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Vaccine-Autism Decision a 'Major Disappointment' Says Autism Advocacy Community

Legal update Cedillo vs. Secretary of Health and Human Services Highlights Failure of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

The Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA) is deeply disappointed in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's decision to affirm Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services. EBCALA submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 23 civil society organizations in January 2010 urging the Court of Appeals to reverse. In affirming the decision, the Court of Appeals failed to do justice by Michelle Cedillo and thousands of other petitioners in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP). This case, the first test case in the OAP, highlights the overall failure of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). As Rebecca Estepp, an OAP petitioner, said, "These are government lawyers, representing a government agency, presenting government-funded science to government judges, with no jury and no normal rules of evidence. Where's the justice in that?"

Michelle Cedillo, a 15-year-old girl, developed autism and many other severe medical problems in the immediate aftermath of her measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and other mercury-containing vaccines. Her lawyers advanced scientific and legal arguments that the combination of her mercury-containing and live virus vaccines substantially contributed to her life-threatening medical conditions. In EBCALA's view, Cedillo met the required standard of "more likely than not." While the Court of Appeals criticized some of the Department of Justice's conduct as "troubling," it did not find that the government's conduct merited reversal. EBCALA has grave concerns regarding a legal process that permitted the admission of critical evidence by the government at the last minute, not only foreclosing Cedillo's opportunity to challenge it, but unfairly precluding any inquiry into how the Department of Justice obtained the critical piece of evidence in the first place. The court's failure to inquire into this area raises serious questions regarding the due process and fair play of the VICP. Adding to EBCALA's concern was the Special Master's insufficient analysis of Cedillo's scientific biopsy results. A recent study by leading United States researchers – that the Court of Federal Claims elected not to admit – found no basis to question the reliability of the laboratory results, contrary to the government's position and the OAP's finding.

Continue reading "Vaccine-Autism Decision a 'Major Disappointment' Says Autism Advocacy Community" »

Mercury: Why Don't Pregnant Women Know More?

Hg By Julie Obradovic

When I started eating a lot of tuna while breastfeeding my daughter, I had no idea that I was possibly poisoning her. At that time, there was no mention of mercury toxicity and certainly no alarm bell being rung over how very dangerous this particular food was. Crazy enough, I don't even like tuna (adding tremendous insult to injury), but I was getting ready to be in a wedding and wanted to get my pre-pregnancy body back a little faster than normal. Not wanting to hurt myself or my baby knowing I was breastfeeding though, I tried to pick the most nutritious foods I could find. Over and over and over again, tuna showed up as a healthy choice, a responsible high-protein alternative to chicken. And so I ate it, even though I hated it, several times a week for many weeks.

It absolutely floors me that I took every precaution known at that time to protect my baby during and after pregnancy, and yet one of the most dangerous things I could do was completely unknown to me. I didn't start working out until she was 2 months old, well after the 6 week mark they make you wait for. I didn't smoke or stay around people who did. I didn't drink, and even when I had a glass of wine at the wedding, I tossed the milk out for days. I had the house baby-proofed with locks and outlet covers. There were gates on all of the stairs. My stroller had the safest reputation. My car seat was top of the line. I bought a mini-van with a 5 star safety rating. I washed all of the clothes in the gentlest detergent. I never missed a doctor's appointment; if she needed to be there at 2 months of age, we were there on the exact 2 month date. I read to her and talked to her all day long. The list goes on. You name it. I did it. Anything for the safety and healthy development of my child.

Continue reading "Mercury: Why Don't Pregnant Women Know More?" »

The Fletcher Decision: The Unacceptable Face of the Medical Profession

Doctor1 By John Stone

The Daily Telegraph interviewed two doctors today on the significance of the Fletcher decision (HERE ):

“Medical legal experts said last night that the ruling could open the floodgates to thousands of similar claims by families who believe their children have been adversely affected by the jab.

“Dr Robin Moffat, president of the Medico-Legal Society, said: “I would have thought there will be a surge of actions as a result of this.“

“Today, everyone is money-conscious, and if a doctor makes a mistake they are all looking for compensation, and many of them get it.” “Dr Malcolm VandenBurg, a medical legal expert, said: "One case like this makes other people think that they will be able to get a similar ruling. In the past, when there has been a first ruling of this kind, it has opened the door to others." 

These remarks are utterly sickening and offensive: the paltry sum that the government have offered for wrecking Robert Fletcher’s mind and body, putting him in constant pain, and leaving his parents in perpetuity as his round the clock carers is probably a fraction of what one of these people makes in a year. How can people who talk like this make ethical decisions regarding the lives of other people? The money paid to the Fletchers will be used to make alterations to their house in order to make their lives sustainable.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism

UK Vaccine Injury Win: MMR Caused Brain Damage

Mmr By Teresa Conrick

A long and hard fight for compensation due to a vaccine injury has been won -- finally. You can read about it HERE.  This is an historic event in that this is the first UK MMR case that has won in their vaccine injury system BUT, it is not for autism, according to the media and Department of Health. This injury by MMR is for seizures, or more precisely, epilepsy.

This is what the Daily Mail reported: "He endures frequent epileptic fits and requires round-the-clock care from his parents Jackie and John, though he is not autistic. He suffered the devastating effects after being given the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine when he was 13 months old."

Jacki and John Fletcher are warrior parents who have persevered in their care and legal case for Robert, now 18 years old. Jackie, in a recent email to Anne Dachel, here at Age of Autism, revealed that Robert suffers from a severe seizure disorder, with an inflamed oesophagus, brain damage and has some minor autistic traits. The award stressed epilepsy as the result of his injury. That is great news but for the thousands still waiting with children and teens also injured by the MMR, the lack of the word, "autism", is baffling. Welcome UK parents, to our world, too. Here in the states, we also have heard those words, "but not autism."

Whether it is severe autism or minor autism, isn't "autism" a set of behaviors? In March of 2008, the Poling family hit the news, much like the Fletcher's now: "ATLANTA — For those convinced that vaccines can cause autism, the sad case of a Georgia girl, daughter of a doctor and lawyer, seems like clear-cut evidence. The government has agreed to pay the girl’s family for injury caused by vaccines. The 9-year-old girl, Hannah Poling, had an underlying condition that may have been worsened, triggering her autism-like symptoms." HERE.  Hannah also was compensated for seizures that did not begin until six years after the date of vaccination. HERE  

Continue reading "UK Vaccine Injury Win: MMR Caused Brain Damage" »

Vaccine Injury: The Fletchers and Cedillos – a Tale of Two Families

Book_intro By John Stone

This weekend the British government conceded as little as possible as late as possible in the case of Robert Fletcher (HERE), the son of Jackie Fletcher, the UK’s leading vaccine safety campaigner, and director of JABS (HERE). On a bitter-sweet note the news came in just as the US health department was repulsively trumpeting its vaccine court defeat of Michelle Cedillo in the US media.

In the Fletcher case it seems likely that the tribunal conceded aware that more might come out about the case if it went to judicial review. In the Cedillo case the Federal court failed to act in its adjudication on the irregularities which Dan Olmsted reported in these columns back in June (HERE).

The UK tribunal awarded the sum of £90,000, which is neither here nor there in terms of Robert’s long term care –reduced from the standard UK vaccine damage unit award of £120,000 (because it was an old case!), and the Fletcher’s will have to return approx £10,000 to the Legal Services Commission for supporting the action.

The suffering of these two great-hearted young people and their families knows no bounds. Both are beset by seizures day and night, have extreme mobility problems, incontinence and cannot speak. There is little doubt by now that the Cedillo case has foundered in part on the difficulty of showing that the psychiatrically defined condition of autism can be caused by vaccine, although as we know there have been autism related vaccine damage awards in the US such as Hannah Poling and Bailey Banks the courts prefer to play semantic games rather than accord justice. Both families have also – like Andrew Wakefield - suffered the attentions of journalist Brian Deer. Jackie Fletcher has been on the end of endless vituperative attacks by Deer in such article as ‘Did she know about the Dough?’ and ‘The Cruelty of JABS’ while Deer himself explained how he intervened in the Cedillo case (HERE):

“That said, I am also very proud that, like the GMC, the US government sought my help in mounting its case in Cedillo (sic), copiously borrowing pages of evidence from my website and displaying some in court. I was surprised by this. I assumed that they would have sophisticated contacts with other governments and with industry, and could pretty much get what they wanted. However, on a number of occasions I would come home, find an email from the department of justice asking me for a document , and see the next day it was being run in court. Bit of a seat of the pants job by the DoJ (brought about by the plaintiffs changing their case at the last minute). Indeed, I recall supplying a key document on the O’Leary lab business, which the DoJ didn’t seem to know about just weeks before the hearing.Hence the late surfacing of Bustin and Chadwick. It was me wot done that, and I’m glad. I don’t say these things to boast, only perhaps to wonder why-if there all these grand conspiracies behind the defence of vaccine safety- governments and regulators are so untogether that a mere journalist can get ahead of them in the game.”

Or perhaps they could not do it any other way? These are two magnificent families who have always put the interests of the autism and vaccine damage communities ahead of their own, and their courage stands as a constant rebuke to the governments of their respective countries.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Share Your Back To School Tips

By Kim Stagliano

This week marks back to school for a good portion of our readers.  Share your tips for a smooth start. How do you prepare your child?  Do you pack GFCF lunch each day? Is your classroom nut free? What are your fears, hopes? If you're a teacher or therapist, what would you like parents to do to make your job a bit smoother (sign IEPs without reading them isn't an option.) Me? I find a large envelope of cash in the bookbag on day one is a good start, but that could just be the Italian girl in me. My oldest starts high school on Tuesday. I'm scared to death. And I don't have nearly enough cash. KS

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.

Support The Mason Alert To Prevent Autism Wandering and Death

Mason Sheila and Kenneth Medlam are the parents of Mason, the five year old who left his home, within minutes found a pond and drowned. They are rallying for a "Mason Alert" and ask you to sign the petition: HERE. From the family's website: Mason Allen Medlam.

On July 27th, 2010 our darling five year old autistic son escaped through a partially opened bedroom window and ran across the street to the pond.  My oldest child,who was watching him, called me at work when she couldn't find him.  I immediately called 911, and made the twenty five minute drive home in about fifteen minutes.  While on the phone with 911, I repeatedly asked the police to check the pond, but when I finally arrived home, no one was at the pond.  I rushed over and found my beautiful boy floating face down in that awful water.  Screaming, I dove in and pulled him out and began CPR.  His little body was still pink, but his eyes were closed and his lips were blue.  The paramedics arrived minutes later and took over the CPR.  I was overwhelmed with anger and despair.  I later learned that the police hadn't been to the neighbor's pond because it was overgrown with weeds and they couldn't find it.

The doctors managed to get Mason's heart to beat and for two days we fought to keep him with us.  We said every prayer that we could say.  We begged and pleaded with God and we refused to let doctors take him off life support, but even modern medicine can't change some things, because in the end, there was no way to keep his little heart beating.  Mason died for the second time on July 29th at 7:29 am.

Continue reading "Support The Mason Alert To Prevent Autism Wandering and Death" »

The 1st Annual New York Autism Fashion Show

Puerto rico Now featuring Taylor Morris!

Annual New York Autism Fashion Show.
The 1st Annual New York Autism Fashion Show
Friday, October 1, 2010
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Times Square Art Center
669 8th Avenue (between 42 & 43)
New York, NY 10036

Click HERE to learn more, donate and/or buy your tickets.

Organized to raise awareness for children with autism, this year’s show will be supporting the Centro Interdisciplinario para el Desarrollo de la Niñez, Inc. (CIDEN) in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

As you know, early intervention and intense therapy can be life changing for autistic children and their families. Currently, CIDEN, a non-profit school that is structured like a therapy center, offers individual treatment plans that incorporate occupational, speech and language therapies in addition to specialized education and psychology.

The 1st Annual New York Fashion Show aims to raise funds -- and awareness – to directly support CIDEN and its efforts to create a larger more equipped educational environment to aid in the development of these children. We need your help to raise money and awareness to rebuild CIDEN, so that they will be able to offer these children the care and specialized education that they deserve and open their doors to more children in need.

We thank you in advance for your contribution and look forward to a beneficial partnership with you and your company. Our joint initiative will make a lasting impact on the lives of children and families affected by autism, and will ensure a brighter future for those who are less fortunate.

For more information please visit

New York Autism Insurance Bill: Protects and Serves Whom?

Sausage By Chris Petrosino

Alison Singer is going rogue. First, she admits that S7000B was drafted by Manatt, the powerful lobbying firm that represents insurance companies. Then, she attempts to torpedo the NYS Assembly campaign of Hon. Thomas Abinanti. We love it. But why would the president of an autism research foundation weigh in on a legislative matter that involves health insurance? Why would the president of that research foundation publicly chastise an Assembly candidate? There's always an end game.

In her irrelevant, but fear mongering talking points, Singer indicates that S7000B will protect parents from using unproven therapies that may be associated with autism, such as chelation (removal of heavy metals from a patient). In reality, there is no proposal on the table, by anyone, to fund chelation or any other unproven therapy. For the purposes of correcting the record, the singular chelation case to which Ms. Singer refers, involved blatant malpractice by a licensed medical professional. Ms. Singer also fails to communicate that chelation, if necessary for any individual, is prescribed by a physician (usually an endocrinologist), after rigorous blood testing uncovers high levels of heavy metals in their system.

In any event, it is odd Ms. Singer worries about anyone getting necessary, physician-prescribed insurance coverage. If insurance costs rise because a generation of defenseless, disabled children need coverage for mainstream treatments, society just has to deal with it.
We cannot take away our children's rights by a vote that is stimulated by the fear mongering talking point of “rising costs” for proven, necessary therapies. S7000B discriminates against those affected by autism by posing insurance coverage standards never before used for any illness or disability. It should not be stated that S7000B is scared of parents. All of us are scared of S7000B. Basically, we are fearful that our children will not continue to receive insurance coverage for mainstream therapies such as speech therapy and occupational therapy. And so is the Occupation Therapist Association of New York. They are on the record, asking Governor Paterson to veto S7000B. Alarmingly, a proponent of the bill, Paige Pierce, of Families Together (more on Families Together later), is reticent about the prospects for continued insurance coverage for proven therapies: "Those are all things we think will be covered," said Paige Pierce, executive director of Families Together in New York State” (HERE)

Continue reading "New York Autism Insurance Bill: Protects and Serves Whom?" »

Brightness in Otherwise Dark Autism Media Coverage

Sapling By Anne Dachel

Mainstream press coverage of autism has been so overwhelmingly bad for so long that I have no expectations when I scan the news.  Newspapers and TV stations will casually announce that one percent of children have autism.  The public is left to deal with the frightening admission that no one knows what causes autism so there’s no way to prevent it.  And there’s no cure for autism.

The message in the media is that if you’re unfortunate enough to be the parent of an affected child, there’s little medical science can do.  If you’re planning to have a baby, you’ll just have to take your chances.  Most parents still hear the same thing from doctors that I did 16 years when my son was finally diagnosed at age seven.

Slowly, in isolated news reports, that’s changing.   Two stories in this otherwise long, hot media summer were outstanding.  On June 21 there was a report from ABC15 in Phoenix .  (HERE)

The title was an immediate attention-getter: “Valley doctor says moms can help prevent autism before and during pregnancy.”  Viewers watched an interview with Dr. Cindy Schneider, a local physician who is also the mother of two children with autism.   Among her comments was the statement, “The genes are the gun, the environment is the trigger.”  Those of us in the autism community who believe that toxins everywhere are having a devastating effect on the quality of our health, easily identify with that claim. 

The reporter presenting Dr. Schneider opened the story by saying, “A Valley doctor is helping moms when it comes to autism.  …There are ways to reduce the risk even before you get pregnant.”

Continue reading "Brightness in Otherwise Dark Autism Media Coverage" »

California Advises Pregnant Women to Take Tdap Vaccine: Dr. Bob Sears Weighs In

Bob sears Dr. Bob Sears talks about California advising all pregnant women to take a Tdap vaccine, even though testing has not been done on this population, or their fetuses. Read the full post and please comment at Huffington Post HERE. His advice? "Parents Beware."

I usually don't get all worked up over vaccine issues. I calmly promote the idea of alternative vaccine schedules and I like to help parents make educated decisions. But when I see the government try to do something really stupid, I get mad. And right now I am really angry. The last time I got mad was when the government decided it was OK to give pregnant women mercury-containing H1N1 flu vaccines.

A pharmaceutical rep just came into my office and handed me a letter stating that the California Department of Public Health has advised all Californian women of childbearing age get the Tdap vaccine. They state "preferably before pregnancy, but otherwise during or after pregnancy."

Now I can understand and applaud their zeal in wanting to combat the pertussis epidemic. Pertussis is dangerous for young infants. Usually about 20 infants die each year from pertussis, and this year we are headed for about 30 or 40. Making sure new moms and dads have some pertussis protection makes sense.

On the other hand, the Tdap (or ANY pertussis vaccine for that matter) has NEVER been tested for safety during pregnancy. The vaccine product insert, as well as the letter I got from the pharmaceutical company, states very clearly that the vaccine is not indicated for pregnant women and has never been tested...


Dan Burns on Dallas MomsBlog: Autism and Murder Rip East Texas Family Apart

Grief silhouette Fear and Grief: Autism and Murder Rip East Texas Family Apart 
By Dan Burns / Guest blogger   

The police found David Adam Wilson, a 21-year-old with autism, hiding in the tool shed beside his rural East Texas home. "We tried to read him his Miranda rights," Lt. Tony Dana told me in a telephone interview, "but he was extremely agitated. He didn't understand what we were saying. We terminated the interview immediately. Dad can't tell us what happened, because he's dead."

Adam Wilson is charged with murder. Normally sweet and calm, he'd reportedly been "drastically different" lately. Raging out of control on Monday, August 16, Adam threatened a family member and then begged for help. His family took him to the emergency room to have his medication adjusted. Allegedly, hours later, during an argument, he stabbed his father with a kitchen knife. The police found Mr. Wilson dead in a recliner. The prescription is still unfilled.

Read the full post and comment at MomsBlog at Dallas News

Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., is Adult Issues Liaison for AutismOne and the author of Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism. Burns is developing the Autism Trust USA, modeled on The Autism Trust (U.K.) and focused on the creation of new campus communities where adults with autism can work, live and improve their skills and talents in a creative and supportive environment.

Vaccine Refusals On Rise in San Diego

No thank you Read the full article at Signs on San Diego.

Vaccine refusals are on the rise
Amid whooping cough epidemic, health officials are pushing for more inoculations
By Helen Gao, Watchdog Institute

Monday, August 23, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.

Watchdog Institute

Getting inoculated for diseases such as whooping cough and measles used to be a childhood rite of passage that few questioned. Now with shifting parental attitudes about vaccine safety, a growing number of California children are entering kindergarten without shots.

The trend worries public health officials because of the link between immunization rates and infectious outbreaks. As they grapple with the worst whooping cough surge in half a century, they are fighting back with outreach campaigns to promote vaccinations.

The Watchdog Institute, a nonprofit investigative journalism center based at San Diego State University, found that waivers signed by parents who choose to exempt their children from immunizations for kindergarten enrollment have nearly quadrupled since 1990. California allows parents to opt out of some or all shots on the basis of personal beliefs, be it religious objections or distrust of the medical establishment.

The institute’s analysis also revealed that San Diego County’s exemption rate has been consistently higher than the state average over the past two decades.

“Un-immunized people in general contribute to any disease rates. As the rates of un-immunized kids go up, we are inevitably going to see more and more outbreaks of diseases,” said Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

Read the full article at Signs on San Diego.

New York Counties Pull Teens & Young Adults from PA Center

Cautionary_warning_--_Caution After deaths, NY residents pulled from Pa. center (AP)

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Two New York counties are pulling their residents from a Pennsylvania center for disabled teens and young adults after two clients died there in 10 months.

Officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties had at least 11 residents at Woods Services in Langhorne, Pa. They say they acted after the July death of 20-year-old Bryan Nevins of Oceanside, N.Y.

Nevins has severe autism and died after being left in an overheated van for hours. The home says it's cooperating with investigators.

Another Long Island resident died in October after he walked away from the home and fell from an overpass into traffic.

A counselor at Woods Services was also charged this month with selling cocaine out of the company's parking lot.

Information from: Newsday,

Join Jenny McCarthy At Comedy for Kids Benefit for Ryder Foundation

Jenny Headshot 2010 Managing Editor’s Note: Jenny McCarthy is hosting a stand-up comedy party in San Francisco on September 11th to benefit autism charities The Ryder Foundation, and Generation Rescue. The event features comedians Gary Valentine, Heather McDonald, Whitney Cummings and Josh Wolf. Tickets adn details, including sponsorship opportunities available online: Comedy For Kids SF HERE. Thank you to Alix, of the MedNauseam blog for the post.

By Alix, editor of MedNauseam Blog

Two moms in Northern California are on a roll. Jenny DeMaria and Maureen Block, co-directors of the Ryder Foundation , once had children diagnosed with autism. The boys are now socially indistinguishable from their peers.

Block says both school-aged boys still have “educational challenges, but they have been recovered.” The rapid changes both mothers saw in their boys after trying a gluten-free diet motivated them to try different diet and biomedical interventions. And, the myriad interventions all add up. Block says, “Treating autism is like trying to get a train back on its tracks. It’s gone off-track and you need to get each train car, one at a time, back on the track.”

DeMaria’s son was diagnosed as moderately autistic. Now he would be classified as having mild Asperger’s. “Ryder's challenges are now barely noticeable to an outsider,” De Maria said. "There were days I thought my child would never be able to dress himself or brush his teeth or sing a song or make a friend. Now he is the happiest, friendliest, most vociferous child I know. He keeps astounding us with his progress."

After their rapid, and continuing success with their own sons, DeMaria and Block quickly got involved with Generation Rescue , Jenny McCarthy’s autism organization, volunteering as Rescue Angels to mentor other parents who were beginning the journey toward recovery. But that wasn’t enough ‘giving back’ for them. They wanted to do more. In 2005, they joined forces with two other women to found the Ryder Foundation in recognition of DeMaria’s son’s recovery.
“We have helped raise over $800,000 for autism charities,” said Block, “and we are hoping to move that number to $1 million with our next event, this September 11th, to benefit the Ryder Foundation and Generation Rescue."

Continue reading "Join Jenny McCarthy At Comedy for Kids Benefit for Ryder Foundation" »

Do Reliable Thimerosal Estimates Exist?

Reliable-cpanel-hosting By Jake Crosby

That is, of course, the key question that must be answered before one is to draw any final conclusions about the current autism rates in this country being associated – or not associated – with exposure to thimerosal used in childhood vaccines. Yet, defenders of thimerosal – a highly toxic compound that is 50% mercury by weight - conveniently ignore this question.

 One such example of this was on “Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!” If there is one good thing I can say about the Penn and Teller episode on vaccinations – it’s that it at least did not run on basic cable for more people to see. The show was so erroneous that even “Science”Blogger David Gorski corrected the hosts on the false assumption that thimerosal was removed in 1999. They ought to claim that to the parents of Hannah Poling, who got 50 mcg of mercury from shots given in 2000 right before she developed full-blown autism.

Of course, Gorski’s “correction” wasn’t any better, claiming it was “the end of 2001/early 2002.” That’s funny, not even the CDC has used that date. The government has provided many conflicting dates for when thimerosal was removed: as early as 1999 and as late as 2005, and individual reports reveal thimerosal-preserved vaccines with expiration dates that stretch even beyond that, not counting flu shots which continue to be preserved in thimerosal.

The specific time, however, repeated by Gorski which I’ve seen circulating around the internet was based on minutes from an ACIP meeting held eight years ago during which a CDC official claimed that in a “convenience sample” of health care providers scattered throughout the country, all but 17% of them were found to have had no thimerosal-preserved vaccines in stock since October 2001. This figure suddenly became widely used five years later after being dug up by tomato writer Arthur Allen to claim this time range was when thimerosal disappeared.

Except, the only problem is that being a convenience sample, this statistic is inherently incapable of being generalized to any population beyond its own by virtue of not being randomized. If doing site visits and lot counts of the vaccine stockpiles used by these particular providers is “convenient ” for public health officials, then so is getting them to switch to thimerosal-free vaccines as soon as possible in the first place – making these numbers uninformative and misleading about the thimerosal content of childhood vaccines overall.

Continue reading "Do Reliable Thimerosal Estimates Exist?" »

Dutch Autism Dad Creates Free PictoSelector for Autism in Several Languages

Picto Selector - English I'm Martijn van der Kooij from Stadskanaal in the Netherlands. As parents of a wonderful seven year old boy with autism, we've been using visuals for several years now and last year we started working with the free Sclera symbols. They're a great resource and my wife was using Word to create the schedules.

Being a software developer, I saw how time consuming this task was becoming and created a tool to make the search easier. I quickly added a way to create the schedules in my application. And so Picto Selector was born in September, 2009.

This year I've been polishing the tool and adding more symbols. Using symbols from other providers, the full download now contains 14000 symbols in all. These symbols are translated to English, Dutch, German and French. A Spanish set is also available in Catalan.

Recent updates to the software have made it possible to use your own photographs, text, clock and timer as a symbol or to change the color of symbols.

In the visualizations, we often want to show that something is "good" or "wrong" and every picture can be overlayed by a "good" or "wrong" graphic.

Learning and communication resources for children with autism are far too important to ask money for, but any donation to the project can help us keep this tool free for everyone.

Picto Selector is available for free at PECS FOR ALL

Picto Selector is a free windows application to create picto sheets. This way it helps to structurize the daily tasks of autistic children

Singer Confirms Autism Speaks Insurance Lobbyists Drafted Controversial NY Bill

Deal-or-no-deal By John Gilmore
In an extraordinary article letter published earlier this week in the Scarsdale Patch, Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, confirmed that a controversial autism insurance bill in New York, S7000B/A1037A, currently awaiting signature or veto by Governor David Paterson was indeed drafted by insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists Mannatt, Phelps and Phillips who are representing Autism Speaks' lobbying efforts in New York.
See Scarsdale Patch HERE

Despite the fact that Singer resigned from Autism Speaks and has gone into competition with them, she seems to suggest in her letter that the autism community should follow Autism Speaks’ leadership on insurance reforms. In her letter, Singer suggests that it is a positive thing that “The law firm that wrote the bill was hired by Autism Speaks.”
Say what? Singer’s extraordinary statements contradicts assertions made by staffers in the offices of New York State Senator Neil Breslin, sponsor of the bill in the New York Senate and Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, and staffers for Joseph Morelle, sponsor of the bill in the New York Assembly, and Chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee, who have repeatedly asserted that they drafted the bill.
Mannatt Phelps and Phillips is part of a group of firms that represent more than 150 insurance companies including Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, and drug giants Merck, Pfizer among others, and also represents Autism Speaks in many of their state-level autism insurance lobby activities.  See
Singer also attacked Westchester County Legislator and New York Assembly Candidate Tom Abinanti for criticizing S7000B/A10372A. Abinanti is the father of a son diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and has been working for autism health insurance reform for years.

Continue reading "Singer Confirms Autism Speaks Insurance Lobbyists Drafted Controversial NY Bill" »

The Whittemore-Peterson Institute - A Light in the Darkness (XMRV Update!!!)

Schindlers-list By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

(BREAKING NEWS - The NIH has announced a briefing by experts from the FDA and NIH today at 3:00 p.m. EST on their study confirming the Whittemore-Peterson Institute's findings regarding the XMRV virus and chronic fatigue syndrome.  The study will be published later today in the on-line version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The Editors would like to congratulate the WPI on this wonderful accomplishment.)

There's a moment in the film Schindler's List in which the accountant, Itzhak Stern shows Oskar Schindler the list of Jews they're saving.  The document seems to glow with an almost spiritual light as he says, "This list is an absolute good.  The list is life.  All around its margins lies the gulf."

Such moments of unsullied heroism are rare, but I traveled two hundred and fifty miles to Reno, Nevada this last weekend to observe one.  I'm talking of course about the opening of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Diseases which is part of the new Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Nevada, School of Medicine.

All of this transpired because of Harvey and Annette Whittemore and their unrelenting efforts to help their daughter Andrea who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis).  Along the way they were helped by many physicians like Dr. Daniel Peterson who struggled to understand the epidemic, and lately by Drs. Judy Mikovits and Vincent Lombardi.  Like autism, chronic fatigue syndrome has been the subject of scorn and ridicule in the medical community.  Even when pioneering scientists showed significant immunological abnormalities among chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers it was difficult to get the medical community to pay attention.

When I say that the vision of the Whittemores for an institute in which the very best of medical science would be harnessed to solve this mystery has been realized, what do I really mean?  Here are some facts about this effort.  The newly completed Center for Molecular Medicine was built at a cost of $77 million dollars, encompasses more than 115,000 square feet of office space, labs, and patient care areas, and will eventually house approximately 150 researchers and 30 principal investigators.

The Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disorders (WPI) has been in the news most recently for its discovery linking the XMRV virus (xenotropic murine leukemia virus related virus) to chronic fatigue syndrome.  The discovery was published in October of 2009 in the journal Science and can be found HERE.  There are rumors that this study will shortly be confirmed by new a study coming from the NIH and FDA.

Continue reading "The Whittemore-Peterson Institute - A Light in the Darkness (XMRV Update!!!)" »

Kim Stagliano on HuffPo: Assault and Autism. This Time It's My Child. Is Yours Next?

School-bus-stop-color By Kim Stagliano

Our nine year old was (allegedly) assaulted on her school bus by a 24 year old bus monitor. She has been charged with several counts.  In addition, the driver (who happens to be the monitor's mother) was caught on tape texting while driving the bus. Charges against her are pending. Please comment at HuffPo HERE.  Neither my husband nor I can comment further on this case, as it's just proceeding now. However, we think it's important for people to know how vulnerable our kids are, and why we fight so hard for them. Thanks.

All I Can Handle Small Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her book from Skyhorse Publishing, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa; A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now for preorder and debuts November 1st. Visit her website at Kim Stagliano.

October 7 - 10 is the ARI/Defeat Autism Now! Conference

ARI new logo The Fall 2010 ARI/Defeat Autism Now! Conference is around the corner, Oct. 7-10 in Long Beach, California.  Our esteemed editors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill will be on site to sign copies of their new book The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic at the (Available here in the SafeMinds store) in the Demo Room. 

We know budgets are stretched "wafer thin" this year, even more than in the past – so be sure to check out volunteer opportunities, early-bird rates, and Angel discounts.    Some of you were able to attend Autism One  in Chicago. For others, Long Beach is an easier destination. We're fortunate to have a choice of wonderful conferences, including ARI’s conferences and the National Autism Association Conference   in St. Petersburg, FL in November. (Looking for an East coast event: mark your calendars for the Spring ARI/Defeat Autism Now! Conference in Atlanta April 28-May 1 next year).

In Long Beach, be sure to stop by the "Demo Room" at the Westin Long Beach and say ‘hello’ to Dan and Mark. ARI’s Defeat Autism Now! Conference Director Denise Fulton explains:

I'm very excited we’ll be offering our parent support demo room.  From noon Friday until noon Sunday we're going to have a walk-in support room featuring parent-advocacy and support organizations offering guidance and a table staffed by healthcare professionals where people can get help with things like giving MB-12 shots:

*DEMO ROOM: While lectures are essential to our understanding of why we must do what we must do, ultimately the information is only as good as the hands that are charged with putting these effective treatments into action.  Stop by for free one-to-one tutorials by experienced healthcare professionals. Topics include administering B-12 injections, scheduling supplements, tracking treatment success, teaching pill swallowing, and more.  

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

SaneVax Inc. Offers Affordable HPV Testing

Safety first North Hollywood, CA, August 16, 2010 — SaneVax, Inc.,, is a non-profit organization, founded to offer affordable highly sensitive HPV testing with specific genotyping by DNA sequencing, for pre- and post vaccination.

According to Chairman of the board, Norma Erickson, the SaneVax mission is to promote Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information.

Other organization members include, Leslie Carol Botha, Women’s Health Educator and broadcast journalist; Rosemary Mathis, mother of a daughter injured by the Gardasil vaccination; Freda Birrell, political lobbyist in the UK and Scotland and Janny Stokvis, vaccine researcher. The five women have spearheaded this effort to provide a web site with research articles, studies and data not only on the HPV vaccines - but on eventually on all vaccines marketed in the United States.

Erickson states that the SaneVax team believes in science-based medicine. The primary goal of the organization is to provide the information necessary to assist in making informed decisions regarding vaccination choices. The organization also provides resource referrals to vaccine-injury physicians, medical practitioners, attorneys, and other vaccine-related groups for those unfortunate enough to have experienced vaccine-related injuries.

SANE VAX Inc. will be offering Human papillomavirus (HPV) monitoring test for HPV vaccine users, and will be working in conjunction with Dr. Sin Hang Lee F.R.C.P. (C), FCAP. Dr. Lee has over 50 years’ experience in general/surgical pathology and clinical microbiology and is authorized to practice in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Dr. Lee is particularly concerned about the health issues surrounding the HPV vaccines.

There are 283 cases of post-vaccination abnormal pap smears reported to the Vaccine Event Reporting System (VAERS) with more reports of high-risk HPV, cervical lesions and cervical cancer beginning to surface in medical journals.

Continue reading "SaneVax Inc. Offers Affordable HPV Testing " »

Updated Vaccine Ingredient Calculator Aids Informed Consent Decisions

Informed Managing Editor's Note: The following is from The National Vaccine Information Center. The ingredient calculator can help you make fully informed medical decisions for yourself, your elderly parents and your children.

From the Desk of the Executive Director - Theresa Wrangham

“The door to opportunity is always labeled “push”.  – Unknown

We agree!  NVIC has always pushed and explored many avenues and opportunities to protect your right to make voluntary informed vaccine decisions.  As the oldest and largest consumer organization advocating the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections, NVIC is proud to announce recent updates to the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator   (VIC).
Vax Calc Just in time for going back to school, this powerful tool has been updated with the most current information available on vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for 2010/2011.  This “push” adds to your ability to plan a vaccine choice based on available ingredient calculation information and is featured on our homepage.  Features include:

• Built-in safety protections notifying the user of invalid vaccine combinations and appropriate age-based vaccine use;

• Graphs comparing vaccine ingredients to federally established safe exposure levels (when available);

• New links to ingredient information resources;

• A growing library of video tutorials on using the VIC;

• Calculates exposures to aluminum, bovine protein, egg protein, formaldehyde, mercury (Thimerosal), mouse protein, phenol red, phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80 and yeast protein;

• Vaccination Plan printout to assist in parent/physician dialogue.

The database that drives the VIC is built from information contained in vaccine manufacturer package inserts posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.  The VIC is a free, public, open source project created and maintained by Chris Downey and already enjoys use by an enthusiastic and diverse group committed to vaccine safety that range from PhD’s who explain the chemistry of ingredients, to busy moms who help test the VIC.
We can’t do this alone and there is always room for improvement! Chris would love to hear your ideas on what new features you would like to see and could also use some assistance from software and database developers, as well as beta testers. 

If you have a suggestion, or would be willing to help develop future releases of the VIC, please email

Future improvements of the VIC currently under consideration are:

• Enhancement of the Vaccination Plan printout to include injection site;

• Addition of more vaccine ingredients (until all are included);

• Bovine protein source;

• Red-flagging ingredient combinations whose potential toxicity is unknown, such as Thimerosal (mercury) and aluminum

We encourage all our readers to include this valuable tool prior to any vaccination decision to better understand what is known and unknown about vaccine ingredients and safe exposure levels.   

Lessons From the Egg Recall: Cheap Food Makes You Sick

Animal Factory Managing Editor's Note: This is an important post from our colleague and friend David Kirby, author of Animal Factory. Please comment at Huffington Post.

Americans currently "enjoy" the cheapest animal protein in history. Such a monumental achievement could only have been attained through the industrialized mega-production of meat, milk and eggs -- which now cost about $1.56 on average for a large white dozen in the nation's supermarkets.

At just 13 cents apiece, even the poorest American can afford a two-egg omelet in the morning: It will set them back by less than four-percent of the Federal hourly minimum wage

But now Americans are finally coming to terms with the true cost of their wondrous 26-cent breakfasts: a gargantuan recall of mass-produced eggs -- 380 million of them -- contaminated with deadly salmonella bacteria. Hundreds of people have reportedly been sickened, and the true number could be higher.

The laying hens in question were raised (held prisoner is a more apt term) in Iowa, in a massive concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), better known as a factory farm. In the typical egg-laying CAFO, hens are crammed into battery cages and given room to move in an area that's roughly equivalent to a piece of typing paper.

Cages are stacked one on top of the other, sometimes 10 or more high, inside large confinements that never see the light of day. Fresh air is pumped into one end, and air fouled with bacteria, viruses, mold, dust, antibiotics, litter and dander spits out the other...

Read the full post at
Huffington Post.

Tragedy In East Texas as 21 Year Old with Autism Kills Father

Stop-collaborate-and-listen We post this with a heavy heart.  Our children are aging, racing to adulthood. We need to have a fully honest discussion about the reality of autism for families, the urgent need for prevention, and medical treatment beyond psychiatric drugs that themselves can cause behaviors, plus the equally urgent need for respite and adult services because for millions of Americans autism is a nightmare.  And somehow we have to balance this harsh, ugly reality with education for the general public that our kids are not monsters, not killers by nature. It's a Herculean task. KS

From KLTV East Texas:

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

ARP, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man is dead after authorities say his autistic son stabbed him multiple times.

David Adam Wilson, 21, has been charged with the murder of his father David Wayne Wilson.

Authorities say the suspect stabbed Wilson with a kitchen knife.

Tuesday, family members said they had been seeking medical help for the 21-year-old, and the tragedy could have been avoided.

Handcuffed by authorities, Adam Wilson was arrested for the murder of his father. Family members are shocked by the actions of the autistic 21-year-old.

"There was no way of us knowing, although his behavior was drastically different," said Angela Sanderson, the victim's sister.

"It's apparent that he retrieved a kitchen type knife, stabbed his dad multiple times in the upper body, and his dad died at the scene," said Lt. Tony Dana, with the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators were at the scene all day. When sheriff's deputies arrived Monday evening, they said they found the 21-year-old hiding inside a storage unit to the side of the house.

"He was in a very confused type state," said Dana. "He was angry. Obviously, he had made threats to family members earlier in the day."  Read the full story at KLTV East Texas.

Massachusetts Passes Autism Insurance Legislation

Massachusetts_State_House By Allison Chapman

Treating autism should not have to depend on how large a pocketbook you have or how deep your pockets run.  Massachusetts State Representative Barbara L’Italien agrees with such sentiments, as she decided to introduce legislation to level that treatment playing field for MA residents by requiring insurance companies to cover autism. 

What a concept, requiring the insurance companies to pay for treatments for a medical diagnosis. Hmmmm… Isn’t that what we pay our insurance premiums for?  It seems draconian that such legislation has to be laid out in meticulous form and become law before these kids can have a chance with the right medical, therapeutic and behavioral treatment avenues, but nonetheless it is necessary. 

On August 3, 2010 Rep L’Italien and Senator Berry’s bill became a law when Governor Patrick signed it. With not enough room at the statehouse for those who wanted to view this historic event, the signing was done at the great Fenway Park.  I can’t imagine a more fitting place to hit a home run for families who really need it. 

Most of us with children with Autism can understand why a baseball stadium was needed to house the huge growing community of families with a child or children with autism.  It’s an epidemic, or at least a national health crisis but we have yet to actually hear those words officially from the right Government agencies.  There are still too many trying to say that better diagnosing and expanded criteria are the reasons for all of the new flapping, verbally repetitive and unresponsive children we see more and more everywhere we go in public. Thankfully Rep. L’Italien did not need to be told what this diagnosis can do to a family or how much more prevalent it is, because she is also a parent with a child on the spectrum.  I’ve worked with her on other legislation but not this particular bill.  She readily understands the predicaments of ASD and the medical/therapeutic treatments that are needed for our children.  I had confidence in her that she would fight for the right verbiage needed to be entered into such a necessary piece of legislation. 

The bill includes coverage for the diagnosis and treatments of autism spectrum disorders.  Care provided, prescribed or ordered by a licensed physician or psychologist for a person on the spectrum that they deem as medically necessary must be covered.  There is no age restriction for any of these treatments to end or begin.  Specifically they mention habilitative and rehabilitative care such as ABA, but not limited to, pharmacy care, therapeutic care including speech, OT and PT, psychiatric care, and psychological care.  

Continue reading "Massachusetts Passes Autism Insurance Legislation" »

Fishing For Answers - Melanin, Mercury and Autism?

TConrickpost By Teresa Conrick

Believe it or not, I like FISHING.  It may be from the memories of being a young girl with my family on vacation, the chain of northern, Wisconsin lakes, or the hope that the next one will be "the BIG one."  Autism research on the Internet is very much like fishing for me.  I can throw out all sorts of words (my bait) into Google or Pubmed and hope that I catch a keeper.  Throughout this article, I have bolded my "bait," the words that I have used to investigate more about the possible association between MELANIN, MERCURY and AUTISM.  I hope that this method will help point out any patterns or common factors.

So back I went to the fishing hole of melanin and autism.  I have received lots of feedback since I did my 2 part series on Redheads, Autism and Melanin - here: Part 1 and Part 2    Some have shared their melanin/autism stories with me, like one mom did, telling me about her daughter who has Neurofibromatosis (NF), a neurocutaneous disease, but she also has autism.

Wikipedia describes NF:  "nerve tissue grows tumors (i.e.,neurofribomas) that may be harmless or may cause serious damage by compressing nerves and other tissues. The disorder affects all neural crest cells  ( Schwann cells, melanocytes, endoneurial fibroblasts). Cellular elements from these cell types proliferate excessively throughout the body forming tumors and the melanocytes function abnormally resulting in disordered skin pigmentation. The tumors may cause bumps under the skin, colored spots, skeletal problems, pressure on spinal nerve roots, and other neurological problems." [more on neural crest cells as we go] 

As far as its association with autism, here is a brief report:  "A study reviewed neurodevelopment evaluations of 74 patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) to determine if an association between NF1 and autism exists. Three patients had an additional diagnosis of autism. Findings also showed a high incidence of learning disabilities, speech and language delays, motor deficits, and attention problems in patients." "The Association of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and Autism"

Having both NF and autism must be extremely challenging.  This ill child, the mother reports, did not meet her milestones on time.  She also has had a history of loss of speech, hypotonia, constipation and cafe au lait spots.  There is always the chance for tumors.  She is very light-skinned yet does not burn.  The mother also shared that there is an older family member with Parkinson's who has a son with Bipolar Disorder.  In addition, the girl's father has had a history of melanoma so again, we see melanin (reading Part 1 and 2 helps illustrate this), or rather, a dysfunction of it, as a common denominator in this family.

Speaking of family, I found this, a pertinent piece of information as I fish around.  It is from the New England Journal of Medicine, called, "Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease"  

It starts with this: "The incidence of many common diseases is increased among the relatives of affected patients, but the pattern of inheritance rarely follows Mendel's laws. Instead, such common diseases are thought to result from a complex interaction among multiple predisposing genes and other factors, including environmental contributions and chance occurrences."

It then ends with this: "The common neurodegenerative diseases are predominantly idiopathic disorders of unknown pathogenesis."

Thus, looking into the environment and common parallels of all of these neurodegenerative disorders may be the fruitful thing to do. If a family has diagnoses that overlap, like Autism, Parkinson's, ALS, Schizophrenia, Dystonia, Alzheimer's, Tourette's or Melanoma, then we need to investigate why that has happened - what the mechanism is that caused these disorders.  Gene hunting is showing very little information.  I do need to point out that I added Melanoma as it seemed to be included in enough families though it is not neurological but more cutaneous. That is another clue.

Continue reading "Fishing For Answers - Melanin, Mercury and Autism?" »

Elks Lodge Sponsors Fish Fry for @TannersDad and His Son with Autism: Will You Help?

Tanner's dad Many of our readers know Tim Welsh, who Tweets beautiful messages of hope and unity as @tannersdad and is active here at AofA and on FaceBook. Like most of us, the Welsh's have been crushed under the weight of their child's autism diagnosis with the added stress of a job loss.  Been there. Done that. Wrote a book about it. The Elk's Lodge in Danville, IL has decided to pitch in and help; we're asking you to help too.

If you're near Danville (and not in the prison) go have a great time and support the event. If you're not in Danville, you can send a check to The Elks at the address below. $5 or $50 - we are a force here at Age of Autism, and we can help one little boy and his family.

FaceBook Event Invitation is HERE
August 21 · 4:00pm - 10:00pm
The Elks Lodge

421 N Vermilion St Danville IL

Old Fashion Fish Fry & Party to benefit Tanner Welsh who is dealing with Autism. Proceeds will go to help with therapy, Elopement prevention ( Running) and Equipment. If you can not attend please send a donation to Tanner Welsh Benefit fund Danville Elks Lodge 332 421 N Vermilion Danville IL 61832

The Elks club is a 501(c)(8) Like a 501(c)(3) but it is a fraternal organization. Donations are tax deductible.

15 NY Autism Groups Call on Governor Paterson To Veto Autism Insurance Bill

Veto “If I told you that a legislator who receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies sponsored a bill that was co-authored by a powerful lobbying firm that represents insurance companies your eyes would widen,” said Chris Petrisino, parent and vice president of the Nassau-Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America. “But that is what happened. And if this bill passes, our kids get screwed.’

Autism Advocacy Groups Call on Governor Paterson to Veto Breslin Autism Bill.
Advocates Say Breslin Bill Favors Insurance Companies and Hurts Autism Families.

Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Time: 12:00 Noon

Location: State Capital Park at Swan Street and Alfred E. Smith Building

(August 17, 2010. Albany) Fifteen New York-based autism advocacy groups and parents of children with autism today called on Governor David Paterson to veto the autism insurance bill sponsored by incumbent State Senator Neil Breslin. A bill that the groups say will deny insurance coverage and treatment for people suffering from autism spectrum disorders.

The bill would shift early intervention reimbursements costs from the insurers back to the counties and taxpayers. "S7000-B is a step backwards, not a step forward, in insurance coverage for Autism,” said Kathy Eiss, president of the Western New York Chapter of the
Autism Society of America.”

“Insurance Chairman Neil Breslin’s bill does not provide insurance coverage for people who suffer from autism,” said Michael Smith, chairman and northeast regional director of the Foundation for Autism Information and Research. “Breslin’s bill actually does more harm than good because it discriminates against people who suffer from autism and makes it nearly impossible for them to get treatment prescribed by their doctors.”

News conferences with other autism groups are being held across New York State.

Continue reading "15 NY Autism Groups Call on Governor Paterson To Veto Autism Insurance Bill" »

Join NY Families to Fight Insufficient Autism Insurance Bill

Rejected New York Families to hold press conference Wednesday to request Governor Paterson to VETO THE AUTISM INSURANCE BILL in Purchase, NY

Families from across Westchester County and surrounding areas are gathering on Wednesday, August 18th at 12 Noon in front of the AETNA building (2700 Westchester Avenue) in Purchase, NY to publicly ask Governor Paterson to veto the autism insurance bill  (A10372A / S7000B) that will soon be on his desk.  This bill has significant limitations and discriminatory language that will leave families with less coverage then they have now.

Under the Senator Breslin and Assemblyman Morelle autism insurance bill, while “autism coverage” would be mandated, almost nothing would actually be covered. This bill is an empty “mandate.”  Insurance companies would cover several drugs, but the law would severely limit or eliminate coverage for ABA, Physical Therapy, Speech and Occupational Therapy and other necessary treatments for people with autism.  The legislation would:

• Repeal much of the non-discrimination language we fought so hard for in 2006.
• Impose an unprecedented, extremely high standard that autism treatments would have to meet prior to approval - a standard that applies to no other health disorder under New York law, or the law of any other state. 
• Force all treatments for autism to be approved by a committee of four state agencies - a bureaucratic hurdle required of treatments for no other illness.

Autism families from across the state have been calling and writing daily to ask the Governor to veto this bill.  On Wednesday, we are going to publicly request that this legislation be vetoed and a substantial one be introduced next session. 

For more information, please contact Lisa Rudley, an autism advocate and member of several autism organizations around NY State at 917.414.9190 or 

"To V or Not to V": Vaccination Choice in New Jersey

Louise_habakus By Anne Dachel
I like to think that reporters are someday going to start telling the truth about autism and catch on to the fact that if you only talk to health officials, you’re only getting one side of the story when it comes to the controversy over vaccines and autism.  Sunday, Aug 15, I had nice surprise when I looked at autism stories in the news. 
The piece, To ‘V’ or not to ‘V’? Free vaccinations offered; controversy continues, (HERE) was in the Hudson Reporter from Hoboken, NJ.  It started out with the typical vaccine promotion: “The North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) is collaborating with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) Immunization Program to offer five vaccinations for free to everyone from newborns to seniors at NHCAC’s public health centers in Union City and West New York.”
We were also told, “Some parents began to show concern about the growing list of vaccines their children are mandated to take. And although that study was discredited and more recent studies ‘found no evidence of harm’ from vaccines, many people nationwide, including some high-profile celebrities, are still pushing the cause of vaccination research and choice.”
Then reporter Lana Rose Diaz did an amazing thing, she included an interview with autism advocate and parent, Louise Kuo Habakus, founder of Life Health Choices.  Diaz did more than just give Habakus a single sentence taken out of context with no follow-up.  She allowed Habakus to talk about the organizations she’s a part of—the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice   and the Center for Personal Rights

Continue reading ""To V or Not to V": Vaccination Choice in New Jersey" »

Sarge Goodchild of Active Healing On Autism One Radio

Sarge Goodchild On the Voice America Health and Wellness Channel
Tuesday, August 17
12 noon ET/9 AM PT

Autism One:  A Conversation of Hope

Neurological Reorganization for Brain Injury: The relationship of structure and function with therapeutic applications, with Sargent Goodchild, Jr.

Every child with autism is unique in ways that dictate which therapies will facilitate healing and when to employ them. Factors include those that are chemical/nutritional and those that are physical. There is a correlation between the functional movements we progress through as children and the level of health we have as adults. The idea of neural plasticity has gained tremendous ground in the last decade. The adult brain continues to be modified structurally and functionally by experience. If the adult brain can be modified by experience does this stand true for the brain of a child with autism, too? Yes! In this show, Sargent Goodchild, Jr., founder and executive director of Active Healing, Inc., a 501(c)(3), will talk about neural plasticity, remediation of the sensory-motor systems, and his own recovery. Visit

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

Brian Deer: Portrait of a Narcissist

Narcissist By Jake Crosby

Conflicted “journalist” Brian Deer’s website is perhaps one of the biggest resources of disinformation on the internet. Even worse, there is likely no better example of one man’s online shrine to himself than – a cesspool of self-adulation. Nothing quite sums this up better than a particular webpage that reads “Brian’s pictures” at the bottom of the homepage. You’d think it would be the many different photos of news events from his journalistic exploits, but a click of the mouse shows that it is in fact – literally – all him. See for yourself (WARNING, MAY INDUCE NAUSEA):

(CLICK HERE)  8/16 UPDATE: The link to the personal photo gallery (see photo below) appears to have been restored. It had been removed on the day this post originally ran. 

BD Site

From birth till present, Brian Deer graces us with his portrait. Starved for attention, Brian Deer knew how to get it – by targeting Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

Jake Crosby is a college student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University who is double majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy.

Katie Wright on the July IACC: Autism, Abortion, Action?

Frustration_Relief By Katie Wright

July’s IACC’s meeting actually had some wonderful high points. No kidding.  Yes there were insensitive, clueless and unintentionally funny comments- it is the same cast of characters after all. However, IACC had perhaps its best ever scientific presentation in the work of Dr. Isaac Pessah. Thank you very much to whomever made his appearance possible.

The day began with a lengthy lecture by Michael Ganz, PhD about the high cost of autism.

Guess what autism is hugely expensive! Don’t we already know this? There was a heated Q & A between Ganz and Ari Ne’man regarding whether this information would be used to identify ASD fetuses prenatally for abortion purposes. In fairness to Ganz, I don’t think this subject was on his radar screen, but the issue is important for various reasons. Autism is not like Down syndrome. Autism is a wildly heterogeneous disorder. 95% of ASD kids have no chromosomal abnormalities. This crazy idea that we will be able to prescreen fetuses for ASD is asinine.  Would doctors be screening for babies for dairy allergies, or for sub optimal immune systems or babies especially sensitive to environmental pollutants? Pursuing such research would be a colossal waste of money and time.

I think I speak for at least a million Moms when I say that I did not give birth to an autistic baby. Christian did not need to be aborted he needed to be protected from reckless medical policies.

Dr. Pessah presented devastating findings regarding how and why miniscule amounts of mercury cause brain damage in mice as well as how non dioxin compounds commonly found in our environment cause neurological injury. Here is Pessah’s summary:

1) Minute amounts of mercury negatively affect cell structure, amino acids and the metabolism.

2) Mercury is highly toxic to the dendritic cells in the brain and produces “autistic like” (sounds like vaccine court! I love that, not autism but “autism like”) behaviors in mice.

3) Mercury alters T cells and not for the better. This is probably why so many ASD kids are chronically ill.

Naturally we have known all this for some time. It makes no sense now and it never made sense to use Hg as a preservative. Hg damages the brain, and we need to stop using it in all vaccines. Period. End of story.

Continue reading "Katie Wright on the July IACC: Autism, Abortion, Action?" »

The Wait of the World

Alone By Cathy Jameson

Stories in the media usually carry some sort of hype. It’s how the newspapers and magazines sell.  Printed pages with flashy one-liners catch a reader’s eye, drawing them further into the article.  I don’t care so much for the “breaking news” strategy I see on the television or in print because the media’s ploy to attract me always disappoints.  What does get my heart racing, is reading pieces like Kim Stagliano’s article about a young mother in Texas who killed her children.  The mother claims she killed them because they were autistic.  Kim reminds us that murdering children, even those with autism, is not an option. And, our children, all children, should be valued.

Stories of children losing their life at the hand of a parent aren’t new.  Reporting on these stories isn’t new either. It does seem that we’re hearing more about autistic children their accidents and murders. Murders, with several instances of the parent committing suicide, are no exception. I haven’t counted but I think almost about half a-dozen cases were reported in the last year.

What saddens me about the stories is that we learn that the parent had mental instability, was without a solid support system or was down and out financially. The parents felt there were no other options than to end the life of their child and even themselves. Caring for a child on the autistic spectrum is truly daunting.  It can include educational, medical, emotional, financial, psychological, behavioral and physical responsibilities for the child; add in the family’s typical kids’ needs plus a spouse and your own needs and that’s a lot of parts and pieces to have in place. I don’t know of one family, typical or with special needs children, that has it made, perfect, peaceful, picturesque.  I know families with Dad working overtime or at two jobs to fund private therapy, Mom has her own addiction issues in order to face her reality and a once-faithful Church member is cursing God for the life they are living. 

Those people and how they cope aren’t restricted to the autism world. You find folks with larger burdens to carry in all walks of life.  Cancer survivors, the unemployed, family members of drunk driving victims, those who have suffered a terrorist attack, military members with post-traumatic stress disorder…we all are weighed down, some with overwhelming burdens.

Every bead of sweat that runs down my face, every tear that I wipe away, every aching muscle I feel after supporting my son hurts in some way—I’m either emotionally reminded that he’s got problems. I’m physically stung after a quick scratch to my arm when he wants to go in one direction but we need to go in another. I’m spiritually drained as I cry away a plea, a prayer, a saving grace to get me through a moment of terror.  I may act strong and well-put-together, but I am weak, I do cave and I do hate with a passion some of the parts and pieces necessary for Ronan’s every day existence.

What I find more compelling in these media reports about murdered children is a lack of urgency about the autistic child and/or parent’s situation.  It’s disturbing that there is a lack of a pivotal response, an absence of remorse to a horrific event, the calls for action to right a very serious wrong. 

Why the world hasn’t clued in to our children’s situation is beyond me. We had all of April to make every single human aware of autism. You remember that. don’t you? We saw the autism awareness ribbons fly across the web, public service announcements were made and aired, people donated money for research. That damn puzzle piece was everywhere. It’s quite a busy month if you think about it. After weeks of preparing to make April the best Autism Awareness month, some people work thirty days straight to educate the public, family members, their children’s providers and the neighbors with information on autism. In fact, some have done that every year and for a few years in a row: Hey, you!  Yea, You.  Do you know about autism? You do?  Cool, you know.  See you next April.

We have Autism Speaks telling us autism is here, it IS closer than you think. Whoopdee freakin’ doo.  A lot of us know autism is here.  Saiqa knew. Gigi knew. Daniela knew. Jose knew. Karen knew.  They knew all about autism and killed their kids because of it. While I wait for the rest of the world to catch up with the rising rate of the autism diagnoses, parents and providers like me will continue to celebrate their child’s differences while also facing the difficulties and the every-day hardships their child’s differences bring.  Some of us will handle it better while others will suffer under the weight of the all that autism brings.

Until the world takes hold and really hears the urgent message about the alarming 600% increase in autism, I will force myself to read the autism woes. I will continue to cringe keeping one eye closed because I’m scared to death to see some of the news about the autism epidemic. Like anybody immersed in the autism world, I read a great deal on what it is, what is does, where it comes from, who has it and then, I sit back and cry. Yes, I’m overstressed but I’m not that overstressed to murder my child, to put an end to his misery and my pain.

Some days I feel like I sound like a big idiot spouting facts and figures on vaccines, autism, parent’s rights and sticking to organic or green choices. I sound exhausted and frazzled talking about how difficult it is to be Supermom to my son and his siblings.  I wait for the light bulb to go on for some of the people listening to me. I wait for someone to offer more than just the pathetic, “it’ll be okay” look. I wait for the stranger to stop watching me man-handle Ronan out of a clinic. I wait for the schools to catch up to where my son should be and beyond. I wait for his doctors to show me respect when I share my worrisome reports of an increase in seizures. Instead, I’m patted on the head, shuffled to another department, told a lie, handed a script.  While I wait, I know that more of us are paying out of pocket expenses to bring our children to better health.  Some of us are paying for private therapy and instruction so our children will have more than self-help skills after leaving high school. Several are spending their entire savings so their children can live now and live better. Our own lives are put on hold but it’s for the good of our children, the ones we value, the ones we would bear the entire weight of the world. I’ll sit here but I won’t wait for help anymore.

It’s time to make a change because for kids like Zain, Faryaal, Jude, Jason, Ulysses and Kate, it’s too late for “awareness.”  But for Ronan and all kids like him, as hard as it gets, as long as it takes, I won’t give up  I won’t give up , ever.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

NIH Launches Effort to Define Markers of Human Immune Responses to Infection and Vaccination

Research Recovery Act Enables Research That Could Help Improve Vaccines and Therapeutics

A new nationwide research initiative has been launched to define changes in the human immune system, using human and not animal studies, in response to infection or to vaccination. Six U. S.-based Human Immune Phenotyping Centers will receive a total of $100 million over five years to conduct this research.

Funding for the centers is provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Support for the first year of this initiative will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Recognizing the differences in immune system activity before, during and after exposure to an infectious agent or vaccine will help in the development of safer, more effective therapeutics and vaccines,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This research effort also will contribute to the ongoing evolution in our ability to study the immune system.”

Investigators will analyze samples from well-characterized groups, including children, the elderly, and people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus. These groups represent diverse populations with respect to age, genetics, gender and ethnicity. The research teams will examine immune system elements of these populations before and after exposure to naturally acquired infections or to vaccines or vaccine components. The profile that will emerge of the body’s response to vaccination will be based on the most sophisticated and comprehensive assays currently available. This will enable new approaches to examining vaccine safety, not just of individual vaccines but of the processes of immunization in general.

Their studies will focus on immune responses to vaccines against specific viruses and bacteria, such as influenza and pneumococcus, as well as to infection with West Nile virus. The investigators will take advantage of technological developments and advances in creating databases and developing mathematical models to identify and analyze the complex changes in immune profiles.

Continue reading "NIH Launches Effort to Define Markers of Human Immune Responses to Infection and Vaccination" »

"You Don't Lock Up Toddlers." Autism, Violence, Incarceration?

Magic_8ball From PJStar Online.

You may recall that Sky Walker, who was found unable to stand trial in the beating death of his mother, was sent to a developmental facility in Ohio. Let's hope that law enforcement and our legal system looks at this case as a bellweather for future planning.  I met a Mom this week, whose son had just had a frightening rage. She was driven to tears as she told me that she's worried (to death, pardon the phrase) about how to help him, help manage him and what his future holds. Let's hope that 22 year Joey Brooks does not have to remain in jail. KS

As our friend Tanner's Dad says on Twitter every day, "Feel Autism Yet?"

By Andy Krevetz

Peoria,IL: The attorney for a developmentally disabled man who was indicted Tuesday for allegedly beating to death a housemate last week said his client shouldn't be in jail.

"He doesn't have the mental capacity to have a criminal intent," said attorney Timothy Newlin of Joey R. Brooks, 22, who was indicted on one count of first-degree murder for the death of John Vogel. He will next appear in court Thursday to be arraigned on the charge. Until then, he remains in custody at the Peoria County Jail on $500,000 bond.

And that's what has Newlin and Brooks' parents upset. They believe this case is different than others. Newlin said his client has an IQ of 12, and the mental age of a 21/2-year-old. He's diagnosed with profound mental retardation and autism, the attorney said, reading from a 2009 report.

"He's essentially a toddler; you don't lock up toddlers," he said.

Continue reading ""You Don't Lock Up Toddlers." Autism, Violence, Incarceration?" »

Child with Autism and Mom with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple-sclerosis By Sarah Lapinski

Does your child have autism?  Do you have MS?  No one talks about it, but there seems to be a link, a link between parents of children with autism being diagnosed with MS.  I can’t find anyone who is looking into this….why?  Why can’t we find information about the link between the two anywhere?

Let me take a step back.  For years now I have suffered from dizziness, headaches, vision issues, and other strange symptoms.  I had my first MRI and yes there were small, possible spots of demyelination, but I was reassured this is common in most people walking around today.  I was told many interesting things by doctors, but most settled on me having an anxiety disorder. 

I was told, “You are dizzy because you have four kids”, “You can’t find your words because you have anxiety”, and better yet, “This is all between your ears, Sweetie”.   So I talked myself into being very stressed out, and felt my dizziness was because I was anxious. 

Years later, after not thinking about MS again, I received an official, unexpected diagnosis of optic neuritis.  I knew right away what this meant, and headed back to the neurologist.  I told him of my optic neuritis, commonly one of the first signs of MS, and I told him that I felt like I was occasionally slurring my words.  He said, “Everyone slurs their words, I slur my words all the time.  Look at you, you’re fine, your exam is fine, trust me, those old spots on your MRI could have been dust on the lens.”  He agreed to do a second MRI, just to be safe.

About an hour after doing my second MRI, I am in the waiting room.  The doctor comes out and signals me to come back.  He says, “Well you do have MS, I can’t believe it, I really was not expecting this.” 

Wait a minute…this sounds eerily similar to something I had heard years earlier, not at an appointment for me, but at an appointment for my son.  You see, my son was not developing typically.  We started early intervention at 10 months of age because my husband and I were noticing some subtle delays.   As a first time mom, I just had the feeling something was wrong.  At 12 months of age, I started questioning doctors about autism.  My little guy just didn’t’ seem like the other kids his age.   I had read some articles on red flag signs and, when I did, I felt so scared inside.  It sounded just like my baby.  The doctors and professionals reassured me “he is fine”.  “He just has a little delay”.  “He is a boy, you are a nervous first time mom, and you need to relax”.   These are just a few of the many things I heard. 

Continue reading "Child with Autism and Mom with Multiple Sclerosis" »

A Father On Autism Regression and the Road To Recovery (Paved with Love)

Cody Jordan By Cody Jordan

October 20, 2004 was the day my son came into my life.  Holding him in the parkade of the hospital, I vowed to give him the life he deserves and to teach him what he needs to know to make this happen.  Little did I know at the time, he would teach me more about life, love, and compassion than I could ever have hoped to teach him.  All this in the five short years he’s been in my life.

His development was normal at first; he met all his markers.  The only thing was that he often got low-grade fevers that intensified and grew longer in duration as he got older.  He was at the end of another cold and feverish spell when I took him in for his 12-month well visit.  His pediatrician assured us that despite his illness, it was still okay to give him his MMR, Hib, Varicella, and his first flu shot.  A few weeks later, he got his flu shot booster.  A few weeks after this (Christmas Eve) his fever spiked to over 103, but the on-call pediatrician told us to monitor his temperature for at least another 24 hours.  On Christmas Day, he was so sick, flushed, and hot that we rushed him to the emergency room, where his temperature was between 105 and 106.  A chest x-ray revealed a very severe case of pneumonia.  The ER doctor said that if we would have waited much longer, his chances to make it would not have been so good.

After his pneumonia is what I call “the big switch.”  His development came to a screeching halt, and he lost most of the vocabulary he once had.  At one year of age, he had about 10 words, and when he was evaluated at age two, he had regressed to two words, used infrequently at best.  He quit showing interest in his peers and, more importantly, me and my wife.  Looking back on video footage, this was when he started toe walking, hand flapping, and he became increasingly repetitive in everything he did.

This is when I came across Defeat Autism Now! and their list of physicians who use a biomedical protocol.  It would forever change my son’s life.  The long drives didn’t matter; the money didn’t matter.  It was something I had to do for my son’s sake.  I loved him far too much to give him any less.  What happened over the next 2 ½ years is nothing short of a miracle.

As any parent treating an autistic child with a biomedical protocol knows, it’s a never-ending line of supplements, medicines, and homeopathics given in every imaginable way, and my son was no different.  The amazing thing about him is that he hasn’t complained about any of it; he takes it as though he somehow knows it is helping him recover.  There was one homeopathic in particular he was taking for a gut issue.  Right after he took it for the first time, he immediately went to the bathroom and threw it up.  The next night, he was at the kitchen counter, asking for it again.  He took it again and almost threw it up, but he fought to keep it down.  This is just one example about how he’s never complained about the supplements, medicines, or countless hours in various therapies.  This is almost as exciting and amazing of the recovery that started to take place.

Continue reading "A Father On Autism Regression and the Road To Recovery (Paved with Love)" »

Another! How Many Autism Murder/Suicides Before Nation Sees Crisis?

Tarot_death_02 Four children with autism under the age of 21 have been murdered by their parents in a single summer. Two in Dallas, TX, one in The Bronx, NY, and now Christopher Melton of Howard County, Maryland. What more can I add? KS

Washington Post Voices

HoCo deaths ruled murder-suicide

Howard County police have ruled that a Columbia woman used a gas generator in June to take her life and that of her 18-year-old disabled son, the Columbia Flier reports.

Police say that on June 4, Tracy Hawks, 47, was found in her bedroom, along with her son, Christopher Melton, who had autism and mild mental retardation. A newly purchased generator was found in the dining room of her Hickory Ridge home.

An investigation found that Hawks, who was in the midst of a divorce, financial debt and at risk of her losing her job, had been threatening to take her life for more than a month.

Time For Psychiatrists to Release Autism To Immunology, Toxicology and Gastroenterology?

Prozac signs Read the full article at PsychCentralNews. Someone tell our friends at that midwestern fish wrapper they should check out the emerging evidence of harm, since they are so protective of our children.

The use of antidepressant medication to improve symptoms in autistic children may not be effective.

According to a new statistical review of previously reported studies, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants did not improve overall function.

“There is no evidence of effect of SSRIs in children and emerging evidence of harm. There is limited evidence of the effectiveness of SSRIs in adults from small studies in which risk of bias is unclear,” according to Katrina Williams of the School of Women’s and Children’s Health at the University of New South Wales in Australia and her team...

Dr. Nancy Snyderman: Using Fear & Prejudice to Attack Vaccine Exemptions?

Fear sells Read a Never Before Published Partial Transcript of the May 12, 1986 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). HERE Parents of babies, who died following DPT vaccine reactions or were been brain injured, questioned the Committee 25 years ago and challenged the reports of pertussis outbreaks in eight states in 1985.

By Barbara Loe Fisher

This summer, inaccurate and misleading information about B. pertussis whooping cough and the pertussis vaccine is being put out there by medical doctors, who should know better. Media campaigns designed to create fear about infectious disease are nothing new. This one appears to have three goals: first, to emphasize pertussis risks while ignoring vaccine risks; second, to place blame for whooping cough cases and deaths on the unvaccinated; and, third, to attack religious and conscientious belief exemptions, which serve as informed consent protections in U.S. vaccine laws.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman: "Just Get the Damn Vaccine"

In 2009, public health officials declared a pandemic H1N1 influenza emergency and played up the potential complications of the swine flu while playing down the potential risks of the untested new swine flu vaccine. When two-thirds of Americans "just said no" to swine flu shots, NBC's chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman ridiculed them and quipped "Just get the damn vaccine."

Now Snyderman has issued a similar order to "get vaccinated" but, this time, she is accusing parents of unvaccinated children for causing the deaths of six California infants, who have reportedly died from complications of B. pertussis whooping cough. On July 28, 2010, Dr. Snyderman further alleged that "most people" with religious objections to vaccination are not telling the truth and that the "needs" of the "community as a whole" are "better than the individual" and "more important."

Doctors Using Media Bully Pulpit to Misinform

Ordinarily I would not take the time to address specific comments by a prominent doctor, who is careless with the facts when voicing an opinion. But as more doctors use the bully pulpit of the national media - unchallenged - to disseminate incorrect information, promote personal ideological views and advance political agendas, it becomes more important for informed Americans to speak up.

Continue reading "Dr. Nancy Snyderman: Using Fear & Prejudice to Attack Vaccine Exemptions? " »

Bugzy and the Rabies Shot

Puppy-Shots By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

(Author's note - Since we're in the dog days of summer and I need to let several brewing stories develop on their own timetable I submit the following shaggy dog story.)

As a science teacher my summers are spent at home while my wife goes back to her job as a speech therapist.  I'm the man of the house, responsible for all appointments for my twelve-year-old daughter Jacqueline who has autism, my normally developing and very active, ten-year-old son Ben, and our five-year-old dog, Bugzy.  For the dog lovers among you Bugzy is a mix of terrier and pomeranian, has white fur, and weighs about twenty pounds.

My lovely wife informed me I needed to take Bugzy to the veterinarian for his annual check-up, something I always dread doing.  We adopted Bugzy from a rescue shelter as a three-year-old and I had worried when we got him it appeared he had received a double dose of his vaccines before we adopted him.

Now as a parent with a vaccine-injured daughter, a son who went mute for twelve days after his eighteen month series of shots, thus pushing me into a life of activism, concern for my dog should probably rank quite low on my list.

But as I've researched human vaccines I've also become aware of problems with animal vaccines.  Yes, I know that they removed thimerosal from animal vaccines long before anything similar was attempted with pediatric vaccines, but still my worry remains.

Continue reading "Bugzy and the Rabies Shot" »

“Science”Blogs, As Told By A Defecting “Science”Blogger

Zombie2 By Jake Crosby

Last week, I wrote about The New York Times Magazine’s exposé of “Science”Blogs. (HERE.)

That, however, was only the beginning.

Perhaps nothing sums up “Science”Blogs, its owner Seed Media, and its CEO Adam Bly better than the words of a defecting “Science”Blogger, “GrrlScientist.” On July 20th, in the snake pit itself, she wrote:

“ScienceBlogs is now ZombieBlogs, the undead, a heartless and soulless brain-eating monster that once was a beautiful living ideal.”

An ideal that never became reality, except perhaps when it published an impressive investigative report by Dr. Sarah Bridges, entitled “The Rise Against Mercury,” before going sour and endorsing Simon Baron-Cohen’s ridiculous “Geeks Get Lucky” theory. 

GrrlScientist then goes on to say:

“A significant number of us have been planning a strike, starting now, and continuing until SMG takes significant steps to correct the numerous problems they've saddled us with and until they put the proper priority on supporting us -- the Sb cash cow.”

In her anger, she indicates that many of the “Science”Bloggers wanted a piece of that cash cow:

“Our lack of tech support, combined with our lack of paychecks and a total blackout on any and all forms of communication has demoralized the entire community.”

Then came the last straw:

“As if that wasn't bad enough, the PepsiCo blog popped up on our rss feeds out of the blue, without warning or input from any of us as to how this might be accomplished in a way to cause the least amount of harm to the credibility of the site and to everyone who contributes here.”

Perhaps my favorite line is where she likens Adam Bly to Captain Bligh, whose crew rebelled against him in the historic mutiny on the British Royal Navy’s ship, the HMS Bounty:

“And all this confusion is after Captain, er .. Adam .. Bly promised he would address our very real concerns and make an effort to improve communication with us.”
Then she describes Adam Bly to a T:

“But unlike the real Captain Bligh, Adam Bly is nothing more than a smooth-talking con artist.”

Followed by the true purpose of “Science”Blogs:

“Since Sb(“Science”Blogs) attracts far more traffic and generates far more money than the defunct SEED magazine ever did, it appears that sole function for Sb is to be the cash cow whose milk funds Adam Bly's pricey fantasy lifestyle as a hotshot magazine publisher living in lower Manhattan.”

Continue reading "“Science”Blogs, As Told By A Defecting “Science”Blogger" »

The Sixth Planet Foundation Begins its Orbit

Dr_johntembenis By Cathy Jameson

In mid-July, parents, politicians, a Hollywood entertainer, a music legend, advocates and several autism VIPs gathered together in Massachusetts.  The event was the 2nd Annual NOLAfest, and if I had the chance to bi-locate to be back in my former New England stomping grounds, this is one affair that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Unfortunately, I did miss it. Since this is an annual bash, maybe I can circle the date on my calendar for the 2011 festival.  After reliving and reporting on the festivities, I feel as if I was able to participate in the spirit of the event.

Remembering Elias

On July 17, 2010, Harry and Gina Tembenis partnered with BA Events, a Massachusetts event promotion company to host the 2nd annual NOLAfest, a New Orleans Jazz/Blues Music and Food Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Designed to honor the memory of their son Elias, all festival proceeds went to autism fundraising and support groups that will directly benefit families of children with autism. 

Harry and Gina are no strangers in the autism community.  When their firstborn son Elias was very young, they went through the medical rounds of investigating poor health while visiting several specialists.  Many of us have heard similar results before: Diagnosis: autism. Despite the grim words, Harry and Gina stayed focused and worked through whatever negatives they discovered. The Tembenis’ traced Elias’ medical problems back to the four-month round of vaccines in late 2000.  After receiving four shots meant to prevent nine diseases, Elias began to have seizures. Despite that negative discovery, the Tembenis’ path included finding successful, biomedical treatment. 

As Elias grew, with their son’s educators and therapists, the Tembenis family planned a school year with proper support and with dreams of hope. Harry and Gina learned as much as they could in order to make Elias’ life happy and hopeful too.  Along the way, they learned about the how’s and why’s of vaccine injury and continued to help support Elias with biomed interventions.  They had their sights set on one day reversing their son’s symptoms despite the vaccine injury causing seizures. However, in their struggle to restore Elias’ health, time was not on their side.   Sadly, in 2007, Elias passed away from what has been described as a catastrophic seizure. 

Elias’ diagnosis of seizures is not uncommon for other vaccine-injured children but to have suffered from them, and finally to succumb to a seizure disorder, is senseless. To make sense of the situation, and to make sure that other families are better educated on the effects of vaccinations, Harry and Gina have kept their feet firmly planted in the autism community. 

Some parents may not be emotionally able to handle the public light of their child’s death.  Families may quietly retreat from those who had supported their past and their child’s disabilities.  Others may cut ties with all things autism related, preferring to close that chapter of their life and pray they can move on. 

Not Gina and Harry. They have and plan to stick around the autism community long after Elias’ untimely death. Not one to let the past haunt their future, they shouted to the rest of the world: Elias will always be in their hearts and minds; he will live forever. From his death, new hope has grown across the country.  Elias has been honored, his story retold, his spirit kept alive. He, along with his parents, continues to be a positive reminder of why some people in this community work tirelessly. Harry and Gina invited the world to share Elias’ story and have kicked it up a notch with the NOLAfest.

Celebrating Elias

Why such a big festival? When Elias was younger, his favorite show was “Jacks’ Big Music Show” which featured jazz and blues music. Rather than mourn the dead but instead celebrate life, just as many do in New Orleans, the Tembenis’ are choosing to celebrate Elias’ life.  They found the chance to do that with a big music festival. Remembering their time spent in New Orleans on their honeymoon, Harry and Gina created a celebration that brought many out to the streets for dancing and dining. And celebrate the festival goers did! 

View more pictures and videos of the grand day here.  

The National Autism Association, one of the groups to receive funds from the benefit, is represented by several board members and friends.

Wendy Fournier, President of the NAA, states, “We’re inspired everyday by Harry and Gina Tembenis. Their love for each other, for Elias, and for all of our children is beyond measure.  They’ve put their heart and soul into NOLAfest and it’s become a wonderful family-friendly event with top-notch entertainment. I can’t wait for next year!” 

Warrior Moms at NOLAfest(L-R Ginger Taylor, Wendy Fournier, Kelly Vanicek, Beck Grant-Widen, Gina Tembenis)

Continue reading "The Sixth Planet Foundation Begins its Orbit" »

Vote For $50K To Help The Homeless With Autism

ARI sidebar logo From our friends and sponsor at ARI. For those of you who are not familiar with ARI, it was  founded by Dr. Bernard Rimland , who founded the Autism Society of America and is the doctor who discredited the "Refrigerator Mother" theory.  Please vote. Imagine the plight of a person with autism, who is also homeless.

Help ARI Win $50k to Help Homeless Individuals with ASD

This morning, ARI was chosen to participate in the Pepsi Refresh Everything project and needs your support to win $50,000.  Only the projects with the highest number of votes are funded. Voting is free and it started this morning - can you help?
Vote now and take a moment to return each day this month.

Click here to vote: 

We hope to to establish a model program to provide information and support for homeless people who are on the autism spectrum. First, we will establish a small office in downtown San Diego for one year, and the office would be run by two part-time people.  They would meet with staff at shelters and missions to inform them about autism and suggest best ways to help those on the autism spectrum - for example, eat/relax/rest/sleep in a quiet, dimly lit or dark place. We'll offer support and information on where to find vital resources including:

  • shelters and transitional housing
  • food and clothing
  • medical care
  • mental health services
  • referrals to agencies for case management & life training skills
  • referrals to agencies for government or other financial assistance
  • referrals for outpatient consultation, evalution and treatment intervention
  • referrals to agencies providing skills assessment, job training & job coaches

We would also create a tri-fold brochure with relevant information and work to disseminate crucial information about the various support services available directly to those on the spectrum. 

Click here to vote:

US Senate Hearing on Autism: It's The Environment Not The Gene Pool

Thalidomide "We should also look back to the history of drug regulation.  It took the Thalidomide epidemic for us to take action.  Perhaps autism is the equivalent for environmental chemicals."

By Anne Dachel

We woke up to a different world on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.  With barely any notice, the autism community heard that the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children's Health would be holding a hearing entitled, "State of Research on Potential Environmental Health Factors with Autism and Related Neurodevelopment Disorders." 

View archived webcast

As someone who follows autism in the news, this was a shock.  I'm used to stories like the recent series published on the Psychology Today blog by Dr. James Coplan.  He couldn't make it any clearer.  Autism is something that has always been around--we've just expanded the definition and doctors are better at recognizing it.  The numbers haven't increased. 
We're all so used to hearing about the genetics of autism.  The explosion in autism is a mystery and no one seems in too big a hurry to solve it.  We're told we just need more autism awareness and we've been conditioned to accept the reality of one percent of children being on the spectrum. 
So today was different.  Members of the U.S. Senate would be hearing about how the environment is linked to autism. 
Sen. Amy Klobuchar from MN and Sen. Barbara Boxer from CA asked questions and respondents made it clear: Autism is rising dramatically among our children.  Genetics can only explain a small percentage of the autism cases.  It's not better diagnosing by doctors or expanding the definition of autism.  Something in the environment is damaging our children.  It's leaving them disabled and dependent. 
Speakers addressing the senators included:
Panel 1
Dr. Paul Anastas
Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development
United States Environmental Protection Agency

Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S.
Director, National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program
National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Panel 2
Issac N. Pessah Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Director, UC Davis Children's Center for Environmental Health and Disease Prevention
University of California, Davis, Department of Molecular Biosciences

Bruce P. Lanphear MD, MPH
Senior Scientist, Child & Family Research Institute, Professor, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Adjunct Professor, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Mary Moen
The hearing was two hours long and lots of important things were said. 
We were told that autism is costing this nation $35-90 billion annually and that autism is increasing everywhere.  We also heard about all the untested toxic chemicals out there that are impacting our health. 
Sen. Klobuchar brought up the devastating autism rate among the Somali population in the Twin Cites where one in 28 children is affected.
In the midst of Dr. Birnbaum's remarks, she noted specifically that there were no differences in mercury levels when comparing autistic and typically developing children.  She didn't elaborate or explain why she chose to cite mercury. 
We heard that there are 80,000 possible toxic triggers out there, including pesticides, flame retardants, lead, and tobacco.  It didn't sound like the FDA is doing its job. 
Bruce Lanphear described a sad oversight scenario.  Children have new diseases with environmental causes.  It may not be just a single toxin; it may be the interaction of multiple toxins. 

He made the stunning statement, "We know enough to require premarket testing.  To continue to experiment on our children is no longer tenable."  

Continue reading "US Senate Hearing on Autism: It's The Environment Not The Gene Pool" »