On Media: The Chicago Tribune Fails Children with Autism
By Anne Dachel
I was looking through the recent stories put out by the Chicago Tribune and was amazed at the exposes denouncing Dr. Mayer Eisenstein and Dr. Mark Geier and his son David.
Autism drug Lupron: Father-and-son team's crusade shows cracks Chicago Tribune May 21, 2009 (HERE).
Autism doctor: Troubling record trails doctor treating autism May 22, 2009 (HERE).
Let me say that I'm not an expert on any of the medical aspects of this; I'm merely an observer. So here's what I'm seeing.
One of the issues in the stories is the use of Lupron to treat aggression in autistic children who have high levels of testosterone. This is a huge controversy. The treatment is slammed as "unproven and potentially damaging" in the Tribune.
"Experts" are lined up against parents and doctors using Lupron to treat autistic behavior, but the Tribune doesn't stop there. We're also told, "In the absence of definitive answers, unproven treatments have proliferated, including diets that eliminate wheat and dairy, chelation drugs that leach metals out of the body, and treatment in hyperbaric oxygen chambers similar to those used to treat scuba divers with 'the bends.' "
The mainstream medical community doesn't have answers on autism--what causes it or how to treat it effectively. They deny it can be cured. Any parents out there who claim that biomedical treatments and diet have helped are simply being deceived according to Trine Tsouderos in 'Miracle drug' called junk science Chicago Tribune May 21, 2009. "Experts said such beliefs are common among parents who try alternative autism treatments. It's easy, they say, to attribute normal developmental leaps to whatever treatment is being tried at the time."
Tom Owley, director of the Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic at the U. of Chicago is cited. 'Autistic children, like all children, develop in fits and starts. They have bursts of learning, then plateau. Parents trying numerous treatments on their children will see that natural development and credit whatever therapy they are using at the time.'
I'm thinking right now of a local dad I know. When his non-verbal autistic daughter was seven he started chelation to get rid of the heavy metals which she had in abundance. Three weeks later, she said her first word.
(Sorry Tim, the experts have spoken. Sheryl would have started talking without the treatment. And why a child has off-the-chart levels of toxins in her body in the first place? Nobody at the Chicago Tribune is interested in finding out.)
In the Tribune stories, parents are "desperate." Alternative treatments are "junk science." Recovering children is dismissed as "allegedly" a result.
All this coverage coincides with the big Autism One Conference going on in Chicago. The message is clear: All those presenters at Autism One are wrong and dangerous and the parents going to A-One are being deceived.
I had to congratulate myself this morning reading the Age of Autism piece by editor Dan Olmsted, Olmsted on Autism: Welcome to Illinois (HERE).
I was thrilled that I had the same reaction to the Trib stories that Dan did, namely that they were designed to put a spin on the Autism One Conference. I didn't know the technical term, 'precede' that Dan used, but the message was clear: Beware the so-called experts at A-One.
Being a reader of the news on autism on a daily basis, I can tell you exactly how the Tribune is spinning the spin. Autism isn't a problem--junk scientists are. Lost in the denunciation of biomed practices to treat autism is anything about autism. There is absolutely no concern over the explosion in the numbers beyond anything imaginable just a few years ago. The medical community is given a free pass when it comes to knowing anything substantial about autism--except that vaccines don't cause it and CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) is dangerous and useless.
The Chicago Tribune consistently uses outdated and meaningless statistics on autism telling us that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that one in every 150 children in the U.S. has autism (HERE). No one at the Tribune is concerned that these numbers come from studies done on eight year olds back in 2000 and 2002. The agency that gets billions to run health care in the U.S. can't give us the current autism rate and they still can't figure out if more kids really have autism or if there are just more doctors who can diagnose it correctly.
All the reporters at the Trib trashing CAM doctors and parents who go to them make no mention of the wave of children with autism in IL schools.
There's no alarm over the jaw-dropping increase in autism in IL (HERE). Over nine thousand children in that state are autistic according to the U.S. Dept. of Ed. Is anyone at the Tribune worried about what that means for the taxpayers? Not that I can see.
What do all these kids mean for the state of IL? Try multiplying 9,000 by $3.2 million dollars. That's the figure given by Harvard researcher Michael Gantz in 2006 as a result of his study on the cost of lifetime care for ONE INDIVIDUAL WITH AUTISM (HERE).
Back in 2006, I asked Ganz about the figure and he admitted that it's a conservative estimate. Others put the cost at between $5 and $10 million per person.
The Tribune defines autism as a disorder "characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, and unusual, repetitive behaviors." I know lots of parents who love that description of autism. One dad from Texas says, "It sounds like the kid just can't get a date." I talk to him on the phone a lot and I can usually hear his teenage autistic son screaming in the background. I guess screaming comes under one of the categories: "impaired social interaction," "problems with non-verbal communication," "unusual, repetitive behaviors." I'm just not sure which one.
Missing from this definition are descriptions of teenagers in diapers, kids who can't talk at all, kids who bang their heads all day and smear their own feces on the wall.
The Chicago Tribune says nothing about regressive autism in all their stories. So what happened to children who could talk, make eye contact, and were seemingly healthy until a certain round of vaccinations? Explain to us why they stopped progressing and lost learned skills. Tell us why they have seizures, allergies, and incredible gut issues.
I can say without hesitation that you haven't lived until you've watched a second grader have a meltdown where it takes three adults to subdue him. Funny thing, I never learned about aggressive behavior in children when I got my education degree in college. I never saw kids like this when I started teaching several decades ago. They are everywhere now. I always feel a certain panic when I see a child like this and I can't avoid imagining him doing the same thing at age 18.
The Tribune didn't carry anything about the latest autism rate in Britain announced from Cambridge University (HERE). Researchers now believe as many as one in every 60 children has some form of the condition. That translates into one in every 38 boys in the U.K.
That may just be a foreign story, but I noticed that the Chicago Tribune paid no attention to the recent events in California either. One was the announcement on April 28 of the formation of the Senate Select Committee on Autism (HERE). It seems California is trying to deal with tens of thousands of disabled children that weren't here 25 years ago and they are very worried.
The Trib ignored the recent findings from the CA Department of Developmental Services that showed a 1,200 percent increase in autism in twenty years in that state (HERE)_. Even scarier is the admission that this is an underestimate of the real numbers and that it only counted cases of full-blown autism, not all the other less severe forms of the disorder.
No matter, that's going on in CA and has no bearing on what's happening in IL schools or at Autism One.
The autism community has grown so weary of phony figures that mask the real disaster and of reading that only a "vocal minority of people believe vaccines are to blame for autism." Either the Trib reporters never looked into this or else they have their own reasons for not mentioning it, but there are lots of top people who challenge the safety claims.
Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, former head of the American Red Cross, current health editor at U.S. News and World Report went on Larry King Live and on CBS News calling for more research into the possibility that vaccines cause autism in certain subgroups of genetically vulnerable kids (HERE). Leading Dr.: Vaccines-Autism Worth Study - CBS News)
No one at the Chicago Tribune even noticed.
Likewise, Dr. Peter Fletcher, former Chief Scientific Officer in the UK, acknowledged the compelling evidence of a link between autism, bowel disease and the MMR (HERE).
The Tribune was silent.
The Chicago Tribune reporters Steve Mills, Tim Jones, Patricia Callahan, and Trine Tsouderos ignore the numbers and the experts who challenge their one-sided, selective reporting. They pretend that it's acceptable and normal to have countless thousands of children everywhere who can't talk, can't learn, and can't behave. They present this controversy as one between the medical community and false science. No one says anything about what's really at stake here. Federal health officials and medical organizations long ago allied themselves with the drug industry. They have everything at stake in denying any link between the vaccine schedule and the explosion in autism. Everything.
In the end, the truth will be undeniable. The 9,000 plus kids with autism in Illinois are not going away. Neither are the hundreds of thousands of autistic children across this country. They are getting older. There will soon be an entire generation of autistic Americans dependent on the U.S. taxpayers for the rest of their long lives. The public will demand to know where they came from. People will want to know why no one warned them this was happening. Reporters like Mills, Jones, Callahan, and Tsouderos at the Chicago Tribune will be the first ones we turn to looking for answers.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.
please take one hour out of your busy schedule and see a DAN! (medical) doctor. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain.
Posted by: essfox | May 26, 2009 at 05:09 PM
One thing that my children's reaction to their DPT shots taught me and that was to be SLOW on any medication! Still I gave my son Clonidine when he was 10, he had undignosed epilepsy and what he needed was some type of epileptic medicine and a correct dignosis!I will try to remember Luke 12, but I have been writing and complaining since 1987 and I do not see any of the media changing on this mattler. All the really smart news people in the media DO know. I guess there are plenty of us out there now that do write-ins till they do know; if they have any brains at all. I've watched some of them choke on the word autism and pause a second,like something is on their mind. I watch them dance around the subject, not going into any depth. They are smart, but cowards. The rest of the media are out and out sooooo doctrine entrenched - which is something that is suppose to be tabboo in the news business (but it is not).
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | May 26, 2009 at 01:59 PM
"they" say that using Lupron is dangerous and junk science...messing with the hormones and such (essentially chemically castrating our children...but then, "they" have no problem prescribing Risperodal, which completely screws up the hormones (to the point of a four year old growing friggin breasts for crisakes!) and they seem to have no problem doing so.....
Posted by: curt linderman sr | May 26, 2009 at 12:31 PM
just thought i would bring this up.
Posted by: Ben | May 25, 2009 at 11:53 PM
I read Ms. Wombles "Theory of Mind" paper and of course by me not being a scientist I have no idea what she is talking about, really.
I have a question though, as I understand it children with autism do not possess "theory of mind," they can't enter an abstract and react typically. Also it is mentioned, I believe, that theory of mind does not begin to develop until someone reaches 4 years of age. Why then did my 3 year old son, run from us at bath time and hide under the covers in our bed? Why did he run away scared from a baby bird that was on the ground today flapping and chirping? How is it that when he saw a cougar pacing back and forth at the zoo on his birthday he remarked rather forcefully, "He's not happy!"? Is he not placing himself in the shoes of another, is he not mind-reading? Is this not theory of mind?
I don't know, maybe my son's initial diagnosis was wrong, I mean since children do not recover from autism, if they reallyhad it in the first place, how could this be, maybe I"m imagining things, maybe not being a "scientist" I am misinterpreting information. Or maybe I am paying a good deal of attention, looking for clues that your science can't discover because of biases, a need to find a square peg to fit into your square hole.
Maybe science is a lot like art, there is no one truth. It's all open for interpretation.
My son sleeps with his pink teddy bear not because it is another pillow, it's because he has attached a humanistic personality to it that gives him comfort. Anthropomorphism perhaps? Theory of mind?
"According to Baron-Cohen (1985), theory of mind is not dependent on intelligence levels. The theory of mind model is the idea that a person understands the idea that not only does he possess states of mind (feelings, thoughts, and beliefs), but that other people also possess states of mind and that these might differ from his own. An inability to conceive of this state of mind is what sets an autistic person apart from those who can.."
"While the first order theory of mind acquisition usually occurs around age 4 in children who have no neurocognitive deficits, the second order theory of mind abilities tend to develop between the ages of 6 and 7 (Coull, Leekam, & Bennett, 2006)."
I also noticed that you stated in your 2008 paper that you have a child diagnosed with autism. In fact I quote, "... but as the mother of an autistic child, it is one that has played a prominent role in my caring for and teaching of my son – how do I honor his
unique gifts while helping him gain the tools and judgment to better fit into society."
Didn't you just post that you have three children with autism?
Or were you just speaking scientifically when you said:
"To Cherry Sperlin Misra:
No, I, as the mother of three children on the spectrum and as a college instructor of psychology with a focus in autism, will most emphatically not be joining the Age of Autism crowd. Ever. Thank you.
I absolutely know what it is like to parent a severely autistic child who will never be leaving home to live an independent life.
To say that AoA is about the science borders on absurd and your sanctimonious post certainly goes right over that edge.
Posted by: KWombles | May 24, 2009 at 08:31 PM
Sigh... science is so confusing.
Posted by: bensmyson | May 25, 2009 at 10:56 PM
I went here
to read your thoughts on autism- you said you are a parent to 3 children with autism and a psychology instructor-
"The Role of Theory of Mind in Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Kim Wombles (2007)
Some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen have been individuals with autism. They often
have this otherworldly look about them, as if they are not of this earth and are often deep in thought
of other places and other times. It is only with tremendous effort and great cost that they turn their
gaze outward and on others. It would be easy to dismiss this lack of awareness of others as extreme
narcissism, but it would be a colossal mistake. Individuals with autism can be extremely empathetic
when aware of another’s pain or discomfort; they will take on this pain as if it were their own. It is
not a lack of concern for others’ well-being that characterizes autism, but instead is a relative inability
to realize that other people can and are thinking, believing, and feeling different things from oneself.
Even when that awareness can be taught, there remains a disconnect between that knowledge and
the application of it to predict another’s behavior."
I am so sorry for your students as they are receiving a double dip of crap as you mix SB-C "theories" and your own personal opinion. These are not facts. Please add real research onto your list for students -- ie--
Neurotoxicology. 2009 May;30(3):331-7
Ockham's Razor and autism: the case for developmental neurotoxins contributing to a disease of neurodevelopment.
Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Baker Hall, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505, United States. [email protected]
Much professional awareness regarding environmental triggers for ASD has been narrowly focused on a single possible exposure pathway (vaccines). Meanwhile, empirical support for environmental toxins as a broad class has been quietly accumulating. Recent research has shown that persons with ASD have comparatively higher levels of various toxins and are more likely to have reduced detoxifying ability, and, that rates of ASD may be higher in areas with greater pollution. This report documents that within the state with the highest rate of ASD, the rate is higher for schools near EPA Superfund sites, t (332)=3.84, p=.0001. The reasons for the rise in diagnoses likely involve genetically predisposed individuals being exposed to various environmental triggers at higher rates than in past generations.
Cell Biol Toxicol. 2009 Apr 9.
Induction of metallothionein in mouse cerebellum and cerebrum with low-dose thimerosal injection.
Minami T, Miyata E, Sakamoto Y, Yamazaki H, Ichida S.
Department of Life Sciences, School of Science & Engineering, Kinki University, 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashi-osaka, Osaka, 577-8502, Japan, [email protected]
Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury compound, is used worldwide as a vaccine preservative. We previously observed that the mercury concentration in mouse brains did not increase with the clinical dose of thimerosal injection, but the concentration increased in the brain after the injection of thimerosal with lipopolysaccharide, even if a low dose of thimerosal was administered. Thimerosal may penetrate the brain, but is undetectable when a clinical dose of thimerosal is injected; therefore, the induction of metallothionein (MT) messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein was observed in the cerebellum and cerebrum of mice after thimerosal injection, as MT is an inducible protein. MT-1 mRNA was expressed at 6 and 9 h in both the cerebrum and cerebellum, but MT-1 mRNA expression in the cerebellum was three times higher than that in the cerebrum after the injection of 12 microg/kg thimerosal. MT-2 mRNA was not expressed until 24 h in both organs. MT-3 mRNA was expressed in the cerebellum from 6 to 15 h after the injection, but not in the cerebrum until 24 h. MT-1 and MT-3 mRNAs were expressed in the cerebellum in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, MT-1 protein was detected from 6 to 72 h in the cerebellum after 12 microg/kg of thimerosal was injected and peaked at 10 h. MT-2 was detected in the cerebellum only at 10 h. In the cerebrum, little MT-1 protein was detected at 10 and 24 h, and there were no peaks of MT-2 protein in the cerebrum. In conclusion, MT-1 and MT-3 mRNAs but not MT-2 mRNA are easily expressed in the cerebellum rather than in the cerebrum by the injection of low-dose thimerosal. It is thought that the cerebellum is a sensitive organ against thimerosal. As a result of the present findings, in combination with the brain pathology observed in patients diagnosed with autism, the present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.
Curr Med Chem. 2009;16(2):157-70.
Immune-glutamatergic dysfunction as a central mechanism of the autism spectrum disorders.
Blaylock RL, Strunecka A.
Belhaven College, Jackson, Mississippi, USA.
Despite the great number of observations being made concerning cellular and the molecular dysfunctions associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the basic central mechanism of these disorders has not been proposed in the major scientific literature. Our review brings evidence that most heterogeneous symptoms of ASD have a common set of events closely connected with dysregulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the brain with enhancement of excitatory receptor function by pro-inflammatory immune cytokines as the underlying mechanism. We suggest that environmental and dietary excitotoxins, mercury, fluoride, and aluminum can exacerbate the pathological and clinical problems by worsening excitotoxicity and by microglial priming. In addition, each has effects on cell signaling that can affect neurodevelopment and neuronal function. Our hypothesis opens the door to a number of new treatment modes, including the nutritional factors that naturally reduce excitotoxicity and brain inflammation.
Though most of the archaic psychology stuff you seem to post guarantees you a job in the psych dept- it has zero accountability in the definition and treatment of children with autism.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | May 25, 2009 at 05:59 PM
Stephen Becker...a summary will be available shortly here on AoA. In fact, there will be much, much more to follow on the 14 studies.
AoA is not about the science, K Wombles? It is the reason we exist. This debate is very simple, so pay close attention:
You believe the very people who will ultimately be held responsible for this disaster not only have the right to study themselves to see if they are indeed guilty, but that the very science they use to claim innocence is qualitatively and quantitatively enough to do so.
That's it. That's the debate. It's just too damn bad no one wants to go there.
So again, I ask you, since you are clearly implying you are all about the science, which study would you like to discuss?
Posted by: Julie Obradovic | May 25, 2009 at 04:42 PM
I emailed the four Chicago Tribune reporters at: [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected]
I immediately received a response from Trine Tsouderos. Sounded nice, but who knows whether she will really listen and learn, and if so whether she will be able to write about the benefits of biomedical and the validity of vaccine injury concerns. But, it's always worth a try -- we need to educate as many journalists, politicians, and people in any other helpful professions (as well as parents) as possible. I truly believe that someday everything we are saying will be mainstream.
My email is below hers -- just saying the same thing as usual so feel free to skip!
From: Tsouderos, Trine
To: Twyla Ramos
Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: Chicago Tribune articles on the Geiers & Mayer Eisenstein
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative email. All of us attended AO, we aren't sure if we will write anything but if we do, I appreciate the helpful information here.
Best wishes and once again, thanks,
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
From: Twyla Ramos
To: [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected] ; [email protected]
Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 11:42 AM
Subject: Chicago Tribune articles on the Geiers & Mayer Eisenstein
re: "Physician team's crusade shows cracks" 5/21/2009
and "Autism doctor: Troubling record trails doctor treating autism" 5/22/2009
As the mother of a 17-year-old with autism, I would like to add my voice to many and say that "alternative" biomedical treatments for autism have tremendous value to many families. These treatments are deserving of more study so that we can better understand what each individual child needs. Mainstream medicine is for the most part failing to provide beneficial medical treatments for autism. Parent networks and DAN! doctors and scientists are forging ahead. Some children are recovering from autism; many are improving in behavior, speech, social skills and learning.
Now that you have written about one controversial treatment, how about learning more about doctors such as Dr. Jerry Kartzinel and Dr. Bryan Jepson, and organizations such as DAN!, TACA, and ARI. I am happy to hear that at least one of you attended the AutismOne conference. I hope you are open to learning more about the biomedical paradigm of autism and the serious problem of vaccine adverse reactions.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ann Dachel's article at http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/05/on-media-the-chicago-tribune-fails-children-with-autism.html
My son has benefited from a diet free of gluten, casein and soy, and from digestive enzymes, probiotics, and nutritional supplements. We learned about these treatments late -- not initially from doctors but from books written by mothers. Because of implementing the diet and enzymes, his chronic diarrhea and enuresis got better and he was finally able to get toilet trained at the age of 11. What a shame that these treatments are not mainstream options for all parents to try. At least now they are publicized more than in the past. These treatments are harmless, and not exorbitantly expensive, and sometimes have major benefits in addition to medical -- such as cognitive and behavioral improvements. For these benefits to be casually dismissed as coincidental without further investigation is not scientific at all.
Other treatments such as chelation and anti-fungal medication must be supervised by competent physicians, but many parents have reported very positive results. Chelation is FDA approved for lead poisoning. Why is it so controversial for mercury poisoning? See http://www.autism.com/treatable/form34qr.htm for a chart showing parent ratings of various treatments for autism. Dietary intervention and chelation are two of the highest rated treatments. Yes, this is a survey -- not a definitive scientific study. But this is important information which should be studied further. We parents are constantly told that nothing we observe has any validity, yet summarily dismissing all parental observations and experiences is nothing more than prejudice.
I know what the placebo effect is, but there is no reason why the placebo effect should apply a lot more to some of these treatments than with others.
Please read the following books:
"Changing the Course of Autism - A Scientific Approach for Parents and Physicians" by Bryan Jepson, M.D.
"Healing and Preventing Autism" by Jenny McCarthy and Jerry Kartzinel, M.D.
"Evidence of Harm" by David Kirby
"Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and PDD" by Karen Seroussi
"Mother Warriors" by Jenny McCarthy
We are not "desperate". We are intelligent parents finding ways to help our children.
This is an incredibly interesting story, but not for the reasons you may so far think.
Thank you so much for paying attention,
Posted by: Twyla | May 25, 2009 at 03:11 PM
Perfectly said, Anne!
This is not the first time the Trib has shown bias and slanted autism research or information on treatments. I see two things happening:
1-Autism One was approaching (Jenny McCarthy, too) and someone or some organization contacted the Trib to plant a seed of "desperate parents". Lupron and the Geiers are a great target (thimerosal research and vaccine expert witness are the real targets here). Homefirst and Dr. Eisenstein- more targets as it has been reported that there is a low incidence of autism ( as in none )in their patients as many/most are not vaccinated. Dr. Eisenstein does not hide his opinion that vaccinations may be directly related to this phenomenon seen at HomeFirst- http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted1.html
2-The other issue happening is that we are no longer p.25 material -- front page status must mean something. It may mean that the truth about vaccine safety concerns is too honest and too close to the epicenter of the autism epidemic thus, attack those who are involved in that proclamation of the truth.
What should have been printed is that vaccine injuries are happening. Individuals with autism share many abnormal laboratory levels and that Autism One would be having experts from all over the world to discuss why these levels are so abnormal : Gaba; Glutamates; Calcium; Aspartate aminotransferase and Creatine kinase levels -- mitochondria markers; Vit B6; Vit D; Gluten, casein and soy foods/allergies;Histamine and allergic responses, asthma, immune markers; Testosterone and other hormones; HHV-6; Measles; Mumps; Rubella; Varicella and other viral titres; Streptococcus and Clostridia bacteria;Yeast and fungal biofilms; chronic infections; Aluminum, Lead, and Mercury;
It is a sad day in the history of Chicago print news that the lack of real facts, real focus, and real families are discussed. Wake up Chicago Tribune -- People know that you are not printing the truth.
Your letter to the Tribune is excellent and I thank you for writing it.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | May 25, 2009 at 01:43 PM
LJ Goes's post deserves her own article here on AoA. Outstanding.
Posted by: Andrea | May 25, 2009 at 08:30 AM
The blindness of today's reporters on this issue, as well as the financial interests of the press, are distressing. Julie, thanks so much for your continuing advocacy.
Posted by: Twyla | May 25, 2009 at 01:43 AM
If you won't be joining us ever, that is your loss. Cherry's post certainly was not sanctimonious. Perhaps you need to clean your glasses, as your perceptions seem to be a bit off.
Posted by: Twyla | May 25, 2009 at 01:40 AM
Thank you for sharing your excellent letter to the Chicago Tribune. You've acquired an incredible amount of knowledge in 5 short months. I have no doubt your little one will benefit greatly from your perseverance.
Posted by: dying newspapers need Pharma $ | May 24, 2009 at 11:48 PM
This story was picked up by Trib sister paper LA Times for Sunday's A section. I almost tossed my breakfast. They really do have some cheek, don't they? How long before Zell is sitting on the board of Merck along with Murdoch the younger? There is a special place down below for these people. I will not forgive the media for failing the citizenry. Not ever.
Posted by: Garbo | May 24, 2009 at 11:31 PM
Is somebody else using Cherry's computer? This does not sound like the other blogs from Cherry?
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | May 24, 2009 at 11:14 PM
To Cherry Sperlin Misra:
No, I, as the mother of three children on the spectrum and as a college instructor of psychology with a focus in autism, will most emphatically not be joining the Age of Autism crowd. Ever. Thank you.
I absolutely know what it is like to parent a severely autistic child who will never be leaving home to live an independent life.
To say that AoA is about the science borders on absurd and your sanctimonious post certainly goes right over that edge.
Posted by: KWombles | May 24, 2009 at 08:31 PM
Anne and Company,
First, thank you for your wonderful and accurate protrayal of the truth.
I submitted this letter to the Trib in response to Trine's firt article on "The New Chop Science" and received nary a reply. It's okay though. Many Chicagoans and facebookers have responded to it, and thanks to Autism One, we are mobilizing on the south side! WE WILL BE HEARD. Thanks for your talent and effort,
Dear American Citizen (and prospective Parent Warrior),
In the last decade we have seen a 700% increase in autism. I am the mom of a 31 month old boy named Noah Patrick, who received his official autism diagnosis 3 weeks ago. You’d think I’d be reeling from this news. Sadly, I diagnosed him myself over 5 months ago. I had to. No one else would.
My pediatrician told me, “not to worry”, the first time I asked about his unresponsive behavior.
The second time I inquired she said, “Boys develop at different rates than girls, let’s give him some time.” This seemed reasonable. Our first child was a girl and she hit most of the milestones early. Plus, I was pretty sure I’d read something about this in my constant companion, Parents Magazine (the great endorser of vaccine safety).
The third time I questioned her I had something tangible, “He’s not speaking,” I said. “It sounds like he’s trying to,” she gestured toward him as he stared up at the ceiling tiles. “That’s grunting. He does that a lot.” I replied.
“Oh,” she laughed, “some kids are grunters…he looks good!” she said with a warm, comforting smile.
“He doesn’t eat,” I said.
“Well, he’s certainly a big boy,” the doc said. She was right. And she is the doctor, after all. It would be another year before I would discover the real reasons why a boy with plump, perpetually red cheeks, who only drank milk, could still appear normal instead of emaciated (hypothyroidism coupled with aluminum poisoning).
On my fourth visit, the doctor suggested we see an ears nose and throat specialist. Maybe he can’t hear, she supposed. We were referred to a doctor who spent 90 seconds (this is not an exaggerated diminution) examining him in exactly the same manner his pediatrician did. He simply looked in his ears with an instrument. He told me a nurse would be calling to schedule surgery for typansotomy tubes. There might be fluid in there, even if he didn’t actually see any. I sought a second opinion from a research physician who spent 15 minutes with us and performed several rounds of tests beforehand. He concluded with, “100% certainty,” that Noah could hear clearly out of both ears. And then he said something that stuck with me. “You’re the parent, though, you would know better than me. If you still have concerns let me know.” Thank you, Dr. Gartner.
I reported this series of events to my pediatrician who simply replied, “Huh. Okay.”
My husband took Noah for his next “well baby” visit, the one where he received 7 shots. Soon afterward we ended up in the emergency room. He had a 104 degree fever and uncharacteristic lethargy. The words of the emergency room nurse will never leave me. “Oh, mom,” she said casually—as if we were old friend, “this is just the beginning—he’s going to have lots of fevers and bumps and bruises. You’ll toughen up.” She was right about the last part.
My persistent questions during the next visit prompted our pediatrician to accede that there might indeed be a real reason for concern. She said maybe I should call Early Intervention for an evaluation. I couldn’t understand why she would be referring me to anyone other than another doctor. Apparently this sort of thing happens a lot. So much so we have a government run agency in place to handle it.
I called immediately and set up the appointment. It was determined that Noah was significantly “developmentally delayed”. The short, uncomplicated version of this assessment is that at 15 months of age he was considered to be cognitively and developmentally functioning at the level of an 8 month old.
“What does this mean?” I asked.
“We don’t know—could be any number of things. We see a lot of it, though. Don’t blame yourself, mom.” They replied.
Still no diagnosis but the label, “developmental delay”, and a cavalcade of occupational therapists, developmental therapists, nutritionists, speech pathologists and physical therapists were subsequently scheduled to visit our home on a daily basis.
I pressed every single one of them repeatedly, “What does this mean?”
Collectively, these people seemed wiser and were far better listeners than our then pediatrician. They were not doctors though and they did not have the answers. I needed answers. For an entire year we had specialists, coordinators, therapies, meetings and constant activity. No answers came. Soon our time with Early Intervention would come to an end and Noah had made little progress. I would be on my own in just a few months, seeking therapists and trying to get insurance to cover his treatment—still without a diagnosis.
The therapists taught me about his sensory integration issues—the disconnect happening with his nervous and vestibular systems. If all these things were affecting his neurological development why wasn’t my doctor all over it? How was this possible? Plus, I just couldn’t shake the notion that he was in pain. As the months passed he grew more agitated. He had lots of skin conditions and wouldn’t eat anything but dehydrated fruit. He had strange bowel movements and would pick up his shirt and point to his stomach repeatedly. His muscle tone was poor and he examined things by holding them against his face, looking at them with his peripheral vision.
I hit the Internet hard. I started researching and received Jenny McCarthy’s book, Mother Warriors, as a Christmas gift. Each page was like a brick to the chin. My son has autism. MY SON—has autism. This was a two-fold revelation. On the one hand, utter relief. I finally knew that I wasn’t crazy and there was a medical diagnosis for his condition. On the other, absolute rage at the medical community that not only failed to offer direction but actually exacerbated the damage to my son’s already compromised immune system with repeat assaults through excessive vaccines. If Noah’s story was an isolated incident this would amount to a sad chapter in our family’s history and I would not be writing to you now. Tragically though, many families have gone before me, forced to endure this convoluted journey—a twisted path riddled with misinformation, wrong diagnoses, needless surgeries, and excessive antibiotics and immunizations.
What I have learned from them has altered the course of my life and my family’s forever. Please read on to learn the truth about the autism epidemic and how it affects you.
Pediatrics and Parenting
As I began this letter it was not my intent to demonize our pediatricians, but rather call them and our parent collective, to consciousness. Passivity and laissez-faire attitudes have taken over on both sides. Have you ever questioned your pediatrician about the contents of your child’s vaccinations? Sadly, until Noah was affected I reflexively signed my name to the consent forms, one after another after another. I live daily with the consequences of my inertia.
Perhaps you’ve noticed we’ve developed a customer service style of communicating with our physicians that seems to be more about getting through the visit and on to the next thing than having a genuine dialogue. Parental concerns and probing medical questions impede the efficacy of this process. How can a physician possibly give an accurate assessment of a child’s overall health in three minutes or less? Healthcare is after all a business. A medical practice must run efficiently to turn a profit.
When it comes to the question of autism, Asberger’s, ADD, ADHD, and other developmental disabilities our pediatricians do not have answers. Frankly, they don’t seem all too enthused to find them either. If they entertain a parent’s doubts about their child’s development (without the ability to diagnose or offer direction) it will not be a pleasant and brief encounter. Autism is just not a three-minute, drug solution disease. It’s not like we won’t figure it out eventually anyway, right?
Purportedly we have no “known” cause of autism. No cause and no answers, yet we are told with absolute confidence that it has nothing to do with the now 36 vaccines we are injecting into our children. Most of which enter their little bodies prior to their admittance to grammar school. At the time of this writing there are more than 100 new vaccines in development. Gentle Reader, regrettably, “well-baby” visits are no longer about ensuring our children’s wellness as implied. They are about administering immunizations and lining the pockets of the inventors and pharmaceutical companies who have been forcing aggressive and unrealistic vaccination schedules upon our pediatricians and the general public, for more than a decade. These same experts love to assert that the science does not lie. No, real science does not, but the special interests funding it do.
The Truth about Autism and Vaccine Research
I often hear the phrases, “autism research” and “vaccine research” used interchangeably. The two are not synonymous. Those who are creating, patenting, and selling vaccines are interested in getting their product to market. They do not research whether or not their particular vaccine might have a causal relationship to autism when administered in conjunction with pre-existing immunizations on the schedule. This simply does not happen. Why would it? Where is the money in such research? A profit-producing patent is the overall goal. Besides, these manufacturers are held only loosely responsible for the harm their own product may or may not impose because of protective legislation. Why should they muster alarm over possible cumulative damage to our children’s bodies? This sounds heartless, but in reality, it’s just business—big business—the kind that possesses absolute power with no system of ethical checks and balances in place to counter it. It’s like playing God.
Imagine the legal dilemma of a parent convinced their child has obtained a vaccine injury. Their toddler descends into full blow autism and they look in their baby wellness book only to determine their child had 9 shots that day. Who is held responsible? How does one determine accountability? That very conundrum and the burden of proof that follows is exactly what the vaccine manufacturer’s legal team is counting on. The final judgment: “Sorry American family, the science is inconclusive, we just don’t know. Plus, I don’t know if you’ve heard but they say it’s not the shots!”
Paul Offit, the infectious disease expert made rich for his role in bringing the rotavirus vaccine to market, and author of the book, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and the Search of a Cure, has repeatedly stated that our babies’ bodies can withstand over 10,000 vaccines. I am quite certain that is his goal.
In fact, this morning The Chicago Tribune featured a study performed by his employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The basic contention of the piece written by Trine Tsoudersos is that research points to a genetic variation in autistic brains. It states that, “They found evidence that those with autism have differences in DNA affecting the cell-adhesion molecules of the brain.”
Let’s clarify this once and for all. This research, its brothers, sisters, and cousins are IRRELEVENT to the vaccine controversy. It is not possible to have a genetic epidemic. The toxic reaction to vaccines in children predisposed to autism will not diminish because someone finds the elusive autism gene.
Remember what I said earlier, the part about profit?
Trine goes on to report that, “…(this) discovery may improve diagnosis and offer the promise of developing treatments for the frustratingly mysterious disorder.” “Developing treatments,” means big bucks. Now we are getting somewhere.
Tom Lehner, from the National Institute of Mental Health tells Trine, “It (the research) opens up biology. With biology you can find drug targets.” Alright! This is something we can start pitching to investors.
I frequently hear from this same faction that there is simply a better criteria for autism diagnosis now than there was before. If we had a handle on it earlier we would see the numbers are not so staggering.
Do you remember going to school with kids that said the same phrases repeatedly while flapping their hands and blinking as they tried to carry on a conversation on the way to the bus? Did the waitress at your local hang out hold your burger up to the side of her face to examine it before she placed it in front of you? How about your mailman, did he walk on his toes and fall to the ground and tantrum if you did not take your mail from his hands in exactly the same way, wearing exactly the same outfit, and say “thank you” with the exact same inflection, every single day?
I take Noah to one of many therapy centers near our home. That center is to him what the school playground was to me as a child. It’s full of kids who live in our neighborhood, just like him. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
Fear and The Media
The media loves a good story. Scary pictures of people in masks have dominated the newspapers, television and the Internet for the past four days. Please note here that it is not my intention to minimize the seriousness of the swine flu and the importance of taking precautions to protect our families against it. I hear it may reach pandemic proportions. However, right at this moment autism is an epidemic affecting 1 in 94 children in New Jersey (the hub of the vaccine industry), and 1 in 150 nationwide—and that number is growing at a terrifying pace. According to the Autism Speaks website, “Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States. Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade.” Masks will not shield us from this debilitating reality.
Given these facts, WHY has the medical establishment (which is by my definition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) been let off the hook repeatedly by the mainstream media for failure to conduct proper research and study recovered children? Many cases of autism reversal and diminishing symptoms in ASD children pursuing biomedical protocols and behavioral intervention have been reported. If those kids are hard to track down why not consider profiling the very public case of Jenny McCarthy’s son, Evan? Not one scientific paragon or conventional medical authority has studied this boy. There’s a story here Mr. and Ms. Investigative Reporter, I promise.
Frustrated by this abdication of responsibility and denial of the facts by the powers-that-be a group of concerned citizens decided to author the discovery process. Please see the results of their efforts at www.generationrescue.org. In addition to their very disturbing global reports you will also find a critical review of the fourteen studies conventional medical science is using to proliferate the idea that further study of the autism—vaccine link is not warranted.
View the brilliant work of Ginger Taylor, featured on her blog, Adventures in Autism at the link below.
This extraordinary piece of YouTube journalism dissecting an interview between former CDC head, Julie Gerberding and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, tells the whole story.
Your Rights as a Human Being and an American Citizen
Please consider the words of Autism File USA’s, Editor, Terri Arraga, featured in Issue 31, 2009:
“Public health mouth-pieces, especially those who push one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccine requirements, tell you that vaccines are needed for the “greater good”. This means that they accept some babies and children may be sickened, suffer, and die, and that this is acceptable. This is not acceptable. This does not respect that all human life is valuable, and it lets the “powers-that-be” off the hook insofar as ensuring the safety of vaccines for all children—including those who cannot tolerate poison and who would not have regressed into autism if not for the insult.
Our government agencies have failed our children it what is their most fundamental right: to enjoy a healthy quality of life. Today, we have the sickest generation of children in modern times. Children are suffering from a myriad of childhood diseases—many that are skyrocketing in numbers.
Yet our health agencies have refused to conduct studies needed of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children to explore the possible correlations with asthma, allergies, autism, epilepsy, diabetes, bipolar disorder, cancer, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
These same agencies are telling parents that they are immoral if they don’t vaccinate their children but, in reality, it is they who are being immoral for conducting the largest ongoing medical experiment known to mankind. Using generations of children as human guinea pigs—in essence, testing vaccines on children without knowing the full effects of the vaccines individually and collectively—is a human rights violation. Americans have every right to demand a full complement of studies toward ensuring the safety of vaccines.”
This miscarriage of justice cannot continue. We are citizens of the United States of America and we are a free people with the right to take control of our children’s healthcare. In addition to proper studies, we must demand a flexible immunization schedule, one that allows us, the parents, to choose only necessary, toxic- preservative free vaccines. We have a right to qualified, competent, INFORMED healthcare, administered by professionals who have our children’s best interest and well being at heart. It is time for us to make this happen. Our children are entitled to healthy lives.
For the full, true, and ongoing story, please visit www.ageofautism.com daily.
Posted by: LJ Goes | May 24, 2009 at 08:29 PM
Thankyou Julie for all your hard work and painfully going through these 19 studies and showing there are serious flaws in them. Thankyou Deborah Delp for quoted Luke 12:2-3- Nothing can be hidden forever. I know of Dr. Halley of Lexington, Kentucky. I am not impressed.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | May 24, 2009 at 07:40 PM
Cherry; autistic kids are as different from one another as regular kids. I know vaccines harmed my child. How do I know that? He ran a temp of 104 on his first DPT shot, He passed out 30 minutes after his second DPT shot with 105 temp, but recovered in less than ten minutes and continued in his play, He had a stroke six hours after his third DPT shot. There was nothing wrong with him untill the third shot, no fevers, no sickness, nothing except during these shots Before his third DPT shot he was walking and the next morning after his stroke he could not walk. My mother was a second grade teacher, I am a high school science teacher and between the two of us we taught him to talk, learn to look us in the eye, to say hi, - but even now complete communicattion gives him problems, he still at 23 finds cutting paper with scissors difficult, he skipped the peddling of the tricycle, but later was ablt to ride a bicycle,(he looks kinda of strange the way he does it). Think about stroke victims. How are they alike? How are they different? How is their coordination in their hands, their legs,how is their speech, do they recover some, do they recover completely, do they not recover at all?
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | May 24, 2009 at 07:03 PM
Cherry, there is a list of different signs and symptoms of autism. In simple terms if your child has "x" number of the things on the list, they are termed asd. Google autism testing and that should bring you to a list of what the tests entail. I doubt the # of autsitic children is being "driven up", but these beautiful kids are all very different and a diagnosis made by a professional is probably accurate. I am also guessing that the child you are referring is not being represented well by you here (no offense:))...and I mean as far as what the child's problems really are. I don't see too many kids diagnosed with autism that don't have more problems than lack of eye contact.
Again, my reply is a VERY simple one compared to what a child is tested for in person...which was, for us, very intense testing.
Posted by: kathleen | May 24, 2009 at 06:40 PM
Back in 1960 when I was an 18 year old college student, I read "Silent Spring". From that moment on I knew 'They" were not on our side and that their "science" was a science in name only. Vaccines are destroying the planet: domesticated animals, all humans, soldiers, infants. The more vaccines the greater the destruction. There are no safe vaccines and they cannot be made safe. Vaccines do not just cause Autism. They stimulate a hyper-immune response, a brain inflammation, that underlies asthma, cognitive disorders of all kinds, depression, aberrant behaviors, and the panoply of new diseases, such as Morgellons and many so-called idiopathic diseases.
Posted by: Stephen Becker | May 24, 2009 at 01:26 PM
Julie Obradovic your comment contains reference to your presentation of 19 vaccine studies that were junk science. How can I get a copy?
Posted by: Stephen Becker | May 24, 2009 at 01:13 PM
What bothers me is that when we use things such as vitamins/minerals, DHA, and probiotics, we're persecuted. BUT, when Juicy-Juice, Dannon, and all of the other companies "enriching" their products use these "alternative" treatments, the message is that they are cutting-edge healthy and oh so concerned about our well being and the well being of our children.
And another thing, what about all those pharma drugs that are developed for a specific use, but over time are prescribed by docs (at the urging of pharma reps) for "alternative" uses.
It is just maddening. Even more so when you consider how many parents/individuals not in our community believe crap like what is spread in the Chicago Trib and LA Times. These articles set us back.
Our progress is like our kids' recovery, we work hard to spread the word and we make gains; but, then along comes the Trib/Times and BOOM, regression. Now we have to work harder to just recover from this stuff before we can keep moving forward.
Posted by: Jeanne | May 24, 2009 at 12:32 PM
To autism mom and all, I would really like to hear more comments from and about California. That state is the one in which , supposedly, after removal of mercury autism is still rising. My friends grandson, in that state has been diagnosed with autism and given special free teaching time. He is highly verbal, unusually friendly, but has poor eye contact. I dont understand why a child like that is being diagnosed with autism rather than any other diagnosis. Can anyone weigh in on this ? Is this how they are pushing the numbers of autistic kids up?
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | May 24, 2009 at 11:40 AM
To KWombles, I, as a person who has no autistic child, can tell you from long experience, that you have no idea how many of the parents of AOA are scientists themselves, or who, being non scientists, know all about research done by Dr Haley, University of Kentucky, Dr. Burbacher, University of Washington, and Dr. I. Pessah, U California, Davis, and so many others, of whom I am sure you have no knowledge, or you would probably be on our side. Comments are moderated because we want to keep up the science and because we want to have respectful discourse. You have no idea how tough it is to be the parent of a severely autistic child and some comments can be hurtful. Now, let us imagine that someone here thinks that Lupron is not a good treatment in some way. We want to hear that because we want to move forward. We want to discard the treatments that arent doing kids any good.But, yes, anything that might help an autistic child feel better, We're going to take a close look before we trash and dismiss. Open your heart and eyes, if you truly care for the suffering of children. Listen to the stories of parents. Look at the autistic children. Age of Autism is not the TRUTH, it is merely the SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH. Please join us on our journey
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | May 24, 2009 at 11:29 AM
"Tom Owley, director of the Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic at the U. of Chicago is cited. 'Autistic children, like all children, develop in fits and starts. They have bursts of learning, then plateau. Parents trying numerous treatments on their children will see that natural development and credit whatever therapy they are using at the time.' "
Tears fill my eyes with a righteous rage. My son's successes in his recovery have come about because his mother and I are willing to do anything it takes to save him and bring him back and we will crush any obstacle standing in our way.
Thomas Owley , M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Director, Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic
1747 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60612
Dr. Owley is originally from Chicago , and graduated from the University of Illinois Medical School. He subsequently did a Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The University of Chicago, and was Chief Fellow in his final year.
Dr. Owley is creator and head of the department's Neurodevelopmental Psychopharmacology Clinic. This clinic specializes in the pharmacological treatment of children with autistic spectrum disorders. Dr. Owley reviews for a number of neuropsychiatric journals. He was awarded the Robinson-Cunningham Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2000 for his work on the pharmacology of autism. He also has won awards from the National Institutes of Health and the Illinois Psychiatric Society for theoretical work on frontal lobe functioning. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Soyna. He has a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Cedric, and a mutt named Fragile.
Owley T, McMahon, W., Cook, Jr., E.H., Laulhere, T., South, M., Mays, L.Z., Shernoff, E.S., Lainhart, J., Modahl, C.B., Corsello, C., Ozonoff, S., Risi, S., Lord, C., Leventhal, B.L., Filipek, P.A. A Multi-Site, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study of Porcine Secretin in the Treatment of Autistic Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , 40:11, 1293-1299 (2001).
Owley, T., Owley, S., Leventhal, B., Cook, EH., Case Series: Adderall Augmentation of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Childhood-Onset Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 12:2, 165-71 (2002).
Owley, T., The Pharmacological Treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. CNS Spectrums 7:9, 663-669 (2002).
Owley T, Leventhal B, Cook E. Childhood disorders: The Autism Spectrum Disorders. In: Psychiatry, 2 nd edition. Ed: Tasman A, Kay J, Lieberman J. ppg. 757-774. Wiley and Sons, West Sussex , England ; (2003).
Hollander E, Phillips A, King B, Aman M, Law P, Owley T, Robinson R. Impact of recent findings on study design of future autism clinical trials. CNS Spectrums 9(1), 49-56 (2004).
Owley, T. Emergency Room Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine 5: 187-192 (2004).
Owley T, Walton L, Salt J, Guter S, Winnega M, Leventhal BL, Cook EH. An Open Label Trial of Escitalopram in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; April 44(4), 343 -348, 2005.
Owley T, Leventhal BL, Cook EH Jr. EPS or Stereotypies? Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology ; April, 15(2), 150 -151, 2005.
Owely T, Leventhal BL, Cook EH Jr. The Autism Spectrum Disorders. In: Clinical Child Psychiatry, 2 nd Edition, Ed. W.M. Klykylo, J. Kay, D. Rube; Chapter 21, ppg. 371-389, 2006.
Owley T, Salt J, Guter S, Grieve A, Walton L, Ayuyao N, Leventhal BL, Cook EH Jr. A Prospective, Open-Label Trial of Memantine in the Treatment of Cognitive, Behavioral, and Memory Dysfunction in Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (in press).
Opiated children with autism show less repetitive behaviors. "That's why oxytocin is really exciting," says Thomas Owley, head of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic.
Nature Medicine 14, 353 (2008)
“Obsessions, compulsions, anxiety, hyperactivity and aggression are common to but not part of the diagnosis criteria of autism,” says Dr. Owley. “Serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs like Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft can help autistic children with anxiety, irritability, and obsessions and compulsions.”
Owley also conducts drug studies to verify whether drugs that have become popular in the community are truly efficacious as well as studies that relate to the core systems of autism. Owley recently finished an open-label trial for memantine, which was the first drug to show actual improvement in Alzheimer’s patients.
The results of the study suggest that memantine might be useful in the treatment of memory functioning and hyperactivity, lethargy and irritability in pervasive developmental disorders.
Because memantine is a moderate affinity antagonist of the N-methylD-aspartic acid (NMDA) glutamate receptor, this drug was hypothesized to potentially modulate learning, block excessive glutamate effects that can include neuroinflammatory activity, and influence neuroglial activity in autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Open-label add-on therapy was offered to 151 patients with prior diagnoses of autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified over a 21-month period. To generate a clinician-derived Clinical Global Impression Improvement score for language, behavior, and self-stimulatory behaviors, the primary author observed the subjects and questioned their caretakers within 4 to 8 weeks of the initiation of therapy. Chronic maintenance therapy with the drug was continued if there were no negative side effects. Results showed significant improvements in open-label use for language function, social behavior, and self-stimulatory behaviors, although self-stimulatory behaviors comparatively improved to a lesser degree. Chronic use so far appears to have no serious side effects.
"Tom Owley, director of the Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic at the U. of Chicago is cited. 'Autistic children, like all children, develop in fits and starts. They have bursts of learning, then plateau. Parents trying numerous treatments on their children will see that natural development and credit whatever therapy they are using at the time.' " (that isn't sold by a pharmaceutical company right Owley? Hey is that drug covered by Blue DoubleCross Blue Shield?)
Hey doc contact me through my blog, http://bensmyson.wordpress.com
Posted by: bensmyson | May 24, 2009 at 11:15 AM
Thank you for posting my comment. I am duly impressed that you will allow for an open exchange. Surprised. But impressed. I will update my blog to reflect that you let the comment on. :-)
Posted by: KWombles | May 24, 2009 at 11:10 AM
"Any parents out there who claim that biomedical treatments and diet have helped are simply being deceived according to Trine Tsouderos in 'Miracle drug' called junk science Chicago Tribune May 21, 2009. "Experts said such beliefs are common among parents who try alternative autism treatments. It's easy, they say, to attribute normal developmental leaps to whatever treatment is being tried at the time."
Okay, just so I'm clear: My son saying his first words 2 1/2 years after losing his speach, and after starting the GFCF diet, was just a normal "fit or start" in development? And when he had a diet infraction and lost his language again, that was just a "plateau"? And when he is not given his daily supplements (prescribed by a DOCTOR because medical testing shows he is severely deficient) and regresses, that's just another "plateau"? But then when I start the meds back up and he improves again, that's just a normal "fit" of development that coincidentally coincides with a change in his meds/supp regiment? Wow, with those kinds of odds I think I should be playing the lotto more often!
My father is a retired Air Force pilot. When I was a kid I would ask him about Area 51 - what's the deal with that cover-up? He'd shake his head at me and say, "Do you really think THAT many people could or would keep a secret? Do you think that many people would lie?"
Fast forward 20 years (he's now a lawyer with the DOJ) and I'm having similar conversations with him over vaccine injury, toxins, autism, DAN! treatments, alternative treatments, the recovery that IS HAPPENING, and the cover-up and lying involved. To that I get the same response, "Do you really think that many people would lie and deceive?"
You know what Dad, yeah, I do.
Posted by: Jeanne | May 24, 2009 at 11:03 AM
A few points...
A few of us had the opportunity to speak with this reporter yesterday afternoon. She defended her story and denied that it was any attempt to paint the entire conference with one brush. When a few of the other parents told her what a disservice that was to parents who just got a diagnosis and read that, she disagreed.
She also told us that she is a mom with 2 small children. And at one point when the discussion got heated, she ever so momentarily blurted something to this effect(not quoting, just paraphrasing),"...and you think all of those scientists and doctors are wrong!?" (meaning those who discredit the link between vaccines and autism). She said it with that condescending tone of disbelief that immediately outted her biased position. She was not there to learn; She had already made up her mind. Mainstream medicine has proven there is no link and she was there to ridicule what we are doing and what we believe.
She further went on to describe how concerned she was that Dan Rossingol could just casually suggest so many supplements to parents listening to his presentation, and that he even mentioned that some of the vendors carried them. When I cornered her and said, "So you object that he would prescribe something to the audience?" She said, "Yes". Then I asked, "Did he actually do that, or did he say something like, "If your child is having a hard time sleeping, you may want to try melatonin" (he didn't say that, I'm making an example). She confessed that's how he presented it. Still, she didn't like that. The idea of giving her child a "cocktail" (her word) of supplements really bothered her.
The whole experience was beyond upsetting giving what I had just finished doing. I was at Autism One yesterday for the expressed purpose of presenting the "14 Studies" that supposedly exonerate vaccines from causing autism. I gave 2 90 minute plus presentations going study by study to point out what the study actually studied, who funded and authored it, what the conflicts of interest were, what the study actually found, how it was done, and what the criticism of the study is.
I have read all 19 studies several times. I created a summary sheet and detailed informational sheet for my audience. I had the binder of all 19 studies with me.
Trinie, the Trib Reporter, I guarantee you, has never read these studies. She didn't come to my presentation. It would have been refreshing to actually speak to a doctor or journalist who has. Maybe then we could have an authentic debate and discussion. Maybe that could have been the front page story.
Maybe the fact that with the possible exception of 1 of the 19 studies (the name 14 is sarcastic), each and every one of them was done by someone who patents, manufactures, profits from, defends in a court of law, administers, or endorses vaccines. Maybe the fact that we've studied 1 ingredient of 46 and 1 injection given sometimes twice out of 36 to the most vaccinated children in the world just might be a little inadequate could be a story?
Or maybe the fact that 2 thimerosal studies show that the more thimerosal you get the higher your IQ you have, and better fine motor coordination you have could be a story? Or that several studies show that thimerosal, a neurotoxin, protects against autism? Or that 3 studies FOUND an association between tics and speech delay in spite of their crappy methodology? Do you think parents of children with tics and speech delay might want to know that? Could that be a story? Maybe?
I would be happy to discuss the studies with anyone, anywhere. KWoble, or whoever you are, let's talk. Which study would you like to start with? Please, tell me, which study are you referring to as the "science" that proves vaccines don't cause autism?
In my Open Letter to Paul Offit a while back I made an analogy that is still true today:
Our children's health is on fire. They are burning alive in front of our faces. Supposedly they spontaneously combusted due to a rare, unidentified gene that causes that. We are supposed to simply accept that, hoping that just as they spontaneously combusted, they will spontaneously stop burning...or maybe just slowly extinguish.
In the mean time, we are supposed to just let them burn to a crisp. Worse, those very people who have no idea if or why our children are actually on fire have the audacity to criticize us for grabbing the garden hose, the shower head, the bath tub, the pond, or any kind of water we can find to put it out.
Why? Because no one has actually ever proven water helps put out a fire. Our kids just LOOK like they're burning...water is only for REAL fires. And there aren't more fires, we just got better at seeing the smoke. It's all a big, fat, unfortunate coincidence, you see. The people who started the fire have studied themselves repeatedly and say so.
I will be contacting Trinie this week to ask for a discussion of the studies. I'll let you know what happens.
Posted by: Julie Obradovic | May 24, 2009 at 08:34 AM
Here in Chicago, it seems like so many people are not only uninformed, but staunchly committed to remaining backward on this issue. Chicago Parent magazine reports periodically on the tragic hopelessness of autism, which has no known cause and no known cure, despite mine and others' letters to the editors with facts and pleas to tell the other story. One of the biggest (behavioral) treatment centers in the area held a "biomedical information" evening last year; the purpose of the evening was to mock, trash, and warn parents about the dangers of a gluten and dairy free diet, and the other (as they said) unproven, potentially dangerous, useless biomedical interventions. On a smaller scale, when I've sent information to my son's classmates, it's been routinely met with complete hostility and sarcasm by most of the other parents. That's why it's so vital to have groups like this...Anne, thanks for your voice of sanity in an increasingly surreal world.
Posted by: Amy | May 24, 2009 at 01:40 AM
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
Luke 12: 2-3
Posted by: Deborah A Delp | May 24, 2009 at 01:30 AM
You may be referring to "Autism Recovery Stories" - a series which ran in ChicagoTribune.com beginning in September 2007, and included no less than TEN articles describing success with biomedical treatments (also critical of vaccines, and citing mercury as a cause of autism. Jenny Mac was even featured in one). Interestingly, the last biomedical recovery story ran one year ago. Then in March of this year, another article in the series ran, but it simply linked to the Salon story "The Monster Inside My Son." The ChicagoTribune.com titled it: "A chilling look at autism 'recovery'" with the word "recovery" in quotes. This article made no reference to biomedical treatment, and instead described the terrifying actions of an out-of-control, violent autistic teen (on meds, not biomed). Clearly, the plug was pulled on real recovery stories at ChicagoTribune.com
Here's the link to those stories:
Sadly, Julie's Health Club - "Where alternative and mainstream health meet" must have met up with the AAP. ChicagoTribune.com's "recovery stories" may never recover.
Surprise surprise...NPR has picked up on the Chicago Tribune story in its health blogs...yes, NPR - recipient of millions of dollars in contributions from Merck and Eli Lilly.
Posted by: dying newspapers need Pharma $ | May 24, 2009 at 12:48 AM
In response to Andrea's post of May 23:
IMO, these people deserve to be bashed.
Posted by: Erwin Alber | May 23, 2009 at 11:57 PM
I have to admit it was a viscious article. I wonder what would have happened if a true article about the deficits of mainstream medical was stated like that.
My kids are recovered, one I didn't start treatment on till he was 14. One can ask his teachers to vouch for his true recovery. They still work at the school. Sadly, even though they saw it and I told them the other children in the class could be recovered as well, they ignored this and did not inform any of the other parents in the class. Our society has been so brainwashed, that they can not believe that mainstream medical has failed them and that healing is truly possible. If it weren't for the Internet and a little bit of hope, we would all still be blind mice.
Posted by: Heidi N | May 23, 2009 at 11:28 PM
The Chicago Tribune article was a disgusting piece, not journalism at all. It was a scheduled and deliberate attack. Homefirst's kids are just way, way too healthy without tons of vaccines and drugs and medical intervention. I can't believe it took them so long to exact their attack on Homefirst.
Posted by: Nick | May 23, 2009 at 10:51 PM
I'm ashamed of this city and this tabloid paper. Thank goodness we cancelled our subscription long ago. I feel terrible that all the wonderful people visiting us for the fabulous Autism One conference had to read this trash!
Posted by: Molly | May 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM
I'm wondering - if it's ever accepted that biomed and/or homeopathic treatments work, and mainstream medicine accepts it as a treatment, then will the parents who accept their autistic kids and do nothing be forced to treat their kids with this "alternative" medicine (ala the MN mom on the lamb with her cancer son refusing chemo).
Tables will be turned. I'm so happy to be amongst so many like-minded people who have their own evidence that there is hope and recovery.
Posted by: Deb in IL | May 23, 2009 at 09:59 PM
Um...Even Dr. Mayer Eisenstein wasn't impressed with this dangerous treatment. So much so that he doesn't want to open a clinic anymore. What about that fact?????
Posted by: Jennifer | May 23, 2009 at 09:43 PM
Harold -- Conversely, ignoring potentially successful medical treatments for children on the spectrum is no way to help them, either. Any treatment or drug carries a variety of dangers, not only if misprescribed or dosed improperly.
In 2002 my son's neurologist was extremely cavalier after my son screamed for four afternoons while on Adderall. Before that he'd prescribed Tegretol for a child who'd only had 2 febrile seizures. So why all the vilification of Dr. Geier, while my kid's former doc had no public or private consequences for his bumbling?
Posted by: nhokkanen | May 23, 2009 at 09:11 PM
Anne, another great piece. Add to the behavior you hve listed-biting. Joshua, on anti-biotics for pneumonia and probably with increased yeast in his gut, did tonight take a huge bite out of my arm. It's times like this that I really Hate the media, the Chicago Tribune for example. I knew I should have gone to A1 and had people to share my frustration with.
thanks again, maurine
Posted by: Maurine Meleck | May 23, 2009 at 08:31 PM
Absolutely, "In the end, the truth will be undeniable."
Woo-quackery at it's finest here. Thankfully, the mainstream media are picking up on it finally. After all, there's only so much most people can stand of being wrong. And then it's time to consider what the truth of the matter really is. And where do most reasonable people go for that? Ahh, yes. Science.
Of course, many of the people at AoA wouldn't know science if it walked up and smacked them in the face.
I like how the comments are moderated and the author has to approve them. That's one way to control the dialogue. That's okay. You don't have to put this comment up here. It's in my blog, oh, where all comments are welcome, where I believe if you want to put it out there, go right ahead. :-)
Posted by: KWombles | May 23, 2009 at 08:28 PM
From "across the pond":-
When reading any newspaper article by any journalist it's advisable to ask yourself the questions:- "WHY is this journalist writing this article? WHO told him/her to write it? HOW much true editorial freedom does the Editor have? WHO determines editorial policy? WHO has been leaning on the Editor and WHY? WHO advertises in that newspaper and has the newspaper had a dip in its advertising revenue this year? HOW much of the original, possibly better-written article, has been sub-edited nearly to the point of incomprehensibility? Additionally, do any of the Board of Directors of the company owning the newspaper have any "conflicts of interest", e.g. Director of a Pharmaceutical Manufacturer. Any ordinary jobbing journalist may well be producing output over which they have little personal choice (write or face the sack). I think I'm preaching to the converted so I'll stop now but I think/hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
Posted by: ElizaCassandra | May 23, 2009 at 02:46 PM
I heard California is in deep trouble. Their budget is in the red and they are very very worried.
Posted by: autism mom | May 23, 2009 at 02:28 PM
I agree with the need for more research on autism and environmental factors including vaccine-autism issues. I agree that mainstream medical authorities have abandoned the field with autism treatment writing autism off, in practice at least, as wholly genetic. I agree that the Tribune pieces might be intended to tarnish the entire proceeding in Chicago.
Having said that the Tribune provided a summary of the potential dangers of Lupron treatment. In doing so they did a service to autistic children. I do not think it it wise to ignore such dangers in reality or in the commentaries made on internet forums.
There should be more research on all possible environmental contributors to the startling rise in autism disorders, including vaccine autism research. There should be more research focused on curing autism. But let us not simply ignore the dangers posed by SOME alternative, unproven, autism treatments. That is not the way to help autistic children.
Posted by: Harold L Doherty | May 23, 2009 at 02:27 PM
Didn't the Chicago Tribune used to be a good paper reporting on children recovering from autism that other newspapers such as The New York Times won't even touch? What happened?
Posted by: Jake Crosby | May 23, 2009 at 02:08 PM
As always you make excellent points. It is unsettling that reporters like this are more concerned about condeming alternative treatments than recognizing and writing about the numbers and the costs of autism. This is a crisis and the crisis is sidestepped for whatever reason. Good for the famlies that are working with these doctors- hopefully many will help their children make significant progress or achieve recovery. Hopefully, that will translate into less that will need the constant care.
The Tribune pieces were awful. I wonder who asked them to provide such slanted coverage? Could it be that organization located in Elk Grove right near Chicago where AOA is being held? The American Academy of Pediatrics.
I'm sure they hate that the BEST autism conference in the country is held on their home turf.
Posted by: Andrea | May 23, 2009 at 12:03 PM
Glaringly missing from the story is an interview with any patients using the protocol and seeing nice results. Of course, that would defeat the purpose of the article, which is to bash.
Posted by: AnneS | May 23, 2009 at 12:01 PM
Thanks, Ann, for making so many good points in this excellent article.
Posted by: Twyla | May 23, 2009 at 11:51 AM