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Education Reporter

U.S. Federal Court Admits Vaccines 'Aggravated' Autism
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For the first time, a federal court has conceded a link between autism and vaccinations, a link some parents, as well as organizations such as the National Autism Association, have suspected for years. While the federal Department of Health and Human Services maintains that vaccines have no effect on autism, The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of a child who regressed into autism, apparently as a result of vaccines.

Several of the vaccines in the case contained thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative once found in most vaccines. Because mercury is a toxic substance, authorities have recommended that vaccine manufacturers stop using it. It is still found, however, in most flu shots and in some other vaccines. Those who suspect vaccines of causing autism are most concerned about the presence of thimerosal in these shots.

The child in this case had a mitochondrial disorder, which the vaccines she received "aggravated," leading ultimately to a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, a Medical Controversy, wrote about the decision for the Huffington Post. "This concession could conceivably make it more difficult for some officials to continue insisting there is 'absolutely no link' between vaccines and autism. . . . The United States government is compensating at least one child for vaccine injuries that resulted in a diagnosis of autism. And that is big news, no matter how you want to say it."

Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, agreed on the importance of the court's decision. "This case echoes the stories of thousands of children across the country," she said. "With almost 5,000 similar cases pending in vaccine court, we are confident that this is just the first of many that will confirm what we have believed for so long — vaccines can and do cause children to regress into autism." (WorldNetDaily, 2-29-08)

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