For Top Vaccine Doc, Autism Battle Hits Home

Expert discusses how disorder affects his family
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2008 7:33 PM CDT
For one top vaccine researcher, the struggle to isolate the causes of autism is personal: His 15-year-old daughter is autistic.   ((c) batega)
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(Newser) – For one of the country's highest-profile vaccine researchers, the accusation that the medical establishment is covering up a link between autism and vaccinations hits a nerve. Peter Hotez's 15-year-old daughter, Rachel, has autism, a fact that colors every aspect of her family's life. Her parents, Peter and Ann, declined to let a reporter meet Rachel but opened up to the Washington Post.

"It is an ever-increasing snowball of horror—one disappointment after another," Peter Hotez says. "You recognize the gravity now as she has become a difficult and impossible teenager." He dismisses the notion that vaccinations are to blame. "This is not something that can be caused by a toxin after birth. This is a deeply patterned mis-wiring in the brain, and this is not how a toxin works."