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A Letter from the Editor

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Welcome to Age of Autism, the nation's first daily Web newspaper for the environmental-biomedical community – those who believe the autism epidemic is a health crisis that requires urgent action; that autism is an environmentally induced illness, that it is treatable, and that children can recover.

For the most part, the major media in the United States aren't interested in that point of view, they won't investigate the causes and possible biomedical treatments of autism independently, and they don't listen to the most important voices – those of the parents. We will do all those things, and more.

To illustrate the difference The Age of Autism will make, consider the way the Baltimore Sun edited a story about Jenny McCarthy, who believes that vaccines triggered her child's autism and that biomedical treatments are a big part of his remarkable and ongoing improvement. Here are phrases that were taken out of the story that originally ran in the Chicago Tribune, as noted by Anne Dachel, who will be Age of Autism's media editor:   

1)  Autism is "something McCarthy believes was triggered by vaccines." Deleted.

2)  "It's not just that she is voicing the same thing parents have been saying for years ('We vaccinated our babies and something happened') on high-profile programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live." Deleted.

3) "DAN! also provides contacts for the approximately 600 doctors in the U.S. who use complementary and alternative therapies to treat autism." Deleted.

4) "McCarthy wasn't about to wait for evidence-based medicine; she felt she had a limited window of time to pull her son back into this world." Deleted.

What the (deleted)!? And what an irony that Baltimore is where autism was first diagnosed, and that the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist who did so was the first of many to miss the environmental clues that could have kept hundreds of thousands more cases from ever happening. How can we trust the mainstream media to cover the autism epidemic when they themselves censor important information and skew the discussion toward the tired old genetic argument? Even the fact that autism rates are soaring – self-evident to anyone with eyes to see, and clear evidence of an environmental trigger – is treated as a big question mark by the media and public health officials. At The Age of Autism, we're not going to let those suffering from epidemic denial -- E.D., as our editor-at-large Mark Blaxill calls it -- waste our time or delay urgent research into What's Going On (the apt name of Mark's new column for us).

As many of you know, I wrote the Age of Autism column for United Press International for two years, and I became convinced by my own reporting that autism's origins are recent -- triggered by something new in the environment -- and that treatment can work. I located the very first case ever described in the medical literature, Donald T., and heard from his brother the remarkable story of Donald's recovery from severe autism when gold salts were used to treat his juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. To state the obvious: The very first case of autism recovered with biomedical treatment, but the doctors ignored it because they were so busy blaming parents. Now they don't blame parents for causing autism, they just blame them for trying to do anything about it.

I'm proud to team up with several people who have done a great deal about it, both for their own children and for the autism community at large: Managing Editor Kim Stagliano, mom of three autistic daughters who still found time to write for Rescue Post and for Huffington Post with a brand of hard-won humor that is uniquely hers; and editors-at-large J.B. Handley of Generation Rescue and Mark Blaxill. All were instrumental in bringing this site to life, along with our founding sponsors SafeMinds, Generation Rescue and TACA.

The Age of Autism will be wide-open and transparent in its reporting and commentary on causes and treatments; I am beholden to no individual, organization or fixed point of view. My commitment is to in-depth reporting. I am not a social worker or an autism parent, I'm a journalist drawn to what I called, in my last UPI column, "the story of a lifetime." Based on my own work, I do believe mercury – including the horrendously neurotoxic ethyl mercury in vaccines – is clearly implicated in the rise of autism, and that its continued use in flu shots for children and pregnant women is catastrophic. So is the expanding use of thimerosal in vaccines shipped to developing countries where (no surprise) autism rates are soaring. Again, the apologists talk of cultural differences and better diagnosis; for the real story, see my interview with a husband and wife team who watched autism come to India, along with new shots, over the past few years.

Generation Rescue, whose Rescue Post is being incorporated into The Age of Autism, did a phone survey showing much lower rates of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, in never-vaccinated kids. That study demonstrated by example that such children are not at all hard to find in the United States, contrary to the protests of the CDC. Again, the media ignored this startling survey when they weren't belittling it – another sign of journalistic group-think from those who believe whatever "the experts" tell them.

We're not going to settle for that. We'll follow the truth wherever it leads, and we hope you'll come along with us and, if you can manage it, donate to The Age of Autism and help us pursue this story. Fasten your seat belts – it's going to be a bumpy ride.

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I had a dream to start my business, however I didn't have got enough amount of money to do this. Thank God my close fellow said to use the loan. Therefore I received the student loan and made real my old dream.

Dan,

Thank you for this site. I have missed receiving your age of autism series in my mailbox! Your pox series has helped confirm my belief as to what took the life out of my daughter's eyes the day she had violent seizures, and a bulls-eye shaped rash covering her small body, just 3 weeks after receiving the mmr and varivax.

How ironic that this morning the mailman delivered just what I had asked for, medical clearance from her immunologist, stating no more live virus vaccines due to previous reaction, and abnormal immunology panel. She has no antibodies to most vaccine preventable diseases!

It is a damn shame that children are not tested for Primary Immunodeficiency before these vaccines. If she had been diagnosed prior, she would have been spared, as those with immunodeficiency are contraindicated for all live virus vaccines.

This is why the US switched from the live polio vaccine (OPV) to the inactivated polio vaccine (OPV) in 2000, as many immunodeficient children suffered from VDPV (vaccine derived polio virus) or VAPP (Vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis). I often wonder just how many paralyzed immunodeficient children it took before CDC made the switch.

It sickens me to no end thinking of how many immunodeficient children will suffer serious reactions to the MMR, Varivax, or Proquad before the CDC does something.

Keep up the good work, and continue exposing the truth!

Dan,
Have always enjoyed your articles. Happy you are here.
Look forward to reading more. Love your writing. More power to you.

Chantal Sicile-Kira
Author : Autism Spectrum Disorders, Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum (both wih Penguin)

Congratulations on the new blog! Love you guys for all that you do! xo,Heidi

Dan,

Thanks for your powerful voice. I'm glad to be a part of a community with such firm beliefs and faith for the children. I never thought I'd have to have my own powerful voice--it's with the encouragement of many people, especially parents much stronger than I, who keep me fighting this fight.

Cathy Jameson

Congratulations, Dan and the rest of your crew in the unveiling of The Age of Autism. I wish you all the very best, and I am very excited about your research into finding more answers to the explosion of autism and related disorders. I find all your columns to be fascinating and enlightening. Being ever curious myself, I look forward to being kept up to speed by the efforts of your staff and your unending journalistic journey into "connecting the dots" of autism spectrum disorders. You Rock!!!!

To Autism News Beat -- You are welcome to call The Clinic For Special Children about the Amish and autism. They have not responded to my queries over a period of several years now. You might also ask them what proportion of their clientele is in fact vaccinated. I bet it is very high because their Web site lists the position of immunization director. So if they report a high rate of vaccination and a high rate of autism, I am not sure they will reflect the overall situation, and I'm not sure what that would do to defeat the possibility that never-vaccinated kids have a lower autism rate, whether among the Amish, at Homefirst in Chicago, or among homeschoolers. What we need is a scientific study by independent scientists. Look forward to hearing your report.

I am loving the vibe I am getting from everyone! The Age of Autism is going to force the mainstream media to tell the truth. We stand for The Age of Autism.

I look forward to your interview with the staff of The Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster County, PA. Or, if you'd like, I could speak with them first.

Congratulations to this wonderful crew. An auspicious opening edition. As a parent I am grateful. As a journalist I am, well, grateful, too that the news will get out and be reported well. You guys are terrific!

Barbara Fischkin

Bless you all!

Dan, I emailed you a while ago thanking you for your Age of Autism series. As I said then, I am so thankful people with cooler heads than I have are pursuing this. You have all my support.

Seatbelt fastened - let me know if you need coffee or gas!

When 1 in 150 is really 1 in 67
by Raymond W. Gallup & F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP
at: http://www.vaproject.org/yazbak/1-in-150-is-really-1-in-67-20071005.htm

From: RRollens@aol.com
A parent and autism activist
10/21/07
(figures will show up in 2007/2008 US Dept. of Education......what will the
nationwide total be then??????)

According to the most recent report released this past week by
California's Department of Developmental Services (DDS) (www.dds.ca.gov),
California's developmental services system added a record 1,060 new intakes
of professionally diagnosed full syndrome DSM IV autism during the 87 day
period from July 3, 2007 to October 3, 2007..a rate of 12 new children a
day, seven days a week... or one new child every two hours.

Never in the 40 year history of California's developmental services system
have 1000 or more new children been added in any one three month period to
it's system. During the past 9 months alone California has added over 2900
new children with full syndrome autism (as always, the numbers of new
intakes ONLY includes professionally diagnosed cases of full syndrome DSM
IV autism and DOES NOT include any other autism spectrum disorders like
PDD, NOS, or Asperger's Syndrome). Keep in mind that it took 16 years (from
1971 to 1987) for California's DD system to see a total population of 2700
persons with autism.during the past 9 MONTHS alone California has added
2900 new cases.

Autism is not only the fastest growing condition in California's DD
system, now accounting for over 60% of all the new intakes (the remaining
less then 40% being the COMBINED numbers of new intakes with mental
retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and conditions that have as part of
the condition mental retardation such as genetic diseases Fragile X and
Down's), but; now there are more persons in California's DD system with a
primary diagnosis of autism then with cerebral palsy.

Unlike any other of the conditions served by California's DD system where
you see between 55-60% of those populations over the age of 22 years old,
with autism only 16% of the population is over the age of 22 years old, 84%
between 3 and 21, and eight out of ten between 3 and 18 years old.


From the Freedom of Information Act request from Social Security

Dear Mr. Gallup:

This letter is in response to your inquiry requesting nationwide figures for
the last 5 years on people with autism collecting supplemental security
income (SSI) payments.

The data on SSI recipients with Autism & Other Pervasive Developmental
Disorders for 2002 - 2006 is enclosed. Autism is not recorded independently
from other pervasive development disorders in our data.

We hope you find this information helpful.

Sincerely

Sheryll Ziporkin
Acting Associate Commissioner
Office of Public Inquiries

See the attachment for the data from Social Security on SSI.


COUNTS FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN RECEIVING SSI BENEFITS FOR AUTISTIC & OTHER
PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENT DISORDERS AS OF DECEMBER, FOR YEARS 2002 - 2006


YEARS TOTALS
2002 45,684
2003 53,358
2004 63,031
2005 73,126
2006 84,240

Dear Dan,

Sounds like you're taking on a big project - and one which will raise the profile of autism even higher. I look forward to reading your thoughts - and, of course, blogging about them!

Best,

Lisa Rudy
About.com Guide to Autism

Hi Dan, JB, Kim, and Mark and everyone else who has written their hearts out to make this place as wonderful as it is... This is Fabulous!!! and I am so excited for the future and where this is going to go!

On a personal note, I have to say that I am honored and privileged to share my Birthday with Age of Autism! :-D I was checking the site out before I even opened my birthday cards this morning. If memory serves me, I believe it was Cathy that said in one of her pieces something eluding to - priorities people...

This is just absolutely awesome! and so incredibly exciting!

Happy Birthday! Age of Autism!
In Kindred Spirit,
Angela

So happy you're here.

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