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2358 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

Chelation Study Cancelled

Who_done_itSo who canned the NIMH chelation study as "too dangerous?" Children are given huge doses of chemotherapy and radiation in a desperate effort to save them from cancer - fully knowing the side effects themselves can be deadly.  It's a fair risk most parents are willing to take to help a sick child.

If your child is full of lead, the doctor will chelate him as a standard protocol. (Children.WebMD.) If removing the source of lead and balancing nutrition do not reduce lead levels, or if the blood lead level is very high, chelation therapy may be used. Chelation therapy is a process that rapidly reduces the amount of lead stored in the body. Drugs called chelating agents cause metals like lead to bind to them, and then they are eliminated from the body through urine. Because chelating agents increase the absorption of lead and other metals, it is essential that sources of lead exposure be removed before a person is treated.

But if your child is full of mercury, too bad.  The mainstream docs won't chelate him. After all, he might just get better and then all the people who've railed against autism treatments and screamed at us that our kids are "uncurable!" would be wrong. 

Read the blip HERE.

The Illinois Autism Coverage that Almost Was

Illinois_politicsBy Julie Obradovic

What do you do if you have a health crisis unparalleled to any other affecting children in your state that isn’t being properly covered by insurance?

Well, if you’re certain Illinois legislators, the answer is simple:  Put politics first.

Continue reading "The Illinois Autism Coverage that Almost Was" »

Obama Campaign Accepts Autism Mom's Info

Notebook By Allison Chapman

Earlier this month, Claudine Liss posted of her encounter with Senator Barack Obama… “Last Friday evening, September 5, 2008, I had the opportunity to ask Senator Barack Obama about childhood vaccine safety/choice.  His response, “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.”

I don’t think even Claudine knew what kind of reaction this would create in a community where so many of us watched our children regress immediately following vaccines.  I know when I read those words my heart sank.  I thought; we have failed to give him the proper amount of information, does he really know what the magnitude of this question was, etc.  As a personal lifelong lefty as well as an A-CHAMP/ACC non partisan district leader, I felt I had failed in some way to make sure he was receiving the information our community so desperately needed him to have. 

Continue reading "Obama Campaign Accepts Autism Mom's Info" »

Autism Insurance Bill Fails in Illinois

Drown_in_debtManaging Editor's Note:  An autism/insurance bill passed in my state of Connecticut this year, effective January, 2009. Since my husband's company's insurance is "self-funded" they are exempt from including my girls. So even with a law (touted here as a huge success) I can count three children with autism who will NOT get their services covered. 

CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports that 5-year-old Brianna Di Cianni talks now. That is amazing to those who remember how silent she was when diagnosed two years ago with autism. Her mother and father have so far spent more than $70,000 to get Brianna the best treatment, none of it covered by insurance.

A proposal that would have mandated such insurance coverage was killed last night in the Illinois House.

"This was our fourth shot at getting this bill passed and I can't believe that we didn't get it," said Peter Di Cianni, Brianna's father. Click HERE to read more.

The Autism File Magazine Now in Bookstores!

Autism_file_3The Autism File: International Autism Magazine Now Available in Bookstores in US & Canada

A North American edition of The Autism File, the longest running international autism magazine, has been released for distribution to 2000 bookstores in the United States and Canada. The Autism File, published in the UK for over 10 years, is also available in Spain (in Spanish) and Australia. The Autism File’s Scientific and Editorial Advisory Boards are made up of leading autism experts and advocates from around the world.

Continue reading "The Autism File Magazine Now in Bookstores!" »

Autism One Organizes Illinois Advocacy Program

Autism_oneTHE ILLINOIS "STAY AT HOME" MOM MARCH: Bringing change home.

We are proud to announce the Illinois Stay at Home Mom March. This January, parents, grandparents, family members and friends will meet with state senators and representatives to enlist their support of legislation to help end the autism epidemic.   

While we might not be able to travel long distances, be away for more than a few hours, spend money that is needed on a thousand and one other expenses, or get ourselves arrested, we can still advocate locally and effectively. This "march," the marchers are "staying home" to bring the message to the Illinois State Legislature, one parent and one legislator at a time.

Continue reading "Autism One Organizes Illinois Advocacy Program" »

Governor Corzine Signs Bill to Assist Autism Community

Star_ledgerFrom the New Jersey Star Ledger on two new bills, one devoted to autism safety. Our little boys and girls are growing into young men and women who will live and work in our communities. Best our safety forces know how to help them when they meet.

The other bill signed by Corzine yesterday requires the state to establish an autism awareness training course for emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police officers.

"Autism is an invisible disability one that is not always immediately recognized," Corzine said. "That's why it's important that we supply our emergency responders with accurate information on how to treat and work with these special needs individuals."

(Thanks to Ray for sending us the link.)

SafeMinds Reminds: IACC Budget Meeting Wed., Sept. 10

Public_invitedNIH Seeks Public Comment on Strategic Plan for Autism Research Public Comment on Strategic Plan Ends September 30th, next Budget Meeting September 10th

Public commentary on the Strategic Plan has begun and budgetary materials are available on request (download 8/8/08 meeting slides HERE and cost estimates HERE.) SafeMinds will issue an analysis of the continued disparity regarding the continued heavy funding of genetic/genomic studies and the lack of funding for environmental factor X gene interaction, vaccine specific research and the associated lack of expertise in the strategic planning process early next week. It is important that the public is aware of the opportunity to provide feedback to NIH and SafeMinds strongly encourages participation in this crucial stage of the process.

Continue reading "SafeMinds Reminds: IACC Budget Meeting Wed., Sept. 10" »

Obama Leads the Pharma Donor Pack

Open_secretsEditor's note: Despite the sensitivities of some -- who seem to believe that offering aggressive and nonpartisan coverage of autism as an election issue will somehow confuse our fragile readers and cause them to vote The Wrong Way -- Age of Autism will continue to be the go-to place for blow-by-blow developments. Here is the latest tally of Big Pharma bucks and who they're flowing to. Hey, we don't write the checks, we just report the numbers. -- Dan Olmsted

Managing Editor's note: If you work for Merck and you donate more than $200 to a campaign, you are a "pharma" donor. This doesn't mean the check came from Merck itself: METHODOLOGY: The totals on these charts are calculated from PAC contributions and contributions from individuals giving more than $200, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. Individual contributions are generally categorized based on the donor's occupation/employer, although individuals may be classified instead as ideological donors if they've given more than $200 to an ideological PAC.

According to Open Secrets: Obama has received: $915,696 and McCain has received: $442,042.

Now that Palin has energized the McCain campaign, it will be interesting to watch donations from this point forward, to see if the smaller donations amount was a function of lack of confidence in McCain's chances in the election. Will pharma and its employees shift their dollars now that the race has picked up?

See the pretty chart from Open Secrets on all the candidates who were in the race HERE.

Alaska Autism Mom to Barack Obama: Will You Listen

Speak_outManaging Editor's Note: You can call the Obama campaign at 866-675-2008. It might take two or three tries to reach a person. Tell them you read about Obama's "Vaccination Selection" opinion on Age of Autism. Or email them at

By Jill Nordtvedt Lenhard

After reading Claudine Liss' piece on Senator Obama's stance on selective vaccination, I was inspired to write to him as one more voice in this complex debate.  Posted here is the letter I just sent. 

September 9, 2008

Dear Senator Obama,

I am the mother of a 5 year old son with autism, and I am depending on you to be a leader in defeating this health crisis by finding out what is causing this terrible condition.  I am inspired by your stance on many issues, and especially your desire to end the divisive nature of politics in our country.  I have been registered as a nonpartisan voter in Alaska for 20 years, but this year I changed my party affiliation to Democrat in order to cast my vote for you in our statewide caucus last winter.  Alaskans supported you overwhelmingly in that vote. 

Continue reading "Alaska Autism Mom to Barack Obama: Will You Listen" »

Obama: "I am not for selective vaccination."

Choice_2By Claudine Liss

Last Friday evening, September 5, 2008, I had the opportunity to ask Senator Barack Obama about childhood vaccine safety/choice.  His response, “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.” 

He went onto say in so many words that he is for more science and the funding of more science if it’s needed.  (His science response is fuzzy, as his first response stunned me for a second). I previously gave his staffer a folder of information on vaccines. The Senator promised me that he would take a look at it. 

Continue reading "Obama: "I am not for selective vaccination."" »

NJ Obama Corzine Autism Vaccine Rally

Obama_be_the_voiceBy Louise Kuo Habakus

It was Friday before Labor Day weekend.  Desperate celebration was in the air as the end of summer loomed before us.  There was a thick envelope in my mailbox.  The flyers and contribution applications were accompanied by a kind note from my neighbors, inviting us to join them and apologizing in advance for any inconvenience their event might cause.

Corzine, Bon Jovi and DNC Finance Chair Phil Murphy were inviting me to a fundraising reception with Senator Obama, benefiting the Obama Victory Fund.  Reception and Photo Line - $2300 per person.

His historic, highly anticipated acceptance speech was that very evening.  And in one week, Obama was going to be two houses away.

Continue reading "NJ Obama Corzine Autism Vaccine Rally" »

Striking New Study -- Thimerosal Threatens Males More

Male_femaleEditor's Note -- Sometimes the most important information comes from people who aren't even looking for it. Here is a case in point, brought to our attention by Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier. Three Canadian researchers were experimenting with Thimerosal on mice for reasons having nothing to do with the vaccine mercury-autism debate. But they stumbled across the fact that Thimerosal was three times more toxic to male rats than female rats -- "the first report of gender-selective toxicity of thimerosal." Given the way it mirrors the gender differences in autism, this is a huge deal, even if preliminary. Below is the Geiers' discussion of the study's significance and HERE is a link to the study itself. As our AOA colleague Mark Blaxill says, "the facts tend to cluster around a good hypothesis." -- Dan Olmsted
In this new study, "Gender-Selective Toxicity of Thimerosal" published in the peer-reviewed journal of Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology by Dr. Donald R. Branch of the Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, the investigator examined the sex-specific toxicity of Thimerosal in a mice model system.

Continue reading "Striking New Study -- Thimerosal Threatens Males More" »

Boomer Wins Blessed With Autism

Blessed_with_autism_2Congratulations to our contest winner, "BOOMER." 

Boomer, please
email me your home address!   If you didn't win (and we're sorry!) you can buy a copy of this book on how to get reimbursement for autism treatments from your insurance company at Christina's site: Blessed with Autism.


Obama and Corzine Listen To New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice

Autism_obama By Kim Stagliano

New Jersey Coalition for Vaccine Choice members greeted Barack Obama and Governor Corzine as they approached a campaign event in New Jersey on Thursday night. And they got to speak with both men, explaining the importance of vaccine safety as a bi-partisan issue.  Governor Corzine said, "We get more e-mails and letters on this than any other issue other than tolls."  We'll run a post on what Obama said later this weekend. In the meantime, here's a clip from The Star Ledger Newspaper on the event.  Read the full article HERE.

As Obama's motorcade drove up to Murphy's house, he waved from his car to a group of about 50 people rallying on a nearby lawn to express their concern about what they consider excessive vaccination of school children.

Ron and Louise Habakus, former investment bankers and neighbors of Murphy, organized the rally in hopes that Obama would meet with them briefly. The couple described themselves as friends of Murphy and said their demonstration was not aimed at either party.

"This is bipartisan. People don't realize how little research is done on vaccines," said Ron Habakus. "There's an epidemic going on."

Continue reading "Obama and Corzine Listen To New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice" »

CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson on the Vaccine Debate

Fat_ladyManaging Editor's Note: I'm not implying anything about Ms. Attkisson by that photo. Just thought I'd mention that.

With the increase in number of vaccinations offered to parents for their children, and mandated by states not only for toddlers but for older children as well, there has been a strong public push to maintain a robust national immunization program while also ensuring vaccines are as safe as they can possibly be. The great majority of public health officials and scientists have long argued that hundreds of scientific studies done to date have answered all the relevant questions, and they imply there is no need for additional, special research because vaccines have been proven so safe.

Continue reading "CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson on the Vaccine Debate" »

McCain Mentions Autism in Acceptance Speech

McpainFrom John McCain's speech last night.

"I fight for Jake and Toni Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Jake works on a loading dock, coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. Toni is a schoolteacher, working toward her master's degree. They have two sons; the youngest, Luke, has been diagnosed with autism. Their lives should matter to the people they elect to office. They matter to me. And they matter to you."

Why the Panic over Parents Who Don't Vaccinate?

Ruby_slipperWelcome to Oz.

Jenny McCarthy and Lance Armstrong Ante Up for Autism


Our Sponsor TACA announces "Ante Up for Autism" on October 3, 2008 at the St. Regis Hotel in Monarch Beach/Dana Point, CA. Co-hosts are Jenny McCarthyand Lance Armstrong. Purchase tickets here HERE.

Sponsorship opportunities for this star-studded event to benefit TACA are available. Please contact Lisa Ackerman at 949-640-4401.

Lee_silsby_no_tagine  The "Treatment" category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

Tricare Provider Forced to Drop Patients

Locked_outManaging Editor's Note: This post is an excerpt from Angela Warner's blog Autism Salutes. She's a military wife who has taken on the challenge of fighting for services for children with autism whose parents are serving this nation. Are you listening Obama and McCain?

I love Eva. The kids love Eva. Angie who is Eva’s Medical Assistant is very efficient, full of kindness, and she is just plain great at what she does. After checking Isaac over and looking at a couple observations done recently by therapists in our home, Eva was filling out the EFMP paperwork for Isaac. At the end of our visit, Eva handed me an envelope, and I am still devastated. And still seeing red… red, red, RED!

The envelope… I told her that I “think I know what this is”… one of those surreal moments. She is letting us go because of TRICARE’s re-imbursement rates.

Continue reading "Tricare Provider Forced to Drop Patients" »

Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy Sponsors Age of Autism

Lee_silsby_logo_taglinePlease join us in welcoming our new advertising sponsor, Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy.  LS is also sponsoring our "treatment" category. Alan Israel and Robert Wright, the pharmacists of Lee Silsby, work tirelessly to create safe, innovative and effective products for our loved ones with autism.

They also launched OurKidsASD to give us one-stop shopping for their products and hundreds of the brands you trust.

Lee Silsby is full service compounding pharmacy for all of your medicine needs. No matter where you live, you can trust them to fill your prescriptions. Please visit their site HERE to learn more about them.

Ask your DAN! doctor if he/she is using Lee Silsby.  Look for advertisements and offers from both Lee Silsby and OurKidsASD on our advertising sidebar. Over there. To the right. 

Contact me at to learn about category sponsorship opportunities. To advertise, go to on at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.

Julie Deardorff Says It's OK to Ask Questions


Editor's Note: Julie Deardorff, of the Chicago Tribune, continues to be one of the very small handful of mainstream reporters with an independent and skeptical approach to vaccine issues (independent, skeptical -- that's the job description for reporters, by the way). She has a strong column posted now that notes the recent clusters of measles cases "reflect a larger crisis of confidence in public health officials and policy, which has developed partly because so many new, seemingly unnecessary vaccines have been added to the schedule and because no one can explain what causes, how to prevent or how to treat the new childhood disorders: asthma, allergies, attention deficit disorder and autism." Amen, thanks and rock on! -- Dan Olmsted

Vaccination, considered to be one of medicine's greatest achievements, is a personal decision that is often forced on people for the greater good. Parents who question vaccines are simply seeking information and advocating for their children.

We have the right to question everything that goes into our children's bodies, whether it's food, herbs, over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs.

Read Julie's full article HERE.

Response to Chicago Tribune on Measles

Letter_to_the_editprBy Louis Conte

On August 29, 2008 the Chicago Tribune printed a story about a “measles outbreak” and declining rates of vaccination. As of July 30, this “outbreak” affected 131 people. In a nation of more than 240 million people, do 131 cases really constitute an “outbreak?”  The article, noted that doctors are reporting that vaccination rates are declining due to parents unfounded beliefs that vaccines are linked to autism. The tone of the article implied that medical science had ended the debate about whether vaccines trigger autism and that parents who continue to believe this are doing so for emotional reasons rather than scientific reasons.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Continue reading "Response to Chicago Tribune on Measles" »

How Will Sarah Palin Vaccinate Her Son Trig?

TrigBy Mark Blaxill

John McCain's surprise decision for his Vice Presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has shaken up the 2008 presidential election race. Since Palin, who has served only two years as Alaska's governor, is not well known, her selection as the Republican candidate for Vice President has raised a number of questions. The most obvious and important question is being asked widely: is she ready to be President should something happen to John McCain? In the meantime, this telegenic, 44 year old mother of five has made history as only the second woman in American history to be selected as Vice President for a major party ticket.

But for some of us, the selection of Sarah Palin has a special resonance. Palin's younger son, Trig, born on April 19, 2008, is barely 4 months old now. Trig has Down's syndrome, a disorder that began at conception when he received two copies of his 21st chromosome from either his mother or father (close to 90% of the time, the extra copy is maternal), leaving him with three copies of this chromosome instead of the usual two. This genetic condition, formally known as trisomy 21, affects roughly 1 in 800 American children today, but as many as 1 in 27 children born to mothers who, like Palin, give birth at age 44.

For readers of the Age of Autism, this 4 month child is worth watching. Because trisomy 21 is not just the cause of Down's syndrome, it is also a genetic susceptibility factor for autism.

Continue reading "How Will Sarah Palin Vaccinate Her Son Trig?" »

A of A Contest: Win "Blessed with Autism"

Blessed_with_autism_2Win a copy of Blessed with Autism by Christina Peck.

For the first time in print, Blessed with Autism, the Workbook, author Christina Peck shares her tools for success in receiving monetary  reimbursement for therapy from private insurance companies. 

Stories within the book reflect the author’s personal experience as well as the experiences of hundreds of clients she’s helped over the past five years.  This insightful book aims to give parents of children with Autism and other special needs the help they need to secure financial support for many different types of therapy.  Inside the workbook, readers can find many mportant questions to ask their private insurance carrier, samples of letters to request an increase in covered therapy, and invoice templates to submit bills for reimbursement.

‘This book is an indispensable tool that is a must-have for any parent with a POS or PPO plan who has not yet received reimbursement from insurance.’ - J.S., parent

Leave your name in the comments section to enter. Winner selected within a week.  Go to Blessed with Autism to buy a copy.

Historical Nationwide Walk for Autism to Pass Through Missouri

Naa_logoFrom our friends at The National Autism Association:

Jefferson City, MO – Mid-Missouri will be the next stop for two Massachusetts men taking a journey across America to raise money and awareness for children with autism. Bobby Genese and Robert Williams are expected to be in the Kansas City area this week, making their way to Jefferson City by next week.

Their walk began after the death of seven-year-old Elias Tembenis of Worcester, Massachusetts. Diagnosed with autism and epilepsy, Tembenis passed away two days before Thanksgiving from complications following a seizure. Friends of the Tembenis family, Williams and Genese approached the boy’s parents with an offer to walk across America in memory of Elias. Aptly named ‘The Elias Tembenis Walk for Autism,’ the journey began on San Francisco’s Route 50 in May and will end on the American Trail in Washington DC.

Read more HERE.

Dr. Jay Gordon Responds to Dr. David Gorski and the Anons

EnlightenEditor's Note: Dr. Jay Gordon posted this in the comment section of JB Handley's piece, "The Worldwide Wanker of Woo" He was responding to a piece written by Dr. David Gorski (aka Orac) that you can read HERE. We thought it deserved its own post.


So . . . you asked and I'll answer. I've been on staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center for nearly thirty years in good standing. I attend in the nursery for a month at a time with med students, and residents and occasionally spend another month attending in the residents' continuity clinic. I review cases, compare and contrast what I do in my private office with what they're comfortable doing in a clinic setting or a large nursery setting.

Continue reading "Dr. Jay Gordon Responds to Dr. David Gorski and the Anons" »

A Note from the Editors

Kicked_out_2By Mark Blaxill

It has come to my attention that there has been a bit of uncertainty regarding my recent comments here regarding RJ Bates of Celgene. I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify any ambiguity that may have emerged in recent days. I'd like to cover four main points.

First of all, when I post comments on Age of Autism (AoA), I use the author name "Mark." Our regular readers know that this name refers to AoA Editor-at-Large, Mark Blaxill. My dual role as editor and commenter seems to have led to some confusion recently in a number of exchanges between "D's Advocate" or "RJ" and "Mark." In these comments "Mark" was, as always, Mark Blaxill, AoA Editor-at-Large.

Continue reading "A Note from the Editors" »

Hurricane Evacuation Information for Autism Families

HurricaneManaging Editor's Note: I sent out an email asking members of the autism community to share tips and resources for families in the path of Hurricane Gustav.  If you're with an agency, please email me at with any info you'd like to share with your community. I'll add it to this post. Readers, please feel free to add more information in our comments section. To our readers in The Gulf of Mexico region, we're thinking of you.  Kim

Update: I just got this from Scott Greeson, Training Officer /Assistant Director - OEP/Homeland Security Claiborne Parish Emergency 911: Our EOC is fully activated as others are throughout Louisiana.  My only recommendation is that they leave now.  From all reports traffic is moving well.  However, as the day progresses traffic will be slower when the evacuation becomes mandatory.  Also, all gas stations along the coast are recording out of fuel or low fuel supplies.  Those that are planning on leaving need to fill up ASAP while supplies last. If you need any type of information I will be checking my personal email account when time allows.  One further note, if people are unsure where to go there are evacuation/shelter information points stationed at intervals on the major highways and state tourist stops.   

Reducing Stress as You Pack and Travel/Evacuate

___1. Select one backpack to pack all-important papers. Keep together all medical info, maps, emergency numbers and other info you may need while on the road. Place the medical prescriptions in this bag so they are easily attainable during a long evacuation ride.

___2. Use children's school backpacks to pack individual packs for the road for each of them. This makes their bag easily identifiable to them.

Continue reading "Hurricane Evacuation Information for Autism Families" »

McCain Runningmate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

PalinBy Kim Stagliano

John McCain has just selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his runningmate. She's 44 years old and the mother of five children, the youngest of whom has Down Syndrome.

By the way, if you want to continue the political conversation, I've written a piece about Governor Palin at Huffington Post called, "Gov. Palin: Is Not Taking Maternity Leave a Conservative Value?"  You can click HERE to read it. Come on over to comment, won't you? The link loads slowly. HuffPo is busy!


You Tube Video: Indiana Bully Punches Boy with Autism

BulliesManaging Editor's Note:  This story turns a mother's stomach. My three beautiful girls start school today. Two are in middle school. I worry about bullies... and worse. I'm sure you do too. How do you think this Indiana mother feels?

MISHAWAKA — A 16-year-old with autism was punched in the face, and someone posted video of the attack on YouTube. Now the family wants the teen attacker to face charges.

Click HERE to watch the news story from WSBT in Indiana.

Barbara Fischkin on Hillary Clinton and Autism

She_saidManaging Editor's Note: The talented Barbara Fischkin wrote this piece for Huffington Post and kindly allowed us to link it.

Hopefully this will be the shortest post I will ever write. Hillary listened. We in the autism community asked her to recognize us. And she did. Yet again. At the the Democratic National Convention. She spoke about a mother with two kids with autism who also had cancer.

Click here to read "Hillary Said The Word Autism."

Bill Clinton: "Families of Children with Autism..."

Cure_ribbonBill Clinton just said, "I'll never forget the families of children with autism..." as he is talking about the state of healthcare in America during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.  It's you, our readers who blog, write, comment everywhere, and our formidable sponsors Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, TACA, and Autism Research Institute  who have gotten the word out about autism and kept it there.

The Autism Sneetches: Vaxed Vs. Unvaxed

Sneetches_2Karey Williams never thought a parenting decision would come between her and a good friend. The two had known one another for a decade, supported each other through infertility treatment and had their first babies around the same time. But when she told the friend that she had stopped vaccinating her daughter at age 1, the relationship abruptly ended.

"She said, 'Well then, your child can't come into my house,'" recalls Williams, 47, who lives in the Chicago area.

click HERE to read more.

Minnesota Investigates Autism in Somali Children

Crime_sceneMinnesota health officials are examining a "possible surge" in autism cases among Somali immigrant children in the state, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. In Minneapolis, 3.6% of Somali immigrant students were in autism-related programs as of July, about twice the district average. In 2007, Somali children made up 6% of the city's school population and 14 of the 81 children, or 17%, in early childhood education autism programs in Minneapolis. The "numbers have been creeping up for several years, especially among young children," the Star Tribune reports.

Click HERE for more.

NIMH Flip-Flops on Pivotal IACC Workgroup Meeting

Flip_flopBy Kelli Ann Davis

Earlier this year, a “closed door” notice in the Federal Register announced an upcoming meeting of “four science workshops” tasked by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) “to generate research priorities for the Strategic Plan” (SP). (Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. It is updated daily by 6 a.m. and is published Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.)

In response to the closed door notice, Jim Moody wrote a piece entitled “What’s so Secret About Autism Science” (HERE) in an attempt to pressure officials to open the meeting while raising important process and transparency questions surrounding the development of the SP.  [Please read this article before proceeding and pay particular attention to his comments regarding the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)].  Unfortunately, Jim’s pleas were ignored and the workshops conducted their deliberations behind closed doors as planned.

Continue reading "NIMH Flip-Flops on Pivotal IACC Workgroup Meeting" »

Obama, Are You That Guy (For Autism)? "I Am."

CoyEditor's Note: Coy Barefoot of Charlottesville, Va. -- one of the best friends Age of Autism has -- interviewed Barack Obama on his AM-radio show. He had time to ask only three questions, but the last one was a zinger.  "We are desperate," said Barefoot, "for a political leader to stand up and say, 'We have a national crisis, and we are going to help these children.' Are you that guy?" Obama replied: "I am." Three cheers for Coy, and two for Obama -- we'll use the last one when (and if) we see action. Of course, John McCain has said much the same; either candidate is bound to be an improvement over the status quo. -- Dan Olmsted

HERE'S the podcast.

Read Charlottesville's, "The Hook" article "Under Barefoot pressure, Obama agrees to fight autism" HERE. Please comment at The Hook, won't you?

Cleanse Your Palate

SorbetIt's been a long week. Sorbet, anyone? Enjoy.

Best of A of A: Gardiner Harris: Vaccine Patriot

Benedict_arnoldThis piece originally ran last March. But Gardiner Harris is at it again, blaming "fear of autism" on decreased MMR uptake and increasing measles cases. Click HERE to read his piece in today's NY Times. Come on over to my house, Gardiner, see what autism is all about, then tell me if fears are unfounded.  KS

By J.B. Handley

“but scaring parents away from life-saving medicines is no way to improve this terrible situation. i have met parents who lost their children to vaccine-preventable diseases, and they are haunted. if you had your way, there would be far more of these haunted souls. i hope to prevent that from happening.”

- Gardiner Harris, NY Times reporter, in an email to me, March 9, 2008

The above quote comes from an exchange of emails that I initiated with Gardiner Harris, a New York Times medical reporter, on the eve of the Poling’s historic press conference.

Continue reading "Best of A of A: Gardiner Harris: Vaccine Patriot" »

My Semester With an Asperger's Syndrome Student*

Mentor_2By Allen A. Oldham*

*I am not a psychologist or otherwise professionally qualified to say for certain that “Fred,” the name I am using as a pseudonym for one of my students, has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He never identified himself as such in any way, including by seeking any accommodation.  I have not even been a teacher that long, having recently become an assistant professor after a 30-year career outside of academia. 

Before meeting Fred, I had, however, read the popular media’s coverage of the seemingly swift rise in the reported incidence of autism-related disorders, including the controversy over whether the phenomenon was related to childhood vaccinations.  After meeting Fred, I took it upon myself to do some reading.  From that reading, and from my four months of interaction with Fred, I now feel comfortable that my lay diagnosis has at least some accuracy.  I also recognize that there are infinite degrees of variation in the characteristics and abilities of those with autism-related disorders.

Week One

I completely miss the first clues that something is different about “Fred” during the first class of the semester in an undergraduate class when he comes up after class and fires off several questions.  He is a 20-something man with shaggy hair, and wearing all gray including a gray ski jacket.

Continue reading "My Semester With an Asperger's Syndrome Student*" »

Random House Poisoned Profits on Autism One Radio

Poisoned_profitsAugust 12, 2008
12:00 noon ET
Teri Arranga
Autism One: A Conversation of Hope
HERE to enter the Voice America site to listen.

Teri Arranga of Autism One will interview Philip and Alice Shabecoff along with Age of Autism Editor-at-Large Mark Blaxill and his wife, Elise on Tuesday, August 12 at 12 noon Eastern. Here’s a brief description of the Shabecoff’s new book, Poisoned Profits.

Poisoned Profits: the Toxic Assault on our Children, just released by Random House, unveils alarming facts correlating the rate of disease among America’s children with toxic environmental exposures.  This book, by former New York Times environmental correspondent Philip Shabecoff and his wife Alice, is a meticulously researched, well written and easy to read no holds barred account of industrial polluters, obstructionism, and the epidemic of children’s chronic diseases, including autism.  It discusses the scientific evidence, walks the reader through a typical American day to disclose the surprising places where poisons enter our lives by our own actions and by stealthy trespass, and tells the stories of families, including the Blaxills, and of communities harmed by toxic exposures, from industrial chemicals to pesticides to nuclear-contaminated water.  The book ends with hope and optimism, with ways for parents to protect their children and for citizens to change the economic and political system that allows these assaults to continue. 

See the Poisoned Profits website for more info and to order the book.

Obama and McCain Non-Responses to Vaccine Safety Requests

Obama_mccainManaging Editor's Note: 8/11/08: Who says an old dog can't learn a new trick? I added a pop up window for the letters to the candidates so that you can see them full size. I apologize for the eye strain!

By Rebecca Estepp

In May, I sent out a video of Vaccine Safety Requests to all three Presidential candidates. The rationale behind this video project was to get the Presidential candidates to go on record about vaccine safety.  For those who have not seen the video you can access it HERE.

To refresh memories, here are the two Executive Orders I requested:

The first Executive Order I would like you to consider is within the first 100 days of taking office, would you issue an Executive Order requiring the removal of MERCURY from all vaccines by January 1, 2010?

For the second Executive Order, within 100 days of taking office, would you issue an Order requiring a Moratorium on the addition of new vaccines to the recommended list for children, until the current vaccine schedule can be proven safe?

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Dr. Jenkins, Want to Rethink Your Position?

DiceThe United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) today announced landmark research finding that one in every 200 people has a DNA mutation that could potentially cause a mitochondrial disease in them or their offspring. Mitochondrial disease is a devastating and often fatal disease, and mitochondrial disorders are at the core of many well known diseases and chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and autism spectrum disorders.  Click HERE to read more.

Mary Holland on the Every Child by Two Press Conference

Peet_jenkinsBy Mary Holland, Esq.

The Press Conference

I arrived at my office Tuesday morning in Greenwich Village, to find an urgent email from Jenny McCarthy and the Autism Action Network to attend this ECBT-AAP press conference in New York City.  The press release promised a swank address, celebrity, politics, science and the press – so why not? I thought.  So I hopped on the subway, entered the Peninsula Hotel at 5th Avenue and 55th St., and went to the appointed hall, where outside lay glossy red press kits labeled “Get the Facts: Vaccines Save Lives!” and videos with Amanda Peet’s smiling face and her public service announcements.

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Dr. Paul Offit and Dr. Jon Poling: New England Journal of Medicine

NejmBy Anne Dachel

Managing Editor's Note: You can click into the NEJM to read the two pieces referenced. The body copy also runs at the bottom of the post.

On August 7, the New England Journal of Medicine published the opposing opinions of Dr. Jon Poling, father of Hannah Poling, and Dr. Paul Offit, Infectious Disease Specialist from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, on the Vaccine Court case in which the federal government conceded that vaccines were a factor in the development of autism in Hannah. Titled, Vaccines and Autism Revisited, the letters run in the "Correspondance" section of NEJM. (Click HERE to read the August 7th piece)

In the May 15 NEJM Perspective section, Offit split every hair he could to try and lessen the impact of the Poling case.  He tried to convince the public that there was no scientific basis for the concession. (Click HERE to read the May 15th piece.) Offit's remarks led to the August 7 response by Dr. Poling. 

In his August 7 piece, Poling went after Offit's opinion about his daughter's case using phrases like "Offit misrepresents my position,"  "Offit confuses issues," and "His opinion is unsupported by clinical trials." 

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Closed IACC Meeting Now Open To the Public

Public_invitedBy Kelli Ann Davis

We were informed this week by NIMH Director Tom Insel that an important Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's (IACC) Implementation Workgroup meeting will be open to the public this Friday, August 8th  by phone 888-455-2920; access code 3857872 or via the web HERE.

During the last IACC meeting on July 15, it was announced that the meeting for the Implementation Working Group would take place in private and the Federal Register entry from last Thursday, July 31st states that the meeting will be “closed to the public” with “attendance limited to invited participants.” Here's the body copy of the letter:

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Have You Had Your Google Today?

Google If you enjoy reading Age of Autism, here's a fun exercise. Google "Every Child By Two" and see what pops up. Aw, we can't wait to tell you. It's Age of Autism's JB Handley post outing Every Child by Two as a vaccine industry front group. Isn't that magically Googlicious? Go ahead, Google Every Child by Two. "Wyeth" not?  ;)

Katie Wright on the Every Child By Two Press Conference

High_heelsToday I had the privilege of standing outside the Peninsula Hotel for two and half hours with a great group of autism parents. They are smart, dedicated, hard working parents, who apparently pose a security threat to Rosalyn Carter. We all wanted to hear what Every Child by Two and the AAP had to say at their vaccination press conference. We were denied entry to this public event because of “security risks to Rosalyn Carter.” OK, I have been accused of some crazy things but being a security risk…to Rosalyn Carter???? Insane and laughable. Because we did not RSVP in within the allotted half hour of 9:30 -10PM, when the registration was supposedly open, we were denied entrance.

What a difference between Every Child By Two and a DAN!, AutismOne or NAA event, where anyone who purchases a ticket is welcome.

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Louise Kuo Habakus on the Every Child By Two Press Conference

UpdateBy Louise Kuo Habakus

Late last night, a dozen of us were online, e-mailing about the ECBT-AAP press conference that we had just learned would take place today.  We shared notes, compiled information and put out the word to get parents to NYC by 10:30am.  I couldn’t make it but I prepared a statement and my good friend and fellow parent and health practitioner, Lisa Rudley, said she’d try to read it.

It’s Tuesday at 12:40pm and Lisa called.  “Louise, it was worse than the AMA seminar we attended.”  We had started calling ourselves “Thelma and Louise” after attending that seminar in June, intended for doctors seeking Continuing Ed credit.  That seminar was bad.  I asked her, could this really have been worse?

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Cris Italia of Spectrum Magazine on the Every Child by Two Press Conference

Logospectrum2_2Managing Editor's Note: Click HERE to link over to our friends at Spectrum Publications. Here is Cris Italia's report on the press conference today. Thank you to Cris for allowing us to run this piece from his blog at Spectrum.

by Cris Italia

I’m not sure what you can call this, maybe some of the readers can come up with a fancy name for the war of words that will begin between Jenny McCarthy and Amanda Peet. On Tuesday morning Every Child By Two (ECBT) an organization created by Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States and wife of former President Jimmy Carter and Betty Bumpers wife of retired U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers, held a press conference in Manhattan to settle the score about vaccine safety.

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