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NYT: Do Toxins Cause Autism?

Kid gas mask Please comment on this article by Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times.  Nevermind, an astute reader just told us NYT closed the comments at 192. Tell your friends to comment here at AoA.

Do Toxins Cause Autism? 

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: February 24, 2010

Autism was first identified in 1943 in an obscure medical journal. Since then it has become a frighteningly common affliction, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting recently that autism disorders now affect almost 1 percent of children.

Over recent decades, other development disorders also appear to have proliferated, along with certain cancers in children and adults. Why? No one knows for certain. And despite their financial and human cost, they presumably won’t be discussed much at Thursday’s White House summit on health care.

Yet they constitute a huge national health burden, and suspicions are growing that one culprit may be chemicals in the environment. An article in a forthcoming issue of a peer-reviewed medical journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, just posted online, makes this explicit.

The article cites “historically important, proof-of-concept studies that specifically link autism to environmental exposures experienced prenatally.” It adds that the “likelihood is high” that many chemicals “have potential to cause injury to the developing brain and to produce neurodevelopmental disorders.”

Continue reading "NYT: Do Toxins Cause Autism?" »


Coalition for Vaccine Safety Calls for Congressional Hearings on Federal Agencies' Failure to Provide Adequate Safety Research

Vaxvial80 THE COALITION FOR VACCINE SAFETY CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ON FEDERAL AGENCIES’ FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE SAFETY RESEARCH

CASE NOT CLOSED ON GOVERNMENT VACCINE SAFETY CLAIMS

WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of House and Senate Committees charged with oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Coalition for Vaccine Safety (CVS) is calling for hearings to investigate HHS, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government agencies for failure to fully address issues of vaccine safety as intended by the Mandate for Safer Vaccines in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act.

With the federal government claiming “case closed” on possible damage to children caused by compulsory vaccines, too much evidence exists and too many unanswered questions remain, according to the letter.  Key concerns are: insufficient and flawed data knowingly and willing used by government entities to reach conclusions that science dictates simply cannot be reached; conflicts of interest of individuals and government agencies involved in vaccine safety research; and ignored statements from experts regarding the un-answered question of a link between thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines and autism.

“The question has not been answered.” (former Chairman of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Dr. Bernadine Healy)

“[T]here's been grossly insufficient investment in research on the safety of immunization.” (former head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Louis Cooper)

“Yet the study had significant weaknesses and they knew it.”  (former Congressman David Weldon, MD, R-FL in reference to a CDC study regarding thimerosal and autism)

 “[T]he committee cannot rule out, based on the epidemiological evidence, the possibility that vaccines contribute to autism in some small subset or very unusual circumstances.” (The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2004 report on thimerosal and autism)

The Coalition for Vaccine Safety urges Congress to view the claims of HHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that vaccines are safe with a jaundiced eye.  The existing evidence on vaccine safety is grossly insufficient and fails to meet the requirements of public confidence.  In fact, significant evidence points to suppression of science that could prove or disprove vaccine safety.  This suppression may be due to potential liability and financial conflicts of interest involving individuals and organizations responsible for scientific studies and vaccine safety policies.  Furthermore, “HHS has blatantly disregarded laws passed by Congress requiring it to properly and thoroughly study vaccine safety,” reads the letter.

Continue reading "Coalition for Vaccine Safety Calls for Congressional Hearings on Federal Agencies' Failure to Provide Adequate Safety Research" »


The Atlantic: The Wonder Drug Myth

Tylenol-shelf We often question the one-size-fits-all approach of the pediatric vaccination schedule. While there are contraindications and exemptions, for the most part, the vaccine schedule is administered per the CDC schedule. Another topic in the autism biomed world is whether Tylenol has adverse effects for our kids. The Atlantic article below delves into Tylenol, not as it relates to autism, but to point out that not every medicine, even an over the counter medicine, is safe for everyone. Of interest is this line, In May 2009, researchers from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, suggested that in some people who suffered liver failure after taking the drug, the cause may be genetic, not the size of the dose. 

Read the full article in The Atlantic.

In the past 50 years, modern pharmacology has created dozens of treatments that improve and save lives. Cardiovascular drugs like beta- blockers have drastically reduced deaths from heart attacks and heart disease. For every million people who take a statin drug for high cholesterol, there are 50,000 fewer angioplasties, surgeries, heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths, studies have shown. And in the past 15 years, drugs have transformed AIDS from a death sentence into a managed disease. These are just some of the triumphs of pharmacology, and each case is a bona fide miracle, a life transformed. 

But not every drug can deliver a fairy-tale ending. Many of the stories we expect from drugs are partly fictions, hiding in a gauze of ambiguous results, placebo effects, and messy side effects. Though it’s widely known that the pharmaceutical industry tests hundreds of substances to get the handful that work, most people assume that those that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are actually effective. But the numbers say otherwise.

Even the best drugs have imperfect chances of working for any one person. Asthma drugs work in about 60 percent of patients. Migraine drugs are effective in only about half of cases. Drugs for Alzheimer’s disease work in about 30 percent of patients. And those are exceptional results compared to cancer drugs, which at best work about 25 percent of the time...


Corporate Funding of Scientific Studies: Not for Tobacco, Not at PLoS

PLoS and NYT vs. Money; FDA vs. Flavor; Hype(r)tension

By Curtis Porter

Medical Journal Gives Up on Evaluating Science

Today the editorial staff of PLoS Medicine, a peer reviewed, open access journal published by the Public Library of Science, declared, “While we continue to be interested in analyses of ways of reducing tobacco use, we will no longer be considering papers where support, in whole or in part, for the study or the researchers comes from a tobacco company.”

“By deciding to no longer allow for research funded in any part by tobacco industry, they're acknowledging that they're no longer able to evaluate science,” says ACSH's Jeff Stier. “It is the very role of journals to discern between good and bad science, and they're throwing their hands up in the air and saying, 'We can't do it.' It's a regression of scientific standards that journals can no longer trust themselves to evaluate science.”

The editorial offers the justification for this decision: “As a medical journal we do this for two reasons. First, tobacco is indisputably bad for health...Second, we remain concerned about the industry's longstanding attempts to distort the science of and deflect attention away from the harmful effects of smoking.”

“It's true that tobacco companies knowingly deceived their customers for many years,” says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “We can name a few activist groups funded by other interests that have also distorted science to suit their agenda. Still, it's the twenty-first century now, and there are many tobacco products - be they smokeless tobacco or lozenges - that may be used to help people quit smoking. Who but the tobacco industry that produces these alternatives is going to fund research concerning their safety and efficacy? And while smoking is decidedly bad for anyone's health, are the PLoS editors going to ban research supported by other disfavored industries - beverages, pharmaceuticals, who knows what others? - in the near future?”  Read the full article HERE.


Virginia Denies Insurance Coverage to Autistic Children

Virginia losers The losers are children with autism. The bill, SB464, was flawed, very flawed. But if you were one of the few it would have helped, it was valuable and a starting point for more coverage. Of course, this is the state where last week a Delegate named Bob Marshall (R) said that disabled children are God's punishment for having had an abortion HERE. Read and comment at WTKR.com.

RICHMOND, Va. - Legislation that would have required many Virginia employee health care plans to cover a treatment for autistic children died Tuesday under business and insurance industry claims that its costs would hurt business.

Sen. Janet Howell's bill was tabled Tuesday on an unrecorded voice vote by a House Commerce and Labor subcommittee.

The defeat ends a 2010 legislative push by families of children with the neurological disorder to secure coverage for a treatment called applied behavior analysis.

"They were lobbied hard by the insurance and business lobbies not to stand up for children and families," said Mark Llobell of Virginia Beach, grandfather of an autistic child and one of several tearful relatives who consoled one another after the vote.

ABA treatments cost $30,000 a year and up. Many middle-class families forced to pay the costs themselves confront financial ruin.

Virginia is among 35 states that do not compel insurers to cover the ABA treatments, which specialists say are the best hope autistic children have for living a normal life.

Continue reading "Virginia Denies Insurance Coverage to Autistic Children" »


Temple Grandin on Vaccines -- If There's a Risk, "Space Them Out."

Temple_grandin Temple Grandin gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal this weekend (HERE) in which she amplified comments she's been making about controversial aspects of autism. The interviewer mentions Andy Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper -- now retracted by the journal -- and "the antivaccine movement perhaps best associated with the actress Jenny McCarthy ..."

"Scientifically, there's still some things to be done,' Ms. Grandin says. Scientists need to study 'the kids where they seem to have language and then they lose it at 18 months to two years of age.' She adds: 'I've talked to too many parents that have talked to me about regressions that I can't just pooh-pooh that off.'"

So what to do? "We can't stop vaccinating because we're going to end up with all these childhood diseases. i grew up with iron lungs. ... That was horrible, dreadful ... We can't go back to that."

She recommends: "'If you have autism in the family history,' or other auto-immune problems, 'you still vaccinate. Delay it a bit, space them out.'" She again cites "very big improvements" with wheat-free and dairy-free diets. And she insists that while better recognition may have increased the number of people diagnosed with Asperger's,  "some of the severe autism has increased." And that suggests, the interviewer wrote, "the possibility of environmental toxins interacting with 'susceptible genetics.'"-- Dan Olmsted

 


Wakefield Moving into New Leadership Role in Autism Community, Leaving Thoughtful House.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield suit headshotBy Dan Olmsted

Dr. Andrew Wakefield announced today his intention to move on to a new phase of leadership in the autism community as he also prepares a more aggressive defense of his scientific accomplishments in the wake of a ruling from the U.K.’s General Medical Council (GMC). That ruling, which charged Wakefield and two pediatric gastroenterologists with misconduct, was followed shortly by the retraction of a 1998 case series report by Wakefield and his colleagues from London’s Royal Free Hospital in The Lancet. “There has been an extraordinary outpouring of support from the autism community in response to the events of the last two weeks”, Wakefield told Age of Autism in an exclusive interview. “The most exciting part of it has been the opening up of an entirely new sort of opportunity that will allow me to continue my work on behalf of autism families.” Wakefield said he would provide more specifics on the nature of that opportunity soon. “In addition, I will now speak publicly to refute the findings that have been made against me. I know my necessary silence on these issues has troubled many parents in both the U.K. and the U.S. But I’m ready now to get back on the front foot and publicly contest the false accusations that have been made against me, my colleagues, and indirectly The Lancet children. It’s been long overdue.”

Wakefield, previously the Executive Director of Thoughtful House, had been a senior scientist in charge of an ambitious primate research program on vaccine safety. The first paper from this project was published online on October 2, 2009 by Neurotoxicology (see HERE) who then decided unexpectedly on February 12 not to proceed with publication in the print edition (like The Lancet, the journal Neurotoxicology is owned by Elsevier, a division of Reed Elsevier PLC). Many autism advocates have expressed the concern that the attack on Wakefield has been part of a broader campaign for the suppression of science, including the primate project (see HERE). Earlier this week, Jane Johnson of Thoughtful House released the following statement. “We fully support [Dr. Wakefield’s] decision to leave Thoughtful House in order to make sure that the controversy surrounding the recent findings of the General Medical Council does not interfere with the important work that our dedicated team of clinicians and researchers is doing on behalf of children with autism and their families.”

Wakefield expressed optimism that by working with the support of a larger set of autism organizations he would be able to focus attention back on the exploding population of affected children and their families, “which is where it belongs”, he emphasized. “I have always followed the principle that good medicine, and ultimately good science, begins and ends with the patient. We need to remember that the purpose of medical science is not to serve the medical industry but rather the interests of the patients the industry serves.”

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


NYT's Gardiner Harris Wears White and Black Hats

White hat black hat Gardiner Harris writes about medical news for The New York Times. He has called out pharma on numerous occasions, most recently this weekend regarding the diabetes drug Avandia.  Lisa Goes, an AoA contributor, sent Mr. Harris an email regarding his treatment of The Lancet retraction. The response she received from him is below in red. Her email follows as well.

How is it that Mr. Harris can ride a white horse regarding pharmaceutical drug safety and yet don a black hat when it comes to vaccine safety? In fairness, Mr. Harris did report last year, NYT Reports CDC Failed to Properly Screen Vaccine Advisors for Conflicts of Interest.

Read his article, Research Ties Diabetes Drug to Heart Woes and pay attention to this paragraph, “Instead, G.S.K. executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk,” concludes the report, which was overseen by Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican."

Why should we believe vaccines, the new profit center for pharma, are exempt from strong arm tactics and outright fraud? Also from the article:

Hundreds of people taking Avandia, a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month, according to confidential government reports that recommend the drug be removed from the market.

The reports, obtained by The New York Times, say that if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart. Avandia, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known as rosiglitazone and was linked to 304 deaths during the third quarter of 2009.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Harris, Gardiner" <
gardiner@nytimes.com>
To: "
ljgoes2006@yahoo.com" <ljgoes2006@yahoo.com>
Sent: Fri, February 19, 2010 8:00:42 AM
Subject: Re: READER MAIL: Gardiner Harris

Thanks for your note. I'm sorry for your children's difficulties, your anger and your willingness to believe wild conspiracy theories about the roots of autism.

----- Original Message -----
From: NYTimes.com <emailus@ms2.lga2.nytimes.com>
To: Harris, Gardiner
Sent: Thu Feb 18 22:09:35 2010
Subject: READER MAIL: Gardiner Harris

To: GARDINER HARRIS

You have received reader mail via nytimes.com.  To respond to this reader, simply 'reply' to this message.

READER'S NAME:
LJ Goes

READER'S MESSAGE:
Dear Mr. Harris, I was recently forwarded your New York Times article regarding the Lancet retraction, found here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html. I am the busy mom of three small children with little free time to correct feeble reporting. Conversely, I'm certain given your impressive tenure in the journalism community you are not accustomed to admonitions from the public. I can assure you I do not routinely begin correspondence to someone I've never met with such direct aggression. It's just that given the needs of those around me I really don't have the time or patience for political correctness.

Continue reading "NYT's Gardiner Harris Wears White and Black Hats" »


Dr. Mark Hyman on HuffPo "Mercury: How To Get This Lethal Poison Out Of Your Body"

Twas brillig bib Dr. Mark Hyman has a post about mercury in our bodies at HuffPo. Meanwhile, we remain in the Jabberwocky world where mainstream physicians inject and drill mercury (yes, we know it's the "good" mercury not the poison kind) into patients every day.  Read the full post and comment at HuffPo HERE.

If you are heavy, it could be making you sick and tired and age prematurely. And I don't mean heavy with fat ...

I mean heavy with heavy metals -- like mercury!

Unfortunately, toxic mercury problems are common. Along with polar bears, beluga whales, ducks, otters, panthers, and all river fish as well as most large ocean fish, we humans are poisoning ourselves with mercury at ever increasing rates.

There's no doubt about it, mercury is the most alarming, disease-causing source of environmental toxicity that I see daily in my practice. Many of patients have toxic levels of mercury -- and they're not alone. I personally suffered from mercury toxicity and chronic fatigue syndrome --which I cured myself from, in part by getting rid of the mercury in my body. So I know about this first hand...


Autism Sibling Wins Northern Virginia Reflections 2009 Literature Award

Trotter kids Managing Editor's Note: An Age of Autism reader named Allison T. sent us this lovely poem by her daughter. Congratulations, Carolyn, on winning the Northern Virginia Award of Excellence for Literature. You're a wonderful little sister to Jackson.

Artist's Statement:

My brother Jackson inspired me to write a poem.  He has autism and I think that makes him beautiful because he is different from other 10 year old boys.  And being different is beautiful.  I always feel safe with him around because he is not a bully.  He does not pick on me like most older brothers or boys do.  He is kind to me.  He makes me happy and plays with me.  I trust him to always love and care for me.   He has a good heart. 

A brother named Jackson 
Understands the way things work 
Tells his feelings 
Is always respectful 
Special to me 
Makes great movies on his video camera 
 
Is not a bully 
So kind 
 
Before I was born he did not have autism  
Every time I show up, he is happy 
Always nice to little kids 
Usually he doesn’t need help with work 
Tells the truth 
Is in control of himself 
Follows directions 
Unbelievable kid 
Listens to music once and he can copy it by heart 

Caroline T.
2nd Grade
Sleepy Hollow Elementary


Can Cartoons, Movies, TV Impact Your ASD Child?

Coyote-06 By J. Bradley Borden

In general, I've never big a big fan of blaming violent movies, TV, or video games, for the acts committed by people who view them regularly. However, if you have a kid with autism, you might consider taking a look at what exactly your child is watching. While this is a great idea for all parents, sometimes autism parents might assume that a certain show is OK or think your child is not paying attention to what YOU are watching.

In our case, our daughter is super perceptive even when we think she is focused on something else entirely. She also seems to tune in to our moods, which can also be a factor considering what you are watching. You often hear people say that kids with autism do not imitate others. This is not the case for lots of kids with autism. Our daughter does lots of imitating of people in real life and stuff from movies. Kids with autism are often very visual thinkers.

Video Modeling is even a therapy used to teach social behaviors to children on the Autism spectrum. In our case, what might appear to be just general bad behavior could have roots in a movie she saw last night, last week, or last year. Even movies that are NOT VIOLENT and perfectly fine with neuro-typical kids, can result in unwanted behaviors. One prime example of a movie banned from ever seeing the light of day in our house is the 1999 Walt Disney movie TARZAN. For one thing, Tarzan swing from everything under the sun. There are also lots of OVER ACTIVE MONKEYS being monkeys. None of these are things you want imitated. Acting like a monkey in Walmart could perhaps result in some parenting stress even for the best of us. Yes, that can be a pain, but some acts in what you might consider safe media, could result in serious injury or even death if imitated by your child.

Continue reading "Can Cartoons, Movies, TV Impact Your ASD Child?" »


Dr. Steven Novella Makes The Case for Vaccine Autism Link... By Mistake

Counting “Many children are diagnosed between the age of 2 and 3, during the height of the childhood vaccine schedule… The true onset of autism in most ASD children likely began a year or two prior to the vaccines that are blamed as the cause.” WRONG.

By J.B. Handley
 
I’m beginning to think that the term ”Science-based medicine”, which happens to be the name of a blog founded by Yale neurologist Dr. Steven Novella and co-run by blogging weirdo David Gorski, has much in common with other humorous phrases like “military intelligence”, “jumbo shrimp”, and “clean coal.”
 
How else do I explain the atomic stupidity Dr. Novella shared with the world when he once again tried to debunk the growing evidence linking vaccines to autism in a recent blog post entitled “The Early Course of Autism.”
 
Dr. Novella’s piece details a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry titled “A Prospective Study of the Emergence of Early Behavioral Signs of Autism”   that tried to figure out when signs of autism first emerge in babies.
 
Ironically, the study Novella references is quite supportive of the theory that autism is caused by the environment and most notably vaccines. But, by being a clue-free moron, Dr. Novella tries to use the study to make the opposite case, and crashes and burns, as I will explain.
 
Let’s start with the study itself, where the study authors conclude:
 
“These results suggest that behavioral signs of autism are not present at birth, as once suggested by Kanner, but emerge over time through a process of diminishment of key social communication behaviors. More children may present with a regressive course than previously thought, but parent report methods do not capture this phenomenon well. Implications for onset classification systems and clinical screening are also discussed.”
 
Stop. Wait a minute. Let’s rewind. Signs of autism emerge over time? Not present at birth?  Diminishment of key social communication? More kids may present with a “regressive course” than previously thought? These authors appear to be preaching to the choir: this is the story I hear from parents every day and the one I lived. My son was normal, meeting his milestones, and slowly, he lost everything.
 
Novella then writes:
 
“But what these results indicate is that clear signs of autism emerge between 6 and 12 months of age. Further, social skills tend to be regressive in ASD between 6 and 18 months of age. It was previously thought that social regression was less common in ASD, but this study suggests it is the rule, not the exception. Meanwhile, language skills did not regress in this study, they continued to improve in the ASD group, just on a slower curve than the TD group.”
 
Reading Novella’s blog for the first time, when I got to this paragraph, I thought to myself, “Where the hell is this guy going with this piece? He’s one of the bad guys, but he sounds like he’s affirming the story of my son and so many other kids.”
 

Continue reading "Dr. Steven Novella Makes The Case for Vaccine Autism Link... By Mistake" »


The Phoenicians: Autism Recovery Denial, Drug Profits and the Media’s Flat Earth

By Adriana Gamondes

What if the pharmaceutical industry had a formula for projected drug profits from a massive rise in autism? A formula such as:  PY=P×Y
 
And what if the same industry simultaneously rewarded scientists, media companies and organizations which disseminate the concept that there is no autism epidemic, that the rise is “false”, that the numbers have always been with us, but that there’s just increased diagnosis due to increased clinical and public recognition of autism? And what if this industry went on a massive campaign to proselytize the dangers of any treatment method—or any scientific authority— which threatened PY=P×Y?

Profiting from something while claiming it doesn’t exist isn’t anything new. According to some historians, the myth of the flat earth was perpetuated by the Phoenicians to prevent maritime trade rivals from voyaging to England to mine tin. Tin, which seems to have been scarce in ancient Canaan, was an essential ingredient to bronze; bronze was the essence of military power and trade at the time. Advantage in the tin trade gave the Phoenicians untold power.  As long as the lie held, Phoenician fleets regularly made mining expeditions north, trading freely with the natives of the British Isles—while neighboring states feared plummeting off the edge of the world if they dared to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar.
For the analogy, imagine the existence of the epidemic as “England”; autism recovery treatments as the “Straits of Gibraltar”; and maybe psychopharmaceutical drug profits as “tin”.

The epidemic-based profit formula actually exists. It was published in a 2003 study for Eli Lilly by researchers Robert and Julia Gerlai (
HERE). From the study:

The question whether the epidemic status of ASD is due to true increase of incidence of the disease or simply its better detection and diagnosis is debated. Nevertheless, according to a most recent report to the legislature on the principal findings from the epidemiology of autism in California, the M.I.N.D. institute has confirmed that the increase of incidence is real and cannot be attributed to changes in diagnostic criteria or misclassification. Autism was estimated to have a frequency of more than 1 in 500 children, while more recent studies found its prevalence as high as 1 in 150 (for examples, see; also see
CDC website). Researchers, private (e.g., Alliance for Autism Research), and government (e.g., National Institutes of Health, USA) agencies have recognized the enormous need. As a result, funding for research has significantly increased. Surprisingly, however, autism is still not among the neurological or neuropsychiatric diseases onto which large pharmaceutical research companies traditionally focus. This is unfortunate as ASD represents a significant unmet medical need with an enormous market size. Consider the following: ASD may be diagnosed as early as 2–3 years of age. Some even argue that successful diagnosis may be made at 8-12 months). Autistic persons can live a normal life span. The market size can thus be calculated as follows: 

 PY=P×
Y

where PY is the number of “patient years,” P is the number of patients and Y is the number of years for which patients live after diagnosis. Calculating with the conservative prevalence estimate of 1 in 500, there may be approximately 600,000 ASD patients in the USA alone. These persons may live for an average of 76 years. Using the conservative age of 3 years for the time of diagnosis, PY may be calculated as follows.

PY=600,000×73=43,800,000, i.e., almost 44 million patient years.

Continue reading "The Phoenicians: Autism Recovery Denial, Drug Profits and the Media’s Flat Earth" »


Autistic 11 Year Old Left Alone. Starts Fire. Dies.

Weep Managing Editor's Note: Please wake up, America. Join our reality AAP. Report on the stress and lack of support and respect, media. Autism is killing our children, shattering our families. We need support, help, treatment, respite, my God, we need respite. How long before we have to add a "RIP" category?

 BY Oren Yaniv, Erin Durkin and Jonathan Lemire
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

An autistic 11-year-old boy who can barely speak died in a fire that he set Tuesday when his grandmother left him alone in her Brooklyn apartment, officials and witnesses said.

Tavon Turpin used matches or a lighter to ignite the blaze in a hallway closet while his grandmother, Melinda McLain, 59, had gone to a deli near the Coney Island apartment, police said.

The grandmother was hit with criminal charges for leaving home without Tavon, who recently sparked a small fire by cooking a cell phone in a microwave, police and FDNY sources said.

"The kid didn't have a chance," said neighbor Wigberto Figueroa, 34. "It's so sad."

Read more: NY Daily News.


Mark Blaxill on Wakefield in USA Today: 'Believe objective science and parents, not the medical industry or the media frenzy"

Usa today Mark Blaxill is featured in USA Today this morning for an opposing view to, Debate on Fighting Disease: Vaccine Fear Mongering Endgangers Child Health. Mark takes ownership of his opposing view --which USA Today titled  "Unjustly accused -- Medical industry seeks to suppress science to protect vaccine profits," we have restored Mark's original title here -- and we are left wondering who wrote the "Vaccine fear mongering" editorial, excerpted below.

Americans no longer routinely see people disfigured by smallpox or crippled by polio, so it's easy to forget what terrible scourges those diseases were before vaccination eradicated them here. Routine shots also nearly wiped out measles, a dangerous childhood illness that killed 450 and caused 4,000 cases of encephalitis annually in the USA before a vaccine became widely available in the mid-1960s.

But reported cases of measles, while still tiny, are now ticking upward, and the probable reason is troubling: Fearful parents are refusing to let their children be vaccinated against once-common childhood diseases. Anxiety — fanned by a discredited British researcher and misguided celebrities — has grown that childhood vaccines, chiefly the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella), are a reason for an alarming spike in the number of children with autism, a disorder that impairs a child's social and communication skills, often severely... (Read and comment on the full article Debate on Fighting Disease: Vaccine Fear Mongering Endgangers Child Health. )

Here is Mark Blaxill's response. Please comment at USA Today using the link below.

Believe objective science and parents, not the medical industry or the media frenzy 

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a memorable scene follows the protagonist (working at the satirically named Ministry of Truth) as he rewrites the news to erase a man’s life and work from history. That’s what Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, just attempted when he retracted a case series report by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital from the scientific record. Horton should be ashamed of himself, and anyone who believes in the free and open discussion of controversial scientific questions should be concerned about what has happened to our civil discourse in the process.

There’s a lot of name-calling and misinformation swirling around this issue that should stop. Parents concerned about vaccine safety issues are branded “anti-vaccine.” Dedicated scientists who simply reported a series of cases combining bowel symptoms, autistic regression and exposure to the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) stand accused of fraud and misconduct. Meanwhile, the medical industry has dismissed concerns over exploding autism rates in a crusade to protect their policies and vaccine profits.

Anyone convinced that Wakefield is the problem should ask a simple question: Can you name a single instance of fraud or misconduct by Wakefield, describe it simply without deferring to the authority of some faceless tribunal and defend the evidence to an informed skeptic? You won’t succeed. Why? Because the evidence clearly shows there was neither fraud nor misconduct. The parents whose children Wakefield studied never complained, and most have gone public with their support of Wakefield and his colleagues. Why wouldn’t they? Their children were treated by Wakefield’s colleagues, experts in pediatric gastroenterology, and the children’s intestinal symptoms and symptoms of autism improved.

The Lancet parents are not alone. Thousands of parents all over the world — dedicated, educated parents of children with autism — have done their own scientific diligence and reached conclusions that differ from the media frenzy stoked up by government officials and the medical industry. They trust Wakefield and believe he and his colleagues stand unjustly accused. They also believe that scientific censorship is a pernicious thing and should stop. You should, too.

Mark Blaxill is Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism and a Director of SafeMinds, an organization that researches the role of mercury in autism.


American Rally for Personal Rights: May 26 Grant Park Chicago

American Freedom  We believe in the rights to life, liberty, and personal security for ourselves and our children.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Grant Park, Downtown Chicago

www.americanpersonalrightsrally.org

www.americanpersonalrights.org

We demand the universal human rights standard of informed consent for all medical interventions. Compulsory vaccination cannot be legally and morally justified.

We affirm...
the sanctity of personal space the right to be left alone, and the freedom to make personal health care decisions guided by the professionals of our choosing.

We invite all people, families and organizations committed to protecting these fundamental rights to stand with us in downtown Chicago on May 26, 2010 at our inaugural rally, and to work with us after the event to support grassroots advocacy, education, and leadership in defense of our personal – individual, legal, moral, religious, civil, and human -- rights.



The Good and The Bad of Autism Speaks Top Ten Science Breakthroughs

Top10_header_2009 Autism Speaks Top Science Breakthroughs for 2009:



The Good:

1) It is now widely accepted that autism affects 1 in 110 American children and 1 in 70 America boys.

2) Mitochondrial Dysfunction/ Fever and Autistic Regression. It is wonderful to see this critically important and vastly understudied issue being researched. Too many ASD parents already know about this autistic trajectory having seen it up close. The majority of this parent community believes that repeated adverse reactions to multiple vaccinations trigger severe fevers, brain inflammation and loss of skills and speech.

3) Later Language Acquisition. Autistic kids can acquire language after 5.

4) Association /w Family History of Autoimmune Disorders and Autism. I don’t understand why this is being studied in Denmark rather than the US, but the subject is important. Families have known this association to be strong for years now and it is good to see money invested in this issue.

5) Early Intervention Works. The earlier a child is diagnosed w/ ASD the earlier intervention starts the better the outcome.

The Bad:

1) The Mice Model. We need phenotype investments right now in our children. Classic ASD, Regressive ASD, Non-responders, ABA responders, Sick/ GI ASD kids and Recovered kids. Why are we not starting there, detailing the symptomology, the ASD trajectory, interventions and current treatment outcomes for each of these forms of ASD? That is what autism families want studied.

2) Genome Technologies. Where to begin? This is hugely expensive research that fascinates scientists yet is enormously unpopular with families. Genome work has been largely disappointing regarding yielding insights to disease like MS and Parkinson’s.

3) Genetic Copy Number Variations and Pathways-How much does this cost in terms of helping people affected with autism now? Why aren’t these resources being invested into environmental trigger research that will yield faster and less expensive results?

4) Ripserdal, Parent Training and ABA. Parent training is always great but why is risperdal the ONLY intervention mentioned for children living with autism now? Risperdal may indeed help some children but it is a powerful anti-psychotic with dangerous side- effects, especially for boys: the growth of breasts, extreme weight gain, overall dampening of all cognitive and emotional affect…Where is the acknowledgement of these risks?

Risperdal and other powerful off-label anti-psychotics regularly used on autistic children are only treating the symptoms. They do not touch the underlying problems. Yes, sometimes symptom management must be the first priority in extreme cases but this is not a tenable approach to helping our kids.

Where is the acknowledgement that some children act out because they are in pain?

Shouldn’t we studying and advocating for the treatment of underlying medical issues before risperdal? Where is the research on GI pain- an issue that affects at least 40% of children with autism and one which greatly decreases an individual’s ability to function, make progress or even be part of their family? Why isn’t that a bigger priority than developing anti-psychotics?



 


Busting Out of Shawshank: Autism and a Tale of Two Andy's

Warden By Teresa Conrick

In 1994,when I was pregnant with my second child, a film called, "The Shawshank Redemption," came out. Being pregnant, tending to my beautiful, toddler Megan, and working part-time, teaching in a psychiatric hospital demanded my attention and I missed this film.  It wasn't until around 1999 that I happened to catch it one night on TBS and it was exactly what I needed, so I am here to share my thoughts and recommend that you watch it - now - as it is exactly what our community needs.

In 1999, my world had changed drastically since five years prior.  Megan had lost skills, including speech, had become distant, sad, crying and physically ill with ear infections, rashes, fevers, vomiting, nosebleeds, reflux, and diarrhea more times than I could count.  She was to then be diagnosed with autism in 1995.  Since I did work in a psychiatric hospital and had finished my masters in Special Education, I had an inkling of what autism was but no experience except for "Rainman" and a brief observation of a male, nonverbal teen, hospitalized for a "medication adjustment."

As I watched Shawshank that first time, I became a huge fan.  Here was an atypical movie for me.  It had no romance, no great costumes, no catchy music.  What it did have was a story that I could identify with and one that I relate to now more than ever, especially as the innocent Andy Wakefield, like our hero, Andy Dufresne is unfairly judged and "imprisoned."

Andy in the movie has been tried on circumstantial evidence and found guilty of killing his wife and her lover.  He is then shipped off to Shawshank Prison where he must deal with other prisoners, hatred, despair, injustice and corruption in the form of the Warden and some of the guards. Andy is innocent and knows it but he must deal with prison life and he does so with intelligence and hope.  His relationships, especially with Red, another prisoner who trusts Andy and sees him as different than all of the prisoners at Shawshank, is a good one - "He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say... I liked Andy from the start."  Over nineteen years, the two would become close friends.

The Warden was a cruel, selfish and evil man.  He put Andy to work for nineteen years as his personal accountant, taking money from the prison and "laundering" it.  He also was responsible for a young prisoner's death, a lad who knew Andy was innocent and could identify the real killer, a psychopathic prisoner who confessed haughtily to the young lad of the killings.  Andy went with his evidence of innocence to the Warden and because this information would release Andy, would get him out of Shawshank and out of the Warden's "laundering" job, the lad was killed and Andy was punished more for even thinking of revealing the truth of his innocence and the identity of the real criminal. The Warden was not about to let Andy or anyone get in the way of his money scheme and the power he held over Shawshank and the prisoners.

Continue reading "Busting Out of Shawshank: Autism and a Tale of Two Andy's" »


Polly Tommey of Autism File Speaks to the Autism/Asperger's DSM V Question

Disparate worlds The following is excerpted from Autism File Magazine with permission. A .pdf link to the original article follows at the end of the post.

By Polly Tommey

I think we have a problem; maybe people with Asperger’s and autism should not be underthe same umbrella. It seems to me that we are dealing with two completely different conditions.

We know all about the similarities, but it’s the differences that concern me at the moment, and it’s the differences that are so apparent in the calls that I receive every week.

I get calls from people with Asperger’s who say they need help with things like getting into
mainstream school, getting into college, getting a job and keeping it, finding somewhere to live within commuting distance of their own community, making friends, getting a girlfriend,
getting a diagnosis. Many are proud of what makes them special and proud to be a part of the Asperger’s community, but they want the wider community to accept them for who they are and to help them find their place.

Parents and caregivers dealing with autism tell me what they need: a school or place that
meets their child’s needs without having to take the school district to court every step of the way; a curriculum that recognizes the overriding
importance of independence and social skills; more access to specialized speech and language therapy; more access to educational and
therapeutic approaches that can help reduce anxiety, improve behavior and enhance life skills; and medical and nutritional needs to be taken seriously as a matter of urgency. Perhaps most importantly, they need the support of doctors
who can recognize and treat the various medical issues that plague so many of our children. They need someone to help them get fit and ready for learning, and, of course, they need an answer to the burning question that many are afraid to ask: what will happen to our children when they become adults?

Read the full article HERE.


Age of Autism Contest Winner: Cupcakes from New Orleans' "Chasing Cupcakes!"

Chasing cupcakes mom and son Congrats to CarolynKylesMom, our winner!

THE CONTEST IS CLOSED.

Leave a comment to win a dozen gluten free, casein free, egg free, agave sweetened, no artificial coloring cupcakes from www.chasingcupcakes.com in New Orleans. The winner will be able to speak with Chase Nugent about the cupcakes before shipping.

New Orleans Children taste King Cake for the First Time-
Thanks to a Local Mother Who Finds Her Niches as a Gluten-Free Baker:

NEW ORLEANS (February 5, 2010)- The brainchild of a working mom, the CUPCAKE KING CAKE was created to provide those who live with food allergies, diabetes, celiac disease, autism or special diets with delicious desserts rather than ones that taste like cardboard.

Chase Nugent is a veteran of the television and digital broadcast industry, and self described New Orleanian. In 2008, Chase’s son, John-John was diagnosed as having a gluten and casein allergy. So a nationwide search began to find John delicious gluten free/ casein free cupcakes. Her search turned up many recopies yet they were more like dry, tasteless softballs.

Unsuccessful in her pursuit of gluten-free/ casein-free cupcake perfection, Chase stopped the chase. Returned to the kitchen, and focused on creating a gluten-free/casein-free/ dairy free/ egg free/dye free/ vegan masterpiece.

The result, the CUPCAKE KING CAKE, created so that everyone can participate in the tastiness that is the king cake.

Make sure the next person to bring a King Cake to your party brings this one so everyone can enjoy it!

THE CONTEST IS CLOSED.

 

 


Will "Autistic" Become Synonymous with "Dangerous?"

Questions Managing Editor's Note: I have no idea what to think of this story. Is William Page formally diagnosed as autistic? Does he have Asperger's Syndrome? Is every criminal who seems odd or remote going to be called "autistic." Autism has been in a lot of very disturbing stories this week. Two mothers killed their sons. The college shooter in Alabama has a whiff of Asperger's floating around her descriptions. Will a perception of danger or criminality harm our loved ones with autism? It's a far cry from crowing about the gifts, that's for sure. But I simply do not know what to make of it. Do you?

From Pittsburgh Live: Autism diagnosis may take death off table for Braddock man

An Allegheny County judge is scheduled to decide Tuesday whether to bar prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against a Braddock man accused of abandoning his 23-month-old daughter to die in freezing temperatures.

A psychologist testified Friday that defendant William Page is autistic, a condition his lawyer argued precludes death as a possible punishment if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
"These are not the type of people to whom the death penalty should be applied," defense attorney Richard Narvin said. "Do we (execute) people who (start out) behind the rest of us? This is a developmental disorder."

The U.S. Supreme Court has barred imposing the death penalty in cases involving the mentally disabled and juveniles.

Experts said the courts have not ruled whether autism is included in that protected group.
"If the court rules against the defense, certainly they can still present (the autism) as a mitigating factor, should it reach the penalty phase. It's something the jury can weigh," said Duquesne University law professor Bruce Antkowiak, who is not connected to the case. "And if the court rules against (the defense), it's preserved for appeal."

Continue reading "Will "Autistic" Become Synonymous with "Dangerous?"" »


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 2/13

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Looks like we have another T-shirt headed to the UK! Our commenter of the week is Jenny Allan on the post, No Parents Ever Complained: Our family's 'Wakefield babe' is now a handsome young man. His condition has been helped over the years by carefully eliminating certain foods and food additives from his diet. This was largely trial and error along with freely given advice from other parents of affected children. His gastroenterologists and neurologists are plainly terrified to even mention the name 'Wakefield' when referring to his past treatments and all references to this, including those colonoscopy films have been 'expunged' from his medical notes!! It is my hope that this high functioning young person with Asperger's Syndrome will eventually, along with other grown up vaccine damaged victims, carry on this fight against our very uncaring Government and Medical establishment. It was the Thalidomide children who eventually 'shamed' our Government and got a very belated apology!! We are all very grateful to Dr Wakefield and Profs Murch and Walker Smith for their professional care and kindness. Their bravery shames our vindictive Medical establishment and spineless government.

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Congratulatons to Lyn Redwood, Spectrum Publication's Person of the Year"

Lyn redwood Congratulatons to Lyn Redwood, Spectrum Publication's Person of the Year. In addition, read Dan Olmsted's tribute to Lyn, also in Spectrum below the jump.

Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, NP, sits at her desk in her rural Georgia home. She is surrounded by pictures. There are pictures of her three children and children of her fellow “mercury moms.”  They are the faces of the children whose lives she has helped improve. The pictures are there to keep her motivated, a constant reminder of what she’s working for.
   
There’s something else Redwood keeps in her office: a rejection letter. Several years ago Redwood began writing a book, Mercury Rising: The Untold Story Behind America’s Epidemic of Learning Disabilities and Autism, and shopped it around at publishing houses. No one wanted it. The rejection letter from Simon and Schuster, framed and hanging on Redwood’s office wall, says that the subject matter is so upsetting they doubted that parents would want to buy a book as alarming as this one. 

Luckily for the autism community, rejection does not scare Redwood. During the last 10 years of advocacy, she has had to become accustomed to it. She has even found a way to thrive on it, out of necessity and perhaps self-preservation. She and other autism parents have been waging a monumental battle for the lives of their children for over a decade. And they have certainly not gotten the results they thought they would when they started out. 

What has made Redwood’s role in this battle even more remarkable over the past few years is that she is free to go. Her son, Will, is now recovered from autism. She could have left the autism world far behind years ago. But instead of easing her way out of the community and reveling in a “normal” life once again, she has increased her workload.

Continue reading "Congratulatons to Lyn Redwood, Spectrum Publication's Person of the Year"" »


DSM V Changes for Autism. Your Thoughts?

Venn Tell us what you think of the proposed changes in the DSM V to include Asperger's in with autism and PDDs. Read the full story at CNN.

(CNN) -- People with Asperger's syndrome would be included in the same diagnostic group as people with autism and pervasive developmental disorders, according to new guidelines under consideration by the American Psychiatric Association.

The AP story in the New York Times reads:

CHICAGO (AP) -- Some people with Asperger's syndrome are upset about proposed changes in how their form of autism is diagnosed.

U.S. psychiatrists are revising the manual they use to diagnose mental illness. One proposal would eliminate Asperger's as a separate diagnosis and group it in a single autism spectrum disorders category.

Many people with Asperger's call themselves Aspies and view their condition as their identity. They don't think of themselves as autistic.

The revisions are based on recent research showing little difference between mild autism and Asperger's. The American Psychiatric Association is taking public comment before adopting the revisions.

 


Words Fail Us: Mother Poisons Autistic Son with Bleach

Medea Words fail us. A second child murdered by his mother.

What dark brink must a mother face to pour bleach into her autistic child's mouth and kill him? Read the full story in the London Standard.

Social services were today accused of failing a single mother and her “severely autistic” son after she allegedly poisoned him with bleach.

Satpal Singh is believed to have killed the 12-year-old boy as she struggled to cope with looking after him.

Emergency services rushed to her house in Barking on Tuesday night. It is believed she forced her son — named locally as Ajit — to drink bleach and then consumed the toxic liquid herself before dialling 999. She was today in custody.

The youngster was taken to hospital but died a short time later. A post mortem examination revealed he died from drinking a “caustic liquid”...

Last week, CBS News reported on the following murder.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Gigi Jordan, a 49-year-old socialite, who police say murdered her 8-year-old son and attempted to take her own life in a posh New York hotel, wrote a series of disturbing letters claiming her son was sexually abused by a devil worshipping cult, according to a Wyoming detective who investigated the case.

Photo: Members of the Medical Examiner's Office remove a body from the Peninsula Hotel Friday, Feb. 5, 2010 in New York.

On Friday, Jordan's young boy, Jude Michael Mirra, was found dead from a drug overdose at the Peninsula Hotel in New York. Jordan was slumped on the floor nearby. She has since been charged with his death...


Absolutely Your Child Can Be Toilet Trained!

Teach toileting 2 By Debbie Bialer

The developmental level of your child is not relevant. Whether he is non-verbal or has any interest in toileting is also not a factor. Yes, I cracked the code and that's why I wrote Teach Toileting. I want share my knowledge and skills with struggling and frustrated parents. Theyoften tell me how they would have their child sit on the toilet for hours or take him to the bathroom every half hour with no success. 

So, why is it that this seemingly common sense approach fails?  It fails because the toilet is a strange thing outside his comfort zone. The effect of this is to cause the child to hold his pee until he can return to his comfort place. This is typically not a random site, but his usual place to urinate. With the home being the most familiar environment, it then makes sense that the couch, computer or even a special corner would be his most common place to pee. When he is in an uncomfortable place which can include school, any outing or even the bathroom, your child can display incredible control and hold his urine.

Parents mistakenly believe this holding/running to mean that their child knows exactly what he is suppose to do because he runs to his special location to pee. This is an inaccurate interpretation of this behavior. Understand that what makes toilet training so challenging is that your child is resisting change. He is not purposefully resisting the new skill of toileting.

Continue reading "Absolutely Your Child Can Be Toilet Trained!" »


Connie Howard of Vue Weekly: Well, well, well: Wakefield a Witch-Hunt?

Salem-hanging Connie Howard presents a fresh perspective on the Wakefield story. From Edmonton, Alberta's Vue Weekly.

The Lancet retracts study connecting vaccines to autism
Connie Howard / health@vueweekly.com

It has been cause for celebration among vaccine proponents: The Lancet has retracted Dr. Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper suggesting a connection between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism. Wakefield, a gastroenterologist, has been accused of unethical and dishonest behaviour.

Media stories present it as a victorious end to the vaccine-autism controversy. But Melanie Phillips, who has been reporting and investigating this story for many years, and who has interviewed and consulted experts on both sides of the issue, has called the campaign against Wakefield a witch-hunt.

Where's the truth?

To provide a little context, Wakefield and his colleagues published the first phase of a study comparing vaccinated primates with unvaccinated controls in neurotoxicology three months ago. The study showed that the severity of autism is strongly linked to the relative body burden of toxic metals. Wakefield and his colleagues are now on the brink of publishing the subsequent phases of their research, which followed the monkeys through standard vaccination schedules over a longer period of time, and the results, those on the inside have said, are equally damning.

It's easy to see why discrediting Wakefield would be a good move for the industry.

Continue reading "Connie Howard of Vue Weekly: Well, well, well: Wakefield a Witch-Hunt?" »


Will the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Finally Get it (Katie, Bob and Suzanne) Wright?

Katie and suzanne By Katie Wright

A few months ago I wrote to the new Director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, and asked to meet him with my parents, Bob and Suzanne Wright Dr. Collins graciously responded saying that he would very much like to have a meeting with us and some autism organization advocates.

My main reason for the request is because the majority of autism families do not feel heard by IACC nor are they fairly represented among the public members.  Only one person of the 20 odd members on the committee has any experience at all with the all too common needs of children like mine, Lyn Redwood. Meanwhile there are committee members from the Dept. of Deafness, Medicaid and Substance Abuse all casting votes for and against  (and it is mostly against) important scientific research they cannot possibly understand. This is absurd.

The lack of services for ASD people of all ages is a critical issue facing our community. Expertise in planning group homes, job training or respite care does not translate to scientific knowledge in stem cell research, oxidative stress, gastrointestinal disease or immunology. Obviously the same holds true for the neurologists on the committee regarding their limited insight into special education or adult services.

In this disparate roomful of scientists, parents and aspergers adults, there was agreement on two things: IACC is failing, it moves incredibly slowly, is way too bogged down with bureaucrats, has yet to embrace innovative research and autism organizations are virtually unrepresented. There was also complete agreement that IACC has done a poor job addressing the tremendous and immediate service needs of children and adults affected by ASD. In order to do justice to both autism services and autism research we need to separate IACC into 2 committees: services and research. That way each subject will have a committee staffed by people with the appropriate expertise.

An even better option is to abolish IACC and form a virtual Autism Institute, much like the HIV Institute. That way we would attract federal members with deeper and more current scientific understanding of autism.

One of the most serious problems with IACC is the total absence of clinical specialists.  Dr. Yvette Janvier, serves as a “public member.” Last fall, Lyn Redwood was advocating for an investment in GI research after speaking about the recent death of young ASD girl who died due to an untreated impacted bowel. Dr. Janvier’s immediate response was not one of compassion, concern or even respect. No, Janvier literally said, “Phhsssss! Anyone could have diagnosed that! In 20 yrs of (neurology) practice I have never seen a sick ASD child or a child with these ‘immune’ problems!” Javier went on and on about how IACC should not focus on such “rare” problems like GI disease or immune dysfunction.

Continue reading "Will the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Finally Get it (Katie, Bob and Suzanne) Wright?" »


The Cedillo Appeal - Mary Holland is a "Friend" to the Court and Autism Community

Kent legal By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

The autism community owes a great debt of thanks to attorney Mary Holland for putting together her excellent amici curiae (friend of the court) brief in the Cedillo appeal which can be found [HERE]. Ms. Holland was surprised to find there had never been an amicus brief in a vaccine case before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and was delighted with the 23 autism organizations who supported the brief.  She hopes that future issues concerning our community will generate a similar level of support.

A legal proceeding is a long process and sometimes it’s only in a brief such as the one that Holland put together that the outlines of what’s at stake, and what went wrong during the Omnibus Autism Proceeding become clear.

Michelle Cedillo was born healthy on August 30, 1994 and like other children at the time received twelve mandated vaccines containing ethyl mercury.  At her fifteen month check-up she received a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and seven days later developed a 105 degree fever.  She also developed a rash.  As the months went by Michelle’s pediatrician noticed she was less verbal and continued to have a rash.  Around the time of her third birthday she was given a diagnosis of autism.  Now fifteen years old, Michelle cannot talk, walk unassisted, or care for herself.

Holland’s excellent brief recounts the history of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 which was designed to ensure the vaccine supply, improve vaccine safety, and generously compensate vaccine victims.  Recovery was supposed to be based on certain criteria, such as a “temporal relationship between a vaccination and symptoms specified in a Vaccine Injury Table.” 

Continue reading "The Cedillo Appeal - Mary Holland is a "Friend" to the Court and Autism Community" »


Gigi Jordan, Manhattan "Socialite" Kills Autistic Son, Fails Suicide Attempt

Lamp headstone From ABC News.

New York police today discovered the body of a 9-year old autistic boy in a luxury Manhattan hotel room, possibly strangled to death by his "socialite" mother who was found nearby suffering the effects of a botched suicide, sources told ABC News. Gigi Jordan, 49, distraught over the recent end of her marriage, checked in to the Peninsula Hotel where she allegedly killed the boy and then tried to kill herself by taking an overdose of drugs, police said. Police say she was taken to Bellevue...

From The NY Daily News 

Gigi Jordan just wanted the pain to end - for her, and for her beloved 8-year-old son.

In a bizarre message intended as a suicide note, the wealthy one-time pharmaceutical company executive detailed a life of sadness interrupted by a single ray of hope: her only child, Jude.

"I hope Jude is in a better place," the 49-year-old Belgian wrote in the strange two-page note left in her 16th-floor suite at the posh Peninsula hotel.

At one point, Jordan suggested her son was a rape victim and "in constant pain." She mentioned speaking with a Wyoming child porn investigator about the sexual abuse of kids...

 


Aide Who Dragged Autistic Young Adult By Ankles Resigns

Wkyc_3_logo__neg-color_ From WKYC News Cleveland.

AKRON -- An educational assistant under investigation for allegedly pulling a special needs student down a school hallway by his ankles submitted his resignation Friday.

Ingram Myers, 50, was placed on paid leave from Ellet High School Jan. 19 after witnesses said he pulled the student, who suffers from severe autism, 50-100 feet down a hallway.

School leaders and Akron Police are continuing to investigate the allegations.

The student's mother, Denise Fabian-Powers, said Myers' resignation is only part of her desire.

"I really want to see that this aide is not only removed from the school district, but from his place of employment and something is done is criminally, so that there's something on his record, so that he cannot work with this population in a school district."


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 2/6

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Suzanne is our commenter of the week on the post, Olmsted on Autism Enjoy It While It Lasts.  There is this narrative they say about us: "those poor parents; they just want something to blame." Yeah, I wanted something to blame: genetics. Last year my son was test for the some 200 genes implicated in the 15% of Autism that has a straight genetic cause AND HE HAD NOT ONE OF THEM. I sat and cried. I really hoped they'd find something that would show me all this was going to happen anyway despite his having a complete regression and personality change after being given a DPT shot (while he was sick and on antibiotics, which is malpractice in my book!)So here is a mom who wanted to be able to blame genetics only and was proven, once again, that this is not the case. The problem when you assume you are privy to the motivations of millions of parents you don't even know is that you are probably wrong.

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Watch "Temple Grandin" Tonight on HBO

Claire Danes Tune into tonight, February 6 at 8PM (ET/PT), as HBO premieres an original film based on the inspirational true story of Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. "Temple Grandin" paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism. Temple is a highly successful doctor of animal sciences, a best-selling author, and an internationally renowned autism advocate." 

The movie has gotten great reviews.


A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys

Jim_carrey Los Angeles, February 5, 2010

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.

It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues. 

The retraction from The Lancet was a response to a ruling from England’s General Medical Council, a kangaroo court where public health officials in the pocket of vaccine makers served as judge and jury. Dr. Wakefield strenuously denies all the findings of the GMC and plans a vigorous appeal.

Despite rampant misreporting, Dr. Wakefield’s original paper regarding 12 children with severe bowel disease and autism never rendered any judgment whatsoever on whether or not vaccines cause autism, and The Lancet’s retraction gets us no closer to understanding this complex issue.

Dr. Wakefield is one of the world’s most respected and well-published gastroenterologists. He has published dozens of papers since 1998 in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals all over the world. His work documenting the bowel disease of children with autism and his exploration of novel ways to treat bowel disease has helped relieve the pain and suffering of thousands of children with autism.

Continue reading "A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys" »


Autism Organizations Unite in Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cedillo

Legal updateTwenty-three organizations sent a formidable message to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: enforce the law for vaccine injury compensation or acknowledge that this system is irrevocably broken.  Last week, these organizations filed an amicus curiae brief, or friend-of-the-court brief, in the case Theresa Cedillo, et al. v. Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Cedillo"), on appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims, No. 98-VV-916.  The petitioners include advocacy organizations such as the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA), as well as research organizations such as the Autism Research Institute.  A link to the brief and the full list of autism organizations signing it can be found [HERE].
 
In Cedillo, the Court of Federal Claims denied Michelle Cedillo's request for compensation, although many petitioners have received awards under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ("Program") in similar circumstances.  The organizations argue that the Cedillos were denied compensation because they said that their daughter's autism is a vaccine injury.  The theory of this first test case is that the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative, together contributed to Michelle Cedillo's autism.  As a supplement to the Cedillo family's briefing on appeal, the organizations provide the Court with another angle for consideration: that this case is actually a "test case" for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program itself.
 
Indeed, Congress established the Program to provide compensation to those injured by vaccines “quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity.”  The balance in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund 75X8175 as of September 2009 was greater than $3.1 billion.  Congress intended the Program to create presumptions for “on-table” vaccine injuries that the Program would compensate administratively. The reality, however, has become adversarial litigation where special masters “protect” the national vaccine program rather than apply the law.  HHS has removed injuries from the Vaccine Injury Table.  Other injuries are not considered, despite the fact that 46 doses of nine new vaccines have been added to the CDC vaccine schedule. 

Continue reading "Autism Organizations Unite in Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cedillo" »


Olmsted on Autism: Enjoy It While It Lasts

Zombie doctor By Dan Olmsted

Can’t the medical industry find someone who doesn’t look like he sleeps in a crypt, or isn't making millions on vaccine patents, to make the case that it couldn't possibly be causing a cataclysmic autism epidemic and excruciating gut problems in children?

Sorry for the triple negative, but you get the point. At the moment when they should be savoring their smashing victory over the evil Wakefield and his deluded voodoo worshippers, they seem like a sorry lot; they're sore winners, as if they sense it's already too late. It shows on their faces and in their voices. They even say so, although they blame anyone but themselves.

Because obviously the debate is not done, and while it’s true that “the parents” are keeping it alive, “the parents” are a synonym for "the people," and they are everywhere – on the blogs, in the schools, moving up in the government and the medical and media worlds that have been so hostile. They know what they’ve seen and are sick of listening to bloviating "experts" and big shots with conflicts so blatant no one even thinks to point them out. They have a gut feeling, if you’ll allow the expression, that something is amiss here.

The mad-max vaccine schedule couldn't possibly cause autism? Great. Now, uh, what does? Well, the experts tell us, genes and environment acting in some exotic fashion that we’ll never ever figure out and are not all that urgently attempting to find. Please stop asking; we'll let you know. Maybe they're under the desk here somewhere.

So guys (and it’s almost always guys, aging, cranky, windy white guys in white lab coats), go on, feel really good. Enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Temple Grandin on GFCF Diet (High Praise) and Regressive Autism (More than Genes)

Temple_lg Check out Scene Newspaper with Temple Grandin. She speaks plainly, logically and eloquently about autism as a spectrum. Tune into HBO's Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes"" Saturday, February 6th at 8pm. (Photo credit, Rosalie Winard.) 

Some salient paragraphs from the scene article:

“...You have to remember autism is a spectrum that goes all the way from very, very, very severe where the person is going to remain non-verbal and handicapped, to people that are brilliant scientists. It’s a huge spectrum,” she said. “I don’t think the increase is the mild end because the Asperger types have always been there. I think some of the real mild autism – some of the Asperger’s – there’s increased diagnosis.

“But in young kids where you have speech delay and autistic-type behavior, that’s not increased diagnosis. Something’s going on. And nobody really knows what. There’s a lot of speculation. I think there has been an increase in some of this very severe, early onset autism, especially this regressive type, where the kid seems to be somewhat normal – verified by looking at birthday party videos in a study by Geraldine Dawson at the University of Washington. The parents are right. There really is a regressive form of autism. If this is something happening at 18 months to 2 years of age – there’s some other insult getting in there acting with susceptible genetics – that needs to be looked at very, very carefully. That’s some of the real severe stuff. That regressive sample needs to be looked at separately.

“We don’t understand the whole increase thing. It’s complicated genetics. But genetics is half the story,” she continued. “One thing that everyone knows is that early intervention helps to improve the prognosis immensely. Other things that help are some of the special diets. Gluten-free, casein-free, cutting out tons of carbs. They don’t cure autism, but they really help some kids. Some of these regressive kids tend to respond to the diets.

“I also think the American diet is bad. I’d say of all of the alternative treatments, diet is the single most important thing for parents to try. The other thing that’s getting really good science now are the Omega 3s. They have tons of good science. Give them Omega 3s.”


Merck RotaTeq May Be Contraindicated for Infants with SCID

Rotateq-logo Managing Editor's Note: Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for sharing this information about a live virus vaccine infecting a once unacknowledged population, so that American parents and physicians can make informed decisions for their infants and patients. About the last line, that RotaVirus "...causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children world-wide, mostly in countries were vaccination isn't common." Is it lack of vaccination or lack of clean water, proper nutrition and access to medical care that leads to these deaths?

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren

Doctors said infants with a rare immune deficiency can be sickened with a gastrointestinal illness after being vaccinated with a rotavirus vaccine.
 
A report in this week's New England Journal of Medicine discusses the cases of three infants with severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, who developed dehydration and diarrhea after receiving a first or second dose of Rotateq, a vaccine made by Merck & Co.

It wasn't known at the time the babies were vaccinated that they had SCID, which is a rare immune-system disorder. Studies of the infants showed they developed rotavirus related to the vaccine and didn't get the virus from another source.

Rotateq was approved for use in the U.S. in 2006. GlaxoSmithKline PLC's competitor vaccine, Rotarix was approved in 2008.

Rotateq's label was updated last month to state that infants with severe combined immunodeficiency shouldn't receive the vaccine.

Continue reading "Merck RotaTeq May Be Contraindicated for Infants with SCID" »


National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting Feb 3 & 4

WebinarNVAC meeting Dates for 2010:

February 3-4, 2010

Register to Attend: Registration for the February 3-4 meeting has been re-opened. Please register online, e-mail nvpo@hhs.gov, or call 202-690-5566. See the agenda  for conference call information.

Webinar Available: The February 3-4 meeting will be available via Webinar.  Please register separately for each day using the links below:

(If you require special accommodation to access the Webinar, please send your request to nvpo@hhs.gov.) 

Register for Feb 3 9:00am - 5:00pm (weather permitting, click HERE for any changes.)
Register for Feb 4

Click HERE to read about the National Vaccine Advisory Committee meetings tomorrow and Thursday inlcuding the agenda.

Continue reading "National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting Feb 3 & 4" »


Kim Stagliano on The GMC Hearing: "The Censorship of Autism Treatment"

Kim headshot By Kim Stagliano

Hi, I'd appreciate your comments over at HuffPo on my post, The Censorship of Autism Treatment" HERE. Support Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues and share your own story there, please. Thanks.

...Last Thursday afternoon, The General Medical Council in London, England announced its decisions in the disciplinary hearing of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Professor Simon Murch and Professor John Walker-Smith. The ruling was not in their favor. (You can read the official ruling HERE.)

There will likely be other posts here at HuffPost explaining the legal machinations of the GMC hearings and science behind the original The Lancet paper, now retracted. Be sure to look for David Kirby's post on the topic. If you're interested, you can read an
eye witness account of the proceedings from Martin Walker, who has followed the GMC hearing from the start.

To understand the bigger picture, I highly recommend Mark Blaxill's Age of Autism post on the current scientific environment for autism research in general in which he says, "The deep and profound censorship occurring around autism science reaches depths that few casual observers can imagine. I have proof."
(HERE) I'd like to provide the voice of an autism Mom, hoarse from yelling into the wind for a cumulative total of thirty seven years...

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of www.ageofautism.com. Her book, All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa. debuts in the Fall of 2010 from Skyhorse Publishing.


Oakley Partners with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

Oakley_girls New Special Edition Eyewear to Support Autism Awareness and Education

Talk about Curing Autism (TACA) is very pleased to announce the new TACA Autism Awareness glasses from Oakley.  Oakley has released two unique signature glasses for both men and women. The new products available are:

- TACA Oakley Fuel Cell™ eyewear
- TACA Oakley Ravishing® eyewear

“Corporations like Oakley are a wonderful gift to TACA and the families we serve,” said TACA Executive Director Lisa Ackerman. “Oakley brings a powerful influence to foster aware¬ness and visibility of autism, and to aid our mission to help a community in great need. We are grateful for this support, and for friends like Oakley,” Ackerman concluded.

In the past, Oakley has partnered with LIVESTRONG – Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition for breast cancer awareness. Both efforts have been very successful in awareness and fundraising for these foundations.

TACA will have these available for resale on SHOP TACA at www.tacanow.org. You can also buy these glasses with other autism organizations and Oakley resellers through their international channel.

For more information about the TACA & Oakley Partnership – see press release below.
If you are an autism non profit and would like to resale the TACA Oakley Fuel Cell™ and TACA Oakley Ravishing® eyewear please contact Lisa Ackerman  for more information.

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif., February 2, 2010 – Oakley, Inc. today announced that it has partnered with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), an organization that supports, empowers and educates families living with autism. Oakley has created unique renditions of two of its popular eyewear designs and will donate $20 to TACA with each sale of these special editions.
“We are honored to team with TACA and play a part in spreading the message of hope,” said Pat McIlvain, Oakley’s Vice President of Global Sports Marketing. “The art on our new TACA special editions will fuel awareness, and we are proud to contribute $20 from each sale to assist in supporting TACA’s ongoing mission to help children with autism reach their true potential,” McIlvain concluded.

Continue reading "Oakley Partners with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)" »


Autism: “Who’s Going to Care for Him?” or “A Tidal Wave is Coming.”

Buster_largeBy Anne Dachel

On Friday, Jan 22, I started out reading a piece on Lisa Jo Rudy’s autism blog.  The title was Autism Epidemic! ...Or Not? (HERE) It was easy to predict what I’d find there.  Even though autism is now a household word and everyone knows someone with an autistic child, Rudy and others are still scratching their heads over what that really represents.  Did we just mislabel these kids in the past or do more kids actually have autism?  Rudy does make it clear that if the increase is real, genes alone can’t be responsible since there’s never been a genetic epidemic in human history.  There would have to be an environmental trigger.  Or as Rudy put it, “Logically, something in our environment is causing an epidemic - and that something must be discovered and ended.”   This of course brings up the claim that the “something in our environment” involves the ever-expanding vaccine schedule.  It’s the one common factor that so many thousands of parents and more and more doctors and scientists point to. 
 
While officials are adamant in saying that vaccines don’t cause autism, they can’t give us any other environmental factor as a possible trigger.  Furthermore, if a true increase in autism is admitted, spending millions looking for those elusive genes that cause autism would definitely be seen as a colossal waste of time and money. 
 
The most recent example of autism gene research making the news was on Jan 22 from the Reporter, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Weekly Newspaper   (HERE)The title was Investigators seek to trace autism’s genetic architecture and the article was devoted to telling us about how $17 million in NIMH funding is being spent on the search.  Lead Vanderbilt researcher, James Sutcliffe is studying genetic mutations involved in autism.  I couldn’t find any reference to autism being a tragedy overwhelming a generation of children and Sutcliffe used words like ‘absolutely fascinating’ when describing the challenge he faces.  There was no mention of an environmental factor at play here or any sense of urgency in finding answers.  In fact, we’re told they have 1,000 different genes to go through in their research and Sutcliffe left us with the warning, “This is one step in a long story.” 

Sutcliffe must feel like he’s got all the time in the world to look for autism answers because he made no reference to the staggering increase in the number of affected children.  In fact, the Vanderbilt piece gave us an autism rate of one in 150.  It seems that the cutting edge researchers on autism haven’t heard that the numbers have been updated to include one percent of U.S. children. 

Continue reading "Autism: “Who’s Going to Care for Him?” or “A Tidal Wave is Coming.”" »


Vaccines: Doctor Judges & Juries Hanging Their Own

Barb loe fisher By Barbara Loe Fisher
 
I remember the day I met Dr. Andrew Wakefield. It was September 12, 1997 and he had just flown into Dulles Airport from London the night before to speak at the First International Public Conference on Vaccination sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center. The title of his talk was “Measles Virus & Measles Vaccine: Lessons to be Learned.”
 
It was five months before he and 12 other physician colleagues would publish a study in The Lancet calling for more research into a possible association between inflammatory bowel disease, MMR vaccine and developmental delays in some children.
 
I met Dr. Wakefield that day in 1997 in the auditorium where our conference was to take place as he was trying to decide what to do with a slide that identified him as being employed by the Royal Free Hospital. You see, he had received a telephone threat from London in the middle of the night warning him that if he spoke at our conference, he might not have a job when he returned to Britain. He then described to me the intense pressure he had been under from senior health officials in Britain to withdraw from our conference.

This was five months before he and his colleagues published the first article in the medical literature suggesting there might be an association between vaccine induced chronic inflammation in the body and developmental delays in some children.
 
In September 1997, Andrew Wakefield was a young British gastroenterologist, a rising star in the world of experimental medicine. He had received awards and scholarships for original research into the pathogenesis and etiology of inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease.....Click here HERE to watch a video and read the full commentary as well as read a Statement by NVIC about Andrew Wakefield and his research.

Barbara Loe Fisher is founder of The National Vaccine Information Center.


National Autism Association Supports Dr. Andrew Wakefield

NAA logo Parents of Children with Autism Call Decision in Wakefield Trial a Threat to Medical Integrity

GMC Findings Uphold Status Quo, Discourage Physicians from Listening to Parents’ Concerns

Nixa, MO – Parents of children with autism around the world are calling the findings against Dr. Andrew Wakefield in the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) unjust and a threat to researchers investigating autism as a medical condition.  The verdict comes less than a month after an article in the journal Pediatrics1 urged further study of a link between gastrointestinal disturbances and autism originally pointed out by Dr. Wakefield in 1998.

The GMC hearings have been labeled a smear campaign from the beginning by thousands of parents in the autism community who hold Dr. Wakefield in high regard for his pioneering work to understand autism’s medical underpinnings. Many parents of children with autism view the GMC investigation as little more than character assassination of a physician brave enough to investigate controversial issues, and fear that relevant science will never advance if researchers are forced to put their careers in jeopardy by following the scientific truth wherever it leads.

Additional confirmation of Dr. Wakefield’s early findings was published yesterday by a research team led by Arthur Krigsman, MD in the journal Autism Insights.2   The researchers found a significant association between ileo and/or colonic inflammation and the onset of developmental disorder, which further supports autism as a medical versus a behavioral condition as parents have been reporting for years to the medical community.

“Dr Wakefield was one of the first physicians to take the concerns of parents seriously and investigate the medical conditions they noted in their children,” commented NAA Board Chair Lori McIlwain.  “The real danger comes from those unwilling to ask questions, seek answers and challenge comfortable science for the sake of propelling medicine to a higher level of safety. Here’s a doctor who asks the questions others are too afraid to ask, even though it’s their obligation to ask them on behalf of our children. Bravo to Dr. Andrew Wakefield.”

For more information on autism, visit www.nationalautismassociation.org


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/30

T-shirt small frontJack is our commenter of the week for:

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.
Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
-Bob Dylan, Hurricane
 
on the post, Sad Day for our Children.

Didn't win but still want a T-shirt? Taking a page from public television, we'll happily send you one as our thank you for making a donation to A of A via our PayPal donate button.  You choose the donation amount. OK? Please tell us on the PayPal form if you want an adult M, L, XL or 2XL and include your mailing  address in the comments box at PayPal. Click below to  to see the back of the shirt.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/30" »


Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg

Censor   “That’s baseless conspiracy-mongering”, some might counter, contending that any anecdote I might dig up is simply the normal process of scientific quality control. “Welcome to the real world”, I respond, because this is something entirely new and disturbing. The deep and profound censorship occurring around autism science reaches depths that few casual observers can imagine.

I have proof.

By Mark F. Blaxill

There are no words to describe the findings of the General Medical Council (GMC). All I can say is that none of us should be surprised. The stakes had escalated far too high for the British medical establishment to countenance any other outcome. In the face of this parody of real justice, the only thing for the autism community to do now is stand by Andy Wakefield. Like him, we must not be intimidated; which is why I am proud to call Andy my friend. He is all of our friend.

We must also not forget two other fine men, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, men who have devoted their professional lives to healing the guts of sick children, and whose public reputations stand in tatters before the world, assaulted by the public health propaganda machine, victims of a modern day show trial. The GMC proceeding is a frightening and thoroughly modern form of tyranny. It makes you shudder to think what Stalin or McCarthy might have accomplished if their public relations had been more skillful and better organized.

The extremity of the GMC’s verdict--all three men guilty on all counts—lays bare any pretense that the British medical establishment cares one whit about the welfare of its patients. Let’s put in perspective the actions at issue here. No children were harmed and no parent or guardian has complained about the care these three men provided. In fact, the procedures involved were routine, the resulting treatments standard and the careful attention to gastrointestinal illness in autistic children has recently been endorsed by a consensus statement published in the journal Pediatrics (no friend of the autism community). Considered in this light, the GMC hearing process stands exposed for what it is. It was not about medical standards. It was not about evidence. It was not even civilized.  It was, rather, a naked exercise in intimidation, a fateful moment of moral decision in which the medical industrial complex exposed its ruthless, repressive essence. They are a frightening bunch and their conduct here raises issues well beyond autism.

There are others who can and will speak to the particulars of the case: the accusations, the evidence, and the integrity of the witnesses for the prosecution (see HERE and  HERE ). But it’s important to remember that this trial has never really been about the three doctors. If it were, it would never have consumed so many millions of dollars and thousands of hours over more than two years. The real goal of this proceeding, what I have called The Wakefield Inquisition (see HERE ) is to send a clear message to anyone--clinician or scientist--who dares step out of line like Wakefield did. And as parents and citizens, we all need to understand one thing: that message has been received loud and clear.

Continue reading "Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg" »


Another Autistic Student Allegedly Abused in School.

EnoughBy Kim Stagliano

This story is why we parents, derisively called "Curebies" because we seek treatment for autism, will never stop seeking recovery for our kids. As the numbers explode, expect more horror stories of abuse and neglect.

AKRON -- Akron school leaders placed a school aid with a troubled past on paid leave following allegations that he dragged a child with severe disabilities through a hallway by his ankles.  Ingram Myers, 50, attended a disciplinary hearing Wednesday morning to discuss the incident that occured at Ellet High School. The student, who suffers from severe autism, cannot speak and functions at the level of a toddler, according to his mother. He fell to the hallway floor Jan. 14, and that's when Myers allegedly dragged him by his ankles 50-100 feet back to his classroom. Read more at WKYC.  

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of www.ageofautism.com and mom to 3 daughters with autism. Her memoir, All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa. debuts Fall 2010. 


Eight Year Old with Autism on Terror List: Detained at Airport.

Airport securityBy Sabeeha Rehman

My 8 year old grandson Omar, who is on the autism spectrum, was pulled out at the airport and investigated as a terror suspect - his name being similar to that on the watch list.  He was enroute to Disney World with his parents and siblings.  He was held for an hour and it was only when his date of birth (2001) did not match that of the person's on the watch list, who we understand was in his twenties, and after several huddled meetings and phone calls, was he and his family allowed to board the plane.  He was agitated while being held for an hour, and sat there stimming, but they had to go through their procedures, before they could rule him out as a terrorist. Had his father not been with him during the one hour detention - he too was detained and then cleared - I dread to think of the damage that would have done to Omar.
 
He is 8!  He has autism! 
 
I have brought this to the attention to a reporter at the New York Times, and want to raise this as an issue with our networks, before more children like Omar are subjected to this treatment.
 
Sabeeha Rehman is the grandmother of an 8 year-old child with autism, and President and co-founder of the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association.