Autism and Vaccines Are Not Linked, Court Declares

By Eliza Strickland | February 12, 2009 4:16 pm

gavel stethoscopeAlthough the vast majority of the scientific establishment has loudly declared for years that there is no link between autism and childhood vaccinations, some parents with autistic children have persisted in making the claim, and even brought the matter to a special federal court. Now, the judges appointed to rule on the first cases have added their voices to those of the scientists, stating that there is no such link. One of the officials, George Hastings, said the parents had “been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.” Hastings said that he was deeply moved by the suffering autism imposed on families … but that “the evidence advanced by the petitioners has fallen far short of demonstrating . . . a link” [Washington Post].

The parents had brought their cases to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which was set up to compensate the very few people who suffer serious side effects from vaccines. Rather than have these victims sue vaccine makers in regular court — potentially putting the manufacturers out of business and jeopardizing a major component of the country’s public health infrastructure — the court set up a “no-fault” system that required victims to prove to a special master only that vaccines harmed them, and not that anyone intentionally caused the harm [Washington Post]. In 2001, parents of children with autism began filing petitions with the program asking for compensation. Of the 12,850 cases ever filed through the program, about 5,535 represented autism cases [AP].

Today’s ruling involved three test cases which were selected for a full hearing, involving tens of thousands of documents and hours of oral arguments. The families argued that their children’s autism was brought on by the presence of thimerosal, a mercury vaccine preservative, by the weakened measles virus used in the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, or by a combination of the two [The New York Times]. The parents maintained that their children showed no signs of autism before getting the vaccines, but doctors say that parents are being confused by coincidence. Autism is often diagnosed around 18 months, they say, the same age when children get several vaccines.

The “vaccine court” has a different standard of proof than other parts of the legal system: Plaintiffs don’t have to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt, they just have to show that the preponderance of the evidence supports their claims. That the proponents of the autism-vaccine link were unable to meet that lower standard is particularly telling, doctors say. As pediatrician Paul Offit puts it: “It’s a great day for science, it’s a great day for America’s children when the court rules in favor of science” [AP].

Related Content:
Bad Astronomy: Court rules no link between autism and vaccines!
Reality Base: And So It Begins: U.S. Sees Big Measles Spike in Unvaccinated Kids
Reality Base: While the Anti-Vax Movement Strengthens, Their Arguments Only Get Weaker
DISCOVER: Childhood Vaccines’ Link to Autism Is Debunked
DISCOVER: Autism’s Source: It’s Not the Shot

Image: iStockphoto

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Grant

    I’m curious to know what exactly thimerosal, or mercury specifically, does to the body once it’s introduced to the bloodstream.
    What does it do to the various bodily tissues? And as these parents are claiming that it caused autism in children, I’d like to know what it does to the brain.
    What happens to a cell, specifically a brain cell, when it absorbs mercury? What happens to DNA when mercury is present?
    There are a lot of people out there saying a lot of stuff about this and I learnt when I was a kid that mercury is toxic. I really want to know these simple details, and all the simple details, so that I can see plainly why mercury is not toxic.
    I feel so uninformed about this subject. I’ll have a (really quick, because I’m at work) look around the Internet for some answers and perhaps I’ll post some information here for people with simular questions, once I have some.

  • Grant

    Ok, I’ve found this: – “Mercury is not essential to living cells and performs no known biological function.”
    There’s some interesting information there and it worth a look.

    And also on Mercury poisoning:
    “Affected children may show red cheeks and nose, erythematous lips (red lips), loss of hair, teeth, and nails, transient rashes, hypotonia (muscle weakness), and photophobia. Other symptoms may include kidney disfunction (e.g. Fanconi syndrome) or neuropsychiatric symptoms (emotional lability, memory impairment, insomnia).” –
    And there’s this:
    “Thiomersal, a preservative that contains mercury, has been added to vaccines to prevent their deterioration since the 1930s.[9] No adverse effects of thiomersal have ever been proven, although some allergic reactions have been noted.[citation needed] Its use in vaccines has been hypothesized as a cause of autistic behaviors.[43] This hypothesis is controversial, as much evidence suggests that about 90% of autism is explained by genetics.[44] The hypothesis has not been confirmed by reliable studies.[45]”

    I didn’t really want to find information stating that “yes it does” or “no it doesn’t” cause autism. I was hoping to find information about exactly how it does or doesn’t cause autism on a cellular level, but I’ve run out of time (lunch break over, gotta get back to work).
    I’ll check back later to see if anybody else has commented.

  • Bob Snyder

    Thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative) is a very effective preservative that has been used since the 1930s to prevent contamination in some multi-dose vials of vaccines (preservatives are not required for vaccines in single dose vials). Thimerosal contains approximately 49% ethylmercury. There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999 the Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.

    The FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research (CBER) began by adding up the total amount of mercury given to children through vaccines in the U.S. immunization schedule. Thimerosal was present in over 30 licensed vaccines in the U.S. in concentrations of 0.003% to 0.01%. According to the agency’s calculations, an infant six months old, receiving all vaccine doses on schedule, would receive:

    75 micrograms of mercury from three doses of DTP,
    75 micrograms from three doses of Hib, and
    37.5 micrograms from three doses of hepatitis B vaccine;

    for a total of 187.5 micrograms of mercury.

    As for your question about the toxicity of mercury, yes it is toxic. But what you should be asking is at what levels? The levels differ from children to adults. For a discussion about that topic i suggest you navigate to the link above(I do not know whether it is reliable but it does seem to be objective) or some reliable, objective source that other people may post. But i stress the requirements of reliable and objective as there are plenty of Joe Schmoe Blogs with “facts” and the “truth.”

  • Bruce Voigt

    Grant — nutrition, absorbed by circulating blood, speed up the orbiting nuclei of the blood cells nucleus, the aura of this in turn nudges the orbit nuclei speed of a slowed body cell.

    This feat is performed by an atomic reaction that turns water to expanding gas.

    Thimerosal, mercury etc, less severe but basicly the same as when you get bit by a poisonous snake or tangle with a jelly fish, poison does not go through the digestive system and is introduced directly to a blood cell.
    This reaction changes a large proportion of water of the cell to expanding gas and virtually blows the blood cell apart.

  • Mark

    Uh … @Bruce Voigt: You just made all that up on-the-go, right…? Atomic reaction, orbiting nuclei, Aura, poison snakes, jellyfish – all that’s not even wrong, it’s pure fantasy. The descriptions and mechanisms of varying poisons of snakes and jellyfish fill DOZENS of tomes, and NONE of that has any to do with “turning water into expanding gas.”


  • Daniel J. Andrew

    The most common childhood vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella aka MMR) hasn’t contained thimerosal for many years, and since 2001 it hasn’t been in “routinely recommended childhood vaccines” with the exception of some flu vaccines.

  • Bruce Voigt

    Mark — Nutrition is an invisible force resulting from digestion. Digestion releases invisible, active, nano cells from dead food matter.

    Blood cells at the small intestine absorb nutrition to be distributed to cells as needed throughout the body.

    All cells incorporate a nucleus; its nuclei are in the same direction orbit in and close proximity to the cell. This creates two poles horizontally to the nuclei orbit direction. Through centrifugal force, orbit speed will determine the tugging at both poles. Evolving nuclei at both poles have the same nucleus make-up and when the cell is pulled apart the pole nuclei centers to the membrane mass creating a new nucleus (cell division).

    When the orbiting nuclei of the cell’s nucleus slow it draws nutrition from a blood cell. This causes an atomic explosion creating heat. Heat breaks down water, producing gases. The molecules of these gasses are much smaller than body molecules and find their way to the skin surface to be turned back into water by interacting with the temperature ‘cold’ (sweat). This procedure is the same for body fluids.

    Mature food will have its cell orbiting nuclei slowed. Seeds have high speed; they can be slowed by crushing, as rolled oats for porridge, or flour for white bread. Cooking slows orbiting nuclei speed in all food.

    Fish will have a slower cell nuclei speed and keeping livestock, including pig and chicken, vegetarians is of importance.

    The manure of cattle smells different because of the sour food they have been fed. This sour food has influenced new bacterium not only within cattle eating this food but also passes this new gene to its offspring.

    The taste of food is the strain of bacteria. This is the reason food tastes different around the globe. Wheat is wheat and cattle are cattle but their taste depends on what they feed on. You can quit feeding sour food to cattle but it’s too late. A new bacteria producing foul manure has evolved and you will just have to adjust to the new tastes of food.

    Not knowing true nutrition, science meddles in concoctions of medicine called steroids, multivitamins etc. etc.

    This concentrated food with its fast cell nuclei orbit, forces the body cell nuclei orbit to speed up creating energy. The age and the health of a person will determine the amount of damage these concoctions do. A seemingly healthy athlete most certainly has injured cells throughout the body. These injured cells have a slower nuclei orbit and are no longer predator and become prey. This produces muscle pain, arthritis, cancer etc.

    The aura of food produced by digestion is picked up and carried by blood cells. Body cells feed on this force as required. An explosive reaction takes place between the aura of food and the aura of the body cell nucleus. This reaction is the cause of body temperature. High temperature in turn breaks down water. The gas H2O, now a force, seeps through the body intermingling with the energy and cooler temperature at the skin producing water (H2OET) sweat.

    As evolution continues, info cells or the body aura intermingle with H2OET, or sweat, producing bacterium. This bacterium is first detected by smell. If it is not washed away and is left alone to mutate you will notice, with a good magnifying glass, things with legs. Before this happens though there will be someone to instigate a bathing. Some of these things with legs continue evolution by feeding on skin flakes and the comfy warmth supplied by you. These recently discovered ‘things’ have been named bed mites and through their evolution just may become Earth’s next dinosaur.
    Nutrition is the spirit of what you have eaten.

    Sigh …

  • Bruce Voigt

    Vaccines, no matter what they comprise are at some level poison.

    It’s that time again, have you considered a flu shot?

    So you want to do the right thing and spend some time floging through the material (tons of it) and you know something, they are right on every thing, do it don’t do it, it’s got this and that in it and on and on and on, all this info will drive you nuts but they are right.

    My take on this flu shot thing is short and uncomplicated, it goes like this;

    A flu shot is like sending in cats to kill rats and it works but now what the H do you send in to kill the cats!

  • David

    The founder of has pointed out that since anyone can edit an article, people who use it as a reference are idiots.

  • Bruce Voigt

    Something new every day!
    Autism may be caused by things like Vaccines and Nutrition influencing the slowing of brain cell nuclei orbit speed but I suspect magnetisim to be the culpert.

    The Earth force magnetism has been weakening and magnetism is another component that prods the orbiting nuclei of cells (including the brain) to maintain the speed that keeps us high up on the food chain.

    We have this in premonition, invention, like when the hair on the back of your neck stands or something staring, you know what I mean.

    All life requires its food after digestion (aura to be absorbed by the blood) to have a slower orbiting nuclei than the cell it is to stimulate. If it does not then you get a tummy ache or die! Fat is our safety device.

    The animal is not running from your gun, it can sense its food and it will determine through your info cells (scent) that you are predator not prey.

    Now here is the thing

    Man kind (because of brain stimulation been less) like the animal is more able to process info cells. Particularly in the past 100 years or so. Where these info cells come from giving us the transistor and every thing else will be another chapter.

    The thing is that you should be concerned because a lot of the problems like animal attacks, autism, attention deficit, downs syndrome and the likes can be avoided.

  • Drew F

    Bruce… Who in the world told you this stuff.

    For the uneducated person you probably sound like you know what your talking about. We are talking Science not “auras” or “predator cells” turning into “prey.” Why don’t you try to back your off kilter views with some type of scientific research and cite it.

    I know why.

    Because you have taken a few too many hits on the ole peace pipe. You have taken a few entry level biology/physics courses and mixed them with untrue outdated beliefs.

    Let me guess you still believe in using leeches to treat vile humors…

    Wow you’re an inspiration for college kids everywhere to stay in school.


    – To keep on topic * I’m glad they ruled against the autism link.

  • Drew F

    * sound like you know what “you’re” talking about.

  • Grant

    Bruce…. Wow. Quite a pretty picture you’re painting there, but when I was back in school looking at cells through microscopes (admittedly some 11, 12 years ago) I don’t remember them spinning, or any explosion when nutrition was getting absorbed. I think I can remember seeing some type of cells dismantling other cells and absorbing them, but it was a while ago.
    David, thanks for the input. But in the future, perhaps it would be constructive to try to refrain from calling random people idiots.
    Drew, would you happen to have any technical details? Cheers!
    Bob Snyder, thankyou for the link, I’ve just opened it and I’ll start reading now.
    I really enjoy the Discover Mag blogs, but this article is a little ambiguious and feel a little in the dark…. But I’m not at all blameless in that regard. There are a 5 refernce links for the article that I’ve not yet opened, so I’m going to have a look at those too.

  • Grant

    Bob, that site you linked to had this link:

    Compelling… In fact, if it’s accurate, it’s damning.

  • Bruce Voigt

    Drew — No one told me this stuff, your getting it from the horses mouth. “New STUPH”
    PS — To experience AURA take two magnets and —

    Grant — Things are smaller than what you have been lead to believe, we only see the results of these. All cells are basicly the same and to see with your very own eyes you must explore larger cells like the Earth and Universe.

    Unknown to education and science are the true workings of fire, water, air, light, magnetism, sound, sight, cold, hot. electricity, earthquakes, tides–and I could go on and on. I ask you, without knowing the truth of such things, how in bloody H can one determine the simple operations of the body (Autism)?

  • jphysics

    Has there ever been a study done on pushing the MMR back, so that it doesn’t fall in that 18 month window that is typically when autism occurs? I know some of it has to do with how many vaccines kids need to get and trying to space them out, as well as not delaying too long to create increased risks of exposure. But since there is a theory that a kind of autism occurs at 18 months, wouldn’t changing the age for MMR vaccine show or disprove the link?

  • brazzab

    I wonder if this will have any effect on the MMR=>Autism sector

    @Bruce Voigt: It’s either (brilliant) parody or you really need help

    I can recommend “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre (ISBN-10: 0007240198)

    and his blog

    Of course, if your comments are parody you’ll already be aware of this, if you’re closed minded you’ll ignore everything as it doesn’t fit your world view, but if you are merely misinformed you’ll have your eyes opened.

  • Bruce Voigt

    brazzab — None of the above including (brilliant) heck I have yet to figure out the light bulb! I just call it the way I see it not the way I am told to see it!

    This may seem off topic but to understand the phenomenon of Autisim you must first understand other phenomenon.
    Does a whale have a problem with buoyancy when its huge lungs are full of air?

    Ask anyone else and this question will be answered wrong! “The correct answer is” — In the breath, air is restricted causing a reaction that causes cooling producing water from H2O of the air. This water, by an atomic reaction will then be turned into the gas H2O to be absorbed by cells of the body as needed.

    The air that changed to water is now under the “influence of gravity” and the remaining air is under the influence of “the force centrifugal”. (Forces of equal evolution act upon forces of equal evolution).

    It is this transformation that allows the ease of submerging and surfacing.

    This equilibrium has the seal appearing to snooze (hibernation) as it descends to the bottom. At the bottom hunting (swimming) its cells are absorbing the gas H2O. Water changing to gas is depleted and the animal is forced to surface. If the seal swam to the bottom its hunting time would be limited.

    A simple phenomenon is the temperature Cold. All cells, quarks, nuclei, blood, earth etc produce cold from their poles. We see this on our planet what we don’t detect is the cold from the poles of say a skin cell. The ratio of cold emitting from cells is so minute as to go unnoticed except of course the big cell Earth.

    Every cell has a nucleus with orbiting bits of itself (nuclei) and individually con zillions of these are in harmony with the cell until a reaction causes the particles to repel one another. Individually these particles have the same energy as the parent two poled cell (Nuclear Fusion). Now you will notice the cold being produced.

    As an example take an air cell and cause a reaction! OK just blow on your hand.

    brazzab — you are probably now thinking, why should I know this! Well at this time life is having difficulty handling large gas cells. The beached whale is just after oxygen being produced by the wake along the shore. If your thing is to save them take a bottle of oxygen with you. Closer to home we have Autisim, Sars, Asama all kinds of people running around with hoses hanging out of their nose. Obviously we should know as much about the lungs as possible. So now with your new knowledge you can advise the education system that by taking a breath you are restricting the air producing a reaction of cooling that changes H2O of the gas that you have inhaled to water and now all you need is an atomic reaction (heat) to change the created water back to oxygen. Let them know about this, it will save lives.

  • Adam

    Bruce Voigt… are you insane?

    You need to go back to grade 8 science or something, but man…

  • barb

    The current vaccine/autism research has been like this obese lady.

    She eats pies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and candies. She give us eating peanut-butter fudge. Then she moans and groans. She has proven over and over and over again every time that she gives up one food that sweets do not cause obesity. She gave up the fudge for a year and didn’t lose an ounce!

    Dr. Andrew Moulden has done the research that connects vaccines and autism. You can watch his videos on youtube or his website brainguardmd. All vaccines cause ministrokes.

    Also many autistic children have severe food allergies which is also caused by vaccinations! There is a new book out “The History of the Peanut Allergy Epidemic” by Heather Fraser. She found some interesting facts:

    The WHO and FDA decided that refined peanut oil is GRAS and does not have to be listed on the package insert of pharmaceuticals. If you want to know if peanut oil is an ingredient in a vaccine, you are not entitled to know because it is a protected trade secret.

    Peanut allergy is epidemic among our vaccinated children. 1 in 125 have a SEVERE peanut allergy which means they could die if they smell peanuts.

    I want full disclosure of all ingredients on all pharmaceutical products… how about you?

  • Melissa

    Why haven’t there been any studies on the occurence of Autism in completely unvaccinated children? From what I understand there was a small regional study done but because of the limited data obtained the study was inconclusive. It seems to me if you compare the vaccinated children to the unvaccinated children on a large scale, we should all have an answer to the vaccination debate.

  • Rubye Hupe

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