School_flu_shotBy DAN OLMSTED

On flu shot kids: A pediatrician who treats a large number of kids with autism tells me she has started to detect a new pattern. Most of the very youngest children are what she calls "flu shot kids." Their mothers got mercury-containing flu shots when they were in utero. The kids got the shots right on schedule starting at 6 months.

She emphasized this was only an impression, not a study or even a survey. But this is someone who has been very astute about the autism epidemic since the early days – she first began noticing something amiss with the kids in her practice starting in the mid 1990s. They were just plain sicker. Too many allergies, too much asthma, too many with juvenile diabetes. Too many with autism.

Too many, too sick. So I think what she says about the flu shot bears repeating and watching.

On chemist moms: I've written many times on the "chemical connection"
to autism ("Something Wicked," Parts 1 and 2, among others). In the mid 1970s a very credible study was published by Dr. Mary Coleman of Georgetown University, in which she found a "striking" connection between kids with autism and a background of chemical exposure from the parents' professions. (Bernie Rimland helped her find the cases to
study.) Most notably, several of the parents were chemists – in some cases, both husband and wife. Given that only 1 percent of Americans had such exposures, the fact that nearly a quarter of the autistic kids in her survey came from such families was "quite startling," this sober researcher said. She called for prospective studies to examine this link, and you could almost hear the sense of urgency despite her measured tone. (Nothing happened.) Thirty years later, I found the same chemical connection when I was able to identify several of the very first cases reported in the medical literature (see "Mercury Link to Case 2"). And every time I turn around, it seems, the connection resurfaces. As I mentioned recently, I was thumbing through a book on autism published by a mom in the 1980s when she happened to mention both she and her husband were organic chemists exposed to all kinds of toxic stuff. She wondered aloud if that might have been a factor.

In the past decade or two, I've argued, evidence for this connection has diminished among American kids with autism because the rise of mercury-containing vaccines has spread the wealth, so to speak – now you don't have to have some special and not-that-hard-to-identify occupational or other risk to have an autistic child.

This morning I opened The Washington Post to a book review of "How Can I Talk If My Lips Don't Move? Inside My Autistic Mind" by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay. He's 19, on the older end of the current epidemic, so my ears perked up, wondering if a plausible risk factor might be evident. And right there in the first paragraph the reviewer notes his "formidable mother, Soma," is "a chemist by training."

Lower in the article it talks about "the family's frequent moves. … They go from Mysore to Bangalore to Los Angeles." In other words, Tito was autistic before he left India, where I doubt the occupational safety standards for chemists are what they have become in the United States. (Don't they manufacture thimerosal in India, by the way?) So the chemical connection is alive and well and, as ever, resolutely ignored by those who are raking in taxpayer money and Autism Speaks grants to find the genetic causes of autism. Good luck, guys.

On clueless docs: Perhaps the most interesting comment I've seen on Age of Autism came in response to Anne Dachel's column on Dr. Orr. Here it is:

"Dr. Brian Orr would be well advised to stick to known territory and continue to remain silent when it comes to either autism or vaccine risks. He's done enough damage already.

Not only did he inject our kids with the flu shots and the chicken pox vaxes that tipped them over the brink into ill health without offering accurate (or any) information about the risks, Dr. Orr never figured out that one of our children had regressed into autism while under his care. He gave no warnings, shared no observations about our child's behavior and loss of skills, nothing. Then he failed to take note of when our kids began bouncing back from GF/CF.

So Orr has it all sewn up. These vaccines don't cause autism because he refuses to notice when they do; the alternative remedies don't work because he refuses to notice when they do. Easy escape clause from primum non nocere. When evidence based medicine evidently harms, ignore the evidence.

Not that we would have wanted someone like this to make the diagnosis of autism to begin with. His waiting room is full of psychiatric drug brochures, making it clear the kind of answers his practice prescribes for vaccine injuries: ones which provide more kickback and do even more harm. Had we remained as naive as we began in terms of healthcare choices for our children and actually sought the advice of this practitioner regarding what to do about our children's iatrogenic health conditions, they wouldn't be currently recovering, would not have lost diagnoses."

Posted by: No more Orr | 02/10/2008 at 07:00 PM

In sum, Anne reports that the good doctor says there's no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and no evidence that biomedical treatments can help children recover. Blah-blah-blah.

But "no more Orr" describes how oblivious – in their opinion – he was to the obvious.

This shows why so many parents are so fed up with the medical profession, and why our own J.B. Handley recently "declared war" on the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is maddening for parents to see the evidence of their own eyes ignored by "experts" who then go on to cite bogus studies as proof no such evidence exists.  Anne's column and this parent's comments ought to be e-mailed to every journalist in the country. Why do journalists keep quoting doctors' words as gospel when pediatricians are right in the middle of this never-ending nightmare?

In fact, maybe we should take a page from the gun lobby slogan -- "Guns don't kill people, people do" -- and start being specific about what's going on here. Vaccines don't cause autism.

The doctors who inject them into babies and pregnant women do.

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Bob Moffitt

There are a lot of public officials responsible for protecting the health of our children, but, parents are required by government to put their child's health in hands of:

Pediatricians....who administer....childhood vaccines required for a child to attend a public day care center or school.

Teachers....who enforce....childhood vaccine requirements under threats to have child denied a public school education.


Hi Dan,

All scary and true. I am no chemist though Megan had way too many chemicals/viruses/thimerosal via her vaccines. Your family-chemical connection has my interest too, as my father was an Ophthalmologist/surgeon from the 1940's until his retirement in the 1980's. I think he was immersed in thimerosal.

Thanks always for the enlightenment!


No more Orr

Thank you for putting the case bluntly. I (sadly) see the truth in what you write.

It's one thing for pediatricians to do the harm by accident or oversight, it's another to keep selling it, covering it up and profiting again by the cover up. Seeing Orr chiming in on this self-exculpatory sing-a-long commissioned by the AAP, CDC and industry made us feel what a battered woman might feel on seeing their former abuser promoting a book on dating advice (Orr is promoting a book, by the way). It was enough to snap anyone out of Stockholm syndrome for at least a minute.

I think the movement has been really generous in trying to keep the onus of responsibility off the pediatricians for so long. I read that the suicide rate among pediatricians is higher than in any profession and, if it's spiked much in the past twenty years, we might consider that some have an inkling of what they've been part of. Maybe Mark Blaxill was right when he suggested we support pediatricians by condemning their union. Many seem to want that support and maybe others, like some abusers, long to be stopped. There's a quasi-Taoist saying going around which might be relevant: "Never rob anyone of their consequences". The Lilly rider may not hold forever, after all.

It's hard, though. Our contact with our doctors is personal, we get to know them. It's hard to unleash a sense of injustice at someone we recognize as human, to imagine them one day crumpling on the witness stand, all life draining from their eyes as they're forced to reckon that they might have maimed and murdered. The thought is sickening and I would have to look away when that day came, which is the difference between revenge and justice. If it's real justice, I think it's going to hurt on both sides precisely because one has the capacity to see those responsible as human, particularly if they were the ones who were also close enough to deliver the direct blows. It hurts on our side because we considered long and hard where to place the blame. Though Orr just made it easier.

Our story involving Orr gets better. For one, he missed the symptom which may very well get our child's case disqualified from Vaccine Court because of a dispute over whether the symptom appeared more than three years prior to filing the case. Government attorneys are arguing that the symptom represents a "first sign". Not according to Orr, though.

After receiving the flu shot and MMR on the same day, one of our children began eye-rolling after consuming any dairy products. His eyes would roll up and back into his head for a moment and he would become still and almost rigid, with his eyes fluttering for a moment before snapping out of it. Orr's brusque response to our worried description of the behavior was, and I quote, "So what?"

Secondly, in his published comments, Orr says nothing about his views of the current epidemic, though I'm sure his office has dutifully played catch-up with the AAP's new guidelines for aggressive autism screening designed to actualize the "increased recognition" drivel. Yet at the time he saw our children, Orr didn't believe there was an epidemic. It wasn't that he believed there was increased recognition and he certainly wasn't demonstrating it, he just seemed to think the rates were the same as they'd been twenty years earlier and that autism was a rarity. We know this because, along with several parents whose children were under Orr's care, when we asked "What about autism?", we were graced with what seemed to be Dr. Orr's favorite saying at the time. He said (roughly) "In med school we learned that, when you hear the sound of hooves, you're supposed to think 'horses', not 'zebras'".

Welcome to Africa, Dr. Orr. I hear that, in Africa, they're thinking "horses" these days.

Our son doesn't know how old he is and was just rejected from a Montessori because the particular school doesn't really believe in recovery for all their progressive banter. Why would they when the sing-a-long says they don't have to? Both these kidney-punch realities are thanks, in part, to a propagandist who doesn't know what country he's in. But our son does make eye contact and cuddles again, knows how to say his name again, counts to twenty, follows instructions, says "I love you", completes puzzles, peddles a bike and puts on his own gloves thanks to treatment developments which arose directly from the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whom Orr spent the first two paragraphs of his article attacking.

So I have to agree that it may be time to stop robbing some of their consequences, at least in principle. We're tired of watching our children and their only defenders pay instead, that's for certain.

Nelly Huppert MD

Portia Iverson of CAN fame wrote a book, "Strange Son" about her relationship with Soma and Tito, she brought them to LA. Soma eventually moved to Texas and works with nonverbal children teaching her RPM (rapid prompting method) a variation of facilitated communication. This method taught Tito to communicate. I have not read Tito's new book but his poems in the Strange Son book are very moving, as well as his descriptions of the world he sees and hears.


We had the same experience with our pediatrician, who never caught the symptoms and (after three years of us doing biomed without one whit of help from her) later told us that he clearly must have been misdiagnosed because he's obviously fine now. We need to get to doctors before they join the AAP; we need to target medical school curricula and pediatric teaching hospitals.

Harry Hofherr

The doctors are the ones responsible for this catastrophe. They delegated their responsibility to the pharmaceutical manufacturers and now they can't believe how badly they screwed it up.

Thanks to Dan and J.B. the truth is coming out.

Harry H.


While we are sending a note to every journalist, let's send one to every pediatrician, members of congress, state reps, etc etc and send it on a Turn Autism Around Card so the National Autism Association benefits as well...a specific message is a great idea to a specific group for their role in this epidemic...I will send the cards free of charge to anyone who cannot purchase them ..just send me an e-mail message. April is autism awareness month...what a great time to do this!


JB Handley

Amen, Dan!!

The doctors no longer have a hall pass!!

Some are already behaving courageously, amending vaccine schedules, and speaking out.

Most, however, are hiding under a rock hoping it will all go away.


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