Olmsted on Autism: 1 in 10,000 Amish
Managing Editor's Note: Dr. Max Wiznitzer of University Hospitals in Cleveland is an expert witness for the government against the families who file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
By Dan Olmsted
It is unanimous, apparently -- the rate of autism among the Amish is low. Really, really low. So low that if it were the same in the rest of the population, we wouldn't even be talking about the subject. Shockingly low.
But not so shocking that anyone feels compelled to follow up on the information or its logical implications -- not four years ago when I first pointed it out, not today when the clues it contains are more intriguing than ever -- in fact, never, never, never.
In April 2005 I wrote a UPI column called The Amish Anomaly that began this way: "Where are the autistic Amish? Here in Lancaster County, heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, there should be well over 100 with some form of the disorder. I have come here to find them, but so far my mission has failed ..."
In case anyone had any lingering doubts about the virtual absence of autism among the Amish, they were effectively put to rest on Friday night's Larry King segment when Dr. Max Wiznitzer -- defending the vaccine program, arguing autism has not increased and insisting it is a genetic disorder preset from birth, said the rate of autism in northeastern Ohio, the nation's largest Amish community, was 1 in 10,000. He should know, he said: "I'm their neurologist."
So in a nation with an autism rate of 66 per 10,000 -- cut that in half if you want, to focus just on full-syndrome, classic, Kanner autism -- we're looking at a population with one-sixty-sixth, or one thirty-third, or one-whatever, the going rate. Heck, let's just say the autism rate in the USA were only 10 per 10,000; for some reason, the Amish autism rate would still be an order of magnitude lower. That, as they say in the medical journals, is statistically significantly. Massively so, I would say.
That leaves, it seems to me, two questions: Why is the rate so much lower, and why doesn't anyone in mainstream medicine seem to care, other than to fling it out as a debating point to demonstrate -- what, exactly?
Dr. Wiznitzer said those Amish were vaccinated. Well, OK, interesting. That's half right, according to what I reported about that same area back in June of 2005:
"The autism rate for U.S. children is 1 in 166, according to the federal government. The autism rate for the Amish around Middlefield, Ohio, is 1 in 15,000, according to Dr. Heng Wang.
"He means that literally: Of 15,000 Amish who live near Middlefield, Wang is aware of just one who has autism. If that figure is anywhere near correct, the autism rate in that community is astonishingly low.
"Wang is the medical director, and a physician and researcher, at the DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children, created three years ago to treat the Amish in northeastern Ohio.
"I take care of all the children with special needs," he said, putting him in a unique position to observe autism. "The one case Wang has identified is a 12-year-old boy."
He said half the children in the area were vaccinated, half weren't. That child, he said, was vaccinated, but let's not split hairs here. Either vaccinated or unvaccinated, that's a low rate -- 1 in 5000. The question I didn't think to ask at the time but will soon, is, exactly how were those half vaccinated? Flu shots for pregnant moms? Hep B at birth? Chickenpox and MMR on the same day at one year? Rotavirus, Hep B, Hep A, and on and on? Or did it look more like the less intense, less front-loaded schedule in place in the rest of the country back before the autism epidemic began? The kind Jenny and Jim and J.B. and Jerry (hey, the four J's!) keep harking back to when the autism rate was, like, 1 in 10,000 and we still managed to stave off wholesale plagues.
Let's even stipulate that the vaccine schedule for every single Amish child is now fully loaded and follows the CDC to a T. What is Wiznitzer's point? That the Amish genes protect them? Well, good for them, then, let's find out why. Or, that some kind of other environmental risk is absent? In that case, autism is a genetic vulnerability with an environmental trigger, and something about the Amish world is not triggering it, which puts us back about where I started four years ago. There would have been plenty of time to have the answer right now if Julie Gerberding weren't still filibustering the question by talking about numerators, denominators and getting more research into the pipeline as fast as bureaucratically possible (meaning never, never, never).
Critics of the Amish Anomaly -- like critics of the idea that vaccines might be implicated in autism -- want to have it every which way. First, they want to say I just plain missed all the autism cases -- droning on about the Clinic For Special Children, which refused to speak with me over a period of many months. When one of their doctors did finally talk to a blogger whose stated purpose was to tear my reporting apart (a "fraud," he called me), that doctor said, oh yes, they do see Amish kids with autism -- but then went on to say those were ONLY kids with other identifiable genetic disorders. In other words, risk factors. He specifically said they DO NOT see "idiopathic autism," a basically nonsense phrase that he used to mean autism without any other accompanying disorders. In other words, they don't see the kind of autism now running at a rate of 1 in 100 or so in the rest of the country. The kind no one can figure out. The kind that is destroying a generation and their families and our future along with it. ("You don't have an affected child," people tell me. Yes, but I have an affected world.)
By asserting the Amish have an autism rate of 1 in 10,000 Wiznitzer is in fact scoring a point -- they call it an "own goal," an "oops, I didn't mean to tap the other team's shot in." The point he's accidentally but effectively reinforcing is the one made by the unfailingly intelligent Bernadine Healy -- that there are so many, many obvious studies being left undone by those afraid to do them, even as they sneer and snarl at the rest of us. The Amish are just one study left undone among -- well, one among ten thousand or so.
Dan Olmsted in Editor of Age of Autism.
In Kawasakis disease - There is a high percentage of boys that gets that one too - except my daughter got it as a babe.
The stats on that disease is a higher percentage of boys that get Kawasakis go on to have heart problems.
Do you remember back in the 80s it was just men that was having heart attacks.
It became a belief that if it was a woman - they just could not be having heart attacks.
I believe, (I feel that I know) that the same disease that was causing middle age men to have heart disease - and Kawasakis is the same disease causing autism.
Estrogen may regulate the inflammation a bit more, or it could be testerone makes the inflammation worse.
Risperdol - The drug of choice that docs wants to give kids with autism - I read from some of the bloggers here that it makes boys develop ??? Breast or leak?? which is it?
This disease does effect the endocrine system.
Posted by: Benedetta | May 26, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Because estrogen provides a protective effect and girls have more estrogen.
Posted by: For Curious | May 26, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Why do you think that most cases of autism are among boys and not girls? I do believe vaccines are the culprit, but then why not have a negative effect on girls too??
Posted by: Curious | May 26, 2012 at 05:35 AM
The Amish only marry within and started from a group of about 200 people, that could explain why they have a lower rate if genes have anything to do with autism.
Posted by: JPettit | November 01, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Great stuff on autism looking forward to more.
Posted by: Curtis Maybin | January 02, 2010 at 02:15 AM
I've just read much of this discussion and I can tell you I know there is some connection between environmental exposures & sensitivities, radiation and emf exposure with emf sensitivity, food intolerances with gut problems and immune issues with neurological injury/damage & pain,inflammation ,brain function,and many other symptoms similiar to autism; even for adults. My trigger was severe mold exposures along with lifetime solvent exposures, hydrocarbons pesticides and many other neurotoxins while having genetic weakness in methylation and glutathione enzymes and another impaired cyp1a1 gene/enzyme. I'm an adult with lots of neurological problems and I had chemical injury from the final exposure of mycotoxins while remodeling a home. I became sensitive to most chemicals and all molds and I have myelin sheath antibodies and brain lesions like MS but don't have MS.
Exposure to EMF is really difficult symptom-wise and even the phone burns in my arthritic hand, but the more wireless and the more toxins I am exposed to (esp neurotoxins) the worse the emf reactions. So it all works together once your body has been overwhelmed. Many like me went to live with the Amish and got better because of the low toxin exposures. Here in MN the somalis are having a huge amt of autism and they (esp the women) are on their cells tuckeds into their scarves and have low Vit D. It all plays a role and these people may have also some genetic susceptability.
So the point is you aren't likely to find ONE answer in all autism cases but it may break down to the total load with genetics, nutritional status, Mother's exposures(emf and mercury etc), and the mechanism of a toxic-laden vaccine being the initiating trigger to overwhelm the nervous system creating multiple symtoms and behaviors.
I hope all the Mom's keep questioning and learning and challenging the mainstream md's as they refuse to open their minds, most of them.
I am trying to get a low sars rating phone for less rads exposure along with the protective earpiece with the hollow tube. Also, there is a new Minnesota-designed behavior therapy that is getting raves. Best of luck to families w autism to find your answers and make a difference in solving this difficult health challenge. HL
Posted by: Holly Legros | December 03, 2009 at 08:20 PM
Really Herb? If that's true, then why is it that in identical twins, there are cases of autism in one twin, but not the other? Since the twins are effectively genetically similar, wouldn't both be autistic?
Posted by: Craig Willoughby | November 09, 2009 at 04:46 PM
Herb, the genetic input if most likely the SENSITIVITY/susceptibility/predisposition to environmental factors.
Identical twins share not only identical prenatal environment (and very similar postnatal one) but their genetic make up will predispose them to the same reaction to those environmental factor.
They should have thought you that in medical school.
Posted by: Natasa | November 09, 2009 at 02:31 PM
Or it shows that people with identical genetic makeups respond to the same environment insult in a similar manner.
If my identical twins fall on the brick steps, both their knees bleed. 100% concordance. Is bleeding knees genetic? Does the brick step play no role?
I'm sick of this line of reasoning.
Posted by: Jack | November 09, 2009 at 02:25 PM
according to twin studies the concordance rates in identicle twins is 90% NIMH and 70$ CDC. This shows a very genetic imput in Autism
Posted by: Herb Wagemaker, MD | November 09, 2009 at 01:36 PM
On the same scale, we could also compare elements such as physical activity and stress levels. What is different about the physical activity and stress levels of the Amish? How does their lifestyle and community contribute to overall health and wellness?
Posted by: Patty Martz | November 07, 2009 at 06:57 AM
Various shades of grey.
If you view the Amish as a gradient. There is much variation within the community itself. Elements of diet and medical care, environmental toxins in the home, varying degrees of exposure to outside influences. We still have a point of reference. What can be learned from the Amish? Does it reach beyond selecting individual variables and making assumptions? We could map the individual pieces. What factors are absent or present in an Amish household, a community? Perhaps, the combination and degree of exposure to various elements is implicated. If you can make a generalization based on the population as a group, then what factors do the group share in common...and, How is this different from the general population? All of the pieces listed may contribute in one way or another; however, other components to consider might be food preparation and use, medical practices, household cleaning supplies, personal care products, construction materials, materials used in construction of furniture and furnishings, clothing, use of dyes in clothing, use of plastics and synthetics in the home, level of environmental toxins in the Amish themselves, and elements in diet that may aid in elimination, parasites, pest management, vaccinations, electromagnetic exposure...essentially, any item of suspect, could be tested against the gradient scale of the Amish. Old Order Amish have fewer exposures to certain environmental factors than New Order Amish. Are there significant variations in health between Old Order and New Order Amish? Compared to the general population, their exposure rates to a myriad of environmental toxins may still be statistically significant.
Posted by: Patty Martz | November 07, 2009 at 06:33 AM
Dear Mr. Olmsted,
“Even so, some flu vaccine -- that shipped in multi-dose vials -- contains thimerosal, a mercury preservative”
I read a couple of articles that you wrote saying that Thimerosal had been phased out of vaccines back in 1999. If you check the FDA website, you will see that they allow Thimerosal to be in vaccines of the multi-dose type even now in 2009. The makers of the vaccines very much desire to use Thimerosal, and if you look around, you will find much evidence that it is still in use. There are probably also many doses of vaccine laying around with Thimerosal in them, and the owners would be glad to sell them off without talking about the contents.
Seeing that you are editing 'Age of Autism' and not working in UPI anymore, I suspect you have learned the above by now... :)
Keep up the newsletter, it's well done and of great use to people.
Email: [email protected]
Posted by: Chris W. Houghton | October 06, 2009 at 09:22 AM
The most exasperating thing is the ignorance of those claiming that mothers are looking for someone to blame. As if a mother does not notice a "night and day" difference in her child from pre-vaccinated to the days immediately following vaccination.
Posted by: Dr. Brett J. Blitzstein | July 01, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Makes one wonder how much 'Vitamin D' the Amish consume...
Posted by: Ron | April 26, 2009 at 05:26 PM
Absolute Truce Nancy!!!
Like I said I don't want to discredit and until Andrew posted that last post I guess I didn't understand what you all were trying to say. I guess I'm more, lately and (SHOULDN'T BE) the all or nothing approach. I can see your point with the RF mixing with the over load of vaccines. Our kids have their poor little brains rewired from toxins and then the RF screws with that. It's not one or the other but a combo of things.
I think that the Amish would be a wonderful resource and I pray they will help save their "English" neighbors.
I agree we are all in this to do the best we can for our babies. We are each warriors in our own way, everyday.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 08, 2009 at 11:10 AM
I think we can agree on a few things:
1. Vaccines contain extremely toxic ingredients and should not be pumped into our children at the volumes that they are when our children are so young and their immune systems so immature. I have heard enough parents say that their children were fine until they had their shots and then all went to hell. This cannot be a coincidence.
2. Dr. MAX is pompous ass. No argument from me there! There are too many ways to illustrate this and since we agree I won't dwell on it.
3. More need to be done to study why the Amish have much lower rates of autism in their communities. Vaccines, RF or a number of other factors may play a role but it needs to be investigated.
4. We all just want our children to get better.
Posted by: Nancy Naylor | April 07, 2009 at 10:45 PM
RF exposure has been shown to reduce a person's methylation. When vaccines are combined with RF, you are adding toxins while simultaneously disabling the body's ability to remove them. So, it is not that one causes autism and the other doesn't. Their combined effect can tip someone over the edge, when separately they may be safe.
If you still suspect that RF has no effects on the nervous system, read this:
Children with autism are known to have sleep problems. I know, I know, correlation does not equate causation, but if no one took correlations seriously, we would not have had any scientific discoveries (except the ones that happened by accident).
Smokers didn't want to hear that smoking is bad. Cigarettes were way too cool. It took government intervention, and warning labels on every cigarette pack before people took it seriously. We are addicted to cell phones. They are cool and modern and convenient. I will bet any money that in ten years from now this will be a moot argument, just like whether or not smoking is bad.
Posted by: Andrew | April 07, 2009 at 06:36 PM
I realize that wireless device use has skyrocketed in the last ten years, and when I first heard the theory that use of these items could be affecting neurological development I thought....maybe. Maybe not. How on earth would wireless devices cause immune disorders?
Posted by: chrissie | April 07, 2009 at 01:19 PM
Here is a map of private owned cell towers in Middlefield Ohio. It lists 15 just in the surrounding area of Middlefield not the total of Geauga County. I can look that up too.
Verizon alone has 126 towers across the state. Just Verizon. I'm trying to find other towers for other companies.
This was quoted in the article....
Merritt said that during the past year, Verizon has invested $258 million in Ohio, which includes adding 126 new cell tower sites across the state.
The company invests $5.5 billion annually nationwide, primarily to improve cell phone reception and reliability, she said.
According to Merritt, cell towers need to be closer together in areas that are hilly or heavily wooded.
That's most of Ohio and the Amish live within range of many towers. The Amish are not excluded from being effected by RF or electric. Factually, if you drive through Ohio in any part of Amish country, you will see not only cell phone towers on or near their property but also large electric towers.
To read the full article....
Again, you (Nancy) have your truth and I don't want to discredit you or what you have witness with your child. We are after all, autism moms trying to do the best for our babies. I wish my childs autism could be explained by this. I just don't see why autism rates are so low within the Amish community when they are exposed to just as much as we are...except the over load of toxins in vaccines. I just want answers. And by the looks of Dr Max, he and his smirk testifying against the Cedillo's in court, isn't going to give me any answers either. Because according to him the Amish are completely vaccinated and yes Kim, why would they need a neuro doctor?
I wanted to clarify something that I posted previously. I have worked as a nurse in 3 different hospitals, one in Ohio and two in PA. I've never worked in L&D I worked in Med Surg. I would see the Amish delivering babies at all 3 hospitals. I was never involved in their direct care when it came to L&D. So I'm not sure whether they would have given Hep B at birth. I think it would fall under religion excemptions or moral, which Ohio has both.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 07, 2009 at 11:20 AM
Perhaps the Amish Dr. Max sees HAVE vaccinated, and that's why they need a neurologist....
Posted by: Stagmom | April 07, 2009 at 08:28 AM
Dr. Max Wiznitzer is a liar!! I live near a large Amish communinity. I purchase eggs, baked goods, and produce from them and have for years. I was introduced to their community by my best friend, their mid-wife, and they do have a rapport with me. I am always respectful in dress and manners when I am in their "town". Listen Dr Wiznitzer..."The Amish DO NOT vaccinate!!!!!!!!!!!" There are two children that are vaccinated, they are children to a woman, widow, who married into their community and had her children before the marriage. They have NO autism. Period.
Posted by: kathleen | April 07, 2009 at 08:22 AM
Well, a simple google search tells me that there are at least 40 Verizon Cell phone towers in Lancaster PA and surrounding county (another large Amish community) That's just Verizon Wireless. Where are all the Lancaster Amish with autism? I'm not down playing the elecric or RF thing. I'm just asking WHY? Why is it that these people live and work and shop and have children among us and their autism rate is so low? I've had the pleasure of speaking to a young Amish mother, while in Hartville Ohio at a doctors appt for my husband. She was being seen by the same doctor. If you ask them with the utmost respect they will tell you what it is you want to know. I got around to asking her if she was vaccinating her children...she point blank said No. She and her community believe that it is invasive and interfers with God's plan.
I'm not saying that RF, electro magnetic or wireless fields may not cause autism but jeez, I think pumping a baby full of the toxins in vaccines would have an immediate effect (like my son had) I would think that RF would take more time to effect a child than the absolute and total regression we seen from our son. My son received 11 vaccines in one day (4 22 05) when he was just 16 months old, he was GONE 3 days later. GONE. Never has spoken a word since, can no longer hold a spoon even though before that day he was asking for paper and crayons to draw with. There are many parents in the autism community saying they saw immediate regression after vaccinations.
I tell Dr Max to "stick that in your pipe and smoke it" because that ass is down right lying and he disgusts me. He is a pompous ass. The whole time I watched LKL the other night, I couldn't get over the smirk on his face the entire time. He makes my skin crawl just as much as Offit does.
There was a question asked about the Amish and how they deliver their children. I have worked in a few hospitals in the area and I have seen them give birth in L&D. I found an article...
Pages 3 and 4 discribes the prenatal and birthing process. I do not believe that their babies receive a Hep B at birth, even if giving birth at a hospital. I would assume not. BUT it's never safe to assume, right?
I think the Amish are an extremely valuable resource, however, I honestly can't see them getting involved that much further. They mind their own, that's the Amish way.
Like I said, I don't want to down play the electric fields and wireless idea but I know that is NOT what caused my son to be diagnosed with autism. It was very distinct and very clear the day my son went away.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 07, 2009 at 12:56 AM
Our son clearly aquired autism after shots.
We documented all of his behavior years before we ever heard of Asperger's Syndrome.
Autism just put the label on something we witnessed with our own eyes.
Posted by: Doug Mayes | April 06, 2009 at 08:50 PM
Do the Amish follow any special childbirth practices? Do they use midwives? Or do they have their children delivered by obstetricians who use invasive procedures such as induction of labor, cesarean section, or clamping of the umbilical cord before the first breath? My son had to be resuscitated at birth, which led me to investigate the effects of asphyxia on the brain. Asphyxia affects the auditory system, which can impede a child's learning to speak. More on my website, conradsimon.org.
Posted by: Eileen Nicole Simon | April 06, 2009 at 07:57 PM
We are exposed to RF electromagnetic energy many orders of magnitude greater than a decade ago. Human nervous system is mostly electrical. Why is it such a stretch to suggest that external electric fields can interfere with the human brain? The reason is simple. It is an extraordinarily inconvenient truth. We are so much slaves to our wireless devices we don't want to even entertain that possibility. History is littered with stuff like this. Take fossil fuels, mercury, coal, plastics, global warming... no one wants to hear these until it becomes a crisis. So far wireless technology looks awesome. So much benefits and no ill effects. Too good to be true?
Posted by: Andrew | April 06, 2009 at 07:28 PM
Yes, there are studies on EMI exposure and autism. The most notable one was http://www.internalbalance.com/CELL%20PHONE%20USE%20AND%20AUTISM%20RESEARCH.htm.
For all you naysayers out there, I encourage you to read it along with the bioinitiative report. http://www.bioinitiative.org/. If you still tell me that to relate wireless technology to autism is a “stretch” I’ll tell you that you are blind sighted by your vaccine obsession. Look up the number of cell phone towers in Middlefield, OH . According to my search there are 2. Compare that to other areas where autism rates are high. Maybe Amish teenagers do use cell phones now adays, but the question is : Did their mothers when they were pregnant? Moreover - Do they have WiFi everywhere? Do they have wireless baby monitors in their homes? And How Long have they been using cell phones? Will we see an autism rate rise in the Amish community as they are invaded by the wireless revolution? Time will tell.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that vaccines do play a role in all of this. Still, we need to broaden our perspective. Remember the first few people that come up with a hypothesis are dismissed and told to “put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
I have a daughter who has never been vaccinated. She has never had an antibiotic or an ear infection. I didn’t eat fish or shellfish during pregnancy, and I don’t have amalgam fillings. She is autistic and I don’t believe that she is just one in 10,000. She was exposed to lots of wireless radiation. It is as legitimate a testimony as anyone who has seen their child regress after a vaccine.
Posted by: Nancy | April 06, 2009 at 05:09 PM
My son was born without any autistic traits, but developed them after vaccinations, which caused reactions. After discontinuing vaccinations and
chelation, he has recovered. Rocket science????
Posted by: ksmommy | April 06, 2009 at 08:29 AM
If psychologists are diagnosing more adults as being on the autism spectrum, could that be due to increasing body burden of environmental toxins over decades?
Not a bolus dose wallop, but an incremental dosing up to a toxic tipping point when immune, gastrointestinal and nervous systems go awry.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 05, 2009 at 11:38 PM
Unfortunately I think the women of today are going to have to grow some balls because they are destroying our precious boys as fast as we can make them.
Posted by: Maureen O | April 05, 2009 at 10:49 PM
after JB asked where the adults were since there's no epidemic, didn't Witnitzer say they become less symptomatic when they get older?
what? so he agrees its reversible?
Posted by: Jen H. | April 05, 2009 at 07:54 PM
Ok Chris this being said...
Autism and aspergers both were only clinically observed in a statistically significant number of people in the 1920s-1930s.
Wireless technology, and the actual proliferation of electricity, took place only just in the 1900s. In the 1980s when the first 'wave' of people with autism were born, personal wireless devices were just taking off.
The numbers have increased and somewhat correlated to an increasing amount of wireless devices that emit electromagnetic radiation.
Then what caused the cases during the 20's and 30's then? Electric wasn't even in every home at that point. It is most peoples understanding that the Amish do not use electric, I live here in NE Ohio (my husband works in Middlefield with many of them) and have contact with many of them, they do however use cell phones, they use generators in their homes when need be, SOME ACTUALLY HAVE ELECTRIC IN THEIR HOMES, they also work in factories ALL over the area, they shop at Walmart for their haircare and personal products, they shop at Toy's R Us for some of their childrens toys (lead issues). They are buying and using many of the products that we (the English)use. Many of the "new age" Amish (by that, I mean the younger generation) are very much "up with the times". I find it hard to believe that electronic devices effect us worse than them. I've "heard" that supposedly, the Amish have some weird genetics...at least that's what they (the doctors that conform to the genetic link only) say. However, I'm of German Heritage myself (very GERMAN) so why does my son have autism if by being German I should have them same "genetics" as them?
Nope, I'll tell you I have been friends and neighbors with quite a few Amish and they aren't any different than us. Oh except for the fact that they DON'T vaccinate their children. Put that in your pipe and smoke it MAX.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 05, 2009 at 07:22 PM
To Kub Marshman,
I agree with you. I think Drs Fisher & Wiznitner came across as very credible to anyone who is unfamiliar with the facts or who is concerned about drops in vaccination rates. I've had arguments with people who believe their child has a **right** to herd immunity. They are the same people who argue strenuously that the vaccine link has been repeatedly proven wrong, and that Dr. Wakefield manufactured evidence.
A ten minute debate is not going to convince those people, and there are many of them.
Posted by: meg | April 05, 2009 at 01:19 PM
Apparently, one of the loaded questions asked during the Time interview with Jenny McCarthy has triggered interest in things like the advent of cell phone usage in relationship to the rise in Autism?
Electomagnetic interference is a bit of a stretch to consider in terms of it possibly playing a causal role in Autism. Suggesting EMI does would literally implicate that potential in every single electrical gadget available, the Northern Lights, and a variety of radio frequency signal.
Most of these have long been considered to be passive exposures.
Unfortunately, years ago when liberal minded groups such as the Children's Defense Fund and others decided too many children were falling throught the cracks by not getting access to healthcare, what they really meant was healthcare would soon-after consist entirely of mass vaccinations for the little people regardless of their current medical condition coupled with brutal liability protection.
Thimerosal is still in vaccines at concentrations consistent with what autism looks like from the ramparts.
Posted by: Kerbob | April 05, 2009 at 11:53 AM
Dan,You nailed it! Dr. Max Wiznitzer (THE Dr. Max Wiznitzer of University Hospitals in Cleveland who is an expert witness for the government against the families who file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program) screwed that up big time.
His plan must have been to strike down ALL of the good data, keep it hidden that he is Dr. Max Wiznitzer of University Hospitals in Cleveland, an expert witness for the government against the families who file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and use some "plagiarized" phrases from the ND and I'm sure vise verse.
Here are some examples from the transcript:
DR. MAX WIZNITZER: (expert witness for the government against the families who file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program)-"Well, we know that in about 10 percent to 15 percent of the cases, we can identify a genetic causation, ..."
OK. Gotta stop right here as Mark Blaxill did a wonderful piece on that "10%-15%" that Dr. W is bringing up... http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/03/the-fragile-b-1.html#more"
1. There is no valid foundation for the claim that 10% of autism cases can be explained by genetic causes. The claim appears to be just another case of a faulty “chain of collective reasoning” and, despite being “generally accepted”, it is specifically wrong.
2. Even when there was documented evidence of a positive diagnostic yield, the evidence was overstated. The overall genetics yield in all of these studies came to less than 7%, and well under 6% if you exclude the single study that claimed to have explained 30% of cases.
3. When you take out known rare forms of autism like Rett and Fragile X syndromes, the reported yields collapsed even further. Nearly half of the foundation of success in generating a diagnostic yield rested on these two exceedingly rare diagnoses."
...so Dr. W, your data is without merit.
and here's another-
WIZNITZER- Initially the complaint was Mercury. That was disproven. Then the complaint was MMR. That was disproven. Now we've got a new moving target, which is that the combined vaccines all together that do this.
--wow--how original is that! If I had a nickel for every time I've read orac or anb use this lame excuse.... There has been no scientific data to prove mercury or mmr or any of the vaccines, alone or in tandem DO NOT cause autism.
This was the winning answer on that topic:DR. BERNADINE HEALEY, FMR. PRESIDENT, AMERICAN RED CROSS: We have got to focus on it and we have got to listen to families. And I think that environmental triggers in the context of a genetic predisposition makes a lot of sense. But we don't have the foggiest notion of what those environmental triggers are. Vaccines might be one of those components. Let's respect that and let's investigate it. And I don't think it's been fully investigated.
WIZNITZER: I think what it is you're born with a tendency towards it. As Dr. Healey has stated, there's work being done right now trying to look for environmental causes. Are there factors that may tip them over? As far as we know right now, vaccines aren't those kind of factors.
That tells us nothing. It offers no hope to those who are afraid to vaccinate nor to those who did vaccinate and their children regressed into autism. Dr. Healey then answered it-
HEALEY: I think you have nailed it, Larry. I think there is so much more to learn. Simple things like a comparisons of children who have and have not been vaccinated. This is something that we have talked about doing for many years. It has not been done. It can be done through various models, through case control model models. It can be done retrospectively. It has to be done.Also, looking specifically at the children with regressive autism, the kids who were just fine, and then, shortly after immunization, they have a high fever, likely have an ensefalopothy (ph), and they never come back from it. We need to look at that subset of patients. Study 500 of those kids.
OK--now we have that condescending tone and the "it's a very complicated issue"--puhleese...
WIZNITZER: It's a very complicated issue. Studies have been done and people have actually looked at this study even this year in their publications. And they've shown that issues such as diagnostic substitution, which means they had previous diagnosis, that we have loosening of the diagnostic criteria. An example would be if, all of a sudden in baseball, we moved the outfield wall 100 feet closer; we pump the players up with steroids, and then say, look they broke the baseball record for home runs over and over and over again.
Again, Mark Blaxill et al had delved into "diagnostic substitution" 7 years ago and here is what was decided: Response: A Response to Blaxill, Baskin, and Spitzer on Croen et al. (2002), “The Changing Prevalence of Autism in California”
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Vol. 33, No. 2, April 2003 (© 2003 "We appreciate the thoughtful comments offered by Blaxill, Baskin, and Spitzer regarding our analysis of data on children who are clients in the Department of Developmental Services regional center system in California with a diagnosis of autism or idiopathic mental retardation (MR). It is this possibility of diagnostic substitution that the above letter addresses.
Blaxill et al. correctly point out that age patterns of enrollment in this service system may be substantially different for autism and idiopathic MR and that truncated follow-up for children born during the more recent study years might differentially affect the observed trends in prevalence of these two disorders over the study period.
That is, not only did we under-ascertain autism in the later years (which we acknowledged), but we may have un-der ascertained MR to a substantially greater degree (which we did not acknowledge). Blaxill et al. assert that the observed decline in idiopathic MR could be an artifact of a relatively later average age of entry into the system for children with this disorder.
Diagnostic substitution does not appear to account for the increased trend in autism prevalence we observed in our original analysis because the probability of becoming a DDS client for MR by age 4 remained relatively constant over the study period, while the probability of becoming a DDS client for autism by age 4 increased steadily from about 2/10,000 births in 1987 to about 10/10,000 births in 1994, a nearly five-fold increase."
I am sure there are many more examples that Dr. Max Wiznitzer of University Hospitals in Cleveland, an expert witness for the government against the families who file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, has goofed on.
Who will AAP choose next for Larry King Live?
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | April 05, 2009 at 10:53 AM
hi -- i used the rate "1 in 100" just to suggest the order of magnitude -- we know that the 1 in 166 followed by the 1 in 150 numbers are dated, that it is under 1 in 100 in new jersey, under 1 in 100 boys. so rather than slavishly repeat the cdc figures, my point is that autism is on the order of, in the magnitude of, 1 in 100. when you see that even wiznitzer is stipulating that autism in the amish is 1 in 10,000, it gives a quick sense of how vastly less prevalent it is -- one-one-hundredth of the problem the rest of the country is facing. -- dan
Posted by: dan olmsted | April 05, 2009 at 10:21 AM
"Autism and aspergers both were only clinically observed in a statistically significant number of people in the 1920s-1930s."
Are you referring to Kanner's study on eleven children in 1943? I am curious what you mean here....
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | April 05, 2009 at 09:56 AM
While I agree with Tanner’s Dad that Friday’s Larry King show was a watershed moment in the debate, I disagree the main stream came across as out of touch. The parents living autism everyday get it. I would argue most parents not living autism everyday are shaking their heads in agreement with Wiznitzer. Why? You can’t convince the parents of “typical” kids that Fisher & Wiznitzer are anything other than 2 physicians who don’t agree with JB in what amounted to be about 10 minutes worth of debate. The parents I refer to are the parents who think the CDC, FDA, AAP all have our best interests at heart. The parents whom I’ve heard in my community who say, “If we don’t vaccinate, kids can die.” This is why it’s important to proclaim your message to these parents in your own backyard at every opportunity and back it up with evidence. AoA contributors give you evidence most every day. We need the parents of “typical” kids to engage in the debate. Offit and his ilk shouldn’t be the focus. They have their reward. Recruit the parents of “typical” kids so we can get more than 10 minutes of debate in primetime.
Posted by: Kub Marshman | April 05, 2009 at 07:32 AM
Regarding later siblings being less likely to have autism:
"The team found a 20% increase in the risk of autism with each 10-year increase in the parents' ages. Also, they found a couple's fourth child has half the risk of the first, regardless of the parents' ages."
Thank you the Guardian newspaper.
The study which refers to three earlier studies which had similar findings can be read here:
Posted by: John Stone | April 05, 2009 at 05:44 AM
The answer is no, you're not the only one.
This is exactly what was said.
WIZNITZER: Years ago, I thought about this idea among the Amish population here in northeast Ohio, to whom I am actually the neurologist. And I went to the public health nurses and said, tell me about their vaccination rates. And I was told that there is a very high rate of vaccination amongst the Amish population. Out of ten thousand of individuals in our population, we have one child with autism. I see all these children.
Ultimately he's a allopathic gate-keeper following the typical cost-cutting measures required to keep health insurance investment profitable to stock-holders.
They reject claims automatically because they know that 50% of all people will give up when rejected the first time.
The only thing this guy is interested in is saving his masters money. What does any neurologist know?
Read what a neurologist more certainly more advanced than Mad Max had to say about Thimerosal poisoning at the dubious Simpsonwood meeting June 7-8, 2000.
"I am not an expert on mercury in infancy. The diseases that neurologists know about mercury in infancy have more to do with the peripheral nervous system than with the
central nervous system.
I know of at least one child that was exposed to mercury and developed a very severeneuropathy, but I don't know whether the child, if one would test her carefully, had any cognitive deficits.
I don't know if anyone has looked at the literature of the old Pinks disease which was present in the twenties or thirties when mothers wore shields that contained mercury.
I really don't know, so I'm sorry."
Mad Max couldn't compete on Larry King. I do wonder if Michael Savage was the guy either holding his cue cards off camera or speed-typing into Mad Max's telepromter?
Posted by: Media Scholar | April 05, 2009 at 12:28 AM
There has to be a genetic link as well as environmental and the incredible large amounts of vaccinations that our babies require. I have 3 children on the spectrum (all have the same father) my oldest step-sons are Aspergers they are 25 and 21 years old, my youngest son is 11 and Aspergers. They did not get the same vaccinations when the first 2 were born that my 11 year old gets.
After much research as I know you all have done as well, I have come to the conclusion that I do not know what causes Autism Spectrum Disorders, but that I do believe that the combination of genetic predisposition and vaccines and environment triggers are all a piece to the puzzle.
Posted by: Lori Ghiringhelli | April 05, 2009 at 12:13 AM
It's an interesting article, but something I've noticed and that I haven't seen addressed is this:
Autism and aspergers both were only clinically observed in a statistically significant number of people in the 1920s-1930s.
Wireless technology, and the actual proliferation of electricity, took place only just in the 1900s. In the 1980s when the first 'wave' of people with autism were born, personal wireless devices were just taking off.
The numbers have increased and somewhat correlated to an increasing amount of wireless devices that emit electromagnetic radiation.
To my knowledge, the Amish often forgo electricity in its entirety.
Are there any studies about autism and EMI exposure?
Posted by: Chris | April 05, 2009 at 12:03 AM
Own goal indeed. What an arrogant fool!
Posted by: julie | April 04, 2009 at 10:49 PM
The U.S. Department of Education released the figure of 1 in 67 kids that were receiving services under the diagnosis of ASD for the year 2007. The 1 in 150 number that is constantly quoted is now almost 12 years old as it was released in approximately 2005 and studied eight year old kids. 1 in 67 . . . how bad does this have to get?
Posted by: Jill Fenech | April 04, 2009 at 10:41 PM
Am I the only one who heard Dr. Wiznitzer say ALL of the Amish vaccinate ALL of their children? (he would know, he's their neurologist, and they don't have autism (and so why would they need a neurologist?) ). We need to be sure to varify the numbers of Amish vaccinated so we are not accused of making up numbers.
Mom of two with asd (probably from eating seafood 4 times a week).
Posted by: db | April 04, 2009 at 09:32 PM
I do not think that Offit will ever grow a set of ovaries that could handle the Awesome mothers in families dealing with Autism. Dr. Healy will deliver where governments and men have failed:)
Posted by: Tanners Dad | April 04, 2009 at 08:53 PM
Thanks for the insights, Dan. Wiznitzer's mention of the Amish was pretty surreal. Clearly he believed that it was strategic to mention the Amish but why he thought it was strategic is baffling. Just to plant in the public's flighty little minds the idea-- no matter how inaccurate or incomplete-- that the Amish vaccinate? Because that's all this is-- just about swaying the masses with momentary sound bites? Do these people even think about what that makes them?
I'd love to see these opponents to the never vaxed/vaxed study suggest that the never vaccinated Homefirst patient population are "genetically different".
Posted by: Adriana | April 04, 2009 at 08:29 PM
We need a study of families where one child was fully vaccinated and autistic and then, the parents stopped vaccinating. So the second and/or third child was not vaccinated and has no autism. There are many of these families out there now. I personally know of three or four. They have their genetic piece and we have the smoking gun!
Posted by: l | April 04, 2009 at 08:16 PM
Thank you Dan! What an excellent piece. Thank you for exposing Wiznitzer for what he is. His purpose is to defend the vaccine program at all costs. He is a PAID expert witness for the government.
His comments on LKL about his "friend" (doing the regressive autism study) not being able to find children who regressed because "once we studied their documentation we found out they really hadn't regressed". Well this is his mantra. This is exactly what he said about Michelle in his testimony against her. He said she was already presenting with autism, so therefore she could not have regressed. Unfortunately, it appears he is taking this idea and applying it to other children as well. They don't want there to be a diagnosis of regressive autism. They don't want there to be an explosive autism epidemic. But, guess what, there is on both counts and we, as a community, have become an organized and intelligent force and we will get the answers and the justice we want for our injured children.
Posted by: Theresa Cedillo | April 04, 2009 at 07:51 PM
"I don't think the public has been educated enough on how physically damaging autism is."
David A--exactly right.
Nor do mainstream doctors want to see this fact--ever.
Just tonight I had someone tell me that my son's bladder problems (new, over the last couple of weeks) were unlikely to be symptoms of a urinary tract infection because Noah is "so physically healthy."
This kid has had (and overcome) SO MANY physical problems--allergies, chronic sinus inflammation, a very damaged gut. . .
It's very, very hard to educate someone until they're ready to hear it. But I try to plant the seed of an idea when I can.
Posted by: Terri Lewis | April 04, 2009 at 07:35 PM
Dr. Wiznitzer is EXACTLY what Dr. Healy was talking about. Dr.s who are refusing to even consider vaccines as a cause.. WHY?
Dr. Wizinitzer sat on Television last night and lied about the UC Davis findings. He read it sure, but decided to write his own conclusion and omit what was actually said.
My children are unvaccinateded. We do not suffer from asthma, diabetes, ADD, etc.. I will expose them to chicken pox and measles.
The fact that Dr. Witnitzer has patients with Autism makes me ill.. he said so many things last night that made my skin crawl..
If he is a shill.. I wouldn't be suprised.
I am glad JB was there to land a zinger or two..
All we need now if for Dr. Offit to grow a set and answer some tough questions..
Posted by: Beth | April 04, 2009 at 06:28 PM
Well said, Dan!
I agree, Marni -- Dr. Healy for autism czar!
Posted by: Twyla | April 04, 2009 at 05:17 PM
Wiznitzer is backed snarling into a corner. The more desperate he gets, the more irrational his statements become.
Apparently anecdotal information is acceptable for staunch defenders of the institutional status quo, but not for field witnesses.
Tanners Dad summed up the autism denial crowd well. Their calculated distancing from the human suffering they cause is chilling.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 04, 2009 at 05:03 PM
Where have you seen the 1 in 100 with autism numbers?
Posted by: Twocomebackkids | April 04, 2009 at 05:01 PM
How about Dr. Healy for the new Autism Czar position? President Obama is a true "uniter" as well, so should see the value in her harmonizing yet progressive position. Everyone loves her except the truly polarized, and we need the middle.
Dr. Healy was the voice of unity and progress last night, and in general. How can we get all the range of opinions on the non-mainstream side behind her 150% - that's your path to real change. She can go toe to toe with them in their own game, and get the real pure science done. She is in the best position to create change, IMO.
I would love it if Jenny, Jim, JB, Stan, Dr. Kartzinel, Kim, David, Holly Robinson Peete, Imus', ARI, TACA, Thoughtful House, Generation Rescue - all the non-mainstream people who want the proper research to get done, could come together to rally for her to be the Autism Czar.
Uniting behind her with an outsretched hand of cooperation, progressive cooperation, towards the AAP, CDC etc. That would be a huge step in momentum shift/paradigm shift.
Anyone agree with me?
(Apologies to whoever I may not have listed up there as a significant voice)
Posted by: Marni | April 04, 2009 at 03:37 PM
Max Wiznitzer is a hired gun witness if ever there was one. If he went in front of an intellectually honest federal district judge most of his opinions would be in admissible. He is litigation-tested and has carried more water for the Department of Justice than Gunga Din.
Posted by: Tombstone | April 04, 2009 at 01:45 PM
I agree Tanners Dad. That was a pivotal piece of airtime in the debate. This was a fair and balanced presentation of the facts and the autism kids came out on top for once.
The autism deniers(I like this term!) looked ignorant and out of touch. Trying to deny the very fact that autism has increased exponentially underscores how one sided and fringe many in the medical community actually are. A person would only deny such a thing if they were blinded or trying to cover something up.
I think our movement needs to continue on with the following message which does not come off as so "out there" : 1) We are not anti-vaccine 2) Autism barely existed before and it exists in great numbers today....Genetics can not explain it...it is environmental 3) There are thousands of kids suffering out there and something needs to be done...root cause studies that include vaccination safety, medical treatments, aid to families, etc.
The sad thing about this whole issue is the fact that if this was childhood Leukemia or something else like that....there would be huge public outrage and things would be getting done. I dont think the public has been educated enough on how physically damaging autism is. The public still views it as a mysterious mental condition and not as a treatable biomedical condition that has been caused by something. By winning the public over, things will eventually change.
I believe our day is coming and this LKL episode was a pivotal opinion shifter.
Well done to all involved. Dan...your writing is excellent and continues to impress me. Someday it will be shown to be responsible for saving thousands of kids. Thank You!
Posted by: David A | April 04, 2009 at 01:28 PM
I thought that perhaps Wiznitzer was trying to lay the groundwork for disqualifying a study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated kids on the grounds that the Amish are genetically different. When that study is finally done, mainstream medicine will be desperately trying to come up with disqualifiers. So, maybe the researchers who do the study should be careful about using the Amish.
Posted by: CT teacher | April 04, 2009 at 12:58 PM
Look, casually asking an Ohio nurse about vaccine uptake is NOT the basis of drawing a scientific conclusion. Of course, she is going to tell the vaccine zealot what his itching ears want to hear.
Why on earth would this guy go on Larry King and splather about the Amish in Ohio. The guy obviously opened a can of worms.
Now she has to allow Dan Olmstead to look at the vaccination rates among the Middlefield Amish population or Mad Max has to eat his words like a plate of crow.
Sorry, but that's the way it works.
Footnote: In Ohio Chicken Pox rose from 2021 reported cases in the year 2005 to a whopping 8859 cases reported in the year 2006 yet the Offit's Disease founding father wouldn't touch it with a twenty-five foot pole.
How will Dan approach this free coupon for a solid look at Amish vaccination rate in Middlefield, Ohio.
Posted by: Kerbooby | April 04, 2009 at 10:01 AM
Beautifully stated, Dan. What the "other side" failed to do, once again, is attack our side for the recovery stories. I want just once for one of them to challenge the recovery of any one of our kids, in any form. But, of course, we would have Max Wiznitzer standing there, trying to put forth that "autistic symptoms improve with age." Excuse me? Where would that be in the literature. Our "specialist" basically told us our son was in for a lifetime of spinning, flapping, toe-walking, silent, (or maybe echolalic at best) running-into-traffic autism. At no point were we told to expect him to "gradually improve with age."
Posted by: Adrienne | April 04, 2009 at 09:20 AM
I think this show will be held up as watershed moment in our debate. It is sad to see in living color how unprepared, unmotivated, uncaring, out of step, in denial (of coming years adult cases), out of touch ( vaccine programs worldwide), and just plain stupid the mainstream medical community sounded.
Posted by: Tanners Dad | April 04, 2009 at 09:12 AM