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Vaccine Injury Story on American Idol? We Are the Mainstream. Public Health and Media is the Fringe.

American_idol_tv_show Last night on American Idol, viewers heard that a contestant had had a "bad reaction to pertussis vaccine and seizures." This the most mainstream program on television. Read JB Handley's post on "The Tinderbox"" and how Americans no longer trust the overloaded vaccine schedule. Please comment if you watched American Idol last night.

Casey James, we learn, had a bad reaction to the pertussis vaccine -- lots of seizures -- and his mother was worried about his delayed speech, until he started humming songs in his crib. He sings "It's All Over Now." He has a great time on stage, rocking out. Randy says he is back. Ellen says for most women, their hearts will race just looking at him, but "for people like me ... blondes ... I thought it was fantastic." Heh. Kara says he really was a rock star, unlike last week when he was just trying. Simon says he look great, sang well, played well, but it felt more like an audition than to him doing something incredible on this big stage. 
You can read more in The Baltimore Sun.

Many in Autism Community Opposed Ari Ne'eman On National Council on Disability

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Dear President Obama:
We the undersigned oppose the nomination of Ari Ne'eman to the National Council on Disability. Although we salute your effort to include a person with an autism spectrum disorder on the council, the choice of Mr. Ne'eman is wrong for the autism community and wrong for our country.
1) We are a nation in the throes of an autism epidemic, with 1 in 110 afflicted and hundreds of thousands of families struggling to confront the enormous financial and emotional hardships of this disorder. It is an insult to our community and to the people of this nation who will bear the enormous costs of millions of children and adults with autism that a 22-year-old student has been nominated to this position. Mr. President, how can you praise this nominee's "depth of experience" when he has not held a job, earned a degree or experienced life after college?
2) Mr. Ne'eman vehemently opposes curing autism, calling cure "offensive." However, many individuals who would benefit from a cure are incapable of disagreeing with him. Mr. President, will your appointees also recommend ending the search for cures for childhood cancer and diabetes? Or just autism? Mr. Ne'eman opposes the mission of the country's leading autism organization, Autism Speaks, which supports efforts to prevent and cure autism. He also opposes the depiction of autism as a crisis and does not address the very significant needs of the large population of individuals who are profoundly disabled by autism.
For a member of the National Council on Disability to not advocate for a cure on behalf of tens of thousands of people who suffer from disabling problems such as self injury, inability to speak, incontinence and dependence on others for their care - and who will cost society $3-5 million over a lifetime - is unconscionable. To fight against prevention and cure for such a serious disorder is inhumane and not representative of the majority in the autism community or the general population. Mr. Ne'eman's views are extremist.
3) Finite resources will not stretch far enough to support the large number of people now diagnosed with autism. Without making the goals of prevention and cure a top priority, there will not be sufficient funding to adequately provide for the growing population of people with autism, rendering Mr. Ne'eman's goal of providing better quality of life for those on the autism spectrum unachievable.

Continue reading "Many in Autism Community Opposed Ari Ne'eman On National Council on Disability" »

Video and Paper on Rules of Using a Public Restroom for Autism Population

Restroom Managing Editor's Note: Our friend's Dennis Debbaudt and Stephen Shore granted us permission to run this video. I was just blown away by how important it is. We use video modeling for small children on the spectrum. This is a version for older kids and adults to learn lifeskills. The first available is on the use of a public restroom. A paper follows the video, please scroll down.

Using a Public Restroom by Dr. Liane Holliday Willey , Dr. Stephen Shore and, Dennis Debbaudt

This short video excerpt from Debbaudt Legacy Productions in progress video Autism & Safe Travel with Dr. Stephen Shore© 2010 illustrates what some of the public men’s room social rules and violations can be.

This video depicts some options and tips for persons on the spectrum, family and educators about social and safety considerations when using a public restroom.

Social Rules for Using a Public Men’s Room

While singing in the shower at home or in your hotel room’s washroom is perfectly acceptable social behavior, carrying a tune or talking in a public men’s room is not. Silence in the men’s room is expected and normal. Silence, in this case, is golden.  

Men who violate the rules of the men’s room risk consequences that include others becoming suspicious of the motives of the violator, confronting the violator or reporting the violator to authorities. Worse, perhaps, is that the violator is thought to be someone looking for an illegal sexual liaison. Difficult interactions with sexual adventurers could result. Police conduct undercover operations to root out this illegal activity. Those who get caught in the sting will be questioned, perhaps arrested.

Continue reading "Video and Paper on Rules of Using a Public Restroom for Autism Population" »

Autism Research Institute Statement Regarding Lawsuits Filed Against Doctors

Custody battle The following is our sponsor ARI’s Statement Regarding Lawsuits Filed Against Drs. Usman and Rossignol (.pdf HERE.)

Recent articles by ABC News and the Chicago Tribune on M.D.s who subscribe to the Defeat Autism Now! approach to treatment indicate the spread of misinformation and misunderstanding in recent months. The complaints about Drs. Usman and Rossignol resulted from a custody case-- a painful situation for any family, one that can lead to accusations that must be sorted out in a court of law—not the media.

The Defeat Autism Now! approach to autism invites the medical community to be more responsive, inquisitive, and knowledgeable about treating these disorders. 

The approach is not in itself a source of controversy, since many treatment interventions are commonly prescribed by traditional health professionals.

The great problem is rather that chronic, unaddressed illness plagues many, if not most, of the children and adults on the autism spectrum. These conditions, thoroughly documented in the scientific literature, often involve the gastrointestinal system and/or the immune system, but the medical establishment has been professionally insensible to what is a desperate situation in the expanding autism population.

The focus of the Defeat Autism Now! approach is twofold: to provide patients with allergen-free nutritional support, to uphold and to repair the immune system as needed, and, if appropriate, to reduce the  body burden of environmental toxins; to provide clinicians in-depth medical and scientific information, with Continuing Medical Education credits.

We assure the public and the autism community that the Autism Research Institute will track developments closely and will provide information as necessary. We will continue our efforts to provide appropriate support to Drs. Usman and Rossignol, as well as to other physicians.

The Inconstant Gardiner:The New York Times’ Fervent Disconnect Between Drug and Vaccine Reporting

The Inconstant Gardiner Harris A Gamondes By Adriana Gamondes

“Everything is permitted the hero”.  ~Jean-Paul Sartre, “No Exit”

The film “The Constant Gardener”—starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, and directed by Fernando Meirelles from the book by John le Carré—is the story of sacrifice and moral constancy against the corruption of fictional corporate giant KVH, maker of pharmaceuticals and pesticides. It’s a beautiful film in many ways, and terrifying; a cross between reality check and forecast.

The book and the film were said to be loosely based on Pfizer’s deadly Trovan trial in Nigeria, which led to the injuries and deaths of over 200 children. The case was since settled for $75 million in civil and criminal penalties 

But if the film’s protagonist, Justin Quayle, had been loosely based on New York Times’ public health reporter Gardiner Harris, the whole thing would have been over in fifteen minutes. As soon as it turned out that the gorgeous activist was concerned with a dangerous pharmaceutical product having anything to do with controlling contagion, Quayle would have called her a fervent conspiracy theorist, while her laptop might have mysteriously slipped into the clutches of KVH. She’s dead, he plays golf, roll credits.

No one could ever accuse Gardiner Harris of being haunted by the “hobgoblin” of consistency (foolish or otherwise)—not in terms of his reporting on pharmaceutical products. On the one hand, when the same companies producing vaccines and drugs engage in cover ups of certain drugs’ side effects, Harris is all over them like a rash, exampled by his latest reporting on Avandia .  In fact, some of his reporting on fraud and corruption in psychopharmaceutical marketing is quite good, such as his coverage of Harvard’s Biederman scandal, illegal marketing to children, drug front groups, FDA capitulation, media ties to drug makers and much more.

Harris has undeniably shown some spine when it comes to drugs. Maybe not as much as Times colleague Alex Berensen, who actually engaged in risky legal maneuvers with activist attorney Jim Gottstein to expose secret Eli Lilly documents showing the company hid the dangers of its blockbuster antipsychotic, Zyprexa  — a report which led to Lilly quickly having to settle $500 million more in injury claims to top off the $1.2 billion in Zyprexa settlements already lost . All the same, at least in regard to select pharmaceutical products, Gardiner Harris reports news generally fit to print. 

But when it comes to rates of vaccine injury, vaccine-defenders’ conflicts and potential vaccine research fraud—all of which is virtually identical in pattern to that stemming from certain prescription drugs— fit to print becomes s*** to print without so much as a blink. He’s been suffering from this biformity for a while .

In Harris’s recent report on the Lancet retraction , he demonstrated his grasp of the concept of inconsistency when he painted vaccine injury proponents as virtual flip-floppers regarding  autism causation theories:

 “After Dr. Wakefield’s study, vaccination rates plunged in Britain and the number of measles cases soared.   

Continue reading "The Inconstant Gardiner:The New York Times’ Fervent Disconnect Between Drug and Vaccine Reporting" »

Coalition for Vaccine Safety Asks Parents to Contact Media

Speak out Managing Editor's note: The Coalition for Vaccine Safety has issued the following request:

We are asking parents who have a child who was injured by vaccines or who had a case the Omnibus Autism Proceedings to please contact their local media outlets and tell them your story and how these decisions impact your family in an effort to get this story out to the public. Feel free to use the talking points provided below. Please report back to AOA the responses you receive and stories published by leaving a comment this post. Should you need any assistance in your efforts please contact the Coalition for Vaccine Safety.

Late last Friday, at the end of week’s news cycle, the Court of Federal Claims released its decisions in the second set of “test cases” for the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. These three cases alleged that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in vaccines, contributed to autism. The Special Masters who heard the claims ruled against the three petitioners, just as they had ruled against three test cases last year on a related theory that thimerosal and the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine together caused autism. The breaking story of fraud at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) involving Dr. Poul Thorsen, a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote studies supporting the claim of no mercury-autism link, casts further doubt on the Special Masters’ decisions. The emerging evidence of Dr. Thorsen’s embezzlement of $2 million and falsehoods about his employment raise further questions about the integrity and validity of the much criticized epidemiology that under girds the no mercury-autism link. Especially because the Court in part relies on these studies to reach its conclusions, this deepening imbroglio may explain why the Court sought an eleventh hour release of its long-awaited and critically important decisions. 

Here are the three main take-away points:

1. The Special Masters protected the vaccine program – and denied justice to vaccine-injured children.

2. Vaccines cause autism – this Court and HHS have previously acknowledged that.

3. These decisions highlight the inadequacy and possible suppression of vaccine safety science. 

Continue reading "Coalition for Vaccine Safety Asks Parents to Contact Media" »

CBS News on Thimerosal Vaccine Court Rulings

AoA Contributor Mary Holland was interviewed by Elaine Quijano of CBS News on the recent vaccine court ruling. In case you are unfamiliar with Mary, her bio at NYU School of Law reads: Mary Holland is Director of the Graduate Legal Skills Program at New York University School of Law. Educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Holland has worked in international public and private law. Prior to joining NYU, Holland worked for six years at major U.S. law firms, with three years based in Moscow, Russia. She also worked at a major U.S. human rights advocacy organization as Director of its European Program. After graduating law school, she clerked for a federal district court judge. She has taught international law courses at Columbia Law School and has served as a consultant to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Program. She co-founder of the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy and on the steering committee of the Coalition for Vaccine Safety. Thank you, Mary.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Winner: Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons

Cutting edge therapiesOzCeejay has won a signed copy of "Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism" by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons, published by Skyhorse Publishing with an afterword by Teri Arranga of Autism One. The authors are both Autism dads. This book features a compendium of treatments, described by experts in that area, from behavioral therapy to psychiatric drugs to chelation. It's a real A-Z explanation of choices and something I think has been missing from our libraries for some time. I'm glad to see so many options between the covers. The list of the therapies is below. 

Purchase Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism today! Contest is CLOSED.

Allergies, Their Role and Treatment in Autism
by Dr. Marvin Boris 6

Animal-Assisted Interventions and Persons with Autism Spectrum
Disorders by Dr. Aubrey Fine 10

Anthroposophical Curative Education and Social Therapy
by Dr. Marga Hogenboom and Paula Moraine 17

Antiepileptic Medications by Dr. Richard E. Frye 22

Continue reading "Winner: Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons" »

Age of Autism Commenter of the Week 3/13

T-shirt small front

Our commenter of the week is "Steve, Autism Dad" on the post: Did Kathleen Sebelius Pressure Media to Deny Vaccine Safety Voices? Here's my idea: every chance we get, when somebody says vaccines have been proven to be safe, refer to it as "tobacco science" great term, Jake!

 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 Commenter of the Week 3/13" »

ABC News Features TACA's Rebecca Estepp on Thimerosal Autism Cases

Abc news now From ABC News. The video features TACA's Rebecca Estepp. The first line is terribly misleading. The decision of a court doesn't mean the charges are not true. Acquittal does not equal innocent.Right OJ? Thanks to Rebecca for going on camera on behalf of families.

Millions of parents who for years had feared a vaccine was to blame for their child's autism learned today that is not the case. At least according to a special federal court, which -- while expressing sympathy for families -- found no direct link between autism and the vaccine additive Thimerosal. The ruling by the so-called vaccine court means that those families are ineligible to receive federal victim compensation. So tonight, we ask: Is this ruling enough to convince you there is no connection between vaccination and autism?

The New-n-Improved Play Now for Autism Benefits Generation Rescue

Play_Now_Baseball_Logo_w_GR_Logo[1] Play Now for Autism will be returning for a second year. After last year’s successful baseball event, the committee decided to bring it back. The event is set to return March 28, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA. The event will be held at the Montecito Heights Recreation Center (4545 Homer St., Los Angeles, CA 90031). It will begin at 11am and go on until around 4pm. The event will consist of two baseball games. The first game, beginning at noon, will solely be for children with autism while the second game will invite others on to the field for a game too. Children with autism that participate in the baseball game will be given a free baseball and a free t-shirt. 

Many changes for the event have been made. This year will feature some of the same attractions (petting zoo, arts & crafts, etc) but will have a much bigger and better resource fair. Everything in the resource fair will be related to autism. A book signing by the event’s creator, Zack Gonzalez, will also be held from 2pm-3pm. He will be selling and signing his new book, Saving Deets!: A Family’s Journey with Autism. The event will have a whole houraside from the baseball games & performances where attendees can mingle and go through the resource fair. During this hour (2pm-3pm) autograph signings and mini presentations will be held amongst the different booths. 
The event will host more performances than last year’s event, as well. The event will, again, be selling Dodger Dogs and regular concession stand snacks, but this year,  GFCF (gluten-casein-free) treats will also be available. You can expect to see more Los Angeles Dodger Legends along with last year’s Bobby Castillo and Jim Gott.

Registration to play has already begun. To register your child with autism for this event, be a volunteer for this event, or if you are interested in being a vendor or booth holder for this event please email either, or

All the proceeds from the Play Now for Autism 2010 Baseball Event will be donated to Jenny McCarthy’s non-profit  autism organization, Generation Rescue, and go toward family grants. The grants will help the families fund for biomedical interventions and more!
For more information on this event please visit or Zack Gonzalez or Generation Rescue.


Federal Vaccine Court Rules Against Autism Families

Safeminds current Government's Refusal to Fund  Sound Science Stacks Deck Against Vaccine-Injured Children and Casts Doubt on the Integrity of the National Immunization Program says SafeMinds.

Washington, D.C. - March 12, 2010 - Autism and mercury advocacy organization SafeMinds regrets today's ruling by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims against three families who argued that vaccines which contained the mercury based preservative thimerosal contributed to their child's autism. The denial of reasonable compensation to families was based on inadequate vaccine safety science and poorly designed and highly controversial epidemiology studies supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the defendant in vaccine injury cases and is also responsible for carrying out the very vaccine safety research that should be integral to court decisions. This conflict of interest means the deck is stacked against families when they enter "vaccine court" and is yet one more reason for parents to doubt the integrity of the National Immunization Program. 
"The government has its thumb on the scales of justice," said Laura Bono, parent of a vaccine injured child whose case was dismissed. "The Vaccine Injury Compensation Act passed by Congress in 1986 gave immunity to vaccine manufacturers and diminished the incentive to create safer products. Meanwhile, the law only gives the illusion that parents will have their day in court. The process is dysfunctional and many families will not see justice done."

Continue reading "Federal Vaccine Court Rules Against Autism Families" »

Special Masters Protect Vaccine Program and Deny Justice to Vaccine-Injured Children

Safety first Mercury-Autism Link Not Found Because of Government Policy, not Science.

Washington, DC – The Coalition for Vaccine Safety (CVS) believes that the Special Masters of the Court of Federal Claims wrongly decided that thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) do not cause autism.  The Special Masters appear to have based their decisions on the government policy to protect the vaccine program rather than to fulfill their role to do justice by vaccine-injured children.   In these three ‘test case’ decisions in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, petitioners William Mead, Jordan King and Colin Dwyer developed normally through the first year of life and then regressed into autism.  They presented thousands of pages of scientific documentation and testimony.  Their evidence showed that thimerosal, a mercury-laden vaccine preservative, more likely than not contributed to their autism. 

"The deck is stacked against families in Vaccine Court.  Government attorneys defend a government program, using government-funded science, before government judges.  Where’s the justice in that?" asked Rebecca Estepp, a CVS steering committee member and mother of a petitioner in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding.

It is universally accepted that mercury is a neurotoxin and can damage the developing brain and the immune system.  All three boys’ health improved through medical interventions to reduce mercury toxicity and immune dysfunction.  Nonetheless, the Special Masters concluded that petitioners failed to meet their burden of proof, even though Health and Human Services (HHS), the respondent in the proceeding, offered no alternative explanation other than genetic predisposition.  The Special Masters appear to be following a misguided government policy that if they acknowledge a mercury-autism link, parents will stop vaccinating their children.

The breaking story of fraud at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) involving Dr. Poul Thorsen, a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote studies supporting the CDC’s claims that there is no mercury-autism link, casts further doubt on the Special Masters’ decisions. The emerging evidence of Dr. Thorsen’s embezzlement of $2 million, falsehoods about his employment, and serious questions about his research throw into question the validity of the science at the heart of HHS’s claim of no mercury-autism link.

Continue reading "Special Masters Protect Vaccine Program and Deny Justice to Vaccine-Injured Children" »

Second Round of Autism Omnibus Court Cases Decided

Legal update By Rebecca Estepp, TACA.

March 12, 2010

Today in Washington DC, the Special Masters of the Court of Federal Claims released their decisions in the second round of Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP) claims. Once again, the OAP has failed children with autism that exhibited regression after their routine childhood vaccinations.  All three cases: Mead, King and Dwyer were denied compensation.

First off, what is the OAP?

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in 1988. The VICP was created to ensure there was an adequate supply of vaccines and stabilize vaccine costs. Prior to this Act, there were only a handful of drug companies that producing vaccines.  These companies faced lawsuits in civil court when their vaccines caused injuries.  The drug companies lobbied for liability protection and the Act was passed.

A responsibility of the VICP was to establish and maintain an accessible and timely venue for individuals found to be injured by vaccines. The VICP was developed to be a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The U. S. Court of Federal Claims that decides these claims in court is commonly referred to as vaccine court.  Damages are paid to individuals from a government-maintained fund. Drug companies can no longer be sued in a civil court of law until the claim has gone through the VICP. For more information go to: HRSA Vaccine Compensation.

The VICP was set up for individuals who suffered an “on-the-table” vaccine injury.  That is an injury that happened within minutes or hours after receiving a vaccine.

In 2001, parents of children with autism started filing claims with VICP.  These claims were considered “off-the-table,” meaning the vaccine injury did not occur “on-the-table” or at the time of injection.  In July of 2002, the Special Masters (the term used for “judges” in vaccine court) established the procedure for addressing these claims and the Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP) was born. It was at that time that parents started flooding OAP with claims.  More than 5500 claims have been filed in the program to date.
For more information on the Omnibus cases & decision click HERE.

Who are the Mead, King and Dwyer families?

The Mead, King and Dwyer are families with many similarities. All three families have boys with autism.  All of the boys in these cases are the same age, 12 years old. Each family reported that their sons developed typically during the first year of their lives and then suffered a regression after their routine pediatric vaccines were administered.  William Mead and Jordan King are both from Portland, Oregon while Colin Dwyer is from Queens, New York. Interestingly, William Mead was developing so typically that he was a model for Pottery Barn.

Continue reading "Second Round of Autism Omnibus Court Cases Decided" »

Autism Speaks Undercuts NY Autism Health Insurance Reform

Action alert2 The following is an action alert from The Autism Action Network. There is an automatic email action alert below the jump including phone numbers to Autism Speaks to ask them to support the broadly embraced S6123 "Autism Speaks' bill contains vague language that doesn't compel insurance companies to cover any specific treatments, services or therapies. And would require any treatments to be approved by three separate state agencies. There is no time line for the agencies to act and no money to pay for staff. It is a recipe for inaction.:

Autism Speaks gravely jeopardized the chances of real autism health insurance reform in New York State last Friday by undercutting a bill supported by every national and statewide autism advocacy organization in the state by introducing into the legislature their own watered down bill written by a lobbying firm who represent both major health insurance companies and Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks unilateral action undercuts Senate Bill S6123, the bill the autism community in New York has been working to pass for 15 months to get real autism health insurance reform.
The Community Bill This has no annual spending caps; no age limits, and requires coverage of medical specialists, and therapies including applied behavior analysis, occupational, physical and speech. In short the same kind of coverage that is provided for disorders other than autism.
In an unprecedented show of support, the Community Bill has been endorsed by groups as diverse as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics along with SAFEMINDS and Generation Rescue as well as the Autism Society of America and the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Project. And it has significant bipartisan support.
Autism Speaks has been approached dozens of times since the fall of 2008 about working with a statewide coalition. But they have steadfastly refused to work with anyone. And coming in at this late hour with a competing bill provides the legislators a perfect excuse to do nothing.
Here are some of the groups backing S6123, the Community Bill:
The Medical Societies of the State of New York (the AMA)
American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapter 2
NYS School Board Association
NYS Speech, Hearing and Language Association
NYS Occupational Therapy Association
Autism Action Network
Autism Action NY
Autism One
Autism United
Autism Society of America (National)
ASA, Albany Chapter
ASA, The Bronx
ASA, Hudson Valley
ASA, Nassau/Suffolk
ASA, Western New York
Foundation for Autism Information and Research
Generation Rescue
Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Project
National Autism Association, New York Metro Chapter,
New York Families for Autistic Children
Project Link
Schafer Autism Report
Talking About Curing Autism
Upstate New York Families For Effective Autism Treatment
Upstate New York Autism Awareness
United State Autism and Asperger Association
No groups other than Autism Speaks are supporting their bill.

Continue reading "Autism Speaks Undercuts NY Autism Health Insurance Reform" »

Best of AoA: JB Handley on Henry Waxman "Father of the Autism Epidemic"

Waxman_2Managing Editor's Note: We ran this post in October of 2008. We're running it today as background about the 1986 law that is being challenged in the Supreme Court (see HERE.)
By J.B. Handley

Almost 22 years ago, on October 20, 1986, the Los Angeles Times ran a story regarding a controversial bill making its way through Congress, the headline shouted:


The story went on to explain the highly divisive nature of the bill, intended to shield vaccine makers from liability, and the Reagan administration was speaking out to express their opposition:

In a strongly worded letter to House Speaker Tip O'Neil, the then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Otis R. Bowen said, "The bill is likely to do little to assure the vaccine supply or to improve our childhood immunization efforts."

Assistant Attorney General John R. Bolton, writing to the Head of the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Department of Justice, said the White House opposed the legislation because it was creating, "a major new entitlement program for which no legitimate need has been demonstrated."

Ronald Reagan himself was troubled by the vaccine compensation bill and was quoted as saying, "Although the goal of compensating those persons is a worthy one, the program has…serious deficiencies."

The Reagan administration seemed to be particularly concerned with two issues: who was going to pay for the compensation required for vaccine injury, and the precedent of the federal government indemnifying private companies from liability.

Continue reading "Best of AoA: JB Handley on Henry Waxman "Father of the Autism Epidemic"" »

RFK Jr on HuffPo: "Central Figure in CDC Vaccine Cover-Up Absconds With $2M"

Rfk Click HERE to read the full post and comment over at HuffPo. Thank you, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

A central figure behind the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars. Danish police are investigating Dr. Poul Thorsen, who has vanished along with almost $2 million that he had supposedly spent on research.

Thorsen was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote several key studies supporting CDC's claims that the MMR vaccine and mercury-laden vaccines were safe for children. Thorsen's 2003 Danish study reported a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after that country banned mercury based preservatives in its vaccines. His study concluded that mercury could therefore not be the culprit behind the autism epidemic.

His study has long been criticized as fraudulent since it failed to disclose that the increase was an artifact of new mandates requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry. This new law and the opening of a clinic dedicated to autism treatment in Copenhagen accounted for the sudden rise in reported cases rather than, as Thorsen seemed to suggest, the removal of mercury from vaccines. Despite this obvious chicanery, CDC has long touted the study as the principal proof that mercury-laced vaccines are safe for infants and young children. Mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, has relied on this study as the basis for its public assurances that it is safe to inject young children with mercury -- a potent neurotoxin -- at concentrations hundreds of times over the U.S. safety limits.

Thorsen, who was a psychiatrist and not a research scientist or toxicologist, parlayed that study into a long-term relationship with CDC. He built a research empire called the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA) that advertised its close association with the CDC autism team, a relationship that had the agency paying Thorsen and his research staff millions of dollars to churn out research papers, many of them assuring the public on the issue of vaccine safety.

The discovery of Thorsen's fraud came as the result of an investigation by Aarhus University and CDC which discovered that Thorsen had falsified documents and, in violation of university rules, was accepting salaries from both the Danish university and Emory University in Atlanta -- near CDC headquarters -- where he led research efforts to defend the role of vaccines in causing autism and other brain disorders. Thorsen's center has received $14.6 million from CDC since 2002...  Click HERE to read the full post and comment over at HuffPo. Thank you, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

NBC 11 Atlanta Reports: Vaccine Researcher Flees with $2M

Flee-5001 Age of Autism has been covering the story of Dr. Poul Thorsen, architect of the "Danish study" that exonerated vaccines as a cause of autism, see: Poul Thorsen's Mutating Resume and First Fraud: Dr. Poul Thorsen and the original “Danish Study” and Danish Scientist Absconds with $2 million, Poul Thorsen "Proved" Vaccines Don't Cause Autism 

Jayne Watson of Atlanta had this story last night.

ATLANTA -- A Danish scientist who was a lead researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Dr. Poul Thorsen was also a research professor at Emory University from 2003 until June of 2009. Emory University officials gave no reason for Thorsen's departure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded research conducted by Thorsen and his colleagues at Aarhus University.

The CDC asked the researchers to conduct studies to determine whether thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, played ay role in causing autism.

The results of the studies, that there was no link between vaccines containing mercury and autism, formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports.

In a statement Aarhus University officials said Thorsen forged documents supposedly from the CDC to obtain the release of $2 million from the university.

Autism advocacy groups are demanding his studies be given a closer look. Those same groups have long claimed that the results of the studies were suspect. (We've linked the video below, but it appears to be unavailable. URL is HERE.) More copy from the report is below the jump. Please scroll down.

Continue reading "NBC 11 Atlanta Reports: Vaccine Researcher Flees with $2M" »

Poul Thorsen's Mutating Resume

Poul Thorsen By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill
In bits and pieces, in Danish and English, from three universities in two hemispheres and the CDC in Atlanta, a picture has begun forming in the past few days that is already startling in its outline: Paul Thorsen, one of the key scientists involved in CDC-backed studies exonerating vaccines as a cause of autism, is under investigation for collecting millions of dollars in bogus “grant” money, misrepresenting himself to his employers and the world and possibly forging the documents that enabled the scam.
Even more astonishing, it appears the CDC and several other major autism research centers have known about this for months and stayed publicly silent, even as the debate over autism and vaccines has reached several decisive moments -- and a new decision is expected any day from U.S. vaccine court. The CDC in particular would have a hard time claiming ignorance about the suspected crime -- at least three of the forged documents were in the agency’s name, and it helped uncover the fraud last year.
In addition, several current CDC employees including Drs. Diana Schendel, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Catherine Rice were affiliated with Thorsen’s now-defunct research group. Age of Autism has obtained Internet-archived pages from the Web site of the North Atlantic Neuro-Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA) that list the members of the “Atlanta autism team” including Schendel, Yeargin-Allsopp and Rice, all of whom have been in leadership positions in the CDC’s autism epidemiology projects. Schendel is described as NANEA’s “coordinator at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA.” (The CDC did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.)
Meanwhile, Thorsen apparently continues his involvement on an American Psychiatric Association committee that is revising the classification of autism for the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – a change that could affect how the prevalence of the disorder is calculated and its victims compensated and treated. (The APA did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.)
Thorsen’s resume, dated Jan. 22, 2010, remains on the DSM 5 Working Group members page. (View HERE.) He lists himself as “Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.” (Calls and e-mails to Drexel seeking confirmation of his status there have gone unanswered.)
There is also an earlier Thorsen resume still available on an APA directory dated Jan. 12, just 10 days earlier, (View HERE) that differs substantially from the Jan. 22 update.  On that earlier resume, Thorsen calls himself “Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Denmark, & Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, USA.”
What happened in 10 days to change Thorsen’s bona fides so substantially – going from apparently tenured positions at two leading autism research universities to a part-time adjunct professorship at another school?
Follow the chronology: On Jan. 22 – the day the new resume is dated – the University of Aarhus issued a statement "to whom it may concern" (View HERE) contradicting key parts of that first resume: “In March 2009, Dr. Thorsen resigned his faculty position at Aarhus University,” the statement said, meaning, obviously, he could not have been an associate professor of epidemiology as he was claiming as late as Jan. 12, 2010. “In the meantime, it has come to the attention of Aarhus University that Dr Thomsen [sic] has continued to act in such a manner as to create the impression that he still retains a connection to Aarhus University after the termination of his employment by the university.” Of course, one way this could have come to its attention was through a resume posted at the American Psychiatric Association in which Thorsen still stated exactly that.
“Furthermore,” the statement said, “it has come to the attention of Aarhus University that Dr Poul Thorsen has held full-time positions at both Emory University and Aarhus University simultaneously. Dr Thorsens [sic] double Full-time employment was unauthorised by Aarhus University, and he engaged in this employment situation despite the express prohibition of Aar- hus University.”

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The Supreme Court Takes Bruesewitz v. Wyeth: Is There Justice for Vaccine Injury Victims?

Legal update By Mary Holland, Esq. and Jim Moody, Esq.

On March 8, the Supreme Court voted to hear Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, an appeal from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court will decide whether a vaccine-injured child has the right to pursue a traditional "design defect" claim under state tort law when "Vaccine Court" refuses compensation.  The Supreme Court must interpret the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and decide whether Congress intended to "preempt" all industry tort liability when it wrote, “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”

Did Congress intend to extinguish the right to sue for all defective vaccine designs in civil court?  While the statutory language is awkward and thus somewhat opaque, Congress’s legislative intent was not – the statute as a whole shows clearly that Congress intended to leave civil courthouse doors open for petitioners who elect to leave Vaccine Court to sue for design defects.  Lower courts, nonetheless, have decided the question both ways.  So the Supreme Court must step in and resolve the conflict.  The stakes are high: whether a person injured by a vaccine can challenge the safety of the design in any court in the United States.

A three judge panel of the Third Circuit unanimously decided in March 2009 that petitioner Hannah Bruesewitz did not have the right to sue vaccine manufacturer Wyeth, Inc. to assert that its vaccine design was unsafe.  [See Bruesewitz-Decision]  Hannah was born in October, 1991, and received her third DPT shot on schedule on April 1, 1992.  Shortly thereafter she developed "residual seizure disorder," recognized as a Table Injury at the time, meaning that causation was presumed.  "Residual seizure disorder" was deleted from the Table just one month before she filed her case.  Finally, on December 20, 2002, more than ten years later, Vaccine Court categorically rejected her claim.  This hardly complies with Congress’ promise in the 1986 NCVIA that awards be “made to vaccine-injured persons quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity.”  The Bruesewitz family argues that the safer acellular DTaP vaccine was long available by the time Hannah received the DPT and suffered seizures, and that her vaccine injury was avoidable had the manufacturer used this demonstrably safer vaccine design.

Before Bruesewitz, in October 2008, the Supreme Court of Georgia came out in the exact opposite way in Ferrari v. American Home Products, Inc.  That nine member court decided unanimously that petitioners could pursue their claim for a vaccine design defect in state civil court.  [See Ferrari decision]  The Ferrari family alleged that the mercury-containing preservative in his childhood vaccines, thimerosal, contributed to his autism.  AoA discussed the Ferrari decision HERE

In a recent development, the Ferrari family decided to voluntarily withdraw their claim at the trial court level without prejudice – in other words, the family decided that now is not the most auspicious time to continue the lawsuit, for whatever reason.  Most commentators, although not all, believe that the Ferraris could reopen their lawsuit later, if they chose to, while the child is still a minor.  So, while Bruesewitz and Ferrari interpret the 1986 statute in diametrically opposite ways, the Supreme Court has decided to hear the Bruesewitz case as the vehicle to resolve the conflict.

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South Carolina Faces Huge Disabilities Budget Cuts: Please Call Your Legislator!

Act now! The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs(DDSN) is facing huge budget cuts unless the SC House and Senate provide more funds than were recommended by the House Ways and Means Committee.  There is a shortfall of over $25M in state dollars  and this will result in many more federal dollars being lost.  The cuts will threaten the health and safety of many people in SC including hundreds on the autism spectrum. Waivers for many disabilities  such as spinal cord injury and pervasive developmental disorder will end.  Services can be withdrawn from children in school and many parents will be forced to leave jobs to take care of their children. See the Autism Society of South Carolina for more info HERE.

The only services guaranteed are for those in residential homes with no place else to go.
This is happening in SC now, but it could follow in any other state.  We need to fight together NOW and preserve the rights and needs for our disabled, the most vulnerable in our society.

If you live in SC, please contact your own representatives See List Here and gave them your personal stories and how the cuts will affect you.

If you are out of state, please phone or e-mail any of the legislators you choose.  I know the list is long and nobody can do all of them.  Let them know(politely as possibly) that this is an outrageous act if these cuts pass.  Special thanks to Craig Stoxen, director of SC Autism Society and Ralph Courtney, Executive Director of the Aiken County Board of Disabilities for their help.  Debate begins Monday, March 15 so we need to act NOW. A vote is expected shortly after.
Thank you for your help.
Maurine Meleck


Chicago Tribune Trumpets Another Anti-Treatment Autism Lawsuit. Why?

Mystery By Teresa Conrick

For those of you who are new to the autism-vaccine saga, the Chicago Tribune keeps sinking to new lows with its coverage.  In November, they had an article that described an ugly divorce in which a disgruntled father was fighting for custody of his autistic child.  Now this past March 4th, they came out with part 2 in that family's personal drama.  This time the father is suing the Defeat Autism Now! doctors, "family-practice physicians Dr. Anjum Usman of Naperville and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. — are prominent in the Defeat Autism Now! movement.....Both have spoken to groups of parents at autism conferences and trained other physicians in their methods." HERE

Being prominent in the DAN! movement, speaking at autism conferences and training other doctors has the potential for making you a prime target for possible trumped up lawsuits.  The child is reported to be "a playful, funny and outgoing 7-year-old" per his father in November 2009 yet the Tribune reports the father "alleging they harmed the child with "dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments."  I need to insert here that my daughter is also a patient of Dr. Usman so I consider myself very fortunate for that as well as more than a casual observer in this story. Both of these doctors, Usman and Rossignol. are passionate and tremendous in their care to our children and commitment as medical doctors.  I find myself suspicious of this lawsuit on many levels.

While googling to find the Tribune article, I instead found Orac's site.  Who is Orac?  Well, suffice to say that he has some mysterious desire to want autism to be only a genetic disorder.  He gets upset if you discuss vaccines or the environment as causative factors.  The usual suspects of the neurodiverse world and the assorted anonymous Wackosphere characters were hanging out at his site with their typical sarcasm and "blood-thirsty" DAN! comments.  Orac though was beyond his usual histrionic self as his comments were pointed at the exact wording of the lawsuit.  He actually had the lawsuit in a pdf file for the taking on his site!  Now how, within hours of the Trib posting and to be exact, the Trib article by Patricia Callahan was posted online at 5:19 p.m. CST, March 4, 2010 and Orac had his pdf and blog up at March 5, 2010 3:00 AM. Appears to be quite bizarre and a bit suspicious?   

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AoA Contest: "Cutting Edge Therapies For Autism" by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons

Cutting edge therapies Leave a comment to enter the contest to win a signed copy of "Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism" by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons, published by Skyhorse Publishing with an afterword by Teri Arranga of Autism One. The authors are both Autism dads. This book features a compendium of treatments, described by experts in that area, from behavioral therapy to psychiatric drugs to chelation. It's a real A-Z explanation of choices and something I think has been missing from our libraries for some time. I'm glad to see so many options between the covers. The list of the therapies is below. 

Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism today!

Allergies, Their Role and Treatment in Autism
by Dr. Marvin Boris 6

Animal-Assisted Interventions and Persons with Autism Spectrum
Disorders by Dr. Aubrey Fine 10

Anthroposophical Curative Education and Social Therapy
by Dr. Marga Hogenboom and Paula Moraine 17

Antiepileptic Medications by Dr. Richard E. Frye 22

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Bloomington Alternative on Autism, Vaccines and Mercury

Thimerosal bottle Managing Editor's Note: J.B. Handley is quoted in this post at The Bloomington Alternatice. The American experience with mercury-containing vaccines parallels the autism epidemic to the letter.

In 1930, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. patented a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal for use in childhood vaccines. According to a 2003 congressional report, despite repeated requests through the years, Lilly never tested thimerosal for its human health impacts.For 70 years, Lilly relied on a "woefully inadequate" and "uncontrolled study" from the 1920s as proof thimerosal was safe, the report said.
. . . Starting in the 1940s, American children were vaccinated for diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP). A polio shot was added in 1955, and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) joined the list in 1971.

In 1989, a fully vaccinated child of 5 had received a total of 11 injections of these three vaccines. In 1990 and 1991, two more were added to the schedule with seven more shots, including hepatitis B at birth. And in 1995 and 1998, an additional two vaccines with five more shots were added, bringing the total number of injections to 23.

Four more vaccines were added in 2000, 2004 and 2006. The CDC and AAP's recommended vaccination scheduletoday says American children should receive 36 shots before they enter first grade, the most aggressive vaccination schedule in the world.

Canada is a distant second with 28, according to a 2009 study published by Generation Rescue titled "Autism and vaccines around the world." The average number of vaccinations among 30 industrialized countries is 18.

Meanwhile, between 1980 and 1994, the incidence of California children with autism jumped 373 percent, from 1 in every 2,272 live births to 1 in 480, according to a 2001 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association...

Read the full article and comment HERE.

Danish Scientist Absconds with $2 million, Poul Thorsen "Proved" Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

Autism action network This startling story, as yet unseen in the mainstream media, is from our friends at The Autism Action Network.

A Danish scientist who was a key researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark according to reports in the Copenenhagen Post Online and a statement from Aarhus University.
Poul Thorsen, MD PhD, headed up a research unit at Aarhus University that was hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare a series of studies that would exonerate thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine from any role in causing autism. The veracity of the two studies he co-authored is now in doubt.
These studies formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports that claimed that it was highly unlikely that thimerosal or MMR were implicated in autism.
In a statement Aarhus University officials said that believe Thorsen forged documents supposedly from the CDC to obtain the release of $2 million from the University. Thorsen resigned abruptly in March 2009 and left Denmark. Since then Thorsen has held several jobs in the US, first at Emory University in Atlanta and then at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Documents show that as late as January 22, 2009. Thorsen was employed at Drexel. Any reference to Poulsen has now been deleted from the Drexel website.
Investigations also revealed that while employed full-time for the University of Aarhus in Denmark, Thorsen simultaneously held a fulltime position at Emory University in Atlanta, and drew salaries from both Universities despite a contract with Aarhus forbidding outside employment. According to the statement from Aarhus University.
Autism advocacy groups have published extensive analyses on Thorsen's studies and found many problems in methods, assumptions and conclusions that are supported by the data. And Thorsen is the lynchpin in the series of studies used to dismiss concerns about thimerosal and MMR causing autism.
See SAFEMINDS analysis of Thorsen's role in the discredited studies

See the Copenhagen Post Online article HERE.
See the statement from Aarhus University HERE.

Read more at: Age of Autism this week.
The two studies now in doubt include:
Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data.

Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB, Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.
A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism.

Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M., N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.

New Yorkers To Strike Against Autism in NAA Fundraiser

Bowlarama On 3/21 NY'ers Strike Against Autism

NAA New York Metro is having a Bowl-a-thon, its first fundraiser.  Help this important organization reach more families affected by autism. 

The NAA NY Metro Chapter provides direct support to families and people affected by autism in the NYC Metro area since March 2008. They are having their first fundraiser, a Bowl-a-Thon on March 21st at Bowlmor Lanes in NYC.  Donations in any amount are appreciated at  Information about bowling and corporate sponsorships is also available at that web location.  Or contact Peggy Becker at

Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 3/6

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Our commenter of the week is "Jack's Dad" on the post: Fox Atlanta on Autism Treatment. When our sons were getting early-intervention ABA, one of their therapists acknowledged that EVERY SINGLE ONE of her "clients" was on the diet. Funny how what's clearly the mainstream for autism families is still considered "alternative" and "out of the box" by the medical community. It just shows that families have taken treatment into their own hands. How sad.

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Mark Blaxill and Rita Shreffler on Go Green Radio with Jill Buck

Mark blaxill photo Tune into "Go Green Radio with Jill Buck" TODAY Friday, March 5 at noon Eastern to listen to Mark Blaxill and NAA's Rita Shreffler in “Part II: Is the Environment to Blame for Autism?”

Good parents advocate for their children, and try to keep them safe from harm. Suppose your children were being harmed by the air they breathe, by chemicals sprayed on their schoolyard, or by vaccinations recommended by your most trusted ally in keeping your child healthy – your pediatrician. If that were the case, you’d likely do all that you could to protect your child, but you’d soon find that as a lone parent it is very difficult to sway the large organizations and companies that control the environmental hazards around your child. And then…you’d do what this week’s Go Green Radio guests did…you’d band together with other concerned parents to make a difference. This week we are joined by the Executive Director of the National Autism Association, Rita Shreffler, and the editor-at-large for the Age of Autism, Mark Blaxill. Rita and Mark will discuss their experiences as parents of autistic children, and help us understand the environmental toxins that may be responsible for rising rates of autism in America.

SC Teen Dies Jumping from Ambulance as SC Contemplates Cutting More Services

State-flag-south-carolina It's taken me a couple of days to gather up the heart to run this story of a 16 year old boy who tumbled to his death out of the back of an ambulance in South Carolina. In the interim, I read that SC is considering draconian cuts to their social services budget.

(NBC) - Family members of a Greenville, SC teen killed when he jumped from a moving ambulance said that the death of the autistic 16-year-old on Sunday could have been prevented.

For starters, Shelly Hodge didn't want her son, Ryan Emory, released from the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute in Columbia on Feb. 6. On his discharge papers she wrote: "I, Shelly Hodge, Ryan Emory's mother, disagree with the Department of Disabilities and Special Need's discharge recommendation at this time. There are no services in place. I fear for my safety and his."

Hodge isn't just a concerned mother. She's also a nurse. Based on her medical training, she believes there was something very wrong with her son, more than just autism.

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The Autism Trust and The Department of Health: The Strategy of Adults with Autism in England (2010)

Polly with Gordon Brown 2 In 2009 Polly Tommey was approached by Gordon Brown to represent The Autism Trust within the External Reference Group (ERG).  This followed a meeting with the Prime Minister as a result of The Autism Trust’s "Dear Gordon Brown" charity billboard campaign.  Polly was part of the ERG that helped formulate "The strategy for adults with autism in England (2010)."

Since then, Sarah Brown became actively involved and recently organized a breakfast meeting at 10 Downing Street to bring together autism organizations from all over the country to discuss both the strategy and how best to move it forward.

Having read the aforementioned strategy, Polly was encouraged by the amount of work and effort that Phil Hope and the Department of Health had undertaken.  "They have acknowledged the desperate situation and lack of support that adults with autism in this country are living with.  They have also acknowledged the increased demand for facilities, services and provision, and have accepted the need for greater social awareness towards autism in this country."

A new autism program board has been established to lead change in public services.  £500,000 will be invested in developmental training within health, social care, and professional bodies; it will address training for job center disability employment advisors to work for those with autism to help them to be able to work, and it will champion improved diagnosis.

Polly comments, "In all, the strategy is hugely important and a crucial milestone. It is as the Department of Health said when presenting it – ‘a start’. And a very good one."

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Joan Cranmer’s Fateful Decisions and the Suppression of Autism Science

Suppression By Mark Blaxill

On February 12, 2010 the journal Neurotoxicology made a quiet change on its web-site to an “in-press” article that had previously been available as an “epub ahead of print.”  There was no press release or public announcement, simply an entry change. The entry for the article, “Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccine: Influence of gestational age and birth weight”, was first modified to read “Withdrawn” and has since been removed altogether from the Neurotoxicology web-site. The only remaining official trace of the paper is now the following listing on the National Library of Medicine’s “PubMed” site.

Neurotoxicology. 2009 Oct 2. [Epub ahead of print]

WITHDRAWN: Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccine: Influence of gestational age and birth weight.

Hewitson L, Houser LA, Stott C, Sackett G, Tomko JL, Atwood D, Blue L, White ER, Wakefield AJ.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States; Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX 78746, United States.

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

How can a scientific study simply vanish? This paper had cleared every hurdle for entry into the public scientific record: it had passed peer review at a prestigious journal, received the editor’s approval for publication, been disseminated in electronic publication format (a common practice to ensure timely dissemination of new scientific information), and received the designation “in press” as it stood in line awaiting future publication in a print version of the journal. Now, and inexplicably, it has been erased from the official record. For practical scientific purposes it no longer exists.

The answer, of course, is that this is no ordinary scientific study.  Age of Autism reported previously on its importance HERE , where we noted that “one likely tactic of critics of the study will include attempts to nullify the evidence based on the alleged bias of those involved.” The obvious risk, of course, was that a co-investigator on the paper, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, might make the study a target, especially in light of the hearings then underway at the U.K.’s General Medical Council (GMC).  In the wake of last month’s GMC findings of misconduct, we also reported on the calls by Generation Rescue to recognize the even greater importance of Dr. Wakefield’s work on this primate project, an analysis of the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated macaque monkeys (see HERE and HERE). Sadly, true to our prediction, and despite the quality of the work and the importance of the findings, it appears that the “attempts to nullify the evidence” have been successful.

Over the least several weeks, Age of Autism has tried repeatedly to contact the journal and spoke briefly with Joan Cranmer, the editor-in-chief of Neurotoxicology. She declined comment on the issue. We have obtained evidence, however, that Cranmer has participated in two separate communications on her decisions regarding the primate paper. The first of these came last November, in the form of a response to a threatening letter she had received, at which time Cranmer gave a strong defense of Neurotoxicology’s review procedures.

“As Editor of Neurotoxicology this is to inform you that the referenced manuscript has been subjected to rigorous independent peer review according to our journal standards.   If you have issues with the science in the paper please submit them to me as a Letter to the Editor which will undergo peer review and will be subject to publication if deemed acceptable.”

That response, of course, came before the subsequent media storm over the GMC findings and the decision by another journal, The Lancet to retract a paper co-authored by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the last listed author (a slot typically reserved for a project’s senior scientist) on the primate paper.

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Parents No Longer Mollified by the "Science Says, So Trust Us" Approach to Healthcare

Extra_extra In the last couple of weeks, the four articles below have appeared in mainstream media. They illustrate that parents are no longer mollified by "science says" arguments in children's health and healthcare. US News, Time Magazine, The Boston Globe and The New York Times each ran reports related to vaccination and/or drug safety concerns. As Jim Carrey has said, "We are not the problem. The problem is the problem." Note: We have provided excerpts, some of the media outlets might require a subscription to read the full article.

US News, March 1, Nancy Shute - Parents’ Vaccine Safety Fears Mean Big Trouble for Children’s Health

"Parents are really worried about childhood vaccine safety, but the public-health community doesn't seem to get it. A new survey reveals that 54 percent of parents are concerned about the adverse effects of vaccines, and 25 percent think some vaccines cause autism in healthy children. Yet just last week, the federal government vaccine advisory board called for all Americans 6 months and older to get flu shots next fall, including the vaccine against the H1N1 flu strain. If the goal is to protect the public's health, you'd think the feds would first want to address the fact that a big chunk of parents think vaccines aren't safe..."

...That science-says message is clearly no longer working for many parents. If doctors and public-health officials want to use the power of vaccines to protect children's health, they're going to have to first figure out how to effectively respond to parents' fears.

Time Magazine, February 25,  Karl Taro Greenfeld: The Autism Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy?

"In person, surprisingly, Jenny McCarthy comes across as corn-fed cute rather than overwhelmingly beautiful. She has a common touch, and a woman even slightly more beautiful would struggle to connect as she does. When McCarthy meets a mom, when she spits forth a stream of profanity and common sense — the foulmouthed comedian from Chicago never far from the surface — she is there as a mother, not as a celebrity or starlet. That's what got her there, but that's not who she is once she's there. She speaks to so many frustrated, despairing mothers of autistic children because she is plausible, authentic. If you needed a woman to bring hope to these mothers, you couldn't ask for better casting than Jenny McCarthy..."   

New York Times, February 25, 2009, Nicholas Kristof: Do Toxins Cause Autism?
Do Toxins Cause Autism?

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Winner Signed ARC of David Kirby's Animal Factory

Animal Factory Congrats to our winner Lin Wessels. The contest is closed.

Visit the website
HERE. Order your copy at Amazon HERE.

"A propulsive chronicle. Thanks to Kirby’s extraordinary journalism, we have the most relatable, irrefutable, and unforgettable testimony yet to the hazards of industrial animal farming."

"Immensely readable, should be required reading for anybody concerned with how CAFOs are changing the nature of livestock farming." LIBRARY JOURNAL

Swine flu. MRSA. Unusual concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Massive fish kills from algal blooms and flesh-eating parasites. Recalls of meats, vegetables, and fruits because of deadly E-coli bacteria contamination.  Recent public health crises raise urgent questions about how our animal-derived food is raised and brought to market.  In Animal Factory, bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby exposes the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching fallout that can contaminate our air, land, and water supply. 

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Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 2/26

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Our commenter of the week is Amy Trail on the post VA Denies Insurance Coverage for Autism As a parent of a child with Autism in the state of VA and as an Educational Advocate for special needs children - The current midset of our legislators in VA is beyond crazy.I would love to see a vote as to how many Delegates in the House have prescriptions for medications that are not necessary. Answer - probably MANY. How many of them are currently rehabing a family member after a stroke? Probably a few - well people that is all we were asking for. My son, lost all skills at 18 months, they call it Autism - I call it a Stroke but he is denied the quality rehab services that he needs but the Delegates family member who is receiving stoke rehab has the best services in the state - I am sure. I have families here in the VA that are standing in lines at food banks to feed their kids because they have spent every dime they have to provide the therapies that the children have to have.


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Chronic Illness on the Rise in Children: LA TImes

Country-doctor-nr This article from the LA Times explains that children today are chronically sicker than their counterparts 50 years ago. Despite "well" visits at 2 weeks, 2,4,6,9,12,15,18,24 months and then yearly, our kids appear to be headed downhill as far as their health goes. How will they fare as adults? And how can you say that children with asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, food allergies, autism, learning disabilities aren't "less healthy?" The article points out that there are fewer congential defects (perhaps the result of prenatal testing leading to abortion and the addition of Folic Acid to stave off spina bifida) infectious disease, (yes, there is less chicken pox and measles and mumps, the traditional childhood diseases from which most children recovered) and accidents. Is it a necessary tradeoff? What has happened to childhood in America? Sounds to us that Ms. Roans is saying we are MAKING OUR CHILDREN SICK. Wow.

By Sahri Roans

More than a quarter of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition, new research suggests, a significant increase from the rate seen in earlier decades and a statistic that looms large for the nation's efforts to subdue rising healthcare costs.

But the report doesn't suggest that children are less healthy. The comprehensive look at children from 1988 through 2006 also revealed that health conditions themselves have changed.

Fewer children today are affected by congenital defects, infectious diseases and accidents than they were 50 years ago; instead, cultural, lifestyle and environmental conditions appear to be the root cause of many pediatric illnesses.

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Karl Taro Greenfeld in Time "The Autism Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy?"

Jenny Time Head over to TIME HERE to leave a comment telling story of how Jenny has helped you, and how your autism journey mirrored hers in terms of lack of medical guidance and frustration of trying to find the right treatments for your child. The author of the article is Karl Taro Greenfeld, who wrote 2009's Boy Alone about growing up with a profoundly autistic brother in the 1970s. Pay attention to the last line of the Time article. It's imporant. Click over to TIME HERE and leave a comment, please. Thanks. KIM

The Autism Debate: Who's Afraid of Jenny McCarthy? (Photograph by Jeff Minton for Time.)

...In 2005, McCarthy's son Evan, then 2, began having seizures so severe he required repeated emergency hospitalization. McCarthy had noticed that Evan had some developmental delays, compared with his peers in a playgroup they attended, and he exhibited some atypical behaviors: arm flapping, repetitive actions and fixation on strange objects. She describes her panic at Evan's diagnosis in her memoir Louder than Words: "I wished to God the doctor had handed me a pamphlet that said, 'Hey, sorry about the autism, but here's a step-by-step list on what to do next.' But doctors don't do that. They say 'sorry' and move you along." McCarthy began to try almost every treatment that turned up on Google. Evan went through conventional, intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy as well as a host of alternative approaches, including a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, chelation, aromatherapies, electromagnetics, spoons rubbed on his body, multivitamin therapy, B-12 shots and a range of prescription drugs. McCarthy says she made a deal with God. "Help me fix my boy," she prayed, "and I'll teach the world how I did it."

She believes she did fix her boy. A psychological evaluation from UCLA's neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was "conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder," and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, "Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?" McCarthy's boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world...

Read more: HERE.

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? 

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.”

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



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.

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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

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" <>
To: "" <>
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: <>
To: Harris, Gardiner
Sent: Thu Feb 18 22:09:35 2010
Subject: READER MAIL: Gardiner Harris


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

LJ Goes

Dear Mr. Harris, I was recently forwarded your New York Times article regarding the Lancet retraction, found here 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: 


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" »