Thursday, February 12, 2009

No MMR and Autism Spectrum Disorder Link- U.S. Court

An American court has ruled that there was no proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

The Special Court of Federal Claims, reviewing three test cases, said the petitioners had "failed to demonstrate" that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine could contribute to autism.

Referring to one of the cases, special master George Hastings said the parents of a child with the disorder had been "misled" by physicians who were guilty in his view of "gross medical misjudgment".

In another of the rulings, the theories of causation were described as "speculative and unpersuasive".

Concern over the MMR vaccine first surfaced in the late 1990s following a report by Andrew Wakefield and others in the Lancet.

Largely discredited by the scientific community, Mr Wakefield's claims have since seen him being called before a disciplinary hearing of the General Medical Council.

Fears in the US have seen a rush of parents seeking compensation, resulting in the three test cases being ruled on.

But the court's rulings emphatically restated the belief that there is no proven link, and as such the families involved were not entitled to compensation.

In one case, special master Denise Vowell ruled that to conclude that the child's condition was the result of the MMR vaccine "an objective observer would have to emulate Lewis Carroll's White Queen and be able to believe six impossible (or, at least, highly improbable) things before breakfast".

The rulings referred to both MMR jabs and vaccines containing the preservative thiomersol. It was also ruled that the MMR jab does not contribute to gastrointestinal dysfunction.