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Ruling Further Undercuts Autism-Vaccine Link

A recent judicial ruling adds to the mounting medical evidence that vaccines do not cause autism in children, according to a story in today's New York Times.

Donald G. McNeil, Jr. reports that "three judges ruled Friday in three separate cases that thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury, does not cause autism."

(Thimerasol, which was routinely used in vaccines more than a decade ago, has been removed from almost all children's vaccines.)

The judicial rulings, part of the so-called "Omnibus Autism Proceeding," which combined the cases of 5,000 families with autistic children seeking compensation from a federal vaccine injury fund, were strongly worded, the Times says:

The master in the King ruling emphasized that it was “not a close case” and “extremely unlikely” that Jordan’s autism was connected to his vaccines. The master in the Dwyer case wrote that many parents “relied upon practitioners and researchers who peddled hope, not opinions grounded in science and medicine.”

Patricia Campbell-Smith, the master in the Mead case, also dismissed two subarguments made by a few opponents of vaccines, saying they “have not shown either that certain children are genetically hypersusceptible to mercury or that certain children are predisposed to have difficulty excreting mercury.”

She also echoed a contention by vaccine defenders that a shot is safer than a tuna sandwich. “A normal fish-eating diet by pregnant mothers” is more likely to deposit mercury in the brain than vaccines are, she wrote.

But those arguments — like previous medical studies that have shown no link — did little to dampen the belief of some parents who are convined that the vaccine theory of autism is real.

The Times quotes one parent, Amy Carson, the founder of Moms Against Mercury, who has a son with brain damage, comparing the proceedings of the vaccine court to "the mice overseeing the cheese.”

This program aired on March 13, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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