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Vaccine Court: Hepatitis B Shot Caused MS

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David Kirby
Age of Autism
February 4, 2009

All eyes are on Vaccine Court this week, as people await rulings in the autism "test cases" on MMR and thimerosal. But another omnibus proceeding involving Hepatitis B vaccine and autoimmune disorders in adults, including MS, has already been quietly ruling in favor of several petitioners. (HERE)

The most recent case was announced about a week ago. In it, the Court ruled that the victim, an adult female, had contracted a form of demyelinating disease and MS, and eventually died, after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine series. It was just the most recent case in a rash of rulings in the omnibus proceeding dealing with hepatitis B vaccine and "demyelinating diseases such as transverse myelitis (TM), Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease (CIDP), and multiple sclerosis (MS)," according to court papers.

"Petitioner has prevailed on the issue of entitlement. The medical records during decedent's final hospitalization reflect that she died from demyelinating disease. Not only did decedent have a vaccine injury, but also her death was vaccine-related," wrote the Special Master in the case.

Interestingly, the US government chose not to present any expert witnesses, nor to contest the case any further.

But the family of the deceased woman had presented testimony from an expert witness who stated that, "It is biologically plausible for hepatitis B to cause demyelination because vaccines are composed of organic compounds of viral or bacterial origin, whether recombinant or otherwise, whose purpose is to initiate an immune response in the recipient,: the Court noted in the ruling. "But if any of the vaccine antigens shares a homology with the recipient's antigens, the host's immune response will attack both the vaccine antigens and the host's antigens, resulting in an autoimmune response. This concept is also known as molecular mimicry and is well-established in immunology."

In the last few years, it turns out, the Federal Vaccine Court has issued a number of rulings in favor of petitioners seeking compensation for Hepatitis B vaccine-related demyelinating diseases, especially MS.

What is also notable about all the Hep B rulings is that they fly in the face of the reasoned opinion of an IOM panel that looked into the matter in 2002. That committee determined that "the epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the hepatitis B vaccine in adults and multiple sclerosis." Likewise, the panel said that it "does not recommend that national and federal vaccine advisory bodies review the hepatitis B vaccine on the basis of concerns about demyelinating disorders."

Apparently, Vaccine Court Special Masters are willing to make their rulings independent of what the IOM has decreed (and given the IOM's spotty track record on the etiology of illnesses such as Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome, perhaps there is a solid legal underpinning for that).

So, what does any of this have to do with the autism cases? Perhaps nothing. But, if the autism Special Masters suggest that more research is needed, one area that scientists may want to explore is demyelination in autism and its many potential causes.

Myelin is the fatty acid sheath that protects and insulates nerve cells and the brain. Some people with autoimmune disorders, including MS, present with damage to myelin in the brain.

Myelin damage has long been suspected in autism, though the jury is still out on this question. One thing that does seem to be certain is that children with ASD appear to have unusually high levels of antibodies to myelin basic protein, or MBP. That would suggest they might have myelin damage as well. Some studies have also shown highly elevated levels (up to 90%) of MBP antibodies in ASD children who received the MMR vaccine. The development of MBP antibodies could possibly be caused by a reaction to the live measles virus in the vaccine, because the virus may mimic the molecular structure of MBP. (The finding of antibodies to MBP is also associated with MS, which is a demyelinating disorder).

This vaccine-myelin association was also supported by a study in the October, 2008 issue of the journal Neurology. It reported that exposure to Hep B vaccine in children was associated with a 50% increased risk for CNS inflammatory demyelination of 50 percent (OR: 1.50; 0.93 - 2.43). This was especially true for children who got GlaxoSmithKline's Engerix B vaccine, in which case the risk was elevated by 74% (1.74; 1.03 - 2.95). Among ASD children with confirmed multiple sclerosis, the risk increased by 177% (2.77; 1.23 - 6.24).

"Hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood," the authors concluded. "However, the Engerix B vaccine appears to increase this risk, particularly for confirmed multiple sclerosis, in the longer term. Our results require confirmation in future studies."

Of course more studies are needed, but it is becoming more difficult these days to argue that there is no active immune/inflammatory response going on in the brains of autistic individuals, and even harder to contest that MBP is associated with at least one aspect of that response, although there are likely others. The MBP findings are not 100% concordant, but there is a fair amount of supportive evidence.

Equally intriguing, along these lines, is a new study published in the Journal of Child Neurology. That paper reported that "anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein positivity" was found in a stunning 62.5% of the autistic children studied. And, a family history of autoimmunity was five times more common in ASD children (50%) than controls (9.4%).

"Anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein serum levels were significantly higher in autistic children than those without such history," the authors wrote. "Autism could be, in part, one of the pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. Further studies are warranted to shed light on the etiopathogenic role of anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein antibodies and the role of immunotherapy in autism."

This information is tantalizing, to say the least. And it could provide new avenues of research into the role of vaccines, demyelinating diseases, "autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders," and autism.

If the HepB series can destroy myelin in some kids and adults, and cause full-blown MS in adults, then is it really that "fringe" to investigate the plausibility of a biological mechanism whereby some vaccines (including MMR) in a subset of susceptible infants might produce symptoms that are characteristic of autism and/or other neuro-developmental disorders?

For years, the US Government and the IOM have insisted that Hepatitis B vaccine does not and can not cause MS. But the Federal Vaccine Court has now, essentially, overturned that opinion. Will the Court now do the same for vaccines and autism? I don't think so - not this week. But it just might keep that door slightly ajar for the future.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm and a contributor to Age of Autism.

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By h,..

You obviously haven't been affected by anything that has been going on. Every person is affected differently so let me tell you my story:

In 1998 I was just 26 years old. I had always told my friends @ the time I was the healthiest person I knew. I was a research lab assistant @ a NYS university hospital. We worked with monkeys so we were told by the director we had to have the Hep B vaccination. I blew it off at the time hoping she would forget. So about a month later the supervisors ushered us in like cattle not letting us know what was going on. We were now all in the conference room with drs @ nurses. We were called up one by one. I told the dr I could not get the vaccine because it was dangerous for me as I was veeery sick with hepatitis when I was just 10 years old. The dr said "It is safe & everyone in here is getting the vaccination to resume their job". Several weeks later I was taken to the health & occupation dr (again w/o my knowledge) for my annual physical. I told him I hadn't been feeling well lately. He then administered my second dose of Hep B. Two hours later I was ill and fatigued beyond belief. I was home @ 3pm & turned in to bed(extremely unusual for me @ 26 yrs old). I woke straight up in bed @ like 2-3am crying & in alot of pain in both arms & shaking uncontrollably. I had my husband call the hospital. The next morning I called the drs office & they told me to take motrin. I had chronic diarrhea for the next 8 days(totally abnormal for me @ 26 yrs old). Three days later I developed double vision(diplopia). I was out of work for the next 4 weeks. When I returned to work I was having abrupt, unexplained falls. My co-workers would take me to the ER because of everything that had been going on. The day after the fall I woke up with both feet completely numb. So I went to a chiropractor thinking I had a pinched nerve. The chiropractor told me I needed to see a neurologist stat as I reported the numbness was escalating to my knees. That evening when I was @ the neurologists office I told them(there were now 2 as the first dr couldn't believe what I was telling him) that the numbness had escalated to my waist & it was effecting my inside organs as well as the outer skin. They called the hospital & advised me to go there "immediately". When I got to the hospital they couldn't believe what was going on. I couldn't walk @ this point & the neurologist kept screaming @ me "this is not possible".....I can go on about this for days with you but I won't. I have a diagnosis of MS and my life has been downhill consistantly since March 07'. I was even in the hospital for a month. After working my entire life, I am now on disability. If I could go back to the healthy 26 year old healthy girl I knew back then, I would probably think ignorant like you because I didn't know anyone whose life was destroyed due to no fault of their own. But I now know better. I have a pending case with the Federal Vaccination Compensation Act but I have told my boyfriend regardless of the outcome I am taking this to the grave "I DID NOT HAVE MS PRIOR TO THE VACCINATION". Even though a judge with no medical background will decide my case. I can understand the confusion with most people blaming everything on something these days but when you have something happen immediately after something like the vaccination with no other contributors,.."CAN YOU BLAME ME"?....I hope you are more sympathetic when a close friend/family member tells you what they are going through some day. I wish my story was diffrent but it is what it is.

p.s. The expert for my lawyers that did a report on my medical records is a lawyer & a dr. He has clearly determined that the hepatitis b vaccination caused my demyelination as my esinophil count was more than 6 times what it should be(this indicates a reaction). I would take his expertice over a judge anyday.

p.s.s. If you wanna see how currupt the government is,..check out the Federal Vaccination Compensation Act website. It was started in 1986 to protect the drug companies. Interesting reading if you reeally give a ^%#@#@&*()&%$#.........

Seems like just yet another junk science website where everything (Ranged from Aspartame to dogs) is a cause of MS, All kind of cancers & tumors and virtually any illness.
Like, Headache? Blame ACE-K!
Cancer? Blame your mobile phone!
MS? Blame your dog!
Brain tumor? Blame the electricity with it's electromagnetic waves and the gas in your car!
Autism? Blame the microwave!
(Not necessarily in that order)
And so for each and every illness.
Please leave my dogs alone and let me enjoy my Coke Zero! (How about a Coke Zero with Neotame? 8000 times sweeter than sucrose.... Sounds impressive. Great job, NutraSweet! Keep it up!)
btw, Here's something I've just made up for the websites like yours:
Hearth attack? Blame the (And all the "Junk Science Network")

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