“Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?”

by Walter Olson on May 8, 2009

A major article in the new Discover. We’ve been covering Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (and his ties to the mass-tort litigation business) for a long time.

{ 5 comments }

1 Todd Rogers 05.08.09 at 5:13 pm

Answer to question in headline: People love a good story. People love a good David v. Goliath story. People love a good David v. Goliath story which attempts to explain why seemingly normal kids suddenly start acting not so normally. People love a good David v. Goliath story about normals kids suddenly acting not so normal when a) a doctor says Goliath caused the problem and b) if you or a loved one is suffering from Goliath, please call the number on your screen…you may be entitled to compensation. Oh, and Jenny McCarthy is pretty hot…let’s not forget that part.

2 Invid 05.08.09 at 5:30 pm

Also add the fact that they can’t do real double-blind studies (is it ethical to give thousands of babies placebo injections) so all that is left for both sides is conjecture.

That Discover article starts out funny because the 1st paragraph argues that, because a Court made a ruling, autism cannot be caused by vaccines. I think I would prefer something a little more solid.

3 PhilG 05.09.09 at 8:37 pm

Interestingly there was also an article in the Los Angeles Times on May 3 by Dr. Ryan Coller, the incoming chief resident in Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine discussing the problem he has been having with parents refusing needed vaccination of their children because of unfounded fear of autism. In the article, he discusses the Lancet study that was also discussed in the Discover article and the subsequent discovery of the severe ethical and scientific flaws with it. But Dr. Coller goes even further than the Discover article when he says that an allegation is that the lead author of the Lancet study “received funding from lawyers representing a group that believed their children were harmed by the MMR vaccine. ” You can read Dr. Coller’s article at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-coller3-2009may03,0,4461231.story

4 William Nuesslein 05.10.09 at 6:35 am

Invid,

Double blind studies are the gold standard in Medical Studies, but one can get information without them in some cases. The conjecture that thimerosal causes autism is disproved when removal of thimerosal has no effect on incidence of autism, and the incidence actually increases. There is no evidence at all that vaccines cause autism but there is overwhelming evidence that vaccines prevent disease in a big time way. The vaccine court’s ruling reflect the data, it was not pulled out of its rear in as what your standard of proof.

5 Dirk D 05.10.09 at 8:31 am

The link is also disproved (at least as to MMR) when you do large scale retrospective studies and find that the incidence rate of Autism is as high in unvaccinated children as it is in those who received the MMR vaccine. In the case of vaccines and autism, you would likely need double blind studies to prove that vaccines cause autism but you do not need a double blind study to show that there is no correlation little lone causation.

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