"In a court-submitted opinion, neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, Director of Medical Research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, stated that he had “personally witnessed [Hannah’s] developmental regression” following “vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation.” Zimmerman concluded that Hannah was vulnerable to vaccine injury because she had a metabolic disorder called mitochondrial dysfunction. While vaccines are safe for most children, in Hannah, they triggered a brain injury, according to Zimmerman. Whether vaccines “caused” or “triggered” Hannah’s autism, the result was the same: but for her vaccinations, Zimmerman said, “Hannah may have led a normal full productive life.” Instead, she suffers “significant lifelong disability.” A second underlying condition that was aggravated by vaccines, resulting in mental retardation and autism, is tuberous sclerosis or “TS,” according to a 1986 vaccine court case. According to the National Institutes of Health, TS affects 1 in every 6,000 newborns. Not all children who developed autism as a result of vaccine injuries, as determined by vaccine court, had identifiable pre-existing conditions. But I asked the CDC’s DeStefano whether it was worth trying to figure out what underlying conditions put kids at risk so they can be tested in advance and, if vulnerable, spared. “That’s very difficult to do,” DeStefano told me. He said the CDC’s priorities are gaining a better understanding of the pathogenesis, genetics and biology of autism. “And then, I think… it’d be more feasible to try to establish if vaccines in an individual case, say a person with a certain set of genes…if we ever get to that point, then that kind of research might be fruitful.” See CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule Not worthy of study? But it turns out the CDC has ruled out that sort of research. A CDC spokesman told me that the agency is not “currently investigating the relation between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Further, CDC does not have any planned research addressing vaccines and autism.” As of May, 2010 the government had compensated 1,296 vaccine brain damage(encephalopathy/encephalitis and seizure cases) but was not tracking how many of the brain-injured children specifically ended up with autism. “CDC believes that this topic has been thoroughly studied and no causal links have been found,” said the spokesman in an email. “Current CDC ASD related research focuses on determining how many people have ASD and understanding risk factors and causes for ASD,” said the CDC. Seven years after Hannah’s case settled, twenty-eight years after the TS case, it’s impossible to know how many similar children, if any, are out there. And the government isn’t trying to find out."