According to an April 22nd Scientific American piece about the case of Hannah Poling—the 9-year-old Georgia girl whose “pre-existing mitochondrial disorder…. was ‘aggravated’ by her shots” according to a concession by the federal government and who was awarded a settlement:
“….. scientifically, from the documents presented in the vaccine court, the Polings did not make a case that deserved compensation.”
Here’s why their case did not deserve compensation, as noted by Nikhil Swaminathan in Scientific American:
Hannah’s disorder is likely due to a rare mutation in her DNA. Most of the DNA responsible for mitochondria is inherited from mothers, because mitochondrial genes are carried in the egg but not sperm. Salvatore DiMauro, a mitochondria expert at Columbia University, notes that 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. (Attempts to contact Jon Poling about DiMauro’s concern went unanswered; however, he agreed that his daughter’s causative genetic defect was likely not in her mitochondrial DNA in an open letter on the blog NeuroLogica.) [my emphasis]
Mitochondria are often called the “power plants” of cells because they convert sugar into energy. Found in all of the body’s tissues and organs, “when they do not work properly they can cause or worsen diseases from diabetes to brain disorders.” But, according to Swaminathan, Hannah Poling’s “genetic defect” was not caused by her mitochondrial DNA, but is a part of her nuclear DNA, which is inherited from both parents.
Dr. John Shoffner, a neurologist, geneticist, and mitochondrial disease expert, agrees with this conclusion:
…. In a study of 40 patients with autism—including Poling, he found that two thirds had muscle weakness. If muscle weakness is seen early on in children, it may be a tip-off to an underlying mitochondrial disorder that could cause autism, because muscles are heavily dependent on mitochondria as an energy source. He also believes that the new work—he presented preliminary results last week at the American Academy of Neurology Conference in Chicago—will help explain why some children, such as Poling, experience worsening symptoms as a result of a fever.
He notes that the route from the vaccine to the child’s autism was by no means direct. Hannah’s mitochondria were already underperforming, so when she developed a fever from her vaccine, the increased energy requirements likely pushed them past their thresholds. A fever caused by an ear infection or the flu would likely have triggered the autism symptoms if they occurred before or between the ages of 24 and 36 months, he says, which is when classic, regressive autism, which affects one third of sufferers, usually appears.[my emphasis]
Shoffner notes that parents and advocates looking to impugn vaccines as triggers for autism—or mitochondrial disease—need direct, not just circumstantial, evidence……..
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.
What’s not “direct,” Dr. Shoffner notes, is how vaccines may have “caused” autism in Hannah Poling whose mitocondria were “already underperforming” when she received her vaccinations. And isn’t the alleged role of vaccines in “triggering” autism in Hannah precisely why this case has received so much attention? And what if the role of vaccines in “causing” autism in Hannah is, as Scientific American suggests, as “direct” as it has been made to seem?