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Court Says Vaccine Not the Cause of Autism
Date:2/12/2009

e Wakefield's original paper was published in The Lancet, numerous studies have failed to find a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In February 2008, British researchers reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that their large study failed to uncover a connection. The researchers based their finding on a sample of 240 children -- 98 who had been diagnosed with autism, and two comparison groups: 52 children with special educational needs who were not autistic; and 90 children who had no developmental problems.

And a large-scale U.S. Institute of Medicine review in 2004 also failed to uncover a link between childhood vaccines and autism.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created in 1988 as, among other things, a venue for resolving vaccine injury claims. In 2001, parents began filing claims contending that some childhood vaccinations could cause autism spectrum disorders. The Office of Special Masters issued a general order in 2002, establishing a procedure for addressing this so-called "Omnibus Autism Proceedings."

According to CNN, the families filing claims fall into three categories: those alleging that MMR vaccines and vaccines containing thimerosal in combination can cause autism; those claiming that only thimerosal-containing vaccines can do such damage; and those who claim MMR vaccines not including thimerosal can cause autism.

Thursday's court ruling concerned only families in the first category, the news network said.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health says that one American child in 150 has been diagnosed with autism, although experts wonder if that increasing number is due in part to better diagnoses and a broader definition of the disorder.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on childhood vaccinations.


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