David Kirby on HuffPo: NIH Agency Head Backs Vaccine-Autism Research on Friday; Resigns from Federal Autism Panel on Saturday
By David Kirby
Story Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an NIH agency, surprised many parents on Friday by stating that autism researchers should study "the children who have been most profoundly affected" by adverse reactions to vaccination.
On Saturday, Dr. Landis abruptly resigned from the powerful Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which helps direct hundreds of millions in federal tax dollars to autism research, treatment, care and services.
In her letter of resignation, Dr. Landis cited embarrassing notes she had left behind after a recent meeting of the IACC that "triggered frustration and anger" among many autism parents; and for having "inadvertently introduced a distraction" from autism research. She did not mention her newfound support for vaccine-autism investigations in the letter.
Over the weekend, Dr. Landis wrote to IACC committee members:
I am very sorry that I passed notes to a colleague during the September 30 IACC meeting. It was unprofessional of me and I should not have done it. These notes were recovered after the meeting and posted on the Age of Autism blog. I understand how my comments triggered frustration and anger. Further, I inadvertently introduced a distraction from focusing on the important questions at hand. Therefore, I have decided to resign from the IACC effectively immediately. Again, my apologies to the other members of the IACC and to the autism community. I regret that my actions have eroded trust at a time when we need to build stronger ties across government and the community. Although I will no longer be a member of the IACC, I remain committed to finding the causes of and effective treatments for autism.
David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a founding contributor to Huffington Post and a contributor to Age of Autism. His next book, Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment will be released within the year and is available now for pre-order at Amazon.