Experts entertain the notion that autism may not be a single disease at all.
An issue, that many general popular media reports on autism have not historically documented, is that of comorbid disorders. As example, mitochondrial disease can be a predisposing factor to exhibition of full blown autistic features. In July of 2010, a family accepted 1.5 million dollars in order to settle their claim that vaccines caused their child's regression into full blown autism - reports show acceptance in the merits of the case with the claim being scientifically supported, according to our own government (link). This case, which was settled out of court proves the child's predisposition to damage from vaccines from mitochondrial disease.
Mitochondrial disease or disorders can be implicated in some cases of autism according to the CDC. The disease can be exacerbated in cases of illness such as the flu. The settlement of the vaccine court case indicates that the family had a preponderance of scientific data to back up their claim that vaccinations caused their child's profound deterioration. At times deterioration in mitochondrial disease is significant enough to be classified as regressive encephalopathy.
My daughter received a label of autism at three years of age. Many years later, after receiving the bests supports, at about ten years of age overt signs of schizophrenia came about. During the years that ensued after the worsening, neurological regression was a big blip that was on every doctors' radar. We could only try and help my daughter while waiting and watching. She was refractory to treatment, and we were losing her in every way. She had entered the land of comorbidity. Many condition labels were added to her original autism label. She has never been tested for the possibility that mitochondrial disease might have been a factor in her experienced regression over several years time.
Autism alone is a condition without verifiable cause, but it is many times accompanied by conditions that have a medically identifiable cause. An incomplete sample of the conditions are; mitochondrial disease / disorder, seizures, phenylkentonuria, congenital rubella, tuberous sclerosis, hypothyroidism, hearing impairment.
It is reasonable to present the idea that there is overlap in diagnostic criteria for most illness labels; both for psychiatric and general medical condition labels. That is probably what makes sites like wrongdiagnosis so popular. For instance, recently I heard about a person who was told their loved one died from Alzheimers, but after the autopsy they found out it was CJD. Or, I read about a mother who thought her child had autism, but it turned out to be severe allergy to milk. Both conditions are labeled based on clinical observation of behavior because not all diagnosis are differential since so little is known about the conditions - diagnostic procedures like blood work, or imaging of some sort, have yet to contribute to a best practice part of diagnosing conditions like autism and Alzheimer's.
...Not all medical diagnoses are differential ones: some diagnoses merely name a set of signs and symptoms that may have more than one possible cause, and some diagnoses are based on intuition or estimations of likelihood.
A large group of families in the US that were recently denied victory with regard to claims that vaccination caused autism in their children must have had lawyers that understood the fact that peer reviewed science and research does not yet propose known causes of autism. How did the lawyers present each child's individual case? All that autism is right now, is a label based on clinical observation and clinical testing which is NOT associated with known physical cause. When I heard of the groups recent defeat, I immediately wondered. Were there autism affected children in the group - who had comorbid disorders that are associated with probability of damage from vaccination? Peer review does accept instances where vaccination is the cause for devastating illness.
Cases where affected individuals are represented individually (instead of by group) seem to allow for better representation of the possible scientifc cause of damage. The most recent 1.5 million dollar award supports a family's claim of a child with mitochondrial disease experiencing detrimental worsening from vaccination, and a woman in England recently won an appeal with regard to damage her son suffered from MMR vaccination. He has a seizure condition; Reporting with regard to that story provided strong emphasis about the fact that the case was NOT about autism. Once again, as we all know - when you say autism, you haven't really said a thing anyway with regard to identifying a singular cause...according to peer reviewed standards. Some find such comfort in presenting the idea that when a claim is proven against vaccination, it is due to misdiagnoses of autism. How many different ways can it be said - autism is a label that doesn't say anything and especially doesn't indicate cause for the features exhibited. That is why comorbid disorders that accompany autism are the biggest clue to finding out why the child exhibits features that point to neurological illness. Autism, in and of itself, IS a kind of misdiagnosis because we DO NOT know what causes it.
At any rate, MMR does present known and theoretical risk. Contains albumin; theoretical risk of transmission of CJD and viral diseases. (link) The statement is on drugs.com. Other indications are given, as far as indications for opting out of the MMR vaccination.
Birth of Designer Cells, Human Residuals, Prion Disease & Autism provides highlights about some research and recent government concern with regard to theoretical risk of disease acquired from designer cells that are created for development of vaccination. The reason CJD is such a concern is because it has been transmitted in a variety of ways, changing the rules as it goes along.
From Birth of Designer Cells:...One source who lost a love one to CJD expresses a real life scenario from their neck of the woods, where...171 people have died of vCJD from infected meat, contaminated vaccines and blood donation. 18 blood donors have since died of vCJD and their blood was used to make 83,500 doses of polio vaccine for Ireland. It was also used to provide human albumin which is another blood product present in many vaccines. And, if this is true - we have a problem. The source points to the use of bovine serum in vaccinations and questions why it would not have been phased out in light of the BSE crisis. As of 2008, IPV vaccines, MMR 2, varicella, Rotateq oral rotavirus vaccine and Pediacel 5 in 1 vaccine all have bovine serum in them...(link)
Restrictive absolutes with regard to the vaccination issue cannot be represented as scientific certainty, nor can derisive statements about one or the other's ability to be right and wrong with regard to the issues. It is very fair to assume that there are children who have the label of autism, and also have comorbid disorder that can link vaccination, with scientific certainty to an experience of detrimental worsening.
As an aside, the theoretical risk of CJD (a prion disease) from MMR vaccination is concerning, especially since some are looking into disorders like Alzheimer's and autism as having something in common with prion diseases. Most agree that vaccinations fall under the not always safe scenario, but then concede that a few may fall so that many will have better health. This is a rare risks, versus lives saved scenario - that doesn't work as well for those who pay the higher cost due to their individual rarity that causes them to be one of the fallen.