Tomorrow brings yet another chapter in the annals of the U.S. “Vaccine Court.” Nearly 4900 families have filed claims with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and/or other neurological problems in their children. Two 10-year-old autistic boys, William Mead and Jordan King, from Portland, Oregon, will serve as the test case to determine whether or not the families should be compensated. According to the Associated Press, lawyers for the families will present “evidence that injections with thimerosal deposit a form of mercury in the brain” and “that mercury excites certain brain cells that stay chronically activated trying to get rid of the intrusion.” Attorney Mike Williams is quoted as saying that, in “‘some kids,’” this can set off a “‘chronic neuroinflammatory pattern that can lead to regressive autism’”: Precisely when the two children first showed symptoms of autism will be a key point.
Given the seeming rampant, and scientifically unproven, fear among parents of babies and young children about vaccines causing autism (see this story), it goes without saying that the outcome of this case will be closely scrutinized. So just a reminder about the consequences of not vaccinating from Orac—-and another story about how, contrary to being a tragedy, life raising an autistic child can be very good indeed.