Monday, July 30, 2007

Myth: Autism Omnibus Hearings Have Not Included Evidence About MMR

Recently, there have been several comments, news-stories and posts that disseminate the misunderstanding that the Autism Omnibus Hearings have not included rigorous discussion of the MMR vaccine. A number of the experts testify about their involvement in the UK MMR class action legal case and have included some of that research in this case. It should be noted that the UK legal case was solely concerned with the MMR vaccine; the Autism Omnibus Hearings and the UK case involve many of the same experts as witnesses.

Dr Kinsbourne makes this pertinent comment during his cross examination (pdf) (albeit he is corrected by the Special Master who states that it was the Petitioners Steering Committee who chose to apportion the causation issues into the three categories):
The Special Master designated three questions for us at the beginning of the proceedings. Number one was about the relationship between thimerosal and immune function. The second was the relationship between the measles or MMR vaccination and autism. The third one was about collaboration as it were between thimerosal and the MMR in the causation of autism.

I see myself as addressing number two, the relationship between MMR and autism.
[pg. 150 of 191 or 1172: Day 5]
Many of the experts explictly included discussion of MMR, the presence of measles vaccine virus in the gut and the confidence in the integrity of laboratory findings of measles virus in gut and CSF samples. Mr Matanoski of the legal team for the Secretary of Health and Human Services made MMR part of the second part of his opening comments on Day 6 (pdf):
We want you to be sure in your own mind that MMR vaccine is not causing autism because you've had good evidence to look at and consider on that...[pg 10 of 345]

A serious accusation has been leveled. A serious accusation has been leveled against an important part of the public health arsenal against a preventable disease. An accusation has been leveled that MMR vaccine causes autism. That accusation must be answered, and we will answer it...

This accusation goes against a vaccine that is designed to prevent a killing disease. [pg 11 of 345]

...we are going to put on the evidence this morning and throughout this week that will allow you to effectively deal with that and tto show you that MMR vaccine is indeed safe. [pg 16 of 345]

You heard from Dr. Hepner [one of the petitioners' expert witnesses: Day 3], and frankly, I think the PSC [Petitioners' Steering Committee] may have cringed at one part of her testimony, that is, when she said that MMR vaccine causing autism is an unproven hypothesis. [pg 18 of 345]
Mr Powers, for the Petitioners Steering Committee (PSC), said the following as part of his closing statement on Day 12 (pdf):
You have a case here [the Cedillo case] that is a test case for the theory, the general theory that a combination of exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines with a significant dose of ethyl mercury early in a child's life, combined then with MMR, can result in a complex system response that prsent symptoms that can get diagnosed as autism.

And in particular a suppressed immune system from the thimerosal in the vaccines, the introduction of the attenuated live measles virus then persists, and the persistence of that virus leading to a complex biological process of disease...
[pg 19 of 49 or 2887]
From the same transcript of Day 12, the following remarks are drawn from the Respondents' legal representative, Mr Matanoski:
You need to find whether Michelle Cedillo's autism occurred before her vaccine. You need to find whether the PSC has proven that autistic spectrum disorders can be caused by MMR.

Whether or not there's inflammation in Michelle's Cedillo bowel or intestines, you need to find whether or not MMR can cause autistic spectrum disorder.
[pg 30 of 49 or 2898]
The following remarks are taken from the same transcript of Day 12 but from wrap-up statement of Special Master Hastings:
the parties for both sides have presented evidence not just about the particulars of Michelle's case, but also about the general causation theory, the first general causation theory of the Petitioners Steering Committee. That is, the general theory that MMR vaccines and thimerosal-containing vaccines can combine to cause autism.
[pg 47 of 49 or 2915]
The following references are all to pdf files. I have included those transcripts that explictly include discussion of: MMR; the impact of the wild measles virus on the brain; the presence of measles vaccine virus in the gut; and the confidence in the integrity of laboratory findings of measles virus in gut and CSF samples.

Day 2: Dr Krigsman

Day 3: Drs Hepner and Kennedy

Day 4: Dr Byers

Day 5: Dr Kinsbourne

Day 6: Matanoski Esq.'s Opening; Drs Fombonne and Cook

Day 7: Dr Witnitzer

Day 8: Drs Ward and Bustin

Day 9: Drs Hanauer and McCusker

Day 10: Drs Chadwick and Brent

Day 11: Drs Fombonne and Griffin

Day 12: Mrs Cedillo and closing statements by Powers Esq. for Petitioners Steering Committee and Matanoski Esq. for Respondents

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