Why There Needs to be a Vaccine Safety Commission

Vaccine Safety Commission graphic
Note: Thank you to Lou Conte for this summary of the mainstream response to the Presidential Commission on Vaccine Safety. Footnotes are at the end of the post.

By Lou Conte

It has been remarkable to watch the media hand-wringing over the potential Presidential Commission on Vaccine Safety. Mainstream scientists are coming out of the woodwork claiming that the sky will fall if President Trump appoints Robert F. Kennedy to chair a commission that examines vaccine safety and scientific integrity.

The litany goes something like this:

Vaccines are just great and the America adores them.

Just questioning vaccine safety is dangerous.

If the public lost faith in vaccines and stopped taking them, thousands would die.

Robert F. Kennedy is dangerous because he believes that thimerosal, the mercury based vaccine preservative still in many vaccines, is toxic when the scientific consensus is that thimerosal is perfectly safe.

Robert F. Kennedy, like President Trump, has questioned vaccine safety and is therefore anti-science and anti-vaccine.

Bull spit.

No government program is or ever should be above or beyond public inspection. The vaccine program has not been examined in serious detail for over ten years. In 2012, a Congressional hearing on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was derailed by pro-pharmaceutical industry funded not-for-profit organizations who used the same fear-driven messages being used now to oppose the presidential commission.

Oversight of the vaccine program is particularly critical because it requires children (and sometimes others) to risk their health to theoretically improve the health of the community. In other words, we are mandating human beings to place their rights – and parents to surrender their children’s rights – in the name of public health.

Public health implies public involvement, public scrutiny and public discourse. Requiring people to submit to a government mandated drug program is an extraordinary concept that ought to require complete openness, transparency and public participation – not exclusion.

And let’s be clear here, this Commission should not simply focus on vaccines. It needs to drag Vaccinology - the branch of medicine concerned with the development of vaccines - onto the examination table.

Continue reading "Why There Needs to be a Vaccine Safety Commission" »


Physicians for Informed Consent Announces Inaugural Meeting & Luncheon

PIC logo
Physicians for Informed Consent Announces Inaugural Meeting & Luncheon
Registration Now Open for Action-Packed Educational Conference

20% off code:  XSB277L20
Register here.

Los Angeles, Calif. — Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC), the newly formed nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding informed consent in vaccination, has announced open registration for its Inaugural Meeting & Luncheon. The meeting will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa, in Southern California. Doctors, scientists, attorneys, and educators will join dedicated parents and distinguished groups in the community for the organization’s first conference.

“A growing number of physicians, scientists, attorneys, and other community leaders are uniting for one purpose: to end mandatory vaccination laws and promote and preserve the right to informed consent for any medical procedure, including vaccination,” said Dr. Shira Miller, PIC president and founder. “We are pleased to announce our Inaugural Meeting & Luncheon, which will provide a much-needed platform for education on infectious disease, the immune system and informed consent.”

The event includes a full day packed with invaluable, solution-oriented, educational and networking opportunities. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., PIC doctor members and their staff are invited to attend two panel discussions. The first session includes a panel of pediatricians specialized in “How to Evaluate Patients for Vaccine Adverse Events.”

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), jointly operated by the FDA and CDC, requires by law that doctors report vaccine adverse reactions. However, because VAERS is a passive surveillance program and there’s no penalty for failure to report adverse reactions, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of injuries are ever reported. In addition, over $3.2 billion has been awarded to victims for catastrophic vaccine injuries, through the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Despite the latter, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 continues to shield vaccine manufacturers and physicians from any liability for injuries and deaths caused by vaccines, so the frequency of vaccine injuries isn’t generally appreciated or publicized. Thus, learning how to evaluate patients for vaccine adverse events is imperative.

Continue reading "Physicians for Informed Consent Announces Inaugural Meeting & Luncheon" »


Autism’s Three Up/Three Down

All threeBy Cathy Jameson

When everyone is home and no one has to run out to a meeting or a sports event, we sit and eat as a family around 6pm.  That includes Ronan.  It’s taken quite of bit of work to have Ronan join us at dinnertime.  It’s not that he’s physically unable to join us.  He’s more than capable of sitting and eating at the table.  It’s just that sometimes, he’d just rather do his own thing than sit and hang out with us. 

Lately, with tons of work and with lots of encouragement, Ronan has not only joined us at the table, but he’s stayed for the entire meal, too!  He’s still non-verbal and doesn’t join in on the conversations yet, but he’s present for all the chatter, laughter, and silliness that our family dinners typically include. 

It’s been a real treat to have all 7 of us at the table.  While we’re gathered, my husband asks the kids how their day was.  A few weeks ago, he got creative and asked them for 3 Up/3 Down—tell us 3 positives and 3 negatives (or 3 challenges) you’ve faced that day.  From our teenager on down to our youngest, it’s been interesting to hear what’s a positive—a good grade, talking to a friend, or seeing Mommy at school for recess duty, and what’s a negative—studying for an exam, getting an owie, or thinking about Daddy’s upcoming business trip.  The kids’ convos have always been lively, but with these nightly 3 Up/3 Down prompts, we’re hearing more details about their day. 

The week before last, Ronan’s little sister, Izzy, wasn’t feeling good.  Unable to make it to school, she stayed home and rested.  While home, she got a peek at Ronan’s daily activities.  She also got a peek at the many challenges he faces, including ones that cropped up during his therapy session with our in-home therapists that morning.  That night at dinner, Izzy’s 3 Ups were about staying home from school, getting to see Mommy all day, and having time to hang out with Ronan.  Happy to hear positives even though she was still sick, I smiled.  I smiled until I heard her third down.  Her demeanor had changed by the time she’d gotten to it, and I could tell she’d been thinking about it all day, “He works really hard, but Ronan still can’t have a conversation with us.”  With a lump in my throat, I had a tough time swallowing the bite of food I’d just taken.

Since she wasn’t yet ready to go back to school, Izzy stayed home again the next day.  I asked her, “Izbiz, remember when you told us your 3 Downs last night and you talked about Ronan?  Can you tell me more about it?”  She said sure. 

She gave me a hug then started, “It’s kind of upsetting that Ronan doesn’t get to move around as much as we do.  He plays around on screens (Wii and Subway Surfer), which is fine because it makes him happy, but he doesn’t get to talk with us or join in our play – especially in our laughing moments.  I want him to join in with us.  But he can’t...”

Pausing, Izzy thought for a moment but didn’t continue.  I said, “It stinks, I know.  Can you tell me things Ronan can do?  I know you saw him do tons of stuff while you were home yesterday, things you don’t normally get to see because you’re at school.” 

Continue reading "Autism’s Three Up/Three Down" »


Medical Board Water Boards Vax Injured Child

WaterboardNOTE:  You might think that headline is all wet. But think about it as you read this intense post by Ginger Taylor. She decided to take her pediatrician to the medical board for failure to evaluate him for vaccine injury. She lost. Chandler lost. We lost.  Again and again we're subjected to a Niagara Falls of denial, lies, cover up, push back and refusals by the medical community tasked with OUR VERY CHILDREN'S FATES.  We're drowning in vaccine injury. Water boarded.  There is NO Geneva Convention for us. For our kids. Take the poison. Drink from the "be a good Mommy
 bottle" without any idea what's inside or what will happen. Shut up. Roll up your kids' sleeves. Choke.

###

I Brought My Doctor Before the State Medical Board For Failure to Investigate a Vaccine Injury
Ginger Taylor, MS


Two weeks ago, in my letter to the Johns Hopkins Journal, Narratives in Bioethics, I made public the fact that I had taken Chandler's pediatrician before the state medical board for failing to evaluate him for a vaccine injury. It was a journey that started two years ago, and I am just now wrapping up.

Here is both the short version of the story, and the very long version for the true die hards.

This is the question I before the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine:

What is the duty of a physician to his patient when a parent reports a suspected vaccine injury?

Their answer...

The doctor has no duty to the patient.

Well that is their implied answer. What they really did was just make up an excuse to close the complaint and not answer the question at all. But in their refusal to answer the complaint that a physician had failed in their duty to investigate a vaccine injury claim, they establish the standard of care.

The standard of care for reported vaccine injury is... medical negligence. (also blame the mother, but that is just SOP with autism moms now isn't it.)

Thus again proving my assertion, Mainstream Medicine does not take vaccine safety seriously.

That is the short story. Here is the long version.


Best of Weekly Wrap: Do MMR + Hg + SSPE = ASD?

Keep Calm Write OnBest of from September 2012.

By Dan Olmsted

"I wonder whether autistic enterocolitis isn’t a kind of SSPE with a weakened (vaccine) virus," Kathy Blanco wrote in an e-mail this week, with a link to a blog post HERE  that reports: "Hidden government documents have revealed that leading professionals have had serious concerns about the safety of the single measles vaccines for many years. Secret government documents that have been under lock and key for thirty years have revealed that the UK government has known for many years that the single measles vaccine can cause the debilitating neurological disorder SSPE or Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis."

Whether "autism" is in effect a variant form of SSPE is well worth wondering.

SSPE, as many of you will know, is a rare outcome of wild measles virus infection that is debilitating and usually fatal and can come on well after the original infection. It's often cited as a reason the measles and MMR vaccinations are worthwhile public health interventions -- yes, for most kids measles is unpleasant, but for some it can be far worse. It is neurotoxic and lethal.

Continue reading "Best of Weekly Wrap: Do MMR + Hg + SSPE = ASD? " »


Support for Trump’s Vaccine Scepticism in the British Medical Journal

P DoshiBy John Stone

An associate editor of British Medical Journal and member of the Cochrane Collaboration, Peter Doshi of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has written an article in the journal supporting Donald Trump’s sceptical attitude to vaccines. In the article Doshi challenges the mainstream media’s lazy agenda based reporting both of Trump generally and of the vaccine issue. Doshi, who has long been a critic of flu vaccination writes:

One topic the new president may test journalists on is vaccines. Candidate Trump expressed doubts about vaccine policy...there is reason to think a “vaccine safety commission” may be in the works…Good journalism on this topic will require abandoning current practices of avoiding interviewing, understanding, and presenting critical voices out of fear that expressing any criticism amounts to presenting a “false balance” that will result in health scares.

Doshi makes several interesting points. He criticises labelling vaccine critical parents who had vaccinated as “anti-vaccine”:

Many parents of children with developmental disorders who question the role of vaccines had their children vaccinated. Anti-vaccination is an ideology, and people who have their children vaccinated seem unlikely candidates for the title…Secondly, they [the  mainstream media] lump all vaccines together as if the decision about risks and benefits is the same irrespective of disease—

Doshi would like de-polarise the issue, though for many here it will be a little late. One problem that arises is that when you have such very successful repressive machinery any real assessment of risk-benefit is heavily prejudiced, and it makes it much easier to market and mandate faulty products. Given the place of publication it is not surprising that Doshi dismisses the MMR-autism connection  - perhaps at odds with his acknowledgement that developmental disorders are likely implicated - but the call for tolerant and open discussion is at the very least welcome.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


India Boots Out “Philanthropy” From Bill Gates

Bill-gates_reutBy John Stone

In a devastating blow to the reputation of Bill Gates  as a philanthropist India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has severed “all financial ties” with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the Foundation’s manifold conflicts, Anubhuti Vishnoi reports in India’s Economic Times (February 9). The action has been taken following the publication of a paper in December 2015 by Jens Marten and Karolin Seitz Philanthropic Power and Development – Who Shapes the Agenda published by the Global Policy Forum.

This is Forum’s press release from 2015:

Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, 4 December 2015. For the last few decades, increasing globalization of the world economy and waves of deregulation and privatization have facilitated the emergence and increased the power of private actors, particularly of large transnational corporations. However, it is not only “big business” but also “big philanthropy” that has an increasing influence in global (development) policy, particularly large philanthropic foundations. They have become influential actors in international policy debates, including, most importantly, how to address poverty eradication, sustainable development, climate change and the protection of human rights. The scope of their influence in both past and present discourse and decision-making processes is fully equal to and in some cases goes beyond that of other private actors. Through the sheer size of their grant-making, personal networking and active advocacy, large global foundations, most notably the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have played an increasingly active role in shaping the agenda-setting and funding priorities of international organizations and governments. So far, there has been a fairly willing belief among governments and international organizations in the positive role of philanthropy in global development.

Philanthropic Power and Development – Who shapes the agenda? released today, examines the role and impact of philanthropic foundations in development. It addresses the impacts and side effects of philanthropic engagement by taking a closer look at the priorities and operations of two of the most prominent foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in two crucial sectors, health and agriculture. The findings of the study range from the foundations’ application of a business model to the measurement of results, their influence on policies and agenda-setting, the fragmentation and weakening of global governance, and the lack of transparency and accountability mechanisms. The key message it seeks to get across in the concluding chapter is that governments, international organizations and civil society organizations must carefully differentiate among foundations in the philanthropic sector, assess the growing influence of the large global philanthropic foundations, especially the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on political discourse and agenda-setting in targeted fields, and fully analyze the risks and side effects—intended and unintended—of these activities on sustainable development.

Post Script A further explanation of the institutional setting of these events has been forwarded to me. While these events do not mark the exit of the Gates Foundation from India it does signify their exclusion from policy making. But it is clear from this report that politics and the battles for influence go on.


The Case Against California Senate Bill (SB) 18

Child catcherNOTE:  Thank you to an AofA reader for preparing this document to explain California's newest attempt to usurp parental rights.   SB18 was introduced by Pedia-tician [sic] Senator Richard Pan, whose SB277 removed vaccine choice rights and has kept thousands of California children from attending school.

Part 1

Recently Del Bigtree reported in a Facebook video that he and others concerned about California SB18  met with "Common Sense Kids Action" after the Sacramento protest rally,  at the organization's invitation, to discuss the bill.  Del explained that members of Common Sense Kids Action are the authors of SB18 and that "Pan is the registered author as the politician behind it".  Other groups in attendance expressing concern about the bill included  "A Voice For Choice" "The National Association of Parents" and Parental Rights.org.  California Senator and pediatrician Richard Pan was not in attendance.

 The bill reads as follows:

SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that all children and youth, regardless of gender, class, race, ethnicity, national origin, culture, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, or ability, have inherent rights that entitle them to protection, special care, and assistance, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) The right to parents, guardians, or caregivers who act in their best interest.

(2) The right to form healthy attachments with adults responsible for their care and well-being.

(3) The right to live in a safe and healthy environment.

(4) The right to social and emotional well-being.

(5) The right to opportunities to attain optimal cognitive, physical, and social development.

(6) The right to appropriate, quality education and life skills leading to self-sufficiency in adulthood.

(7) The right to appropriate, quality health care.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to expand and codify the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California created by Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 80 (Res. Ch. 101, Stats. 2009), to establish a comprehensive framework that governs the rights of all children and youth in California, outlines the research-based essential needs of California’s children, and establishes standards relating to the health, safety, well-being, early childhood and educational opportunities, and familial supports necessary for all children to succeed.

SEC. 2.

 It is the intent of the Legislature, by January 1, 2022, to enact appropriate legislation to accomplish all of the following:

(a)  Develop and put forth research-based policy solutions that will ensure the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California, in its totality, is applied evenly, equitably, and appropriately to all children and youth across the state.

(b) Determine the amount of revenue and resources necessary to ensure that the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California, in its totality, is applied evenly, equitably, and appropriately to all children and youth across the state.

(c) Identify and obtain the revenue and resources necessary to ensure that the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth of California, in its totality, is applied evenly, equitably, and appropriately to all children and youth across the state

The Authors

Who is "Common Sense Kids Action"?  The website states:

Common Sense Kids Action fights on behalf of families everywhere -- in our home state of California, in our nation's capital, and in states across the country, where we franchise winning ideas and legislative efforts that help all kids thrive.

Continue reading "The Case Against California Senate Bill (SB) 18" »


Revolution for Truth March 31, Washington DC

Rev Truth DC

Visit Revolution4Truth.org for details on this event where Robert Kennedy, Jr, Barbara Loe Fisher, Brian Hooker and Dr. Paul Thomas will be speaking at the Capital rally. March Against Monsanto has already begun to promote the event and we are excited that we have new allies for our cause.

From the Revolution4Truth website:

Over two hundred forty years ago, mounting frustration over “a long train of abuses” resulted in a gathering of representatives of the American Colonies. This set in motion an unprecedented chain of events, beginning with the expression of the details which impelled them to declare their right to separate from the bonds of tyranny, and culminating in the drafting of a Constitution, establishing a new government founded on the principle that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Continue reading "Revolution for Truth March 31, Washington DC" »


Katie Wright: Public No Longer Invited to Speak at IACC Autism Meetings

SilencedBy Katie Wright

No matter who you voted for in the last last election the take away message was unambiguous. Americans literally do not feel heard by our government. So guess what the new IACC Director just decided to do? In an incredibly ironic, tone deaf and boneheaded move, Dr. Joshua Gordon decided to take away the people’s right to speak at IACC public comment. That’s right. So for to those Americans affected by autism who do not feel heard or that the federal government doesn’t care about your kid - you’re not crazy. The federal government really, really does not want to hear from you.

To be specific Dr. Gordon decided to limit stakeholders to one public comment a year. That’s it. This move is foolish and unfair for many reasons. Number one, it only serves to reinforce the belief that IACC is completely uninterested in your family and your autism organization. As it stands, NIH leaders refuse, absolutely refuse, to appoint IACC nominees who truly represent actual large national autism interest groups (TACA, NAA...). Instead the NIH gives those few public IACC seats to members of an Aspergers comedy troupe, assistant-assistant professors (who are not ASD parents) of small colleges no one knows, numerous random people representing no organization at all who rarely show up and finally, masquerading as members of the “public,” NIH employees who are ASD parents but never say a word. The only chance large national groups have to be heard is during the brief public comment period.

There are no seats at IACC for those with severe autism. Indeed, severely affected children like mine cannot speak and require 24/7 care. Arranging time off work or paying the extra care taking required for a severely affected ASD child so a parent can travel (on their own dime) to an IACC meeting is a herculean task. Therefore, autism families rely on our leaders to speak for our children in D.C. and at IACC. It is bad enough that the NIH refuses to give public seats to NAA or TACA or SafeMinds but now they limited our tens of thousands of ASD families to no more than 2 minutes of representation a year? SafeMinds has members all over the country but few can travel. Lisa Wiederlight, our president, is our designated IACC speaker in part because she resides in Maryland. We have complete confidence in Ms. Wiederlight’s expertise on both the science and service issues important to our members. We do not want Lisa limited to speaking about our issues once a year. TACA is located in California. It’s virtually impossible for various CA ASD Moms and Dads to appear in person at IACC. However, they can help subsidize a trip for the organization president to speak more than once if members deem this necessary. One of the most moving IACC speakers I have ever heard is NAA president Wendy Fournier. NAA members want Ms. Founier is able to communicate their needs whenever necessary. Yet Wendy should be limited to 1 two minute slot a year?

Continue reading "Katie Wright: Public No Longer Invited to Speak at IACC Autism Meetings" »


Dachel Interview: Dr. Paul Thomas

Dr. Paul THomas
By Anne Dachel

It is my pleasure to introduce Age of Autism readers to Dr. Paul Thomas from Portland, Oregon.   As I’ve talked with Dr. Thomas and read about him, I can’t help but be hopeful for the future. I have Vaccine Friendly Plansome amazing information in this article, so I invite you all to watch the Skype videos where he explains his views on vaccines safety and what has to change, and to share this with others.

I first heard about Dr. Thomas when I looked into a new medical organization called Physiciansfor Informed Consent, PIC.  Just when it seems that our doctors universally back the CDC’s ever-expanding vaccine schedule for every child in America, suddenly, we have a determined, courageous group of medical providers who say parents have rights over health choices for their children.

On their website their position is clear: “PIC is the first physician organization dedicated to safeguarding informed consent in vaccination.” Doctors, several hundred doctors, are organized in their opposition to medical tyranny.

I was able to interview Paul Thomas about vaccines, their link to autism, and what he’s learned with his Vaccine Friendly Plan.

Q: I asked Dr. Thomas if we’re doing anything to protect children who may be susceptible to a vaccine reaction?

A: “The answer is an absolute resounding yes, [there are vulnerable kids out there]. We now know family histories and certain genetic risk factors that make you less able to deal with toxins, for example. If you have a strong family history of autoimmune issues, you’re going to be more vulnerable to aluminum-containing vaccines,

“Aluminum, the adjuvant in most vaccines, is the largest and most powerful trigger of autoimmunity. There’s an entire book about it called, Vaccines and Autoimmunity, edited by Schoenfeld.   There are hundreds of articles pointing to this issue. That’s just a small piece.

Continue reading "Dachel Interview: Dr. Paul Thomas" »


Dr. Paul Thomas Responds to AAP's Dr. Fernando Stein's Vaccine Safety Article

Dr. Paul THomasBy Anne Dachel

On January 10, 2017, an article by the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Fernando Stein, MD, and Vice President, Karen Remley, MD, entitled, American Academy of Pediatrics Emphasizes Safety and Importance of Vaccines, was published on their website.

It was the AAP’s response to the news that incoming President Donald Trump was going to have a panel investigate vaccine safety and scientific integrity. The AAP’s reaction was as expected: 

Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives.”

Stein and Remley were, of course, referring to “a robust body of medical literature,” and “extensive scientific evidence.” The AAP conceded nothing. According to their leadership, the science is in. There is no need to look further. The health of America’s children is just fine.

Dr. Paul Thomas, an Oregon pediatrician who belongs to the AAP, and is a founding member of PIC, Physicians for Informed Consent,  wasn’t impressed by the AAP’s response. He wrote to Fernando Stein, laying things on the line.

Dr Stein,

Welcome to the most difficult year ever for pediatricians who are unable to see past the ov...er simplified messages "vaccines are safe" "vaccines are effective" etc.

I hope you will be that leader with deep integrity and willingness to look at all the data and perhaps you can save the AAP.

The multi-dose flu shot has too much mercury to be safe for pregnant women or young children.
The aluminum content in many of the aluminum containing vaccines exceeds FDA parenteral safety guidelines when injected to newborns and young infants.

We don't have any large long term studies comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated populations and looking at all health issues.

Continue reading "Dr. Paul Thomas Responds to AAP's Dr. Fernando Stein's Vaccine Safety Article" »


Experts Respond to Dr. David Amaral (MIND Institute)

Experts respond
NOTE:  I'd like to thank Dr. Amaral for responding to Anne Dachel last week.  We're going to move the ball forward (Superbowl analogy) by conversation.  He did not have to make that effort and I am asking readers to respond to him with courtesy and manners.  Even if  you're really pissed.  Thanks. KIM

By Anne Dachel

Recently I wrote about David Amaral, Director of Autism Research at UC Davis MIND Institute.  Amaral had been quoted in a Spectrum.News.org article    where he said he was “worried” about President Trump’s plans to look into vaccine safety and autism research. The piece was a call for the status quo to continue, after all, we already have the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (of which Amaral is a member) which advises HHS on autism.

In my story, Autism Scientist Worried About a Vaccine Safety Panel,  I reminded readers that six years ago, Amaral was covered on PBS admitting this about vaccines and autism, “It’s not to say, however, that there is a small subset of children who may be particularly vulnerable to vaccines.

“And in their case, having the vaccines, or particular vaccines, particularly in certain kinds of situations — if the child was ill, if the child had a precondition. Like a mitochondrial defect. Vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it is incredibly important, still, to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities, in a small subset of children, might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations.”

I wanted to know what happened to Amaral to make him now more worried about someone looking into the vaccine safety than about which kids are there are susceptible to a vaccine reaction.

Dr. Amaral posted this comment on my story:

Dear Anne,

The beauty of science is that you are taken where the evidence leads you. The MacNeil interview was carried out early in 2011 and at that time I thought that there was some chance that postnatal factors might lead to some cases of autism - particularly in children that had a genetic or other medical predisposing condition. But, our own research has argued against this view. Later in 2011, we published a paper about brain changes in children with and without regression (Nordahl et al 2011). We found that it was the children with evidence of regression that generally had enlarged brains. We also found that head enlargement started at 4-6 months of life - long before the behavioral regression.

Nordahl, C.W., et al., (2011) Brain enlargement is associated with regression in preschool-age boys with autism spectrum disorders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(50): p. 20195-200.

Continue reading "Experts Respond to Dr. David Amaral (MIND Institute)" »


Champaign IL News Gazette On Death of Newspaperman Dan Olmsted

Dan headshot for bookHere is an excerpt of a fine tribute to Dan Olmsted by Melissa Merli.  Read the full article in the The News Gazette.

In the late 1970s, the post-Watergate era, daily newspapers ruled the media landscape. Their staffs were robust, with talented reporters hungry to make a mark.

The best and brightest among them at the Gannett-owned Commercial-News in Danville was Dan Olmsted, who had graduated from Yale University in 1975 and had come back to his hometown to work at the newspaper.

He had written for it while a student at Danville High School, where he had been news editor of the Maroon & White student newspaper.

Mr. Olmsted, who died Jan. 23 at his home in Falls Church, Va., won an Illinois Associated Press award for public-service reporting while in Danville and went on to receive national recognition for his work elsewhere.

"Dan was truly a prodigy, an artist and a door-kicking newsman," former Commercial-News reporter/columnist Kevin Cullen said. "I always thought of him as a class act and a model for the rest of our ink-stained little subculture."

Continue reading "Champaign IL News Gazette On Death of Newspaperman Dan Olmsted" »


Autism’s Brotherly Love

BI_love_my_brother.gif_320_320_256_9223372036854775000_0_1_0y Cathy Jameson

Thursday evening was not a fun evening.  Ronan began to have seizures right before dinner.  As the night progressed, they grew in intensity and then in frequency.  Coming one right after, I didn’t have to tell the kids Ronan was under seizure watch.  They’d observed the tell-tale signs themselves.  Ronan kept dropping things.  He kept tripping over himself.  He kept having erratic arm and leg movements.  Ronan caught a little break after dinner, but with how many seizures he’d had, and with how quickly they would start back up, I had an awful feeling that we’d have to resort to using emergency meds. 

Seizures terrify me.  I know they terrify Ronan’s siblings as well.  During situations like this, my typical children worry.  I don’t blame them.  Watching Ronan’s body be wracked as it is isn’t an easy thing to observe.  Desperate to make them stop, but feeling absolutely helpless, the siblings start to pray when he’s has multiple seizures like he did Thursday night.  Sometimes, they pray together. 

Mommy, I don’t know what to say…except maybe asking God to heal him? Yes, honey. Ask that.  

Dear God, please help Ronan. 

Lord, make them stop.  Please. This isn’t fair.

Their innocence, as well as the mountain of faith they possess, carry them through these scary moments.  Where I feel like I’m about to crumble on the floor in a heap, the siblings do everything they can to stay brave.  I try my best to not let them see how worried I am because they need my reassurance that things will get better.  Things usually do get better, but on Thursday night, things would go downhill first. 

As the seizures ramped up, my husband tended to Ronan so I could talk to the others.  Barking orders, I told them to get themselves ready for bedtime. They each had a few things to do before we’d start family prayers and before I had to make the decision to give Ronan the meds or not. 

Shower. 

Brush teeth. 

Get jammies on. 

Now. 

Move.    

I felt like a mean ol’ mom, but each of my children understands that in these moments, ones we wished would never happen but do, Ronan has to come first.

Within minutes, they were ready.  In that same amount of time, though, Ronan had had three more seizures.  It was time to prep the meds.  Ronan’s little brother could not hide the fact that he was crushed when I told him.  Trying to be upbeat he replied, “Okay, Mommy.”  Without hesitating, he added, “Do you need help?”

“Yes, actually, I do,” I let him know. 

Continue reading "Autism’s Brotherly Love" »


Best of Weekly Wrap: More Mushy, Misdirected Autism Empathy

Keep Calm Write OnOriginally posted on 10/20/2012.  

Dan Olmsted wrote his "Weekly Wrap" each Saturday. The topics and tone varied, yet always informed and entertained in Dan's inimitable style.  We'll be featuring Dan's work over the coming months. Enjoy this post.

By Dan Olmsted

The morning shows were agog Friday over the duet between Katy Perry and a tween girl with autism, to be broadcast on tomorrow’s “Night of Too Many Stars” benefit on Comedy Central. On the Today show, Al Roker said he teared up, and trotted out the old “it must be my allergies” joke as a way of calling even more attention to it.

Touching. But what exactly is this benefit benefiting? PR for the event says it uses “comedy to raise money for autism education programs.” On the benefit’s Web site, we learn: “Night of Too Many Stars benefits a variety of autism programs across the country in support of the overabundance of individuals with autism that so desperately need quality services. In 2010, thanks to your support, Night of Too Many Stars, through its partner organization, New York Collaborates for Autism, gave more than $3.1 million in grants to 41 programs in 13 states."

 I couldn't find any easily located list of who those recipients are, though I'm sure many of them are worthy. But this “partner organization,” New York Collaborates for Autism, is clearly the charitable entity involved, and it has two current initiatives, one of which is the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, due to open next year.

This is Catherine Lord’s project – along with redoing the DSM-V in a way that a lot of us don’t care for. We think it will exclude some high-functioning children with autism and muddy the waters about the real epidemic increase in autism. If you support this work, and the idea that we don’t really know if there’s an epidemic, and never will, and certainly don’t know what is causing it, by all means, contribute.

But you might want to read some of AOA’s coverage of Dr. Lord, starting with this from Katie Wright:

 “What kind of human being makes money by testifying against disabled children with autism?

Dr. Eric Fombonne.

Dr. Catherine Lord.

Dr. Bennett Leventhal.

“These parasites regularly take the stand in Vaccine Court in hopes of preventing sick autistic children from receiving financial compensation for their injuries. … I think their 'work' as anti-child professional testifiers has been insufficiently discussed and deserves a good public airing, don’t you?"

 Anne Dachel has also put Dr. Lord under the microscope. “In April, 2012, Dr. Catherine Lord was STILL saying that all the autism everywhere might just be ‘better detection.’”

 The lifetime cost of autism is pegged at around $3 million (conservatively, given the cost to

Continue reading "Best of Weekly Wrap: More Mushy, Misdirected Autism Empathy" »


Pew Research Poll on Vaccines At Odds With Reality for Many Families

I-wake-up-screaming-tBy Anne Dachel

I'm sure this Pew Research poll will be talked about EVERYWHERE in the mainstream news.

COUPLE OF THINGS TO NOTE: The focus is on the MMR vaccine. (Could this be because of Dr. Wakefield's work?) The ordinary reader may not have concerns about mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, aborted fetal cells and a dramatically increased vaccine schedule. Let's just pretend that parents only worry about the MMR.

Second, notice the references (in almost every story I looked at) showing that "wealthier Americans with a knowledge of science" were MORE likely to support the mandate for the MMR vaccine. (This may be carefully constructed to possibly to counter the reports that parents who were highly educated in the most affluent neighborhoods were the most likely to question vaccines.)

I've watched things like this for years. With the promise of a federal panel to look into how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does business, it's time to flood Google News with reports of public trust and support for the current vaccine schedule.

There are a lot of people out there who are terrified of an investigation into our vaccine program. (Example: I recently wrote about David Amaral at MIND Institute-UC Davis who says he's worried about anyone looking into vaccine safety. Incredibly, there is absolutely no worry from Amaral about two percent of our children with autism.)

Notice these stories telling us there's nothing to look at.

Feb 2, 2017, Opposing Views: Poll: Trump's Vaccine Views At Odds With Americans'

The Pew Research poll, conducted before the November 2016 election and released on Feb. 2, found that 82 percent of Americans believe that parents of public school students should be required to vaccinate their children for measles, mumps and rubella. While 66 percent said that there is a low risk of side effects from the popular vaccine, a full 88 percent said that the benefits still outweigh any possible risks. Meanwhile, 73 percent said that the shot offers serious preventative health benefits.

Many vaccine opponents have raised concerns about secondary ingredients in the shots that children receive, such as the preservative thimerosal, which skeptics say may cause autism. According to the Center for Disease Control, no vaccine ingredients, including thimerosal, have been shown to have any connection to the disability, although the ingredient has nonetheless largely been reduced or eliminated from most formulas since its safety came under review in 2001....

Continue reading "Pew Research Poll on Vaccines At Odds With Reality for Many Families" »


Attack Vaxxed's Polly Tommey? We Don't Think So.

Retro stupidNote: Take a moment to imagine stupid things. Ridiculous things. Channel Alice and imagine six impossible things before breakfast. Now, imagine the idiocy of attacking Polly Tommey - autism Mum and advocacy powerhouse - because (insert "dah dah daaaaah" music here) she has strong links to Andrew Wakefield. Have you imagined your stupid things? I'm imagining running barefoot across a floor full of Legos. And now? I am imagining baking cookies and removing them from the oven without a mitt.  Wait!  Here is another stupid thing...  injecting neurotoxins into healthy babies! And finally, taking a crumpety-crap on POLLY TOMMEY.   The Times UK thinks otherwise.  See below. Kim

Autism charity chief at forefront of ‘dangerous’ anti-vaccine campaign

The founder of a British autism charity is an anti-vaccine campaigner with strong links to the discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield, The Times has learnt.

Polly Tommey, who believes that the MMR vaccine caused her son’s autism, founded the US and UK branches of the Autism Trust and produced a highly controversial film directed by Mr Wakefield alleging a link between vaccines and the condition.

Scientists and campaigners expressed concern yesterday that Ms Tommey’s role in the charity was in conflict with her views about vaccines. Jon Spiers, chief executive of the charity Autistica, called the film highly  irresponsible.

The Autism Trust works with children who have the condition and Ms Tommey said that a crucial part of her work is “recording stories from families who are vaccine injured”. “I’m very passionate that vaccines cause massive injuries and I’m not afraid to say that,” she said.

Ms Tommey is also the producer of Vaxxed. The film is directed by Mr Wakefield, who was struck off the medical register for fraudulent research claiming vaccines were linked to autism. The film claims that the US government is covering up data proving the connection. At a screening of the film in the summer, Ms Tommey told the audience that all vaccines were unsafe.

“Stay away from these paediatricians, they are dangerous. Sorry paediatricians, but you are,” she said. “There clearly is no safe vaccine. I can tell you we will never trust again, we will never stick in another needle. You can say it’s a safe vaccine — we will never believe you.”

Mr Spiers said that there was no evidence for this view. “Numerous research studies in enormous numbers of people have found that the MMR vaccination saves lives and does not cause autism. It is highly irresponsible to spread fear through films like Vaxxed. Campaigning against vaccinations does absolutely nothing to give autistic people and their families the support, empathy and hope they urgently need.”

David Robert Grimes, a postdoctoral research associate at Oxford University, agreed. “It is highly concerning that someone so prominently involved in an autism charity would harbour such widely debunked and frankly dangerous views,” he said.

In 1998 Mr Wakefield claimed in the journal The Lancet that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Although the paper was discredited, it resulted in a drop in vaccine uptake. Studies have since shown that it does not cause autism.

He moved to the US, where he retains a following among parts of the autism community. He is believed to have met Donald Trump, and is due to speak next week at the European parliament.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission told The Times: “The commission will assess the issues you have put to us regarding the Autism Trust Limited to determine what, if any, regulatory role there might be for us.”

Ms Tommey said that neither she nor her charity were willing to be silent on this. “It’s my charity, I set it up, I’m all for the truth,” she said. “I’m a huge believer that vaccines cause injury and death.”


Dachel Wake Up: Senators Reject President Trumps Vax Safety Panel

Dachel Morning Wake UoJanuary 18, 2017, StatNews.com: Senators on key panel reject Trump's skepticism about vaccine

Most members of a key Senate committee are rejecting President-elect Donald Trump’s skepticism about the safety of vaccines, which suggests Trump could face significant backlash in Congress if he seeks to advance the anti-vaccine movement from the Oval Office.

In the week following Trump’s controversial meeting with vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr.1, STAT contacted all 23 members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and asked whether they shared Trump’s concerns about vaccine safety. The committee oversees public health, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and held a hearing2 last February on the re-emergence of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.

Continue reading "Dachel Wake Up: Senators Reject President Trumps Vax Safety Panel" »


Autism Scientist Worried About a Vaccine Safety Panel

Amaral_news_slide
By Anne Dachel

This is a disgusting bit of news. So David Amaral is worried about a vaccine safety commission? He as a lot of nerve! Every time I see this man's name in print, it makes me angry. Who can forget his comments in an interview with Robert MacNeil on PBS in 2011? Back then he asserted that for some kids, vaccines are the trigger for autism.

So what has the MIND Institute done to address this question? Nothing. And how many more children have been injured by vaccines in the last six years since that interview? Thousands. (I posted two comments on this story, shortly afterwards they were removed.)

How dare this reporter claim that the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is already looking into autism. This group hasn't done a thing to address autism. They are a complete failure. IACC was created in 2006 with the Combating Autism Act. Eleven years ago, the autism rate was one in every 166 children. Today it's one in 68 (or one in 45) depending on which official finding you want to believe.

(My original comments are at the bottom of this piece.)

Feb 1, 2017, SpectrumNews.Org: New administration stirs angst, activism among autism scientists

By Daisy Yuhas

Jonathan Sebat, director of  the Beyster Institute for Psychiatric Genomics at the University of California…

Sebat says he fears that the administration’s hostility toward facts in autism, climate change and other fields will hinder research. “Politics seems to be eclipsing science,” he says.

Continue reading "Autism Scientist Worried About a Vaccine Safety Panel" »


Groundhog Day Might Be Ending for Autism

Groundhog YrFrom 2003 to January 19, 2017 - so little had changed for autism. AofA readers know the drill. "No cause. But we know it's not vaccines. No cure. Why would you want a cure for such a gifty diagnosis?"  Yadda yadda yadda ad NAUseam. Maybe 2017 is the year the groundhog turns into a tiger. Let's hope so.

Here's a BEST OF post from 2012.

By Anne Dachel

In Nov 2003 the New York Times published an interesting article titled, Government Mapping Out A Strategy to Fight Autism by Jane Gross. HERE

It was about a government plan to deal with autism. It had a lot of familiar details: autism is on the rise, we need to find the cause, and early intervention is best.

Gross reported, “Nobody knows the cause of the surge, although epidemiologists suspect it is largely a result of refined diagnosis and public awareness. That does not change the dimensions of a problem that strains schools, medical services and families. Nor does it affect forecasts of growing caseloads for decades to come.”

Not bad coverage for something from almost a decade ago. We would expect that after millions of dollars of research and all the efforts of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee created by Congress to deal with autism there would be definite answers and we’d have great success stories about programs for affected children and the progress being made. Sadly, it’s not happening.

WNDU-TV in South Bend, IN just published a story about autism on Jan 3, 2012 called, Doctors working on ways to better diagnose children with autism. HERE

WNDU announced, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism twice before age 2. However, only between 5 and 7 percent of pediatricians perform a formal screening.

“The average age of diagnosis for a child with autism is about 5 and a half, and experts say that’s way too late.”

In addition they reported, “The number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising. It’s not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the number of cases, or both.”

What the South Bend story reveals is that we are basically where we were at in 2003 when it comes to autism. Autism is still a medical mystery that doctors and health officials scratch their heads over. There is still no alarm over autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t call autism a crisis in 2003 and they still don’t call it one today.

Back in 2003 it seemed like a real effort was going to be made and I might have been a little hopeful. The Times told us, “Propelled by the skyrocketing number of diagnoses of the perplexing brain disorder autism in children, federal officials have for the first time mapped out a long-term, interagency plan to deal with the problem.

“The plan includes objectives like the development of teaching methods that will allow 90 percent of autistic children to speak; the identification of genetic and nongenetic causes of the condition; and adequate services for all afflicted children in the next 7 to 10 years.”

The Times also included Dr. Fred R. Volkmar from Yale who has long blamed bad genes and credited doctors for the explosion in autism. Volkmar is still in the news regularly trying to convince us that there’s been no real increase in autism.

Continue reading "Groundhog Day Might Be Ending for Autism" »


Simultaneous Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Science post image 2007 Feb;14(2):87-91.

Simultaneous sudden infant death syndrome.

The simultaneous sudden deaths of twins rarely occur and therefore it has received limited attention in the medical literature. When the deaths of the twins meet the defined criteria for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) independently and take place within the same 24 h range it can be called as simultaneous SIDS (SSIDS). The case(s): Twin girls (3.5-month-old) were found dead by their mother in their crib, both in supine position. The infants were identical twins and delivered at a hospital by cesarean section. Both infants were healthy and did not have any serious medical history. Two days prior to the incident, the twins had received the second dose of oral polio, DPT and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccines and they had fever on the first day of the vaccination and been given teaspoonful of acetaminophen. Death scene investigation, judicial investigation, parental assessment, macroscopic and microscopic autopsy findings and the toxicological analysis did not yield any specific cause of death. The case(s) were referred to a supreme board composed of multidisciplinary medical professionals at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Justice, in Istanbul. The Board decided that the available data was consistent with SIDS. These SIDS case(s) are presented because twin SIDS are rare and this is the first time that a simultaneous twin SIDS have been reported in Turkey. Simultaneous SIDS cases have many implications regarding definition, diagnosis and medico-legal approach.


What Dan Olmsted Meant to Me

Event Dan TaylorBy Julie Obradovic

Note: This post originally ran on my Facebook page the day after learning about Dan’s passing. It currently has over 41 shares and hundreds of collective comments, so I wanted to immortalize it here. As the days passed, however, I realized I missed some funny and important points about Dan I wanted to include, so this is a slightly edited version. Thanks.

It hasn't quite sunk in yet that Dan Olmsted has passed. I haven't seen him in person for some time, so I keep imagining this is a mistake and at the next big advocacy event, he will be there, sitting at a table talking quietly with other advocates, wearing his normal casual attire, his full beard, and his glasses.

For those of you outside of the autism world, it's hard to put into words what he meant to so many of us. In short, but in unimaginable depth, Dan legitimized our concerns. He legitimized our stories. He legitimized our lives.

I don't know how you thank someone for that, and I most certainly don't know how you express what that means. I guess this is my attempt.

Having a healthy child regress into autism is nothing short of traumatic in the truest sense of the word. In spite of the mainstream's effort to normalize it over the last two decades, there is nothing normal about it.

It's like watching someone kidnap your child right in front of your face, only there's nothing you can Dan walkingdo about it to stop it. And it's not their body that gets taken. It's their personality. Their energy. Their laughter. Their voice. Their words. The light in their eyes. And eventually you realize, their life's potential. All the while their body is left in pain, suffering from seizures, rashes, allergies, autoimmunity, gastrointestinal distress, and more.

It is beyond what any child or parent should ever, ever, ever have to experience. Traumatic really doesn't even seem to be the right word to describe it. It's not intense enough.

My daughter has made a significant recovery, as have I, and even writing those words brings me back to a place of anxiety, fear, and despair that I will never fully be able to shake. But a large part of the reason why I have been able to move forward and make meaning out of what happened is because of Dan's work.

Continue reading "What Dan Olmsted Meant to Me" »


Levi Quackenboss on World Health Org's "How to Deal with Vaccine Deniers" Primer

SpankThanks to Levi Quackenboss for another kickass post. Read the full post here.

Hello, is this thing on?

I’ve been on something of a little brain break. Yes, I got your 1,000 messages telling me to write about RFK Jr. and Trump, but I don’t have any more information about that situation than all of you, and the only interview I’ve seen about it is here.

I was scrolling through my buddy Forrest’s Facebook page (if you don’t follow him, you’re missing out) last night and came across his post about the 44-page World Health Organization’s best practice guide “How to respond to vocal vaccine deniers in public.”

I didn’t get past the first page before I needed to look up the authors of this masterpiece and read up on Erfurt University’s Mr. Philipp Schmid. Nothing says esteemed professor like Mr. Schmid from Erfurt, right? Surely he must be 70 years old; an expert in his field. I bet he has 16 grandchildren and we can trust him to tell us what’s best for our kids.

But no, it turns out that Mr. Schmid is a research assistant. Like, at his university. And he wrote the 44-page vaccine pusher e-book for the WHO when he was… an intern at their regional office.

he-looks-12

What medical doctor wants the Doogie Howser of pro-vax messaging to advise them on their professional conduct? I don’t care that he’s the president of the debate club at Erfurt.

I can’t even say that sentence out loud without laughing.

Continue reading "Levi Quackenboss on World Health Org's "How to Deal with Vaccine Deniers" Primer" »


Sing, Sing a Song. Sing of Happy, Not Sad. A Tribute to Dan Olmsted

Dan awardBy Kim Stagliano

I've struggled with how to  honor Dan here at AofA.  One of the main differences between Dan and other journalists is that Dan listened. He listened to mothers telling him that their children changed post vaccination. He didn't run to his desk and write that we were vindictive lunatics looking to blame anything and everything for our kids' autism. HE LISTENED to the mothers (and fathers) and started investigating.

I have this video of my daughter singing the Carpenters' song, "Sing," made famous (at least in our house) by Sesame Street. It has been a theme song here for more than 40 decades. Mia loves it. I loved it as a girl.   During great autism struggles, when I feared for Mia's life during seizures or when she was lost during a vacation, I would think to myself, "If anything happens to her, we will play SING at her funeral." 

Instead, she is singing it here, for me, for you, for Dan Olmsted. My dear friend.  The video is 1:11 long. For those of you who follow me, you know that angel numbers play a big role in my life.  1:11.



Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Dan I worked together, hand in glove. I've said to a number of friends since his death, "It's like we're on a jumbo jet. I'm the co-pilot. I've been flying the plane with the pilot, taking the controls when he needed a break, with a great crew all of whom are able to fly the plane. Except now, I'm the pilot. And it feels differently. Lonely."

But I will sing, in Dan's name.  Of good things. Not bad. Of happy. Even though I am sad.

Love, Kim


Dachel Wake Up: Robert Kennedy Jr. Speaks at Fearless Parent Event

Dachel Morning Wake UoJan 24, 2017, APP: Kennedy, panelists, raise vaccine concerns at Red Bank forum

RED BANK - With a powerful new potential ally in the White House, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Tuesday that he wanted to develop a safer vaccine program that relied on scientific research and was free of influence from drug companies.

The environmentalist said children became increasingly sick and injured just as the number of vaccines given to them soared — a connection that is too strong to ignore.

"The institution that is supposed to protect these children, people are telling themselves the vaccine program is so important that we cannot even allow debate about vaccine safety," Kennedy said.

Kennedy was among a group of activists who spoke to about 350 people at The Two River Theater at a program sponsored by Fearless Parent, an advocacy group for parents whose ideas are at odds with the main stream. Front and center on Tuesday: They called on the government to give parents more choice when it comes to vaccinating their children.

Continue reading "Dachel Wake Up: Robert Kennedy Jr. Speaks at Fearless Parent Event" »


My Tribute To Dan Olmsted – Natalie Palumbo

Natalie and The Age of Autism BookBy Natalie Palumbo

I will never forget the very first time I spoke on the phone with Dan Olmsted. It was spring of 2013, and I was 19 years old. I was already writing for Age of Autism as their youngest contributor, and sibling advocate. Dan wanted me to assist him in creating a video on research that he, Teresa Conrick, and Mark Blaxill had collected for a presentation.

I was honored and excited to contribute to this. I was just beginning my journey into the world of animation and film, and it was before receiving formal instruction from the Motion Design department at Ringling College. The fact that this presentation was going to be shown at AutismOne absolutely thrilled me as a young advocate still finishing my senior year of high school.

Dan sent me newspaper clippings. Articles. Photographs. Everything that supported his research. It was both fascinating and eerie because one of the first children to be diagnosed with autism was born in Baltimore, Maryland just outside of my hometown. I remember distinctly having to re-record Dan saying the word “two” with three different inflections in order to properly time the visuals to the audio. Dan was so nice about it, and we both couldn't help but laugh. I will miss Dan's gentle voice. It had a nurturing quality, much like a parent reading a storybook to a child. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I heard him speak.

Continue reading "My Tribute To Dan Olmsted – Natalie Palumbo" »


Media Coverage and Vaccine Science

FrustratedBy Anne Dachel

Members of the press, please DON’T tell us about “THE SCIENCE ON VACCINES SAFETY”—There isn’t any!

As someone who’s waded through daily news stories on autism and on the controversial link to vaccines for well over ten years, let me tell you, nothing ever changes when the media reports on this. The tired mantra, “studies show no link,” or some version thereof, is always present, as if OFFICIAL STUDIES HAVE SETTLED THE DEBATE.

Members of the media retreat to the guys in the white coats waving the latest research to cover up their own failure as journalists. No mainstream reporter ever deviates from the standard storyline when they’re covering vaccines. There can never be even a hint that parents have something to worry about.

One only has to think back to George Stephanopoulos on ABC interviewing Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 2011. Stephanopoulos said that he’d read Wakefield’s book, Callous Disregard, yet he couldn’t cite a single statement that was in the book. All he did was repeat the claims from Brian Deer’s book.

Probably the worst example of media fraud on this issue was on CNN when Anderson Cooper talked to Wakefield, also in 2011. Cooper refused to address Wakefield as “Dr. Wakefield.” Instead he merely said, “Sir.” When Wakefield tried to defend himself against the charges Cooper was making by holding up a copy of his book, Cooper immediately cut him off saying, “I’m not here to let you pitch your book, I’m here to have you answer questions.” He went on to call Wakefield a liar: “But sir, if you’re lying, then you book is a lie. If your study is a lie, your book is a lie.” Every time Wakefield tried to present his side, Cooper cut him off.

Reporters love to bring up Wakefield’s name in their stories, blaming him for parents not vaccinating because of his fraudulent study; no one interviews him these days. No one wants his side in the news.

Corruption of the press is on my mind lately because of rather blunt comments from President Trump.

Recently Trump was interviewed by Fox News reporter Sean Hannity and the discussion was about the media.

Donald Trump:

“They’re very dishonest people. The media is very dishonest, I’ve been saying, I say it openly. …I get stories that are so false and so dishonest… It’s fake news, it’s fake. They make things up…. They’re the liars.”

Please understand that my life is so centered on what’s happening to the health of our children that I don’t have a lot of time to explode political questions, but as far as the press is concerned, Trump is absolutely right! (And this is not an endorsement of his economic, foreign, or domestic policies.)

After years and years of watching news coverage and reading endless stories, posting thousands of comments, and writing hundreds of articles, I know full well that the press is corrupt. They write what they’re told. They set up the phony scenario: cite the studies, interview pro-vaccine experts, slam vaccine skeptical parents, trivialize autism.

All I had to do was look at the last couple weeks to prove my point. There were dozens of stories to choose from, and I picked five.

Jan 26, USA Today

John J. Pitney, Jr.: Trump’s fake science could be lethal

Trump’s science denial is especially troubling when it comes to autism. For years, he has propounded a discredited theory about the origins of the condition. In 2007, he said: ‘When I was growing up, autism wasn't really a factor. And now all of a sudden, it's an epidemic. Everybody has their theory, and my theory is the shots. They're getting these massive injections at one time. I think it's the vaccinations.’

“Study after study has disproved any connection between vaccines and autism. Scientists are still studying the roots of autism, and many possibilities remain, but vaccinations are the one purported cause that they have definitively ruled out.”

Jan 26, Washington Post

Joel Achenbach: The nation’s top scientists can’t get through to Trump — and they’re alarmed

Leaders of several of the nation's top science organizations say they've been shunned by the Trump administration and are alarmed by signs that the administration will muzzle government researchers and reject the scientific evidence that informs such critical issues as vaccine safety and climate change….

Earlier this month Trump met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after which Kennedy, an ardent promoter of the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism, said Trump asked him to chair a presidential commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. The Trump transition team quickly said no decision has been made about such a commission. But Trump has also promoted the discredited vaccine-autism link.

Jan 26, Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik: Trump is at war with science and knowledge, and that should terrify you “He also has given credence to a decisively debunked link between childhood vaccines and autism, …”

“ A White House panel that questions vaccine safety and attacks immunization standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control—a possibility raised last week in meetings with incoming president Donald Trump—could actually lead to increased disease outbreaks. Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who suggests inoculations are linked to autism, met last week with Trump to discuss a panel to examine what Kennedy called ‘vaccine safety and scientific integrity.’ Although the autism–vaccine claim has been studied and debunked, the president-elect has also suggested a connection. His team later hedged about the panel, saying that nothing had been decided. (Kennedy’s office declined an interview request.) Nevertheless, public health experts and autism advocates are deeply worried that an effort with presidential backing could undermine public confidence in vaccines and trigger epidemics of all-but-eradicated diseases.

“‘We have dozens of studies examining autism and vaccines, and they don’t show a link,’ says Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, a nonprofit that supports autism research.

Jan 16, Chicago Tribune

Laurie Garrett: Donald Trump and the anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists

“Things are getting down and dirty now. And millions of lives are at stake. I cannot possibly state strongly enough how dangerous it is that President-elect Donald Trump has embraced the notion that vaccination is the cause of autism.

“Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine skeptic, met with Trump on Jan. 10. Speaking to reporters outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after the meeting, Kennedy said he will chair a commission ‘on vaccine safety and scientific integrity’ at Trump’s request, because, ‘we ought to be debating the science.’…

Kennedy has long held the position that vaccines are dangerous, and that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine administered to American children is a likely cause of autism. Like any good conspiracy theorist, Trump has long questioned the wisdom of vaccines. On Oct. 22, 2012, he tweeted that vaccines constitute “doctor-inflicted autism.”…

“…Kennedy claims the mercury is still used as a preservative and causes brain damage. But the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Food and Drug Administration removed thimerosal, the preservative in question, from vaccines and it has not been used in MMR since 1999. “

Jan 16, Sacramento Bee

Karin Klein:How scientific fraud about vaccines sows seeds of long-lived doubt

“I talked vaccines with Robert Kennedy Jr. a couple of years ago, when the Legislature was considering Senate Bill 277, which made vaccines mandatory for almost all school-age children. Kennedy was putting on rallies in Sacramento and showing his anti-vaccine movie; I’d been told by a mutual friend that he could explain the real scientific concerns.

“Not really, as it turned out. Instead of bringing up previously unexamined concerns about the safety of vaccines, Kennedy homed in on one of the most ancient. He wanted to talk about what he contends is the link between autism and thimerosal, the preservative that used to be added to many routine childhood vaccinations.

“Let’s ignore for a moment the mountains of high-quality studies that have discredited the autism-vaccine shibboleth and focus instead on the words ‘used to.’ Thimerosal was removed or reduced to trace amounts in children’s vaccines some 15 years ago. It’s still present in multi-dose flu vaccines, but getting a single-dose shot is easy enough….

“Trump already has an entire agency – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – that studies and studies and studies vaccine safety. Vaccines undergo regulatory safety regulations so tight, they make the approval of regular prescription drugs look like a waltz in the free market.”

 

Notice that these stories attack Robert Kennedy without showing any interest in why scientific integrity is in question at the CDC.

 

 John Pitney, Joel Achenbach, Michael Hiltzik, Laurie Garrett, and Karin Klein don’t really cover the issue. Their stories simply defend the safety of vaccines, no questions asked. They’re going after Kennedy the same way the press demonizes Andrew Wakefield.

Pitney cited“study after study” without, I’m sure, ever having looked at a single one or asked about the role of the vaccine industry in the research.

Achenbach reported that “several of the nation’s top science organizations…are alarmed” over Kennedy’s commission on vaccine safety. What Achenbach will never do is investigate the money ties between those organizations and the pharmaceutical industry.

Hiltzik warned that if Kennedy’s panel looks into the CDC’s immunization standards, it could “undermine public confidence in vaccines and trigger epidemics…” According to Hiltzik the science is in, and we dare not even look into the issue.

Laurie Garrett at the Chicago Tribune is the most glaring example of the incompetence of the press. She has no idea of the real issues here and makes the absurd claim that mercury “has not been used in the MMR since 1999,” when it was never in the MMR in the first place!

Klein defended injecting mercury into children as safe, and relied on the authority of the CDC that “studies and studies and studies vaccine safety,” seemingly unconcerned that the agency that approves, recommends, and vigorously promotes vaccines is also in charge of vaccine safety.

She said she’d talked about this issue with Kennedy a couple of years ago, but it seems she wasn’t really listening. In his scathing attacks on the CDC, he has long made it clear that their main interest is profit for the vaccine makers, not the health and safety of our children. The money ties between this agency and the companies they regulate are vast. Klein is willing to close her eyes to the fact that in Kennedy’s words, the CDC “is a vaccine company” because they hold the patents on over 20 vaccines.

No reporter will ever discuss the power and influence the pharmaceutical industry has over our health officials (and the media for that matter). Pharma long ago bought the regulators and the press.

ANY HONEST COVERAGE would open the door to the possibility that through total oversight failure and corruption, we are now looking at the systematic poisoning of a generation of children through the mandated vaccine program.

The only real defense experts, officials and reporters have is “the studies”—they are often referenced as conclusive proof that disproves any link between vaccines and autism. No one ever looks into the easily flawed and easily manipulated findings of the endless population studies.

NOTE TO THE PRESS: The public isn’t buying it. We know the science was rigged and the findings were fixed. We have a whistleblower from inside the CDC, Dr. William Thompson, and he says his agency lied. They destroyed data that showed a link between the MMR and autism.

Parents also know about research of Dr. Poul Thorsen in Denmark. He’s currently under indictment by the U.S. government for 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He is alleged to have stolen more than $1 million from a CDC grant to Denmark. His study on thimerosal and autism was the science used by the 2004 Institute of Medicine panel to dismiss a connection between vaccines and autism.

Parents have heard all about how medical experts from HHS conceded the claim of vaccine-induced autism in the case of Hannah Poling back in 2008, as well as more than 80 injury claims that included autism and were compensated by the federal Vaccine Court.

They know about the conflicts of interest waivers that are rampant at the CDC because those regulating vaccines are also getting money from the vaccine makers.

You either haven’t educated yourselves on all the slimy facts involved in the vaccine safety debate, or you know and you willingly cover them up.

Either way, after two decade of failing to honestly report on a subject so vital to the our children’s health, NO ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU.

Dr. James Lyons Weiler reports on fake news and censorship in Fake Science: When is Medical “Science” Not Science?

 

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


Dan-ecdotes: Readers' Memories of Dan Olmsted

Danecdotes

NOTE: Thank you to all of you who have expressed sorry and shock - and offered to help in so many ways.  Please send your Dan-ecdotes to me a KimStagliano@gmail.com with DAN in the subject line. 

This first note stopped me in my tracks - it's from one of Dan's high school teachers. And it brings to mind the haunting Irish song, Danny Boy.  I want to reassure our readers that we're here for the long haul - it won't be business as usual with our leader, our editor, but we'll do our best.  KIM

###

He was always "Danny" to me because I knew him as a student in my composition class at Danville High School.  A bright student with a twinkle in his eye and a crooked grin.   Back then, before he adopted national causes, he could already use the English language to convince with an impromptu pun or an illustrative anecdote. RIP, Danny Boy.
Martha Kay

###

Dan Olmsted was intelligent, compassionate and witty.  On one occasion at the Autism One conference, I sat next to him at their Saturday night dinner.  I was wearing a patch over my left eye because I had recently lost sight in it following surgery.  He proceeded  to take his napkin and stuff it under his glasses over his left eye so I would not be the only one in the room with a covered eye.

RIP Dan Olmsted.
Maurine Meleck

Continue reading "Dan-ecdotes: Readers' Memories of Dan Olmsted" »


Age of Autism’s Dan Olmsted – A Fine and Noble Man

AofA candles
By Cathy Jameson

Kids are like a litmus test.  If someone is a good person, they know it instantly.  If someone is a bad person, they know it even quicker.  My children got to meet Dan Olmsted a few years ago.  They knew immediately that he was more than just a good person; he was a fine and noble man. 

My children were as upset as my husband and I were when we got the news that a friend passed away.  My youngest cried and cried.  I did, too.  I have a few pictures of Dan at conferences and advocacy events, but the one I have of him with some of my crew is one of my favorites.  In it, my oldest is beaming.  She’s smiling because she knew just how amazing a human being Dan Olmsted was. 

Dan always made himself available, even when I had kids in tow.  I love that my children enjoyed Dan and FionaDan's company just as much as I did.  Their favorite memory is of us having breakfast with him at a little diner.  Full of excitement because they were finally going to meet Mommy's writing friend, the kids were beyond goofy that morning.  Not only that, they were excessively chatty, too.  I kept trying to hush them as we prepared to eat, but Dan was not bothered by their excitement nor by their extra chattiness.  He smiled so kindly enjoying the kids and their happiness.

While listening to them be so silly that morning, I smiled back at a man who exuded only peace.  Letting myself relax so I could soak in the moment, I realized just how big this moment was for my children - they were meeting one of my heroes live and in person...and were getting to eat breakfast with him, too!  It’s something that they won’t forget.  It's something that I'll never forget either.  

I'm honored that Dan generously gave so much of himself to me over the years - the helpful emails, the hopeful private messages, the countless positive and uplifting comments - he was so generous.  What struck me this week as I reread all of those exchanges is that no matter what we were talking about--be it Ronan, my family, autism, advocacy, upcoming legislation, or just life in general--Dan was always present.  In each and every communication we had, both in person and online, he was present.  He connected with me as if I were the most important person in the world to him. 

I am a better person because of my friend, and I know that my children are as well.  Always calm, always encouraging, and always so very thoughtful, Dan was, and will forever remain, a big part of our family's life.  I know that to be true for countless other families.  Dan opened a door.  He set the stage.  Then he gave us the platform.  He started a conversation about autism, even though he didn’t have to, he continued it.  Not only that, he gave us confidence to chime in and to always bravely speak our minds. 

Dan inspired.  He believed.  And he created community.  I hate that we have some last words from him, but those last words were*: 

Rebel Alliance, unite! 

Continue reading "Age of Autism’s Dan Olmsted – A Fine and Noble Man" »


The Final Wrap

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Mark Blaxill

Dan Olmsted’s “Weekly Wrap,” his regular Saturday column, was one of my favorite weekend pleasures. Dan’s death last weekend makes his January 21st version his last. So in his honor, I spent much of this week connecting with a few folks who knew him well in order to write a tribute to him in this space. A final wrap.

Dan was born and raised in Danville Illinois, started his career there and maintained close ties to friends and family in the region. His sister Sallie died last year but his other sister Rosie still lives in Wilmette. She has long been a fierce supporter of Dan’s work. Rosie knew from an early age that Dan was a uniquely brilliant and talented journalist. She was a great advocate for the books we wrote together and especially pleased—Dan told me-- that in The Age of Autism, I insisted that we put Dan’s name first on the marquee! (Dan and I actually competed to be the second author and eventually decided to take turns).

Dan was a journalist from very early in life. While in high school he wrote a column, High Times (the “high” stands for high school, nothing illegal!), for Danville’s local newspaper The Commercial News. His talent was apparent early.

“Dan and I were classmates at Danville High School,” wrote Bina Connelly on the comments section underneath his obituary. “Even then, we knew he would leave a mark, make a difference. He was kind, thoughtful, intelligent, passionate. I am humbled to have known him.” Dan’s friend of 40 years, Melissa Merli, tells me he is still in touch with his high school English teacher, who plans to attend his memorial service.

A career in journalism was on Dan’s radar from the very beginning. An English degree at Yale (class of 1974) separated his stints at The Commercial News, a Gannett paper. From there he went to The Democrat and Chronicle, Gannett’s flagship paper in Rochester, New York. On the Gannett fast track, Dan went on to be a founding editor of USA Today in 1982 and its 1984 spinoff, USA Weekend, where he worked for 15 years. Following a brief and abortive stint at an internet start-up in 1999, Dan moved over to United Press International in 2000. Laid off in 2007 after a series of cutbacks at UPI, he moved on to launch the Age of Autism, “the daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic.”

In speaking with Dan’s colleagues during that 40-plus year journey, I’ve heard an amazing and consistent portrait of a man who was, as his longtime partner and husband Mark Millett puts it, “always passionate about journalism and his work.” Melissa Merli was a colleague in the 1970s at The Commercial News and remembers that Dan was widely liked and respected. “Everyone adored him at The Commercial News.” That adoration extended to a number of the female reporters there, including Melissa. “I had a crush on him,” confided Melissa, “and at one point, Dan took me aside and told me he was gay, but that we could still be good friends!” They’ve been close and constant friends ever since.

Melissa described Dan as a gifted investigative reporter from the outset. One investigation stood out: an exposé of corruption in the local police force, where a gang of police officers were running a drug store burglary operation. A grand jury was convened; Dan was sued for libel and won. Melissa later heard from a local official that “there’s one reporter there that everyone’s afraid of and that’s Dan Olmsted.”

Melissa describes a man that many came to know and love. “Dan had a finely tuned sense of justice and compassion for others. He’s one of the most honest people I know. I can honestly say that I have no negative memories of Dan. He was one of a kind.”

We can all thank the dot.com crash for reawakening Dan’s passion for investigative journalism. While at USA Today and USA Weekend, he focused on lighter fare. But after landing at the once proud UPI wire service --then owned by the Unification Church (aka “the Moonies”), a step down in prestige led to a step up in freedom and investigative autonomy. Dan teamed up there with a young reporter named Mark Benjamin and together they embarked on a project that hit the big time: an investigation of the negative side effects of an anti-malaria drug called mefloquine. Or, as it was marketed by Roche Pharmaceuticals, Lariam.

“The Lariam project was investigative reporting at its most pure,” Mark told me. “It was a case of Dan deciding that we were going to take really damaging, but solid information on a bad drug and go up against one of the most powerful and deep-pocketed companies in the world, Roche. And it was one that had the Army and the CDC, quite literally, in its pocket.”

Lariam was widely used at the time in the Army and the Peace Corp and although effective at preventing malaria, in a subset of recipients it was associated with cases of hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, psychoses and even homicide. According to an August 11, 2016 article in Military Times. “Mefloquine was implicated in a series of murder-suicides at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2002, and media reports also tied it to an uptick in military suicides in 2003.”

Dan and Mark were faced with sharp initial resistance, but their work eventually had a huge impact. According to Military Times, “Once the U.S. military's malaria prophylactic of choice, favored for its once-a-week dosage regimen, mefloquine was designated the drug of last resort in 2013 by the Defense Department after the Food and Drug Administration slapped a boxed warning on its label, noting it can cause permanent psychiatric and neurological side effects.” Prescriptions plummeted from 50,000 in 2003 to only 216 in 2015. That’s not low enough for some. Dr. Remington Nevin, another friend of Dan, argued that any distribution of Lariam is too much. “This new finding should motivate the U.S. military to consider further revising its mefloquine policy to ban use of the drug altogether.”

Their work had many positive and unexpected ripple effects. Mark and Dan were turned into a composite character, Sherm Hempell, on a Law and Order: SVU episode, which told a story of violence and murder in two Afghanistan war veterans that had taken an anti-malarial drug, Quinium. Happily, the good guys won and the Army cover-up was exposed. More notably, in a real life case that wasn’t “ripped from the headlines” Dan and Mark quite literally saved the life of the first soldier since the Vietnam War charged with cowardice, an offense that carries the death penalty. The Army soldier, Andrew Pogany, was put on trial but ultimately the Army dropped the case when it became clear that his “cowardice” was simply an adverse reaction to Lariam. Mark joked that Dan wrote one of the best headlines ever for their article, “Army Surrenders to Coward Soldier.”

“I’ve never seen anyone else like Dan Olmsted in our business, before or since,” Mark claimed. “You can hold him up against any of the all-time great investigative journalists and he deserves a place right alongside them. What made him so good? There were so many things. He was just smarter than anyone else. He worked harder and once he knew he was right, he just never gave up. He would just never stop.”

It was their glimpse into the inner workings of the CDC and its preferred programs that brought the UPI investigative pair to the vaccine issue, and in Dan’s case, into the Age of Autism. In the summer of 2003, Mark pursued (and Dan edited) a story about conflicts of interest in the CDC’s recommended vaccine program, with a special focus on a little known vaccine inventor, Dr. Paul Offit, and the conflict between his role on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and his commercial relationship with Merck, which made his rotavirus vaccine. It’s a story AoA readers know well!

Mark Benjamin is the man that brought Dan Olmsted and me together. The two Marks (who when added to Dan’s partner Mark Millett explain Dan’s dedication in The Age of Autism, “to Mark, Mark and Mark, in that order”) had been discussing the issues swirling around autism and vaccines. Mark Benjamin wanted Dan to meet me and he arranged a dinner between the three of us in Washington DC on October 7, 2003. That began a collaboration that would last for over 13 years.

As Mark Benjamin turned to issues with the military and the health of veterans, Dan turned his attention to autism. He and I began to have frequent conversations and email exchanges. In 2004, Dan had decided he wanted to launch an extended, deep dive. And he wanted to find a way into the issue that was unique. By year end, Dan and I were just beginning to share thoughts on the issues we would turn into a book 6 years later. Dan, as he so often did, was trying to find the critical question, one that could spark an investigation. On December 7, he prefaced an email list of questions this way: “I made a list of some odd ways in (some of which I have seen referred to elsewhere but not conclusively) if you have any thoughts…” The very first question was right on the mark: “Is there anywhere they don’t use vaccines and don’t have autism? Or any group, like Christian scientists?”

Bingo.

I wrote (as is my tendency) a lengthy answer. “We have long discussed the idea of using low and zero exposure groups, religious groups (Amish or others), anthroposophic schools, etc. to test the theory. Since autism surveillance stats are not routinely collected, this would require a specific study, one that has never been done (and epi studies are expensive).”

And so it began. Dan didn’t bother to wait for a bureaucratic funding process. He decided to cut to the chase and do the “study” himself. He drove from his home in Falls Church Virginia to Lancaster County Pennsylvania, and started asking real people about autism in the Amish. A bare four months later he launched his UPI Age of Autism series with his first article, The Amish Anomaly. As many of us know by now, Dan found very few autistic children there and all of these were in the relatively small subset of vaccinated Amish.

Starting with the Amish Anomaly, on April 19, 2005, Dan added dozens of articles to the series. He stopped writing only when he was laid off at UPI, ending on July 18, 2007 with “The Last Word.” Along the way, he found the first of Leo Kanner’s case series, Donald T., the first of eight eventual discoveries and the heart of our book, The Age of Autism. Following his departure from UPI, Dan and I reached out to JB Handley and Kim Stagliano who had started their own blog, Rescue Post. Our joint venture went on line just a few months later.

From the very beginning, Dan stayed close to the families and individuals affected by autism. Dan started out talking to doctors on the front line of the epidemic, free thinkers like the late Meyer Eisenstein and Elizabeth Mumper. In fact, the third column in the UPI series “Sick Children” took Dan’s readers to Liz Mumper’s pediatric practice in nearby Lynchburg Virginia. Dan wrote “Dr. Elizabeth Mumper is an unlikely contrarian. Mumper is a pediatrician in the southern Virginia city of Lynchburg. About a decade ago, Mumper said, she began noticing a change for the worse in the overall health of the children she was seeing, including a startling rise in cases of autism. Ultimately, Mumper came to suspect the increasing number of childhood vaccinations in the 1990s -- and particularly the mercury-based preservative called thimerosal in many of those vaccines -- was a big reason.”

Liz was a great source for Dan and me in our second book, Vaccines 2.0. When I reached out to her yesterday to get her reflections on Dan, she described those initial meetings. “Dan came to my office in 2005.  I was in the midst of running a practice in which many of the children had chronic illness and neurodevelopmental disorders. .Dan had such an inquisitive mind and asked such great questions.  I was surprised that a reporter who had not gone to medical school would understand and be able to synthesize complex medical information the way he could.”

Like many of us, Liz remarked on Dan’s tenacity and gift for words. “What a gift to passionately seek answers to the unprecedented tsunami of childhood chronic illness!  He wove the stories of children, families, medical institutions, government organizations and pharmaceutical industries into compelling prose.”

Dan’s subsequent career-- 10 years here at the “daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic” (he truly loved real printed newspapers!), two published books and a third on the way—is all available here at Age of Autism. Under Kim Stagliano’s leadership and with the help of our amazing group of contributing editors we are continuing the noble project Dan started. But we do so with a heavy heart. I heard the news about Dan from his sister Rosie, driving from Boston to Manhattan this Monday afternoon. When I got to the city I sat down for dinner and wept. I didn’t know quite what to do, so I typed out this FaceBook post, as tears smudged my iPhone .

To everyone who is sharing love for my great friend Dan Olmsted, please keep it up. Dan deserved so much and I hope will ultimately get the recognition he deserves. Dan was the consummate journalist. He had so much to teach us all about the ethics and discipline of how good reporters should respond to and treat evidence. But he was more than that. He was a deeply original and creative investigator. That combination was unique and compelling. Dan was brilliant and compassionate and persistent and uncompromising and balanced and impatient. All at once. And man! could he put words together in such a graceful and powerful way.

I was so fortunate to be his fellow traveler on the Age of Autism (his phrase and it was so powerful) journey. I will really miss him. I wish I had the words to say it as artfully as he could. I love you man. We'll all miss you. But you kicked some ass.

Later this week, I took my two daughters to dinner in Cambridge. Dan got to know both of them quite well in our years working together. My oldest, Sydney, traveled to Vienna with us as we researched the medical history of mercuric chloride treatments for syphilis and hysteria. My youngest, Michaela (now 21 years old and diagnosed with autistic disorder), spent a lot of time with Dan in recent months; he came to Cambridge a lot as we wrote our third book, Denial. Sydney knew the news already, but when I picked them up we told Michaela about Dan’s death. She often has difficulty processing emotions, especially sadness, in an appropriate way. But when I told her, “I have sad news, honey. Dan is dead,” I was pleased to see she was genuinely affected in the way Sydney and I were feeling. “Dan is dead,” she repeated to herself in a subdued tone. Trying, in her way, to process the news. She had grown up with Dan and knew how close our friendship was.

Later in the evening, as we were walking into dinner at Legal Seafoods, she asked me an amusingly autistic but poignant question. “Dad,” she asked, “are you going to get a replacement for Dan?”

“No, honey. There will never be a replacement for Dan.”

Mark Blaxill is Editor at Large for Age of Autism.


Dachel Wake Up: San Diego Jewish World Questions for Tom Price

Dachel Morning Wake UoBy Anne Dachel

Jan 17, 2017, San Diego Jewish World: 6 questions for Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to lead HHS

By Sheila Kaplan

It's called a "courtesy hearing," but Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of health and human services, can expect some of his Senate interrogators to get a little rough.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon and six-term GOP congressman from Georgia, will appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to answer questions on Wednesday. It's a courtesy hearing because a separate panel, the Senate Finance Committee, will actually vote on his nomination….

Do you share the president-elect's concerns about the safety of US vaccines?

Continue reading "Dachel Wake Up: San Diego Jewish World Questions for Tom Price" »


Daniel J. Olmsted: Obituary

Dan headshot for bookBelow is the obituary posted on the site of the Fairfax Memorial Funeral home. We invite you to leave a message there.  We share your grief. Thank you for your emails, prayers and kind words. We hope you will join us in March to celebrate Dan's life.  If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in Dan's name by check:  Autism Age PO Box 110546 Trumbull CT 06611.  Or use the secure payment button on this site. Thank you. Kim

Link to Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home

Daniel James Olmsted passed away in Falls Church, VA on January 23, 2017. Dan is survived by his beloved spouse, Mark Milett and sister Rosamund McDonel Augsburgnd. He is predeceased by both of his parents, Robert and Catherine (Hatfield) Olmsted, and his sister Sara Vana.

The family will be receiving guests from 1-2p.m. with a celebration of Daniel's life following at the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home at 2p.m. on Saturday, March 18. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to the Age of Autism, http://www.ageofautism.com/ .


HuffPo Removes Prominent Writer's Post: Can You Guess Why?

HuffPo REMOVAL with sentence
By Kim Stagliano

Today really isn't the day to poke this Mama bear. Neither was yesterday.  Tomorrow isn't looking good either. JB Handley and many others posted a piece from HuffPo on their Facebook pages. The post was by HuffPo health contributor Martha Rosenberg. Ms. Rosenberg has written many posts for HuffPo. 

Damn Those Vikings Bear Pipeline Protestors

Why Does This Cruel Animal Practice Persist?

Don’t Believe These Meat Industry Lies—Part Two.

Women Won’t Take Risky Medicines Lament Drug Company-Funded Bone Associations

This post was removed after 24 hours:

Vaccines Are Totally Safe Say the People Who Brought us Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Phen-Fen, Xarelto, Raxar and Seldane....

But those of us who know that HuffPo is HuffNO when it comes to anything other than a$$kissing Wayback machine vaccines are wily. Well lookey here!!!   Huge thanks to Ginger Taylor and Lisa Stuckey for this link to the Wayback machine for the full post as it stood for a brief moment on the site.   The full body copy follows the screen shots at the end of this post, please scroll down.  Here's the link to the post in Wayback - and some screen shots below as well. 

HP 1
  HP3

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Interview with Author James Lyons-Weiler, PhD on Commoditization of American Health

James Lyons WeilerBy Anne Dachel

Back in December, KARE11 TV in Minneapolis aired the story, UMN needs participants for landmark autism study.

This report was on a major national study that will examine the genetics of autism. The video featured a dad who said, “We’re going through your baby book. Okay, here’s your milestones. At this age you should be doing this, at this age you should be doing this—Elliot was delayed on language quite a bit at first.”

Reporter: “Both Elliot, 16, and his 10 year old sister Ada were diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Their family’s DNA samples will be compiled on a registry with tens of thousands of others as part of a landmark study called SPARK.”

Dr. Suma Jacob: “It is a study that is mostly focused on the genetics of autism. One of the things we learned is we need tens of thousands, we need large, large numbers of participants to make sense of genetic risks or causal contributions to autism.

“Genetic autism is highly heritable so there are genetic traits, but there are hundreds and hundreds of genes related. Figuring that that piece out is one of the goals.”

Elliot and Ada’s mother: “We hope that by participating, it not only helps our children, but everyone’s kiddos and adults.”

Reporter: “SPARKS hopes to collect information from 50,000 people with autism and their families, speeding up research and ultimately helping to improve the lives of families impacted by autism.”

With phrases like “genetic autism,” “genetics of autism,” and “highly heritable” a viewer could easily conclude that autism is a genetic condition kids are born with. Nothing was said here about regressive autism, where normally developing healthy kids lose learned skills, often including speech, and start to show the signs of autism. Nor was there anything about the massive increase in the diagnosis among our children and the lack of a comparable rate among adults. It seems experts are eager to focus on the genetic component of autism while saying nothing about the environment and autism.

I turned to a leading genetics expert, Dr. James Lyons-Weiler for his reaction to the KARE11 story.

Dr. Lyons-Weiler is also the author of The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism (Skyhorse Publishing).

In March 2016, I interviewed him about his work.

Here are his answers recorded on Skype.

Q: Can we study the genetics of autism without looking at interaction with the environment?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alCMYKu1zqY 

A:  

“So we have this increase in autism that is exponential, that can’t be explained by genetics alone. There is a specific genetic component to autism in some families. There’s a risk in some families, but that’s just a risk. …If you think about genetic risk in the proper format, the community is discussing it backwards. They want to say the environment’s the trigger, and they want to say that the genetics are a cause, and that autism is genetic.

Continue reading "Interview with Author James Lyons-Weiler, PhD on Commoditization of American Health" »


Small Study Shows BIG Success: Fecal Microbial Transplants and Autism

MicrobiomeBy Teresa Conrick

I am a big believer in the bacteria of the Microbiome being a huge piece in Autism.  This study,hot off the press, has me hopeful and optimistic because I have a severely affected daughter with both a GI and autoimmune diagnosis but also --- AUTISM. MANY of our kids and young adults suffer with GI issues and behaviors connected. The more severe the Autism, the more severe the GI issues.

ASU Gut microbe study shows promise as a potential treatment for autism 

PUBLIC RELEASE: 23-JAN-2017 

The key to fighting autism might lie not in the mind, but in the gut.

A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a novel approach in the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants.....

...The treatment program showed long-term benefits, including an average 80 percent improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders and 20-25 percent improvement in autism behaviors, including improved social skills and better sleep habits....

.....The microbes added through the treatment program remained after treatment stopped.

"That is compelling, because not only did we provide good microbes, but the microbes we provided changed the gut environment in a way that helped the host recruit beneficial microbes and allowed them to stay around,.......

Very important work happening at ASU and my deep gratitude to Jim Adams, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Dae-Wook Kang. We have very ill children and the medical treatments for Autism have not been researched enough.  This is good news and also shows the importance of the Microbiome in other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Alzheimer's:  

All the results suggest that AD may begin in the gut, and is closely related to the imbalance of gut microbiota. Modulation of gut microbiota through personalized diet or beneficial microbiota intervention will probably become a new treatment for AD.

The Microbiome is also being implicated in Parkinson's:

Scientists in California say they have transformed understanding of Parkinson's disease. Their animal experiments suggest the brain disorder may be caused by bacteria living in the gut....The scientists believe the bacteria are releasing chemicals that over-activate parts of the brain, leading to damage.

The findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the disease, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.

These findings are turning the paradigm of Autism from being, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, that Leo Kanner described from his psychiatry chair in 1943, after meeting those first eleven children of the 1930's, to a treatable, medical condition, with roots to the gut Microbiome. 

Stay tuned!

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


7 Minutes on CDC

Seven rowBy Anne Dachel

When you listen to Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s seven minute talk on practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you quickly realize that our  children are being sacrificed on the high altar of corporate greed.

What are Wall Street analysts doing at ACIP meetings? Why are members of this committee allowed to profit from the vaccines that they approve? How can such egregious corruption be allowed to continue?

This is the agency that the media allows to have the last word on vaccine safety. This is the place that produces the studies that supposedly disproved a link between THEIR vaccines and autism. In truth, these are health officials who literally have oversight over themselves.

View the video on Facebook here.

The CDC is a very troubled agency, and it’s not just me saying that. There have been four separate, intensive federal investigations by the United States Congress—a three year investigation, 2001, 2002, 2003, by the United States Senate, Tom Coburn’s committee, by the Inspector General of HHS in 2008, by the Office Integrity in 2014. All of them have painted the CDC as a cesspool of corruption, of an agency that has become an absolute subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry, and that has become a sock puppet, a spokesperson, a shill for the industry.

CDC is not an independent agency. It is a vaccine company. CDC owns over twenty vaccine patents. It sells about $4.6 billion of vaccines every year. And its primary metric for success in all the departments in the agency are vaccine sales. The groups, for example the Immunization Safety Office, where the scientists who are supposed to be looking at efficacy and safety in vaccines, they are no longer a public service…agency. They are subsumed in that metric: We have to sell as many of these things as possible. And so they do things to their science to make sure that nothing interferes—no information—interferes with sales.

Continue reading "7 Minutes on CDC" »


Dachel Wake Up: Dr. Ari Zaretsky to Debate Andrew Wakefield's Research with Journalist Lawrence Solomon

Debate
By Anne Dachel

January 31, 2017, Canadian journalist to debate Andrew Wakefield's research with Toronto psychiatrist, Dr. Ari Zaretsky

Back on Jan 11, reporter Lawrence Solomon wrote a story for The Financial SolomonPost entitled, “How vaccine safety turned into one of Trump’s first presidential priorities.”

It was a detailed description of Donald Trump's views when it comes to vaccine safety issue and why it's a cause for concern.

He ended the piece with this: "Trump believes his presidency places him at the head of an historic movement, 'a beautiful movement. We are going to make America safe and great again.' Making America safe doesn’t just involve building a wall to keep out criminals and terrorists, he believes. To Trump, it also includes making sure that there’s safety in America’s vaccines."

Continue reading "Dachel Wake Up: Dr. Ari Zaretsky to Debate Andrew Wakefield's Research with Journalist Lawrence Solomon" »


Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: “Families are Under No Obligation to Put Their Children at Risk By Participating in the Corrupt Current US National Immunization Program”

Hopkins journal
NOTE: Congratulations and thank you to Ginger Taylor for her tireless work!

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The Johns Hopkins Journal, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, has published their issue entitled, "Narrative Symposium: To Vaccinate or Not? Parents' Stories."

The journal description of this edition: "This narrative symposium, "To Vaccinate or Not? Parents' Stories", is comprised of personal stories from 12 parents on their decisions about whether or not to vaccinate their children. They offer a first-hand look at the debated issues of vaccination. As the narrative symposium editors said, "The goal of this symposium is to aid in a more constructive conversation between pro-vaccination/anti-vaccination groups."

Included in the narratives is a letter from Health Choice Executive Leadership Team member, Ginger Taylor.  Her letter is reprinted here with permission from Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics.

Families are under no obligation to put their children at risk by participating in the corrupt current US National Immunization Program

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, vol. 6 no. 3, 2016, pp. 181-185. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/646617.

My name is Ginger Taylor, and I hold an MS in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. I am the mother of a 14–year–old vaccine injured child with an autism diagnosis, and our family no longer participates in the vastly corrupt and broken US National Immunization Program. Because of my experiences, I have become a state and national leader on vaccine safety and vaccine choice issues, co–founding The Canary Party, and The Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice.

Continue reading "Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: “Families are Under No Obligation to Put Their Children at Risk By Participating in the Corrupt Current US National Immunization Program”" »


A Sad Announcement from Age of Autism

Dan headshot for bookWe are heartbroken to announce that our dear friend, our brilliant colleague, journalist par excellence, dedicated book co-author, the heart, soul and leader of our "rebel alliance," Dan Olmsted,  passed away this weekend. 

Age of Autism has been a family for many years, and to all of you, we send our condolences, as we are grateful for yours. 

We will share more information as it becomes available. And the rebel alliance will carry on in his name, we assure you.

Mark Blaxill, Kim Stagliano and the entire Age of Autism Team


Lies and Misrepresentations from the New York Times and Seth Mnookin

JC Seth_MnookinBy John Stone

Elizabeth Hart has provided me with a transcript of newsreel footage by the New York Times full of lies and distortions, and using old footage Seth Mnookin and Andrew Wakefield (tinted to make him look scary). To be clear, despite the denials and  heavy talk the mainstream media - which is completely dependent on advertising revenue from the pharmaceutical industry - is disguising the fact that the United States government has already conceded that vaccines cause autism, and it does not remotely hinge upon the reputation of Andrew Wakefield. Here is Centers for Disease Control director, Julie Gerberding, on CNN explaining the Hannah Poling settlement, before she took the revolving door to become head of Merck’s vaccine division:

Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

And here is the statement given on separate occasions to journalists Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby by government (HHS HRSA) officials:

The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Beyond the weasel bureaucratic language the issue is clear: vaccines cause encephalopathies and some encephalopathies result in autism. If there were no long term effects from the encephalopathy there would be no compensation. Most significantly the United States government has avoided wider liability by coming to confidentiality agreements with the litigants. But they had conceded privately that vaccines cause autism.

Regarding the Wakefield episode the issue raised by a 12 case study is not one of statistical significance, it is one of causation. Of course, the paper never claimed to show causation - contrary to the deliberate misleading impression  given by the New York Times - but what we are talking about here are doctors quite properly listening to patient histories. Nor was there ever a claim that these were randomly selected children. That is a red herring dismissed by Mr Justice Mitting with much in the United Kingdom High Court in 2012 when he completely exonerated the senior author of the study, Prof John Walker-Smith (Wakefield having been denied funding to appeal).

Continue reading "Lies and Misrepresentations from the New York Times and Seth Mnookin" »


Unity for All?

Post Inauguration, the memes have been flying on social media. This one dedicated to unity caught my eye. I edited it a bit at the bottom. What do you think? Please share far and wide. Let's see the response.  Thanks. K

Unity Meme


Vaccine Concerns: It Isn’t Just About Autism

Trust yourselfBy Cathy Jameson

I can’t remember which news story it was that I was listening to, but the line “…vaccines don’t cause autism…” was said.  As if that wasn’t enough, the speaker made sure to add that the measles (MMR) vaccine most certainly does not cause autism either.  Rolling my eyes, I turned the radio station. 

Please, I thought to myself.  Do yourself a favor and get some new lines.  This “vaccines don’t cause autism” bit isn’t the sole reason young parents are questioning vaccines today.  Other reasons exist, too.

Parents are concerned about vaccine ingredients like aluminum, formaldehyde, and human diploid cells.  They are concerned about side effects like seizures, allergic reactions, and anaphylaxis.  Some are also not too keen on how their doctor downplays and even dismisses their apprehension.  Instead of addressing the valid concerns, doctors demand that parents follow the full vaccine schedule.  If they don’t, or if they ask to delay the shots?  They’re “fired”.  No longer welcomed in the practice, the parent is forced to leave and left to find answers on their own. 

Thankfully, with so many resources literally at their fingertips, someone who’s been dismissed by a doctor can educate themselves on vaccines elsewhere.  They can look through medical books at the library, they can read about those worrisome vaccine ingredients online, they can seek help from another more open-minded provider, and they can join parenting message boards as well.  The topics that come up the most on the message boards I’m on tend to be about children’s health and how to navigate vaccines.  Since I have been open about my child’s vaccine injury, young mamas seek me out when vaccines come up in online conversations on those boards. 

As a new parent, these young moms want to do the right thing.  They want the best for the child.  They want to know that they’ve made good choices.  That can be hard to do when they hear similar messages like the one I heard on the radio.  From their doctor, from the school nurse, and from mainstream news, it’s all from the same memo:

Silly parents, vaccines don’t cause autism.  They save lives!  Now go out and get them…all of them.  You’ll be fine.  Trust us. 

As a young mom myself, I trusted.  But not for the right reasons.  It was only after my son fell sick did I think to invest my own time in the vaccination process.  Sadly, I didn’t comprehend it fully until after I witnessed real-life events, like seizures, loss of gained skills and autism, all of which followed my son’s vaccinations.  It had already started to diminish, but by then, the trust that I had for my doctor, for that school nurse, and for the media was completely broken. 

Continue reading "Vaccine Concerns: It Isn’t Just About Autism" »


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Bernie, Bobby, Andy, and Donald

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Bernard Rimland, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Andy Wakefield and now Donald Trump -- yes he does!  -- represent a kind of mainstream thread of vaccine safety advocacy. The first three put themselves forward and paid a price – Rimland went from the father of “autism isn’t caused by parenting” to being considered a fringe quack kook multivitamins cure autism kind of guy. Bobby went from respected environmental Riverkeeper Kennedy scion who beat GE and got the Hudson cleaned up to mercury-thimerosal-obsessed. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated as president Friday, saying what Bernie said. And if ever a paragraph break was called for (pick your reason) this is it.

Dr. Rimland
Dr. Bernie Rimland conspiracy theorist fringe quack kook. And Andy, well, Andy didn’t even pass go – he was considered a fraudulent finge quack kook from just about Day 1.

Covering autism through the prism of an environmental illness, with vaccine safety a paramount issue, I do have more familiarity with these four folks than I might otherwise. Bernie was an indifferent dresser with a messy beard (me too) who, at least in my memory, thundered with the truth. My Kennedy Albanysingle favorite quote in my decade on this beat is his statement that “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.” This is brilliantly simple, stark and bold. First you have to stipulate that autism has increased exponentially (it has – that’s the subject of Mark Blaxill and my book out later this year). Then you have to be both narrow enough – pointing not just to some vague chemical or environmental exposure – and broad enough – pointing not just to one vaccine, or one ingredient – to survive the onslaught of denial and rebuke and phony science you can expect the minute you say such a thing. (“Excessive vaccinations” even leaves room for mercury as the prime cause, because if they hadn’t Andy Long Beachadded all those vaccines with mercury, kids wouldn’t have gotten enough of it to cause an epidemic – bad as it is at any dose The MMR also fits -- three live viruses in one, and now a fourth in the MMRV; talk about excessive!)

Lately I’ve been thinking of Bernie, as a new president who says much the same thing takes the oath of office; protecting our kids might be described as Job One. Now that he is one day in office I certainly hope that he will take on the issue and bring Bernie’s claim front and center. I think our collective minds were pretty much blown when he summoned Bobby to the Tower and sent him down with some sort of message, garbled or tentative as it may have been, that he intends to tackle vaccines and autism and that people like Bobby are going to play a major role.

What’s more, before the election Trump met with Andy and some kindred spirits who are editors and sponsors of this blog and listened attentively.

These are huge developments that have been a bit overwhelmed – perhaps by presidential-elect design – by the whole shakeup going on in the transfer of power. More than trial balloons, less that full-fledged policy initiatives, they have made the CDC quake in its cesspool, if that’s possible, and the usual talking heads like Offit and Schaffner turn purple with rage (makes me think of Dylan: “The man standing next to me, his head was exploding. Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn't fall on me.”) The mainstream media is both outraged and, one senses, outgunned at the moment. Who cares about the mainstream media anyway? The best story we got out of the Kennedy meeting was from BuzzFeed, which interviewed both me (I?) and J.B. Handley and, except for repeating the antivax canard (which I told them not to in writing) treated the event as news, not as a crime scene. While I was on the phone with them going through security at National Airport, Nature magazine was on the other line. Quite a moment for a humble blogger.

Everyone comes to this issue from a different perspective, although of course for most it’s witnessing or understanding the fact that vaccine damage is much more frequent and much more serious than the “experts” will admit. For Bobby it was understanding the damage of environmental mercury and hearing from enough autism moms to intuit the connection. For Andy it was a call from the mother of two autistic children in England. He tried to interrupt and refer her on to the neurodevelopmental department, but then she started talking about strange GI issues they had, and, thank God, he stopped to listen.

For Bernie it was the recognition that he and his wife were not bad enough parents to have caused their son Mark’s nonstop screaming as an infant and his subsequent odd behaviors. That opened into an insight that autism was not genetic but environmental, and that led into vaccines.

We’ve had committees and commissions before – Mark Blaxill served on one and, with Barbara Loe Fisher, valiantly dissented from its blue ribbon inanity. (See the excellent “From Safety Last to Children First.”)

So however they – and we – got here, the moment is ripe, and Bernie’s dictum ought to be our guiding principle, one we can unite behind. I hope that before long the president will be sitting at a table with Bobby and Andy and many more people, including Mark and Barbara, who have fought long and hard to bring this issue to the fore. And I hope they leave an empty chair for Bernie and that, at least occasionally, everyone looks in its direction and remembers that there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Kim Stagliano Asked in 2009: What if President's Child Had Autism

Apple store  Stag GirlsBy Kim Stagliano

In 2009, I wrote an article for Huffington Post (back when they would let autism-centric posts run) that asked, "What if the first child has autism?"  My hope was that President Obama would make a difference for us. Here, 8 years later, the Federal government has accomplished precious little in terms of making life better for families facing the unbelieveable challenges of autism. We had a safety and wandering code added to medical codes - a good thing. But overall, we were slammed on vaccine safety, glossed over by the adulation of neurodiversity and our medical rights were diminished in state after state as draconian vaccine laws were passed, the most egregious which was SB277 in California.

Katie Wright Tweeted that her late Mom, Suzanne Wright, asked First Lady Obama more than a dozen times to talk to her about autism. "Sorry disappointed @Flotus. My Mom tried 19x 2 interest her in ANYThing autism. Obesity easier I guess."  (See below)

Katie Tweet FLOTUS
President Trump is clearly willing to stomp on the third rail topics. His brash, eye popping leadership style (love it or hate it) makes him a wild card. Much of the nation is dead set against him as President. And yet, today, he becomes our President.  Will President Trump help our community? I know there has been speculation about his handsome son and the possibility of some sort of diagnosis. I'm not inclined to guess or armchair diagnose. Not my style. He's a boy. Not a poster boy.  Time will tell. 

Here's the HuffPo piece I wrote.

As a Mom, one of the highlights of the inauguration was watching the first children, Miss Malia and Miss Sasha Obama, revel in their father’s day. They were poised and yet still childlike. Eyes bright. Smiles wide.

Their mother, our elegant new First Lady, was able to fully share the day with her darling daughters. Did you notice the glances and grins they shared? I sure did.

And then I became sad.

As an autism Mom, I thought about how different the day would be if the First Lady had a child with autism. Here’s one scenario:

The First Lady is holding her child’s hand tightly as they walk toward their seats, her smile tempered by the interference from her autismometer, the scanning system she uses at all times to gauge her child’s mood, temperment, ability to manage the input and to anticipate a meltdown. In her other hand she holds a metal ring on which hang dozens of plastic cards with simple pictures and words. It’s an odd accessory.

The boy is wearing a pair of bulky, Bose noise canceling headphones to help him tune out the roar of the crowd. His eyes are cast down to the floorboards.

The lines laid out before him capture his attention. He stops. He sits down.

A brief look of panic crosses his mother’s face. She erases it. Then gently, lovingly signs, “stand up.”

He lies down.

Continue reading "Kim Stagliano Asked in 2009: What if President's Child Had Autism" »


Dachel Wake Up: Senators Reject Trump's Vaccine Panel

Dachel Morning Wake UoJanuary 18, 2017, StatNews.com: Senators on key panel reject Trump's skepticism about vaccine

Most members of a key Senate committee are rejecting President-elect Donald Trump’s skepticism about the safety of vaccines, which suggests Trump could face significant backlash in Congress if he seeks to advance the anti-vaccine movement from the Oval Office.

In the week following Trump’s controversial meeting with vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr.1, STAT contacted all 23 members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and asked whether they shared Trump’s concerns about vaccine safety. The committee oversees public health, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and held a hearing2 last February on the re-emergence of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.

Continue reading "Dachel Wake Up: Senators Reject Trump's Vaccine Panel" »


Examining RFK Jr.'s claim that the CDC “Owns over 20 vaccine patents.”

Gmi-logo-navbar
NOTE: Thanks to Ginger Taylor for writing this informative piece, published on GreenMedInfo. Read the full post here.

Mr. Kennedy is in very safe territory by reporting that the CDC has over 20 patents that create vast, undisclosed conflicts of interests in vaccine safety.

This past week, President-Elect Trump invited Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss Mr. Kennedy leading a vaccine safety commission.  The mainstream media coverage of the meeting was widespread and furious. 

The vaccine industry and its media lap dogs do not want their corruption exposed in any official forum, and they have pointed their fury at Mr. Trump and Mr. Kennedy. 

We have seen a great deal of media on Kennedy and his vaccine safety and corruption claims in the last week.  The nice thing about that is this - because he has been in the mercury fight for so long, and started investigating the claims of moms of vaccine injured children more than a decade ago, his coverage has returned  the spotlight to the corruption that was uncovered in the early days of the realization that the vaccine program was hurting our kids.

One of these old pieces of information that has made its way back into the discussion because of Mr. Kennedy's media attention is the claim that, “The CDC owns over 20 vaccines patents.”

My vaccine safety and corruption research began shortly after my son was vaccine injured in 2003, and I have heard this claim circulated since I began advocacy in this arena, but I have never seen any evidence for this claim.

In 2003, UPI reporter Mark Benjamin wrote an in depth piece on the conflicts of interest (COI) in vaccine safety entitled, “UPI Investigates: The vaccine conflict.”  We have Mr. Benjamin to thank for bringing the patents and COIs held by the members of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, including Dr. Paul Offit, to the public's attention, and for documenting the early years of Offit's increasingly absurd claims.  In this article, Offit asserts that holding vaccine patents, being funded by Merck and having Merck buy and distribute, to physicians, his book extolling the virtues of vaccines, does not compromise his objectivity as a member of the committee that determines what is and is not sound vaccine practice:

Read the full post by Ginger Taylor here.