More specifically, this study looked at the long-held position that (follow me here) Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine causes autism by creating a persistent measles-virus infection in the gut of the affected individual - termed "autistic enterocolitis" - which, in turn, causes the individual to manifest autistic behaviors, perhaps due to the opioid excess theory. This is the entirety, and half of another, of the three causation concepts being advanced in the Autism Omnibus Proceeding currently (and for the past 2 years) underway in the VICP in our nation's capitol.
To offer a brief summary, the study adds to the body of knowledge that the MMR vaccine has no relation to autism.
A couple of things make this study somewhat more palatable to the broader autism community than the numerous others that have arrived at the same conclusion. One is that a major contributor to this study - indeed half of the presenting research team - is one Dr. Mady Hornig. Dr. Hornig is (in)famous for her studies on "SJL Thim" mice in which she supposedly induced autism via thimerosal exposure. The mice literally chewed through each other's skulls, which was construed as being an "animal model" for autism. Go figure.
(Author's note: Neither of my two autistic children have attempted to chew on anyone else's skulls, including each others'. Knock on wood.)
So Mady Hornig - a veritable "celebrity" of the vaccine/autism research pantheon - is now stating with certainty that the MMR is not to be considered a culprit in autism causation. Of course, one hero of the autism/vaccine movement turning to the "dark side" as a result of this study is easy to explain away if the resulting cognitive dissonance is too great to bear. But two?
Yes, two. Rick Rollens was present at the press conference. Although his comments (which I can only reference in a limited context, as I did not have access to the presser itself) do not directly address what the study authors have found to be the most significant findings, they instead are intended to perpetuate the controversial causation hypotheses.
The following quote, a real "study finding", is by study co-author Ian Lipkin of Columbia University:
"We found no difference in children who had GI complaints and no autism and children who had autism but no GI complaints,..."Rick Rollens' presence - especially considering his personal, political, and financial largesse in directing funding away from needed services and toward the vaccine causation hypotheses - at the press conference certainly implies a tacit approval of the findings. Few people have more personal or emotional investment in the erroneous, yet dominant, theory. As opposed to arguing against the study results, Rick redirects the topic away from vaccines which, frankly, may be the appropriate thing to do - even if it is a dodge.
Let's please remember that this is not "new" information, per se, but instead is a further confirmation of what has already been accepted by the broader scientific community after numerous studies achieving the same (via different methods) result. Here is, in contrast to the above quoted statement by Ian Lipkin, one of Mr. Rollens' statements from the teleconference:
"No longer can mainstream medicine ignore parents' claims of clinically significant GI distress," said Rick Rollens, a parent and autism research advocate.
He commended the researchers for their work but said, "This study by itself does not exonerate the role of all vaccines."
Well, no, this study doesn't exonerate all vaccines - it was not designed to do so. But seeing as the theories espoused by the vaccine/autism crowd have been centered on two theories (MMR or TCV's/Mercury), that not one shred of good science has supported these theories, that little tangible benefit to a single individual with autism has resulted from these theories, and that the whole topic doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the quality of life for my two autistic sons, I am of a mind to continue to focus on whatever will create the best likelihood of positive outcome for all autistics and not let the festering vaccine causation theories prevail.
Lets all understand that this ongoing and falsely contrived crusade against public health, regardless of what is motivating it and who is perpetuating it, is drawing crucial resources and attention away from the truly pressing issues that the autism community should be addressing. Issues such as housing for adults, societal inclusion, promoting ways and means that autistics can be impactful in a positive way in their communities and microeconomies, identifying and implementing appropriate means to ensure physical and mental health at all stages of life for autistic people. So I ask about the autism/vaccine connection - NOW is it over?
Edit: And here is a link to some audio from the conference.