More than 32 Million American Kids Chronically Sick: It's Time to Demand Answers

Comment to Larry Kirwan in Irish Echo Online

Truth-hurts By Laurette Janak

On May 18th an article appeared in the Irish Echo Online titled: “The troubling rise in Autism” by Larry Kirwan (HERE). Larry relays his story of having a sister with Down syndrome stating that at least they knew the reason for her having this disorder; genetics. The article then goes on to question the rise in autism. Knowing that children with Down syndrome have a vastly increased occurrence of autism, I thought I might be able to contribute some insight into  “The troubling rise in Autism”.  Thus, I took the time to compose a comment and one day later on May 19th at 8:56 AM EST, I submitted my comment. Today is May 23rd and my comment is still awaiting moderation. I certainly see the need to moderate comments to eliminate blatantly incorrect information, rudeness or superfluous information that adds nothing to the topic of discussion, however; my facts are derived directly from published medical literature and I definitely was not being rude.

I looked up the author, Larry Kirwan, to see what association he might have that brings him to the topic of autism in the first place. All I could find was that he appeared to have been an entertainer for an Autism Speaks fundraiser. So what reason could Larry have for not posting my comment? I hate to feel like I wasted my time composing comments that I actually thought might be helpful when investigating one of the possible contributors to “The troubling rise in Autism”.  Maybe the audience he writes for is not interested in such clues?

So for those of you who are genuinely interested in “The troubling rise in Autism” here is what I posted to Larry. You have my permission to share this far and wide with anyone interested in shedding light on autism from a different perspective.

      Laurette Janak Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:56 am


              Thank you for your article on the troubling rise in autism. You state that, “it’s time we faced up to the fact that we may share responsibility for this upsurge in autism”. I couldn’t agree more and would like to add a few pieces to your mention of Down syndrome (DS) that supports your “shared responsibility” notion. A current study by DiGuiseppi et a. 2010 has put the comorbidity of DS and ASD at an alarming 18.2%. Brain MRIs of children with DS were performed by Carter et al. 2008 and it was determined that the MRIs could distinguish between those children with just DS and those that had a comorbid autism diagnosis. Thus, it is not just a case of the symptoms of

autism being part of what is normally seen in DS. What could be accounting for this increased susceptibility in this segment of the population, which as you know, is a very loving and social group of children? In November 2007, the U. S. government conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims saying that vaccinations aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder resulting in features of autism. Are you aware that the literature documents mitochondrial dysfunction in children with DS, which begins even before they are born? You said that the role of inoculations has been “ruled out” yet I can find no study on how such vaccinations may impact children with DS all of whom have mitochondrial dysfunction. The literature is very clear in showing that children with DS have immune abnormalities yet we know relatively little about how this might impact their response to vaccination other than the documented fact that they fail to respond with protective titers to a number of vaccines. It is well established that children with DS suffer from increased oxidative stress as a result of their extra copies of genes associated with having a diagnosis of DS. One of the consequences of this excessive oxidative stress is a low level of a molecule called glutathione. It is precisely this molecule, which has long been known to offer protection from the toxicity of mercury. As you are probably aware, mercury (thimerosal) has been a component in many vaccines and continues to be in the flu vaccine. The work of Ueha-Ishibashit et al. 2004 showed that thimerosal decreases glutathione and that the toxicity of thimerosal was, “greatly augmented when the cells suffered oxidative stress”. With respect to oxidative stress, the paper by Ueha-Ishibashit mirrors what is occurring in DS children. Furthermore, in an animal model of DS (Stabel-Burow et al. 1997) it has been shown that lowering glutathione below a certain threshold, “contributes to cell loss and neurodegneration in Down syndrome.” In non-scientific terms these studies indicate that DS cells would be more prone to the toxicity of thimerosal. As such, one cannot rule out the possibility that this genetically different set of children may have autism triggered upon exposure to thirmerosal. If you are inclined to say that thimerosal has been removed from most childhood vaccines, then please know that the aluminum used as an adjuvant in many currently used vaccines also depletes glutathione therefore, is not exempt from the possibility of neurodegenration in this population of children. There are other conditions that warrant investigation in susceptible subgroups of children but time and space do not permit me to go into these here. By ignoring and failing to investigate entire subgroups of the population, I completely agree with you that, “it is time we faced up to the fact that we share responsibility for this upsurge in autism.”

      Laurette Janak (May 19, 2011)

Laurette Janak is mother of a child with Down Syndrom and ASD and a tireless advocate for children's health.


Denise Ferraro

Thanks so much Laurette for this post. My son is 21 and has the dual diagnosis of down syndrome and autism. He also had a horrible reaction to his first DPT shot back in 1990. He seemed to recover, but after each round of vaccines he just got sicker and after his MMR he was never the same. I will be listening to you on Sunday for sure. Linda B. I am definitely going to research the Changing Minds Foundation Protocol for my son, I just pray he's not too old. Denise

Teresa Conrick


Great post and comments! You will be 'demystifying' at Autism One on Sunday at 11:45 am - 12:45 pm.....

Laurette Janak

A recent study in the journal Alzheimer’s research & therapy (Wallace RA et al. April 2011) was titled:

‘What can we learn from study of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with Down syndrome for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in the general population?”

That title is indicative of the type of research that is ongoing in the Down syndrome (DS) population. Because the majority of individuals with DS will suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s, it is beneficial for the population at large to study DS in order to gain insight into the mechanisms at play for the general population.

Because children with DS have a 20 fold increased risk for childhood leukemia, this is again another active area of research in an attempt to understand the process in non-DS individuals.

Children with DS have a vastly increased risk for developing autism….so where are all the research papers looking at this susceptible group in order to determine mechanisms for the general population? Very little exists which leaves me wondering why!

Laurette Janak

Hello Linda Blevins,

Thank you for sharing your success story with the Changing Minds Foundation Protocol. I am sorry to hear about your son’s experience with vaccines. I will go over one example of why DPT may be so difficult for children with Down syndrome in my Autism One presentation. After my daughter's adverse reactions to early DPT vaccines I postponed all other vaccines until after my daughter was 3 years old. Thinking it was all about thimerosal, I got talked into the MMR knowing it did not contain thimerosal. It was this vaccine that triggered autism in my child so it is not just about the mercury.

You bring up another very valid point about this population of children. For many states, the early intervention programs begin at birth and so many of our children are followed by professional therapist from very early on. Had my daughter exhibited early signs of autism, these professionals would most likely have brought this to my attention. By age 3 she was talking, potty trained, sleeping through the night, and had consistent and normal bowel patterns. All of that changed upon receipt of the MMR at age 3. Are we to believe that all the professionals that worked with my child were incompetent and unable to detect the constant stimming, lack of speech, pounding of her head, constant diarrhea with a return to diapers, erratic sleep patterns, and loss of eye contact that happened within days after getting her MMR? I don’t think so! These issues were not detected pre-MMR because they were not there. This is not a mother’s say so; those who worked with her professionally document this.

I am encouraged to hear that your son is currently doing much better.
Thank you,
Laurette Janak

Laurette Janak


Thank you for your response. You and your blog do NOT offend me. I would however like to share with you some of the things I am offended by.

In the name of entertainment, people pay to go watch a good magician perform his masterful tricks of deception. In such a circumstance, the art of deception is what is expected and even appreciated. However, in science there is no place for deception. The massive number of deceptive tactics being perpetrated with regards to autism offends me. Furthermore, I am offended by those who think I lack the intelligence to see through such deceptions. Since the Autism One conference is being webcast free of charge I hope you can join me via your computer this Sunday. I use the Down syndrome population to demonstrate some of the illusions that are being thrust upon us by the magicians out there who want to lock us into their delusions of the truth. The price is right. Come see me demystify the myths.

Laurette Janak

Linda B

Thanks Laurette for being the beacon in the night for Down syndrome. Your dedication and research has helped many.

The GOOD NEWS first: By using the Changing Minds Foundation Protocol my son with DS/Autism is recovered from autism and has an idependently documented IQ increase of 14 points. Let me say that again IQ INCREASE OF 14 POINTS!!!

Like so many parents of DS children, my nightmare with autism began 4-15-93 with a "Hot LOT" DPT from Connaught Labs. Accourding to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) the LOT 2A41_xxxx from CONNAUGHT LABS had a total of 394 reported adverse events and 26 deaths associated with this lot. The XXXX stand for the different Batches of the lot. He was hospitalized and had symptoms that matched the symptoms of Whooping Cough and Diptheria AT THE SAME TIME. He became "the blob". Due to his DS he was in early intervention. All is documented in his early intervention records.

On the VAERS summary, all 4 of his DTP shots had deaths associated with them. Not a one was pulled from the market.

We worked hard, used Cod Liver Oil and did a neurological recovery program. At 19 months he was walking and had 2 work couplets and was recovered.

Then he had a measles vaccination while he still had Chicken Pox Scabs. Welcome to the world of autism. His eyes went crossed eyed, he developed strabimus, and other eye and vision Problem. He was diagnosed with "swollen lymphoid aggregates" in his GI Tract. They took 32 biopsies and all 32 were inflammed. Swollen lymphoid aggregate is code for Autistic Entocolitis.

Meanwhile he was given the HiBb for heamopholis influenza. Don't you know that every single lab culture for years would culture out heamopholis influenza B.

Here is my DS son who was hit with 3 adverse vaccine events and is recovered and even progressed.So don't give up hope. Thanks Changing Minds Foundation and Laurette.

If there are any lawyers reading this CALL ME.

Linda Strobel

Thank you for taking the time and energy to start educating people on this subject. Your knowledge and research goes way beyond most professionals. Individuals with Down syndrome deserve every right and hope for treating their condition. Why is it that cancer, diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, PKU, etc, etc all have a genetic link and are medically treated and researched for more and better ways of improved health and life? - but not for Down syndrome???

I wish parents of children with Down syndrome would take more stand and be outraged that this population is largely left to deteriorate without hope or movement to change their conditions and lives?

To me it is a crime - to see the apathy of this situation.
Could you image someone with AIDS being looked at as "nothing to be done"? It would be an OUTRAGE.

THank you for your time and commitment. We need to make shake the walls.
Linda Strobel

Personal Perspective

I was interested to hear the story from Aussie Mum about her reflections on the medical profession ...

There is some real heart out there and we should be careful not to underestimate the variety of viewpoints.

I have noted particularly that many international Gastroenterology bodies are using some very carefully chosen language when it comes to theories about brain and gut and it's role in autism.

The main criticisms are not from those directly involved in the care of children or from the day to day paediatricians.

My own has hinted indirectly at the powerful forces involved in this debate ... there is no doubt we are not be given the full picture.

I welcome the advocacy on this important issue.



After my son's 12 month MMR, my doctor casually spoke to me about an epidemic that doctors were puzzled about.

My doctor never mentioned Autism and he never had anything adverse to say about the vaccines. However I remember in the conversation he had told me that he informed his work colleagues (doctors) that he was suspicious about something. Some (doctors) agreed with him and some thought that he was crazy (my doctors exact words.)

He looked at me and said "you will understand one day."

Eight years on and I know exactly what he meant.

Thanks doc!

Elizabeth - AussieMum

larry kirwan

Hi: I'm really sorry if I've offended anyone by not commenting on your wonderful comments. In fact, though, I would not have even heard of them had it not been for an incidental Google search.

I post a "blog" once a week to It's actually a column that I write for The Irish Echo where I deal with many subjects from politics to music to social issues. I check in on comments when I post the weekly column and then add them whether favorable or not.

My sole wish is to draw attention to what seems like a rising incidence of autism and the tremendous cost to families. I'm anything but an expert on these matters, just someone who is probably more aware of them because of my dear sister, Anne's Down Syndrome issues.

I will re-read your comments carefully and thanks to each of you. I appreciate it.

Best wishes,

larry kirwan

Laurette Janak

I will be giving a talk that goes over DS-ASD at the Autism One conference in chicago. If you are unable to attend then check out the Autism One website for the date and time of my talk. I have been advised that all the speakers will be streamed live on the web so look for the link at the Autism One website.

Laurette Janak

Did she just say that?!?!?!?!?

When my sister's 2nd son was born with Down Syndrome, nearly the first words out of the mouth of one of the nurses at the hospital to my sister were: "well, at least you won't have to worry about him being autistic".


I too have a daughter with DS and Autism. I have long wondered about the mitochondrial dysfunction issue, and am so glad you have investigated this. I have urged everyone I have any contact with who has a child with DS to really look into and consider before giving their children the recommended vaccines (at least in the quantity they are given at each visit). If I had it to do over, I would have done it differently. What to me seems to add insult to injury is how difficult it was to get her diagnosed and given proper treatment. Insurance companies and schools treat our kids with both DS and Autism with even more disdain than they treat kids with just one or the other. Thank you for helping ot educate the public about our kiddos!


Back in the late 80's during "one of many" discussions with my son's baby doctors - The doc said:
"Vaccines do not cause any problems; why, just the other night on the local news in Lousiville, they showed a woman that claimed her child was hurt by a DPT shot. She said that he was fine untill the shot, and now he is not. They then showed the child. and he obviously had Down Syndrome. Can you believe it? He had Down's Syndrome and they were trying to say he was damaged by vaccines!"

The DOC's Problem

1.) He was such a linear thinker that he could not see that a child with Down's Syndrome could have additional trouble. In other words if he has Down's Syndrome he could not possible get a broken leg, and certianly not addtionally neurological damage.

2) It does not matter if the child was made worse and had additional damage because he has Down's Syndrome to begin with, so he was not worth much to begin with, and the mother should not be complaining about it. Her nerve!

The neurologists this Quack sent my son to, told me that his niece already had genetic (they like to throw this word around wether it is or not) siezures and when they gave her her vaccines (the DPT) she seemed to be a lot worse. So, he ws probably telling me my son was going to have seizures or tourettes anyway, so I should just grin and bear it, and not be too mad or upset that the vaccines made him worse.

cynthia parker

cynthia parker says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

May 23, 2011 at 6:52 am

I submitted a comment, too to Larry Kirwan. It said that at this time there had been no comments, so it may be that I wasted my time too. This is a copy of my comment:

I read your article with interest, and am glad to see that you as well as so many more are seriously thinking about what the cause of the surge of cases of autism could be. There’s no question that, in most cases, it’s the vaccines. You mention the MMR, but say that that suspicion has apparently been put to rest. It’s only been put to rest by those who support Big Pharma, certainly not by the tens of thousands of families whose child was developing normally until he got the MMR, and then became autistic, often with bowel disease as well. The surge really took off in 1991, when they started giving the hep-B vaccine to infants at birth. My daughter was given this vaccine at the hospital the day she was born, May 5, 2000. On May 9, she started to scream, constantly, inconsolably, literally all night. After sleeping a couple of hours at dawn she woke to scream again, for several days. The doctor asked if it were for at least three hours a day, trying to say it was colic. It was for much, much more than that, and colic doesn’t start until three weeks old. This was vaccine-induced encephalitis, and she was ultimately revealed to have autism. She’s eleven now, and is not one of the most severe cases, but she can’t talk, reason, remember, or follow any kind of narration normally, because the encephalitis damaged her brain. Congress had a hearing in May 1999, was convinced of the danger of this vaccine, but permitted it to be used anyway, after a short moratorium. The Missouri school nurse Patti White testified at this hearing, saying her association of school nurses was certain that the sudden flood of autistic kindergartners entering Missouri schools starting in 1996 was because of the use of this pointless and devastating vaccine. I would like to warn you and your readers to inform yourselves very well before permitting a child to get any vaccine. I had measles as a child, at that time everyone did, it wasn’t a deadly disease if children were taken care of, and it’s a lot better than a lifetime of disability.

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