I miss you.
Dan Olmsted was a hero to me and so many others who have children and young adults diagnosed as, "AUTISTIC." His Columbo investigations about the FIRST CASES of Autism, convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was an epicenter to Autism and exposure to certain toxins -- Mercury and Vaccines -- seemed to be a huge trigger to increasing numbers of children being diagnosed. The search for cause and then treatments became a passion of mine, as well. Dan's support and frequent emails helped me through many a rough day, as well as his encouraging me to keep on investigating how Megan, and so many others who regressed into Autism, became so ill. Dan told me how much he was learning about the MICROBIOME from all of the articles I had posted over these past years on Age of Autism and told me -- "keep going as nobody is tying it together like you." He cut out an article from the NYT when they were finally mentioning "viral and bacterial issues of the gut" and gave it to me one night at dinner. I have it on my fridge always as a pledge of not giving up on the research (or Megan and so many others!) and also of how motivating an influence Dan was in my life. I could not attend Dan's Memorial today in Virginia but wanted to share how fortunate I was to know Dan and be involved in the investigations regarding the Age of Autism:
It was a very warm, September night in 2008, when I first met with Dan Olmsted. I had first seen Dan in a large auditorium at an autism conference a few years earlier. He had been up on the stage in a plaid shirt, talking about mercury, seeds, and Ceresan. With glasses and a laid back way about him, he seemed like Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper in Jaws, ready, willing, and able to take on Autism's menacing monster -- MERCURY.
I didn't understand why this "lumberjack guy" was talking to all of us parents about trees, Lignasan, and ethylmercury. My daughter became sickly and regressed in skills after vaccines -- many with the vaccine mercury called thimerosal. Bacterial and viral infections were then to be constant unwanted parasites in her life as her immune system took a direct hit. Meg was diagnosed with autism shortly after and just recently has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Dan seemed to me to be on the wrong trail. It took me a while to connect the research and see that these clues Dan, along with Mark Blaxill, had been discussing and writing about for quite some time were the first "puzzle" pieces to Autism.
I shared Dan and Mark's passion about the origin of AUTISM. MERCURY, both environmentally and in pharmaceuticals, like VACCINES, has been, and continues to be a significant culprit in the damage being seen in both the BRAIN and the MICROBIOME .
I was lucky to be invited into some of the before and after research that both Dan and Mark were investigating in their groundbreaking book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic. I was able to find "Barbara" [Barbara's father is a prominent psychiatrist] and "Virginia," [Virginia, the younger of two siblings, was the daughter of a psychiatrist] two of the three girls that Dr. Leo Kanner included in his original eleven patients, all children born in the 1930's. Dan mailed me all 467 pages of the 1941 American Psychiatric Association's, Fellows and Members Biographical Directory. He, Mark and I would have many emails and conversations about potential psychiatrist, father candidates for Barbara (real name Bridget Muncie) and Virginia (real name Vivian Murdock). Ironically, in years of searching and of all the hundreds of psychiatrists in those 467 pages, Wendell S. Muncie was on page 295 and inches away, on page 296, was Harry M. Murdock.
I jump on Ancestry still, looking for "Elaine." Finding these first-ever, diagnosed children is important to me. There were hundreds of emails about those, "11 Kanner Kids," that I exchanged with Dan and Mark over the years. Our search for them often felt like a rescue mission, as for many of them, their existence became a trail of group homes and state mental hospitals .
Dan's passion in establishing The Age of Autism was also out of compassion for so many ill children -- children with damaged immune systems; violent seizures; painful gastrointestinal disease; excruciating obsessions and compulsions; life-threatening allergies; self-injurious behaviors; and the devastating inability to communicate (SPEAK) -- My daughter, Megan, is one of them, severely affected. I remember Dan coming in to Chicago and meeting him for dinner about six years ago. Megan had begun to have severe catamenial seizures, aggression, and self-injurious behavior. We were investigating medically with doctors and labs, to see what was happening to cause the behaviors. I was hardly getting any sleep, missing work, and so very worried about Megan. Dan sat across from me, tears filling his eyes, as I tried to explain our very hard life. He was always a good listener and a good friend. I need to add that Meg is better now, seizure-free almost 2 years and agitation and pain much less in her life. The reason - our focus on her MICROBIOME!
Another thing Dan was exquisitely good at was pointing out those who had a piece in causing and denying the growing epidemic cases - here is a sample of Dan's writing (some co-written with Mark Blaxill, too) on that topic and links to longer articles:
That truth, as you know, is that autism is the defining disorder of our age, man-made and thus treatable and preventable. It is “made,” largely, by a reckless and bloated vaccine schedule that has long since passed the risk-reward point, wherever that might be, and is wreaking all kinds of havoc. So the epidemic is real, the causes are clear, the remedy we embrace is investigating and telling the truth and bringing like-minded people to a common platform.....
...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......
...If someone asked what our goal is, I guess I’d say it’s to rally the troops – those who know what is going on and need some reinforcement and sense of community. That’s why I sometimes think of us as the “pirate radio station of the rebel alliance,” broadcasting every day to those in the fight. Some might call that preaching to the choir, but that’s OK, to my mind. As more people, sadly, learn the truth first-hand, they will find their way to us.Others can blast away at us -- it's good for our circulation! There are some vaccine injury deniers out there who would pretty much be rendered mute without us to give them something to spew about.
Our other goal, I’d say, is to hasten the day of reckoning – and to make sure it finally comes.....
......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...
Eloquent and correct were these words from Dan and they will live on always. Our hero and friend will always be here with us.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.