The US Court of Federal Claims has ruled (Friday) that the evidence supporting an alleged causal link between autism and a mercury-containing preservative in vaccines is unpersuasive, and that the families of children diagnosed with autism are not entitled to compensation. Autism is a disorder that affects the social, emotional, and behavioral development of children. The rapid increase in incidence of autism in recent years is believed by many, to be related to the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine which is based on the chemical thimerosal which contains significant level of mercury. (see for example http://educate-yourself.org/cn/thimerosalpoisoning22jun05.shtml).
Many are not satisfied with the ruling. Indeed many feel the real reason the US government set up the special court (specifically to adjucate on the vaccine damage issue) is to side-step the regular courts who might look at things differently (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/12/vaccine.court.ruling.autism/index.html)
However things became much more dicey with the revelation that the man who provided the key scientific argument against the notion relating autism with vaccines is a fraudster. On the one hand, a statement from Aarhus University and reports in the Copenenhagen Post Online, indicate that the man, Dr Poul Thorsen, had used forged documents to steal $2 million from the Aarhus University in Denmark where he heads a research unit. Dr Thorsen was hired by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to prepare a series of studies that would exonerate thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine from any role in causing autism.(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/central-figure-in-cdc-vac_b_494303.html)
Earlier, Thorsen's partner Kreesten Madsen had come under fierce criticism after damning e-mails surfaced showing him (Madsen) in cahoots with CDC officials intent on fraudulently cherry picking facts to prove vaccine safety.
Though the veracity of the key studies involving Thorsen and Madsen is now in doubt, the special court has already made its pronouncements based mainly on these materials.
On the other hand, Dr Andrew Wakefield -one of the key scientists providing evidences linking the MMR vaccine with autism was severely persecuted and called “dishonest, irresponsible and callous” by a medical disciplinary board. Ironically, in the same week that this uncomplimentary label was pronounced, a new study was published proving Dr Wakefield correct in one of his major findings – that children with autism spectrum disorder also had inflammation in the ileum, part of the small intestine. The new study, from the New York University School of Medicine, discovered that 143 children with autism spectrum disorder also suffered from chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, and inflammation in the small intestine. (http://stephentvedten.blogspot.com/2010/03/mmr-vaccine-and-autism.html)