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DR. NANCY MINSHEW & ME: WHO'S CRAZY?

CuckooBy J.B. Handley

Dear Dr. Minshew,

It’s my understanding that you are a child neurologist and that you have been a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for the past 22 years, and that today you run one of the NIH’s nine Centers for Excellence of Autism.

I took the time to read this 100 page presentation you gave on autism, which helped me understand your perspective on my son and what ails him. To summarize from your bio on the ASA’s website, you have developed a “model of autism as a disorder of brain connectivity and constrained information processing accounting for many of the manifestations of this disorder.”

The reason for my email today, which I’m also posting on a public blog I write for, isn’t really about my son, it’s about me. You see, after reading many of the things you have written and said, I find myself in a real funk, a state of angst and confusion.

Let me explain: My son was diagnosed with autism about 3 years ago. Since that time, I have devoted myself to reading every printed page of science I have been able to find on autism. I’ve interviewed or seen dozens of different “experts” (as you are often referred to in the press), and my wife and I have worked diligently to do everything we can to help our son.

Unlike you, my wife and I are neither psychiatrists nor neurologists. In fact, we’re both businesspeople, perhaps a background you would not perceive as ideal for understanding autism. On a daily basis, I spend my time making judgment calls with limited and often conflicting information, always with the benefit of reams of data, in order to try and make a profit.

Back to my dilemma. Since you are an “expert” on autism, 22 years deep into your field, I’ve got a real problem on my hands: I disagree with almost every single thing you have written or said about autism. Since we both can’t possibly be right, one of us has to be crazy. I’m scared to death it might be me. As a psychiatrist, I thought you could help.
I had never heard of you until last week when, for reasons I can’t pretend to understand, your name appeared in a number of articles discussing Eli Stone and the relationship between vaccines and autism. Just to remind you of what you said, here are a couple of excerpts I read:

“Dr. Nancy Minshew, Director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Excellence in Autism Research, says it's time to end the debate [about vaccines and autism] because research overwhelmingly proves there's no connection and parents don't need to worry about that anymore. Minshew says it's time real experts dispel the rumors for concerned parents. "They deserve to hear the evidence, the real evidence. So I thought, 'Enough is enough,'" she said. Minshew says people's lives are at stake because some kids aren't getting vaccinated for life-threatening diseases due to incorrect information. Since Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury preservative, was banned from most childhood vaccines in the U.S. seven years ago, autism rates have continued to increase - disproving the link. Minshew says it's only a coincidence that toddlers are vaccinated around the same time autism is usually diagnosed.”

And, this:

“She says one of the problems is that there is no great source for parents to get the best scientific information. Minshew suggests they read a new court ruling from Maryland that determined vaccines do not cause autism. She says because it's written by a judge and not a scientist, it's easier to understand.”

And, this:

"You don't need the guilt of thinking you took your child to be vaccinated and that caused the autism," said Dr. Nancy Minshew, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Autism Research team. "It absolutely did not."

I really didn’t pay much attention to these press mentions of you last week because I’ve grown pretty insensitive to the propaganda effort (as I perceive it) continually underway to defend the national immunization program. Then, a parent forwarded me an email you wrote to him, which I have taken the liberty of including in its entirety below. One of your comments is really contributing to my condition:

“I hope that someday you will have the peace of knowing that autism is the result of millions of years of genetics and there was nothing that was done to precipitate it and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. The increase in number of cases reflects the increase in recognition of verbal children.”

Dr. Minshew, this seems like a good time to be more specific with you about my mental state, by discussing the issues I have with your various points of view.

1. You say we are not experiencing an epidemic of autism.

It is maddening for parents like me that our “experts” can’t agree on the most fundamentally important and critical data point in the entire field of autism: is prevalence truly rising or not? This very binary notion impacts everything else. If it’s growing, it’s the environment. If it’s not, it’s genetics. From you perspective, “The increase in number of cases reflects the increase in recognition of verbal children.” I was confounded by this point, because I can’t find a single sentence in the scientific literature to support this. What I do look to is the following:

i. Report to the Legislature on the Principle Findings from The Epidemiology of Autism in California: A Comprehensive Pilot Study
MIND Institute, UC Davis, Oct 2002.
Excerpt:

"There is no evidence that a loosening in the diagnostic criteria has contributed to increased number of autism clients...we conclude that some, if not all, of the observed increase represents a true increase in cases of autism in California...a purely genetic basis for autism does not fully explain the increasing autism prevalence. Other theories that attempt to better explain the observed increase in autism cases include environmental exposures to substances such as mercury; viral exposures; autoimmune disorders; and childhood vaccinations."

ii. National Autism Prevalence Trends From United States Special Education Data.
Pediatrics, March 2005.
Craig J. Newschaffer, PhD [Johns Hopkins University].
Excerpt:

"Cohort curves suggest that autism prevalence has been increasing with time."

2. You say vaccines are proven to not cause autism and that parents should vaccinate their children.

Dr. Minshew, you are either being intellectually dishonest on this point or it is outside of your expertise as a psychiatrist to understand the vaccine-autism issue, Let me explain:

- Thimerosal was not banned from vaccines as you are quoted as saying, so this is a falsehood.

- Thimerosal did not come out of vaccines seven years ago as you are quoted as saying, so this is a falsehood. In fact, it’s still in the overwhelming majority of the flu shot supply at full dose- the flu shot was recently added (2004) to the CDC’s recommended schedule.

- If you believe that focusing on a single ingredient in vaccines (mercury) exonerates vaccines in totality, that’s an impossibility. We have grown our vaccine schedule from 10 vaccines in the early 1980s to 36 today. Yet, we never test the “combination risk” of so many vaccines. No one, except Generation Rescue, has ever studied unvaccinated children and looked at their autism rates. We never look at the aluminum that replaced thimerosal, the live viruses, or the many other toxic ingredients in vaccines at all.

- The parent reports of children going upside-down and developing autism right after vaccination continues unabated. Will you ever listen to them?

It strikes me, and perhaps I’m crazy for saying this, that now that you have publicly reassured parents that vaccines are safe, that you may well be the last person on earth, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, to concede that vaccines are in fact playing a role in autism.

3. You never mention recovered children.

In all the writings and quotes of yours, Doctor, I didn’t read one thing about children who have recovered from autism. Have you ever met a recovered child? Would you like to? Would you care to scan their brains and see how they look? I heard a noted neurologist mention an idea that we should scan the brains of children newly diagnosed with autism, let their parents who want to treat the children biomedically, and then re-scan the brains of any children who have recovered. Does that strike you as an interesting idea?

Dr. Minshew, I read with sadness in your email that you lost a child. My heart hurts for you. Do you have any young children who are part of this generation?

If you do, do you see the reality so many of us see: learning disabilities, food allergies, auto-immune disorders, and ASD everywhere? A world very, very different from the one we grew up in during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, where so many children seem to be sick. A 5 year old’s birthday party where 80% of the boys are in speech therapy, because they need it.

We have, Dr. Mishew, an emerging thesis in our community of scientists, doctors, and parents that seems to tie together so many confounding pieces. A thesis that says what we are witnessing is a wide-scale environmentally-triggered epidemic amongst our children. A trend line of ASD cases that matches, quite exactly, an increase in our vaccine schedule that has moved from preventing deadly diseases to preventing any disease vaccine manufacturers think they can make a profit from. A group of autistic children with meaningful and consistent physical issues that are much more consistent with environmental illnesses than anything genetic. A “gene hunt” for autism that has turned up nothing. A group of doctors who are treating our children for physical ailments and watching them recover.

This is my world, Dr. Minshew, it seems clear as day. It’s so different from yours, I really, really need to know: which one of us is crazy?

Sincerely,

J.B. Handley
Father to Jamison
Co-founder, Generation Rescue

Complete email from Dr. Minshew to a parent:

Dear Mr. ----, I appreciate your passion but what you state reinforces the issue I raised by introducing the opportunity for parents to read the Blackwell Court Decision and the four others before it as well as testimony that was and may still be available on the Autism Speaks website from Andrew Wakefields research technician. I know you know that his paper was withdrawn and that he is under investigation in England for misconduct. During a recent court trial, Andrew Wakefield's technician for this paper reported that the gut samples from the children with autism and those from children without autism looked exactly the same. He reported this to Andrew Wakefield and was ignored. The samples have now been examined by other gi experts who concur with the technicians original reading. This is public record through the court testimony.

I am sorry that parents end up being misled about the veracity of findings such as this. It is very unfair. I hope that you do take the opportunity to read the Blackwell Decision as it provides insights about other so called evidence that parents hear about but don't understand why scientists don't take seriously and also the Sunday NYT Magazine of Sept 16. In addition the Institute of Medicine Committee reviewed all of these studies and will address their validity which includes the interpretation of findings in immunized children with and without autism and samples obtained years after an event in brain development that appears likely to have begun in mid-fetal life.

It is cruel to parents that they don't get an accurate story about such findings or of the extremely broad findings in the scientific literature. I cannot imagine anything worse than to think that you did something that contributed to your child's getting autism or that someone else did. Indeed I feel that way about my son's death but for good reasons.

However, I can assure you that the worlds best physicians and scientists are well aware of the studies you talk about and these studies are not sound- their methods are not or their conclusions are not. And there is an extensive set of findings that support no connections. There is also extensive science on the developmental neurobiology of autism that the developmental disturbance begins in fetal development. Like dyslexia which is not manifest until 2-5 years of life, the seeds are present in the embryo and begin to unfold in cortical development in fetal development. Again I am very sad that families do not have access to accurate information and to far less information than exists.

I hope that some day you will have the peace of knowing that autism is the result of millions of years of genetics and there was nothing that was done to precipitate it and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. The increase in number of cases reflects the increase in recognition of verbal children. I know this because the verbal individuals were not recognized outside of research centers when I started 25 years ago and now they are, perhaps because early intervention presented an incentive to notice them. There is a study of adults in state hospitals that shows that many adults diagnosed with schizophrenia have autism. I wish you the best. I wish you peace.
NM [Nancy Minshew,M.D.]

Epilogue:

As a courtesy, I forwarded the above piece to Dr. Minshew one day in advance of posting it on Age of Autism. What follows is a short email exchange between us:
-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 11:54 AM
To: Nancy Minshew
Subject: Re: Nancy & Me: Who's crazy

Says who?

And, tough shit.

J.B. Handley

----- Original Message -----
From: Nancy Minshew
To: J.B. Handley
Sent: Mon Feb 04 11:50:31 2008
Subject: RE: Nancy & Me: Who's crazy

Mr. Handley none of you have permission to share emails that i have sent to you as individuals with anyone besides the intended receiver nor do you have permission to quote me publicly. Unlike the newspaper which was public, private emails to individuals sent confidentially are not for public quotation.

          -----Original Message-----
          From: J.B. Handley
          Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 2:42 PM
          To: Nancy Minshew
          Subject: Nancy & Me: Who's crazy 
         
Dr. Minshew:

What’s written below, by me, will be posted at The Age of Autism blog tomorrow. As a courtesy, I’m sending it to you first.

I have no issues with you personally. In fact, reading that you lost a child makes me very, very empathetic.

That said, it is my heartfelt belief that you are actually part of the problem with autism, rather than part of the solution. I’m sure that’s a comment you disagree with profoundly, but I really believe history will be a harsh judge of scientists like you who continue to deny the existence of a rising prevalence of autism and mistakenly reassure parents that vaccines are safe – a topic you can’t possibly be an expert on, by the way.

I also thought your email to Mr. ---- reeked of intellectual arrogance in a very close-minded sort of a way. There are many well-credentialed scientists who would take exception to almost everything you believe about autism, but you speak with sweeping generalizations like you are in the only camp that actually knows where truth lies. I also found your continual reference to a court case in Maryland, while 2 tests cases before the Vaccine Court remain WIDE OPEN, to demonstrate either ignorance on your part or a case of selective fact gathering. What if the test cases in D.C. rule in favor of the plaintiffs?

So, I don’t expect us to be pen pals anytime soon, but I’m including the open letter to you below.

Sincerely,

JB Handley

JB Handley is Editor at Large for Age of Autism.

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If you have an autistic child take a few minutes to listen to a mother whose child made a slow but remarkable recovery with the help of homeopathy.
www.impossiblecure.com. I wish all your children well.
Mary

T. Johnson:

Trying to put somene's mind at peace with complete bullshit, particularly when this particular parent is sitting on clear evidence that the MMR vaccine ravaged his son, ends up not being all that comforting, IMO.

JB

I see something important missing in this post. Where is the email from the father to Dr. Minshew? That would possibly put her comments in better context.

My read of her email sounds like she is trying to put the father's mind at peace. What did he write that might prompt her to say that?

I view this stuff about vaccines with curiosity, but for me my advocacy energy is better spent securing services for my child, working for his future and teaching him as many living skills as I can as he approaches adulthood. I would go crazy blaming people, arguing and living in my (and my son's) past. But I know parents who just can't let go and tell me they are doing it so no one else has to go through what we all have. The only thing is, they are sailing blindly into a future with no plan and as far as I can tell have made no progress in their goal of preventing future occurrences of autism.

God give us all strength to do what we need to do (whatever that is)!

Matthew:

With all due respect -- I think it’s rather cavalier of you to categorize parents as “vindictive, argumentative, and wasting their time” because they choose to advocate publicly and look beyond themselves in an effort to help other children and families.

Unlike you, I do not look on the whole vaccine issue with “curiosity” – rather, I see vaccines (in their present formulation) as a very dangerous threat to the lives of children in this country!

I do not operate from a position of vindictiveness – in fact, Proverbs 16:6 is my guiding principal: “By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for…..”

Nor do I walk into meetings “argumentative” as Proverbs 16:21 is my motto: “….and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”

In regards to “making progress”….vaccination rates are plummeting in this country (a recent article reported a 74% rate in Indiana which was 39th in the country) and I believe it’s due to the fact that we (the “non-curious” parents) are getting the word out in regards to what happened to our children after they were vaccinated.

Granted, it would be a heck of a lot easier to sit back and not get involved – I could think of a lot better things to do with my spare time – but I can’t because children are still being injured and its my God given responsibility to step up and speak out.

Matthew:

"I view this stuff about vaccines with curiosity, but for me my advocacy energy is better spent securing services for my child, working for his future and teaching him as many living skills as I can as he approaches adulthood. I would go crazy blaming people, arguing and living in my (and my son's) past. But I know parents who just can't let go and tell me they are doing it so no one else has to go through what we all have. The only thing is, they are sailing blindly into a future with no plan and as far as I can tell have made no progress in their goal of preventing future occurrences of autism."

I applaud you for all you are doing for your son...however, I do not think parents who are fighting the 'vaccine' fight are sailing blindly and making no progress. 10 or 15 years ago many would have told my husband and I to just give our son as much ABA as possible, find a good group home and teach him life skills (he was very, very severe). Instead, a few amazing doctors told us treat him for 'vaccine damage'...try to bring down the lead levels in his body...try to get the aluminum and mercury out...another amazing doctor told us to look at his genetics and supplement some 'weaknesses' in order to facilitate the excretion of this 'bad stuff'...instead of just learning life skills and rote academic skills, our son is reading, laughing and engaging in life. Don't get me wrong, he is not recovered...he is still very afflicted. However, much less than the so-called experts predicted...in fact, they told us he would just get worse through the years...yet he continues to improve each year. If I were to pull off 'my fight', surrender to building his future based on current abilities...well that would just be another great injustice for my son...I'm not living in my son's past...I'm working on giving him the future he was meant to have...I am one of those parents who cannot let go...shame on any parent who can let go...you don't give up on your child, ever...you don't take a road just because it is easier on the parent...you take the road that is best for your child..it is the parents who are 'fighting' that keep the doctors looking for answers, keep the public asking questions and keep the hope of a cure alive...more and more children with ASD recover each year...and it's not because of miracles or parents who let go...

Mid 1990's...I'll bet you didn't know as many children with autism then as you do now, did you?

Wonderful letter. The power of the written word never ceases to amaze me. I don't know what caused our son's autism, but I certainly know enough to not rule out the insane number of vaccines our children are scheduled to receive. Thank you for your incredibly important work!

Matthew:

It's clear there are children who have not been vaccinated who have autism. The question is simply how many. Most anecdotal data we can find appears to show far less autism amongst unvaccinated children, which is the point.

According to our health authorities, there should be no difference between autism rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.

It's why we did the phone survey that's on our website:

http://www.generationrescue.org/survey.html

As a parent, the larger question for you is whether or not you believe something in the environment triggered autism in your family's case. If you do, perhaps it provides a roadmap for treatment.

JB

Just for fun (?), lets pretend that "early weaning seems to be an entity in the etiology of infantile autism" (Tanoue)is valid. How can that be correct if autism is a genetic ailment? Bottle feeding runs in families (Like colitis). The lady, when pregnant for the first time, usually consults with her husband or mother on the method to deliver nutrition to the infant. (Lefevre) What about the second developmentally challenged child in a family? When a child has a developmentally challenged older sibling there is an increased likelihood that the younger child will also have autism. There also is an increased likelihood that the child will be bottle fed. (Burd) (Think about nursing a baby when a developmentally disabled child is 'loose' in the house.)


Here goes. Palmer (Google search for "Palmer apnea and snort") states that bottle feeding predisposes the child to sleep apnea.
Nasal congestion can initiate or exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea. Nasal congestion can be caused by upper respiratory viral
infection. (Corey) DpT can cause apnea. The children in intensive
care are monitored for 72 hours for development of sleep apnea. Why not apnea following MMR shot? The children are at home, not in intensive care.

On one of the sleep apnea bulletin boards a number of individuals reported that following treatment of sleep apnea, their reflux, colitis and/or irritable bowel syndrome went into remission.

Remember, in sleep apnea the airway is obstructed and the level of oxygen in the blood is reduced. The brain, as I am remembering, uses about 25% of the oxygen consumed by the body.

Oh yes, Cory includes some other sources of nasal congestion in the paper.

There many roads to Rome and to obstructive sleep apnea.

Joe Herr

My son seemed OK for the first 18 months. He never got ANY vaccines, and never has. He was born at our home with the assistance of a midwife, with no complications. We didn't really get concerned until he started pulling away, losing language (just a few words actually) and started engaging in the really odd behaviors. By his second birthday we knew he was way off track and were pretty sure it was autism. I have a friend who did not vaccinate, not because they were afraid of autism but for another reason, and they now have twins with autism. This was the mid 1990s.

I view this stuff about vaccines with curiosity, but for me my advocacy energy is better spent securing services for my child, working for his future and teaching him as many living skills as I can as he approaches adulthood. I would go crazy blaming people, arguing and living in my (and my son's) past. But I know parents who just can't let go and tell me they are doing it so no one else has to go through what we all have. The only thing is, they are sailing blindly into a future with no plan and as far as I can tell have made no progress in their goal of preventing future occurrences of autism.

God give us all strength to do what we need to do (whatever that is)!

Matthew

That is really interesting. There are three families in TACA (out of over 6100) that DID NOT VACCINATE THEIR CHILDREN and yup - like yours - are diagnosed with autism.

Further research yielded:
- Family 1 - RHOGAM mom (the 25 mcg per shot and she got four kind)
- Family 2 - Dental Work while pregnant (replaced amalgams)
- Family 3 - Lived next to a coal burning power plant

Real stories. So I am just curious - anything like this in your house?
Take care, Lisa A Jeffs mom

Hi Matthew, I was wondering if your child had regressive autism or seems to have been born with it? The same with the others you know about? Any chance the mother got rhogam? Any chance your child was one of those infants that received a hepatitis B vaccine in the hosptial without you knowing about it? (Of course you probably wouldn't know unless you had your child checked for evidence of hep b vaccine exposure.) Also, did she get the rubella vaccine at any time? I have a hypothesis about those non-regressive types and autism that might be relevant.

Also, I don't know if you were implying this, but just because not everyone's autism is caused by vaccines doesn't mean no one's autism is caused by vaccines.

All the best, Sandy

What about kids who received no vaccine? Mine didn't. Has autism though. I know many more like him.

I hope Dr. Minshew can live with herself, because no one else can!
I have 2 boys, both on the autism spectrum. My older son fell apart with in 24 hours of getting his MMR, and by then my younger son had already had a few vaccines. Thank God I stopped his at 6 months. I have been told by several doctors (who told me they would never admit it in public) that my younger son would have been profoundly autistic if I had kept vaccinating him. I have 2 older children (both girls) and I can't tell you what this has done to everyone's life. I love it, first they damage our children, then the insurance companies refuse to pay for treatment to try and reverse what they have done to them! Oh, and I have to say I LOVED J.B's commment to her on the sanctity of "private email" it was pricless!!! I was laughing so hard I almost choked! I would loved to have seen her response to that!

>reading every printed page of science I have been able to find on autism

you're kidding, you really never heard of her?

>Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog
>until the author has approved them

You won't post this, will you?

Pete

Thank you for standing up for us. We need people like you to help us save our future. I am a firm believer that vaccines destroyed my child. I do not understand how they can say a normal child can regress after 18 months. Go from totally outgoing to totally withdrawn. I do not except thier explanation it just isnt logical. My son was a normal 13 month old child, who started getting really sick at about 8 months old. He was losing the battle is what I think against all the vaccines. By 13 months old he couldnt take anymore. When he had gotten his MMR, I think his immune system had all but completely shut down. About 1 day after the shots his limb node in his groin area, in that very leg swelled. I immediately took him to the docter and what he said took my breath away, " with all his illnesses and now this, do not be surprised if your son doesnt have CANCER." I never even thought of him just getting vaccinated the day before, and niether did the docter obviously. Cancer was all I could think of while we waited for a biopsy, he was slowly withdrawing and I didnt even notice until years later watching home videos of him. I have right before the lastest vaccines and then the day before the biopsy, the one right before the biopsy is about a month after the shots, he is sitting in the corner stacking my shoes, you can tell he was slipping away, he was alot quieter in this movie than he was in the other. He was alot different. So I found another video that was about 4 months after the last, he was gone, totally withdrawn, quiet, to quiet for an almost 2 year old little boy. who wouldnt look when I called his name, who didnt even seem like he noticed anyone else was there. They took my baby from me, no cancer, thank god, but Autism. They will not try to help us cure our kids because that means they have to take credit, and that will never happen. My son was NOT born with Autism. I have two other Typical children one older and one younger. In June of 2007 I had to refuse a hepititus B vaccine at the hospital for my newborn because it contained, let me say this loud and clear, THIRMERSOL. It really makes me mad when they say that all of it has been removed from vaccines, that is a bold face lie!!!! I do not completely blame that ingrediant but I am sure it didnt have a positive affect on my child. My youngest did have one set of vaccines at 2 months but he will not have anymore, also he has been sick since a day after the shots, but he doesnt have Autism! Thanks again for saying what so many of us were thinking.

Gatogorra,

That was a real nice bit there on the increase of metal illness and autism. It would be very interesting to see Grinker's reaction to this. Does he even touch on it at all or does he blow it off in his book? Always attack the main argument of the enemy, it is said, and the "autism rate always the same in history" is definitely the main argument and the key to everything for the CDC.

Great job JB!! This is one of the best things I've read in a long time. :o)

Your site and "Who's Crazy" article was posted on an autism group I am on. I read your site with great wonder and thankfulness for your tenacity in correcting a "professional". I have 3yo twin boys recently diagnosed and going through therapies and soon, preschool. They are one of the "rare" few who have never been vaccinated, although I've caught garbage from their pede even AFTER diagnosis! I am convinced that if I had them vax'd, their autism would be MUCH worse than it is. Also, I have wondered: since they have not had vax's and I HAVE...how much of an effect is that on children of today? I actually had TWO sets of vax's in my childhood bec the military lost my records. I got asthma shortly after the second round. My oldest son does not have autism, but has severe asthma that started after his last round of shots at 3. Perhaps Dr. Minshew was correct in the statement of "years of genetic mutation" (or whatever it was)...yeah...why would we be mutating? How about years of government experimentation and now all those vaccines are building up in our bloodstreams? Better yet...how about all the genetic mutations we've done to our food supply? The amount of artificical ingredients - like the excitotoxing MSG - that the government is still allowing in our foods? What if all THOSE things are making these "mutations" she speaks of?

Anyway, off my soapbox. I really just wanted to thank you for your REAL work in the REAL world if autism!

Since JB is from Oregon, let's look at Oregon as I would love to hear the good doctor explain Oregon and all the other states just like it. Fifteen years ago Oregon had 3 children recognized and receiving services for an official diagnosis of Autism, as noted by the Oregon Department of Education.
Now, let's go with the Dr's. theory that there is no epidemic, simply better diagnostics "catching" the verbal children with Autism. What would you expect the number to be if we suddenly realized some of these verbal children actually were autistic...I will give you 20. In a state with the population of Oregon, improved diagnostics might have picked up around 20 children with Autism. I'll even give you 20 or 30 more children that perhaps were diagnosed previously with something else, but now children with these same symptoms are labeled with Autism. OK, so I will throw in a few more if you really want to give these idiots credit for better recognition, despite the fact that not a single one of us have met one of these great diagnosticians. Our personal stories are more like 1 to 3 years of beating them over the head, demanding to know what was wrong with our child before we finally got some answers, but our experiences don't mean anything in this argument, they never have. So, let's say I give you 97 children that were picked up, that may have been previously missed. That is a lot, and if they were it, we might have a hard time arguing against the better diagnostics theory. But instead, in Oregon, the number that used to be only "3" is now over 6,000.
Does any human being with two neurons to rub together actually believe that 6,000 children were missed in Oregon in our recent past with the disorder we now know all too well from our own children and their classmates.
I will say it again, my town of 1,000 people with an average size per grade at around 40 students has 9 Kindergarters this year with full blown autism. The teachers now say it's easier to count the few kids that aren't messed up than the ones who are. Teachers with 25 years experience say "something is very wrong with our children". There are only five of those Kindergartners who are not on some kind of daily drug or that do not have an educationally significant diagnosis. In the southern part of my county 1/3 of all children entering the grade schools have a diagnosis of Autism, bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia. Yah, like we all remember those kids when we were children(insert sarcasm here). Maybe the good doctor can tell us why our schools are going broke taking care of Autistic children(ok sarcasm again), if they have always been there. A condition and its symptoms by any other name, still would have had to be "handled" and still would have cost the same amount of money, so why the surge in costs. Hell not just a surge, a tsunami.
Like the others before her and those that will come after, apparently the Dr. has spent far too many of her 22 years in her ivory towers filling out NIH applications for more money.
She should stick to grant writing and measuring how far apart a kids ears are and leave Autism to those of us living with it and witnessing it every day in our lives.

"For example, a child develops hand flapping some time after the second MMR/boosters. So did the hand flapping begin in fetal development and somehow wait until the later set of vaccines to present itself?"

Every parent that is intent on recovering their child and has taken a close enough look at the Amy Yasko protocol is aware that hand flapping is a manifestation of an ammonia overload. The pertinent question to ask these omniscient doctors is - what is there in the vaccines that caused my child to get this increased ammonia? What kind of reaction occurs when the vaccine is injected in my child's body to cause him to do this? Do you think that this is something acceptable?

Do you not think that if we say that this happened to my child that you have a moral responsibility and a moral obligation to:

1. find out what exactly happened.
2. find out why it happened?
3. should you not be even a little bit concerned that this exact same reaction has been witnessed by several other parents post the vaccination of their child?
4. does it not bother you that in addition to the increase in autism in the last 18 years there has been a concurrent increase in other childhood diseases as well?
5. do you not even question, well even a teeny tiny bit, that it might possibly have something to do with the fact that you are injecting poisonous neurotoxins into infants and are triggering countless autoimmune disorders in children.

What is it going to take for you to make a simple connection? How come we parents with no medical degree know more about this disorder than you do? Could it be that its because our child is precious to us and we care about him? How come you do not care about what happened to my child? I am waiting for an answer to this very simple question. Here it is again -

How come doctor, you do not seem to care about what happened to my child?

First off ... that was a wonderful piece and made my day. And it's great news to read in the PPG that the buck's been passed to genes. A real relief to know that injecting our children with toxic levels of mercury is okay … while warnings are amass for pregnant women to watch their intake of mercury through food. I just love that type of logic – yet another deductionist approach to explaining fallacies in light of harmful evidence? Let's just pump up those levels with CDC-recommended flu shots, preferably every year, just to be safe and to keep our children healthier than ever.

Secondly … as a father of two boys with autism, who turned from academia to running his own business, I applaud your candor and refreshing sense of reality. Could we possibly package some of that and inject it into certain less fortunate beings/experts or whatever they strive to be? Label it “evidence of charm”, if you will.

Thirdly … “gloves coming off” made me chuckle when I read it in our local paper (the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette) the first time, simply because I have seen her on tapes. But the timing … that’s just perfect … she’s part of a team (a team, by the way, that features some brilliant researchers) that just received a multi-million-dollar grant from the NIH. The gloves are off, alright, they just had to wait a bit? For what? A confirmation letter?

The UPMC CeFAR website says: “Dr. Minshew has developed a program of research focused on autism as a distributed neocortical systems disorder that disturbs complex information processing and results in a broad constellation of cognitive and neurologic impairments.” Dr. Minshew is “Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and a Child Neurologist” ... so someone who should know that heavy metals will have an effect on brain functions (not just mercury and not just vaccines), who should know the toxicity levels allowed by law (unless the CDC is playing roulette again and cannot agree on a number or anything in general), who should know that hypothesis-testing is the core of any research (sound ones, mind you) and that any hypothesis statement made must be based on facts (not fax, which may explain the false beliefs portrayed, or was that preached?).

I have yet to see any such testing here on her part on the effect or non-effect of “a” heavy metal and/or any other metal and/or “a” vaccine and/or series of vaccines and/or timing of vaccines and/or order of vaccines. But in the meantime … it’s cool to sweepingly dismiss it and put the shameful evidence on genetics.

To have the audacity and make such a statement in which she dismisses any possible causative effect, any possible environmental impact as initiator or catalyst or contributor – that’s as mind-boggling a statement as some of those by former Senator Rick Santorum (PA) on threats to the American family – but silly me for even attempting to think that he couldn’t be topped.

I cannot help but think of a line from Ramon Gomez de la Serna: “The missing link so desperately sought by anthropologists is bound to be in Madrid’s great flea market.”

Hmmm … I do know that Pittsburgh does have some great flea markets. Maybe I should wait for spring to come and then hunt down that missing autism link in those flea markets.

I think it's hilarious that Minshew mentions the Blackwell decision. It's so telling and emblematic that this must have been the message she intended to pass on. Blackwell was the decision to *not hear the evidence* by a judge without so much as a degree in bio grabbing onto a goofy, corporate-purchased ruling such as Daubert. Read: we, the mainstream scientists, don't want to hear the evidence. You can't make us look at the evidence. We grab onto any pretext or loophole-- no matter what a mockery it makes of science, democracy or justice-- in order to not look at the evidence.

Daubert was designed specifically to keep corporate shill scientists like Minshew on top, in the majority and unquestioned in whatever shamanistic garbage pours out of their academic facilities for the top bidder so that corporate polluters and poisoners can make sure the little guy never gets heard in court. No wonder she loves that ruling.

It's also kind of funny that Minshew inadvertantly raises the issue that, if you have a bunch of liars in capitulating fields, such as neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, epidemiology, immunology, etc., their lies are guaranteed to eventually become mutually exclusive to those of their allies. For example, Minshew tries to make a case for schizophrenics representing the missing adult manifestations of today's autistic children. Never mind the fact that schizophrenia's typical onset (as documented by instituional admissions, case histories and theory) is late puberty and, in the forties, "infantile schizophrenia" was reclassified as-- drum roll-- autism. Never mind that schizophrenia is characterized by accute psychotic phases, seeming recovery and relapse. And never mind that one would have to make a case that there's also been an increase in the recognition of *puberty* to say that institutional admissions records of the past century were incorrect about patients' age of symptom onset. Ignore all that and there's still the issue of growing evidence that schizophrenia is related to the environment. But hey, maybe that's just increased recognition of growing evidence.

Either that or Minshew has made an explosive discovery that she's not informing the public of: rather than autism being a disease which strikes boys five times more than girls and one that is equally distrubuted among racial groups, it turns out (as extrapolated from Minshew's theory) that autism really strikes black females at the highest rates, followed by black males. Why? Because black women are the most frequently institutionalized for schizophrenia. Always have been, at least since abolition. The fact that this discrepancy is mostly due to medical racism and cultural incompetence on the part of institutions and psychiatrists shouldn't bother the likes of anyone who appreciates the justice in the Daubert ruling.

There's certainly no proof that schizophrenia is genetic in any case. A century of "eugenetic" research, billions of dollars thrown down the drain and gene studies of schizophrenia are as empty handed as when Kallmann (a eugenicist who campaigned for a "mental hygeine" policy too extreme even for the nazis: to sterilize the families of schizophrenics) first peddled his leaky as hell twin study of schizophrenia.

In his day, there seemed to have been too many disabled mentally ill around for Kallmann's cringing tastes, though here's the interesting fact which Minshew seems to hope will be overlooked: Kallmann would have gone mad with a pair of pinking sheers trying to snip the tubes of everything that moved if he could see the numbers as they stand today. The rates of disabled mentally ill have risen even more, although not as quickly, as the rates of autism. The largest rate hike occurred before the autism epidemic and included cases which have not been and will never be confused for autism. Between 1850 and 2004, the rates for disabled mentally ill in the U.S. went from .2 per 1000 to over 20 per 1000 with the greatest hikes occurring between 1955 and 1987 (400% increase) and then again between 1987 and 2004 (roughly 150% increase). So says that bastion of radicalism, the U.S. Census Bureau.

If those 1/150 (or 1/100 and on and on, as the numbers go up in various places) adult autistics were hiding in small towns and institutions in the U.S. fifty or more years ago, they would have been hiding in a vastly smaller population of mentally ill than currently exists, certainly much smaller than 1/100. Autistics, in fact, would have had to comprise the ENTIRE POPULATION OF MENTALLY ILL from just over fifty years ago and then some. That is, if anyone would agree that autism is a disability, it would have had to be the ONLY disability, the only form of mental illness. And the overflow would have had to represent people so high functioning as to escape notice. You know, back in the P.C. past when individual differences were so well tolerated? That last fact has often been pointed out by the environmental-injury community: where would these people have to hide unnoticed other than in an institution, where they would have case histories taken?

So, like Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom of "The Producers", the vaccine apologists and their allies such as psychiatry have oversold stock in the historic mental illness musical. Since I don't think the APA wants to concede shares of its other highly drug-able and therefore big money-making, supposedly genetic-and-always-existed disabling DSM dx's-- such as bipolar disorder (which somehow went through the roof after the introduction of antidepressants in 1959, for a little more iatrogenic history), schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, borderline personalities, histrionic personalities, inadaquate personalities and on and on-- someone's going to *decrease* their recognition for their profitable and ever-growing piece of the genetic mental disorder pie for Minshew's funny math and funnier historic epidemiology to work.

JB,

I am so thankful that there is someone like you with the energy to do what you do everyday.
This is hysterical by the way. I love the comment that emails can't be quoted. What world does she live in? I have met her, she is a tool.

What is interesting, what I am sure of... people like her, they are only quoting what they have been told or are simply lying b/c it benefits them financially. Anyone who sits down and actually reads the reseach had to be a moron to still say, without hesitation that vaccines are not involved.

I don't think the question is which one of you is crazy, I think the question is, is she stupid or is she lying?

Great reading, JB! These people with the NIH, etc $$ are hallucinating. They deserve their own pages in the DSM.

-Lies through teeth
-Distorts facts to fit their "reality"
-Uses psycho, mumbo-jumbo terms to Freudanize
-Becomes hostile when their bank account is mentioned
-Does not play nicely with non-genetic researchers

Keep up the truth as their charade, oops, I mean job, is needing some justification.


Teresa/red

Dear JBH,
Thank you for such a well-written heartfelt, honest letter to Dr. Minshew. Robert Mendelsohn, MD once wrote, "MDs defend childhood vaccination to the death. The question parents should be asking is, "Whose death?"
Keep up the good fight,
Tedd Koren,DC

JB, Thank you for this reporting. On the topic of: "the developmental disturbance begins in fetal development. Like dyslexia which is not manifest until 2-5 years of life, the seeds are present in the embryo and begin to unfold in cortical development in fetal development"... there are some of our kids who suffered most of the regression after the second MMR or booster shots (kindergarten age). For example, a child develops hand flapping some time after the second MMR/boosters. So did the hand flapping begin in fetal development and somehow wait until the later set of vaccines to present itself? (Another example could be eye contact, which is a very early ability). Dyslexia is a learning disability associated with a higher ability such as spelling, reading etc, so I can see that the problem manifests itself later. I dont understand the comparison. We have kids who have lost very primitive functions at ages well past the age of their development/maturation.

Pramila

OK, I just have to say that I almost shot some of the water I was drinking out of my nose laughing when I read JB's final email in the epilogue and am dying to know what response he got from that. Also I want to say here that Gen. Rescue was my intro to biomed and JB, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a fighter. I still remember the day a little over 3 years ago when I clicked on the ad that took me to your page where I suddenly saw the sickening connection between all the seemingly disparate symptoms my son was experiencing. I sat with tears rolling and fists clenched, but now I am one of your Rescue Angels, and my son is recovered.

I think one of the most frustrating things about all this is that Dr. Minshew is not the only dinosaur parading themselves as an "expert" on autism. She would find many of her kinfolk on the Autism Speaks scientific advisory board, as one example.

Since when does a freakin psychiatrist become an expert on vaccines, anyway?

JB

"You don't need the guilt of thinking you took your child to be vaccinated and that caused the autism," said Dr. Nancy Minshew.

Excuse me?!? Did I read that right??? "*I* don’t need the guilt”?

Who is it here who you believe ought to be feeling guilty about the knowledge that a vaccine caused a child’s autism?? The parent who had the child vaccinated????

I seem to remember when my children were very small that I took them to the doctor for vaccines, and I trusted—since those *doctors* were supposed to be the experts, were in fact well paid as experts, on vaccines and medicine—that what they were telling me to do was the right thing to do. I trusted that if my child’s *doctor* and his *government*health*regulatory*agencies* said that a vaccine was safe, that that meant it was safe and wouldn’t harm my child. Now I find out that this isn’t true.

Wait just one minute here. Now I’m being told that I am the person who is supposed to be feeling guilty because I got my childred vaccinated and it harmed them?????

I guess I must be crazy too, because guess what, I don’t feel one bit guilty. (Karen McCarron was quite sane, however, as we know. And she knew that she was supposed to feel guilty for having had her child vaccinated, because she in fact testified on videotape that she felt responsible for her child’s autism because she’d had her vaccinated.)

Ok, so Karen is sane, and I am crazy because I don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty for having gotten my children all of their childhood vaccines. The ones loaded, oops, with heavy metals.

I don’t feel guilty. I sure as heck know who is guilty, though.

Robin Nemeth

Sargent Goodchild wrote -

"The factors that tell us how we are going to express ourselves genetically have and always will be the chemical, emotional, and physical experiences we absorb during growth and development."

It seems as though the simple doctor has chosen to ignore this whole other dimension of epigenetics. Do they not teach this in medical school? Well, us folks never went to medical school so how come we know about epigenetics? It smacks of "A Tale of Two Mice" and a fairytale with a not so familiar ending. Enjoy!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3411/02.html

You Go, JB....
I have a visual of a very angry Dr. Minshew with smoke coming out of her nose and ears after reading your email. No WAIT, that's the THIMERISOL from the recent flu vaccine she had. DUH, silly me.
And in all honesty I don't think I have bad genes. And if it WAS my bad genes, why don't my other children have autism? Possibly because they were born 12 and 10 years before their brother when there were not 36 vaccines on the schedule? If it were simply a question of genetics, ALL of my children would be autistic. And they're not.
Maybe we should ask the good Doctor what pharma company is lining HER wallet?
Continue on, please....me thinks you stirred her up a bit.
Sophia

JB-

Thanks again for another wonderful article.

I'm in awe of your ability to combine common sense with science.

Keep up the great work. My recovering son appreciates it.

Sincerely,
Christine

Perhaps somebody should remind Dr. Minshew that genetics simply tells us which of many roads are available. Genetics do not tell us which of those roads we are going to take. The factors that tell us how we are going to express ourselves genetically have and always will be the chemical, emotional, and physical experiences we absorb during growth and development. This is especially true in the first years of life when so many children are being told to sleep on their backs, hang in a jolly jumper, and get vaccinated of which none is good for development.

Sargent L. Goodchild, Jr.
Exec. Director
Active Healing, Inc.
www.activehealing.org (news piece as seen on WBZ-TV available here)
978.525.3608

How does this title sound for the coronation ceremony?

I crown thee “King of Ruckus” or in laymen lingo: “Ruckus Man”

Hey, and how about this for the “official” Ruckus Man Song (“Rocket Man”)

Mars (Holland Shmolland) ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this (CRAP) science I don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A Ruckus Man, a Ruckus Man

And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a Ruckus Man
Ruckus Man burning out his fuse up here alone

Kim, You mean this has not officially happened yet?

"Autism knocked on the wrong door." but I think JB gets the copyright on that phrase"

Ohhh!!! I do think we need to have a ceremony here presenting JB with the copyright! Suzanne Wright was too busy pouring money into the "research" that says we have bad genes instead of answering the door and providing our children an opportunity for help NOW!

I'll stop there... Yes, we need to have a copyright ceremony for JB :-)

Ang

“The only thing the parents do wrong is they have bad genes."

The thing you don't hear discussed at all is what it means to have "bad genes". The normal implication is that someone with bad genes is not going to excel in society, do anything of note, so why not just write them off. What gnaws at the minds of all the scientists, doctors, lawers and politicians is that those folks with bad genes are actually the future PhDs, doctors and lawyers (some become politicians too). There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of this, and there is some statistical work showing prevalence of high education among families with autistic kids (gotta dig it up). Eventually, gene chips are coming that will solve the problem of determining succeptability, but just the simple test of parental education level or job title is usually pretty accurate.

The standard 1 in 150 number is then quite a bit worse for this subset of elite with bad genes, especially for boys. This is one of the reasons that autism will never be swept under the rug, no matter how much some folks try. What is the chance of a boy of two doctors in New Jersey getting autism? I would guess it is not something those parents would not want to hear...or maybe they would so they could do something about it.

This presents an opportunity for presenting another argument to politicians or doctors. Gather the data and calculate autism rates of MD's. Let them know that it is their future grandkids that have the highest chance of getting autism. It would be pretty difficult for a family of many generations of doctors to accept that their line is the one with the "bad genes" and is going to end with kids in special education classes, collecting disability payments for the rest of their lives.

Suzanne Wright likes to say, "Autism knocked on the wrong door." but I think JB gets the copyright on that phrase, don't you?

KIM

JB, WAY TO GO!!! Great letter! One of my favorite parts was in the newspaper article where it was stated that Dr. Minshew was taking off her gloves. HA! She doesn't realize who she just climbed into the ring with, now does she?

As I saw these emails go back and forth between Minshew and the parent over the past several days I have to say that in none of the emails I received did it say anywhere that the information contained in the email was confidential and only to be read by the intended recipient. HA! Everyone who is in their right mind knows that when you send an email (the same as sending something via snail mail) once it leaves your hands or your outbox you have no control over it so you better make sure that what you're saying you are prepared to have shared with the rest of the world. Or put a confidentiality clause at the end of your email. Duh! But she didn't. DOH!

So, it used to be that we were cold, unloving mothers, and that is what caused our children's autism. Now we have bad genes. Nice... How stupid do they think we are? So as stated in a previous comment - genes cause never ending diarrhea. And I'll add that bad genes evidently can cause toxic levels of mercury and other heavy metals in our children. Bad genes can also apparently cause elevated measles titers. Wow! If this gene theory is true, then I guess the next generation is totally screwed. Our own genes are going to make us go extinct!

JB - you are not the crazy one. They say that people who go into psychology and psychiatry usually do so for a reason... I think it's safe to say Minshew's reason for going into the field was because she is crazy! I think it's time for her to check into the psych ward!!!

Ang

It amazes me how some people will dish it out all day long but scream bloody murder when they are given a tiniest taste of their own medicine.
Journalists and reporters who have a 1 way soap box from which to spout their personal uneducated opinions as facts are especially flustered when they get a taste of their own medicine.
It would be funny if the lives of millions of innocent children did not hang in the balance.

Keep up the good work J.B..

Dear Dr. Nancy Minshew,

Thank you so much for clearing up the fact that it was not my fault and that it was purely millions of years of genetics that caused my poor child to have the worst 3 years of his life with CHRONIC CONSTIPATION. Thats right CHRONIC CONSTIPATION. Have you ever seen a bowl movement the size of a ripe grape fruit come out of a three year old child? I don't think you have. If you had then you would do what ever it took to make this child better. I am a grown man and where I come from grown men don't cry, but watching my child suffer for years I have learned that sometimes its ok to cry for our children. J.B. Thank you for continuing your search for the truth.

This is soooo JB. Love it. So doc....do genetics explain my kid's endless diarrhea? His fungal overgrowth? How would she explain all his labels being removed after treating him biomedically and with therapy?? His genetics changed overnight.?? This archaic mindset is perpetuating the nefarious and illogical thinking around autism. As one of my friends said...."enough with the puzzle piece! Its not a mystery!" Its also not genetics.

Did anybody catch this:

In addition the Institute of Medicine Committee reviewed all of these studies and will address their validity which includes the interpretation of findings in immunized children with and without autism and samples obtained years after an event in brain development that appears likely to have begun in mid-fetal life.

Is she saying the IOM is doing something on this?

Dr. Nancy Minshew, who received an $8.9 million NIH grant for her autism center in December 2007, to a parent (2/2008):

“I hope that someday you will have the peace of knowing that autism is the result of millions of years of genetics and there was nothing that was done to precipitate it and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. The increase in number of cases reflects the increase in recognition of verbal children.”

Alison Singer, Autism Speaks Executive Vice President, to the Wall Street Journal (2/27/2007):

“The only thing the parents do wrong is they have bad genes."

Autism Speaks, the NIH and the CDC are on the same page.

In April 2007, after Singer's autism is genetic comment to the Wall Street Journal, she attended at the IOM’s Autism AND THE ENVIRONMENT meeting as Autism Speaks’ representative.

If Autism Speaks had instead sent a 30 gallon drum of radioactive waste to the meeting, the message to the IOM would have been the same: we do not take environmental science seriously.

I have three girls with autism. Sometimes I feel a million years old. Does that count?

I was tempting to change your headline JB, to "THE TAMING OF THE MINSHREW."

Kim

Good job JB, PLEASE keep fighting and exposing these big pharma hacks posing as experts. What a joke this
Minshew loser is. She's an expert at taking huge sums of money to cover her owners ass.

I love it. "...autism is the result of millions of years of genetics and there was nothing that was done to precipitate it and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it."

Autism has been hanging around in our DNA for millions of years just waiting for the right moment to strike. Was it a unilateral strike? Did Mr. or Ms. Autism decide to erupt on the scence all by itself? Might there have been a trigger, a reason for this to explode on an unsuspecting human race? Might that trigger have something to do with all the chemistry experiments the medical industry keeps trying out on us?

Arrogance of this stature does more for the environmental causation position than she could ever imagine. What a bunch of crappola.

Maybe her mother never taught that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

Harry H.

..."you have developed a “model of autism as a disorder of brain connectivity and constrained information processing accounting for many of the manifestations of this disorder.”"

First off, this is the main problem. These doctors/ researchers, call them what you will are approaching this whole malady entirely from the perspective of a neuro-developmental disorder. If we are not even in agreement as to what the biological implications of "regressive" autism are, we can never get to a common meeting point about its etiology. That said, whoever is appointment these people at NIH or wherever (why in the world is a mental health organization responsible for the whole autism debate anyway) needs to stop right there in their tracks, really listen to people who know what "regressive" autism is, and then include folks who actually have a clue about the physical manifestations of the disorder. Until that happens, all of this is a lost cause.

If these people (Minshew et al) are really truly interested in knowing about "regressive" autism they need to open up their minds to the other perspective, the parents'. Its all very well to sit in an ivory tower and proclaim what you have learned so well about in medical school, but to actually get down in the trenches and do some real dirty work take a lot of energy, time, and a huge mental shift. Frankly, I don't see that coming anytime soon. There is this very wide spectrum of dissent.

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