Saturday, May 17, 2008

The shot, the lawsuit, and the mitochondria

We really take for granted our little powerhouses. However, mitochondria could be responsible for a million dollar lawsuit. The lawsuit however, was over vaccinations and autism. The controversy over thermisol was just starting to die down. The fear of vaccinations were dimming. Measles rates in England and the United States were receding. It seemed as if people were actually listening to scientific research and peer reviewed studies. Then, in March 2008, the U.S. government awarded the family of a nine year old girl compensation for the autism they claimed was caused by common child hood vaccinations. This was pure fuel for the anti-vaccination blogs. They had won victory. The government proved that they were right. They are finally admitting vaccinations cause autism.
Actually, it appears as if the vaccination didn't actually cause the autism. It merely aggravated an already existing mitochondrial disorder. This leads researchers to believe that autism could be a mitochondrial disorder. Which actually makes a lot of sense. Mitochondria are the body's energy source. So if something is wrong with them, autistic like symptoms are bound present themselves, such as lack of communication, and interest in social interaction.
However, mitochondrial disorders are rare, and little research has been done on the matter. It's very possible that the symptoms would have pervaded with or without the vaccinations. One possible explanation that has been given, is that it wasn't the vaccination at all, but the stress associated with getting a shot, that aggravated the disorder.
With so little research, nothing conclusive can be said. Maybe in the end it was the vaccinations all the long. One million dollars is a lot of money. You'd think the government would have to be pretty sure they were right, before they shelled out that chunk of cash. Or maybe there are other motives. Take for instance the fact that there are more than 5,000 cases of parents asking for compensation in the U.S. Is it possible that one huge win was their way of consolidating all the small cases? Its a bit suspicious that the reasons are being kept hush. Only time, and hopefully a lot more research on mitochondria will tell.

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