IN DEFENSE OF JENNY: Nice to see that Jenny McCarthy may land a spot on The View. Not so nice to see the same slithering "Science Says Vaccines Are Safe" crowd from Salon, Slate, Discover, etc., emerge from their respective rocks to attack her. As I've said many times, based on my own reporting, it is quite clear that vaccines are the driver of the autism epidemic. As I've also said, it's not just vaccines, it's not just mercury, and it's not just autism. Go Jenny!
GROUND CONTROL TO VICP: Have you noticed how quickly, thoroughly, openly, and fearlessly the investigation into the crash-landing in San Francisco has proceeded? Amazing what a zero-defects approach to consumer safety will do. Can you imagine the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program opening its files, fast-tracking injury claims, funding or backing studies like vax-no vax?
HYSTERICAL: In our book The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic, Mark Blaxill and I propose, apparently for the first time, that many of Freud's seminal case studies around 1900 were not suffering from neurosis or OCD brought on by emotional trauma. Instead, they were mercury poisoned by exposure to medical compounds.
You can read all about it in Chapter 2. While this may seem like ancient history, it actually points to a fundamental misdirection by psychiatry, which built its rickety psychodynamic edifice on a misdiagnosis of toxic exposure. When autism, triggered by the commercialization of ethylmercury, was first reported in 1943, the intellectual conditions were ripe to mistake it for parental coldness and neglect. This rest is history -- actually, tragedy, tragedy that keeps repeating itself. (See Chapters 5 and 6. See DSM-V. See Tom Insel and the IACC)
Parents are still getting the blame, sometimes in whisper campaigns ("they must be unhinged, hysterical to keep blaming vaccines") and more often in bogus genetic theories that place the blame inside the family circle, rather than outside in iatrogenic and environmental triggers that can be prevented and treated.
Just this week, a book review in The New York Times began this way:
"Freud’s famous case studies, like Dora, the Wolf Man, Little Hans and the Rat Man, are psychoanalytic readings, suspenseful detective stories and elliptical narratives that have all the drama and contradictions of modernist fiction. Not only is Freud a powerful writer, but his methodology and insights also have a lot in common with literary criticism and novelistic architecture. His patient portraits showcase his skills both as a critic, intent on deconstructing his subjects’ lives, and as a masterly storyteller, adept at using unreliable narrators to explore the mysteries of love and sex and death. It’s no coincidence that he liked to write about characters from Shakespeare, Goethe, Ibsen and Sophocles (yes, Oedipus), or that he paid so much attention to the language and imagery employed by his patients."
Well, yes, it does read a lot like fiction, because it is. Take Dora -- her supposed psychogenic troubles were actually physical and mental symptoms of mercury exposure from her father's treatment for syphilis, we argue. She acted as his home nurse. The Wolf Man, we discovered, told an interviewer all about how mercury as a stomach treatment had destroyed his bowels; Freud seems to have ignored or missed that glaring clue, and claimed it was a symptom of hysteria. Little Hans -- worm treatment. The Rat Man -- a father with syphilis.
It is fascinating -- and, okay, a bit frustrating -- to see the psychoanalytic narrative roll on despite the monkey wrench we've thrown into the works of Freud and his successors. Because we also believe mercury causes autism, I suspect, no one wants to give serious attention to the evidence we present that mercury caused Freud's key hysteria case studies. But we just keep telling the truth, citing the evidence, and trusting the chips will eventually fall where they belong.
DRIVEN MAD: Speaking of missing toxic causes, I was browsing a Real Simple magazine in Barnes and Noble this week (I'm a sucker for those healthy 20-minute recipe cover stories) when I came across an article titled, "A Change of Mind -- when someone suffers from mental illness, the family suffers, too. Sue Sanders looks back on the diagnosis that forever altered her husband, her marriage, and her life."
The diagnosis was depression and bipolar, but what caught my attention was the sudden onset: "Before he got sick, my husband Mike was one of the warmest, funnies guys around ...
"But in April 1996, 12 years after we had first started dating, Mike did something that wasn't funny at all. 'See that guy over there?' he whispered to me in a voice so low I had to lean closer to hear. 'He thinks I'm CIA.' Mike and I had arrived a few hours earlier for our vacation in Saigon. ... We had eaten dinner and were sipping beers in the cafe at our hotel."
Mike got better, got worse, got committed, and never really was the same again. This looks like a presumptive case of Lariam (mefloquine) toxicity to me; a healthy traveler who suddenly becomes delusional in an area where malaria is a risk and the first-choice preventive (courtesy of the CDC) was Lariam. Of course, it might not be, but that would need to be ruled out.
I've been on this case since 1999, and I still see horrendous cases that look like misdiagnosed Lariam toxicity all the damn time (a more colloquial way of saying, facts cluster around a good hypothesis). In 2002 Mark Benjamin and I wrote about it at UPI. Our story included a case from the same place, also called Ho Chi Minh City, at around the same time:
"Irish tourist Malcolm Edge, 27, was found hanging in a hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in 2000; he was taking Lariam. Edge had undergone a startling personality change on the trip, according to a traveling companion. The Dublin coroner notified the Irish Medicines Board that 'concerns were expressed at the inquest in relation to possible psychotic reactions to Lariam,' but the coroner made no conclusion whether Lariam was a contributing factor in the death."
In this spot last week, I wrote about Lariam and an Army sergeant's massacre of 17 civilians in 2012. The military and the government won't address whether he took it, although a report on file with the FDA (first reported here) says he did. Since then, both Time and Forbes have reported on the document and the Army's strange silence, even as it let the soldier plead guilty, taking the death penalty off the table.
Time for a Transportation Safety Board approach to drugs! The case of Mike Sanders, the Afghan massacre, and the autism epidemic show why we can't keep sweeping drug side effects under the rug. People and their families and bystanders and society writ large are harmed, they don't know what hit them, they don't know how to seek treatment or help themselves or each other. And it keeps happening. It keeps happening to travelers, to soldiers, to children who develop "regressive autism."
It's systemic, stupid, and it needs to stop. But it won't as long as CDC stands for Controlled by the Drug Companies. We'll keep on it till it does. I mean, what else, in good conscience, can you do?
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.