A of A Contest: Win "Blessed with Autism"
Response to Chicago Tribune on Measles

How Will Sarah Palin Vaccinate Her Son Trig?

TrigBy Mark Blaxill

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

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

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

Rates of autism in children with Down's syndrome have not been determined with any great precision. They are quite likely increasing as the background rate of autism has also increased in the last 15-20 years. But there is little dispute that autism rates are high in the Down's syndrome population. One 1999 study in the UK estimated the minimum rate of autism in a population of children with Down's syndrome in South Birmingham at 7%. That places the risk of autism in children with Down's syndrome at least 10 times higher than the regular population. For Sarah Palin, that means her 4 month old son Trig may have at least a 1 in 15 chance of developing autism in addition to his Down's syndrome if one applies a ten year old estimate. If one makes the reasonable assumption that autism risk has risen over the last decade Trig's autism risk may well be greater than 1 in 10. Those aren't very good odds, especially for a family already facing the hardship of managing the difficulties of a special needs child.

These concerns would be important for any mother of a child with Down's syndrome, but they will take on an even greater urgency for Sarah Palin now that she is a Vice Presidential candidate. Quite literally overnight, Sarah Palin has become America's most visible mother of an infant child. And in her position, a stark and important personal health care decision now becomes a matter of public interest.

How will Sarah Palin vaccinate her infant son Trig?

Trig will be over six months old when flu season rolls around. Will Governor Palin consent to give him the recommended mercury-containing flu shot when his next well baby visit arises? As Governor, when she signed a statement in October 2007, as part of Influenza Vaccination Awareness Season in Alaska, to "encourage all Alaskans to get a flu vaccination to protect themselves, their families, and their communities," did she follow her own guidance?  Indeed, did she receive a mercury-containing flu shot herself during last year's flu season when she was in the late stages of her pregnancy? Will Governor Palin follow the CDC's recommended immunization schedule for Trig and receive over 40 separate vaccine doses over the first 5 years of his life. Indeed, at 4 months of age, at a time when Trig should already have received 16 different vaccine doses, is he on schedule or not?

Make no mistake, as the mother of a Down's syndrome child, Sarah Palin is playing with fire if she chooses not to deviate from the recommended schedule. With so many children with no identifiable risk factors showing up with autism that their parents connected to a vaccine reaction, if I were the mother of a child in an identified high risk group, I'd be scared to death to follow the rules. And I'd be doing everything I could to select only the most important vaccines and slow the entire process down. Most of all, I'd do my best to stay under the radar and not call attention to anything I was doing. The easiest way to delay the process is to feign ignorance and let the task of scheduling appointments carry the necessary delay.

Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, her newly visible public role doesn't allow her to fly under the radar. Every personal choice she has ever made, from playing point guard on her high school basketball team, to entering the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, to running for Mayor of Wassilla, is about to come under relentless scrutiny. Her decision not to abort Trig even after she learned he was a Down's syndrome child has won her the admiration of the pro-life crowd. But knowing that she has delivered her special needs child and has started to manage this 4 month old baby's health and development, she has a new set of choices to make that will become a matter of intense public interest. Will she follow the recommended childhood immunization schedule for Trig, or will she not?

What are you going to do Governor? What are you going to do?
Mark Blaxill is Editor at Large of Age of Autism.



I received 1 st loan when I was 25 and this supported my relatives very much. However, I require the auto loan once more time.

D Anthony

Will you show us a picture (Sarah Palin ) of her son in uniform ?

frank burns

To counter rumors back in August, Sarah Palin made a statement, to the effect that her daughter was five months pregnant. At that point, about 95% of the people who were actively discussing the rumor laid off, but of course expecting that in December there would be a baby to back up Sarah’s claim. In December, there came no evidence of any baby except for a new round of statements by Sarah, Sarah’s family and her press office.
The concern here is that Back in August perhaps Bristol was not yet five months pregnant, did not give birth to Tripp in December, and that in due time photos will appear of Tripp, but with no way to date when they were taken.

Craig Willoughby

Mehoo, mercury is still in the vaccines. It was never taken out, just shuffled around like in a shell game. It is in the majority of flu shots in full 25 mic dosage, and the Flu shot is becoming mandatory in some states.

What us and the rest of the Autism Community are trying to say to everyone that sometimes the vaccine IS more dangerous than the disease for some children, like in the case of the MMR. What we are trying to get proven, but are rejected at every step of the way, is that the vaccines need to be better studied and that there are indeed susceptiple subgroups of children who are getting harmed by vaccines, like in the case of Hannah Poling and all of our children.

Despite the propaganda that the anti-safe vaccine crowd spews, we don't want to get rid of vaccine entirely.


I have a kid with Down syndrome. Even if I did think vaccination was a risk for autism, which at this point I don't (especially since the mercury is gone) - don't forget that kids with DS have weak immune systems, making them at greater risk of diseases the vaccines protect against, and greater risk of disability or death due to them. I'd be more worried about that than autism.




Thank you so much for raising this issue. Although I'm coming late to this discussion, the issue of vaccines for children with other kinds of neurodevelopmental disorders does not have a time-stamp on it. It is as pertinent for them as it is for children with autism.

I believe you are just scratching the surface here, and I thank you for doing it. If you look on the CDC website at the page “Who should not get vaccinated?” you will see precious little concerning Down Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, “mental retardation,” neurodevelopmental delay, Cerebral Palsy, ataxia, mitochondrial disease, metabolic disease, genetic disorders, etc. You also won’t see much about vaccines being contraindicated for adults with neurological disorders.

Look at the CDC page on who should not get vaccinated here --http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm . Count the number of “exemptions” kids and adults with neurological problems get.
Look at this WHO site on mitochondrial diseases and vaccination - http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/mitochondrial_diseases/Jun_2008/en/index.html -- “While vaccines may cause fever, clinicians caring for children with mitochondrial disease recommend vaccinating their patients since the risk of developing an even more devastating clinical deterioration would be associated with natural infection.”
Look here in the UK on recommendations for immunization in Down Syndrome - http://www.dsmig.org.uk/library/articles/keypoints-immunisation.html

When was it that the policy on children with neurological disabilities changed? Because the going advice from neurologists used to be that children with neurological disability should not be vaccinated, – or so says both our pediatrician and our neurologist. That’s not the case anymore. When and how did that “consensus” change? Now there’s a story worth printing.

Regressions in children who already suffer neurological disorder or damage may be masked or passed off as part of their disease/disorder/syndrome/damage process. There is plenty of literature concerning vaccines and toxins as the cause of various neurological disorders, autism being only one of them. What about regressions afterward, descent into behavioral problems (which we know are most often immune-mediated), chronic intestinal problems, autism spectrum disorders, seizures, tics, movement disorders? In a typically developing child who regresses into an autism spectrum disorder, the change is highly visible. Even so, parents often have to jump through an enormous number of hoops to prove it. Imagine how difficult it might be to determine vaccine-induced regression in a child who already has a disorder – even kids who are diagnosed with non-regressive autism at birth?

For us, the poof has been in the pudding – in testing and treating our child who has had a neurodeveopmental disorder since soon after birth -- just like you would a child with autism. And yes, she regressed severely between 18-24 months on the accelerated CDC “catch-up” schedule required for international adoption. Behavioral problems, movement disorder, chronic diarrhea. And no, you couldn’t pick her tests out of a line-up of tests of children with autism. And yes, through three years of biomedical intervention, her behavioral problems are massively reduced, she is learning better and hardly ever has diarrhea anymore (a work in progress).

Keep going down this road of inquiry, as I think there is a big Pandora’s box waiting to be opened for the vaccine makers – a treasure chest for countless kids whose parents need to know more about how to recognize regression when they see it, how to prevent it from happening, and how to treat it once it does.

In great appreciation,

Vann Black

I just had an unforgettable trip to Alaska where I was able to speak to others about Sarah Palin before and after she was selected for the VP spot. Alaskans lover her and so do I. So much that I have set up www.SarahPalinEagle.com to commemorate the trip and raise money for her.

-Vann Black


I read through the thread and didn't see a mention of this.

Newsweek contradicted the claims about Palin reducing funding for special needs. In fact she tripled funding in the last 2 years. So that was BEFORE she knew she was carrying a baby with Down's, BUT it is now being reported Palin's sister Heather's son has autism - so a double reason for her to be an advocate for special needs.

Kelli Ann Davis

As soon as Sarah Palin was done with her speech I *KNEW* John McCain would be the next President of the United States.

She connected with me and I knew she had most likely connected with millions of other Americans as well.

Karen, the NYTimes story you posted resonates with me and explains why I felt an almost *immediate* connection to this woman.

She is *real and genuine* and she totally ROCKS.


Interesting NYTs piece:
"In private, the Palins slowly started to share the Down syndrome diagnosis. They wrote a long letter to Bruce, Palin's sister, who has an autistic son, explaining how they had come to embrace the challenges their baby would bring."
NYTs Palin fuses politics and motherhood in new way
By Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike and Catrin Einhorn
Monday, September 8, 2008

This article was reported by Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike and Catrin Einhorn and written by Kantor.

Sarah Palin's baby shower included a surprise guest: her own baby. He had arrived in the world a month early, so on a sunny May day, Palin, the governor of Alaska, rocked her newborn as her closest friends, sisters, even her obstetrician presented her with a potluck meal, presents and blue-and-white cake.

Most had learned that Palin was pregnant only a few weeks before. Struggling to accept that her child would be born with Down syndrome and fearful of public criticism of a governor's pregnancy, Palin had concealed the news that she was expecting even from her parents and children until her third trimester.

But as the governor introduced her son that day, according to a friend, Kristan Cole, she said she had come to regard him as a blessing from God. "Who of us in this room has the perfect child?" said Palin, who declined to be interviewed for this article.

Since that day, Trig Paxson Van Palin, still only 143 days old, has had an unexpected effect on his mother's political fortunes. Before her son was born, Palin went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his arrival would not compromise her work. She hid the pregnancy. She traveled to Texas a month before her due date to give an important speech, delivering it even though her amniotic fluid was leaking. Three days after giving birth, she returned to work.

But with Trig in her arms, Palin has risen higher than ever. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, says he selected her as his running mate because of her image as a reformer, but she is also making motherhood an explicit part of her appeal, running as a self-proclaimed hockey mom. In just a few months, she has gone from hiding her pregnancy from those closest to her to toting her infant on stage at the Republican National Convention.

No one has ever tried to combine presidential politics and motherhood in quite the way Palin is doing, and it is no simple task. In the last week, the criticism she feared in Alaska has exploded into a national debate. On blogs and at PTA meetings, voters alternately cheer and fault her balancing act, and although many are thrilled to see a child with special needs in the spotlight, some accuse her of exploiting Trig for political gain.

But her son has given Palin, 44, a powerful message. Other candidates kiss strangers' babies; Palin has one of her own. He is tangible proof of Palin's anti-abortion convictions, which have rallied social conservatives, and her belief that women can balance family life with ambitious careers. And on Wednesday in St. Paul, she proclaimed herself a guardian of the nation's disabled children.

"Children with special needs inspire a special love," Palin said, echoing the message she had shared at the shower.

A New Turn

By last winter, Palin seemed to have everything she had ever wanted. She had raised four children while turning herself into a rising star of the Republican Party of Alaska and then the national one. But then the still-new governor discovered she was pregnant. Piper, the youngest of the Palin brood, was 6. The family had long since given away their crib and high chair.

A few weeks later, after an amniocentesis — a prenatal test to identify genetic defects — Palin learned the results. Some abortion opponents decline such tests, but as her older sister, Heather Bruce, said, Palin "likes to be prepared." With her husband, Todd, away at his job in the oil fields of the North Slope, Palin told no one for three days, she later said.

Once they reunited, the Palins struggled to understand what they would face. Children with Down syndrome experience varying degrees of cognitive disability and a higher-than-average risk of hearing loss, hypothyroidism and seizure disorders. About half are born with heart defects, which often require surgery.

The couple decided to keep quiet about the pregnancy so they could absorb the news, they told people later.

And there were political factors to consider. "I didn't want Alaskans to fear I would not be able to fulfill my duties," Palin told People magazine last week.

The governor, thin to begin with, began an elaborate game of fashion-assisted camouflage. When Vogue photographed her, five months pregnant, for a profile in January, she hid in a big green parka. At work, she wore long, loose blazers and artfully draped accessories.

"All of a sudden she had this penchant for really beautiful scarves," recalled Angelina Burney, who works across the hallway from the governor in Anchorage.

As Palin's clothes grew tighter, Alaskans began to talk. She told several aides that she was pregnant, and a week or so later, her parents and her children, who called other relatives.

On March 5, as she was leaving her office for a reception, she shared the news with three reporters.

"We're expanding," the governor said brightly, said the deputy press secretary, Sharon Leighow.

"You're expanding state government?" one of the reporters asked.

"No, my family's expanding," she said. "I'm pregnant."

The trio fell silent, dropping their eyes from the governor's face to her belly.

"You're kidding," one finally mustered.

She assured them she would not take much time off: she had returned to work the day after giving birth to Piper, the child in tow. "To any critics who say a woman can't think and work and carry a baby at the same time," she said, "I'd just like to escort that Neanderthal back to the cave."

There was no mention of the baby's condition. Instead, she joked about giving her child the middle name Van, since Van Palin would sound sort of like the hard rock band Van Halen.

The next day, her office issued a minimalist masterpiece of a press release, conveying the news in three curt sentences.

In private, the Palins slowly started to share the Down syndrome diagnosis. They wrote a long letter to Bruce, Palin's sister, who has an autistic son, explaining how they had come to embrace the challenges their baby would bring.

A Big Speech

In mid-April, Palin and her husband flew to Texas for an energy conference with fellow Republican governors. Days before, Palin, a little-known governor from a faraway state, was asked to speak to her peers.

Around 4 a.m. on the day of her presentation, Palin stirred in her hotel room to an unusual sensation. According to The Anchorage Daily News, she was leaking amniotic fluid. She woke her husband and called her doctor back home. Go ahead and give the speech, said the doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who declined to comment for this article.

So Palin marched through the day. At a news conference, a reporter asked the six Republican governors present to raise their hands if they would refuse to serve as McCain's vice-presidential nominee. Palin was one of two who kept their hands down.

In her lunchtime speech, Palin held forth on the trillions of cubic feet of gas in the Alaskan Arctic, competitive bidding over pipeline construction and natural gas combustion. As she left the podium, Governor Rick Perry of Texas joked, "You're not going to give birth, are you?"

Palin just laughed.

"Nobody knew a thing," said Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii. "I only found out from my security detail on the way home that she had gone into labor and that she had gone home to Alaska."

In fact, Palin was not in labor, and her doctor thought she had time. So the governor flew to Seattle, continued to Anchorage and then drove to a small hospital near her hometown, Wasilla — a journey of at least 10 hours.

"She wanted to get back to Alaska to have that baby," said a friend, Curtis Menard. "Man, that is one tough lady."

A woman with symptoms like Palin's should be examined to determine her condition, said Dr. Laura Riley of Massachusetts General Hospital. The long trip home could have posed a risk, "but the odds were still in her favor that everything would be O.K.," said Susan Gerber of Northwestern University.

When Palin arrived at the hospital, she was still not in labor, so her doctor induced it, Bruce said. Trig was born early the next morning, weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces.

Parents who were in the next delivery room said the scene looked like any other, with no security detail in sight. The three Palin daughters came and went, and as Todd Palin passed through the corridors, he stopped to accept congratulations.

A Discovery

Inside Palin's room, her daughter Willow, 14, immediately noticed her new brother's condition, according to People magazine. "He looks like he has Down syndrome," Willow said. "Why didn't you tell us?"

Palin had wanted to let the news of the pregnancy sink in first, said Cole, her friend. She had intended to tell her family more after she returned from Texas. Then the baby arrived.

Her hesitation gone, Palin glowed with maternal pride. "Sarah was absolutely ecstatic," said a friend, Marilyn Lane. After months of reflection and prayer, friends say, the Palins, who are Christians, had come to believe God had chosen to send them Trig.

Later that day, Palin sent an e-mail message to her relatives and close friends about her new son, Bruce said. She signed it, "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."

"Many people will express sympathy, but you don't want or need that, because Trig will be a joy," Palin wrote. She added, "Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome."

Palin's three-day maternity leave has now become legend among mothers. But aides say she eased back into work, first stopping by her office in Anchorage for a meeting, bringing not only the baby but also her husband to look after him.

Many high-powered parents separate work and children; Palin takes a wholly different approach. "She's the mom and the governor, and they're not separate," Cole said. Around the governor's offices, it was not uncommon to get on the elevator and discover Piper, smothering her puppy with kisses.

"She'll be with Piper or Trig, then she's got a press conference or negotiations about the natural gas pipeline or a bill to sign, and it's all business," Burney, who works across the hall, said. "She just says, 'Mommy's got to do this press conference.' "

Palin installed a travel crib in her Anchorage office and a baby swing in her Juneau one. For much of the summer, she carried Trig in a sling as she signed bills and sat through hearings, even nursing him unseen during conference calls.

Todd Palin took a leave from his job as an oil field production operator, and campaign aides said he was doing the same now.

At her baby shower, Palin joked about her months of secrecy, Lane said. "About the seventh month I thought I'd better let people know," Palin said.

"So it was really great," she continued. "I was only pregnant a month."


See L.A. Times article today "Sarah Palin's leadership style has admirers and critics" at www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-palinstyle8-2008sep08,0,855616.story

Some excerpts:

a strange thing happened on the ethics issue once Palin became governor: She appeared to lose interest in completing the task of legislating comprehensive reform, some who supported the cleanup say.

The ethics bill she offered was so incomplete that its supporters had to undertake a significant rewrite. Moreover, when it came to building support for the bill, politicians in both parties say the new governor was often unaccountably absent from the fray.

And the seeming paradox of the ethics reform fight -- the combination of bold, even courageous readiness to take on a tough issue, coupled with a tendency to drift away from the nitty-gritty follow-through -- appears to be a recurrent theme of her record. Some lawmakers were so perplexed by her absence from a recent debate over sending oil rebate checks to Alaskans, for example, that they sported buttons at the state Capitol reading "Where's Sarah?"...

"When it comes to the real work of crafting policy, she's often not there," Gara said. He acknowledged her broad accomplishments, but added: "I don't know if she's disinterested in details or not comfortable with them, but the bottom line is: She is not truly a hands-on governor."...

In interviews, more than a dozen Alaska politicians described Palin as a master at burnishing her image and building a popular base...

Mary Webster

For more info on the possible connections between autism and Down syndrome, visit Autism One's archives. There you'll find Laurette Janak's enlightening 3-part interview from 2006.

Part 1 of 3
Teri Small Guest: Laurette Janak, similarities between Down Syndrome and autism; MMR vaccine, leukemia, arsenic, Thimerosal

Part 2 of 3
Teri Small Guests: Dr. Rich Van Konynenburg and Laurette Janak. Part II - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, glutathione, autism http://www.autismone.org/radio/?archive=998&bg=&FromA1

Part 3 of 3
Teri Small Guests: Dr. Rich Van Konynenburg and Laurette Janak http://www.autismone.org/radio/?archive=1015&bg=&FromA1

Laurette Janak

High occurrence of autism within the Down syndrome population; facts to consider.

1.) In one of the Autism Omnibus Hearings it was brought up that children with autism suffer from oxidative stress. One of the lawyers correctly pointed out that we don’t know if oxidative stress contributed to the onset of autism or is oxidative stress a result of having autism. With children who have Down syndrome (DS) this is a clear-cut issue. Perrone et al. 2007 looked at this issue and found evidence of lipid peroxidation in fetuses with DS. This research team concluded that oxidative stress occurs early in a DS pregnancy and appears to, “predispose patients to oxidative injury that begins in utero, as a result of gene loading.” Thus, anything that further adds to oxidative stress in the DS population can be adding insult to injury. Oxidative stress is a known contributor to neurodegenerative disorders. I could NOT find any published studies that looked at parameters of oxidative stress before and after vaccination.

2.) In 2004 the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) questioned whether there may be some individuals who have increased sensitivity to the toxic effects of the mercury based vaccine additive thimerosal. The IOM stated, “This hypothesis cannot be excluded by epidemiological data from large population groups that do not show an association between a vaccine and an adverse outcome. Depending upon the frequency of the genetic defect, a rare event caused by genetic susceptibility could be missed even in large study samples.” Based on their constitutional genetics, children with DS may represent a group that has increased sensitivity to thimerosal. This is important because thimerosal is still a component of some vaccines.

The gene for superoxide dismutase (SOD) is located on chromosome 21 causing this gene to be overexpressed in children with DS (trisomy 21). Hydrogen peroxide, a by-product of SOD, is detoxified into harmless water by glutathione. The imbalance created by the over utilization of glutathione to remove excess production of hydrogen peroxide has been generally accepted as one of the mechanisms responsible for the oxidative stress and well documented low levels of glutathione found in persons with DS. It is an indisputable fact that heavy metals up-regulate SOD and deplete glutathione in a dose dependent manner. What might be the consequences of further depletion of glutathione upon exposure to the mercury in thimerosal for a child with DS who already has low levels of glutathione? The question of glutathione depletion was investigated using cultured hippocampal neurons from an animal model of DS by Stabel-Burow et al. 1997. First off they confirmed that the neurons did in fact have lower levels of glutathione as compared to cells from genetically normal animals. Secondly, the low levels of glutathione correlated with increased neuronal cell death. And most importantly, they found that additional lowering of glutathione further augmented the basal increased cell death rate suggesting there is a threshold below which it contributes to neurodegeneration in DS. Can exposure to thimerosal be sufficient to contribute to neurodegeneration in persons with DS? Even this basic question has NOT been answered so should parents be expected to believe that thimerosal exposure does not play a possible role in autism? Furthermore, it is my opinion that the allowable safety limits of exposure for any known toxin should take into consideration the most vulnerable within the human population.

3.) A study by Miller et al. 2003 looked at the possibility of immune overload with the MMR vaccine. They found no evidence for “immunological overload” that would support the use of single antigen vaccines. When reading through the methods section of this study I noted that “children with additional diagnostic codes indicting an underlying disorder predisposing to bacterial infection, such as immunosuppression, malignancy, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart defect, or a cerebrospinal fluid shunt were excluded” from this study. It is not clear from the methods section if children with DS would have been excluded from this study or not. It is well documented that children with DS have immune suppression and a high occurrence of congenital heart defects so it seems likely they were not included in the study. If “immune overload” was a viable consideration for development of autism wouldn’t it be reasonable to presume such an overload would occur in children with immune suppression? Thus it seems these are the children that should have been specifically included in the study instead of being specifically excluded. Glutathione levels are known to modulate immune response to viruses. The low glutathione levels found in DS may make these children less able to deal effectively with viruses. Research has NOT been done looking at children most likely to be affected by “immune overload”.

4.) After concession of a vaccine autism case in the Court of Federal Claims, we were told that vaccinations aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder thereby resulting in autism. The CDC and media implied that mitochondrial disorders are rare. Based on the medical literature, children with DS all have mitochondrial dysfunction. Studies have NOT been done on children with DS to see if their mitochondrial dysfunction can be aggravated by vaccination and thereby be contributing to their high occurrence of autism.

For a more in depth look at the possible relationship of vaccination to autism within the DS community watch for this topic in the January 2009 issue of the international autism magazine, The Autism File . The current issue of this quarterly magazine can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or Borders.

In closing it is important to acknowledge the biologically based scientific studies needed to clear vaccinations from being implicated in autism within the susceptible Down syndrome population have simply NOT been done!

Respectfully submitted,
Laurette Janak mother to Emily (Down syndrome, ASD, and leukemia)

September 8, 2008


Our society needs to rethink the whole approach to vaccinations, in spite of what the medical establishment tells us.

I dutifully vaccinated my first three right on schedule. They are generally healthy, but my third has serious allergies.

I began to doubt vaccines about the time my fourth son was born, but took him anyway because it seemed to be the right thing to do. It wasn't until I had my sixth, and last, that I realized how harmful these innoculations can be. I did the research and made a conscious decision to have no more vaccines in our family. The youngest has never been vaccinated.

My younger three are healthier than my older three, who had the full range of vaccines. My youngest, at 13, is very healthy and has never had anything more serious than a cold.

I developed MCS after being vaccinated, as an adult, before taking a trip overseas. Of course, I also had all the shots recommended back in the 60s, and I don't feel they made me healthier. I would never put any of my children through this.

BTW, my husband, who is Southeast Asian, was vaccinated only once against smallpox. That's it. And he's much healthier than me.


Here is the story. She did cut funding for Special Education in AK.


Julie Swenson

You wrote: "Is it because there is no prenatal testing for a predisposition to autism? Is it because if there was you may have made different decisions? "
Excuse me!? Do you think parents would make a 'different decision'- and by that I'm guessing you are talking about abortion, simply because their children would be predisposed to autism through genetics? Did you choose to make a 'different decision" when you discovered your child had DS? Of course not- you accepted him for what he was and love him for what he is. It's the same in the autism world. I always said I would ‘take what I got”. I never even had an amnio done as I would not have opted for abortion for any reason. Do you know what I got? I got a healthy, neurologically sounds child that developed as he should have for 12 months but disappeared after getting 6 shots in one day at his first birthday. I don't know ONE single parent of a child with autism that would have opted for abortion had they the prior knowledge of their child's condition.
Parents of children with autism love their children as much as you love your son, but most of our kids simply were not born this way. Many of us watched our kids have violent reactions to vaccines: fever, screaming fits, unrelenting crying, language regression, etc. As a nurse, surely you cannot agree that the combination of ingredients in vaccines are healthy things to be injecting into immature immune systems? We put things in our vaccines that you cannot even legally put into the gutter. Do you, as a nurse, not think it’s frightening to see so many children being diagnosed with autism?
Of course we all love our children, regardless of their particular issues.

I have NO guilt over what happened to my son. None. I did not do this to him. Big Pharma and their greed did.


Although I haven't seen this written, Soledad O'Brien just reported that Palin cut funding for special needs in Alaska by 62 percent!!!! Exactly how does this jive with ther statement to SN parents last night as being "their gal"? So is special needs now important to her because it affects her life? Or maybe I am suppose to just be thankful that it matters to her now?


I just wish Thomas Jefferson's mother had considered his vaccination schedule more carefully. I mean, imagine how much more he could have accomplished in life if he hadn't had Asperger Syndrome.



Kelli Ann Davis

"Why are you questioning and JUDGING her choices as a mother?"


I think you've misread this post and Mark's intentions. He's not *judging* Sarah Palin's choices -- he's merely pointing out the higher risks for autism when a child has Down's Syndrome and he's *wondering aloud* how she would vaccinate if she knew all the facts. Of course, she alone (along with her husband) will make the decision on how to vaccinate her child -- we all know that.

That said, I do agree with you that her choice on whether to vaccinate or not is a private decision. The fact that she is running for public office doesn't automatically equate to full disclosure on private medical matters regarding her children.


To "Autism Remember" -- Your comment is so well said, so perfect: "The parents of autistic children HAVE vaccinated their children. That is why they have AUTISM. (Get it?) Trying to scare us ...or guilt us... by telling us TO vaccinate. ? Makes no sense. Go peddle your goods (vaccines) elsewhere. We are all filled up with toxic preservatives and heavy metals over here. Our kids brains are inflammed from viral encephalitis to last a lifetime."

Stagmom for Nurse Werking

"Shocked and saddened?" Are you writing a funeral announcement?

Autism and vaccination is a valid topic of conversation. Add in the genetic component of Down Syndrome and the fit is entirely right for Age of Autism. Parents today face the choice of which vaccinations they should or should not consider. After all, even the CDC says the AAP schedule is "flexible." That means parents have to put some THOUGHT into their child's medical care. Perhaps as a nurse you'd prefer we enter the doctor's office as monolithic lemmings? Those days are gone.

Don't insult my readers by insinuating they would have opted to terminate their pregnancies. I'm the leader of the pack on that one, dear. And her name is Isabella. We have argued forcefully AGAINST genetic testing for autism.

We're about protecting children, not splitting communities. Yours, mine and Sarah Palin's. Educating parents as to the potential problems they may face gives them choices. Any one of us would reach out to help you with your child, as we help each other within the autism community.

Thanks for commenting.

Kim Stagliano
Managing Editor
Mom to three beautiful girls who happen to have autism.

Erin Werking

I am shocked and saddened by this article.

As a mother of a 4 year old child with Down syndrome, a 7 month old typical child, and a nurse at Johns Hopkins, my heart just breaks as I see the scrutiny groups are placing on Sarah Palin. Why are you questioning and JUDGING her choices as a mother? Is it because there is no prenatal testing for a predisposition to autism? Is it because if there was you may have made different decisions?

I thought there isn't a disability hierarchy? All parents of a child that is differently-abled shares heartaches and joys that our friends cannot possibly understand. As part of our "sub-culture" don't we owe it to her to make that decision about vaccinations alone? Did anyone ask Obama if his children were vaccinated?

As parents we make the best decision for our children that we can with the knowledge that we have at the time. All of us who love our children do. Just as I have had to let go of the guilt and blame I put on myself for "causing" my son's genetic changes, so should some of your readers do the same.

Also, bringing a disability into the mainstream media in a positive light should be looked at as an opportunity for all of us parents! We all have to have new hopes for our families and want the world to know our children have value and purpose!!!


Ren, your beliefs should be "deep-SEATED" --not "deep-SEEDED." http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/deep.html

But take heart; your gaffe is not quite bad enough for my Anguished English list. I once saw an ad that read, "For sale: Perinial Plants." Ah, yes, the flowering episiotomy is so lovely this time of year....

I thank the previous poster who reminds the trolls eyeballing this AOA blog that we parents are the ones who vaccinated our kids. That's how we know what hurt them. What the guilty consciences ascribe to coincidence, we call reality -- a subject of little interest to public health administrators when money and reputation are involved.

Maria Luján

And a review on the issue
Policy vs evidence


Recent examples of problems with Flu vaccines
Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2008;146(1):85-8. Epub 2007 Dec 14.
Anaphylaxis from the influenza virus vaccine.
Coop CA, Balanon SK, White KM, Whisman BA, Rathkopf MM.
Department of Allergy/Immunology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), San Antonio, Tex, USA.
BACKGROUND: Allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine are uncommon and usually associated with sensitivity to egg or gelatin. The aim of this study was to report the case of anaphylaxis to the influenza vaccine. METHODS: Allergy percutaneous skin testing, serum specific IgE testing and IgE immunoblotting were performed to the influenza vaccine, egg, and gelatin. RESULTS: Percutaneous skin testing to the influenza vaccine and gelatin were positive and egg (white, whole, and yolk) was negative. Immunocap serum-specific IgE testing to egg (white, whole, and yolk) and gelatin were negative (<0.35 kU/l). IgE immunoblots were performed with 2 cord blood serums and the patient's serum at a 1:20 dilution against 10 microg of the Fluzone influenza vaccine. The patient's IgE immunoblot showed a protein band at 100 kDa which is similar to the molecular weight of gelatin protein, a 68-kDa protein which is similar to the molecular weight of hemagglutinin protein from the influenza vaccine, and a 45-kDa protein band that is similar to the molecular weight of ovalbumin protein from chicken embryo/egg. CONCLUSION: Based on clinical symptoms, skin testing, Immunocap testing and immunoblot evaluation, we feel that our patient is allergic to the infectious agent in the influenza vaccine as well as gelatin and ovalbumin in egg.

Now, where are the cases analyzed of patients allergic to the infectious agent in the influenza vaccine tested for safety? Do you know some?

Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Sep;51(3):486-97Vaccines for pertussis and influenza: recommendations for use in pregnancy.Gall SA.
The active immunization of pregnant women during pregnancy to protect them from disease and protect their neonate with passive antibodies is a biologic fact. Fortunately, many infectious diseases occur infrequently due to excellent pediatric vaccine programs. However, most adults and many physicians are unaware of the risks of not administering vaccines especially to pregnant women. Influenza vaccine (trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine) is recommended by (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy and Tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and pertussis (TdaP) vaccine is recommended by the ACIP to be given before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or in the immediate postpartum period. Only 2% of the adult US population is protected against pertussis and it is estimated that only 25% of pregnant women receive influenza vaccine during the influenza season. This chapter discusses trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine and TdaP use during pregnancy, the diseases they prevent, and the benefit to the neonate.

OK, and the problems?
J Clin Invest. 2007 Jun;117(6):1637-46.
Antigen-specific immune responses to influenza vaccine in utero.
Rastogi D, Wang C, Mao X, Lendor C, Rothman PB, Miller RL.
Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.
Initial immune responses to allergens may occur before birth, thereby modulating the subsequent development of atopy. This paradigm remains controversial, however, due to the inability to identify antigen-specific T cells in cord blood. The advent of MHC tetramers has revolutionized the detection of antigen-specific T cells. Tetramer staining of cord blood after CMV infection has demonstrated that effective CD8(+) antigen-specific immune responses can follow intrauterine viral infections. We hypothesized that sensitization to antigens occurs in utero in humans. We studied cord blood B and T cell immune responses following vaccination against influenza during pregnancy. Anti-Fluzone and anti-matrix protein IgM antibodies were detected in 38.5% (27 of 70) and 40.0% (28 of 70), respectively, of cord blood specimens. Using MHC tetramers, HA-specific CD4(+) T cells were detected among 25.0% (3 of 12) and 42.9% (6 of 14) of cord blood specimens possessing DRB1*0101 and DRB1*0401 HLA types, respectively, and were detected even when the DRB1 HLA type was inherited from the father. Matrix protein-specific CD8(+) T cells were detected among 10.0% (2 of 20) of HLA-A*0201(+) newborns.
These results suggest that B and T cell immune responses occur in the fetus following vaccination against influenza and have important implications for determining when immune responses to environmental exposures begin.


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2008 Feb;7(1):75-82.
Monitoring the safety of annual and pandemic influenza vaccines: lessons from the US experience.
Iskander J, Broder K.
US Public Health Service, Immunization Safety Office, Office of Chief Science Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS D-26, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
Annual use of influenza vaccines represents the largest vaccine campaign conducted in the USA. Recent expansions in influenza vaccine recommendations suggest a move toward 'universal' vaccination strategies. Although a great deal of safety data has been accumulated, concerns remain regarding rare, serious adverse events following immunization. A proven association between the 1976-1977 swine influenza vaccine and Guillain-Barré syndrome halted that particular national vaccination campaign. Recently, annual influenza vaccines have been associated with novel adverse events, for example, oculorespiratory syndrome in Canada. Any vaccine used against an influenza strain of pandemic potential will have an incompletely described safety profile. Thus, the challenge of influenza vaccine safety is to detect new safety concerns that may arise during seasonal campaigns, while preparing vaccine safety systems for the timely detection of adverse events in the setting of a pandemic
This manuscript gives a very interesting perspective on flu vaccine
Realities and enigmas of human viral influenza: pathogenesis, epidemiology and control
Maurice R. Hilleman
Influenza A is a viral disease of global dimension, presenting with high morbidity and mortality in annual epidemics, and in pandemics which are of infrequent occurrence but which have very high attack rates. Influenza probes reveal a continuing battle for survival between host and parasite in which the host population updates the specificity of its pool of humoral immunity by contact with and response to infection with the most recent viruses which possess altered antigenic specificity in their hemagglutinin (HA) ligand. HA ligand binds the virus to the cell to bring about infection. Viral survival relies on escape from host immunity through antigenic alterations in nature which arise through genetic drift by point mutation principally of the HA gene, or through genetic shift by reassortment exchange of the HA ligand with that of viruses retained in avian species. Partial control of influenza is by use of killed whole, subunit, or possible live virus vaccines, all of which rely on worldwide surveillance to provide early detection of the altered immunologic specificity of the next virus to come. Future global surveillance may be aided by studies of sampled viral isolates in laboratories having capabilities for accelerated genetic sequencing and for automated rapid throughput analyses as well. Influenza vaccines of the future must be directed toward use of conserved group-specific viral antigens, such as are present in transitional proteins which are exposed during the fusion of virus to the host cell. Chemotherapy, though still primordial, must eventually provide the ultimate solution to vaccine failures. Probing the enigma of the severe influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 is an exciting contemporary venture in which genetic reconstruction of the viral genome from surviving archival RNA is being conducted with great success. Present evidence reveals successive recycling in pandemics, of only 3 of the 15 possible avian viral HAs. Pandemics are believed, conventionally, to be derived solely by rare events in which wild viruses of man acquire a new HA ligand of avian origin. There might be an alternative possibility involving a periodicity in selective control by the host population itself, in its receptivity or rejection at a particular time of particular reassortant viruses which might be created more frequently in nature than we are presently aware. This hypothesis, though remote, provides a different way to view and to probe the enigma of pandemic influenza.

Personally I hope the family related to have the best counselor/peditrician/genetic /metabolic doctor possible for their child´s medical needs.

Not an MD

Pharmasniffer, you are really way too cool for exposing Ren's true roots. It is a shame that those who come to AoA to troll underestimate not only the intelligence of our community to locate medical/scientific papers regarding very obvious vaccine or vaccine component dangers, but our computer skills that enable us to find out exactly who they are. The bad news for them is that we really are not stupid at all.


To Canary Kathy,
Can I borrow what you wrote here to post to a mom's group online?


"I am a Christian with a deep-seeded belief that I am not always right and that I can sin with the best of them. Science tells me how, and God tells me why."
-Ren from Ren's Bio

this is my final post "Christian to Christian" here...now that we know a little bit more about you.
I think God would want you to know that vaccines are full of toxins, toxic heavy metals,live viruses and aborted fetal cells,injected into little babies in order to trick out their God given immune system.

Just read a flu shot insert and tell me if any of those items belong in a developing fetus or a child not old enough for solid food?
haemaglutinin and neuraminidase antigens A and B strains, gelatine, mercury, formaldehyde, sodium chloride, mashed chick embryos, neomycin.
Perhaps you best crack open your Bible before issuing stupidity claims.
"It would be well for him if a great stone was put round his neck and he was dropped into the sea, before he made trouble for any of these little ones." Luke 17:2
I don't think you will find a flu shot line in the Garden of Eden.
Maybe it's time to listen to someone a bit smarter than the corrupt and compromised CDC.
Just guessing but...
Doubt the "big guy" would advocate 9-25mcgs of the second most toxic substance on earth
injected into a pregnant woman or 6 month old.


Alert, Bird Flu Pandemic.
A few hundred chicken farmers have died while living in chicken filth.
Form a human chain!
Ratchet down public health superheros.
Allocate millions of dollars for pandemic flu drugs.
(And they think *we're* crazy for questioning the vaccine industry???)
Do yourself a favor Ren, haunt a different house.


Julie Tuggle, you stated:

"It is ethyl not methyl mercury in the flu vaccine. Check any basic chemistry book, this chemical composition does not deposit in the brain"

Perhaps you've missed this study on brain concentration of ethyl vs. methyl mercury. Ethylmercury DOES indeed comcentrate in the brain, just at a differt level than methylmercury:


Off To Hot-tlanta
I'll be attending the Influenza Surveillance Coordinators Meeting in Atlanta, GA, on August 11 to 13. Topics of discussion will include new and alternative ways of surveying the population for influenza. Trust me, it's fun stuff.
Posted by Ren at 8/05/2008 07:19:00 AM

The Flu Is Done With Us
Influenza surveillance in Maryland has ended for the 2007-08 season. We still will be on the look out for it, but not as much as during the season. Of course, if any cases are detected during the "off season", they will be checked out... We don't want anything to hit us from a blind side.

Posted by Ren at 5/18/2008 09:30:00 PM

Like what? The wrong strain, whoops!
Why is the Maryland DHMH so interested in tracking flu and monitoring Autism Blogs?
Maybe all that State time and money would be better spent making vaccines non-toxic and safe for all.

Autism Remember


Scare tactics. Gotta love em.

Let me spell it out for you fellas that don't get WHO you are talking toover here at AoA.

.....Read slowly....

The parents of autistic children HAVE vaccinated their children. That is why they have AUTISM. (Get it?) Trying to scare us ...or guilt us... by telling us TO vaccinate. ? Makes no sense. Go peddle your goods (vaccines) elsewhere. We are all filled up with toxic preservatives and heavy metals over here. Our kids brains are inflammed from viral encephalitis to last a lifetime. Not to mention speech delay, OCD, sensory dysfunction and immunity disregulation. Yes...actually YOUR kids are a greater health threat. Your kid gets a "cold" while mine will get bronchitis, pnuemonia and mono because they have NO natural killer cells. That is what vaccines have done to my child.

Too Many Too Soon


Another question... undoubtedly her oldest son was subjected to the mandatory vaccines that the military requires. He's obviously of age, but there is no way around these - dissenters have been court-martialed. The military (and their families) should be afforded the right to refuse experimental vaccines!


This just figures--

"Analysis of news reports from around the world by professionals in Public Health and Epidemiology" (r u for real?)



Most news stories on infectious diseases are written by reporters whose background or education is not in Public Health, Infectious Diseases, or even Epidemiology. So this blog is dedicated to analyzing and dissecting news stories and trying to put them into context so the myths and misunderstanding that are inherent in news stories can be clarified.

The opinions and analysis presented in this blog do not represent the opinion or analysis of any institution, public or private.

The opinions and analysis solely represent those of the posts' author(s).

No guarantee of accuracy or impartiality is made.

Blogs With Similar Aims
Epi Wonk


It is so interesting that informational Autism boards always get infiltrated with PR firms working for Pharmaceuticals.
It is so obvious because the posters are so incredibly "out of touch", like "20 something" interns that have no children to speak of.
Hoping for a full time marketing post at Merck? Sure sounds like it.

I cannot go anywhere and not have people inquire if my son's Autism started with vaccines.
My phone rings off the hook with unsolicited questions, "Should I vaccinate?". I get collared at school events and once at the Urgent Care clinic by a doctor worried about giving his son the MMR!
(Pssst,they don't believe you anymore AAP! Confidence has been lost if the public is consulting other mothers. The mothers you deem reckless, uninformed, unscientific are getting quizzed about shots-everyday.
I suppose the damaged children and collection of scientific data we have, trumps the glossy AAP literature. Plus we'll gladly give out information without a long wait and co-pay.)

From the beginning of time humans have been exposed to environmental Mercury and there has been no known Autism epidemics.
(We the exception of some Hg pesticide poisonings in Iraq and Japan producing Autism.)
Only when we fattened the vaccine schedule and added more Thimerosal than what our own
EPA deems safe...directly injected into a child...spikes a colossal rise in Autism.

Now we have 1:150 1:80 boys 1:40 twins 1:67 school age kids (DOE estimates). YIKES!
Between this and the 45 year olds dementing from Hg laden Flu shots, we will have culled the human race.

Just a little note before you cut out to for the day with the other 20 somethings Ren.
We fight so fiercely because we don't want your children to be in the same boat.
Think about that when you are sucking down the beers at Fridays.

Honestly, some people will do anything for a buck. Even if it means attacking parents of injured children.

Many of us have the Hg testing, the metabolic testing and the time line of damage. Even video. Not to mention a horseload of science behind us.
5000 of us are in Federal Court now over it.
One of us was granted a concession by the Dept of Health and Human Services that vaccines DID IN FACT cause their daughter's Autism.

Post away but we're not shuttin' up. We are not the slightest bit intimidated! Nasty name calling and ignorance references are nothing - compared to seeing your once verbal, beautiful, flesh and blood silently smearing poop on the playroom wall!
Nothing you can say can strip our soul more than losing a child to vaccine damage.
When you log off your computer at night, we attend Little League games and PTA meetings. We talk vaccine damage in grocery lines baby!
We make for good job security, so be nice or we'll trace your ISP or hunt down your proxy server and expose exactly who you are.

Meg Naughton

You wanna know what kills me??? This is a publication that makes their intentions well known, and still we have to put up with people coming here and bashing us and our position on vaccines and Autism.
GO AWAY!!! You can pick on us all over the place...can you please just leave us parents who are dealing with tremendous amounts of pain and frustation and heartache one little place of solace?!?!?!? I personally don't care that you have a perfectly healthy vaccinated child. I have 2!!! But I also have 2 that were not so lucky to be spared the consequences of our toxic environment and our government agencies' toxic choices. You have a million places to spew your absolutely biased knowledge, so go do it there.
The Mother of a vaccine injured child, and a toxic environment injured child, and 2 very lucky healthy children!!!!!

Craig (For Ren)

Ren, do you happen to know the difference between injected and injested? I know, only 1 letter, but there is a significant difference. And I bet you believe every little thing the government tells you. And I bet you don't believe that the Pharmaceutical Giants have never knowingly harmed or injured people, or doctored studies to prove the safety of their products, or tried to cover anything up. I also believe that you don't believe it is possible that they could have fooled the world, like Tobacco did not too long ago. And, I believe Kim addressed your bivalent and tivalent vaccine issues.

And who did you say lived in a bubble?

Yes, I love your level of cowardice and gullibility. Yes yes, move along...follow the rest of the herd.


Great post, important issues.

Well, Governor Palin doesn't believe that global warming is man-made so there's a strong chance she doesn't believe that autism is either.


It seems as if Palin was chosen to be everything that John McCain is not, for better or worse. I've long hoped to see a woman in such high (or higher) office but I have similar feelings about Palin as I did about Clinton-- not this one.

Stagmom to commenters

The AAP schedule has 16 vaccinations by the 4 month well visit. Here they are:

Hep B x 2
RotaTeq x 2
DTap x 2 = 6 vaccines
Hib x 2
Pneumococcal x 2
Polio x 2

A Child born in 1988 did not get 16 vaccinations by 4 months of age. I'm happy to hear your loved one is healthy and well at 20. We all want that for our kids.

Thank you for sharing the official language of your community with us. I also prefer to call my girls, "children with autism" as opppsed to "Autistic."

Kim, Managing Editor

TOTAL: 16 vaccines adminstered in 12 separate doses/shots



I like how you manipulate language to make it sound like the baby got 16 shots in 4 months, when, in fact, he probably got no more than 2 to 4 with trivalent and bivalent vaccines. I also like your fixation with mercury... I bet you don't eat animal meat, plants, or drink water because all those contain mercury too. And I bet you keep your family and children in a bubble, safe from the rest of the universe, and that's why they don't need vaccines.
I love that level of stupidity.


You people kill me! Why do these issues have to be blown up so large? Don't you all get tired of making huge issues out of something that is not such a big deal?

I think I would rather have had my Down Syndrome sister have all of her vaccines than get sick with an illness that could have killed her since she is more likely to get sick. Vaccines seem to work just fine for millions of people.

It worked for us!! Jordan is happily 20 years on (on Aug. 31) and is a very capable young woman.


Excerpted from last weeks press release.

Proper Language

Sent from National Down Syndrome Society and National Down Syndrome Congress

Contact: Sarah Schleider
212-763-4369/ 917 921 9889 (cell)

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been selected as John McCain’s choice for Vice Presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Governor Sarah Palin recently gave birth to her son who has Down syndrome. The Palins knew before their son’s birth that he would have Down syndrome.

Below are tips for the proper use of language for ‘Down syndrome’. The National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress encourages all media to use the below language:

• Down vs. Down’s. NDSS and NDSC use the preferred spelling, Down syndrome, rather than Down’s syndrome. While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both popular spellings (with or without an apostrophe s), the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome. This is because an “apostrophe s” connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it. The AP Stylebook recommends using “Down syndrome” as well.

• People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first. Instead of “a Down syndrome child,” it should be “a child with Down syndrome.” Also avoid “Down’s child” and describing the condition as “Down’s,” as in, “He has Down’s.”

• Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease.

• People “have” Down syndrome, they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it.

• It is clinically acceptable to say “mental retardation,” but you may want to use the more socially acceptable “cognitive disability” or “cognitive impairment.”

Julie Swenson

to Julie Tuggle: you wrote

"Please be aware that deaths form Influenza are real... The concern about mercury causing autism is not...It is ethyl not methyl mercury in the flu vaccine. Check any basic chemistry book, this chemical composition does not deposit in the brain.... To the mother who worries about middle school vaccines, there is no thimerisol in those vaccines..."

Let me get this straight: you claim there is no more mercury in vaccines and yet you want us to vaccinate our immune-compromised kids against the flu? Flu shots have a remarkable amount of mercury in them. You want to defend the type of mercury added to our vaccines? Did it occur to you that NO MERCURY (hello?? A well-known brain-damaging substance!!) should never be in something we inject into our kids? Good grief! Thanks, but I’ll take the flu over mercury any day.

Northern Exposure

Well since she is accused of being a right wing wacko, she may not have him vaccinated at all.

I wouldn't.

Canary Kathy

With over 25 years of Nursing experience (mostly Pediatric) and seeing what I have seen, I would NEVER Vaccinate a child these days. NO CHILD can come out healthy after over 50 (fifty) Vaccines.

You do realize that there are over 50 Vaccines given to kids these days right?

Does your doctor do any testing BEFORE giving your child any vaccines?

Many young and new parents do not have a clue what it is like to bring a perfectly healthy child into a doctors office for a "shot" which is really more like 5 shots (or 3 in one) and a couple of others and to have a screaming child that then has seizures and THEIR LIFE IS NEVER THE SAME AGAIN.

Isn't it interesting how these doctors office visits are called "Well Baby Visits" ?

And to top it off, neither the doctor or the company that makes the Vaccines are liable for any damage caused from the Vaccines.

So, while not every person who smokes cigarettes will get lung cancer, not evey child who gets vaccines will become neurogically impared or Autistic. However, we know that cigarettes DO infact cause Cancer. Would you know which cigarette caused the cancer or is it cumulative?


Unfortunately, being that there is an ongoing funneling of BIG $$$ for vaccines, for children injured by vaccines, for medications given to children injured by vaccines, for ONGOING care of these kids, the government has a huge stake in allowing the drug companies all of this profit. It is easy to figure out... just follow the money !

Ohhh... and just for some food for thought. Do you really believe that your pediatrician gives their own children ALL of the recommended Vaccines on the CDC Vaccine schedule?
I doubt it highly. Do you think they are going to tell you that? I doubt that even more highly... they need their jobs!


Thanks for the link to the Ghost genes Jim.

That issue STILL doesn't explain why all the sudden that these genes are "turning on" more than they used too.

As a scientist and one who studied genetics specifically - some environmental factor(s) is/are triggering the increase.

I observed a change in my son within hours of receiving 4 shots at age 15 months. He was otherwise "normal" up to that point.

Jim D

I am going a scientist that does not believe vaccines cause autism. No studies have shown that vaccines cause autism, but what other explanation do we have?

Nova just had a fantastic episode called Ghost in your Genes. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that wants to find the cause of autism.



Please source data that proves vaccines are 100% effective in all children.
Please show data that all recent outbreaks did not included vaccinated populations.
All outbreaks the Mumps in Iowa, chicken pox outbreak featured at the CDC ACIP meeting and the recent Measles outbreak all included those vaccinated.
The last Polio outbreak in Minnesota was an Amish girl who got Polio from a foreign visitor who recently had the oral vaccine and was shedding it through fecal matter.
Worry about things that can kill your kid,
like MRSA. Origins: Greedy parasitical doctors who over prescribed antibiotics.
This is fear mongering at it's best.

Barbie Hines


Please be assured that my response to your post is meant to be taken in a kind tone...I appreciate the kind tone of your post...sometimes the tone of e-mails/posts can be misinterpreted...and I just didn't want that to happen...

You said:

"If I didn't have her vaccinated, she would be exposed to everything her classmate came down with. Then, I realized how truly selfish that classmate was because they were benefitting from everyone else's vaccinations by never really being exposed to anything. That is, until she did come down with the mumps and had to be out of school for 20 days! Since my daughter has DS and already has a compromised immune system I was very glad I did vaccinate because in this instance her risk from the mumps was greater than a possible complication related to the MMR. This is just my personal experience and I must admit it is not an exact science and one hopes they are doing what is best for their child. That classmate went on to get the chicken pox thus exposing their pregnant teacher to shingles-very dangerous for an unborn fetus."

I understand where you are coming from...I use to feel this way...I really did. But over the past 5 years, I have come to realize that vaccinations for many, many kids do not protect as I once thought. My son had the chicken pox vaccine...yet ended up getting the chicken pox...more than once. I had the chicken pox and shingles. Recently we all learned that there was a "measles epidemic" of I think 131 people (funny that they consider that an epidemic but not autism!)...yet over half of those individuals were vaccinated...if they were vaccinated, why did they get the measles?

A part of me feels badly that you think of mothers like myself, who no longer vaccinate, as selfish...I'm not mad that you said this...as I was there at one time...but I have to put my kids first...before the greater good. My son suffered what may be lifelong damage...severe, severe damage...from his vaccinations. Most doctors would even agree that is the case. In fact, our mainstream family doctor, who is as mainstream as can be, won't vaccinate my daughter. Some believe that my son's reaction/damage was due to an underlying genetic factor...perhaps mitochondrial...perhaps immune related. If this is the case, how could I risk vaccinating my daughter? I don't feel selfish with this decision...I feel I have no option. She may miss 20 days of school because of the mumps one day...but she won't suffer her entire life...she won't have an 80 some percent chance of physical and/or sexual abuse in a group home one day. I actually feel I have taken the higher road for the good of my daughter. I will worry when she gets the flu or a fever one day..."Is this just the flu? Should I be worried about menengitis here?"...I don't look forward to constantly worrying about every fever she develops...but I would rather take on the worry...and the extra trips to the doctor for every little thing...rather than risk her life, as I did to her brother.

If my daughter or son ever poses a risk to another person...I will not feel good about that...but I truly have a hard time understanding why they are thought of as such a risk. I have never been vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, menengitis, etc. The vast majority of individuals my age have never been vaccinated for these diseases. Are we all a risk? Wouldn't my 'capability' of acquiring and passing on a disease be just as high as my non-vaccinated children? Wouldn't every adult my age and older pose just as high a risk? I think this current focus on the dangers of non-vaccinated children is overstated...and I don't mean by you...I mean by the general public...by the CDC, etc...I am a danger...my husband is 50 years old...he received a total of 5 vaccinations...he is a risk..isn't the real risk the current unreliability of the vaccination policies in our country?

Again, I do appreciate your kindness...and I hope you take my comments as a kind explanation of my feelings also.


How about some advice for Governor Palin.

If the Palin family needs an education concerning Pharma BLACK-OPs take no further look than at their overwhelming response to all these school shootings or other inexplicable acts of violence and self-violence across the United States.

SSRIs are batting 1.000 for school shooters. Don't know about the so called anthrax guy, but FBI files state they knew he was on Celexa.



Had a friend's young adult son in law attempt suicide a month or so ago. Anti-depressant (SSRI) Rx preceded the attempt by about a month.

The father in law was beside himself because the kid is a solid, fully healthy young man with what's said to have top clearance inside the U.S. government. His superiors were livid at the fact that the allopath head doctor had done NOTHING more than Rx an SSRI drug.

The Neo-Cons are the ones preaching personal responsibility on their exclusive FOX NEWS network. Well, Merck, GSK, and the rest aren't exactly persons, but they certainly are NOT taking responsibility for ANY of this stuff.

In many, many cases, these aren't mentally ill people doing this suicidal stuff. They for the most part are people made sad and/or hurt by something. There is absolutely nothing WRONG with being sad or being hurt. However, the allopaths introduce SSRIs and they become these monsters.

Let's examine the American death toll:

Iraqi/Afghan War - 4,400 est.

Persian Gulf War - 358 KIA

Vietnam War - 58,159

Korean War - 36,516

Vioxx - 60,000 +

Vioxx has killed more American people than any single war since WWII.

It's time to remind all politicians of their sworn oath.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, FOREIGN and DOMESTIC; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Julie Obradovic

Julie Tuggle,

With all due respect, the fact that you don't even know how to spell "thimerosal" speaks volumes about your knowledge regarding its biochemical, neuro-chemical, neuro-physical, nuero-physiological, and immunological pathology. Debate and opinion are certainly welcome on this blog...and encouraged in a respectful manner...but please be aware, you need to know what you're talking about first. Otherwise, you just look silly. Sorry to be harsh, but there are so many factual errors in your comment, it's impossible to take you seriously.


Jack Straw you may be interested in the recent findings from WHO:
Chronic disease is quickly trumping infectious disease these days.
Mercury injected into a pregnant woman or small infant is chronically debilitating per it's own Material Data Safety Information.
Clean up toxins in vaccines or chronic disease will be the norm.
Only pharmaceutical companies wishing to fear-monger (ie Bird Flu) support there is no danger in Hg laden shots.
Why on earth would any thinking human being willing allow their young to have a flu shot with 9-25 mcgs of Mercury?
Defies all logic. Why as other countries have we not just banned Thimerosal?
Would an "out and out" ban cause Autism numbers to eventually drop, causing Vioxx like outrage?
Far better to campaign for a Mercury laced flu shot I guess.

No thanks, we'd rather throw up here.
Last year they couldn't even get the strain right, so kids got all the Mercury and zero protection.
Can you say asinine Strawman?

Why do we have more ASTHMA, AUTISM, ADHD, Bi-Polar, fatal food allergies???
Unchecked unregulated fascist vaccination program that's why.
MY KID, MY CHOICE (to *not* shoot up toxic vaccines in his developing little body.)

GENEVA — Nearly 400 million people will die from heart disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments over the next 10 years, but many of those deaths can be prevented by healthier lifestyles and inexpensive medication, the World Health Organization (search) said Wednesday.

The financial burden from an increasing death toll from such non-communicable diseases will also be enormous, costing countries such as China and India billions of dollars, WHO said in a report.

"The lives of far too many people in the world are being blighted and cut short by chronic diseases," said Lee Jong-Wook, WHO director-general.

He was citing the latest WHO report to draw attention to the increasing threat from diseases that can be prevented in part by healthier diets and giving up smoking.

Until recent years, these chronic conditions were overshadowed by infectious diseases like HIV/ AIDS (search), though they cause far more deaths. Chronic, or noncommunicable diseases, account for three out of five deaths worldwide, the WHO says.

The 128-page WHO report estimated that 39 million deaths from chronic diseases in the next 10 years can be prevented through healthier lifestyles and relatively cheap medication, including 28 million in developing countries.

The projections were based on surveys conducted in countries that have already implemented measures to encourage healthier habits. Exercise and better diets can help prevent 80 percent of premature cases of heart disease (search), strokes and diabetes, the report said.

Although other studies have predicted the number of deaths from individual diseases, the WHO report was the first to project the toll from all major chronic conditions.

It was also the first to quantify the economic burden of treating such conditions in individual countries. China could spend $558 billion treating heart disease, strokes and diabetes over the next decade, the study said. Russia could spend $303 billion and India $236 billion.

"This is a preventable epidemic," said Robert Beaglehole, co-author of the study. "We know what to do, we know how to do it, preventions are very cheap."


Please expunge the comments with false information.
11 vaccinations including the flu shot still have Thimerosal in them.
My perfectly normal son plunged into Autism and mitochondrial dysfunction after getting over 277X the EPA's allowable amount of Mercury in his infant vaccines.
In 2002, when it was supposedly out, I read the insert on my newborns Hep B and it was the first ingredient.
Read in depth the blogs of the *dozen* or so kids that make up - Families Against Flu.
They had secondary issues and immune problems, of which Mercury would have only made the child's immune system even more dibilitated.
No child should be injected with Mercury of any sort.
I was pleased to host a family from Alaska in my home last year, they informed me that vaccines were very loosely regulated in their State. They never felt pressured to vaccine beyond the few shots that they as parents chose.
Let's hope some of that "choice" makes it all the way to DC.
I'm game for some CDC reform, before anymore children fall to Autism.
Ask any one of us. We would rather have had the flu.
Autism is VERY VERY real post vaccination for some of us.
The flu is over in a weekend, Autism is a life long condition.


"Check any basic chemistry book, this chemical composition does not deposit in the brain"

Amazing. flabbergasting. Where do these poeple come from who profess to do background research on Ethyl Mercury and still manage this?

Julie Tuggle

Please be aware that deaths form Influenza are real... The concern about mecury causing autism is not...It is ethyl not methyl mercury in the flu vaccine. Check any basic chemistry book, this chemical composition does not deposit in the brain.... To the mother who worries about middle school vaccines, there is no thimerisol in those vaccines...What you should be worried about is your childs altered Immunity with downs, making him more susceptible to the morbidity from these diseases... In addition as less people immunize, the herd, the people protecting your child, will shrink

Jack Straw

Not vaccinating your child not only puts your child at risk but also others. Every un-vaccinated person decreases the population immunity that prevents epidemics, protecting the un-vaccinated and vaccinated alike. These diseases kill and maim, Its people like you that kill innocent children by proliferating hysteria.


I have an 18 year old son who was diagnosed at age 3 1/2 with PDD-NOS, later determined to be regressive Autism. He now also endures day to day with a form of selective mutism. He has tremendous anxiety disorder. As a result of vaccine requirements in New York State, even if my son could attend community college or local college courses because he has the intelligence for the academics, he would be prevented from registering because he would be required to have the necessary vaccines for college students. Vaccination hurdles aren't limited to just infants, toddlers and early elementary school children. My husband and I stopped the vaccinations when Jeff was 5. I stopped my career entirely because of his Autism. When he finished middle school, I had to start home schooling because he shut down entirely in the public schools. Gov. Palin has no clue what her future holds with a child with special needs, particularly if she adheres to the requirements that are forced upon parents by school districts and the pharmaceutical industry. Who supports the Republicans more than the pharmaceutical industry? She will have no choice but to have her child vaccinated. Will he also show signs of regressive Autism? With a child who has Down Syndrome (Note: it is Down Syndrome, not Down's Syndrome - Doctor Down who gave this chromosonal condition it's name, didn't have this condition - look to the National Down Syndrome Congress for guidance) you cannot tell if and when he may also receive another diagnosis. I know parents who have children with Down Syndrome who also learned of Autism-like behaviors later when the child is in middle school (and more vaccines are required).

This all goes back to John McCain's choice of VP. If he thought he was going to make this easier for his candidacy, he is grossly mistaken.

Editor's Note: I have retained the usage of "Down's syndrome" rather than "Down syndrome" to reflect the historical usage of the term. John Langdon Down is a figure of note in the history of autism and his role as the first to characterize the physical symptomms that results from trisomy 21 is an event I have chosen to preserve in the nomenclature. I understand that this is non-standard.


My apologies for using language that appeared insensitive to some. I've changed the post to read "children with Down's syndrome" and "mother with a Down's syndrome child." In light of our recent discussion here about the use of "autistic" I understand how the use of modifiers can be a point of sensitivity.


Seriously, as the mom of a daughter with Down syndrome I could barely get through the article because I was cringing at the words "Down's syndrome mom" and "Down's syndrome children". I guess you don't know what yo don't know-but now you DO know :)

You bring up many good points. I strongly advocate vaccinations although I do tend to support the link between the MMR and autism. As a result, I had the MMR vaccine separated into 3 shots given on 3 separate visits over the course of 4 months. I can remember the angst I had around vaccination time always researching and looking for any information that would allow me to make an informed choice. When my daughter's classmate decided NOT to EVER get vaccinated for anything, I realized just how important it was for my daughter to be vaccinated. If I didn't have her vaccinated, she would be exposed to everything her classmate came down with. Then, I realized how truly selfish that classmate was because they were benefitting from everyone else's vaccinations by never really being exposed to anything. That is, until she did come down with the mumps and had to be out of school for 20 days! Since my daughter has DS and already has a compromised immune system I was very glad I did vaccinate because in this instance her risk from the mumps was greater than a possible complication related to the MMR. This is just my personal experience and I must admit it is not an exact science and one hopes they are doing what is best for their child. That classmate went on to get the chicken pox thus exposing their pregnant teacher to shingles-very dangerous for an unborn fetus.


Yes- please use "people first" language and also I wanted to point out that along with as you wrote, the "hardship of managing the difficulties of a special needs child" comes joy. My daughter happens to have Down syndrome and she is wonderful. The Palin's will have support and Trig will do fine.


I read an article a while back indicating that children with Down's Syndrome are particularly sensitive to aluminum and it accumulates in their brains at a rapid rate causing dementia in this population at a much earlier age than for those not affected with Down's. As most of the childhood vaccines contain aluminum as an adjuvant, the parents of children with Down's should be especially careful when vaccinating their children, and should find any medical articles they can on this important topic to discuss with their pediatrician, or perhaps with a neurologist. I sent the article I read to a mother of a young girl with Down's. Wish I could find it now to post the link.


My daughter has both Down syndrome and autism. She has the regressive autism -- she was developing fine until age 2 when she lost all her speech and signs, lost all her social skills such as waving hello and goodbye, lost pretend play. There is a definite increased risk of autism with Down syndrome.

BTW, please consider "people first" language. Trig is not a "Down's syndrome baby", he is a baby with Down syndrome. C'mon, writing for the disability community, you guys should know that already!

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