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BOWING OUT OF THE DISPUTE

Heather Whitestone is sick of being at the center of a debate on whether vaccinations cause deafness.

Ms. Whitestone, who in 1994 became the first Miss America with a disability, said she is not sure what caused her to lose her hearing when she was 18 months old.

But in a letter to the editor published in this week's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association and released today, Ms. Whitestone said she hopes her case will be left out of the scholarly discussion on deafness.

A recent Journal article said a routine childhood vaccination caused her to become deaf. In her response, she said, "I am not the person best suited to resolve this debate, and I no longer want to be the focal point in this very important issue."

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