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DOUG FLUTIE ON FOOTBALL, AUTISM

A LOVE LETTER FROM A FATHER FOR HIS SONS TO THE WOMAN WHO REFUSES TO LISTEN

Fathers_loveManaging Editor's Note: Jack Russell sent this letter to Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC. We'll let you know if he hears back from her.

By Jack Russell

I am the father of 3 ½ year old twin boys were diagnosed with autism a little over a year ago.  Our boys are on the high-functioning end of the autistic-spectrum and although our road has been and continues to be extremely tough, we have seen and met so many other parents whose daily life and future outlook is far tougher than ours. 

Fortunately, my wife and I have had the scientific background, self-confidence and relative financial means to research about autism on our own and begin the biomedical treatment of our children.  Through these interventions our children have made remarkable progress.  While I hesitate to use the loaded word “recovered” because I know we’ll always have special challenges, we have every hope, as do the professionals that work with them, that they will lose their diagnosis prior to entering Kindergarten.

Sadly though, these treatments (most as simple and safe as a change in diet and vitamin and mineral supplementation) are considered to be outside of the realm of mainstream medicine.  All the developmental pediatrician had to offer us was that we “change our life plan for them.”  Although autism is now being more widely understood as a medical disease it is tragic how slowly this change in thought has been and how strong the resistance to this way of this is.  Travel in any autism support group and you’ll quickly find that a wide majority of kids on the autistic spectrum share the same common medical problems: chronic diarrhea, wide-spread food allergies, hypersensitivity to chemicals in soaps and cleaners, chronic yeast infections and chronic ear infections among others.  The issues of immune dysregulation, digestive problems and autoimmune issues in autistic children have been well documented in the scientific literature.  These issues should be known to every pediatrician and can and should be addressed.  While the recovery we’ve seen may not happen for everyone, these children can at a minimum be healthier and more comfortable, which will surely improve functioning.

Why isn’t this information, information that could help a shocking 1 in 150 children, front page news?  That is a question I’ve struggled with over the last few months.  My research and deep thought keeps leading me in only one direction; that the solution implies the problem.  And the problem is that these children have been damaged by environmental toxins, including some in vaccines, and by the unforeseen impacts of the mandated vaccination schedule.

Let me be clear that this is not a conclusion that I reached lightly or in a knee-jerk response to my own bitterness.  I have a Master’s in Molecular Biology and have dedicated my career working in biotechnology to develop and manufacture vaccines.  My wife has a Master’s in Public Health Epidemiology.  We could not be two people more predisposed to be believe that vaccines were anything but the greatest public health good that has ever existed. 

However, once you begin to look deeply with your own eyes, past the flat assurances of safety offered by the CDC, you realize (with painful regret in the case of parents of children on the spectrum) that the problems with the way we vaccination the children of today are so utterly and mind-blowingly obvious.  To start with is the mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal.  The injection of mercury into newborns through-out the 90s (and still continuing to some degree despite misstatements to the contrary) was a shocking error.  No defense of this practice can be realistically made.  It was an error and the evidence of harm is plentiful.  Refusal to acknowledge and fully correct this has filled a generation of parents with nothing but mistrust (if not outright hatred) of our government officials.  However, the problems with the vaccination program extend beyond the controversial Thimerosal.  Significant evidence exists that the measles vaccines, especially in conjunction with other live viruses in the MMR and especially when given simultaneously with other vaccinations, can lead to chronic immune suppression and  measles infection in the cerebrospinal fluid and auto-immune response to proteins in the brain (acting much like wild-type measles is known to).  Additionally, there is evidence (and I’ve witnessed it in my own children) that the over-vaccination and at such an early age has lead to a shift in the way the immune system develops.  This has led to more allergies, more auto-immune problems (also evidenced by the dramatic increase in severe allergies, asthma, juvenile diabetes) and less ability to fight off common infections.  These issues lead to a host of problems that manifest themselves as autism.

The recent concession by the government in the vaccine compensation case of Hannah Poling should be a bright light on these issues and a wake-up call to the CDC.  However, the CDC response has been galling denial and an increase in the Flu vaccine recommendations.  They have attempted to characterize this a “unique” case in which a “rare” underlying medical condition (mitochondria dysfunction) was aggravated.  In fact, mitochondria dysfunction is quite common in the autistic population, with several studies showing it occurring at 7 to 30% of the population.  This is a significant finding and should be of profound importance to the CDC.  Instead, it is ignored.  Instead they offer statements saying no “reputable science has been able to establish a link between vaccines and autism”.  I’m sure much in the same way that no reputable scholar believed the earth was round or revolved around the sun.  Instead, they try to phrase her diagnosis as “autistic-like symptoms” in an effort to convince the public the vaccines did not cause autism.  This statement is ridiculous on inspection given that autism is nothing more than a collection of symptoms.  You have autistic-like symptoms, you have autism.  Period.

While efforts to better fund care for the coming population of adult autistics and to provide health insurance coverage for autism related claims are critically important pieces of legislation, they don’t address the core issues.  If we do not do something about vaccine safety, and if we don’t protect children from toxic chemicals in our environment there will not be enough money to provide services for all the children that will need them.  So, the question that should face politicians today is this:  What side of history do you want to be on when the truth final comes to see the light of day?  As the numbers of people recovering their children from autism (without the help of and in many ways in spite of their government) grows I believe that day is coming soon.  Our community is large (and sadly growing larger), passionate and looking for a hero.  I urge you to be that hero and to call for a full and honest investigation on vaccine safety.

Jack and Becky Russell are the parents of 3 1/2 year old identical twins boys, both diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

 

Comments

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Dear Mr. Russell, Perhaps my family's experience would be interesting to you. My grandson, who is now nearly 7 had 4-6 signs of mild autism as a small child- not enough to be labelled as Aspergers perhaps- but they were very obvious to us and we worried a lot. Even if a child is a little qirky, he might not be able to make friends, for example. This summer we were with this boy for 6 weeks and were thrilled to find that some of his symptoms,and his fears have disappeared. Perhaps just one is left. I had thought that he might have to deal with his fears even as a teenager, This boy did not have any type of treatment or therapy.Hope your kids will be so lucky.

Love love love

I was wondering if Jack and Becky Russell got a reply to their love letter.

Terri Lewis

Jack,

This letter is so beautiful. To print it openly is a gift to all of us, and summarizes things perfectly.

As for Julie Gerberding, to whom you wrote: she has got to go. Preferably to jail, and throw away the key.

A report from Robin Nemeth, who has posted at Adventures in Autism: "When I phoned the CDC a couple of weeks ago to call for Gerberding's resignation, I was told, and I quote, 'she doesn't handle autism.'"

Thus, we throw our pearls before swine.

Her forced resignation would be a great step forward, I think, and I will continue to work for that.

Terri

YouRFired!

This woman is liquid evil!
Human beings suffering catastrophic hurricanes and young infants mean nothing to her. Misappropriations and scandals have abound under her reign. She simply must go. She is an insult to the term "public health".
Undeserving of this beautiful letter.
Fire her!

"Courageous individuals who are willing to go public with evidence of wrongdoing are critical to ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse in government agencies,"

"On Feb. 21, the CDC put De Rosa on a 90-day Personal Improvement Plan, which is a formal step toward termination," Dingell said in his letter to Gerberding. CDC officials have denied any retaliation or suppression of science."

Congressmen: CDC punished doctor for good work

By ALISON YOUNG
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/28/08

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun a process that could lead to the firing of an Atlanta scientist who tried to make public environmental dangers in the Great Lakes region and in trailers housing Hurricane Katrina's victims, congressional investigators said.

In a letter dated Thursday, lawmakers warned CDC Director Julie Gerberding to immediately stop all personnel actions against toxicologist Christopher De Rosa — and any other staff involved in a report about environmental health issues in Great Lakes states.

"Courageous individuals who are willing to go public with evidence of wrongdoing are critical to ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse in government agencies," U.S. Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a statement.

"The committee will fully investigate how CDC has treated Dr. De Rosa to determine whether it has violated federal whistle-blower laws and whether their behavior has been otherwise proper," said Dingell (D-Mich.).

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner, reached late Thursday, said the agency has been cooperating with the committee's investigators and will respond to the letter. Skinner said it's against CDC policy to comment on a specific personnel action.

De Rosa could not be reached for comment. Last fall, De Rosa was removed as director of the division of toxicology and environmental medicine in the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a position he'd held since 1992. Since that time, he's been given a title of "special assistant," but lacks any responsibilities, congressional investigators have said.

In an interview with the Journal-Constitution last month, De Rosa said he was demoted for insisting the CDC thoroughly investigate the long-term health risks of formaldehyde in trailers the federal government purchased to house victims of Hurricane Katrina. The CDC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced in February that thousands of Katrina victims need to be moved out of trailers because of dangerous levels of formaldehyde, a colorless gas used in the production of plywood.

Also playing a role in his demotion, De Rosa said, was his effort to have the CDC release the Great Lakes draft report, which identified abnormally high rates of health problems in areas near toxic waste sites around Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and other cities and called for further study.

Another congressional committee — the House Committee on Science and Technology — is investigating whether the CDC until last year intentionally avoided examining the cancer threat posed by formaldehyde fumes inside the trailers. It has scheduled a hearing Tuesday titled, "Have the Centers for Disease Control failed to protect public health?" That committee warned Gerberding in a Feb. 6 letter not to retaliate further against De Rosa.

On Feb. 21, the CDC put De Rosa on a 90-day Personal Improvement Plan, "which is a formal step toward termination," Dingell said in his letter to Gerberding. CDC officials have denied any retaliation or suppression of science. They said the release of the Great Lakes report was delayed because of flawed science.

Craig Willoughby

"For years other parents have been unfairly dismissed as cliched desperate hysterics incapable of understanding science. It's true that our lack of medical education has hampered the dialogue. When more medical professionals speak out and articulately explain these biological processes, then the paradigm shift and vaccine policy debate can advance much more quickly."

Well said, Nancy. Truer words have never been spoken.

Darren

Very nice letter. I hope the author will consider turning this into an op-ed piece for a newspaper, which would get more attention.

nhokkanen

This paragraph should come first -- and be read by journalists, editors, legislators, public health administrators, educators resisting the paradox that a product intended to improve health is having the opposite effect for some children.

"Let me be clear that this is not a conclusion that I reached lightly or in a knee-jerk response to my own bitterness. I have a Master’s in Molecular Biology and have dedicated my career working in biotechnology to develop and manufacture vaccines. My wife has a Master’s in Public Health Epidemiology. We could not be two people more predisposed to be believe that vaccines were anything but the greatest public health good that has ever existed."

For years other parents have been unfairly dismissed as cliched desperate hysterics incapable of understanding science. It's true that our lack of medical education has hampered the dialogue. When more medical professionals speak out and articulately explain these biological processes, then the paradigm shift and vaccine policy debate can advance much more quickly.

Barbie Hines

Mr. Russell:

Thank you for sending this letter and for sharing it with us. Your sentiments are felt by thousands. I applaud your efforts and will pray for your sons.

Diane Farrr

Jack and Becky, what a wonderful letter.

I used to expect and plan for setbacks; it didn't happen. Don't let the same people that told you nothing was wrong with your children in the beginning also tell you that recovery is not possible. I can say my boy is a little quirky because he is eight and plays guitar hero on a hard level; no one can beat him. I know this is not normal and I can say the autism had something to do with it. I can't say he still has autism because of this, either. My son is very happy, balanced and has many friends. He excels in everything but handwriting and even that is age appropriate. What more could I ask for, nothing. I am grateful beyond words.

Many say these kids will change our world. I hope so, because I'm almost out of steam.

Gayle

That was a lovely letter, Mr. Russell, but I am sure it will mean nothing to the recipient. The problem is that the recipient has already made her decision in this matter, and she has chosen a different opinion on autism causality (genetics?). What she is, unfortunately, not considering is that when this whole thimerosal/aluminum/formaldehyde/live multiple virus/etc. issue blows up really big into the mainstream media, her superiors will enjoy serving/setting her up as the perpetrator of this obvious evil. I am not a doctor, but I have worked in corporate America for many years, and I have seen many a superior take the fall (usually in three years from their start date). I see her downfall coming, but it is anyone's guess how long that will take. She can still choose to be a hero, but I doubt she will. I pray she proves me wrong.

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