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Best of AoA: Senator Harkin Takes On Tom Insel at Autism Appropriations Meeting

Sen tom harkin Senator Tom Harkin (D) Iowa, was named Chairman of the Senate Health Committee yesterday, succeeding Senator Ted Kennedy who recently passed away. More to follow.

Meanwhile, take a look at what this might mean for the autism community, in this post from Katie Wright from August 7, 2009.

By Katie Wright

Huge thank you's to the eloquent and courageous Autism Moms who spoke at yesterday’s Congressional hearings! View the hearings HERE.  They were so wonderful and made our community proud!

Mrs. Boyd (I did not catch their first names) said we do not have a choice about whether or not to aggressively research causation factors- including vaccines. She stated emphatically that she is pro-vaccination but parents  everywhere are choosing not to vaccinate their children in record numbers because they feel the schedule is too aggressive and no research has been done on the effects of 36 vaccines on babies under two.

Mrs. Halvorson is a farmer’s wife and mother in Iowa. She epitomizes every Mom in America struggling mightily to heal her sick autistic child. Halvorson bravely recounted her daughter’s terrifying descent into autism. Like so many of our children, Halvorson’s daughter regressed in autism and became seriously ill after too many vaccines too soon. Her daughter’s labs revealed toxic levels of heavy metals – metals which have assaulted this child’s brain and body.  The family must also struggle to find the money to pay for the child’s treatment, none of which is covered by insurance.

Both Moms are incredibly well educated about autism science, biomedical treatments and the need for comprehensive, authoritative and independent vaccine safety research. Boyd correctly pointed out that nearly all of the touted “16 studies” Insel attempted to deify have been conducted and paid for by those with a significant financial interest in the outcome. Boyd asked why so many of the people sitting at the table designing govt vaccine research studies or voting to increase our vaccine schedule  also serve on vaccine company boards or hold vaccine patents. Good Question! 

Senator Harkin listened carefully to the Moms and posed the question to Insel, “why have you (IACC) not funded research on our baby and toddler vaccine schedule?” Harkin noted that there has been an approximately a 4 fold increase in the number of vaccines given to babies under 2 since 1980, with no concurrent increase in vaccine safety research.

Insel tried to filibuster Harkin with those tired old Paul Offit talking points, “asked and answered! The research is conclusive…no more wasting money when there are more promising leads, blah, blah, blah.” What ARE these “more promising leads” that Insel is always droning on about? I don’t think he even knows.

Harkin wouldn’t let it go and keep pushing Insel to answer the question. Why won’t he finance vaccine schedule research, when clearly everyone else wants it done and believes it could easily be done? Boyd pointed out there are huge, heterogeneous populations of unvaccinated families all over the US. Insel turned red and started his usual carrying on about how “unethical” that would be. Unethical how? These parents are not vaccinating their kids period- whether a researcher takes data on them is immaterial.

Then the talk turned to Insels’ favorite topic- The Killer Measles! Insel’s arguments got even more bizarre as he somehow equated collecting data from unvaccinated homeschoolers as leaving all  of America vulnerable to a plague of killer measles. Harkin’s response was candid and funny. He told Insel that he had the measles, mumps and whooping cough as a kid and recovered, no problem. The other senators all chimed in with the same story- they survived, they are OK. Let’s be serious, is the measles really  our #1 children’s health problem? Harkin asked the autism Moms if families thought measles was worse than autism- I think they actually laughed.

Insel glowered and stated sanctimoniously that although the Senators recovered from these diseases MANY CHILDREN DIE! OK, OK, drama queen we get it. Of course we all want to prevent infectious diseases but the best way to do that is make American parents feel confident in the safety of our vaccine schedule- not by getting hysterical over the measles.  Why the histronics Insel? This is not an either/ or. We CAN have a safe and effective immunization program AND we CAN conduct vaccine safety research.

Everyone in the room was silently cheering on Senator Harkin, he did a wonderful job of examining a complex  public health crisis and asking intelligent questions.

Insel finished his testimony with the same old garbage we have been hearing for years. Basically Insel’s mind is made up (no rational discourse or scientific evidence to the contrary will sway him!) and no matter how frightened  millions of American families are about vaccine safety, Insel, a nonelected  bureaucrat, has declared vaccine safety research off limits, for good.

So much for open minds! So much for listening to our families! So much for democracy! Insel’s IACC is autism’s North Korea, refusing to listen to the constituency, refusing to compromise, refusing to take advice from the Senators who secured IACC’s money in the first place. Insel he has decided for all of us that there can never be a vaccinated/ unvaccinated study, period, end of story, case closed!

Katie Wright is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.


John Stone

I do not agree with people who say we should stop lobbying government with anything at our disposal, but I do believe there is a worry that time is running out - that actually we cannot afford to have these issues "kicked into touch" (sorry a rugby phrase) for years while studies are conducted and spun, when the pharmaceutical industry expects to double the size of the vaccine market in next five years.

I listed some reference regarding vaccine industry expansion plans here:



I want to echo Autism Grandma and Kathy Blanco. These government people are in effect 'co-conspirators': they are too hopelessly interest-conflicted to be the ones who will contract the research to unfold this story to its sorely needed conclusion. The public-health medical people are in the pockets of Big Pharma, and so are the politicos (except for good and brave independent persons like 'Autism Grandpa' Rep. Dan Burton). It's obvious, eg when Insel, when asked about the incidence of autism, dismisses it by likening it 'merely' to a concomitant increase in other conditions - the same kinds of conditions that are spawned by encephalitis-inducing vaccines. Well duh.

I came across the establishment's agenda in this regard some years ago when reading a WHO document whereby the Powers That Be proved to be committed to eradicating measles, 'like they did smallpox'. So to such an ideologue's mind, yes, measles is worse than autism. Autism is but a side effect to the prophylactic effect of a measles vaccine - now THAT'S something! Well it certainly is. It tells us a lot about the mentality of these people.

So they're not the ones who are going to make the breakthroughs in this regard. The autism community needs to pool its resources and sponsor the research that will really do the job - and continue to keep an eagle eye out on those research projects sponsored by the establishment that have telling 'methodological flaws'. (Thanks, the likes of Blaxill and Yazbak in this arena of this battle.)

Progress IS being made. Damnably slow. But let's not look to 'the government' to come up with the answers. The answers 'they' want are already in place. "My mind's made up; don't confuse me with the facts." Minds made up by the power of the almighty dollar, and the hubris of 'the experts'.

I watched in Australia as Dr Archie Kalokerinos, who did magnificent work with the aboriginal community in uncovering the causes of SIDS, was sidelined by his professional peers, and shoved out of sight, like an embarrassing wacko relative. Not with the agenda. Couldn't see he was terribly off message.

And in the meantime, our children continue to suffer, at the hands of true believers, whose loyalty to The Message has been bought by the prestige accorded to them by their bought peers. The system, that is to say, is so corrupted that it has to go. Totally. Out with the whole lot of them. And power back to The People.

And in particular, those autism parents who have been fighting the good fight for their kids. Well done, folks. Keep it up. You have a righteous cause to maintain, until redress takes place. Which it will.

The truth WILL out. The WHOLE truth. It's just a shame that it has taken this long. A long shadow, cast by people who forgot the basic principle of their honorable profession: First, do no harm.

Kathy Blanco

I am with autism grandma...she like I have seen the full gammit of the advocacy, though we appreciate everyone's efforts to be heard, let's start funding independent research, combine our forces and get this done...stop with the idea that these people have a heart and will listen...it's just so pointless to me, I can't waste any more time...personally....

Richard P. Milner

If you want to read a compelling case for vaccine ingredients causing autism and other problems, go to RussellBlaylockMD.com.

Autism Grandma

All of this time and energy invested into all of these efforts by the autism community to gain the government's cooperation in a vaccinated versus non vaccinated study is now turning into a waste of time and resources. What if the focus could shift to non government sources for these studies. If these same exact hearings and all of the evidence were presented to any other independent organization, these studies would have already been completed by now!!!

Tom Insel is just one of many co-conspirators who are placed into government positions of power in order to derail the autism community. By continuing to pursue a HOPELESS CAUSE with the government, we are just playing into their game of distracting our attention away from INDEPENDENT sources which could and would actually pursue these studies. Since the autism and anti-vaccine communities compromise a large number of intelligent and resourceful people, there is an answer to this problem somewhere.

Instead of begging the corrupted government officials to help us in any way whatsoever, let's focus our attention on people who CAN and WILL help us.


J.B. Handley,

I don't have a transcript, but the portion of the hearing where Senator Harkin was trying to focus on the number of vaccines and Insel kept responding (more than once) that there is a lower antigen amount is from approx. 45:20 minutes to approx 50:00 minutes. (at 50 minutes they start talking more about the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study).

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Sarah, You are absolutely right. It may be difficult to do for some parents, but I believe that the autistic kids should get out in public as much as possible. Someone you dont even notice may watch your child and get interested in autism.

Benedetta Stilwell

Another thing that Tom Insel said that was interesting to me was the research showed autism had been pinpointed to be a synapses problem in the brain!
That means to me a metabolic problem, for synapses depends on the energy cycle of the body to work properly. To produce a pesticide throw something in to mess up the metabolism.

Tom Insel also made a statement about the rapid rise of autism, and the way it was stated gave the listener the impression that this was not really important because there have been lots of other diseases that have risen too. When he listed some of them, however it was clear to me that these diseases are all related to autism! Bipolor, ADD, and hyperactitivty to name a few are all brian disorders as is autism.

Benedetta Stilwell

J.B. Handley;

I do not have it in writing what Tom Insel said, but I did go back and listen to him again.

He said that the vaccines are different than they were in the 1900's. The antigens are fewer, the proteins have been refined.
In other words they have picked out the exact proteins of pathogens to cause an immune response.

Do pieces make a whole? My college professors always said no when it came to life; for pieces did not include movement! Proteins even in the right combinations are very slow to cause an immune response, so they have to have adjuvants hooked on to these proteins to get the rapid response of the immune system.


Unethical? what about this?: "NIH expands swine flu shot tests to pregnant women"


JB Handley

Does anyone have the transcript with Insel's antigen comment?

Donna Barber/ Minnesota Parent

My Daughter is one of the 5,000 cases in Vaccine Court and we struggle every day with reminders of what Autism Everyday is and Measles would have been gone by now. The rotten gut stomach problems etc. I could go on. Thanks everyone at Age of Autism for the information and support you have given us. We have to keep fighting to save our kids.

Theodore M. Van Oosbree

Dr. Insel has disproved the poet's assertion that "No man is an island" (N.B.: insel is German for island)


there are 5,000 cases in vaccine court all children all with medical records from birth they have these no cost there all they would need are the unvaccin kids records...what a bunch of political garbage....

Benedetta Stilwell

Since I have had a month to think on this:

Senator Tom Harkin asked Tom Insel about the corralation of the increase in the number of vaccines and the increase in autism?

Tom Insel answered that even though there has been an increase in vaccines there has been a decrease in antigens.

Antigens are pieces of a pathogen that causes the immune system to recognize the whole pathogen if it ever shows up. So how are they decreasing the antigen and still have a vaccine that will mount an immune system?

They hook an adjuvant up with the antigen. That would be Al????? So the vaccines now a days has more adjuvants that antigens.

I remember Buddy Ebsen of Beverly Hill Billys telling how he reacted to his costume for the tin man (powdered him up with AL powder) in the "Wizard of Oz". He had a seizure sounds like to me: His arms curled up uncontrollably (that is what happened to my husband in half an hour after his tetanus shot) Buddy ended up in the hospital for two weeks and was replaced as the tin man in the "Wizard of Oz". To his dying day Buddy complained of lung problems and was convinced it was brought on by the AL powder.

I looked up Al and the Krebs cycle last night and gee whiz there it all was?

Anyone try the Malic Magnesium pills here? Do they work?

And Some how Tom Insel should not be let off with the comment more vaccines but less antigens! Less antigens and more of WHAT ELSE?

Peter Griffin

Autism Hearing with Rep. Dan Burton 2002


How mercury/thiromersal damages the brain


Benedetta Stilwell

What I want to know is why the study Ms. Dawson was talking about was done in the first place if there was not enough money to really really complete it!

Where did this money come from in the first place? Was it donations to Austism Speaks or was it federal government money?

I did not get that?


I just watching the history channel on the Nuremberg trials.. the turning point for the Nazi defendants was when they were shown actual footage of the atrocities in the camps..it was at that moment that they finally realized how horrible Hitler's regime was. The evidence in the film was overwhelming. They knew at that point that the jig was up.

perhaps this is what the Senators need to see... footage of the victims. Instead of talking statistics, if the Senators are made to see the damage done to our kids and maybe that'll be turning point in stopping this crisis.

ct teacher

Why can't I post a comment? I have tried several times over the past 6 mos or so and they never get posted.

Benedetta Stilwell

Stop thinking on it one way or the other the senator said it was over! Tom Harkin said no use in us keep going down this road, although keep an open mind.

I have been around the school system enough to know a politician mouth piece. Tom Harkin was not our friend, he just question because he had too by public demand. His mind was made up, but he did not get to the top with out some very good acting skills.

The lady Ms. Dawson, from Autism Speaks did bring up a very good way to study it, and then as my Grandfather use to say; Lowered the Boom on us. She said that even though they had been given a bunch of money they just did not have the money to hire some people to go through the medical records. Why did they not have the money, seems like somebody all has their hands out and can't make do with what they have.

I did not hear Insel say wellllll maybe some of that money we are gettin .I did not hear Tom Harkin say welllll let me see how much you got to start this study and see if you really do need this money or what? Didn't hear anything form Tom Harkin except we've look at vaccines and it is time to move on, and as he glanced guilty over at Mrs. Halvorson, (and it was guilt) he added ," of course we will keep an open mind".

He will have all eternity to think on that one, sittin beside Insel on a very hot rock.

ct teacher

I agree with Philip Rudnick. The govt agencies will never do a study of vaxed vs unvaxed kids. The critics of the vaccine establishment must do it themselves. Autism Speaks has the $$ to fund it. Perhaps they could be prevailed upon to do it. The population already exits, so no new kids need be recruited. What BS about such a study being unethical!


I know it is a morbid thought, but has anyone ever considered doing research on the brain tissue of aborted fetuses whose mothers have received vaccinations while pregnant vs tissue from a fetus whose mother did not have a vaccine while pregnant??

Benedetta Stilwell

All that money going to try to find the cause of autism, and they are all looking every where except in the most likely and right place. To make it even worse loads of people are shouting "yeah" at them, and pointing to the right place.

Do you think this might be going on with every thing else the government has it's hands in, and that is why we are spending so much money we had to borrow from China?

Holly M.

My youngest daughter was in a sibling study at JHU's Kennedy Kreiger.
They recorded that unlike her sister and brother, she was not vaccinated. They could care less. I pulled her out of the study because KK came out with a stupid statement like, "Thimerisol hasn't been in vaccines since 1999." I figured why was I wasting time on these idiots.


******Dr. Insel built one of the nation’s leading HIV vaccine research programs. *******

Insel serves on the Board of Health Sciences Policy within the Institutes of Medicine of the National Academies. He shares Planning Committee Membership on the Workshop of Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research with the following people, some names you may recognize:

* Alan Leshner, Chairman
Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Executive Publisher of its journal, Science.
* Duane Alexander
Dr. Alexander returned to Johns Hopkins as a fellow in pediatrics (developmental disabilities)
* Mark Blaxill
Vice President of SafeMinds
* Laura Bono
co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the National Autism Association (NAA)
* Sophia Colamarino
Cure Autism Now Foundation (CAN)
* Eric Fombonne
He has been involved in numerous epidemiological studies of autism and is considered to be a leading authority on this topic, and also on the putative links between autism and immunization.
* Steven Hyman
Provost of Harvard University and Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School
* Judy Illes
Acting Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Medical Genetics) and Director of the Program in Neuroethics at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
* Thomas Insel
(Director, NIMH) Dr. Insel built one of the nation’s leading HIV vaccine research programs.
* Susan Swedo
recently received the Joel Elkes International Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
* David Schwartz
Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in May, 2005. Dr. Schwartz oversees the Institute's comprehensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to reduce the burden of human diseases that are triggered by the environment.
* Alison Tepper Singer
served as Producer of CNBC's MoneyWheel and MarketWrap programs. Most recently at CNBC, in her role as Special Projects Producer, Alison produced the award-winning series "Autism: Paying the Price".
* Chris Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman established the INI (Idaho Neurological Institute) research facility to focus on nervous system injury, repair, and neuroplasticity, leads its various interdisciplinary research teams


Also -

Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

Director of the National Institute of Mental Health
Dr. Insel graduated from Boston University where he received a B.A. from the College of Liberal Arts and an M.D. from the Medical School. He did his internship at Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and his residency at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Insel joined NIMH in 1979, where he served in various scientific research positions until 1994 when he went to Emory University, Atlanta, as Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. As director of Yerkes, Dr. Insel built one of the nation’s leading HIV vaccine research programs. He currently serves as the founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, a science and technology center, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Center has developed an interdisciplinary consortium for research and education at eight Atlanta colleges and universities. Dr. Insel’s research continues to study the role of oxytocin in social attachment and behavior, and under an NIMH grant, he is involved in the development of an autism research center.

Dr. Insel first joined NIMH in 1979 as a clinical associate in the Clinical Neuropharmacology Branch, and went on to hold several administrative and leadership posts. During his 15 years at NIMH before heading to Emory in 1994, Insel conducted research in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), initiating some of the first treatment trials for OCD using serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Five years later, Dr. Insel launched a research program in social neuroscience, focusing on the neurobiology of complex social behaviors in animals. Using molecular, cellular, and pharmacological approaches, Dr. Insel’s laboratory has demonstrated the importance of the neuropeptides, oxytocin and vasopressin, in maternal behavior, pair bond formation, and aggression.

Dr. Insel oversees the NIMH’s $1.3 billion research budget that provides support to investigators at universities throughout the country in the areas of basic science; clinical research, including large-scale trials of new treatments; and studies of the organization and delivery of mental health services. The Institute also administers an in-house research program at the NIH Bethesda. NIMH was authorized in 1946 as one of the first NIH institutes. The Institute’s mission is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior.


I thought it was interesting when Geraldine Dawson spoke about the sibling study and how "we know" some of those parents are choosing to vaccinate and some are not. And, went on to say how that information could be valuable. My youngest son is part of that study - and we have never been asked about vaccinations (he has not been vaccinated). Is anyone else a part of this study - and have you been asked?

candace passino

i agree insel has to go..how do we get him to leave? seanator harkin was great but did not seem to know much about autism? in general..i liked when he nailed insel about the n# OF vaccines given now vs. the 80's that was a great point...the medical records of 5,000 kids are sitting in vaccine court as we know..we have all the infor needed if we could just get by the talking dead heads..oh and i wish someone had recanted that the cdc gerdenberg has said her stupid studys she concurs meant nothing...


Insel focused so much on insisting that today's vaccines have less antigens, but is that even a true statement? What about in 1990 when the amount of mumps virus was SIGNIFICANTLY increased and eventually lowered some in 2007?

Dan Olmsted wrote:
"In 1990, Merck & Co., manufacturer of the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine known as the MMR, made a significant but little-noticed change:

It quadrupled the amount of mumps virus in the combination shot, from 5,000 to 20,000 units. Then in 2007 it reversed course, reducing the amount to 12,500 units. Neither the measles nor the rubella (German measles) component of the MMR was changed at all -- each remained at 1,000 units throughout."

So isn't there actually more vaccines AND a higher antigen level now than in 1980? Consider the following chart:

--------/--Vaccines given ---/--Amount of mumps virus--/
1980---/ DTP, MMR, Polio----/ 5,000
1990---/ DTP, MMR, Polio,---/ 20,000
-------/ Hep B, and Hib------/
2007---/ DTP, MMR, Polio,---/ 12,500
-------/ Hep B, Hib, Hep A,--/
-------/ Varicella, PCV, -----/
-------/ Rotavirus, and flu---/

Also, no matter how efficient the new vaccines are, their antigen levels are still higher than 0. So wouldn't there have to be more varicella, rotavirus, etc antigen now than there was in 1980? Anyone know more about this?

Additionally, regardless of the antigen amount, the increase in the number of shots has resulted in much higher thimerosal and aluminum levels. Many parents of children with autism have labwork showing that their children do have remarkably high levels of mercury and aluminum.

Insel also said there are some other diseases that have increased at a staggering rate. The two he named are bipolar disorder and ADHD. Both aluminum and mercury are known neurotoxins. Could these neurotoxins also be triggering bipolar disorder and ADHD?.

The CDC's thimerosal study found the following "statistically significant associations or consistent patterns between exposure to thimerosal and neuropsychological functioning":

"Among males, increased prenatal exposure [to thimerosal] was associated with ... poorer performance with attention and executive functioning".


"Among males, higher exposure was associated with poorer performance with attention and executive functioning (Brief Parent Rating of Behavioral Regulation test), and a higher likelihood of motor and phonic tics reported by the child assessor were observed."

So the CDC found that thimerosal causes problems with attention, and Insel pointed out that ADHD, like autism, has increased
dramatically. What's also interesting is that these findings showed that males are more susceptible, and autism occurs more frequently in boys than girls...

The CDC study can be read here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vsd/thimerosal_outcomes/

And then there's also the thousands of studies that discuss how toxic aluminum is-- including the study that caused the FDA to limit the amount of aluminum in IV fluids because the aluminum in IV fluids was causing neurological delays in premature babies who were receiving these IVs.

Not giving babies the Hep B vaccine as a newborn is not going to bring back measles!! It doesn't have to be an all or nothing issue. But still, I know many people who had the measles and recovered just fine. Yes sometimes there are complications with the disease such as ADEM, BUT Bailey Banks got ADEM from his MMR vaccine. And the latest statistic I've heard is that every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. We have got to change something, AND we have got to look at the already existing groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. To not look at these groups when they're already existing is what is unethical. If Insel's group won't look at these heterogenous populations, can Senator Harkin's committee reappropriate the funds to go to someone who will?

Bob Moffitt

Like most of those who already commented, my blood ran cold when I heard Dr. Insel proudly identify himself as a "psychiatrist.

My immediate thought was: Just what our families need, another "psychiatrist", following a long list of psychiatrists..who have contributed absolutely nothing during almost ONE HUNDRED YEARS that psychiatry has been "researching" autism.

Here is a short reminder why autism remains such a mystery today:

Throughout the 1940s and 50s, autism and schizophrenia remained linked in the mind of psychiatrists.

In the 1960s and 70s, embarrassed by past psychiatry "causations", such as, refrigerator moms...psychiatry "treatment" focused on medications, such as, LSD, electric shock and behavioral change techniques. The latter relied on pain and punishment.

During the 1980s and 90s, the role of behavior therapy and the use of behavior modification "drugs" emerged as the primary treatments for many forms of autism and related conditions.

Throughout this sorry history....psychiatry insisted that autism was "incurable" and "institutionalization" was their only solution.

Today, in the 2000s, "genetics" are their primary "cause" and early intervention is their primary "treatment". After 100 years.....they debate endlessly among themselves.... if autism has actually increased or is any increase due to a broader definition and better diagnosis.

Does anyone really believe "stake holders"...those with heavily invested financial and professional reputations to protect...such as...vaccine manufacturers who make them, public health officials who recommend and approve them, or pediatricians who administer them...would allow anyone BUT a psychiatrist to lead the IACC?

In any event, the time has come to stop this charade of "psychiatrists" like Insel and other prominent public health officials...from avoiding a "vaccinated vs. unvaccinated" study..because..THEY insist it would be "unethical" to risk unvaccinated children to vaccine preventable diseases.


The "unvaccinated" population ALREADY exists...and...THEY KNOW IT.

What in God's name frightens them so much they resort to such ludicrous excuses to avoid what could...if they have NOTHING TO FEAR...restore rapidly diminishing public trust in their aggressive childhood vaccine policies?


Continual refusal to conduct this common sense study must be challenged...as a LAST RESORT....Insel and his cronies should be required to answer why they are not aggressively seeking VOLUNTEERS if they truly believe there are not enough ALREADY unvaccinated children.

After all, Insel and the vaccine industry are not troubled about the "ethics" of aggressively seeking VOLUNTEERS,including CHILDREN, to undergo their untested "swine flu" vaccine.

Eileen Nicole Simon

I submitted the following to Sen. Harkin this morning:

Thank you for grilling Dr. Tom Insel on his opposition to vaccine research. Trying to get the IACC to listen is like talking to a stone wall. I posted a brief vaccine research strategy on my website at: http://www.conradsimon.org/files/IACC4feb2009strategy.pdf.

All neonatal interventions and obstetric interventions must be questioned. Invasive procedures have increased over the past 2 decades in which the autism epidemic has emerged.

We need actuarial scientists from Social Security to be appointed as members of the IACC. Their focus might be more on finding the cause of autism rather than esoteric "scientific" research.

I will try to communicate more. I am on vacation right now, and not with good internet connection.

Eileen Nicole Simon

Philip Rudnick

I've said this before to the Vaccine Establishment critics and got no response. I'll try once more.

A retrospective study of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children requires NO permission from ANY authorities, just the collection and tabulation of the data. THE DATA IS THERE.

To defray the cost:
How many families with autistic children are there? How many of them would be willing to contribute a token amount, say ten dollars, to help fund such a study?

WHAT ARE THE CRITICS OF THE VACCINE ESTABLISHMENT WAITING FOR? For lowlife Insel to agree to do it?! How long will it take you to learn that HE'S NOT GOING TO DO IT! So stop entreating Insel to do something which you can do for yourselves!

Heidi N

Did they bring up that recent study that was done where children with asthma were found to be 3 times more likely to be hospitalized if they got flu shots than if they did not get flu shots? That would have been good to use as a counter-argument to those biased IACC members.

Benedetta Stilwell

Ann, My sister-in-law with her two twin boys with autism lives in your state. Plus her other one that has panic attacks and what ever. Must be Plenty of Something in the water (vials) down there.

Benedetta Stilwell

Katie, I have decided that I too have autism like my son! I did not get out of that meeting what you got out of it. The senator in the most politician like way said that vaccines studies were done! He believed in keeping an open mind but it is time to move on.

So, You all are going to have to get another adjective beside a tsunami because by definition its a great wave and then it is over. Don't look like to me that this surge in autism is going to ever be over.

To think I wrote a thank you note to the senator today before I listened to this.

Autism Grandma

"Insel he has decided for all of us that there can never be a vaccinated/ unvaccinated study, period, end of story, case closed!"

It is apparently obvious at this point that the Big Pharma gangsters have total control over these government agencies and are continuing to do everything in their power to prevent any non-vaccinated comparative study. It is a CIA operation ("Cover It's Ass) but "there is more than one way to skin a cat" [specifically a voracious child eating lion] What if the autism and anti vaccine communities work together to manage a fund raising campaign to cover the cost of a vaccinated / non vaccinated study to be done INDEPENDENTLY of the government? A huge fund raising campaign could also generate more publicity for this issue and bring more awareness to the public, while bringing a cautionary warning to those who are still vaccinating. [Although we really need all this money for biomedical therapies for our children don't we?]

It's too bad that Bill Gates doesn't have an autistic child or he would fund this through his foundation. [Not that I would wish this on anyone, but a rich billionaire would be very helpful right now]

I am wondering if perhaps the Arizona State University Autism Research Program would be interested in supervising this research, or perhaps another university. What if a university could somehow sneak in the back door and get this research funding through a private or even government grant. (Wouldn't that be ironic poetic justice if the government still ended up paying for this study through the grant system)

Of course it's easy for me to come up with all these "great ideas" when I can't even keep my house clean anymore since my entire life is now focused on recovering my grandson from autism. Yes we are all in this same boat, but somehow there has to be a way to focus some attention in this research project because there are so many innocent children that will continue to be vaccine damaged until the truth finally is proven through this study.

Does anyone on Age of Autism know Professor Adams? Here is some info from the ASU website:


Arizona State University Autism/Asperger's Research Program

Directed by Professor James B. Adams

Our research group is dedicated to finding the causes of autism, how to prevent autism, and how to best help people with autism.

Our focus is primarily on biomedical issues, including nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, and bacterial/yeast overgrowths in the gut. However, we strongly recommend that a combination of biomedical, behavioral, therapy, and educational interventions be used to best help children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Also, Prof. Adams serves as the President of the Greater Phoenix Chapter of the Autism Society of America.

Background on James B. Adams, Ph.D.

James B. Adams is a father of a young girl with autism, diagnosed in 1994, and that is what led him to eventually shift much of his research emphasis to autism, focusing on biological causes and treatments. He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at Arizona State University. He created and teaches a course on Heavy Metal Toxicity, focused on lead and mercury toxicity.

Autism-Related Service
President, Greater Phoenix Chapter of Autism Society of America, 2000-present
Vice-President, Greater Phoenix Chapter of Autism Society of America, 1999.
Conference organizer: annual conferences of the Greater Phoenix Chapter of the ASA, including 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004.
Many presentations at autism conferences (see list)
Member of the DAN! Think Tank, 2002-present
Representative of the (national) Autism Society of America to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) Public Interest Liaison Group, 2001-present
Founder and President of the Autism Assistance Fund of Arizona


Katie as always, thank you so much for writing. Senator Harkin's common sense is encouraging!

michael framson

I remember when Dan Burton(R) of Indiana was asking the tough questions of the vaccination defenders, in Congressional hearings, and Henry Waxman(D)was doing the bidding of the pharmaceutical/AAP/CDC interests. Waxman was clearly an obstacle to gaining the truth.

So Harkin is the first Democrat(in the Senate), that I'm aware of, that might be able to do some good.

Are there any other Democrats in the Senate like Harkin?

I once approached Senator Ron Wyden(D-OR) about vaccinations about 12 years ago and he blew me off.

I expect so little of these people anymore.
This report was actually encouraging.


I...I was thinking about going to see Zombieland. Over the course of the past few days, I'm not sure I could go see it. If we don't fix this soon, the damage to the planet's societies will be complete.


Thanks for the overview, Katie, I hope I find the time this weekend to watch the entire hearing. I got some reinforcement to your "it's over" statement this afternoon. I was at a social gathering for my work and took the opportunity to bring up the "V" word. My co-worker's wife had stopped by with their 9 month old little girl and happened to be sitting with another co-worker whose wife is expecting their first child next month. I knew the mom didn't fully vaccinate her other kids, so felt pretty confident in what her response would be regarding this little one. She hadn't vaccinated her yet, and had just gotten her two and half year old her first vaccine (polio). Without even having to ask the question, my co-worker who is expecting piped up immediately and said he was not going to have his kid vaccinated for at least the first year. He had already bought Dr. Sears' book and was actually pretty well read on the subject. I was impressed and very happy -- no preaching from me even required. These are intelligent, educated people making rational decisions for their families. Hallelujah. Listen carefully Insel, Offit, and Singer, your reputations and competency are swirling in preparation for their decent down the drain (or somewhere else below).


Sorry to be so blunt, but death by measles would have been better than watching my poor baby beat his own face in with his fists. Autism sucks!

Kathy Blanco

K Fuller...your so right, it's all about money and research jobs. Personally, my testimony would not be so acronomious. I would infatically state, that ALL vaccines are dangerous, and until proven otherwise, I will not, nor my children, more over, my children's children ever partake of them again. The trust train has stopped here. If there is a safe vaccine, it won't be made in my lifetime, or my children's. It produces enough diseases/death to drive the econimic unwellness of all Americans.

Katie Wright

Patty- its over.

Insel is a joke, he looked ridiculous at the hearings. This country has MILLIONS of non vaccinated homelschoolers- kids who are not vaccinated- period. We are not "denying them preventative care."

Families are voting with their feet and not taking their children to be vaccinated in record numbers. If Insel really cared about promoting vaccination rates he would not be afraid (and that is what he is, afraid- terrified of what he might find) to do the research.

No one trusts the CDC's "safety" research. Patty, it really is over. There is not one independent study showing us that it is safe to give babies 36 vaccines in 2 years- not one.

I would not want 36 vaccines in 2 years. It is insane.

Ann Brasher

Kim....add the "CSPAN VERSION" that's the one where you can see Nicole

Ann Brasher

We in Mississippi are very proud of Nicole Boyd's contribution and Thad Cochran's interest in our children.
This was truly a great hearing.
Just for fun....watch Insel again. Nicole is right behind his right shoulder and doesn't know the camera is on her. Her face shows all our thoughts as Insel spews his crap.


dr. insel actually answered the question on why there is not a comparative research study: it's unethical to enroll human subjects in a researach study and NOT give them preventive care.

Benedetta Stilwell

I thanked him. Just when I thought the country has gone to hell in a hand basket someone steps up and does the right thing.


Off topic but..... In Oprah's current magazine there is a piece on autism moms that trashes Jenny and Generation Rescue. This is pathetic! I hope Oprah had no idea about this hatchet job!

K Fuller Yuba City

There were a few times while watching this hearing that I whooped so loud I scared myself.
Senator Harkin is the Grandpa all of our children need. I wanted him to stop treating Insel so kindly. But that is my problem!
Insel,(I have trouble addressing him as Dr.) My son will not be a scientist or engineer, he cant even wipe his own ass!Why does this committee have a Psychiatrist as its lead???
This was the best congressional hearing I have every watched. Vaccines generate money, money, money. Autism only generates money for researchers who need to keep researching until they can retire rich.
I am beginning to think all of these talking heads lives have been threatened if they don't continue to spout Pharma lies.
I have emailed my families sincere thanks to Senator Harkin. And I am so pleased that his email system actually accepts emails from people who cant even vote in his district.


Insel has to go.

He's made it abundantly clear that he's willing to continue throwing a percentage of children under the bus that others are riding safely.

How many more children must be damaged while he prioritizes theoretical disease outbreaks over the reality of lifelong disability? The percentage is increasing annually. While Insel fiddles with his reputation, our children are burning.

As Katie says, vaccine safety isn't an either/or argument. Polarizing is profoundly unscientific. Research investigates gray areas, where anecdote becomes observation and patterns offer clues and answers.

From a recent article by the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Gregory Poland et. al in the May 2009 issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal:

"We believe that adversomics (the immunogenetics and immunogenomics of vaccine adverse events at the individual and population level, respectively) is critical to understanding and preventing serious adverse vaccine-related events, developing the next generation of vaccines, and to improving public confidence in vaccine safety. ...

"[T]he field of adversomics is growing due to scientific interest in understanding the basis for vaccine reactions, 'push' from the growing field of individualized medicine, and consumer demand for safer vaccines. ...

"Clearly more comprehensive studies are needed to determine if there are associations between genetic variations among individuals and susceptibility to serious adverse events in response to vaccination. These factors combined with technologic ability will lead to a new era in vaccinology and better, safer vaccines."

Thank heavens that these vaccine researchers are promoting safer vaccines. If only more would do so....


Insel provides the endless ability to "shrug and play stupid" and does not want to turn over a rock they have looked under 16 times...

They do not want to study an unvaccinated population that already exists, I would suppose because they are deathly afraid of catching the measles.

They seemed quite impressed with themselves and their "ongoing 20 year study" that still seems to lack enough funding.

The overall goal is to shadow box with the truth, and look in the wrong place all the way to their retirements.

Was Dr. Haley invited to this meeting? If not why not ? I suppose he has already "been there and done that."

María Luján

Somehow Drs Dawson and Insel are part of the old paradigm of autism as genetic mainly, whereas Dr Dawson is more - at least in her press statements- open of course to the need of further research on vaccines. It is clear that Dr Offit and others are the most conservative group in this paradigm.
And the paradigm is changing... It is very sad that mainly the best of the old "school" is not aware of how the shift in paradigm and research is going to let obsolete the view of ASD as of psicogenetic origin only. And a real change is going to take place but in terms of decades if further research is not done.
In the meanwhile they are going to be more and more challenged more and more strongly. Their arguments are at this point so weak....
It is sad that no immunologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, experts in metabolism and biochemistry, experts in nutrition, toxicologists, neuroimmunologists, etc were present in this hearing. It was the most clear example about how these supposed exponents of the research in ASD are disconnected from what many parents and doctors think and are finding and doing in autistic children.


From now on, whenever I think of Insel, I'll think of "Sir Topham Hatt".

Insel says that some children with autism will grow up to be "tremendously useful" (in math, engineering, etc.-- despite the fact that the majority with Aspergers will rarely keep a job or live independently). His statement reminds me of Thomas the Train-- you know how Thomas the Train is always afraid that Sir Topham Hatt will turn him into scrap if he's not a "useful engine". And that's exactly what's going to happen to children if Insel has his way. Detecting "risk much ealier" through Insel's Voodoo concept of "biomarkers" has clear meaning: either genetic counseling and termination or earlier and earlier drugging.

And can someone tell me why is Insel-- whose primary job is peddling clinically useless drugs to the American public on behalf of his agency's industry sponsors-- suddenly a *vaccine expert*?

Becky Estepp

Great article Katie. I will be on Capitol Hill on Monday. I am stopping by Senator Harkin's office to deliver a thank you package on behalf of the bio-med community. If anyone wants to email me with well wishes or thanks to the Senator, I have about 8 hours before I leave. Some parents have scanned pictures that their kids have drawn and I am printing them out to inlude in the thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Hi Tanner's dad,

Thanks for asking..I think these would be good points to make.

Please riterate the fact that there's been no safety testing/studies done on the actual vaccination schedule to see if a two year old can tolerate the number of shots.

Have there been any studies on immune response among sensitive populations?

Also, individual mmune response varies widely and the CDC has publically stated (see quote below) they have no way of predicting how an individual immune system will respond which begs the questions: How can the CDC say vaccines are safe for all? How can they advocate a one size fits all approach?

Quote from CDC web site re: adverse reaction:

"However, as with any medical procedure, vaccination has some risks as well as substantial, proven benefits. Individuals react differently to vaccines, and there is no way to absolutely predict the reaction of a specific individual to a particular vaccine"

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/safety/default.htm

Renee Tag

I don't believe any "stats" that come from government agencies in reference to Measles outbreaks or deaths.

The FDA to me is certainly no gold standard.

Teresa Conrick

Just want to add a big thank you to Katie for posting this and all the moms who spoke for our sick kids, and especially Senator Harkin who, with much common sense and integrity, is trying to right a wrong that is impacting not only children and families with autism but all of those not yet touched by it.

Julie C

Great recap Katie. I also watched this hearing on CSPAN later the same day and was so impressed by these two women that I wrote down their names - Nicole Akins Boyd and Dana Halverson. They were by far the best witnesses. My husband asked if I thought anyone would say the V word and I said it won't be Insel. We were shocked that it was Harkin who first brought it up and he was obviously briefed on the subject. He was great. However, I was a little disheartened at the end when he was saying that although he beliefs in honest science and open inquiry "the 16 studies have already beend one." He obviously is not aware of the flaws in those studies and what they actually say. Also, the senators did not seem well informed about lack of nsurance coverage for treatment and that there are current federal bills pending -although they seemed sincerely determined to pass some. We need to make sure any federal laws they pass have teeth and not arbitrary dollar and age caps (can you tell I am from CO who passed the weakest autism insur law in the US?).
Also, it strikes me as ridiculous that we have Insel a psychiatrist and Dawson (a psychologist (Chief Science Officer - I think of AS) setting scientific research policy and agendas. I feel strongly that until autism is taken out of the freaken DSM and treated as a medical issue and not a "mysterious psycological disorder" that the policy for research and treatment is going to be stuck in the past. Out with Bettelheim/Insel in with Healy/Herbert! Maybe that is why a lawyer and a farmer were more clued in than the so called "professionals."


God bless you Senator Harkin, we need Senators like you, with a backbone and willing to stand up to protect God's most vulnerable.
Thanks Katie for another great piece from your pen.
And good luck Tanner's dad!!!

Teresa Conrick


Your points in your local paper were great, especially the facts about Tanner's age at regression and how he needed to go back into diapers, lost speech and needed help eating. Those stick in a person's mind as they are physical, not DSM/mental health, and correlate with his receiving vaccines.

If you want to add a global point about the Appropriations meeting, like maybe how the money is there, and how many Senators secured it and parents keep going to them relating how their child regressed after vaccines, like Tanner, yet there are those, including Insel, who have refused and continue to block access to the research needed (vaccinated vs unvaccinated study).

Take away message: Our kids are medically sick and for too long, autism has been thought of as a mental illness yet increasing numbers and the common theme of regression after vaccination makes this kind of research a priority.

You will be great!

PROUD to be anti vaccine

So, if measles is so dangerous why are we INJECTING into our children. BTW my husband and I, our parents, most of our friend have ALL had the measles. I don't know anybody who didn't recover, I also never heard of autism until 2000 when my son was diagnosed. As one doctor said to me "nothing is worse than autism." And that's true!!! I don't believe that any vaccines is safe. Every vaccine can cause encephalopathy and should be avoided at all costs.


Insel insist that these children will be engineers and scientist. Is he for real? I would like to see the engineers and scientist that are still in diapers,smearing feces, while biting themselves. Basically Insel and Dawsons message to families afflicted with ASD is tough crap.Their frank refusal to study vaccines and the overly agressive scheduel is admittance of guilt. Both Insel and Dawson need to be removed from this panel. They dont even have the correct numbers. 1 in 150 figure is atleast 10 years old.Insel still cant grasp that the increase in incidence is real.Insels vision statement is sevely lacking perhaps he should take off his blinders.He feels the less antigens the safer. I guess he hasnt figured out that less antigens means more aluminum and mercury as an adjunt. Thus making it cheaper for the vaccine manufacturers. Furthermore Insel insist the todays vaccine formulas are not the same as they were in the 1980s. Isnt this even more reason to study them?


Tanners Dad

I would recommend staying focused on the approved and recommended studies that have come out of gov't agencies recently and the comments coming from these groups...and Bernadine Healy. It really drives the point home that there is a disconnect between the top levels of the CDC, HHS and AAP as opposed to working committees in the gov't and science. http://www.homefirst.com/


Great article - thank you!


I had already wrote off the IACC when they changed the wording at the last minute and still allow Allison (I think that's her name) to still be on the board.

The whole thing is a shame and unless Obama steps in a replaces the whole friggin' lot of 'em, nothing is going to change and it'll be a big waste of time and money.

End of story.

Tanners Dad

Great Post as usual. I am going to be on WLS Mancow show ( 9:40 AM Central ) this morning. I am very nervous. If everybody would help me with your top ten current issue sound bites with references It would really help. I have way too much material and need to get each point down to 1 or two sentences. Help! Harkin quotes are great! Thanks again Katie!

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