Government concedes vaccine injury case.Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund, the Associated Press reported March 5.
Medical and legal experts say the narrow wording and circumstances probably make the case an exception, not a precedent for thousands of other pending claims.
The government "has not conceded that vaccines cause autism autism (ô`tĭzəm), developmental disability resulting from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. ," said Linda Renzi, the lawyer representing federal officials, who have consistently maintained that childhood shots are safe.
However, parents and advocates for autistic autistic /au·tis·tic/ (aw-tis´tik) characterized by or pertaining to autism. children see the case as a victory that may help certain others. Although the science on this is very limited, the girl's disorder may be more common in autistic children than in healthy ones.
Nearly 5,000 families are seeking compensation for autism or other developmental disabilities developmental disabilities (DD),
n.pl the pathologic conditions that have their origin in the embryology and growth and development of an individual. DDs usually appear clinically before 18 years of age. they blame on vaccines and a mercury-based preservative, thimerosal thimerosal /thi·mero·sal/ (thi-mer´o-sal) an organomercurial antiseptic that is antifungal and bacteriostatic for many nonsporulating bacteria, used as a topical antiinfective and as a pharmaceutical preservative. . It once was commonly used to prevent bacterial contamination but since 2001 has been used only in certain flu shots. Some cases contend that the cumulative effect of many shots given at once may have caused injuries.
The cases are before a special "vaccine court" that doles out cash from a fund Congress set up to pay people injured by vaccines and to protect makers from damages as a way to help ensure an adequate vaccine supply. The burden of proof is lighter than in a traditional court, and is based on a preponderance of evidence A standard of proof that must be met by a plaintiff if he or she is to win a civil action.
In a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the facts and claims asserted in the complaint. . Since the fund started in 1988, it has paid roughly 950 claims, none for autism.
Studies repeatedly have discounted any link between thimerosal and autism, but legal challenges continue.
The girl has a disorder involving her mitochondria, the energy factories of cells. The disorder, which can be present at birth from an inherited gene or acquired later in life, impairs cells' ability to use nutrients, and often causes problems in brain functioning. It can lead to delays in walking and talking.
Federal officials say the law bars them from discussing the case or releasing documents without the family's permission. However, AP obtained a copy of the concession by Department of Health and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS officials.
According to the document, five vaccines the girl received on one day in 2000 aggravated her mitochondrial mitochondrial
pertaining to mitochondria.
a unique set of tRNAs, mRNAs, rRNAs, transcribed from mitochondrial DNA by a mitochondrial-specific RNA polymerase, that account for about 4% of the total cell RNA that condition, predisposing her to metabolic problems that manifested as worsening brain function "with features of autism spectrum disorder." In the 1990s, the definition of autism was expanded to take in a group of milder, related conditions, which are known as autism spectrum disorders.
The document does not address whether it was the thimerosal--or something else entirely in the vaccines--that was at fault.
The compensation fund lists problems with brain function as a rare side effect of certain vaccines. Such problems are enough on their own to warrant compensation, even without autism-like symptoms, and the fund has made numerous payouts in such cases.
The Health Resources and Services Administration The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services whose goal is to improve access to health care for those without insurance. , which is in charge of the fund, said: "HRSA HRSA Health Resources & Services Administration (US)
HRSA Historical Radio Society of Australia
HRSA Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety
HRSA Hotel and Restaurant Suppliers Association (Canada) has maintained and continues to maintain the position that vaccines do not cause autism."
A Portuguese study suggested that 7% of autistic children might also have the mitochondrial disorder, versus one in 5,000 people, or 0.02%, in the general population, Marvin Natowicz, M.D., a Cleveland Clinic geneticist ge·net·i·cist
A specialist in genetics.
a specialist in genetics.
geneticist , told AP.
"Even if they're off by a factor of seven" and only 1% are afflicted, "it's still a striking statistic," he said.
Others said they doubt the Georgia case will have much effect.
"No link between mitochondrial disorders and autism spectrum disorder has been made in mainstream medicine," said Michael Pichichero, M.D., of the University of Rochester The University of Rochester (UR) is a private, coeducational and nonsectarian research university located in Rochester, New York. The university is one of 62 elected members of the Association of American Universities. in Rochester, NY, who has consulted for the government on vaccines and has received speaking fees from vaccine makers.
A decision is expected this spring on the first test case for a larger group of autism-vaccine claims, which is being heard in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Reported cases of autism have been rising in the U.S., even after thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines. However, some experts believe the rise is due to an expansion of the definition of autism and related conditions, and a desire to diagnose children so they qualify for special services For Special Services, first published in 1982, was the second novel by John Gardner featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent, James Bond. Carrying the Glidrose Publications copyright, it was first published in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape and in the United States by and aid.