic studies.

On January 12, a cadre of mid-level health bureaucrats left over from the Bush administration ignored Federal requirements for advance notice in order to vote to quietly strip vaccine research studies from funding allocated by Congress in the Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006. Members of Congress had said that this money should be used to study the vaccine-autism connection.

These rogue bureaucrats -- members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee -- held an unannounced vote to remove previously approved vaccine studies from funding under the CAA. Nearly all of the "Federal" members of the panel voted to remove the two studies, whose estimated cost was $16 million - or 1.6% of the billion dollars authorized by Congress for autism. The panel's civilian members, in contrast, voted nearly unanimously to retain the funding.

IACC's action to halt vaccine-autism research flies in the face of congressional intent. The bill's authors clearly stated that vaccine research should be funded. Even the esteemed Institute of Medicine has condemned CDC's methods. In 2005, an IOM panel condemned CDC for its "lack of transparency" in vaccine-autism research.

The bureaucrats responsible for this scandal are on the wrong side of history and it's hard to not attribute an obstructionist motive to their act since vaccine-autism research has already entered the realm of mainstream science. Serious scientists (except those tied to the vaccine industry) no longer debate whether vaccine-autism research should be done, but rather how it should be done, and by whom.

And Congress concurs: "I want to be clear that ... no research avenue should be eliminated, including biomedical research examining potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism,pronounced Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the H.E.L.P. Committee at the bill's passage. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) said the bill should fund "environmental research examining potential links between vaccines, vaccine components and autism. And last week, Dodd called the potentially illegal maneuver to shut down vaccine research, "contrary to the spirit of the bill."

These days, being opposed to vaccine-autism research puts one outside of the "mainstream" (and let's be clear, supporting such research in no way makes one "anti-vaccine" -- that charge is a tired, diversionary charade -- an ugly lie perpetrated by vaccine industry allies and their blind supporters.)

Recognizing this fact, the vaccine industry and its CDC allies have continued to fund a series of deceptive and badly flawed studies designed to dispute the connection between vaccines and the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders. The latest of these is the controversial Italian study released this week intended to allow Thimerosal's defenders to argue that the preservative is safe. The study comparing two groups of Italian children, who received a moderate level of Thimerosal vs. a moderately higher level, is so poorly designed it could only find one child in 1400 who tested with autism. The researchers did not include in the study the records of children who received no Thimerosal. For years, a cadre of vaccine officials at CDC has vigorously opposed funding for epidemiological studies that include both vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts that might give us useful information about causation.

The evidence of a potential link between vaccines and autism is now so compelling that every national autism organization firmly supports research into vaccination as a possible trigger for the disorder, including Autism Speaks, the world's largest, most well funded, well connected mainstream group.

Autism Speaks was co-founded by Bob Wright, former CEO of NBC-Universal, former Vice Chairman of General Electric. Autism Speaks, a staunchly pro-vaccine group, supports vaccine research. Its statement on the issue is right down the middle.

Why has vaccine-autism research gone mainstream? The reasons are many:

The Hannah Poling Case - A year ago, medical personnel at HHS determined that this girl's autism was caused by, "vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation that exceeded metabolic reserves." Hannah had low cellular energy related to her underlying and mild mitochondrial dysfunction. Many children with autism claims in Vaccine Court have almost identical mitochondrial dysfunction.

Mitochondrial disorders are not rare in autism -- Research suggests that dysfunction may affect 10-to-30% of all kids with autism -- perhaps more among "regressive" cases.

Mitochondrial disorders are probably not rare in the general population -- Such disorders were thought to affect 1-in-5,000 people. But new research suggests that genetic mutations that might confer mitochondrial dysfunction might be found in 1-in-400 to 1-in-50. A study by the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) found mitochondrial DNA mutations that might cause disease in up to 1-in-200 people.

Children with mitochondrial disorders are at greater risk of autistic regression -- A new study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic and elsewhere found that a trigger for autistic regression in kids with mito disorders could possibly come from a vaccine reaction. "There might be no difference between the inflammatory or catabolic stress of vaccinations and that of common childhood diseases," they wrote.

Children with mitochondrial disorders are at greater risk of vaccine injury -- This according to Dr. Douglas Wallace, Professor of Molecular Medicine and Director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine in Genetics at UC Irvine. A member of the UMDF's scientific board, he stated, "We advocate spreading vaccines out as much as possible -- each time you vaccinate, you're creating a challenge for the system, and if a child has an impaired system that could in fact trigger further clinical problems."

The National CADDRE Study -- This 5-year project of the CDC's Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network will "help identify what might put children at risk for autism," the CDC says. Among those risk factors: "specific mercury exposures, including any vaccine use by the mother during pregnancy and the child's vaccine exposures after birth."

The Kennedy Krieger Institute -- The nation's premiere autism research outfit is sponsor of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN). Its new questionnaire deals with autism and vaccines. Thousands of families are describing their experiences with autistic regression following vaccination. Top scientists will then use this information, "to conduct additional vaccine-focused studies."

The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network -- CISA is a CDC-sponsored group that brings together leading autism research institutions and America's health insurance companies. Last April, the CDC proposed this research question: "Is immunization associated with increased risk for neurological deterioration in children with mitochondrial dysfunction?" To find out, "CISA has formed a working group to study methods related to mitochondrial disorders and immunization," the CDC said.

Autism Speaks -- Autism Speaks recently authorized three studies on thimerosal, vaccines and autism, and the foundation is considering funding a lot more highly significant research into the possible links between vaccines and autism.

The National Children's Study -- This is not a vaccine-autism study. But the HHS-EPA joint effort will investigate "the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the United States," including autism. As part of their work researchers will track medical records, which include vaccinations.

CDC's Immunization Safety Office -- As part of its draft research agenda for vaccine safety, this agency last April proposed looking at several clinical outcomes from childhood vaccinations, including "Autoimmune diseases; central nervous system demyelinating disorders; encephalitis/ encephalopathy; and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism."

Former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding -- who told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "If a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines, and if you're predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage (and) symptoms that have characteristics of autism. We have to have an open mind."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- who told US News, "If we can show that individuals of a certain genetic profile have a greater propensity for developing adverse events, we may want to screen everyone prior to vaccination (for) undetectable diseases like a subclinical mitochrondrial disorder."

Drs. Richard I. Kelley, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Margaret L. Bauman, Massachusetts General Hospital, Marvin R. Natowicz, Cleveland Clinic, etc -- "Large, population-based studies will be needed to identify a possible relationship of vaccination with autistic regression in persons with mitochondrial cytopathies."

California Department of Health Services/ Kaiser Permanente -- This CDC- funded, NIH-published study showed that kids born in the most polluted tracts of the SF Bay Area (mercury was a significant factor) were more likely to develop autism: "Our results suggest a potential association between autism and estimated metal concentrations."

Many scientists are exploring other environmental factors, including heavy metals:

UC Davis MIND Institute -- Authors of this new study say that genetics alone cannot explain the rise in autism in California. "We're looking at the possible effects of metals, pesticides and infectious agents on neurodevelopment," said Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a co-author and professor at UC Davis.

The University of Texas -- Two studies led Ray Palmer, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center show increased risks for autism among kids living closest to mercury-emitting sources, such as coal-fired power plants.

Scientists at UC San Diego -- They wrote in the journal Autism that children given Tylenol after the MMR shot were several times more likely to develop autism. Tylenol can reduce levels of glutathione - a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. "Tylenol and MMR was significantly associated with autistic disorder," the authors wrote. "More research needs to be completed to confirm the results of this preliminary study."

The new administration of President Barack Obama also seems to recognize the need for independent studies. HHS Secretary Nominee Tom Daschle said in 2002 that, "Mercury-based vaccine preservatives actually have caused autism in children." And President Obama said on the campaign trail last year, that: "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it."

We could not agree more. The government must study the genetic and environmental factors that cause autistic symptoms such as neuro-inflammation and rapid brain growth, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, glutathione depletion and microglial activation.

Hard science is increasingly pointing to vaccines and heavy metals -- among other environmental triggers -- as suspects in the epidemic.

After eight years of secrecy and subterfuge by the Bush Administration, it is time to shed light on the government's abuse and mismanagement of autism research in this country - especially when it comes to investigating evidence of a link to vaccines.

23 The Great Denial of Vaccine Risks & Freedom
by Barbara Loe Fisher

The Great Denial of vaccine risks for the past three decades by vaccine makers, pediatricians and government officials operating the mass vaccination system is the reason why more and more parents today question and mistrust vaccine science, policy and law. When Harris Coulter and I co-authored DPT: A Shot in the Dark in 1985 exposing flaws in the mass vaccination system that allowed the highly reactive DPT vaccine to stay on the market unimproved for more than 40 years, we never imagined then that those tragic flaws in the system would remain largely intact in 2009.

I knew then that the alliance between industry, organized medicine and government was powerful. But it is only after a quarter century of witnessing the Great Denial of vaccine risks, which has produced millions of vaccine damaged children flooding special education classrooms and doctors offices, that the magnitude of that unchecked power has been fully revealed.

Thomas Jefferson, co-author of the U.S Constitution, said in 1820: "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." When those in power are so afraid of the truth that they abandon reason and are willing to tolerate all kinds of errors in order to hide the truth, people suffer.

Fear of the truth was clearly in play at a Jan. 14 meeting of the Federal Interagency Autism Advisory Committee (IACC) when the Committee took a convenient "re-vote" to nullify a previous vote to use a portion of congressionally appropriated funds in the Combating Autism Act of 2006 to investigate the long reported association between vaccination and autism. Whether the "re-vote" can be blamed on a turf war between federal agencies, a Committee member who defied direction given to her by her employer, Autism Speaks, or a desperate, last minute end-run by health officials to again delay the day when the truth about vaccine risks is known, it is the people who always lose in this high stakes game of denials and delays.

Thomas Jefferson had a lot to say about power, coercion and freedom. He said "Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons." Ask Rita Palma of New York what it means to be subjected to an inquisition about her religious beliefs by an arrogant and fallible man governed by passions and driven to harass and coerce her for private as well as public reasons. Click here and also click here to watch videos of an attorney, acting on behalf of the state of New York, as he puts Rita on the rack and browbeats her for her religious beliefs and faith in God when it comes to vaccinating her children.

Rita has been working with other parents in New York to support the addition of philosophical exemption to vaccination to New York vaccine laws to protect parents, who exercise religious exemptions, and doctors, who issue medical exemptions from harassment by state officials. A public Vaccine Education Roundtable was sponsored by New York Assemblymen Marc Alessi and Richard Gottfried on Dec. 15, 2008 at Stony Brook University to examine vaccine safety and informed consent issues.

Reason and faith, conscience and science, truth and freedom. Those who participate in the Great Denial of vaccine risks cannot tolerate an unbiased, methodologically sound scientific investigation into those risks. And they cannot tolerate the free exercise of religious belief and conscience by those, whose minds and bodies they must control in order to perpetuate the Great Denial.

In 1997, I was asked to present an argument for the moral right to conscientious belief exemption to vaccination to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. After my 20 minute presentation, there was a several hour "discussion" where I was grilled by public health officials who alternately acknowledged the importance of the informed consent principle and called me "selfish," a "threat to the public health" and "uninformed."

The defining moment of that encounter, for me at least, came when I looked the physician architect of the CDC-led "No shots, No school" campaign in the eye and said "Whether or not I put my child's life on the line for you and your vaccines is between me and my God and not between me and you, Doctor." The way he gritted his teeth and glared at me while his face flushed bright red, spoke volumes about what the Great Denial is all about. It is about whether we, the citizens, are going to have the power to freely choose which pharmaceutical products or other medical interventions we are going to use or whether that power is going to be taken from us by doctors and public health officials.

Jacobsen v. Massachusetts is the U.S. Supreme Court decision which affirmed the constitutional right of the states to enact mandatory vaccination laws. Concerned about controlling smallpox, little did the justices at the turn of the 20th century imagine that federal officials would someday recommend 69 doses of 16 vaccines for children from 12 hours of age through age 18 or that New Jersey would mandate more than three dozen doses of 13 vaccines for children to attend school. In an insightful review of that historic 1905 Supreme Court decision, the Harvard Law Review recently examined the application of Jacobsen v. Massachusetts to vaccine laws in the 21st century.

If one citizen or group of citizens in America are allowed to force fellow citizens to risk injury or death without their voluntary, informed consent, then are Americans free in any sense of the word? When forced risk-taking involves mandated use of pharmaceutical products protected from liability in the Judicial system, which the authors of the Constitution created as a check and balance on the Executive and Legislative branches of government, then people can be easily exploited for power and profit. Unless vaccines and other pharmaceutical products are subject to the law of supply and demand so citizens can freely choose those which are necessary, safe and effective and reject those which are not, the people become nothing more than enslaved consumers of potentially dangerous products marketed by companies with no economic or legal incentive to improve those products.

And if the state can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biologicals of unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.

As the 44th President of the United States is sworn in today in our nation's Capitol, we can only pray that he will have the intelligence, compassion and conscience to make sure that his Administration is not afraid to find out the truth about vaccine risks. With one child in six now developmentally delayed in America and no answers from government health officials as to how they got that way, our nation's future may depend on it.

The National Vaccine Information Center is prepared to stand with other parent groups representing families with vaccine injured children to call for an end to the Great Denial by those responsible for ensuring our children's health and safety.

Let freedom ring: No forced vaccination. Not in America.

24 The Implications of Hepatitis B Given at Birth: Ian's Story
The HepB vaccine is given at birth.

There is little justification for this vaccine being given at birth.  

According to information from the CDC on HepB....

Transmission: Contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids from having sex with an infected person, or from sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs.

Many parents can link the HepB vaccine specially to severe side effects in their children.  Personally, I know that shortly after receiving this vaccine at age 10, my daughter Kate went into convulsions and was left with a diagnosis of epilepsy.

No one was able to tell me why a bright, healthy, active girl suddenly started to have seizures.  They did every brain test imaginable, but everyone was mystified.


This link is to Ian's Voice, the story of the short life of Ian Larsen Gromowski.

This site is dedicated to giving voice to our son Ian Larsen Gromowski.  Our child died of an adverse reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine.  Our hope is that Ian's story will inspire you to learn the benefits and the risks of vaccines, so that your decisions are informed and best suited for your child.

We are Scott and Deanna Gromowski.  We live in southeast Wisconsin just outside of Milwaukee.

Pictures on this site may be difficult to view.

This was our son Ian's reality, though, once he received the hepatitis B vaccine.  We encourage you to see all of what Ian endured to grasp the depth of pain that characterized most of his life.

25 Federal Vaccine Court Rules Against Autism Families: Government's Refusal to Fund Sound Science Stacks Deck Against Vaccine-Injured Children
One more reason to distrust the government's vaccine program, says SafeMinds

Washington, D.C. - February 12, 2008 - Autism advocacy organization SafeMinds regrets today's ruling by the U.S Court of Federal Claims against three families who argued that vaccination contributed to their child's autism. The denial of reasonable compensation to families was based on inadequate vaccine safety science available to the court. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the defendant in vaccine injury cases and is also responsible for carrying out the very vaccine safety research that should be integral to court decisions. This conflict of interest means the deck is stacked against families when they enter "vaccine court" and is yet one more reason for parents to doubt the integrity of the National Immunization Program.

"The government has its thumb on the scales of justice," said Jim Moody, director of SafeMinds and an advisor to the Petitioners Steering Committee of the U.S Federal Court of Claims. "The Vaccine Injury Compensation Act passed by Congress in 1986 gave immunity to vaccine manufacturers and removed the incentive to create safer products. Meanwhile, the law only gives the illusion that parents will have their day in court. The process is dysfunctional and many families will not see justice done."

Two HHS agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are responsible for conducting vaccine safety research. Even leading vaccine proponents have accused the CDC of carrying out safety research "on the cheap," and two major systematic reviews of vaccine research by the world renowned Cochrane Collaboration have found studies to be of "poor quality" and "inadequate." The director of the NIH institute in charge of autism studies, Dr. Tom Insel, has admitted that HHS has a conflict of interest preventing NIH from allowing autism-vaccine science due to the court cases. Last month, the government-dominated Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee blocked critical vaccine-autism research studies from moving forward even though they had been requested by their own scientific advisors and autism advocates. HHS gives billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines and build vaccine factories, and the CDC spends billions of dollars to promote and expand the immunization of Americans, yet the CDC spends only $20 million on safety studies. Even this modest research has been placed off-limits to review by the lawyers representing the vaccine court families while the Department of Justice lawyers were allowed to use it.

"The government must fund an extensive vaccine safety program, including studies of the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated groups," stated Sallie Bernard, executive director of SafeMinds. "Trust in immunization will continue to deteriorate without the perception of a fair hearing. It is time for a neutral agency to oversee vaccine safety."

Over 5,000 petitions have been filed in the vaccine court alleging that vaccines caused a variety of damage to the developing brain, immune system, and other metabolic pathways ultimately giving rise to a diagnosis of autism. Already, the court has awarded approximately $5 million in compensation for such cases, of which the Hannah Poling case is the most well-known. Many of these cases were quietly settled by the government so the public is not aware of them. Thus the court has already decided that vaccine injury is linked to autism. Today's ruling against families demonstrates that the process is arbitrary. The question is not whether some cases of autism have a vaccine etiology. The government has admitted that. The only remaining question is how many kids have been injured - and what must be done now to treat these kids and prevent further injury.

SafeMinds wishes to recognize the bravery and perseverance of the three families who now face a lifetime of inadequate support for their disabled children.

The Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders) is a nonprofit organization founded to investigate and raise awareness of the risks to infants and children of exposure to mercury from medical products, including thimerosal in vaccines. Further information about SafeMinds and the harmful effects from mercury exposure may be found at www.safeminds.org.

26 National Autism Association Response to Autism Omnibus Court Decision
Link to NAA President Wendy Fournier on ABC News 6 in Providence, Rhode Island HERE.


Government Conceded One Year Ago that Vaccines Caused Autism; Today’s Ruling Demonstrates Backpedaling

Nixa, MO - Today’s ruling in vaccine court has thousands of families outraged at the federal government’s broken promise of medical care following a vaccine injury.
Last February, the government conceded that a child’s vaccinations led to her autism. Today, however, the government ruled in favor of itself in three cases filed in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) claiming vaccinations led to regressive autism. Advocates say they are disappointed in today’s rulings, but not surprised.

Last year’s concession brought the vaccination program bad publicity, casting suspicion on today’s outcome among parents and advocates. Others feel the rulings today will actually hurt the vaccination program more than it helps. “Parents make their decisions on whether or not to vaccinate based on trust in vaccine safety,” says NAA president and parent Wendy Fournier. “Parents are led to believe that should their child be injured by vaccines, the government would provide medical care. But the message today is that parents will be on their own should their child suffer a negative vaccine reaction.”

In 1986, the NVICP took effect for children born after October 1988. Unencumbered by litigation, drug companies had practically unfettered influence upon government vaccine program decision-makers, ensuring their vaccines were given to every child in America. But through the years, critics have argued that the program has become more like “Kangaroo Court” where no discovery phase is allowed and evidence pertinent to cases is inaccessible.

In the case of autism-related injuries in the NVICP, the government has refused to fund science looking into the connection between autism and vaccines, while also forbidding plaintiff access to the Vaccine Safety Database (VSD). “It’s difficult for parents to have a fair day in court when both funding for vaccine research and VSD access has been blocked,” says NAA Executive Director Rita Shreffler.

For years, thousands of parents have come forward with the same account: their perfectly healthy child regressed into a state of autism following well-baby checkups where vaccinations were received. But as more and more families come forward, they are repeatedly told it is merely a coincidence. “These children are basically collateral damage while parents receive the coincidence theory from pediatricians and federal health agencies,” says NAA board chair Lori McIlwain. “Thousands of parents have the same story. Will it still be considered a coincidence when we reach the millions?”

Since the NVICP was established, vaccines given to children have grown at an alarming rate and so have the rates of childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ADD, ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Autism and more. “As a nation, we have substituted acute illness with chronic disease and have produced the sickest generation of children ever in America,” says Shreffler. “New parents are not blind to this and the government’s reaction to the autism-vaccine connection creates further anxiety. The government is undermining the very program they’re trying to promote.”

27 Statement by Autism Speaks Regarding February 12 Vaccine Court Decision
Today the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ruled that the combination MMR vaccine -- with and without the preservative thimerosal -- did not contribute to three particular children's autism. These latest rulings are limited, and do not mitigate the need for further scientific investigation.

The causes of autism remain poorly understood. Autism Speaks funds an aggressive program of research on the causes and best treatments for autism. We will continue to support authoritative research that addresses unanswered questions about whether certain subgroups of individuals with particular underlying medical or genetic conditions may be more vulnerable to adverse effects of vaccines. While large scale studies have not shown a link between vaccines and autism, there are lingering legitimate questions about the safety of vaccines that must be addressed. Our families deserve nothing less than an exhaustive search using a rigorous scientific approach.

The millions of Americans affected by autism continue to seek answers to a wide array of critical questions, from what genetic and environmental factors may contribute to autism to how we can develop better treatments and effective methods for early diagnosis. Their everyday struggles and frustrations continue, as they fight for insurance coverage, services and access to education, while also bearing tremendous financial and emotional burdens.

Click here to read the decisions on the US Court of Federal Claims site

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Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides general information of interest to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources and TACA does not independently verify any of it. The views expressed herein are not necessarily TACA’s. TACA does not engage in lobbying or other political activities.

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