By 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.