Dozens of autism cases (and perhaps more) currently filed in so-called Vaccine Court will almost certainly be compensated this year. Why? Because a little girl named Hannah Poling with a supposedly rare mitochondrial condition was recently compensated for her own vaccine injuries, including autism and epilepsy.
But I have personally identified at least a dozen (and there are reports of many more) children with cases in the court who meet the exact same medical criteria as Hannah, and whose cases will almost surely be compensated as well — each time with the attendant media fanfare.
My prediction is that, by Election Day, few Americans will still believe there is absolutely no evidence to link vaccines to at least some cases of regressive autism.
Thus speaks David Kirby in the Huffington Post. On the last point I have no doubt that he is correct. In fact, I’ll take it one step further – few citizens of the world, let alone America ill still believe there is absolutely no evidence to link vaccines to at least some cases of regressive autism.
However, I wish, with all due respect to David, like to highlight the differences in the above statement and the subtitle of his famous book. David talks of linking ‘vaccines to at least some cases of regressive autism’.
That’s quite a tentative statement when compared with the strapline ‘Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic’
But that is really a side issue that I simply can’t resist highlighting. The main talking point was – by a strange quirk of irony – also published today as was David’s piece. The irony comes from David’s certainty that the Poling case means something in the greater scheme of vaccines/autism hypotheses. Once again, he makes the claim that her vaccines was a cause of her autism and once again he thinks this has a meaning to the science.
As my regular readers will note I have – with some frustration – been blogging the responses of some Mitochondrial heavy hitters in recent weeks. They don’t want to be unmasked on my blog but perhaps some of them are happier talking to the mainstream media.
In an article in Scientific American, Nikhil Swaminathan (whom I spent a couple of hours chatting to long distance recently) talks to Salvatore DiMauro who is perhaps the ‘heaviest hitter’ of them all when it comes to mitochondrial issues. He says:
the point mutation mentioned in Poling’s case history–published in the Journal of Child Neurology–would imply that both she and her mother carried the genetic variation in all their tissues. So, he says, “you would expect to see the same results” in both the mother and the daughter. But Poling’s mother, Terry, who is an attorney and a registered nurse, is not autistic.
That suggests the genetic defect responsible for Poling’s condition is part of her nuclear DNA, which is separate from the mitochondrial variety, says DiMauro. This means that, scientifically, from the documents presented in the vaccine court, the Polings did not make a case that deserved compensation.
Shoffner notes that parents and advocates looking to impugn vaccines as triggers for autism—or mitochondrial disease—need direct, not just circumstantial, evidence. “If you were sitting in a waiting room full of people and one person suddenly fell ill or died or something,” he says, “would you arrest the person sitting right next to them?”
And then there is the killer quote:
Jon Poling, says Shoffner, has been “muddying the waters” with some of his comments. “There is no precedent for that type of thinking and no data for that type of thinking,” Shoffner says.
He’s absolutely right of course.
Jon Poling is in severe danger of becoming the new Andrew Wakefield. If I was going to be presumptuous enough to offer him advice I would urge him to take a step back and consider what he is doing. It is clear that he and his wife have been flirting with the vaccine hypotheses for a number of years. And now already his co-authors are disagreeing with him.