Derek Bickerton on Psychology Today Blog Questions Frontline's Autism Vaccine War Program
DNA from Pig Viruses Found in Paul Offit Merck RotaTeq Vaccine

Experts on the 'Search for a Quick and Dirty Explanation'

Money down drain dollar sign water By Anne Dachel

May 1, 2010, I found a story in the Hamilton Spectator from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  (HERE)  The title was "$8.9m to help solve autism puzzle."  Almost $9 million is going to researchers so they can learn why kids everywhere have autism.  Although that sounded positive, my hopes evaporated as I read the piece. 

The researcher getting the grant is Dr. Peter Szatmari.  He's the director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies and he's co-principal investigator of the autism study.  He said he was 'jumping up and down and clapping,' when he heard the news that he was going to be able to lay his hands on all that money. 'I'm very excited and very pleased.'

And what is he going to do with nine million dollars? 

Answer: He's going to look for the genes that cause autism.  (And they're not the genes that make kids susceptible for autism, since Szatmari doesn't believe that there is any environmental trigger.  Autism is something kids are born with.  It's all due to the genes that they've inherited.)

Szatmari is just the guy to give $9 million to.  In one Canadian publication from 2007, (HERE) I read, "Dr. Szatmari has seen the number of cases [of autism] shoot upward, but doesn't believe a toxic environment is suddenly producing far more cases than in the past. He thinks they've always been there, undiagnosed."

In February 2010, Szatmari said that the Lancet retraction of Andrew Wakefield's paper was "reassuring evidence that it is safe for parents to vaccinate their kids."  (HERE)

Hearing that millions of dollars are going to a researcher who doesn't believe that the autism has increased or that the environment plays a role in autism is bad enough, but I also ran across a video of a recent discussion between Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and head of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and Dr. Peter Bearman, chairman of the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. (HERE)
Bearman is described as "a sociologist at Columbia University who has undertaken a monumental task: figure out what is behind the increase in autism prevalence."

(The National Institutes of Health liked the work of Bearman so much that in 2007 he received a $2.5 million award to study the "social determinants of autism." HERE) It seems that Bearman stopped in at NIMH to chat with Insel about autism.  This is what was said in their discussion: (See pdf here.)

What's clear from the conversation is that autism isn't a crisis to either expert.  They exuded the feeling that we still don't know much for sure but we have all the time in the world to speculate about autism.  They tossed out the terms "prevalence" and "increase in diagnosis," instead of admitting that THERE ARE REALLY MORE KIDS WITH AUTISM.
There's something that really bothers me when I see two supposed experts charged with addressing the autism crisis, sitting around, looking relaxed, smiling and STILL speculating over the increase and the cause.  I kept waiting for some inkling of horror over what's happening to hundreds of thousands of our children.  The feeling I got from this talk was that they were curious about autism, but not at all worried.
At the start of the video, Insel asked this stunning question:

"Is there an increase in the number of children with the disorder or autism spectrum disorder or does this largely reflect the changes in the way the diagnosis is used or some sort of increase in ascertainment?" 
Bearman tossed out all kinds of possibilities.  He used the word "ascertainment" a number of times and it seemed to be another way of saying, better diagnosis: "There's been a really fundamental change in ascertainment."   He made references to "parental age,"  "diagnostic change," and genetics.  His rambling rant flittered to a number of bizarre topics: "It looks like it should be some toxicological environment that's shared because of the spatial clustering, but because there's a very strong process of amplification of ...the understanding of autism that leads to increased diagnosis, as parents learn to recognize symptoms, a very very small event that would transform the environment five years ago, ten years ago, even you could imagine [forty] years or fifty years ago when the moms of children with autism now were in utero as eggs, a very small event could cascade into a larger epidemic now."
Bearman and Insel ended their chat with this cryptic exchange:
Insel: (Looking slightly amused) "So what do you tell parents who ask about this, when they, if you have friends who have autistic children who say, What's going on here?  Why this epidemic?  What do you say in response?"
Bearmann:  "Well, I think parents are, you know, they are struggling with just enormous...You's just enormously difficult to have a child with autism, you know it's incredible.  It's very hard. And I think parents are naturally searching for explanations.   I think that message now is to search for a quick and dirty explanation, might not be advancing science."
Insel: (Smiling broadly) "Thank you very much.  Good discussion."
The phrase "a quick and dirty explanation" seemed a veiled reference to the claim that vaccines cause autism and it drew an immediate reaction from Insel.  Maybe the whole purpose of their talk was to again point out that no one knows anything for sure---except that it's not vaccines.
And while Bearman didn't specifically talk about the controversy in his dialogue with Insel, he has addressed the claim in other places.  (HERE)  In this video, Bearman showed evidence linking increasing exemption rates to the presence of autism organization in the local area:
"Prof. Bearman notes that vaccine refusal rates in California are higher in areas where autism organizations have a presence. However, vaccine refusal rates are not higher in areas with high autism prevalence.

"In other words: autism isn't scaring people away from vaccination. But, autism organizations are.

"[They] can be as much as 7 times higher if there are autism organizations in a given area. The baseline refusal rate in California is about 1.6% (in 2003). In other words, there are pockets of vaccine refusal of 10% or more in California, correlated with autism organization presence.

"There are those who gloat about increasing fear of vaccines. It is too bad that time, money and effort didn't go into something valuable to the autism communities. Let's hope it doesn't backfire on us in the form of infectious disease outbreaks blamed on the autism community."
So what do Peter Szatmari, Thomas Insel and Peter Bearman all have in common?  They're contribute to the cover-up.  They're continuing the lies.   These are the people we're supposed to believe are addressing autism.  They're the accepted experts.  They're getting millions of dollars to figure out why so many children are disabled like never before in our history. 

The truth is their efforts are a travesty.  They show no interest in the suffering of countless children.  They're not alarmed about children who were talking and potty trained as two year olds and are now non-verbal and in diapers as teenagers.  They're not interested in why so many autistic children have seizures and bowel disease.  No one has been able to find adults with autism at a rate even remotely close to what we see in our children and these experts could care less. Most of all, Szatmari, Insel, and Bearman act like these children with autism will never grow up.  Nowhere is there any mention of what our country will be like in a few years when one percent of children and adults alike are autistic.  Their obfuscation in the face of this nightmare is a disgrace.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism. 



I'm with Benedetta 100% - we must believe one another and support one another. Our children's paths to their ASD state are all different - just as their ASDs are all different.


In your case it may not be. I respect that.
But in my case vaccines was the exact reason it caused an immune response in mine that caused a heart mumur, passing out with 106 temp, stroke three differnt times in one child and the second child caused Kawaski's, passing out with a 106 temperature, high sed rates, high C reactive protein.

I expect you to also respect me.


Szatmari is the epicentre of the 100% genetic/better diagnosis universe:


"McMaster doctor plays lead role in autism gene research" (2007):

Read what they are really gearing up for - article from 2007 Globe and Mail
"Canadian breakthrough offers hope on autism"

"Autism research at McMaster receives major boost" (2010 - read it - some BS on biomedical interventions that he doesn't believe in - I went to a conference in the past 6 months where they ignored the oxytocin and namenda research that the ATN is looking into)


Endowed chair supports autism research and other childhood psychiatric and developmental disorders - head of the division of Child Psychiatry

His university sites:


Both my kids have autism.

My son was vaccinated. My daughter wasn't.

It isn't the vaccines.


Again...more money spent the wrong way. I know identical has regressive autism and her sister does not. If it were genetic alone then both should be the same. What was done 15 months one twin was sick with ear infection..while Mom was in the Md said "vaccine are due anyway, get them today and save yourself a trip." Mom did. Well child is NT...sick child was never the same from that day on...does anyone get that??

In my own home...we have aspies..for us it's normal, aspie runs in families some say..some do as in my case..some do not, anyone who has no history of aspie in the family and now has an aspie, in my book has a vaccine damage kid. At the same time I have a regressive kid who was born normal and lost every single physical skill he had including all speech and became profoundly autistic. Can't find another one like him on either side of the family, no matter how hard I dig, nobody has his story of normalcy and loss. sigh when will researchers listen to us? it's called vaccine damage..


why can't they just look at autism rates where vaccine refusal is highest? geez, could it be that they would not like what they would find.....and they already know it....the autism rates would be lowest in places where the vaccine refusal is the highest...

Amanda Blinn

Social determinants sounds a lot like refrigerator moms to me.

Tired of Spunk

I've stopped giving money to pretty much every non profit that raises money "for research." They all waste well-intentioned people's money by blowing it away on useless genetic research.

There are myriad environmental toxins and contaminants to study to determine their role in human health. But virtually no money goes to this.

Instead, everything ailment wise in the US is considered "genetic" - everything. It's a huge waste of money and it puts the focus on long-term treatment (aka steady income streams for pharma companies) with no true interest in determining cause or cure (i.e. shortening the cash flow life cycle.) and still get a few of my limited bucks, but I say no to all my dear friends who walk, jog or bike for this cause or that. All of those non-profit groups will blow up my donation and yours on useless gene studies - so why make that donation in the 1st place?



Touche' :-)

Maurine Meleck

Oh, now I get it. It's not the internet that's causing people not to vaccinate, but it's autism organizations that are causing this to happen. Who are they going to blame next? Dyed hair grandmothers?
Thanks Anne. Knock the real pigs in the dirt.


Let's see -- recent studies show that vaccine refusers are HIGHLY EDUCATED. That places with autism activism have HIGHER RATES OF EXEMPTION. And that these areas have LOWER RATES OF AUTISM than other areas where more people vaccinate.

Do these MORONS not even see they are proving our point? Really, I never cease to be awed by the magnitude of their stupidity.


Here's a link to an article about the news Jen mentions. Results of a study were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting held in Vancouver this week.

PAS: GI Problems Common in Those with Autism

45% of the children in the database looked at had frequent GI problems. More older kids than younger had GI problems and more kids with GI problems had sleep problems.

Of course, you don't see this study getting a lot of press like the one last year that supposedly showed kids with autism don't have more GI problems.

The article also talks about a gene study where two new genes alledgedly associated with autism were found. Not surprisingly, they have to acknowledge that some of the kids with the gene mutations had parents and siblings with the same gene mutations that didn't end up with autism and that there might be an environmental component.

When they have siblings with the same genes but such different outcomes, do they ever look at the differences in environmental exposures? Are any of these siblings who have the gene but don't have autism, younger siblings who were vaccinated differently or are unvaccinated (we know the parents were vaccinated in a very different way than their kids)?


Disaster capitalism. Disgusting.

So, let me get this straight: the places which have the highest concentation of safer vaccine organizations are the places with the higher vaccine exemptions-- and both are in places that do not have higher autism rates? Hmmm...


They have the nerve to complain about "all the precious and scarce research dollars being wasted on further researching the autism-vaccine link" when NO money actually ever goes there, then waste millions of dollars on more bogus genetic studies so they can continue to state "research to date shows no link" blah, blah, blah?! Maybe if they ever looked in the obvious place, they'd actually discover something meaningful. This is SO pathetic. What another load of BS!
When (and where?) is Dr. Wakefield's primate research going to be published? Am dying to see the spin they'll put on those results. If it weren't so tragic, it would be comical. How do these people sleep at night?!


Hmmn, since they know where all the vaccine exemptions are wouldn't that make a nice control group, with no ethical challenges to worry about, for a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated comparison study. I mean the reason they always give for not doing such a study is that it would be unethical to leave children vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases for the purpose of the study. Well, here ya go CDC, here's your control group - tens of thousands of children who are unvaccinated due to their parents choice. Should remove your ethical concerns, no?


"Quick and dirty"
I can't think of a better way to describe a vaccine.

"However, vaccine refusal rates are not higher in areas with high autism prevalence." Somehow, put another way, that seems to say that where people vaccinate as recommended, there is high autim prevalence.


So Bearman thinks it might be something that happened forty or fifty years ago and these moms who were in utero then are now clustering together in LA and getting each other all riled up over lattes. Maybe.

After I read about the recent EPA study that said the changepoint year for autism in California was 1988, I found out from the CDC website that there had been a measles outbreak in Los Angeles in 1989 which appears to have resulted in a concerted effort to vaccinate children even younger than one year of age. I was surprised to find that several hundred minority infants in LA were vaccinated by Kaiser with an unlicensed measles vaccine, Edmonston-Zagreb, associated with higher mortality in third world countries. If that was happening, what else might have been happening that we don't know about?

Here's a link to the California autism clusters according to Hertz-Picciotto:

If you live in one of them and your child has autism, maybe you should talk to your neighbors over lattes and figure out what you have in common.



Friday 8:05 AM Central Time


President of Sound Choice

Theresa Deisher, Ph.D.


NEWS: just saw a Child Health link that talks about a study (Vancouver?) vindicating Wakefield's findings. Can't send the link now but it looks important.


Wait, they can figure out where the vaccine exemptions are but they can't figure out how much autism there is? What a joke. They know and have made a deal with the devil. These are the paid liars.

pass the popcorn

"McMaster researchers are literally jumping for joy after getting $8.9 million toward their quest to find the genes involved in autism."

That does it. I'm going to stop playing the lottery and become an autism "genes only" researcher. The odds are way better for winning big.

My only consolation in reading this is that it's another country wasting $9 million and not my tax dollars this time. (sorry Canada)


This is beyond my understanding...
What waste of money- with the little bit that there is for ASD comparing to other medical conditions!

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