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Source: about health
In March 2008, the federal Vaccine Court handed down a decision regarding a little girl named Hannah Poling. In the opinion of the court, an extraordinary number of vaccines (9) administered in one day “significantly aggravated” the child’s underlying mitochondrial disease. The mitochondrial disease, the decision continues, caused brain damage — and the brain damage caused “autism-like” symptoms.
Could mitochondrial disease really be aggravated by vaccines? Could vaccines actually cause autism in a child with mitochondrial disease?
According to a statement from Chuck Mohan, executive director and CEO of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation:
There are no scientific studies documenting that childhood vaccinations cause or worsen mitochondrial diseases, but there is very little scientific research in this area. Mitochondrial diseases are as prevalent as childhood leukemia, however the National Institutes of Health devotes only $11 million a year to research into mitochondrial disorders, and only about one-third of that is earmarked for primary mitochondrial disease research.
At the same time, however, Geraldine Dawson, chief scientific officer at Autism Speaks (the world’s largest autism-related non-profit) says:
Vaccines stimulate the immune system, which may put stress on the cell function of a child who has asymptomatic mitochondrial dysfunction or disorder such that the child now shows increased symptoms. In an extreme case, the symptoms could involve regression and symptoms of autism.
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In short, while the Vaccine Court has awarded damages based on the theory that vaccinations cause or aggravate mitochondrial disease, there is no proof that they are right. On the other hand, there is no proof that they are wrong. The decision legitimately raises parents’ concerns; at the same time, it also surprises and worries many experts who fear that the public may be misled into avoiding vaccines altogether, which would put their own and other children at increased risk of contracting a host of vaccine-preventable diseases.
For more information about autism and mitochondrial disease, see Autism and Mitochondrial Disease.