Posted by: miriamjang | March 18, 2008

Mitochondrial Disease and Autism

Here is some information that is hot in the news:

A recent case that was awarded compensation through the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program involved a child with a mitochondrial disorder or mitochondrial disease. This case has raised questions about what environmental triggers might bring on or worsen autism-like symptoms in children with such disorders.

Mitochondria produce the energy needed for cells to function normally. There are a number of genetic disorders that cause mitochondria to produce less energy than cells need. Symptoms of these disorders can be very mild or quite severe. In some of the disorders, symptoms do not develop for many years. Some of the rarer mitochondrial disorders affect the brain and cause worsening neurologic symptoms over time. In many cases, an event that requires more energy, such as an infection, fever or other illness, can lead to the development of symptoms.

Although details of the case and the decision cannot be disclosed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency published a statement on March 3, 2008, which said: “HRSA (the Health Resources and Services Administration) has reviewed the scientific information concerning the allegation that vaccines cause autism and has found no credible evidence to support the claim.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),this was a unique case and information about it has not been accurately characterized in the media and other public forums. It represents one special case and does not change the immunization recommendations for children in whom vaccines are otherwise recommended. More information is available at the CDC Web site:

According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation,“There are no scientific studies documenting that childhood vaccinations cause mitochondrial diseases or worsen mitochondrial disease symptoms. In the absence of scientific evidence, the UMDF cannot confirm any association between mitochondrial diseases and vaccines.”

This is a medical disclaimer: Please remember that this not meant as medical advice but as a desire to share information. Please always implement treatments under medical supervision. We are cannot be held liable for any of this information.


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