Out of Africa and Into Autism: More Evidence Illuminates the Somali Anomaly in Minnesota
Kids, Say Du"Bye" To Your Health: AAP Heads to the Middle East

Minnesota and the CDC Confer on Somali Autism Situation: CDC’s Office of the Director: Autism May Result from “Chemical Exposures”

EpidemiologyManaging Editor's Note: Welcome Huffington Post readers.  David referenced the post below on HuffPo HERE.

By David Kirby

On Saturday, November 15, I attended a daylong forum in Minneapolis on autism in the Somali immigrant community there, where the rate of autism among Somali children in the public schools had been reported at 1 in 28 kids.

At the forum, Dr. Judy Punyko, an epidemiologist for the State Department of Health, was expected to present at least preliminary findings on the prevalence of autism among Somali schoolchildren in Minnesota. The 80 or so Somali parents who attended were disappointed, by all accounts, that Dr. Punyko had no way to tell them if autism among their children was, as they strongly suspect, more common than among non-Somalis the same age.

Dr. Punyko said she had conferred with officials at the CDC on how to best measure the rate of autism in this particular population, but that she was still waiting for data requested from Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), even though she had put together a panel of experts to examine the issue back in August. She said that MPS would get her the data sometime in December, and that a report on the prevalence issue should be ready in March, 2009.

A few days after the forum, I discovered two things.

1) Back in July, Minneapolis Public School officials had furnished data on autism in Somali and non-Somali speaking students for the 2007-2008 school year to journalists, parents, and the Minnesota Department of Health (HERE). 

2) Officials at the CDC were scheduled to listen to Dr. Punyko present “findings” on a possible “Somali autism cluster” at the CDC in Atlanta on Tuesday, November 18. It seemed odd to me that Punyko would be discussing her findings at the CDC, but did not mention that fact three days earlier at the Somali autism forum in Minneapolis. It also seemed odd that she would be presenting “findings” in Atlanta, when she told us that MPS would not be furnishing any data to her team until December.

And so, I wrote to the Minnesota Department of Health and to the CDC to see if I could clarify any of this.

Initially, I got this reply from Doug Shultz, of the MDH Communications office:

“Dr. Punyko was invited by CDC to participate in a grantee meeting of other states that receive CDC grants to implement autism surveillance systems (although MN is not a grantee).  This was an opportunity for Judy to learn more about what other states are doing to address how best to gather data about autism. She will not be presenting any data from Minneapolis. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.”

This was not consistent with information I was getting from sources within HHS, so I persisted, and wrote back for further clarification.

I am very happy to report that both agencies -- MDH and CDC -- responded with notable courtesy, respect, promptness and, I feel, thoroughness. And for that I am very grateful to them.

Because they obviously took the time and trouble to answer my questions thoughtfully, and in detail, I have decided to publish the exchanges, verbatim, below, with just a few key observations. (Thank you for your patience as you wade through it – I think that it provides everyone with invaluable insight into the thinking and working of government epidemiologists):

A) The state and federal governments clearly take this situation, and the concerns of the Somali parents, seriously. They are not trying to sweep this under the rug or make it just go away. They know they have a situation on their hands – one that could potentially be hugely significant – but they are proceeding with caution.

B) Even so, public health officials are not at all convinced that they’re dealing with a Somali autism “cluster” in Minnesota.

C) It is difficult to assess autism prevalence in such a “fluid” immigrant community as Somalis, according to state and federal officials.

D) It is also difficult to know exactly how many Somali students in MPS actually have an autism diagnosis, as school services are based on educational evaluations, and not medical analyses.

F) It’s possible that the number of Somali students with autsm is artificially high. For example, there are no Somali students in Rochester, MN – did their families migrate to Minneapolis-St. Paul for better services after receiving a diagnosis?

G) It’s equally possible that the number of Somali students with autism is artificially low. For example, some Somali families listed English as the primary language spoken in their homes, meaning their children with autism would not be counted as Somali. There is also evidence to suggest that Somali parents of children with milder cases of autism (where the child is speaking) will reject an ASD classification or services for their child.

H) Even if autism rates are the same as non-Somalis, they are exponentially higher than autism rates among children in Africa (See Mark Blaxill's piece HERE.)

I) Finally, the CDC response includes one of the most extraordinary statements on autism that I have ever seen from a federal agency, and it would appear to shut the door on the old 20th Century viewpoint that autism is “strictly genetic,” and that increased numbers could therefore only be due to better diagnostics and greater awareness. To wit:

“There are likely multiple causes of the autism spectrum of disorders. Most scientists agree that today’s research will show that a person’s genetic profile may make them more or less susceptible to ASDs as a result of any number of factors such as infections, the physical environment, chemical exposures, or psychosocial components.”


Here are my questions to MDH Officials, and the answers that were provided by Buddy Ferguson, Risk Communication Specialist, who wrote:

"The questions that you e-mailed on Wednesday to Doug Schultz raise a number of important issues, so we wanted to respond to them individually, and also offer some broader observations. I have been asked to respond on behalf of Doug and the MDH Community and Family Health Division."

1) Why did Dr. Punyko say at the autism forum on Saturday that she had not received data about Somalis with autism in the Minneapolis schools, when this apparently was not the case?

2) What other data is Dr. Punyko waiting upon from local public education officials (figures she said she would not have until sometime in December?)

Items #1 and #2: In terms of Dr. Punkyo’s presentation at the forum on Saturday, she did not mean to imply that she had received no information from the schools, but simply that her information is incomplete. When she presented at the forum, she was still awaiting information about the place of residence of the students who are receiving special services from the school system, and the classification of students who receive those services. For reasons I will describe below, this information is important if we are to develop a clear picture of the issues we are facing with regard to the Somali community and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

3) What possible explanation is there for the high rates of autism among Somalis in M/SP, but zero cases reported in Rochester schools?

Regarding the difference in reported autism cases in Rochester and Minneapolis/St. Paul, right now we do not have the kind of statewide data that would allow us to make that comparison. We do not have a statewide autism surveillance system in Minnesota, and setting up such a system is a complex undertaking. Simply relying on data regarding which and how many students are receiving special services is not a substitute for a good surveillance system * again, see below for a fuller explanation.

4) Why didn’t Dr. Punyko mention at the forum that fact that she was travelling to Atlanta to take part in a grantee meeting for autism surveillance in a number of states? (This would have been pertinent and welcomed news - it seems odd she would not have told us about it).

If Dr. Punkyo neglected to mention her pending trip to CDC, it was because her participation in the national meeting was simply part of the ongoing, informal conversation she has been having with CDC regarding the issue of autism in the Somali community.

This was a meeting held primarily for the 14 states that have received CDC grants to develop autism surveillance systems. Those states do not include Minnesota. Judy was simply extended an informal invitation to attend for one day of a three day meeting, so she could benefit from the discussion, get advice from the other states, and briefly share what she knew about the situation in our state. She was not providing them with any information not already available to forum participants (a copy of her PowerPoint is attached), so there was little reason to share her travel plans.

5) I could find nothing on the CDC website or elsewhere about the November 18 meeting in Atlanta. What information can you provide to me regarding the autism grantee meeting at the CDC on November 18, 2008. Specifically, can you provide me with any of the following?:

A) Invitation to attend the meeting that was received by Dr. Punyko.
B) An agenda for the meeting.
C) A list of attendees and states represented.
D) Minutes from the meeting.
E) Copies of Dr. Punyko’s notes from the meeting.

Item #5: In additional to the PowerPoint, we are also sending you a copy of the e-mail messages sent and received regarding Dr. Punkyo’s participation in the CDC conference. Again, this was very informal - the invitation was handled via e-mail. (HERE) - I am also attaching a copy of the conference agenda and Dr. Punkyo’s notes, in a single PowerPoint file HERE. We do not have meeting minutes or participant list. You will need to request them from CDC, although my understanding is that CDC may not have minutes available for this type of event.

(NOTE: The meeting agenda is HERE Dr. Punyko was scheduled to speak at 1:10 PM on “ASD among Somalis in Minnesota.”

6) It seems logical that Dr. Punyko would have shared the Somali autism data (attached) with authorities at the CDC at some point by now. Did she discuss this information with anyone at CDC prior to the meeting on November 18, and/or did she discuss autism numbers among Somalis in Minnesota with CDC officials at any point during her trip to Atlanta this week -- either during the official proceedings, or at some other time during her visit?

As previously noted, Dr. Punkyo has been sharing information about autism and the Somali community with CDC, on an informal basis, for several months now. Her PowerPoint should give you a sense of what she discussed at the conference session on Tuesday. However, she didn’t necessarily share information about the special education classification of Somali students in precisely the same format that you provided it to us.

The critical thing to understand is that this information doesn’t necessarily provide a clear picture of autism in the Somali community - again, for reasons discussed below.

7) If it is determined that there is a Somali autism “cluster” in Minnesota, what happens next? Is the CDC required by law to investigate?

There is no specific legal “trigger” that would require a particular action in response to an identified problem regarding autism in the Somali community. We will continue to investigate this issue with the resources we have available - which are, unfortunately, limited. We will continue to work closely with CDC, seeking their assistance when appropriate, as we proceed with our investigation.

Identifying the Problem.

In addition to answering your specific questions, we also want to offer a couple of larger observations about the task that now faces us. What we have right now is simply classification data used by the public schools in assigning children to receive special education services. This is not the same as diagnostic data: The children who have been classified in that way may or may not have received a medical diagnosis identifying them as autistic.

In fact, some of the children so identified in the summary you provided may not be autistic, although they may be facing other kinds of challenges. There may also be autistic children who do not show up in that data because they do not receive special education services through the schools, but are receiving services from some other source. 

Even if we did have a complete and comprehensive picture regarding the number of autism cases in the Somali community, it would still be difficult to calculate an “autism prevalence rate” for this population. The Somali population in Minnesota is large and highly fluid. Large numbers of Somalis are migrating to the state all the time. In fact, we have the highest “secondary immigration rate” in the country - that is, we are the top destination for Somalis who first settled somewhere else when they initially entered the country. Estimates from the state demographer’s office have placed Minnesota’s Somali population at anywhere from 15 to 40 thousand.

In short, in terms of calculating the actual prevalence of autism in Somali children, we have neither a reliable numerator nor a reliable denominator. While we appreciate your diligence in attempting to calculate observed versus expected autism rates based on the school classification data, those calculations probably obscure more than they reveal.

The Larger Picture

It should be emphasized that we are not presuming to second-guess parents and others in the Somali community regarding the seriousness of this problem. The situation they are dealing with is very real. We know that this is frustrating. We wish that we could provide quick and easy answers - but we lack basic knowledge about autism, about how common it really is, and about what causes it. We recognize how frustrating this is for a concerned parent - it’s frustrating for us as well. However, before we can answer the big questions, it’s important to get the basics right. That’s what we’re working to do right now.


Here are my questions to CDC officials, and the answers that were provided by CDC Director’s Office of Enterprise Communication (OEC):

1) I have been sent a copy of autism prevalence data generated by the Minnesota Department of Education (LINK #1). This information, by several accounts, was given to Dr. Punyko in July. Has she ever shared this information with anyone at CDC in the past?

Keep in mind that the Minnesota Department of Education data reflect an educational system classification that provides information on the number of students enrolled in special education programs under an autism eligibility and are not complete prevalence data.  Certainly, it is concerning for all families if their child is identified with autism, either for special education purposes or through a formal diagnosis, and it is important to determine if one group is disproportionately affected.  In order to understand if children from Somali families in Minneapolis are disproportionately affected by autism, it would be necessary to evaluate the available data and to determine how complete these data are and what would be needed to have the most complete and accurate accounting of children with autism in the Somali and other comparison groups of children.  It is our understanding that the MN Department of Health is first working to verify the education data, including trying to evaluate birth place and potential moving districts.  This is an important first step.

With respect to your question, to date, CDC scientists have only provided informal support to the Minnesota Department of Health and Dr. Punyko.  This has involved answering questions related to measuring autism prevalence and helping connect Dr. Punyko with experts in other states.  These informal conversations began earlier this year when Dr. Punyko contacted CDC to inquire about methods that could be used to set up a state-wide autism surveillance or tracking system in MN based on wanting to get a better understanding of who is affected with autism in the state more generally. 

To date, Dr. Punyko has shared some of the basic educational system reporting information from the Minnesota Department of Education with Dr. Catherine Rice, (Behavioral Scientist/Epidemiologist) and other scientists working on developmental disabilities prevalence projects in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.  More generally, over the past year, Dr. Rice has provided information on CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm.htm), which is the CDC autism surveillance and tracking program.  Dr. Punyko has shared that MN is working on preliminary data analysis and sent a letter to Dr. Coleen Boyle last week requesting CDC's input on the report when it was prepared and providing input on the next steps, including evaluating whether more formal assistance from CDC would be helpful. 

Following a July media report about the number of Somali children enrolled in autism special education programs in the Minneapolis public school system, Dr. Rice and other CDC scientists have provided information about research methodology challenges involved in identifying and measuring autism prevalence, and have provided suggestions on people to talk with in other states about conducting autism prevalence studies.  In line with this, Dr. Rice invited Dr. Punkyo to a November meeting of CDC grantees involved in autism surveillance.  This annual meeting brings together researchers/principal investigators from various past and present CDC-funded sites to share information and coordinate efforts related to autism measurement and surveillance.

Dr. Rice has also provided information on how states can seek formal assistance from CDC in investigating public health issues.

3) It seems logical that Dr. Punyko would have shared the Somali autism data with authorities at the CDC. Did she discuss autism numbers among Somalis in Minnesota with meeting participants and/or CDC officials at any point during her trip to Atlanta this week -- either during the official proceedings, or at some other time during her visit?   

State and local educational classification data are not routinely shared with people at CDC.  There are also no legal or formal requirements that education system classification data, even if related to autism or the provision of educational services to who have been diagnosed or placed in autism-related programs, be provided to CDC.  To the extent there are legal or formal reporting requirements for education data, it is to the Federal Department of Education.  For states, these educational data are available on the public website (www.ideadata.org).  CDC experts may become aware of information or reports through informal contacts, formal requests or agreements for technical or scientific assistance or presentations at meetings or conferences.

Dr. Punyko was invited to attend the ADDM meeting this week in Atlanta as a way to help connect her with other state-based investigators who have been working to determine the prevalence of autism or on projects designed to help better define the characteristics of affected children.  She did provide a brief overview of the initial education data reported in the media indicating a concern about autism in Somali children and the general outline of the work that has been done to follow-up on these concerns in MN to date.  She did not present any additional data. Dr. Punyko did share that there are particular challenges with trying to determine accurately what the prevalence of ASD is in young Somali children (as well as for any group of children born to a potentially mobile population) in Minnesota.

4) Does CDC have any comment at all on the MPS provided data?

Dr. Catherine Rice and Dr. Marshayln Yeargin-Allsopp both agree the educational tracking system information that has been shared with them merits further assessment.  It is important, for instance, to determine if all children in need of specialized educational services are being identified and that identified children are getting the services they need. It is our understanding the MN Department of Health is working within the state to follow-up on these concerns.

5)  If it is determined that there is a Somali autism “cluster” in Minnesota, what happens next? Is the CDC required by law to investigate (perhaps because of EPA Superfund requirements)?   

Much work will need to be done to determine actual autism prevalence among children in Minnesota, children in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts and among Somali populations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Minnesota.  Without a statewide autism surveillance system, it will be very difficult to determine whether a group of children or a school district has an unusually high autism prevalence rate.  It is should be noted that setting up a statewide autism surveillance system is a complex undertaking.

With respect to formal CDC assistance, such involvement requires a state or local health department to send a formal written request.  As requested by Dr. Judy Punyko to date, CDC plans to provide feedback on the preliminary report by the MN Department of Health, when available, and to input on needed follow-up.

6) If it is determined that Somali children in Minnesota do in fact have higher rates of autism than non-Somali children in Minnesota, and that they also have higher rates than Somali children in Somalia, will CDC officially concur that autism, at least in these cases, must necessarily have an environmental component?

As noted in #5 above, determining actual autism prevalence rates, whether in a community, state or country, requires a valid autism surveillance system.  In this case, such systems do not exist in Minnesota or Somalia.

It is also important to note that even if one has valid autism prevalence estimates, those estimates do not provide much information or insight into the causes of autism.  For example, information about the number of children in a state who have autism does not tell you very much about the potential cause, or more likely, multiple causes —particularly since children move in and out of states as well as in and out of school districts.  A higher than expected rate in a school district may be caused, for instance, by the availability of a strong program for autistic children.  Also, other children in other groups, especially young children, may not yet be identified for special education services under autism so they are not counted accurately as a comparison group.

In an effort to better understand autism and autism prevalence, CDC has been working to better understand how the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) affect children in the United States trough the ADDM Network and Early ASD Surveillance Projects (www.cdc.gov/autism).  Our initial efforts have shown that, autism is being identified more often than in the past and there are an increasing number of efforts to identify affected children as early as possible so that interventions can begin.

In addition, CDC has worked with Autism Speaks to form the International Autism Epidemiology network (IAEN) (http://www.autismepidemiology.net).  In many other countries, including Somalia, awareness of autism is in the early stages.  We are not aware of any efforts to measure autism prevalence in Somalia and have not found any published baseline data on autism prevalence in Somali children from Somalia.  Without baseline data, it is not possible to make a comparison of autism prevalence between Somali children in the U.S. and Somali children in Somalia. 

Similarly, without an established autism tracking system in Minnesota, it is not possible to accurately compare rates of autism for Somali children in Minnesota versus non-Somali children in Minnesota.

Finally, while it is important to understand if autism is affecting any group of children disproportionately, it is also important to keep in mind that there are likely multiple causes of the autism spectrum of disorders.  Most scientists agree that today’s research will show that a person’s genetic profile may make them more or less susceptible to ASDs as a result of any number of factors such as infections, the physical environment, chemical exposures, or psychosocial components.  CDC researchers are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED).  The project is examining numerous risk factors for autism such as genetics, environmental exposures, pregnancy factors, and behavioral factors.  CDC is also supportive of the coordination of research efforts of the multiple government and non-government organizations involved in autism research organized through the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee - IACC (http://iacc.hhs.gov).

We hope this information is useful to you in your effort to report on this complex issue.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm and a contributor to Age of Autism.



David did a good job and he always does his job above and beyond

God bless him.

people, let us start a movement agains these predators.


Thank you Mr. Kirby! Thank you for sticking with our story and being a powerful voice for us. Thank you Age of Autism for providing this forum.

If we are looking for someone to produce a documentary on the autism epidemic, as Amy in Idaho suggested, I would like to recommend Lowell Bergmann at PBS' Frontline. You can watch the movie "The Insider" about Big Tobacco to learn more about his high quality journalism, or watch any Frontline program on PBS. I contacted Mr Bergmann earlier this year about doing a program on the autism epidemic and got a nice note back from him. You can write to him too at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/contact/ If we all write to him, this could become a reality!



THANKS! You are a man of integrity and a seeker of truth and I believe that for the first time in a long time we are going to have a president who shares your values. I think the CDC and other health organizations now know that business as usual will not be tolerated and they are scrambling because they are now going to be held accountable.

THANKS! To all that believed and supported President Obama despite the rhetoric against him. I don't know if he can save the U.S., but I sincerely believe that he will spend every moment of his presidency seeking transparency and we desperately need that.

THANKS! To all that are willing to get behind him now and commend him for his actions and push him to uncover all the rocks.

THANKS! To the parents who came before me and uncovered the first rocks and gave the gift of hope to inspire the belief.

THANKS! To those who are fighting the fight everyday in every way for our kids who deserve a chance at the best this life has to offer.

THANKS! To the siblings of our kids who although this has been so painful for them are now becoming truth seekers at an early age. We are creating a future army in them and hopefully the mistakes of the past will never be repeated.

Hold tight in your belief that our children will recover and stretch yourselves to believe in what your heart says is the way.
This past year has made up for all the joy that I have missed in the past 6 years. I can't describe how it feels to see a child who was so impaired zipline and describe how awesome the feeling was, kayak around a lagoon with some little girls he met and tell me how one of them has a little bit of a crush on him or ride in a "mud buggy" and get covered with mud from head to toe and laugh so hard he almost peed his pants. We still have some periods of ADD that is being triggered by something, but his Doctor of Chinese medicine assures me that in a few more years when his body is completely healed, "he will be fine". And I know in my heart that this is true.

I have much to be thankful for this year.

Lawrence Landherr

Great report! As a retired state bureaucrat with 30+ yrs. experience in the State of Mn system I can see the hand of the Public Inf. office written all over both the MDH response and the CDC response. When something controversial gets media attention and reporters start asking tough questions nothing leaves the "fort" unless it has been properly massaged first and reviewed and approved at least by the Commissioner's office level.
Wouldn't want to make a statement that some CEO in Big Pharma or some other powerful industry might dislike. After all they would call the Governor's office (or the President's office) and raise hell and threaten to cut off campaign contributions for the next election.
Never mind that there are thousands of innocent children being harmed (some permanently). After all they are just abstract numbers--right? My only wish is that each of these spineless number crunchers be blessed with a child who gets autism.

Amy Trail

As I wipe the tears from my eyes - I want to say THANK YOU, David. You have left no stone unturned and I am forever grateful for all your hard work and dedication to these children.

It is mind blowing that the everyone thinks we will continue drinking the "Kool-Aid" that they are serving up. . .as more and more children become affected by Autism. They would rather crunch numbers,study the numbers, then to admit they were wrong. When will the children be as important as the Drug companies? Is it when it his right in their own home?

God Bless America - Because we are in need of some devine intervention at this point!

David, your words are powerful to me and truth will set everyone free! And on this Thanksgiving Eve here in VA, we will add you to our Thankful list tomorrow over lunch while my 4 year old, who lost all skills at 18 months and was pulled into the lonely world of Autism - wonders the house, jumping, screeching, and flapping and my teenager still is grieving the loss of her brothers soul.

Catherine Hollingsworth

As one who has been injured by chemicals, I can tell you that there is a huge amount of cover up on chemical injuries of any kind in the US.

I have multiple chemical sensitivities or environmental illness and we now know that our numbers are around 6,000,000 to 10,000,000 in the US alone. That is an epidemic in any one's book. But do you hear the CDC admit that chemicals are harming people? The answer is no.

Many of us with MCS/EI are watching the struggles of those with autism because we feel it is related to our struggle. What we have seen over the 50 years that MCS/EI has been named is the pharmaceutical companies and petroleum companies do not want this talked about.....there is much too much at stake in their bank accounts.

In my state we can't even get a proclamation for educational recognition, the papers won't discuss this, and many doctors think it's junk science. With these numbers....hardly small enough to sweep under the rug.

I suggest that the Somali families did not have an abundance of chemicals in their home country, and we are steeping ourselves in them while treating them way too casually. Chemicals do injure brains. See "Endangered Brains" Dr. Kaye Kilburn (2004). They do serious and permanent damage to young and old alike, including the unborn. Some of the worst include everyday things: perfume, diesel, asphalt, roof tar, and dryer sheets. I'll bet that much of this list wasn't around these families in Somalia.

Julie Swenson

So, chemicals may be responsible, eh? But not, of course, the chemicals in vaccines...no- some other totally different checmials that these kids just happen to be getting in their systems. Let's spend time and money trying to find those 'culprit' chemicals.

Also, anything genetic can't really be the fault of Big Pharama.

It's like trying to tell a burn victim that they are investiagting the reasons behind their burns but'we haven't ruled out fire as a cause, since clearly there may be other factors...don't jump to any conclusions, now"..

I'm doing a face-palm right now. GAHHH.

Thank you Mr.Kirby, for another fabulous article...keep 'em coming!


Stan asked-
"Any dietary changes?"

I think the answer is "yes"--I like to research this stuff in my spare time.

"Local Somalis say it is impossible to find camel meat or camel milk here in the U.S"


Etiology of Autism and Camel Milk as Therapy
Shabo, Y.; Yagil, R.Source:
International Journal of Human Development, Volume 4, Issue 2, p.67-70 (2005)
Layperson Summary:
Camel milk does not have casein and may be an effective treatment for autism. This article describes people with autism who were given camel milk instead of cow milk. One 4-year old girl drank camel milk for 40 days and her autism symptoms disappeared. A 15-year old boy recovered from autism after 30 days of drinking camel milk. Several 21-year old individuals with autism were given camel milk for two weeks and they became quieter and stopped hurting themselves. The authors conclude by suggesting that camel milk be drunk under a doctor'€™s care. http://www.new-agri.co.uk/05-1/focuson/focuson5.html The milk protein lactoferrin, which is present in large quantities in camel milk (ten times higher than in cow milk), does have some anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Fermented camel milk is high in lactic bacteria, which have been shown to be effective against pathogens including Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Salmonella and Escherichia. And vitamin C content in camel milk is generally double that in cow's milk. In Russia, Kazakhstan and India there are many examples of camel milk - as much as a litre a day - being prescribed to hospital patients to aid recovery from tuberculosis, Crohn's disease and diabetes. 1: Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(4):432-8. Links
Anti-schistosomal activity of colostral and mature camel milk on
Schistosoma mansoni infected mice.

* Maghraby AS,
* Mohamed MA,
* Abdel-Salam AM.

Therapeurical Chemistry Department, National Research Centre,
Dokki, Egypt.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the
anti-schistosomal activity of colostral and mature camel milk on
Schistosoma mansoni infected mice. Six weeks post infection, mean
percentage of protection was detected through the hepatic portal vein.
Glutathione-s-transferase (GST), alanine, aspartate transaminase (ALT
and AST) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels were detected in sera of
treated mice before and after infection. Antischistosomal activity of
colostral and mature camel milk on Schistosoma mansoni infected mice
were 12.81% and 31.60% respectively. The results showed that GST
levels in sera of mice fed on colostral and mature camel milk were
increased with mean values of 0.070, 0.108, 0.128 and 0.120 in
colostral milk groups and 0. 072, 0.085, 0.166 and 0.20 in mature
camel milk groups compared with the mice fed on basal diet with means
values of 0.070, 0.085, 0.078 and 0.069 before infection and after
two, four and six weeks of infection, respectively. On the other hand,
there were slight differences on ALT and AST activities. Mice treated
with colostral and mature milk (200 microl/day) showed an
immunostimulatory effect by inducing IgG titers against soluble worm
antigen preparation (SWAP) compared with control. Nevertheless, the
difference was not considered significant (0.31 +/- 0.1) for colostrum
(0.34 +/- 0.1) and for mature milk, as compared to normal control (0.2
+/- 0.04). Two, four and six weeks post infection, IgG level showed no
significant change in sera from mice treated with colostral and mature
milk as compared to control. In conclusion, colostral and mature camel
milk showed an immuno-modualatory effect in normal healthy mice by
inducing IgG and GST levels before and after infection with
Schistosoma mansoni. Colostral and mature camel milk have a protective
response against schistosomiasis.

PMID: 16326652 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

1: Vopr Pitan. 1986 Mar-Apr;(2):16-8. Links
[Effect of dietotherapy incorporating koumiss and shubat on
vitamin B12 absorption in the intestines and on its content in the
blood of chronic enterocolitis patients]
[Article in Russian]

* Zhangabylov A,
* Nikolaeva SV,
* Kalamkarova LI,
* Il'chenko LA,
* Muzapbarov B.

The intestinal absorption of vitamin B12 and its blood content
have been proved to lower in patients with chronic enterocolitis.
Dietetics including kumiss and shubat promotes normalization of
vitamin B12 absorption (p less than 0.05), its blood content growth (p
less than 0.05), the intestinal microflora becoming normal. More studies on it-

Agrawal RP, Budania S, Sharma P, Gupta R, Kochar DK, Panwar RB, Sahani MS.
Zero prevalence of diabetes in camel milk consuming Raica community of north-west Rajasthan, India.
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006 Nov 10; [Epub ahead of print]

Konuspayeva G, Faye B, Loiseau G, Levieux D.
Lactoferrin and immunoglobulin contents in camel's milk (Camelus bactrianus, Camelus dromedarius, and Hybrids) from Kazakhstan.
J Dairy Sci. 2007 Jan;90(1):38-46.
PMID: 17183073 [PubMed - in process]
PMID: 17098321 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Shabo Y, Barzel R, Margoulis M, Yagil R.
Camel milk for food allergies in children.
Isr Med Assoc J. 2005 Dec;7(12):796-8.
PMID: 16382703 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


The technology of making shubat is more simple than that of kumys. In
a leather bag (torsyk) or wooden tub ferment is put, then fresh
camel's milk is poured in; the bag is tied up or the lid is put on the
tub and the milk is left for 24 hours to get sour. Shubat is not
shaken up periodically like kumys, it is mixed thoroughly before
serving the fable.

Shubat is of a snow-white colour, thicker and fatter than kumys. The
content fat reaches 8%. It can be preserved some time not losing its
properties. Shubat is used to cure not only tuberculosis but also some
gastric and intestinal diseases.

1: Vopr Pitan. 1981 May-Jun;(3):10-4. Links
[Effectiveness of peptic ulcer diet therapy using rations
containing whole mare's and camel's milk]
[Article in Russian]

* Sharmanov TSh,
* Kadyrova RKh,
* Salkhanov BA.

Diets enriched with whole mare and camel's milk were used for the
management of peptic ulcer patients. A total of 164 patients were
examined. Of these, 59 received mare's milk, 40 camel and 65 cow's
milk. On the basis of studying the time course of the clinical
picture, secretory and motor functions of the stomach, as well as of
the endoscopic appearance of the gastric and duodenal mucosa it was
ascertained that apart from the improved clinical course of the
disease, secretory and motor functions of the stomach there was a
complete wound healing and remarkable decline of its size in 93, 90,
and 70% of patients given mare, camel and cow's milk, respectively.
Also, radiotelemetry was used to study the antacid properties of the
milk types in question. The first two milk types have demonstrated
more pronounced antacid properties


oops. just checked the email and I think the article actually came out August 25 which is ages ago. Oh well, at least I let him know people are interested in hearing updates on the situation and some communication took place.



Your stamina on this issue is much appreciated!

The continual, pathetic, excuses from these folks are getting near to be -lies-.

The lack of concern coupled with bullshit excuses is a recipe we have seen way too much.

I wonder if they know that they have a large audience watching them dish this crap out?


yay! I just emailed the Minneapolis Star Tribune (some male nation/world editor) and said that I heard they haven't reported on the Somali autism story and he emailed back with a story on it(I think maybe it came out today?). Anyways, it barely mentioned vaccination as a culprit and of course it mentioned the concern that MDH had over Somali parents choosing to not vaccinate-like they have much choice in the matter. Anyways I emailed him back with my comments /concerns about the issue and let him know we, the public, are interested in hearing about this problem. I'm kinda feeling like things are happening...


The fact that this Somali/Minnesota matter is not a scientific issue but a political issue is written all over its face. If it were truly a scientific issue, the authorities would be all over themselves to study this cohort, with its background comparison of life in Somalia and here: a magnificent opportunity, for a scientist.

Factors such as:

* What's different in prenatal care here for them than in Somalia? Did they have flu shots for pregnant women there, eg? Rho-gam? Prenatal ultrasound? (This is an important factor, insufficiently studied. Are they getting it here, when they didn't get it in their country of origin?) Any dietary changes?

* What's different in neonatal care here for them than in Somalia? Are they getting more shots here? A Hep-B birth shot, in comparison to - what? Comparisons, comparisons. I understand that they have thimerosal-bearing shots in Somalia - what's the difference in their treatment here than there?

* Do they have EMF household devices here that they didn't have in Somalia? (Recall at least 1 study indicating that EMFs can help bind heavy metals in cells so that they can't be excreted.)

COMPARISONS. What a rich mother lode. For a scientist.

As for a layman: Excellent work, David. Well done. As usual. I hope you get/have a life after autism. Which implies the hope that we will see the other side of this issue in our lifetimes.

And be proud, parents. Of what you helped bring about. No thanks to the authorities, who have had a different agenda, than what happens to individuals in society. A stain on their memories that will last as long as democracy has a voice in life.

Scientists. Bah.

Diane Renna

I have an idea for a study...why doesn't somebody go take a blood, hair and stool sample of the Somali children and then start detoxing them, supplying them with digestive enzymes and the therapies they need and then see what happens...then they the CDC)can work backwards to the cause and the children get the help they need, which most likely the Somali families can't afford.

Timothy Wood

Jeff Said:
WOW, how dumb do they think we are, really!

no comment. *cough*

Kelli Ann Davis

"They are basically stating here that no one has formally requested the need for action from the CDC. Specifically they are stating that Dr. Judy Punyko has not reported to the CDC."


BINGO! I also found this *key* while sleuthing this weekend! But here's the clincher:

Any "concerned community member" can petition ATSDR to come in -- it does NOT need to come directly from the state:


During the past week, I've been in direct contact with a high-ranking official in HHS asking *why* the ATSDR is not front and center in MN.

Meanwhile, I think the unemployment rate in Atlanta may have just increased by 1 -- and I'm guessing his name may be Buddy.

Excellent work D.K.


Jeff R.

David, first of all let me say THANK YOU for ALL you do. I do not know who made you the man you are, your parents, school teacher or who, but I would like to thank them, and I truly do not know why you have devoted so much time, effort and love, (yes love that would be the only thing that would explain it)(it sure is not the money) to us and our children but we love you for it. When the truth is known, were everyone excepts it, I hope you along with a few more like Lyn Redwood & Dan Olmsted etc. etc. win the Noble Peace Prize.

WOW, how dumb do they think we are, really!
I mean really, how dumb do they think we are. That is one of the problems with very smart people, they think everyone else is stupid. They must first study the autism rate before they can do anything, and this study will take years I'm sure. I guest next time there is a e-coli outbreak they will first study the rate of e-coli and this study will take years, yea right.

It seems to me in order the become a Bureaucrat at any Department of Health or the CDC you must first be good at CYA (Cover Your Ass) if you are good at CYA they take you and make you VERY good at CYA and then you become a Bureaucrat.

We must be living in the twilight zone.


Anne D., you're wise to be concerned about Yeargin-Allsopp. Then there's that CDC mention of IACC directing research -- with Thomas Insel playing the 5,000-pound gorilla and ignoring the CAA mandate to study vaccines. Round and round and round we go.

If Buddy Ferguson is a Risk Communication Specialist, then let's call ourselves Damage Communication Specialists. The only problem is that because our message has unpleasant implications. Careers are on the line. (Oops, did I forget about the injured children?)

The mystery of autism isn't its cause. The mystery is why people in a position to stop the damage are not listening with open minds.

That includes the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Their reporter sat through the entire 6.5-hour Nov. 15 Somali forum, but no article on the event has been published.

Carolyn M.

Angie & Amy in Idaho:

A autism documentary may well be a good idea. However, Michael Moore should not be the person who makes the documentary. We would want to maximize the number of people who would see it and having him associated with it would not do so. We would want people across the entire political "spectrum" to see such a documentary, and conservatives are extremely unlikely to watch something with his name on it.

Tim Booton

When the CDC wants to learn about and solve a problem it can do it if it chooses to. Just look what our health agencies did in the 1980's with AIDS. They identified that there was a problem, what the cause of problem was, developed an action plan to stop it from spreading, created huge awareness, developed useful drug regimens that increase length and quality of life. This took arout 15-20 years to accomplish.

With autism we are at least in year 15 of a full-blown crisis and they still do not know if there is a problem or not.

CDC is doing all the foot dragging it can on this issue while feigning concern.

John Stone

Here is a paradox for the CDC. They may not know whether autism is increasing in real terms, but it is certainly costing much more money. An earlier generation of autistic people apparently slipped under the radar without all this attention, and all this cost, and assimilated into the functional adult population unnoticed.
If there is much more awareness resources and research being focussed on autism, why is the problem only getting bigger?

Amy in Idaho

Michael Moore! We have your next movie! Let's talk..... Have your people call our people.


A.F., That's true in VA as well -- you have to have an assessment by the school system before you can get placed in a classroom.

So, from the MPS numbers it looks like, at least in the school system, it's 2x the rate of the general population. This is OUTRAGEOUS! The CDC should have people on the ground in MN TODAY looking at these families.


This response from the CDC and MDH officials uncover clues to some issues that will come up in the future.

I found this statement key, quoted by CDC Director’s Office of Enterprise Communication (OEC):

"With respect to formal CDC assistance, such involvement requires a state or local health department to send a formal written request. As requested by Dr. Judy Punyko to date, CDC plans to provide feedback on the preliminary report by the MN Department of Health, when available, and to input on needed follow-up."

They are basically stating here that no one has formally requested the need for action from the CDC. Specifically they are stating that Dr. Judy Punyko has not reported to the CDC.

Obviously it would be valuable if Dr. Judy Punyko would not delay and report her early findings which would allow the CDC to take over and collect real data (medical reports). Dr. Punyko has already stated her concern to the CDC stated here by CDC Director’s Office of Enterprise Communication (OEC):

" These informal conversations began earlier this year when Dr. Punyko contacted CDC to inquire about methods that could be used to set up a state-wide autism surveillance or tracking system in MN based on wanting to get a better understanding of who is affected with autism in the state more generally."

The CDC is claiming that Dr. Punyko has not shared early data findings with them and so the CDC is not required to take action.

It is paramount that Dr. Punyko shares this data with the CDC now as the data itself requires immediate action.


Before my son received autism services at a Florida public school, he had to have a formal "autism" diagnosis. Do the MN public schools not require that also in their state? Just wondering.

Julie Obradovic

So let's see if I've got this straight...

1. It's an "informal conversation" that Dr. Punkyo is invited to participate in in Atlanta with the CDC...but she's scheduled to speak and has a presentation. And she fails to mention this upcoming "informal conversation" to the very group of people who are dying to know what is being done to deal with this situation just days before she leaves for Atlanta. That's not odd, David. That's a purposeful ommission on her behalf. Why? You need to get that answer from HER.

2. The MDH is "working on getting the basics right". They don't know what Autism actually is, how common it actually is, or what causes it..."We wish that we could provide quick and easy answers - but we lack basic knowledge about autism, about how common it really is, and about what causes it."

HUH?! Don't they listen to the CDC or AAP?

Don't they know we're clearly better at diagnosing it these days (so we HAVE to have common knowledge, right?), we know it's increasing (especially after mercury was "removed" from vaccines wink, wink), and we're positive we know what doesn't cause it: vaccines.

This would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic. At the risk of repeating myself, think about what these agencies are saying:

We lack basic knowledge about Autism...but we're very good at diagnosing it now, which explains the perceived increase.

We don't know how common it is...but we know it's always been this number thoughout the history of humanity..or wait, no..it's increasing...or wait, no...it's not...oh, hell, we have no idea...

We don't know what causes it...but it sure as hell ain't vaccines.

Oh, my God. Scandalous.

Anne Dachel

"To date, Dr. Punyko has shared some of the basic educational system reporting information from the Minnesota Department of Education with Dr. Catherine Rice, (Behavioral Scientist/Epidemiologist) and other scientists working on developmental disabilities prevalence projects in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities."
"Dr. Catherine Rice and Dr. Marshayln Yeargin-Allsopp both agree the educational tracking system information that has been shared with them merits further assessment."
Seeing the Punyko is connecting with Rice and Yeargin-Allsopp isn't reassuring. These are two CDC people who've been on the record saying that no one knows if autism has increased, and that most likely it hasn't. Rice worked on the latest autism numbers that came out in 2007. She made it clear that nothing in her research can tell us about trends. "We hope these findings will build awareness," Rice said.
Yeargin-Allsopp, chief of the CDC's developmental-disabilities program at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities was interviewed in Newsweek when the new rate was announced and she agreed that it isn't that "the rates of autism have gone up, just that now we have some more definitive data."
Will asking officials who don't know anything about national numbers do anything to help figure out what's going on in Minnesota?
Anne Dachel
Media editor


Kudos to you David! You are a blessing to all of us who are so busy trying to help our kids recover! We must get a movie out there ... parents need the truth.

So, my question is, were the Somali children over vaccinated? I thought I read somewhere a mother saying her child got 5 hep B shots by mistake. They were probably giving them too many at once and too close together. Perhaps, they are more genetically predisposed to mitochondria dysfunction?

Holly M.

It's analysis paralysis at its best.

Maurine Meleck

It's amazing to see that they have listed every possible excuse in the book in denial
of an epidemic in Mn. among the Somalis and end with that "mind-blowing" statement.
Thanks, David, the autism community is forever grateful for your incredible work.

Tanners Dad

Children with autism. Commodity, Collateral, or Profit Center.
How does the U.S. Medical System Value our Children?

Bottom line folks, until we unite and embrace the entire community as ours, take ownership, and demand society value our children, They will be enslaved second (or third) class citizens... with no rights and privileges.



This is incredible! You are incredible! I can't think of anything else to say but...

THANK YOU (again)!


dan olmsted

As many readers have already noted, this is a fascinating insight into the kind of bureaucratic dithering that has led to this crisis. We don't know what causes autism, we don't know how common it is, we don't have the money to find out, life is hard, wah wah wah! This is the age of dithering and denial that has brought us low. Let's hope the new year will bring a new approach with new people in charge.

Dana C. Sturdivant

Thanks David for all you do for the up hill battle in helping get somewhere in this fight to stop this maddness from happening anymore and forcing these people to be held accountable and be our strong and never-ending voice up against all of these CDC people and all the many other's. We can't thank you enough, YOU ARE APPRECIATED!



You report Buddy Ferguson, Risk Communication Specialist, Minnesota Department of Health as saying “We wish that we could provide quick and easy answers - but we lack basic knowledge about autism, about how common it really is, and about what causes it.”

He missed something. That something is the Autism rates now available for all children in these Minnesota cities. See http://www.ageofautism.com/files/somali_data.doc . They show overall rates of Autism for all kids in grades one through six to be:

1/73 for Minneapolis!
1/97 in St. Paul!
And 1/111 in Rochester, Minnesota!

The rates for the Somali Children, excluding Rochester, Minnesota, are about twice that!

The Minnesota Department of Health quest for “how common it really is” was over before it began. This is an epidemic in Minnesota, much higher than the CDC estimated rate of 1/150.

And Nancy Hokkanen reported Dr. Judy Punyko, Minnesota Department of Health as saying “If there is an increase, we’ll get other research and physicians to help Somali families…” See http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/11/by-nancy-hokkan.html#more .

These people are asleep at the switch. They have these numbers but they take more time to study them. The time for action is today!

One step for prevention is to simply ban mercury from flu vaccines. Pregnant women and children are currently misinformed by the CDC and AAP and MDH that it is safe.

And treatment by providing properly trained physicians is needed right now for all children. Certainly the fact that the rates are about twice for Somali speaking children in these grades makes this even more urgent for these children.

David, thank you once again for your diligent work to protect for our children.


These two agencies must be reading from the same "How To Obfuscate, Distract and Disinform" handbook.

Response from the CDC

“There are likely multiple causes of the autism spectrum of disorders. Most scientists agree that today’s research will show that a person’s genetic profile may make them more or less susceptible to ASDs as a result of any number of factors such as infections, the physical environment, chemical exposures, or psychosocial components.”

Response from the MDH

"Finally, while it is important to understand if autism is affecting any group of children disproportionately, it is also important to keep in mind that there are likely multiple causes of the autism spectrum of disorders. Most scientists agree that today’s research will show that a person’s genetic profile may make them more or less susceptible to ASDs as a result of any number of factors such as infections, the physical environment, chemical exposures, or psychosocial components."

It seems that nobody at the CDC wants to know how many people are affected by autism in their respective states--they refuse to do even a preliminary count, and they make excuse after excuse as to why they are unable to do so. To have autism is akin to having leprosy, apparently.

And what does the multiple causes of autism have to do with how many people are affected by it?

And speaking of the multiple causes of autism... I thought it was genetic??


Well, Mr. Kirby, at least they are finally beginning to take you seriously and bothering to answer your questions. It would appear that the CDC has finally realized that they can't get away with ignoring you or the situation--too many people are now asking questions and paying better attention. Good work!

Clearly these are very careful scientists who don't want to mislead anyone with incorrect numbers. Too bad they are so concerned about numbers that they aren't bothering to examine the thousands of case studies available right in front of their noses.

It is very difficult to see something that you are absolutely certain can not be true. Alternative explanations, convoluted analyses, unsupported assumptions all offer solace and reassurance that the obvious conclusion, suggested by the available data, is actually misleading and incorrect.

Unfortunately, at some point, the focus on the minutiae of case definitions and precise nose counts, and avoidance of studying the actual children involved, their case histories, and the relationship of an apparent culprit to the crime scene, starts to look less like careful science and more like averted eyes.

Why is it that these officials are more concerned with getting an exact prevalence estimate than on determining what the traits and natural history of the affected kids are as compared to those who aren't affected? That is where the clues to this mystery are--not in Africa, or in the politics of student IEP's and diagnosis details.

I think they/we would be better off to just toss out the "autism" diagnosis and look instead at ALL the kids with developmental delays and learning disabilities and see how those compare (in terms of life history--vaccines, infections, antibiotics, toxic exposures, etc.) to the kids who are the most successful and healthy. I suspect the root cause(s) of the problems might become apparent in such a comparison (if the data sets were large enough).

Any biological investigation is fraught with variables that confuse and confound the big picture. It takes a big step back from the microscope and the number-crunching to see any overall patterns and relationships.

I urge all these scientists to stop worrying about the numbers and start worrying about the kids. Whether it is 1 in 200 or 1 in 28, or 1 in 6, there is clearly a problem. Perfecting the methods for counting or diagnosing is not going to do anything to fix the situation. As such, their diligent efforts seem fruitless.

I won't go as far as the IOM and say no further study of autism prevalence is needed. But I would certainly say that the available funds for "autism" research could be MUCH more wisely expended on a different sort of data gathering and analysis. Study the kids, not the numbers.


Angela Warner

Thank you DAVID for making this public!

So... I guess it is evident that the CDC is mostly reliant upon Dept. of Ed. stats at this point to determine the prevalance of autism, and they have no idea what the hell they are doing???

Why was this meeting NOT public knowledge and no transcripts available....??? REEKS of Simpsonwood all over again. They're trying to cover it all up.

It's not rocket science. It's simple math and simple thought. Here in America most of us have been vaccinated, and from early childhood. So those are spread out and we could handle them as small children as they were then. BUT the Somali population got hit HARD with no "introduction"... and then their kids get hit HARD... BOOM BOOM BOOM! As the majority of children are now getting. BOOM!!!!!! Autism. And even sometimes spread out. I just threw up. Priceless.

Reminds me of what our military get... and what our family has endured. And many others that I know of...

So the Dept. of Ed. stats are most reliable for the CDC. 1 in 67. 1 in 67 in the military too. http://www.autismsalutes.com/2008/06/cdc-says-1-in-150-children-have-autism.html
Thank you Dr. Yazbak and Ray! They will pay for what they have done.

We MUST HAVE complete government agency reform. Good God, who is going to do this? I need to say my prayers and go to bed.


wow, your thoroughness has to be very irksome for those people who wish this autism problem would just go away. You remind me of Barry Scheck from the O.J. Simpson trial. That's a complement. THankyou for all that you are doing. I seriously think we may be getting somewhere with this fight these days!


“While we appreciate your diligence in attempting to calculate observed versus expected autism rates based on the school classification data, those calculations probably obscure more than they reveal.” Buddy Ferguson, Risk Communication Specialist, Minnesota Department of Health, 2008

“By 2050 - earlier, probably - all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron - they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be.” George Orwell, 1949.


Wonderful work!
So the CDC FINALLY admitted that 1+1=2!!!!!
Life changing info here, all of everyones hard work is paying off....

Sorry for the language, but what the HELL is Proffit going to say now, doesn't this BLOW his whole book and theory apart? Maybe all of us need to get security systems in fear that he is going to crack and go nuts....like those shows and movies where the liar finally gets caught and then they go super CRAZY on everyone that had been 'calling him out'. LOL

I feel bad for his kids, how shamed they are going to be when the frauds start coming out!!!

We are in a new world now, I really believe it...David, make sure you back up you emails and keep them locked up off site under 20 lock and keys...LOL

Now, I am so excited I won't be able to sleep...I think I am going to use this time to start writing my legislatures and other notable figures....

Has anyone ever contacted micheal moore to see if he could to an autism documentary...a great way I think to get the buzz out to the mainstream....anyone have a contact for him/his staff?

Mom to Ethan,Alex,and Megan


Thanks David. Your ability to tackle this issue with such skill is truly amazing. Your continuing effort is much appreciated. Bless you for you determination and unwavering loyalty to this need. I know for me, you give me hope. That there is someone in a position to help, and willing to have their good named dragged through the mud in the process.
Thank you, thank you.

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