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Dream On

Dream By Cathy Jameson

“If you are alive in 2011, no matter what your age, you have been part of one of the largest and worst experiments in history. No matter how carefully you eat or drink or watch your exposure to toxins, your body has chemicals in it that do not belong there and have the potential to make you ill, even fatally ill.” 

From: The Great Global Poisoning Experience by John DeCock:

DeCock continues:  “ … The Scientific American suggests that soaring rates of autism are linked to our constant exposure to toxics. Again, we pay an enormous emotional, practical and financial price to deal with the increase in this disease...”


Did my eyes just do a trick on me?  I was not reading this from an “anti-____” (fill in the blank:  government, vaccine, environment) blog.  It was posted on July 15, 20011 on The Huffington Post.  I’m not a big HuffPo reader, but the first paragraph of DeCock’s piece had me thirsty for more.  So, I continued to read.  I actually went back a good four or five times to reread the article.  More bold statements are made further in the post. I invite you to read it.  Go ahead.  Read it again if you have to. 

I first saw the link on Anne Dachel's website and was so moved by the article that I wanted to forward the piece to some people on my email/contact list.  I started thinking about what I would say when I introduced the article because I like to include something personal about why I’m sending a story that I think is interesting:

Hi Family and Friends,

If you're alive in 2011 and don't know anything about what John DeCock is writing about, I hope it's because you're living on some piece of God's green Earth that hasn't been touched by mankind’s greed…or manipulated by Big Brother…or polluted by Big Pharma or Big Industry.  I hope it’s because you have only eaten  pure food that hasn’t been destroyed by toxins, antibiotics, pesticides or been altered from genetically modified techniques.  I hope you have only breathed air that hasn’t known smog or smokestack emission.  I hope you only touch water that has never been tainted by chemical spills or human waste.  I hope it’s because your skin is clear of harmful ingredients now found in “health“-care products and pawned off to make us feel smoother, younger, softer.  I hope your clothes are ones that are free of synthetics, irritants and formaldehyde.  I pray your furniture and flooring aren’t off-gassing chemicals into your living spaces where you and your children eat, sleep and breathe.  Oh, I’ll stop now.  I’m dreaming up fantasies and probably torturing you.  Just go read the article, okay?

xoxo, Cat

Continue reading "Dream On " »

Time To Revisit Deer Part 3

Brian deer By Martin Hewitt

This is the third part of an analysis of Brian Deer’s (in photo) claims that Dr Andrew Wakefield fixed the findings in the 1998 Lancet paper 'Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia' (Lancet, 1998; vol. 351, p.637), a small clinical case series of 12 patients with autism and bowel disease treated at the Royal Free Hospital in 1996/97. The British Medical Journal editors not only published Deer’s claims on 5 January 2011 [HERE], but backed them with the charge of academic fraud against Wakefield. Using the UK General Medical Council (GMC) transcripts and research papers, Parts 1 and 2 questioned the way Deer selected his evidence to support serious allegations of fraud.

Scientific fraud

To substantiate scientific fraud the accuser must show that the original findings were changed – ‘fixed’, ‘falsified’, ‘fabricated’ in the BMJ’s words – to advance a particular interest or theory that the original findings do not support. These analyses of Deer’s claims test if this is so. Part one examined Deer’s claim that three of the nine children reported with regressive autism did not have an autism diagnosis [HERE]. Part two examined the claim that, despite the paper claiming that all 12 children were ‘previously normal,’ five had documented pre-existing developmental concerns” and could not have regressive autism [HERE]. Deer used GP records and local consultants’ letters from the early 1990s that were not available to Wakefield and his team when investigating the Lancet paper children in the mid-1990s, and which only became available 16 or so years later to the GMC fitness to practice hearing against Dr Wakefield and Professors John Walker Smith and Simon Murch sitting between 2007 and 2010. Of the volumes of documents used as evidence in the GMC hearing, the Royal Free team in the mid-1990s would have only the following: the General Practitioner’s (GP) referral letters summarising each child’s case; four consultants’ letters which two GPs appended to their referral letters; and the results of their own clinical investigations at the Royal Free. The two analyses of Deer’s evidence showed that he selected extracts from the GMC transcripts that appeared to support his claims but failed to examine statements from the GMC hearing that countered his claims. That medical clinicians disagree over the interpretation of symptoms – as the GMC hearing showed in abundance – does not constitute fraud. In other words the first two analyses of Deer’s evidence found no evidence of Wakefield’s alleged fraud.

Deer’s claim

The third and present part examines Deer’s claim that “In nine cases, unremarkable colonic histopathology results—noting no or minimal fluctuations in inflammatory cell populations—were changed after a medical school ‘research review’ to ‘non-specific colitis’”.  Seen in the context of an article claiming Wakefield fixed his results, this claim suggests further fixing took place by colleagues, not just Wakefield, attending the review. However, as discussed below, the review was a means whereby clinicians reached agreement on the different interpretations of the children’s bowel condition. This claim is examined in the light of the published GMC transcripts of the hearing against the three doctors. Child 11’s case is the exception – a private patient from the US, his case was discussed only in passing and so cannot be independently verified from the GMC transcripts. So nine cases becomes eight. We can judge the accuracy, selectivity and interpretive license Deer applies to his evidence against Wakefield. His claims that Wakefield fixed his results are summarised in a list of bullet-points at the end of his BMJ article.

Deer’s article provides little in evidence to back up his third claim. Of the nine children, only child 3 is singled out as “a prime example” of a bowel disease case. No evidence is provided in the body of the article on the other children’s bowel condition. We examine what Deer says about this child before commenting on the other seven children. The procedure is simple: Deer’s quotes and his endnotes referencing GMC and other evidence are given in italics followed by other statements of evidence from the GMC ignored by Deer. We end up with two lists of statements from the GMC: one from Deer supporting his allegations and the other from GMC witness statements countering his claims – both lists containing matching statements that contradict each other. Of course disputation is the stuff of scientific debate and the driver of scientific progress. But at no point can disputed statements count as evidence of fraud. They cannot stand as the last word on whether Wakefield fixed his results when other statements by medical clinicians and experts to the GMC hearing undermine the thrust of his allegations of fraud – a charge the GMC did not level against Wakefield or the other two doctors.

The children

This is what Deer says of child 3.

Quote 1 “What was unquestionably true was that child 3 had serious bowel trouble: intractable, lifelong, constipation. This was the most consistent feature among the 12 children’s symptoms and signs but, being the opposite of an expected finding in inflammatory bowel disease,  it was nowhere mentioned in the paper.

108 a) Ajjegowda Shantha. GP records and evidence to the panel. Day 5. (b) John Walker-Smith. Evidence to the panel. Day 91.

109 Murch S, Thomson M, Walker-Smith J. Author’s reply [letter]. Lancet 1998; 351:908

110 Squires RH and Colletti RB, Indications for pediatric gastrointestinal endoscopy: A medical position statement of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 1996; 23: 107-110.

111 Ian Booth. Evidence to the panel. Day 41. “Looking for inflammatory bowel disease would be a most unusual way of approaching a patient with severe, long-standing constipation.”


Deer’s central contention is that, although the children, including child 3, may have displayed bowel symptoms, none had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as claimed in the Lancet paper, and that at worst they had constipation which Deer claims was not consistent with IBD. However the lack of mention of constipation in the Lancet paper is evidence of its initial and provisional status as a small case series – which the Lancet called an ‘Early Report’ – which presents initial findings that subsequent more rigorous research sustains or refutes. As the research developed after 1998, further papers by Royal Free team members referred to constipation in the context of IBD, supporting contradictory findings that challenge what Deer says about the children’s bowel ‘trouble’:

  • Furlano RI et al. 'Colonic CD8 and γδ T-cell infiltration with epithelial damage in children with autism', Jn Pediatrics 2001, 138, 3.
  • Torrenti, F et al. 'Focal-enhanced gastritis in regressive autism', Am Jn Gastroenterology 2004, 99, 598-605.
  • Afzal N, et al. 'Constipation with acquired megarectum in children with autism', Pediatrics 2003, 112:939-42.

Regarding endnote 110, the protocol was issued in 1996, prior to the above research, and considers the use of endoscopy in general paediatric gastroenterology. It does not address the use of endoscopy in diagnosing gastroenterological problems in autistic children.

Continue reading "Time To Revisit Deer Part 3" »

An Elaborate Fraud, Part 4: News Analysis -- The British Medical Association Is “Standing Up for Doctors” Even If It Means Attacking Patients

Blanket Lancet

By Mark Blaxill

If you go to the web-site of the British Medical Association you will find the BMA’s tag line prominently displayed: “Standing up for doctors.” It’s a position most notable for what they do not stand up for: not patients, not science, not health, just the doctors who join the association. The home page elaborates what this means more directly, “We are … an independent trade union dedicated to protecting individual members and the collective interests of doctors.”

In other words, The BMA is an unabashed economic entity: a trade union. And its primary purpose is to defend the money and power of its members. It’s that simple. Who does the BMA stand against? The adversary of the day might vary a bit. But on a day to day basis, the biggest conflicts British doctors face are with patients. When patients comply with what doctors tell them to do and generate income for them, they are useful to the BMA. When they want to take control of their own families’ health, or worse, suggest that member doctors may have caused harm, well that’s a different matter. When patients' interests conflict with “standing up for doctors,” It’s pretty clear what the BMA’s job is.

The BMA attacks critical patients as if they were their enemy.

One of its instruments for defending doctors’ interests is “science,” or more accurately, propaganda masquerading as science. Notably, the BMA publishes the British Medical Journal, the journal that earlier this year disseminated Brian Deer’s accusations of fraud against Andrew Wakefield. Despite Wakefield’s lengthy and Byzantine trial on allegations surrounding his medical ethics and research design in front of the General Medical Council (GMC), allegations of scientific fraud were not part of the GMC proceedings. Until January 2011, freelance reporter Brian Deer, and Deer alone, had accused Wakefield of lying about data and falsifying evidence. That is, until the BMJ entered the mix, effectively certifying the validity of Deer’s 2009 accusations in The Sunday Times with a dramatic flourish that proved even more devastating to Wakefield’s reputation than the GMC trial. How devastating were these accusations? In a press release, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee claimed to be “struck by a comparison between researcher Andrew Wakefield’s fraud and Piltdown man, that great paleontological hoax that led people to believe for 40 years that the missing link between man and ape had been found.” Sadly, these extravagant allegations were picked up by the global media, spread like wildfire, and, despite their manifest implausibility, the charges stuck.

For any doctor or scientist who might ever have been inclined to support a critical patient the message was clear: when the BMA and its flagship journal the BMJ go after you, they will be ruthless.

Lost in the frenzy over Wakefield’s alleged scientific fraud, however, is the fact that the origin of the evidence in the 1998 Lancet article never came from Wakefield.  Rather, the Royal Free Hospital's investigation (which included many others beyond Wakefield) was launched based on the collection and reporting of observations originally made by parents. These parental observations included varying forms of regressive autism or encephalitis, inflammatory bowel disease and a temporal association between exposure to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and the onset of symptoms. As time has passed (and in every one of the cases reported in The Lancet paper), the parents’ continuing reports support Wakefield’s original account. In addition, many thousands of parents have subsequently reported an identical sequence of events. At kitchen tables all over the world, the MMR has become known as “the autism shot.” The heart of the matter, therefore, is the tension between the British medical establishment on one hand and the Lancet parents on the other.

So in accusing Wakefield, the BMJ is really doing something else; they are accusing the Lancet parents of committing an elaborate fraud.

Why would the BMJ condone such an aggressive attack? Sadly again, in publishing Deer’s accusations, the house organ of the BMA was advancing the interest neither of science nor the truth. Instead, they were “standing up for doctors”: for the income doctors gain from frequent visits to the doctor to receive vaccination; for doctors’ freedom to avoid costly minutes with skeptical parents during their well-child visits; and for the power of doctors to force parents to comply with the recommended vaccination schedule.

As for Deer’s reporting, while Wakefield provided the proximate target, not far under the surface lurked an aggressive attack on parents who have the temerity to question the mandates of the BMA and public health officials. It’s quite a ruthless attack: Parents who question vaccine safety are a danger to the public health; Parents who allege vaccine injury are liars; Parents who take offense to intimidation and coercion are anti-vaccine campaigners; Parents who seek resources to support a vaccine-injured child are cheating the system to get rich.

This kind of attack is not delicate work. But in making the decision to tie its reputation to Deer’s, the BMA made a risky choice.

One need not look very far to find evidence of Deer’s boorishness. It’s most plainly exemplified by his unvarnished contempt for noncompliant parents. One widely circulated example was provoked following on-line challenges to Deer’s reporting by three autism parents: Lancet 12 mother Isabella Thomas, Age of Autism Contributing Editor John Stone and a third unnamed blogger. Jumping into the fray in a Pharma-friendly blog, Deer had this to say about the critical parents (see HERE)

And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.

Apparently not content with just this brief insult, Deer elaborated further (see HERE )

Continue reading "An Elaborate Fraud, Part 4: News Analysis -- The British Medical Association Is “Standing Up for Doctors” Even If It Means Attacking Patients" »

Dr. Amy Yasko To Host Autism Treatment Conference in Los Angeles in October


Holistic Health International is proud to host Dr. Amy Yasko’s conference in Los Angeles, CA- October 7-9, 2011. Our conference in Boston last summer was a resounding success for both newcomers and veterans of the protocol. This year we look forward to meeting again and have a great event planned in sunny Los Angeles this coming Columbus Day weekend. We invite you to join us for a weekend of learning, science, hope and recovery. For more details call 1-800-768-8744 or log onto  We look forward to seeing everyone there!

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

Age of Autism Contest from OurKidsASD and Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy

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CONTEST IS CLOSED: Congratst to Jenny, TripletMom, Julie and Valerie! I've sent you each an email. Kim

Dog days of summer got you down? How about a very cool contest?  Our sponsor Lee Silsby is giving away two bottles of 150 mg 150 capsule  ENHANSA Enhanced Absorption  Curcumin Supplement plus two containers of ASD Vitamin Mineral SCD Legal Powder 30 scoops per container.

Pharmacist Alan Israel is one of the world's leading experts in custom compounding products for the autism community.  They support our community at conferences, by advertising with us, and with their service and follow through, including constant work to get insurance coverage for families.  

Please visit their site at Lee Silsby or stop into their location in Cleveland Heights, Ohio at the corner of Lee and Silsby.



Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Part 2

By Teresa Conrick

In Part 1 of our examination of Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, I presented a late-onset case of autism.  Similar cases have been shown to be caused by antibodies against NR1–NR2 heteromers of the NMDA receptor. There was really very little about the precipitating event that explained why the 9 year-old boy became a victim of such an extreme medical and behavioral illness.  Because of its acute psychiatric manifestation, Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric issue rather than a neurological-medical disease.  Its apparent increase in cases has been debated as -- a true increase or just better diagnosing?  I have to say it -- we, in the autism community, really dislike that phrase as it has become a mantra of ignorance in the face of truth.

Some further investigating brought me to another case of Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis that presents with some more tangible facts.  Here is the Pubmed excerpt:

J.Neurol 2011 Mar;258(3):500-1. Epub 2010 Sep 30.  Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after TdaP-IPV booster vaccination: cause or coincidence?  Hofmann C, Baur MO, Schroten H.

And that's it.  There was no abstract but after some searching, I did find a link:

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after TdaPIPV booster vaccination .


Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after TdaP–IPV booster vaccination: cause or coincidence?
Caroline Hofmann • Marc-Oliver Baur • Horst Schroten
Received: 5 September 2010 / Accepted: 13 September 2010 / Published online: 30 September 2010

Springer-Verlag 2010

Dear Sirs,

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a recently described autoimmune disorder mediated by antibodies to the NR1 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. It was first
recognized as a paraneoplastic syndrome in young women with ovarian teratoma [1]. Further studies have shown that about 40% of the patients with anti-NMDA receptor
encephalitis do not have a clinically detectable tumor, and men and children are also affected [2]. The mechanisms triggering the disorder, especially in patients without an
associated neoplasm are unknown. The high incidence of prodromal viral-like symptoms suggests a possible infection triggering the autoimmune response [3]. We report about a 15-year-old female patient who was diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after receiving a booster vaccination against tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis and polio (TdaP-IPV). Within the first 24 h after the injection she developed a low-grade fever and general fatigue. During the following weeks, her family observed an unusual need for sleep. Psychiatric symptoms became apparent 5 weeks after the immunization and included disorganized thinking and hallucinations. Within a few days she became increasingly agitated with orofacial dyskinesia, opistotonic posturing, and choreic movements of the upper extremity. She grew unresponsive to verbal commands and required intensive care treatment due to autonomic instability. The unique pattern of clinical symptoms led to the consideration of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, which was confirmed by the detection of anti-NMDAR antibodies in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. Other possible causes of encephalopathy including intoxication,infectious and metabolic diseases were ruled out; repetitive brain scans showed no abnormalities. After confirming the diagnosis, an extensive tumor search was performed without any proof of malignancy; biopsy of a prominent ovarian cyst revealed no teratoma. The onset of prodromal symptoms shortly after the immunization is intriguing and suggests the vaccination as a possible trigger of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Neurological adverse events including autoimmune disorders have been discussed in literature for many years; a definite causal association between vaccination and disease was seldom established. For example, the 1976 swine influenza vaccine was associated with an increased frequency of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) [4]. A recent study about the safety of TdaP vaccination in adolescents revealed no increased risk of neurological adverse events [5], even though rare cases of GBS have been reported. To our knowledge, this is the first possible case of vaccination associated anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Therefore, not only infectious agents and tumor antigens but also vaccines should be considered as a possible trigger of immune response in this recently described disorder.
Conflict of interest None.

Continue reading "Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Part 2" »

Part 3: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?


(Managing Editor's Note: Read Part 1and  Part 2. Also, this report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor

“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”



There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the “Fourteen Studies” project at Generation Rescue:

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.



There has only been one major scientific review of the main epidemiological studies to examine a potential association between thimerosal containing vaccines (TCVs) and autism spectrum disorders: The Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Committee Report, issued in May, 2004.[37]

The IOM report focused almost exclusively on large, population-based epidemiological studies based on health records. The committee chose to minimize the importance of several biomedical thimerosal studies conducted in laboratories and animal models. Today, a much larger body of medical literature has been amassed which clearly demonstrates the powerful neurotoxic effects of thimerosal. These are joined by other studies demonstrating the increased risks of simultaneous administration of certain vaccines on the current childhood schedule.


The IOM committee reviewed epidemiological studies examining TCVs and autism, including three controlled observational studies (Hviid et al., 2003; Miller, 2004; Verstraeten et al., 2003) and two uncontrolled observational studies (Madsen et al., 2003; Stehr-Green et al., 2003). The published papers “consistently provided evidence of no association between TCVs and autism, despite the fact that these studies utilized different methods and examined different populations (in Sweden, Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom),” the committee wrote.


■ “Based on this body of evidence, the committee concludes that the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.”

■ “In the absence of experimental or human evidence that vaccination (either the MMR vaccine or the preservative thimerosal) affects metabolic, developmental, immune, or other physiological or molecular mechanisms that are causally related to the development of autism, the committee concludes that the hypotheses generated to date are theoretical only.”


■ Because the “vast majority” of ASD cases cannot be accurately sub-classified, “if there is a subset of individuals with autism syndrome triggered by exposure to vaccines, our ability to find it is very limited in the absence of a biological marker.”

■ In fact, the committee admitted, trying to find a cause of autism using population-based epidemiological analyses “requires either a well-defined at-risk population or a large effect in the general population.”

■ But without any known biomarkers, well-defined risk factors, or large effect sizes, “the committee cannot rule out, based on the epidemiological evidence, the possibility that vaccines contribute to autism in some small subset or very unusual circumstances.”

NOTE: Knowledge of biomarkers and risk factors in ASD has increased considerably since the release of the 2004 IOM report.


Mark D. Noble, PhD - Professor of Genetics and of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester Medical Center [38]

It is easy to understand why people are not believing the scientific community. It reduces confidence in the scientific enterprise when it turns out that the CDC had information on early versions of the studies of Verstraeten et al. that demonstrated a linkage between thimerosal exposure and autism, that these studies were never published, and that no one has ever explained satisfactorily why different analyses were conducted and why they were changed. But all of these studies have equally debilitating flaws that invalidate any conclusions drawn from them on thimerosal safety. And if it turns out that that there is a subset of children for whom additives in vaccines are a problem, then this is important to know. For then we can focus on how to identify these children in advance. The conclusions I have drawn are that we are not going to solve this problem by ignoring it. So let’s embrace it. Let’s get the data.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, MPH, Chief of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of California, Davis School of Medicine –[39]

Several large studies finding no association are far from robust, as they suffer from numerous biases that seriously limit their definitiveness. These include: noncomparable sources for ascertainment of cases, uncontrolled confounding, unrepresentative sample due to selective exclusions, and an as-yet unexplained pattern whereby children with earliest vaccines are the least likely to have developmental deficits. Thus, the body of evidence at this point is inadequate to draw conclusions… Several investigations have been ecologic studies, widely known to be the weakest possible epidemiologic design. Even restricting discussion to the individual-level designs, published studies conducted in Denmark, the UK, and the US are characterized by serious, even fatal, flaws. To regain the confidence that we in the medical/public health/scientific community need in order to fulfill our mandate to protect health, we cannot avoid facing these tough scientific questions head-on. This means funding solid scientific research into vaccines, thimerosal, and the related issues of susceptibility at the population level.

Richard Deth, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, Northeastern University – [40]

Continue reading "Part 3: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

Farewell to an Honest Scientist and a Good Friend

Lonsdale Managing Editor's Note: Last week, I spoke at a conference in Cleveland. To my great pleasure, Dr. Derrick Lonsdale of Preventive Medicine Group, who was our first Defeat Autism Now! doctor, was also speaking. Dr. Lonsdale is 87 years old, vigorous, (Hugh Hefner should be so good looking) and still devoted to helping people with autism when mainstream medicine turns its back. He has pioneered the use of Vitamin B1 Thiamine for autism. If you've read All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa, you know that our daugher Mia had a life threatening seizure disorder, written off by the doctors at University Hospitals as, "part of her autism." I willl never forget how I called Dr. Lonsdale in tears, sitting next to Mia's hospital bed, begging for help. When she was released, he brought her into his office for an IV infusion of liquid and nutrition to help get her back to health. He cared. He cares. Dr. Lonsdale is an expert in oxidative stress and its chain of sickness. Please visit his blog called The Spark of Life and tell him a very grateful Kim sent you. Below, Kent describes a doctor who tried to help his own daughter. And who recently died.

Has there been a doctor who has reached out to help you when mainstream medicine had nothing to suggest? Let us know in the comments. KS

By Kent Heckenlively, Esq. Kent doc

Dr. David W. Gregg died on July 6, 2011 at the age of seventy-six.  He was my friend and an honest scientist.

There's a Bible passage from Matthew which reads, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs."

If you knew David you know he faced the world with a child's innocence, curiousity, and sense of fair play.  I have rarely known a better man.

I met David sometime in 2003 when I ran across his web-site.  He was proposing a viral theory for autism and we spent a good deal of time trying to develop treatments for my daughter.  None of them worked.  But on a road filled with so many disappointments, it's also important to take the time to acknowledge the good people you meet on the journey.  Despite the failures, David never lost the optimism that one day an answer would be found.

Continue reading "Farewell to an Honest Scientist and a Good Friend" »

AAP: Trampolining Injuries Are An EPIDEMIC!

Evil tramp By Katie Wright

Recently,  the “Today Show” broadcast a terrifying segment on what the American Academy of Pediatrics has labeled “the epidemic of trampolining related injuries.”

Trampoliners all over our nation are in jeopardy! Any random jump can result in an injury. No one can know in advance if they can trampoline without causing harm. The AAP referred to trampoline injuries as a “national crisis!” Indeed, a generation of children are at risk.

Yet probably 95% of the time kids have a pleasant and safe experience on a trampoline. Why then are a small % of kids get hurt on a trampoline while other kids, jumping on the very same trampoline, are fine? Something must be wrong the kids who get injured, right? It could not be the fault of the trampoline!

My friend Heidi Roger argues these injuries must be result if an underlying genetic predisposition. I say that Heidi makes a lot of sense. If 95% of kids who trampoline do so without incident, environmental factors can only play a minuscule role in this epidemic of trampoline related injuries.

Heidi recommends that we immediately research the genetic backgrounds of all injured children. Do these children have parents or siblings who have been trampoline injured? Has the child always been a poor trampoliner? Did the parent miss the signs? Even though a child has trampolined safely for years, a sudden and severe accident must be the result of an unknown, but certainly latent, genetic condition.  Is there a secret history of bad bouncers in the family?

We must also study the DNA of unaffected siblings. Are uninjured siblings unaffected because they were no longer allowed to bounce or because they have less of a genetic vulnerability to bouncing related injuries?

Did the mothers of injured trampoliners take illegal drugs or prescription drugs while pregnant? Did mothers have infections during pregnancy that could have affected her yet unborn child’s sense of balance? Do multiples suffer the same rate of bouncing injuries as singleton trampoliners?

Obviously this is work for the genome researchers! The NIH must fund a study of all genes remotely related to coordinated bouncing. It is unlikely there will be just one gene for bouncing. This research will take dozens of years and hundreds of millions of dollars. Hopefully, in time, we will discover the genetic pathways into bouncing coordination and that will allow us to develop pharmaceuticals in order treat this condition.

Trampolining accidents are a mystery we need time to unravel.

Yes, Heidi and I are kidding. We know that trampoline accidents are real and can be very serious. I have been hurt on a trampoline and so has my younger son, but in this case at least, it was own dumb fault for buying a trampoline in the first place. Is there anyone in this country who is not aware trampolines are potentially dangerous? I knew the risk and chose, stupidly, to buy a trampoline anyway.

 No one told me that my kids would not be allowed to attend school if I did not buy a trampoline. No camp refused to enroll my son unless he was allowed to be a trampoliner. Most importantly, no doctor or health authority promised me that trampolines were “100% safe.” Quite the opposite, the medical community has always been upfront about the dangers of trampolines and the importance of parents making informed decisions.

Sounds pretty reasonable right?

Continue reading "AAP: Trampolining Injuries Are An EPIDEMIC!" »

SmartVax: Weigh The Risks

By Scott Laster, SafeMinds

SafeMinds has launched a new website, SmartVax, to change the discourse on vaccines in a manner that will create a positive environment where consumers are empowered and scientists are encouraged to pursue the necessary research on vaccine-injury and vaccine-effectiveness.  The website raises an important question: To what extent has an increase in vaccine-injuries changed the risks versus benefits of the USA vaccination program for young children?  The SmartVax website provides a Weigh The Risks analysis of the current vaccine risks versus benefits for American children which indicates that vaccine-injury risk (1 in 13 children) is currently higher than the injury risk of each disease.  The vaccine-injury risk was quantifiable for vaccine-induced asthma.  Since there were insufficient studies available to calculate other risks, this section provides discussions on the plausibility of vaccine-induced autism, vaccine-induced allergies, vaccine-induced ADHD, and vaccine-induced deaths.  The disease risk was calculated as the incremental risk to an individual child if that child is not vaccinated during ages 0 – 4 in two cases: 1) in a highly vaccinated population and 2) in a population with low vaccination rates:  

WTR analysis results

The point of this analysis is not to argue against vaccination programs, since vaccines can provide valuable protection against disease injuries and deaths, but rather to dispel the unproven assumption that all existing vaccines’ benefits exceed risks in the USA today and to issue an urgent call to scientists for research to dramatically reduce vaccine-injuries.  The SmartVax philosophy proposes that knowledge gained by understanding the mechanism of vaccine-injuries will lead to a smarter vaccination program that produces the best overall public health results. 

Follow SmartVax on Facebook (HERE) and let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the online conversation there. If you find the information useful, please share the website information with prospective parents, family, and friends.  


An Elaborate Fraud, Part 3: In Which the Mother of Two Autistic Children Demands Accountability From the British Medical Journal

Blanket Lancet

Read An Elaborate Fraud Part 1: In Which a Murdoch Reporter Deceives the Mother of a Severely Autistic Child and An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal.

By Dan Olmsted

Isabella Thomas, mother of two of the 12 children in the controversial Early Report that first linked bowel disease and developmental regression, has written to the British Medical Journal asking whether its claim that the report was “an elaborate fraud” was itself tainted by the use of confidential medical information about her sons.

“I am putting in a complaint about Brian Deer’s article in the BMJ. … Some of the article relates to my sons’ medical details,” Thomas wrote last week to the BMJ editors as well as the Press Complaints Commission that considers allegations of journalist misconduct. “Please can you investigate my complaint as a matter of urgency. I am asking what material you had from Brian Deer to [corroborate] his story. Did you have … medical records or confidential documents relating to my children?”

Thomas’s plea followed by one day the start of my series examining the BMJ’s January article by free-lance journalist Deer. Deer claimed Dr. Andrew Wakefield, lead researcher in the 1998 Early Report, had “fixed data” to create the appearance of a link between bowel disorder, developmental regression and the measles-mumps-rubella shot, or MMR.

That Early Report – which appeared in 1998 in the Lancet, Britain’s other leading medical journal – noted that in eight of the 12 children (including Thomas’s), parents linked the onset of symptoms to the MMR shot, and it called for more research to see if a link in fact existed. It said no link to the MMR was established by the simple case series report.

Despite that cautious approach, the report and its aftermath sparked a firestorm that, fueled by Deer, ultimately led to Wakefield losing his medical license and to the Lancet retracting the report. Yet thousands of parents continue to support Wakefield and describe the same sequence of shot and symptoms as parents in the original case series. Mainstream media, medical groups, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies say any link has been discredited.

All but one of the Lancet parents who have spoken out – including Thomas – have stood by Wakefield and the study results and called the efforts to discredit him unfounded.

The January BMJ article by Deer, titled “How the Case Against the MMR Vaccine was Fixed,” was one of many written by Deer over a period of seven years charging Wakefield with conflicts of interest, unethical practices and, finally, outright fraud. Most of that work was published in the Sunday Times of London. Even the BMJ’s fraud allegation was not new – it was originally published in the Sunday Times in 2009 in an article by Deer claiming Wakefield had “fixed data” to create the MMR link..

Whatever methods Deer used to gather that information for the Sunday Times, in other words, were the methods adopted by the BMJ when it published them as the basis for its claim of “an elaborate fraud” by Wakefield. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, I described the mother of another child in the Early Report, who had been interviewed by a man claiming to be “Brian Lawrence” from the Sunday Times, who turned out to be Deer. Quotes from that six-hour “interrogation,” as she described it, ended up in the BMJ. She complained to the Sunday Times at the time, which did not apologize but also did not run any quotes from the interview.

Allegations that Deer gained access to confidential information about the children in the case series have been made for years but largely ignored by press and public officials focused on what they asserted was misconduct by Wakefield – and concerned to protect a vaccination program they said it threatened (the BMJ represents the British Medical Association and is sent to more than 100,000 doctors, many of whom have stakes in vaccine usage). However, the attention has shifted in recent days to the quality of the evidence against Wakefield and how it was obtained, as phone hacking, police bribery and other crimes have roiled the Murdoch newspaper empire – of which the Sunday Times is the crown jewel in Great Britain.

Continue reading "An Elaborate Fraud, Part 3: In Which the Mother of Two Autistic Children Demands Accountability From the British Medical Journal " »

House Sub Committee Examines Dr. Tom Insel's Fine Autism Cloth

Emperor's New Clothes Henry Justice Ford By Anne Dachel

On Monday, Jul 11, 2011, Dr. Thomas Insel, chairman of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in support of the reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act.

I listened closely to what Insel had to say about autism and I transcribes his comments below.  I compared this testimony to what Insel said to Congress about autism in 2009. (See my story, Age of Autism: Thomas Insel and The Really Big Autism Lie)

Back in August of 2009, Insel wasn't sure if the rate of autism was really going up or not.  He talked about early diagnosis and early intervention.  He talked about genetic research.

In December, 2009, the autism rate officially went from one in every 150 children to one in every 110 kids.  That same month, speaking at MIT, Insel said, "I said before this isn't just genetics... There have to be environmental factors."

By the spring of 2010, Insel was really getting concerned about the impact of autism. At the National Institutes of Health, (Age of Autism: Dr. Tom Insel on Autism) he said, "Eighty percent of the people with a diagnosis of autism [in the U.S.] are under the age of eighteen." In Insel's own words, "If you look at those numbers, the increase and recognize how many of those kids will become adults, we ...also need to be thinking about how we prepare the nation for a million people who may need significant amounts of services as they are no longer cared for by their parents or as their parents are no longer around."

So what did Insel have to tell Congress on July 11, 2011?  What advances have been made since 2009?  As far as I can tell, Insel had nothing substantial to report.

If I were a member of the Health Subcommittee, I'd have to wonder why it made sense to continue the work of the IACC.  Insel couldn't give any specific answers about the cause of autism.  He talked at length about the genetics involved.  He cited all the organizations and agencies focused on autism.  He was quick to say that while environmental factors may be at play here, he had no idea what they might be.  Regarding the possible triggers he made a vague reference to things like fertilizers, antidepressants, and prenatal exposures.

Evidently, no one on the subcommittee had read Insel's previous testimony because they seemed quite willing to accept that when it comes to autism, no one knows anything.

Several questions were asked about how autism funding was being spent.  Members wanted to know if they're getting their money's worth. And there were expressions of concern about the lifetime care cost of $3.2 million cited by Insel.

Having listened to hours of Insel's speeches on autism over the last few years, a number of things stood out to me.

First of all, Insel described autism as "an urgent national health priority" in front of the subcommittee and yet in the IACC's Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research published in January, 2009, autism was called "a national health emergency," 

Insel gave the rate as one in every 110 eight year olds today, which wasn't exactly correct since that number comes from studies of eight year olds in 2006.

Insel emphasized that we should talk about "autism spectrum disorders" rather than "autism."   His demeanor was positive and he smiled a lot.  He struck a perfect balance; he sounded concerned about autism, but not really worried.  He made it clear that advances are being made at the same time he couldn't name one.

Autism may strike one in 110 kids, one in 70 boys, but the clear message from Insel was that everything is under control, we just need to keep on doing what we're doing because we're getting close to finding answers.  And surprisingly, congressional members at the hearing didn't demand answers.  They listened to the same old recitation of the definition of autism that doesn't come close to describing what desperate situations thousands of families with autistic children across this country live with and they willingly accepted that experts still don't know what's happening our children.

It was obvious what Insel didn't talk about in his testimony.  There was no mention of the growing concern over a link between the ever-expanding vaccine schedule and autism.  Not a word was said about the children were healthy at birth and who suddenly and dramatically regressed following routine vaccinations.  At the same time he ignored the vaccine controversy, Insel couldn't name any environmental factor they definitely link to autism. 

Regarding the epidemic rate, Insel said they "were amazed at how frequent [they're] seeing autism."  Insel never once used terms like "alarmed," or "crisis." 

There were hints that Congress was concerned about what autism is going to cost this country. Insel, referring to Ganz's 2006 Harvard autism study, told members of the committee to multiply $3.2 million by 500,000, which was his estimate of the number of autistic people who will be in need of extensive services.

Incidentally, that comes to: $1,600,000,000,000--something no one bothered to mention. That's a pretty hefty price for disorder that no one can explain.   

Continue reading "House Sub Committee Examines Dr. Tom Insel's Fine Autism Cloth" »

Holy Jumpin' Monkey Viruses!

Titi%20monkeys By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

There's a story a fellow science teacher told me that I've always remembered.  This science teacher headed the Education Center at Lawrence-Livermore Labs and was present when Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, came to visit the National Ignition Facility, designed to create nuclear fusion, the energy of the Sun.

"What do you think you will learn?" the elderly scientist asked of the director in his thick Hungarian accent.

The chief scientist prattled on about all of the things they expected to discover on the road to nuclear fusion, but Teller was unimpressed.

The famous scientist shook his head and said, "No!  The answer is, you have no idea what you will learn!"

I like the story because it demonstrates a humility in the face of the things we don't understand.  It's not just that we know we don't know.  It's that we might not even know the right questions to ask.

I was reminded of Teller's story when I read an article, dated July 15, 2011 from Science Daily entitled, "First Adenovirus to Jump Between Monkeys and Humans Confirmed."  What?  Adenoviruses can jump from monkeys to humans?  We never knew that!  You can read the article  HERE.

Are you getting my point?

Continue reading "Holy Jumpin' Monkey Viruses!" »

I Am The Warrior

By Cathy Jameson

One of my all-time favorite singles is called “The Warrior.” It’s from my favorite decade, the 1980s.  I even have the 45, bought too many years ago to remember.  I know exactly where to find that old record in the midst of the controlled chaos in my house. When I hear the song on the radio, I crank the volume and sing every word.  Until tonight though, I made no connection to the song I have loved for so long to the affectionate title Jenny McCarthy used when she publicly began to support families of children with vaccine-induced autism. 

Now, I’m reading the lyrics as a mother, a Warrior Mother.  I have a child with a slew of medical problems and behavior issues that come and go because of his communication delays.  I realize that while the passion of the song is most likely for a man and woman, I can easily spin it into the passion of raising Ronan and the incredible emotions it has taken to walk this journey with him.  This journey has had no steady drum beat, but I still push forward.  I can instantly recognize the beat of my favorite song as it begins and break out into song:

You run, run, run away
It's your heart that you betray
Feeding on your hungry eyes
I bet you're not so civilized

When Ronan got sick, he ran from us mentally.  He has behaved in so many inappropriate and less than civilized ways.  He has succumbed to more medical mishaps and nightmares that should never have been. I feel so betrayed by the medical community and those groups who support it.  Worse is the feeling I have about those groups put in charge of regulating children’s medicine but blatantly do everything but look out for the children. 

On the really tough days, I look into the eyes of my son and see a stranger.  He started to slip away when I trusted those groups and their products.  Ronan’s suffers far worse than I on one of his horribly bad days.  Ronan’s eyes become so angry. You can see him begging for help through those eyes, but the voice he physically lacks causes him to again turn and run away.  His frustration is faster my help can be.

Well, isn't love primitive?
A wild gift that you wanna give
Break out of captivity
And follow me stereo jungle child
Love is the kill

Your heart's still wild

Oh, what I would do to see Ronan break out of this funk he’s been in since that last needless immunization!  He would be so free.  He could follow his own beat instead of being told what to do, how to do and why to do it.  I can imagine this jungle child with hair all rumpled, with primitive eating and self-help skills be transformed into a brighter, happier and more abled human being. 

Sing at the walls of heartache

Bang, bang!

Continue reading "I Am The Warrior" »

Hate the Autism, Not the Kid, Please.

Angry-mom By L.J. Goes

“Do they hurt?”  A frustrated mom of four snaps at her tween boy.  He looks thoughtfully down at the shoes on his feet and takes a bit too long to respond.  “Do they hurt?” She hisses as she grabs his bicep and squeezes.  He’s taller than her but very thin.  He doesn’t respond so she shoves him a little when she releases her grip.  “Sorta.” He replies with a half smile. His face is so much younger looking than his gangly frame portrays. Red cheeks, red ears, pale face. He's itching his arms.   

He flaps a little. 

“Good!”  The mom says, as she yanks a shoe off his foot throwing him off balance. “Maybe, if they hurt, you will learn to stop walking on your toes and walk normal!  It’s sad that this is what it takes don’t you think?”  She answers herself,  “Yep. Very sad, Tim.”  She throws both shoes in her shopping cart and rolls her eyes at him. He’s looking at her with that same faint smile but he doesn’t say anything. Quickly as if something in his brain told him it was the right thing to do, he drops his head down and focuses on the task of getting his old shoes back on his feet.  He stares at his awkward fingers, willing them to act. I can almost hear the misfiring neurons, so few actually reaching their intended destination. “Okay…you can do this. Pull the strap, pull the strap, something happens when I pull the strap, come on…”  He’s moving at a snail’s pace.  God, I want to help him with that Velcro before she opens her mouth again. I’m genuinely afraid I might deck her.  This is my Target, my happy place. It would be very bad if that happened.  

Given my own current situation, three small kids, one with autism (the hyper-run-into-traffic-high-pitch-scream-and-disrobe-in-public kind) I tend to have empathy in abundance for parents in discipline mode.  Not in this case. Tim is still laboring away at the shoes when the other three kids start acting up. This is his fault, too. “Would you come on? We don't have all day.”  She yells as she takes off with the younger kids leaving him to catch up on his own.  “Gawd, this is ridiculous, Tim, you push me, you really push me.”  She mutters under her breath.  He runs after her yelling too loud, “Mommy! Wait!” his shoes still not properly fastened, arms flailing, smile beaming.

Later that same afternoon I take my daughter to the dentist.  I’m sitting in the waiting room when a handsome dad with salt and pepper hair walks in with his two sons.  He’s got money. His great watch and supple Cole Haan butterscotch driving moccasins tell me so.  I remember the days.  I drove my husband’s Jag to this appointment,  I remind myself, as if things are not that bad.  Who cares, though?  Honestly, I don't. Stuff holds a different place in my life now and any part of my thought life devoted to it seems like precious time wasted. What I miss is the silliness associated with luxury. Reading for pleasure. Shopping trips with friends, long lingering wine lunches discussing newspaper headlines, people we know, travel plans. The mindless passage of time.  Frivolity. Meaningless fun. It all seems terribly self-indulgent, when there is so much work to be done. Besides, our travel plans always involve Houston or New York, the only two places on this entire planet where my son can get proper treatment for his complex bowel disease and metabolic issues. The conditions we wacky autism moms "make up" according to the media and pharmaceutical lawyers.  Too many kids are getting sick and dying for me to care about the next trunk show at Nordstrom's. Maybe I’ll care again, I think almost outloud, as I look down at my Merona jeans and Cherokee flip flops from Target. Doubt it.

Continue reading "Hate the Autism, Not the Kid, Please." »

When Does a “Conspiracy Theory” Become a “Conspiracy Fact”?


By J.B. Handley

As many AoA readers know, publicly challenging conventional wisdom and stating that you believe vaccines cause autism is a great way to be attacked. One of the more common and surprisingly effective techniques of the other side is to label our community as “conspiracy theorists”, implication being that we are all crazies who also believe no one landed on the moon, that the CIA shot JFK, and that Area 51 is crawling with extraterrestrial life.

What happens when one of our conspiracy “theories” turns out to be true? What, exactly, is the label for that? My personal favorite? How about, “Parents speaking the truth"?

As we are all learning, certain British newspapers are willing to do very bad things to people they don’t like, particularly people who impede profits. If Dr. Wakefield wasn’t your biggest hero before, perhaps he will be now, for having endured an onslaught from some very powerful people and institutions.

Brian Deer’s role--and who was guiding him--in the destruction of Andrew Wakefield’s career will likely become more clear in the coming months. In the meantime, this post from earlier this year will help provide some clues and background for those interested in tracking this unfolding story.

Also, kudos to  Natural News for addressing the Sunday Times/Wakefield relationship yesterday.

Anderson Cooper, I’m looking forward to your mea culpa down the road!

Age of Autism: Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Brian Deer is the Fraud


JB Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue.

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: Part 1

Limbic By Teresa Conrick

My daughter, Megan, continues to be severely affected by both the medical and behavioral symptoms of autism. As a result, I continue to read studies and research that correlate with the symptoms that she has.  Some of the factors, if we were to list them like they do in a journal, would be -- seizures, autism, nmda/glutamate dysfunction, cancer signalling, encephalopathy, agitation.  Surprisingly, there was a current, case study just out that had many of these key words:

Late onset autism and anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis    The Lancet, Vol 378. Issue 9785, Page 98, 2 July 2011

Caroline Creten, MD, Sanne van der Zwaan BSc, Roos J Blankenspoor BSc, Arien Maatkamp, PhD, Prof Jim van Os PhD, Dr Jan NM Schieveld PhD

In December, 2009, a 9-year-old boy was admitted to our hospital with an acute onset of secondary generalised seizures. He had no medical or psychiatric history and functioned very well socially and academically. He presented with speech and swallowing difficulties, which after 10 days developed into a severely agitated catatonic state with opisthotonic posturing, tonic posturing of limbs, insomnia, and dyskinesia. Initially the electroencephalogram showed a normal background pattern with epileptic discharges, and oligoclonal bands were present in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Brain MRI and extensive blood tests were normal. The neurological diagnosis was atypical childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, for which oral corticosteroids and anti-epileptic drugs were prescribed. His catatonia was treated with benzodiazepines. In January, 2010, our patient presented in a robotic state with complete mutism and negativism, and he did not respond to any form of contact. We provisionally diagnosed acute late onset autism with a differential diagnosis of childhood disintegrative disorder or early onset schizophrenia.

Childhood disintegrative disorder, early onset schizophrenia, and late onset autism often share a final common pathway: previous normal development, followed by sudden neuropsychiatric regression of social interaction and communication skills, and a decline in intelligence and daily activities. 1 The disorders are sometimes misrecognised and collectively called as autistic disorder. Although judged to be functional psychiatric diagnoses, the marked deterioration and poor prognosis suggest an organic cause, especially in children with catatonia, a normal development up to at least 5 years of age, or both1,2. In our patient, late onset autism was considered because: it is associated with neurological disorders; 2  it is a known end stage of acquired brain injury; progression of symptoms was fast and severe, unlike in early onset schizophrenia; the absence of positive symptoms made schizophrenia less plausible; the age of onset and rare prevalence made chronic disintegrative disorder unlikely; 1 and accompanying catatonic features were present. 3 After extensive diagnostic assessments, our patient was finally diagnosed with anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis on the basis of slightly raised anti-NMDA-receptor antibody titres in serum and highly raised titres in CSF. 4 Clinical characteristics of this condition are acute major neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, aggression, agitation, behavioural changes and catatonia, delusional thoughts, progressive speech deterioration, and hallucinations. Neurological symptoms such as dyskinesia, abnormal seizure-like movements, and diffuse and profound autonomic instability have also been reported.4.5 Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis can occur in the context of malignant disease; 4 however for our patient extensive oncological investigations were negative. Electroconvulsive therapy was given for the severe catatonic state, and monoclonal antibody treatment (rituximab) was started because of the unsatisfactory response to the initial treatment with benzodiazepines. The acquired autism gradually subsided, he spoke fluently and was able to draw a happy picture (figure). In June, 2011, he only had some mild cognitive dysfunction.

Continue reading "Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: Part 1 " »

Scientific Totalitarianism at the BBC

By John Stone


In our era of news management it is not unusual that the most significant events happen almost silently and with virtually no public debate or attention. Thus it was that yesterday the BBC Trust launched a report written by geneticist Steve Jones which will lead to the complete shutdown of the reporting of scientific controversy. The only trace you will find of this publication on the BBC news website is a well-buried report entitled ‘BBC praised for science coverage’. While this document is politically and ideologically horrific on a much wider front it is worth looking at Prof Jones’s response to the MMR issue.

In case you hadn’t guessed Jones’s criticism of the BBC’s coverage was that it was insufficiently one sided, although no one can remember a time when their reporting was ever less than prejudiced and hostile to vaccine damage families or Andrew Wakefield, and very often pitched at the crassest level. Notably, Jones recommends that British GP Richard Halvorsen, who actually runs a private vaccine clinic and only advocates a little selectivity and caution with the use of vaccines, should not be allowed to speak on the subject of MMR vaccines again. The irony that Halvorsen has written a copiously researched book on vaccines which shows less than a “four legs, two legs bad”devotion to them, and almost certainly knows vastly more about the subject that Prof Jones, seems to have escaped him. The reality that the science in this area is anything but definitive may not now be reported: only apparently the consensus view (based on no science at all) that they are all fine and without hazards.

Unfortunately (and the vaccine issue could stand in for many others here) what this above all else fails to do is to acknowledge the fallibility of human institutions. In effect, the BBC are handing over to industrial and business lobbies and saying ‘Thou must not question’. This for instance includes GM foods which are presently completely shunned by the British population, and perfectly reasonable questions about the long-term effects of these products are to be swept aside. From now on we are simply to be told what to think.


An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal

  Blanket Lancet
One of the Lancet 12 children on a doctor visit not long after the BMJ articles were published in January.

By Dan Olmsted

As she sat down to write the Sunday Times of London on Saturday, November 29, 2003, Rosemary Kessick was beside herself. The day before, a reporter for the paper named Brian Lawrence had come to her home to interview her – and kept at it, relentlessly, for six straight hours. It was more like an inquisition than an interview. Everything she said about the regression of her severely autistic son – what happened, when it happened, why she thought it was connected to the measles-mumps-rubella shot he had received -- was questioned as though she were a defendant in a courtroom.

Her son’s autism had manifested 13 years earlier, in 1990, and it still “traumatized and blighted” the family, but Brian Lawrence expected her to remember it like it were yesterday and describe it all with clarity; any uncertainty or hesitation seemed to immediately become a discrepancy. She had no confidence in what the reporter was going to write. She thought he might suggest she was, at best, an unreliable witness to her own child’s mental and physical disintegration, or, at worst, that she wasn’t telling the truth.

As she began typing, she did not know it was “Brian Lawrence” who was not telling the truth – a fact that became clear a few days later, when she found a picture online of Brian Deer, a journalist notoriously hostile to people who claimed that vaccines had injured their children. That was the man who sat in her living room, sneering and displaying “no human qualities of compassion.”

On this day, the day after the inquisition, all she knew is that she didn’t like the way she had been treated, not at all, and that is what she began typing to Brian Deer’s boss, John Witherow (who remains editor of the Sunday Times to this day).

 It is worth reading the letter, and the subsequent correspondence, in order and in toto (with only a few irrelevant details omitted), because the road it leads to is ultimately not the Sunday Times, but the British Medical Journal. The BMJ quoted from that interview this January – seven years after “Brian Lawrence” arrived at her door, 20 years after the devastating events it described – as proof of what the BMJ called “an elaborate fraud” by Dr. Andrew Wakefield to link developmental regression, bowel disease, and the MMR. Rose Kessick’s son was one of the 12 children in the controversial Lancet study that first raised the possibility of a connection between shot and symptoms that warranted further study, and part of MMR litigation that had been dismissed.

This past week - on Sunday, July 17, 2011 – the trail wound back to the Sunday Times. Editor Witherow wrote a column – subtitled “As the storm over phone hacking rages on, the editor of The Sunday Times says deception can sometimes be the only path to the truth” -- in which he defended the paper’s h tactics and singled out important investigations by the newspaper including “Brian Deer’s outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.” He rejected any criticism of the newspaper’s past conduct, citing the public interest.

“In other words,” he said, citing another high-profile Sunday Times investigation, “the ends justified the means.”

The Sunday Times has denied charges made this month by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the paper had “blagged” him, with Sunday Times personnel posing as Brown to gain access to his bank account. The real Gordon Brown referred the matter to police.

From here on, my short comments are in italic, between the correspondence, and at the end.


November 29, 2003:

Dear Mr. Witherow [Editor, The Sunday Times of London],

I was visited yesterday, Friday 28th November 2003 by Brian Lawrence who had introduced himself by telephone the previous Friday as the Sunday Times health correspondent. He had asked for the appointment which he told me was part of an exercise instigated by yourself in order to decide whether the Sunday Times should support the reinstatement of legal aid in the MMR cases.

I [was] both surprised and shocked by the tone and emphasis of the questioning which stopped little short of interrogation from the outset. This questioning began with a launch into the exact nature of what happened on the day my younger son had received his MMR vaccine down to questions about where I worked, what the surgery [medical office] was like, what time of day it would have been. …

It was curious that having asked if I didn’t mind the interview being recorded, Mr. Lawrence kept turning the same tape over every time it ran out.

It must not be forgotten that whatever anyone's personal opinions on the causation, we are a family traumatised and blighted by seeing our normal, healthy, beautiful baby son transformed into a desperately disabled child and have been struggling to cope with everything that this entails for the best part of fourteen years. 

Mr. Lawrence displayed no human qualities of compassion and even began the session by firmly and categorically stating his sympathy, approval and admiration for those paediatricians and other health care workers who remain not only detached from the plight of their young patients and families but who display a distinct cold lack of compassion. This attitude was backed up by the anecdote of his sitting in a room with parents grieving the death of their child following medical negligence when he described graphically how he was ignoring their tears to watch the television over the parents' shoulders in order to follow the ongoing storyline of a soap.

What I expect of the Sunday Times is the highest quality journalism and whilst I am well used to hostile questioning, sending a journalist of this calibre to abuse my hospitality in my own home was both unnecessary and inappropriate. The man arrived at 10.30am and left circa 4.30pm.

Despite our own personal outrage at the totally insensitive questioning, demeanour and attitude of this journalist my deepest concerns surround the extent to which the Sunday Times apparently intends to rely on this individual's judgment to formulate an opinion on the legal cases.

During the meeting Mr. Lawrence repeatedly displayed arrogance in his own perceived ability and knowledge which when probed, consistently revealed a dangerous bigotry and clear ignorance of the many legal and scientific facts salient to the MMR cases. He seemed to take delight in refuting many of the facts I was putting to him and I became so frustrated at one point that I telephoned my solicitor to check on the exact wording of one of the defence barristers at a court hearing. My solicitor took my call despite being in a meeting himself and responded to my request immediately. Mr. Lawrence also appeared irritated that the solicitor would not answer his requests to set up a meeting with him and did not accept his response that he was under instruction from the QC not to talk to the press pending the judicial review on the revoke of legal aid for the children in the MMR damage cases.

A recurring theme of the meeting was Mr. Lawrence's besmirching of the integrity and competence of everyone concerned with the MMR cases spanning Richard Barr and his team, our barristers, Dr. Wakefield, me, my family and the expert witnesses. … This all went way beyond what could be considered a reasonable assessment of humanity in general and was exceptionally insulting.

A further theme was the suggestion that we the families are naïve to the fact that everyone in life has their own agenda and we were merely being used by all concerned to further their own aims and objectives. 

Following yesterday’s complete waste of my time I can only assume that Mr. Lawrence’s agenda was totally at odds from that which he used to gain access. His methods seemed more akin to the gutter press than what may be reasonably expected of responsible journalism. In addition, his whole appearance was shoddy and shifty with a clear lack of respect for me, my family or my house. …

I remain deeply shocked that such a journalist who, in my opinion is neither well informed nor particularly intelligent, should be let loose as a representative of a newspaper with the reputation of the Sunday Times.

Whilst writing this I have just received an email from him which I will forward together with this, I have no intention of responding to Mr. Lawrence’s comments.  I will also put both in the post to you and await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Rosemary C. T. Kessick


Kessick remembers being surprised at the change from the day before that Deer’s e-mail represented, and noting that it arrived in the middle of typing her letter to the editor about his conduct. She did not read it until after she sent her letter to the Sunday Times.

-----Original Message-----
From: brian lawrence []
Sent: 29 November 2003 11:09 …

Dear Rosemary,

I hope you don't feel that I was too rude yesterday.  I was mainly thinking aloud - trying to get an answer to a question that has been put to me - which is why not try to get the hearing when all the research is in and published.  It may be that there are procedural reasons why that can't happen, and I'm only trying to suggest that maybe those aren't just things you leave to lawyers, because they might want the thing over and done with to get on with something else.  In my experience, it's those people who are actually affected by the issue who are best placed to decide.  I wasn't saying I didn't support your case or didn't think you were doing the right thing. Autism and MMR is a big issue and any trial is surely going to make a huge difference one way or another.

Anyhow, if you have any questions, let me know.  I'll come back when those with more influence over these things than I have let me know how the paper proposes to fall on this.

Best wishes,


Continue reading "An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal " »

Jenny McCarthy on Celebrity Scoop

Magic bullet Managing Editor's Note: Please click over to Celebrity Scoop to comment directly on this article. As you can imagine, the haters stopped playing wizards of solitaire long enough to add a lot of comments.  I ordered my Rescue Blue Magic Bullet on HSN this week.  Healthy smoothies for my girls and happy SOOTHIES for Mark and me coming up!  KS

Activist mama Jenny McCarthy is partnering with the world's top-selling kitchen appliance, the Magic Bullet® blender, to launch the Blue Limited Edition Magic Bullet® specifically designed for her charitable organization Generation Rescue.

An outspoken advocate for children with autism, Jenny tells Celebrity Baby Scoop that her unofficial role as the celebrity spokesperson on the topic is nothing short of a blessing.

Anytime you can do something that serves the greater good and make a difference, you should act," the mom-of-one says. "So, what I thought was a hardship in my life, I now see as a blessing because I can reach so many people."

The best-selling author says a portion of the proceeds from the Blue Limited Edition Magic Bullet® will go directly to families with autism.

"Our partnership with Magic Bullet® allows us to leverage its worldwide popularity to generate funding for Generation Rescue’s programs that provide education, support and access to medical services for families with autism," she says.

Jenny's son Evan, 11, was diagnosed with autism when he was at 2 ½-years-old. The single mom has publicly spoken about the possible link between childhood vaccinations and autism. She is also well-known for saying that children can "recover" from autism.

Has the community embraced her since Evan's recovery -- and her controversial statement?

My story of Evan’s recovery is not unique, there are thousands of parents before me whose shoulders I stand on today," Jenny says. "I’m just as active today as when Evan recovered from autism. I still travel the country lecturing on autism, am the president and board member of Generation Rescue and actively fundraise throughout the country for the foundation. My journey now is for the other parents whose voice hasn’t been heard.

What's up next for the blonde beauty? "I’m currently developing my own talk show and writing my next book titled Sinner," she says.

Be sure to check out Magic Bullet® and Generation Rescue on Facebook for more information.

Part 2: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

(Managing Editor's Note: We ran Part 1 earlier this week. this report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor

“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”



There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the “Fourteen Studies” project at Generation Rescue:

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.



Major Reviews – There have been at least two major reviews of the main studies claiming to examine a potential association between MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorders. They are the 2005 Cochrane Review and the 2004 Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Committee Report.

1) The Cochrane Review: “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children.” October 2005.[1]

According to their sponsors, the Cochrane Reviews report on published (and sometimes unpublished) studies which investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in a healthcare setting. Most Cochrane Reviews focus on randomized controlled trials, but other types of evidence may also be taken into account.  The reviews are considered by most experts to provide the gold standard of evidence-based medical science.

In 2005, Cochrane published a review of published studies on the safety and efficacy of MMR vaccine. Their search revealed more than 5,000 papers on the subject, though only 139 of them “possibly satisfied” the reviewers’ inclusion criteria. In the end, they reported on and summarized about 31 studies, only a few of which pertained to autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Main results - MMR was “likely to be associated” with febrile convulsions within two weeks of vaccination, but “unlikely to be associated” with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, mumps or autism.

General Limitations: the authors concluded that: 

■ There was a moderate-to-high probability of bias in all but one of the cohort studies.

■ The internal validity of some studies was problematic, and the presence of selection, performance, attrition, detection and reporting biases influenced the reviewers’ confidence in these findings. The most common type of bias was selection bias.  

■ There was only limited evidence of MMR’s safety compared to single component vaccines from studies with a low risk of bias. The few studies least likely to be affected by systematic error pointed to a likely association with increased febrile convulsions in the first two weeks post-vaccination.  

■ The cohort studies’ conclusions “that MMR is ‘safe,’ ‘equally safe,’ ‘well-tolerated,’ or has ‘low-reactogenicity,’ need to be interpreted with caution given the potential for confounding.

■ In the cohort studies, the validity of the conclusions was affected by selective reporting in the comparative analysis, with just over half the responses from participants in some cases.

■ There was a lack of clarity in reporting and systematic bias which made it “impossible” to compare the various studies through quantitative synthesis of data.

■ There were general difficulties in ascertaining adequate numbers of unexposed children due to the high uptake of vaccines and the extent of vaccination programs. This is a methodological problem likely to be encountered in all comparative studies of established childhood vaccines.   

■ There was a “lack of adequate description of exposures (vaccine content and schedules)” in all cohort studies.    

■ The failure of any study to provide descriptions of all outcomes was a recurring problem.  

■ Some reports offered inadequate explanations for missing data, accepting as ‘adequate’ explanations such as ‘nonresponse to questionnaire’ and ‘medical records unavailable’.

■ The external validity of the studies was low. Descriptions of the study populations, response rates, vaccine content and exposure - all important indicators of generalizability - “were poorly and inconsistently reported.”  

■ There were inadequate and inconsistent descriptions of reported outcomes, limited observation periods (maximum 42 days) and selective reporting of results. All of these problems contributed to the reviewers’ decision not to attempt pooling data by study design

SUMMARY – Although the reviewers determined that MMR vaccine was “unlikely to be associated” with autism, they concluded that “meaningful inferences from individual studies lacking a non-exposed control group are difficult to make.” They added that there were disappointed by their inability to identify effectiveness studies with population or clinical outcomes.

Many critics question how the authors of Cochrane’s MMR Review could find an “unlikely” association with autism when - in the very same paper - they also concluded that:

(a)   the design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, are largely inadequate and

(b)  that critical design and reporting flaws need to be improved and standardized definitions of adverse events adopted.

Sallie Bernard, of SafeMinds, wrote that the Cochrane Review “gives MMR a free pass.” She said the review “Assumes that this version of vaccine is as safe as can be, and so beneficial there is no need to worry about the fact that the safety studies are inadequate. Would this happen for any other drug?  Isn’t it possible, even probable, that the vaccine is effective but still has safety lapses and could be improved?”

In a review presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Carol Stott, a UK epidemiologist and Chartered Psychologist, wrote that, given the Cochrane Review’s conclusions, it is important to examine the extent to which the various clinical and population studies have been designed appropriately and with specific reference to the original hypothesis and, thus, to examine the extent to which claims of the hypothesis being refuted or supported are valid.

2) Institute of Medicine, “Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism.” May, 2004[2]

In February 2004, the IOM’s Immunization Safety Committee held a hearing on the possible association between MMR, thimerosal and autism. The committee reviewed all published and unpublished epidemiological studies on causality as well as potential biologic mechanisms to explain a possible vaccine-autism causal association. Its findings were released in a May, 2004 report. The committee’s conclusions hold wide sway over many scientists, physicians and much of the media to this day.

Main Results: The committee concluded that the body of epidemiological evidence “favor” rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism,” further stating that studies examining the association between MMR and autism consistently showed evidence of no association between the MMR vaccine and autism.


■ Because the “vast majority” of ASD cases cannot be accurately sub-classified, if there is a subset of individuals with autism syndrome triggered by exposure to vaccines, our ability to find it is very limited in the absence of a biological marker.

■ Although there is no convincing evidence to date that a clearly defined subgroup with susceptibility to MMR-induced autism has been identified, genomics and proteomics could reveal in the future whether or not any genetic susceptibility to vaccine-induced autism exists.

■ A lack of unexposed children is another limitation. The committee noted that they had previously called for studies to enroll children whose families opted against the MMR vaccine, but so far, this type of study has been difficult to do with sufficiently large numbers.

■ The committee also noted that its 2001 report did not exclude the possibility that MMR “could contribute to autism in a small number of children because the epidemiological studies lacked sufficient precision to assess rare occurrences.”

■ They also noted that it was possible that epidemiological studies would not detect a relationship between autism and MMR vaccination in a subset of the population with a genetic predisposition to autism.

The latter two points are covered in the introduction to this document. While the points are well received, it is important to note that ‘epidemiological’ studies lack neither precision nor accuracy simply by virtue of them being ‘epidemiological’. It is entirely possible to design population based studies to maximize the likelihood of identifying small effect sizes; the fact that this hasn’t yet been achieved in the vaccine-autism debate is the fault of the workmen, not the tools. 

SUMMARY: The IOM Committee gave far more emphasis to epidemiological (population based) studies than biological studies, such as clinical studies in children, laboratory studies, and animal model studies. Since the IOM report was released in May, 2004, a large amount of biological data have been generated from several published studies to support an association between vaccines – including MMR - and ASD. A new IOM review that includes these studies is needed.


Continue reading "Part 2: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

Parents have Good Reason to Distrust Childhood Vaccines by Josh Mazer

BaltimoreSunLogo Parents have good reason to distrust childhood vaccines by Josh Mazer

Read the original lettter in The Baltimore Sun

Steven L. Salzberg's response to Margaret Dunkle's vaccination op-ed is itself a study in fear-mongering and ignorance ("Sun prints dangerous anti-vaccination op-ed," July 14). It is precisely because of the condescending and uninformed views of Dr. Salzberg that parents are losing confidence in the CDC mandated vaccination program.

Salzberg is "deeply concerned" that the op-ed piece will lead to decreased uptake of vaccination and increased morbidity due to vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. Fair enough, but how about a comment from him on the following points:

The co-author of the 2002 epidemiological study from the Journal of Pediatrics cited by Dr. Salzberg is currently under federal indictment for stealing money from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His credibility is in doubt, as is that of the entire study.

Further, how does Dr. Salzberg justify the use of epidemiology to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a medical intervention given to millions of children? This amounts to nothing less than human experimentation.

Further, how does Dr. Salzberg justify the use of epidemiology to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a medical intervention given to millions of children? This amounts to nothing less than human experimentation.

Most vaccine safety studies are funded by vaccine manufacturers. The CDC, National Institutes of Health and the vaccine manufacturers maintain a revolving-door relationship.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, while head of NIH, approved three doses of Merck's Rotateq for the immunization schedule; one year after leaving NIH (the statutory minimum) she was hired to head Merck's vaccine division.

Dr. Salzberg's claim that "hundreds of studies" have disproven a link between vaccines and autism is false. He needs to get in touch with his colleague at Hopkins, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman testified in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program hearing Poling v.HHS.

Hannah Poling's father, Dr. Jon Poling, was a neurologist on staff at Hopkins when his daughter descended into irreversible brain damage and autism after receiving multiple shots in one doctor visit. The decision says that the vaccines "resulted in but did not cause" Hannah's autism.

Dr. Salzberg also should address why the U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent 5-4 decision, held that vaccine manufacturers are completely exempt from any liability for damage caused by the shots, and that, in the words of the court, vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe."

Vaccines are a multi-billion dollar gravy train for big pharma, and they are the only area of medicine invulnerable to the plaintiff's bar.

Continue reading "Parents have Good Reason to Distrust Childhood Vaccines by Josh Mazer" »

Autism, Acceptance and Accountability for An Epidemic


Managing Editor's Note: Most of us are not willing to gamble that complete accommodation and acceptance are  realistically possible, let alone enough for our kids, which is why we work so hard for them.

By Anne Dachel

July 12, 2011, Lisa Jo Rudy surprised me by writing a post on her blog about my story on AoA. (Age of Autism HERE)

In Do Acceptance and Accommodation Equal Surrender? (HERE)  Lisa Jo discussed my objections to just asking for accommodation and acceptance for autism without demanding that we find the cause and stop the epidemic.  Lisa Jo did a nice job and I was flattered that she took the time to write about my post.  Here is the email I sent her. 

Lisa Jo,

Thank you for your interest in my Age of Autism post.  You summarized my feelings pretty well.  I want acceptance for individuals with autism EVERYWHERE.  I'm a mother, a teacher, and a national advocate.  I work with autistic children and attend IEPs to ask for the special help they need. 

My problem with only asking for acceptance is that we're inexplicably willing to leave autism as a mystery that experts just can't solve.  It isn't so much that we're allowing people to cause autism; it's that we don't demand answers with a sense of urgency. We're supposed to have the best health services in the world.  Our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gets billions of dollars to run health care and they've been clueless for the last two decades when it comes to answers about autism.  Millions have gone into the search for the elusive genetic cause of autism.

Recently, research funded by NIH found that autism is more likely caused by environmental triggers.  It was published as big news.  The only problem is that no one knows what those triggers might be.  The list of possibilities is growing: older moms, older dads, pesticides, having children too close together, living too close to a freeway, antidepressants during pregnancy, a lack of vitamin D or the more than 80,000 untested chemical our children are exposed to.  I'm expecting the next two decades will be spent trying to find what in the environment is causing children to become autistic with no definite answers because the last place they'll consider looking is the ever-expanding vaccination schedule.

As media editor at AoA, I monitor what the press says about autism, and while the controversy over vaccines is often a topic, most stories about autism are local news.  They're about a walk for autism or about autism services in a community school.  More and more however I'm finding stories like these:

Bridgeport CT, June 17, 2011:  

Acorn Online CT

What happens when children with autism become adults? Families of adults with autism face that intimidating question every day.

Continue reading "Autism, Acceptance and Accountability for An Epidemic" »

SmartVax: Creating an Individualized Vaccine Schedule

By Scott Laster, SafeMinds

SafeMinds has launched a new website, SmartVax, to change the discourse on vaccines in a manner that will create a positive environment where consumers are empowered and scientists are encouraged to pursue the necessary research on vaccine-injury and vaccine-effectiveness.  The website includes a SmartVax Approach to Vaccines section that provides several steps for prospective parents to educate themselves to make informed decisions on vaccination such as Vaccine Decisions to Make During Pregnancy and Preparing for the Pediatrician Visit (which includes a list of SmartVax questions for your pediatrician for download). 

Additionally, information to empower parents to Define an Individualized Vaccine Schedule  is provided.  This information includes a downloadable “Individualized Vaccine Schedule” tool that can walk a parent through the decisions to be made.  The tool provides links to the CDC-recommended schedule, risks and benefits of each individual vaccine (for example, A SmartVax Discussion on the HepB vaccine), and FDA information on each vaccine.  A parent can use the downloadable tool to choose the vaccines to be administered and the month in which each vaccine-series will begin.  Consideration on the month in which a vaccine-series begins is important in light of evidence that there may be a 1 in 13 risk of vaccine-induced asthma that could be avoided by delaying one vaccine by three months (see Vaccine-Induced Asthma). 

Follow SmartVax on Facebook  and let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the online conversation.  If you find the information useful, please share the website information with prospective parents, family, and friends.   



Kerry, Brown, Lynch Announce Fire Grant for Massachusetts Autism Law Enforcement Education Coalition



Senators John F. Kerry and Scott Brown and Representative Stephen F. Lynch announced that the South Norfolk County Arc (SNCARC) has been awarded a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant of $52,780 under the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.  These federal funds will support the expansion of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC) which provides first responders with the training necessary to recognize and communicate with adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

“This investment will help Captain Cannata and his team of first responders keep our communities safe,” said Senator Kerry.

“Every day, our hardworking firefighters risk their lives to keep our families and communities safe, and we owe it to them to provide the tools they need to stay safe in their dangerous jobs. This funding is an important step in that direction, and I am pleased our firefighters will soon receive resources that will allow them to better carry out their work,” Senator Brown said.

Continue reading "Kerry, Brown, Lynch Announce Fire Grant for Massachusetts Autism Law Enforcement Education Coalition" »

IACC Autism Meeting Tuesday 7/19

Iacc Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Full Committee Meeting

Reminder: Please join us for an IACC Full Committee meeting that will take place on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET in Bethesda, MD.  Onsite registration will begin at 9:00am.

The meeting will be remotely accessible by videocast  ( and conference call.  Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be able to listen to the meeting, but will not be heard.

Conference Call Access
USA/Canada Phone Number:
Access code: 7791752

Agenda: The IACC meeting will feature invited speakers and discussion of committee business items including the 2011 IACC Summary of Advances, subcommittee activities related to seclusion and restraint, and an update on plans for the Fall 2011 IACC Services Workshop. 

The meeting will be open to the public and pre-registration is recommended. Seating will be limited to the room capacity and seats will be on a first come, first served basis, with expedited check-in for those who are pre-registered. 


An Elaborate Fraud, Part 1: In Which a Murdoch Reporter Deceives the Mother of a Severely Autistic Child

  Blanket Lancet
One of the Lancet 12 children on a doctor visit not long after the BMJ articles were published in January.

By Dan Olmsted

On January 5, 2011, the British Medical Journal accused Dr. Andrew Wakefield of committing “an elaborate fraud” in the controversial 1998 Lancet report about 12 children who developed bowel disease and regressed after receiving the MMR shot. The cover article by journalist Brian Deer focused on “the bogus data behind claims that launched a worldwide scare over the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.”

Deer identified and interviewed parents of some of the children in the anonymous Lancet case series, describing what he said were significant disparities. “I traveled to the family home, 80 miles northeast of London, to hear about child 2 from his mother,” Deer wrote of one interview. The child had severe autism and gut problems that she blamed on the MMR.

What Deer did not say in the BMJ article is that he had lied to the mother about his identity, claiming to be someone named “Brian Lawrence” (his middle name). Deer had written a number of critical articles about parents’ claims of vaccine injury, and if he gave his real name, he doubtless feared, Child 2’s mother would not agree to talk to him. Once she checked his blog, she would be more likely to kick him out of the family home than sit still for what turned into a six-hour inquisition.

He even created a fake e-mail address for his fake identity, and he used it to communicate with her:

Why did the highly respected British Medical Journal sanction such deceit involving the mother of a child who, whatever the cause, was severely disabled? When the interview took place in November 2003, more than seven years before the BMJ article, Deer was not working for the journal. He was on assignment for The Sunday Times of London.

The Sunday Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, part of the News International division that has come under a Watergate-size cloud in England for its newsgathering tactics – fraudulently obtaining confidential information, bribing police, hacking 9,000 phone numbers, gaining access to bank accounts, and using large financial settlements to keep some victims quiet.

The BMJ article, titled “How the Case Against the MMR Vaccine Was Fixed,” has its roots in the Sunday Times. It is remarkably similar to one Deer wrote for the Sunday Times two years earlier, in February 2009. That article was titled MMR Doctor Andrew Wakefield Fixed Data on Autism and it cited much the same data and mentioned many of the same people featured in the BMJ article.

The BMJ imprimatur gave Deer – as well as the British Medical Association, which publishes the journal -- a “peer-reviewed” platform from which the story was broadcast far and wide, as conclusive proof of fraud. The BMJ dressed up its presentation with footnotes, charts, editorials, commentary and what it called “editorial checking.”

But clearly, the crux of the article came from reporting Deer did while affiliated with the Sunday Times. Along with evidence presented at a General Medical Council hearing, Deer wrote in the Sunday Times, he relied on “unprecedented access to medical records, a mass of confidential documents and cooperation from parents during an investigation by this newspaper.” His work, he said, exposed the “selective reporting and changes to findings that allowed a link between MMR and autism to be asserted.”

Deer did not identify Child 2 or his mother in either the Sunday Times or the BMJ – he didn’t need to. He had posted their names on his blog (subsequently removed); what’s more, the names were known because the mother had spoken out on the researchers’ behalf and was a claimant in a failed legal case over the vaccine. (Deer has said any allegation he “placed confidential information on my website” is false.)

False pretenses and confidentiality aside, the BMJ’s ethics code bars the use of anyone’s medical information without written permission -- even when the subject is anonymous.

“Any article that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires the patient’s explicit consent before we can publish it,” according to the policy (italics in original).  “We will need the patient to sign our consent form which requires the patient to have read the article.”

If she had done so, the journal would have gotten an earful about  “Brian Lawrence,” Brian Deer and her subsequent dealings with the Sunday Times. That is the subject of our next article.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism, and co-author, with Mark Blaxill, of The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic, to be published in paperback in September by Thomas Dunne Books. 

Part 1: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us?

(Managing Editor's Note: We are running the report in three installments this week. The report is available in in full .pdf (Vaccines and Autism Epidemiology HERE)

“We have 16 studies already that clearly state that vaccines do not cause autism.”

-- Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”

-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor

“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”

-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”



There are 16 epidemiological studies here on MMR vaccines, thimerosal and autism. These studies represent the most often cited papers by scientists, public health officials and members of the media when trying to refute any evidence of an association between vaccinations and autism.

There are serious methodological limitations, design flaws, conflicts of interest or other problems related to each of these 16 studies. These flaws have been pointed out by government officials, other researchers, medical review panels and even the authors of the studies themselves. Taken together, the limitations of these studies make it impossible to conclude that thimerosal and MMR vaccines are not associated with autism.

SafeMinds would like to acknowledge the previous work in this regard gathered by the "Fourteen Studies project at Generation Rescue.

One additional study on autism and thimerosal was published in September 2010 while this paper was in completed draft form. This study’s methods produced a result that demonstrated that thimerosal exposure was protective against autism. Further analysis of this study is forthcoming but not included here.



Conventional wisdom holds that the autism-vaccine question has been “asked and answered,” and that at least 16 large, epidemiological studies have thoroughly addressed and debunked any hypothesis that childhood vaccination is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.

But there are numerous critical flaws in such an oversimplified generalization, and they are rarely given close examination by public health experts or members of the media.

It is particularly discouraging that members of the scientific community are so willing to dismiss a hypothesis that has yet to be fully tested. Overconfident pronouncements such as those found in the quotes above do nothing to advance either the cause of science or our understanding of the complex issues involved. They are, instead, the product of misunderstanding and wishful thinking, brought about by the overzealous drive to ‘disprove’ an unpopular and possibly disquieting theory.

Continue reading "Part 1: Vaccines and Autism - What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us? " »

Researcher Asks: Are 36 Doses of Vaccine by 2 Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Bears2 Managing Editor's note: This is fromThe Baltimore Sun, We don't know enough about childhood vaccines Researcher asks: Are 36 doses of vaccine by age 2 too much, too little, or just right? Feel free to click into the article and then share on FB and Twitter.

July 11, 2011|By Margaret Dunkle

The topics of vaccines and vaccine safety spark emotional outbursts at scientific meetings and family dinner tables alike. But many of these debates are remarkably fact-free. Surprisingly few people — not just concerned parents but also doctors, policymakers and even immunization experts — can answer this seemingly simple question: How many immunizations does the federal government recommend for every child during the first two years of life?

The answer is important because most states, including Maryland, faithfully follow the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, codifying CDC guidelines into requirements for children to enroll in school, kindergarten, preschool and child care.

Continue reading "Researcher Asks: Are 36 Doses of Vaccine by 2 Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right? " »

James Murdoch is still supported by GlaxoSmithKline

By John Stone

James Murdoch, the beleagured News Corporation executive, has received a ringing endorsement from MMR manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline according to Reuters news agency on Friday. GSK who appointed him to their board in February 2009 insist Murdoch has made “a strong contribution” to the group and received share payments worth $158,000 in 2010. Murdoch was appointed to the board of the pharmaceutical manufacturer with a brief to “review…external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation."

Within a fortnight of his appointment News International had published at least 5 articles attacking MMR researcher Andrew Wakefield’s integrity (one , two , three , four and five ).

The accusations, while flawed, were devastating to Wakefield’s reputation. According to the Sunday Times, and its journalist, Brian Deer Wakefield was singly guilty of fabricating the data in the Lancet paper of 1998 although none of his 12 co-authors have ever repudiated it and one of them, histopathologist, Susan Davies subsequently wrote to British Medical Journal rebutting Deer’s interpretation of her evidence before the General Medical Council. Deer’s allegations were also based on his own inexpert interpretation of GP records which were never available to the authors of the paper. The allegations which were re-cycled by British Medical Journal were rebutted by Wakefield in his book Callous Disregard, and frequently in articles published on Age of Autism (AofA The Big Lie , AofA Time To Revisit Deer's Claims , AofA Part 2 Time To Revisit Deer's Claims ). In contrast to normal academic journal policy BMJ have adopted a legalistic defence of its allegations and (more here). Furthermore, they were forced to admit under pressure that they had undisclosed conflicts with MMR manufacturers Merck and GSK.

The Sunday Times campaign against Wakefield began in 2003 when section editor Paul Nuki approached Deer saying that he needed "something big" on "MMR" . Nuki was the son of Prof George Nuki who sat on the Committee on Safety on Medicines when MMR/Pluserix were first introduced in the late 1980s. Shortly afterwards Deer interviewed parent litigants under a false name. Unknown to Sunday Times readers Deer also pursued his own official complaints against Wakefield and colleagues and came to an arrangement with General Medical Council lawyers that he would not be named in the case, leaving him free to continue reporting as if an independent journalist . Deer’s obtaining and use of confidential data remains to be investigated. A statement on copyright on his website probably dating back some years states (my underlining.):

'For reference, with regard to Brian Deer's MMR investigation, almost all of the key facts and documents are not public domain, and, such is the culture of plagiarism, he will act against authors who represent his writing, interviews, documents, or other research, as the fruit of their own inquiries, whether referenced or not.'

In an article his website he also mentioned reading confidential reports in the MMR litigation and commented on them. When these issues were raised in British Medical Journal last year the journal took the step of removing several letters from its on-line correspondence, effectively banning all further reference to the matter from its columns.

The role of both BMJ and the News International in this affair require urgent official investigation.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Talk to Jenny McCarthy and Order A Magic Bullet on HSN on Monday 7/18!

You'll have Magic bullettwo chances to talk to Jenny LIVE tomorrow on HSN at 9am EDT and again at 10pm EDT when you order a Magic Bullet and help support GR.

Check your cable or satellite listing for the HSN channel on your system. Here's the HSN guide.  And here are the HSN details for The Generation Rescue BLUE Magic Bullet.

Think of the smoothies you can make with this beautifully blue Magic Bullet. Supplements for the kids and maybe a little something on a Friday night for Mom and Dad? (Share your recipes in the comments.)

Introducing the Rescue Bullet, the limited-edition blue Magic Bullet, where a portion of the proceeds benefit Generation Rescue. Catch Jenny McCarthy on HSN July 18 and visit the Facebook page July 19 to get your own Rescue Bullet before they run out!

Visit Generation Rescue to learn more, find that last credit card with a few bucks on it (ha ha!) and order yours! KS

Older. Wiser? Stronger!

By Cathy Jameson

I was looking through some old emails for a link and came across a message I had sent to my family and friends about Ronan.  The note was from a time when I’d just started to ask that question no parent wants to raise—could something be wrong with my child?   It was 2005 and Ronan didn’t seem to be that far behind his milestones.  I could tell something was a little bit different though, and a gap had started to widen.  After almost a year in an early intervention program, it was now time for an annual review that would accompany his first transition of services.  He was about to graduate into the preschool program.

The annual review included answering many questions about Ronan’s development, his abilities and of course a set of skills he lacked.  In preparation for this transition I spoke to several specialists who had access to Ronan’s records.  When it came time to conduct the parent interview with each specialist--a pediatrician, a social worker and a psychologist--I started to get a little nervous.  I’d never spoken so formally about Ronan before, but I knew it was a necessary step in the evaluation process.  Each interview was an hour or so in length so I prepared talking points to share.  I didn’t tire talking about what I thought was going on with Ronan, what I hoped he’d be able to receive as far as his education went and how I was going to remain an integral participant in all of the decisions being made for Ronan.  

I don’t remember too much about the psychologist or the social worker’s interviews.  I was most nervous for those two since I hadn’t spoken to either type of professional before personally.  We’d had a case worker for Ronan as he entered the early intervention program, but I did more work that she did.  Having no previous experience with these two fields, I thought it funny at first that I had to talk to them about Ronan when Ronan couldn’t tell me what he was thinking or feeling in the first place.  Both the psychologist and social worker were pleasant and agreeable, so my fear subsided soon into that long day of evaluations.  The next part of the process included my speaking with the pediatrician who was attending Ronan’s case.  I didn’t realize how long that session was going to be.  Nor did I realize how much I would be educating the doctor. 

We went over a slew of topics—prenatal history, birthing process, first few months at home, typical milestones, vaccine record, childhood ailments, the usual questions one would answer at any initial consult.  The further we got through Ronan’s history, and the closer to when I noticed his delays, I interjected my theory of why Ronan acted the way he did.  I said I thought Ronan had a reaction to his vaccines.   I also told the doctor I was going to fix that.  I don’t remember how he reacted, but I know he was taking a lot of notes while I spoke.  Ronan was going through his own set of tests and evaluations by the same team members as well as with his teachers.  Once Ronan’s tests were over, everyone would reconvene so I could receive feedback from their reports.

I don’t remember everything that happened between the break and the final update.  I know that it was agreed that Ronan would graduate from the infant-toddler program to the special education preschool program.  Most services were to remain the same and an appropriate preschool would be included in that decision.  It seemed that would be the next step but then, I got a little nervous again because I now had to go back to talk to the pediatrician.  This was not in the original agenda.   I wondered if the doctor had discovered something else.  Maybe Ronan actually had a disease or some anomaly that I’d overlooked.  I wondered if this thing Ronan had was much worse than I originally thought.  I returned to the interview room and waited for the doctor to come in to have this final chat. 

I got the unofficial reports that yes, he was a charming little boy with a strong will.  Yes, Ronan continued to have delays.  Yes, your son needed intervention.  Yes, Ronan would stay in the system.   Then, the conversations slowed a bit.  The doctor started asking me questions again.  He went so far as to mention the “A” word to me.  “Have you thought that these things Ronan does…could be…?”  The way he said it, coupled with the reports offered by Ronan’s teachers and therapists were not a positive autism diagnosis. Call it a “soft” warning to buy time, and that maybe no one wanted to be the bearer of bad news, but Ronan had already walked away with no specific diagnosis.  I stated what I had said before, that Ronan had some sort of reaction to his vaccines.  Those caused these “issues”, and I was going to look at how other parents helped their vaccine injured children get better.  Maybe the early intervention team thought I was nuts and didn’t want to burst my bubble.  The doctor nodded his head as I spoke, took a few more notes and responded.  He said the reports were compiled and Ronan would continue with the therapy he had already started when he was enrolled in early intervention:  maximum amount of time for speech, occupational and physical therapy with full-time placement in the special needs preschool.

Continue reading "Older. Wiser? Stronger!" »

When Science Journals are Scarier than Science Fiction


By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

My choice for the scariest reading of the year was recently published  in the journal Cancer Biology and Therapy and has the unwieldly title of Frequent Detection of Infectious Xenotropic Leukemia Virus (XMLV) in Human Cultures Established from Mouse Xenografts.

For those of you who may be confused by the idea of a "xenograft" I'll provide you with the definition given by the U. S. Public Health Service.  "Any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation, or infusion into a human recipient of either (a) live cells, tissues, or organs from a non-human animal source or (b) human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivio contact with live non-human animal cells, tissues, or organs."  This covers vaccines as well as other surgical procedures in which human tissue is manipulated prior to transplantation.

In the scientific community mouse xenografting is often used to manipulate cancer cells for research purposes, among other things.  With research that has linked XMRV (which is a xenotropic murine leukemia virus) to prostate cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, and to a lesser extent autism, scientists from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as well as a few other institutions thought it made sense to investigate the frequency of XMLVs in human cell lines "established from mouse xenografts and to search for the evidence of horizontal spread to other cell lines."

In layman's terms the question they were asking was, "when we do xenografting with mouse biological products how often do we get XMLVs popping up in our samples?" 

The answer they found is that six out of twenty three (26%) mouse DNA free xenografts "were strongly positive for MLV and their sequences had greater than 99% homology to known MLV strains."  These samples were obtained from seven independent laboratories. 

Further on the authors wrote, "Of the 78 non-xenograft derived cell lines maintained in the xenograft culture containing facilities, 13 (17%) were positive for MLV, including XMRV, a virus strain first identified in human tissues."  (My daughter with autism has tested positive for XMRV.)  In scientific terms this is an absolute train wreck.

This means that every surgical patient receiving any biological product which used mouse tissue in any way has a one in four chance of being exposed to an XMLV.  And that also means that any biological sample which is maintained in a facility containing xenograft cultures has a 17% chance of becoming infected.

On the question of vaccines, let's just say that only 10% of the nearly 40 vaccines children are expected to receive prior to the age of five contain mouse biological products.  This translates into roughly a 100% chance that our current generation of children will be exposed to an XMLV through a vaccination.

Are you scared yet?

It gets worse.

Continue reading "When Science Journals are Scarier than Science Fiction" »

Canary Party FaceBook Badge Says "My Family's Health Matters!"

Canary final logo
Invite friends and family who are concerned that medicine in general (far beyond autism) has been co-opted by pharma, food and government, limiting your personal and parental healthcare rights and needs to join The Canary Party.  The Canary Party needs your help to tell politicians on both sides of the aisle that a nation of citizens battling asthma, life threatening food allergies, learning disabilities, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimers, MS, Lupus, cancer and more is not acceptable. This is a FaceBook badge you can click and share on your profile.

New Autism Twin Study Demolishes Decades-Long Belief in Genetic Causation

Money down drain dollar sign water By Mark Blaxill

For over two decades now, so-called “autism experts” have been claiming that autism is more than 90% caused by genes. The influence of these claims on autism policy and research funding is hard to overstate. But few realize that the basis of these claims hangs on a fragile evidence base: two small twin studies--one from Great Britain, the other from Scandinavia--that reported high rates of concordance for autism among identical twins and no concordance at all among fraternal twins. Last week, the largest and most rigorous twin study ever conducted, the California Autism Twin Study (CATS) reported contradictory new evidence that struck a devastating blow to these claims. The CATS identical twins had lower and the fraternal twins higher concordance rates than past studies, a striking finding that suggests that instead of being highly heritable, the vast majority of autism cases stem from environmental causes.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the CATS findings. They mean that everything leading “autism experts” have been saying for decades is wrong. And everything leading autism parent advocates have been saying for years is right.

The foundations of autism orthodoxy

As the reality of the autism epidemic began settling in over the last decade, an odd drumbeat in the writing of autism geneticists became more insistent. The more obvious it had become that something new and terrible was happening to a generation of children, the more extreme the statements of the genetics researchers became. It’s as if repeating the orthodox statements as frequently as possible would give them more weight. And the more their extreme claims went unchallenged, the more a spurious “scientific consensus” could be claimed. Here’s a small sample: (1) “Autism is clearly among the most heritable of all psychiatric disorders“(2003); (2) “Autism is one of the most heritable complex disorders, with compelling evidence for genetic factors and little or no support for environmental influence” (2004); (3) “Autism spectrum disorders are considered to be among the most heritable of all mental disorders…. recent reviews estimate the heritability of autistic disorder to be more than 90%.” (2010); (4) “ASDs are known to be highly heritable (~90%)” (2010).

Despite the fact that an explosion in autism rates rendered illogical any ongoing belief in the genetic inheritance of autism, the influence of this orthodox position on autism’s research funding remained profound. Hundreds of millions of research dollars were spent over the last decade in a vain hunt for autism genes; a spending binge that has continued unabated, with over $100 million spent at NIH on genetics-only research during the latest two years of the Combating Autism Act alone.

In the meantime, a mini-industry of epidemic denial has emerged among academics willing to posit a newfound popularity among physicians and parents for the autism label, one that has produced increasingly bizarre claims of diagnostic excess in many forms: substitution, oversight, expansion and accretion among them. These claims have been retracted, disavowed and falsified multiple times, yet because of the overriding need to feed “the hungry lie” these claims keep cropping up in novel forms. Meanwhile, the research funding to support them continues, including active support from NIH. And sadly, anyone in the scientific community with the courage to stick their necks out and suggest that autism rates might be going up because, well, there were more cases of autism, found themselves facing reactions ranging from polite ostracism to ruthless censorship.

The basis for this orthodox belief in autism’s heritability rests on a very specific body of autism research: the investigation of concordance rates within twin pairs. These studies take advantage of a seemingly simple test--the presence or absence of similar outcomes in twins--to estimate the relative contribution of nature (i.e., genes) and nurture (i.e., the environment) to a given disease. To the extent that identical twins have the identical outcomes and fraternal twins have different ones, the cause can reasonably be assigned to genes. To the extent that identical twins have different outcomes and fraternal twins have the same outcome, the cause lies in the environment.

In the case of autism, this test has been applied to twins with increasing frequency, but the orthodox belief in heritability hangs on a slender thread of evidence: the first, a British study of twin pairs first recruited in 1977 (5) and then expanded in 1995 (6); the second, a Scandinavian study from 1989 (7). The 1977 British study reported on just 21 twin pairs, 11 identical and 10 fraternal. Of these, only 4 of the identical twin pairs were concordant for autism (a remarkably low rate that is frequently forgotten). The 1989 Scandinavian study with the same small sample size, 11 identical pairs and 10 fraternal pairs, found autism in both identical twins in 10 of 11 pairs and again no concordance in any of the fraternal pairs. Subsequently, nearly two decades after their first study, the British team recruited 28 new pairs in 1995 and pooled them together with some of the previous group. These new pairs showed a similar profile: only one twin in each of new fraternal pairs had autism (i.e., a zero concordance rate); and of the new identical pairs, 11 of 16 were concordant, giving a 69% concordance rate that fell between their original calculation and the Scandinavian group.

The British team then added an important new element: a heritability calculation. Using a complex approach (with formulae that defy clear explanation), they took all these concordance rates banged them against two different background rates of autism, ran them through a model and declared, “The estimates of broad heritability were 93% and 91% for the base rates of 1.75 and 10 in 10,000.”

And thus was born the belief that autism was more than 90% genetic.

The orthodoxy in quiet crisis: discordant evidence on twin concordance

Continue reading "New Autism Twin Study Demolishes Decades-Long Belief in Genetic Causation" »

Flu Vaccination Propaganda Never Stops

Flu-cover By David Burd

The United States “Flu Season” ended back in March, but ever since, and today in mid-July,  I have been bombarded by radio station ads to give 6-month babies a toxic, mercury laden flu shot injection (actually two shots, at 6 and 7 months)  that might  ”save their life.” 

As I’ve amply documented here on AoA, the flu shot itself given to infants actually can or may result in death and/or permanent injury, and it is medical insanity to inject such into an infant, or their mother before they are born.

 This endless  propaganda from our Federal Agencies such as CDC or citizen groups’ such as “Families Fighting Flu” never stops.  I can only guess it is mostly funded by the pharmaceutical industry enriched every year over $20 Billion in yearly vaccine product in the U.S. alone.

Government Agencies (CDC, etc.) supposedly existing to protect the populace from big Pharma have completely abrogated their mission, and instead keep promoting every vaccine shot beginning at birth with Hepatitis B (that will in time be termed the medical definition of insanity - as will all shots at 2 months plus!).

David Burd, Medical Technology Consultant, Alexandria, Virginia


Testimony To Massachusetts Legislators on H1055 & Right to School For Vaccine Exempt Children

Bill H.1055

An Act relative to childhood immunizations

By Mr. Keenan of Salem (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1055) of Andrea Rupert for legislation to allow students not immunized to be admitted to schools upon the written request of a parent. Education.An Act relative to childhood immunizations

By Mr. Keenan of Salem (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1055) of Andrea Rupert for legislation to allow students not immunized to be admitted to schools upon the written request of a parent. Education. Sponsors:

John D Keenan (By Request)

Referred to Joint Committee on Education

Click to PrintDownload PDF

Click to View TextView & Print Full Page

Allison Chapman, Mark Blaxill, Dr. Richard Deth, Mish Michaels and others  give testimony:

Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 5


Managing Editor's Note: This is part 5 of 5. You can read Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, and Part 1.

By Teresa Conrick

In this series on xenobiotic chemicals, like mercury/thimerosal, and their connection to autism, cancer and neurodegeneration, there are indications that some companies and researchers are racing to the "cure" yet avoiding inconvenient truths. As a result, there is a continuation of denial about the environmental and pharmaceutical toxins -- both man made -- that have their fingerprints on many of these cases of regression into disease.  Some would say the fingerprints are on both poison and "cure', as mercury, and especially Thimerosal, are shown to be guilty of causing damage that, for example, Riluzole, via clinical trials, is supposed to fix:

"Within a eukaryotic cell there is careful regulation of the levels of phosphorylation which is controlled by the delicate balance between the activity of protein kinases and protein phosphatases......In this study we show that the thiol-reactive heavy metal HgCl2, known to contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders, induces a rapid and robust activation of tyrosine phosphorylation within human myelomonocytic cells."

 Poison "Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a signaling molecule associated with cell survival. Previously, we showed that thimerosal, a reactive oxygen species (ROS) generator, can acutely induce FAK tyrosine phosphorylation (within minutes) and chronically induce apoptosis (within days)

 "Cure" The Neuroprotective Agent Riluzole Inhibits NMDA-Induced FAK 125 Tyrosine Kinase Phosphorylation in the Rat Hippocampus

 Glutamate: a potential mediator of inorganic mercury neurotoxicity.  "Exposure to mercury vapor (Hg0) produces neurotoxic effects which are for the most part subsequent to its biotransformation in brain to the mercuric cation (Hg2 +), which has an exceptionally strong affinity towards the SH groups in proteins. However, neurologic symptoms are often encountered in subjects in which Hg+ concentration in the brain remains in the SUBMICROMOLAR range, markedly below the anticipated threshold for direct inhibition of cerebral metabolism and function. In this report we review biochemical and morphological evidence obtained in this and other laboratories in tissue culture studies suggesting that in such instances mercury neurotoxicity may be mediated by excitotoxic activity of GLUTAMATE (GLU)."

David H. Gorski
Drug Discovery and Development
"The research interests of the Gorski laboratory fall into two broad categories. First, we are interested in the transcriptional regulation of vascular endothelial cell phenotype.  Our second area of interest is the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in breast cancer. These receptors have traditionally been believed to be restricted to the central nervous system, but our collaborators at Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson University first serendipitously observed that mGluR-1 induces melanoma in transgenic mice....  we have noted that mGluR1 is expressed on vascular endothelial cells and have preliminary evidence that its inhibition is also antiangiogenic......"

Continue reading "Mercury Leaves Its Mark: Autism, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Disease Part 5" »

FREE Autism Therapy Pictures from Picto Selector in 8 Languages

Picto Selector - English
Picto Selector
is still growing

This week a new version of Picto Selector was released and continues to grow in functionality and symbols. With additions to it's symbol database each month it now contains over 19000 symbols from three symbol libraries.

With the latest version it is very simpel to add symbols to Word, just double click and it is inserted in the current document. But it is also very easy to create a schedule without external tools and print them.
More schools are now using Picto Selector with the benefit that parents can use the same symbols at home and reuse the schedules.

Last month Czech language was added and it is now translated to Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Czech. It would be nice to have more symbol translators for Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Czech, Italian, Brazilian and Basque.

The Windows application is freeware and can be downloaded from its website

The Environment of Medical Intervention

An-apple-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away By Julie Obradovic

As we learned last week, a new study released by the NIMH has determined that the environment plays a larger role than genetics in Autism than previously thought. Combined with a study released the same day that shows a correlation between anti-depressant usage among pregnant women and Autism diagnoses in their children, it's been a breath of fresh air. 

That said, I can't exhale just yet.

The environment as a cause of Autism, although a welcome relief to a genetic one, leaves me nervous. Why? It is completely subject to interpretation, and I believe, leaves the door open to literally thousands, if not an infinite amount of possibilities of causation. We've already seen some examples of how researchers interpret it, and frankly, it's been more often than not less than helpful research.

There's the angle of the actual environment, like the climate, being the problem. One study showed us that Autism rates are higher where it rains more.

There's the angle of the environment of parental stimulation, like how a child is interacted with, being the problem. One study suggested parents who talk to their children less will more likely have a child with Autism.  

Admittedly more helpful, there's the angle of the environment of pollution being the problem. One study showed Autism rates are higher near coal burning plants, and another showed living close to freeways having the same effect.

And then there's been the angle of the environment of contact, like what a child is touching in their own home. One study suggested pet shampoo may be implicated in Autism, and many speculate it could even be their flame retardant pajamas or household pesticides. Likewise, multiple studies have shown lead, which is unfortunately found in many of our children's toys in alarming amounts, can also lower IQ and cause developmental problems.

I suppose in the bigger picture, these do point us in a helpful direction: environmental toxins are a problem. But again, given there are an infinite amount of combinations of them, I'm concerned this area may quickly become another vast wasteland of time, money, and effort for our children. For me, it's imperative we define exactly what environmental research means moving forward, as well as how it needs to be prioritized, in order to most effectively and immediately help our kids. The good news? Our most promising research fits neatly under one umbrella.

Continue reading "The Environment of Medical Intervention" »

SmartVax: A Website to change the Discourse on Vaccines

By Scott Laster, SafeMinds

SafeMinds was founded to raise awareness, support research, change policy and focus national attention on the growing evidence that environmental triggers contribute to neurological disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder, language delay and learning difficulties. Our mission is to restore health and protect future generations by eradicating the devastation of autism and associated health disorders that are induced by environmental triggers. A portion of SafeMinds' focus is on the role that vaccines may play in environmentally-induced autism, and SafeMinds members have participated in various governmental vaccine-policy and autism research committees to encourage research in this area. During these efforts it has become increasingly frustrating that public health officials discourage the smart science necessary to determine the mechanisms of vaccine-injury, and often provide incomplete information on vaccine risks and benefits to the public. 

SafeMinds is launching a new website, SmartVax, to change the discourse on vaccines in a manner that will create a positive environment where consumers are informed and scientists are encouraged to pursue the necessary research to gain new scientific understanding of mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness.  The current media use of “anti-vax” and “pro-vax” labeling in vaccine discourse is unhelpful and misleading, since generally organizations do not advocate for no vaccines; this website proposes instead that the prevailing philosophies are more accurately described as “SmartVax” and “Max-Vax”, with both supporting vaccines but with SmartVax placing an emphasis on conservative scientific research to understand mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness.  On the contrary, the website submits that the “Max-Vax” philosophy prevalent amongst public health officials is suppressing scientific research, and providing incomplete information about risks vs benefits to parents, because of a belief system that maximizing vaccine utilization is the best way to improve children’s health.  But science is not about merely accepting beliefs; instead, it is about pursuing the science by rigorously questioning and testing the assumptions.  To change the discourse, the SmartVax website provides the following:

  • A Weigh The Risks quantitative analysis of vaccine risks versus benefits in 21st century America which indicates that vaccine-injury risk (1 in 13 children) is currently quantitatively higher than disease-risk, with and without a USA vaccination program.  The point of this analysis is not to argue against vaccination, since disease risk without a vaccination program would be unacceptably high, but rather to dispel the unproven assumption that vaccines’ benefits always exceed risks in the USA today and to issue a siren call to scientists for research to dramatically reduce vaccine-injuries.
  • An Overview describing how the Max-Vax philosophy gained power and how the SmartVax philosophy differs in a manner that is more likely to produce the best health benefits for children in the long-term.
  • A SmartVax Approach to Vaccines that empowers prospective parents with information so that they can make informed decisions on vaccination, including a downloadable spreadsheet tool for creating an individualized vaccine schedule, risks-vs-benefits information on each vaccine and associated disease, and questions for the pediatrician.
  • Guidance on how the public can Take Action for Children's Health to create an environment where the necessary checks-and-balances are created to ensure that the research is performed to understand mechanisms of vaccine-injury and vaccine effectiveness so that smart decisions are made regarding vaccination.

Follow SmartVax on Facebook and let us know what you think in the online conversation there.  Share the website information with the public, including prospective parents.  We plan future articles to explain aspects of the website in more detail. 




When I Can Do Nothing

Nothing-black By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

I've been very busy lately.

Unfortunately, I can't talk much about it.  What I can say is that on some level, my prayers to God for an understanding of the autism epidemic have been answered.  I now know why they fear us so much.  I can't prove it, and as a lawyer I understand that's the real show.  But I know.

And yet, as thankful as I am for an understanding of what has happened to my child and so many others, my heart is heavy.  The Dark Forces which in the past have destroyed the careers of those who have found clues to the afflictions of our children and other disease communities are once again on the move.  You may very well read about their actions this week.  And I can't do anything to stop them.

I recently watched the mini-series The Stand, based on the book of the same name by Stephen King.  The book has long been one of my favorites.  It starts like a science fiction movie, with a deadly virus escaping from a government lab, and killing most of humanity.  But then it changes.  The survivors start having dreams.  Some dream of Mother Abigail, a 106 year-old black woman who lives in Hemmingford Home, Nebraska.  Mother Abigail urges those who dream of her to meet in Boulder. Colorado.  Others dream of Randall Flagg, who tells them to meet him in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As the inevitable showdown between the good people of Boulder and the evil people of Las Vegas looms, something quite remarkable takes place.  Instead of a great battle between the two sides, Mother Abigail has a vision that five members of the Boulder community must make their way to Las Vegas where they will make their "Stand" against Randall Flagg.  They will deliver themselves into the hands of the enemy.

Flagg is clearly a demonic force, but he doesn't have quite the hold over people he thinks he does.  His followers keep deserting him, especially in light of the five who have chosen to make their "Stand" against him.  They carry no weapons.  It's simply the power of the faith they bring to that unholy place which defeats Flagg.  Evil falls apart in the face of such humble courage.

Continue reading "When I Can Do Nothing" »

Amish & Autism


I had a hard time understanding Seth Mnookin's latest piece about the Amish and autism. He trashes the idea that the Amish don't vaccinate. We're told that "at least some of their children had received at least one vaccine," but that a significant number of parents are worried and refuse to vaccinate at all.

In Mnookin's article Amish and Anecdotal Evidence ( HERE) claims disproved by fact-based study, Mnookin wrote,

"One of the most persistent [claims] has been the Amish fallacy: Most Amish don't vaccinate; there's almost no record of autism in Amish communities; ergo, vaccines cause autism. (This argument has also been used, time and time and time again, to illustrate the efficacy of a proposed vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated study.) . . . .

"Yesterday, Reuters Health reported on a recent study in Pediatrics titled "Underimmunization in Ohio's Amish: Parental Fears Are a Greater Obstacle Than Access to Care." The study found that majority of Amish parents do, in fact, vaccinate their children and among the minority that don't, the most common reasons cited were the same anti-vaccine fueled fears that have infected people around the country."

Mnookin cited the Reuters story:

'Of 359 households that responded to the survey, 85 percent said that at least some of their children had received at least one vaccine. Forty-nine families refused all vaccines for their children, mostly because they worried the vaccines could cause harm and were not worth the risk.'

The Amish are a diverse sect with a number of subgroups. No one, including Dan Olmsted, ever claimed that the Amish never vaccinate, but as Mnookin himself admitted, they're not hauling their children in every couple of months for multiple vaccinations at once like parents in the general population are mandated to do. We also don't hear reports that almost two percent of Amish boys have autism.

Continue reading "Amish & Autism" »

Autism Science Digest August Issue: ADHD Treatment, Thyroid and More

Autism Science Digest
Get your 160-page August edition of Autism Science Digest -- the magazine that gives you the value of a book!  See what subscribers around the world are reading. Subscribe HERE.

The August issue's articles include:

  • Cerebral folate deficiency in autism spectrum disorders
  • Biofilm: A Cause of Chronic Gastrointestinal Issues in ASD
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and autism spectrum disorders
  • Hope through Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Current Trends in ADHD/ADD Treatment
  • The Thyroid-Autism Connection
  • And much more!

AutismOne brings you your favorite authors and information you can share with your family, friends, physicians, patients, coworkers, and colleagues but -- most of all -- your kids!

A one-year subscription is just $24.95 in the US/Canada and $45.00 USD around the world.

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

I Spy

Ronan 1
By Cathy Jameson

I've decided I am no longer Just A Mom.*

*Just A Mom, n. = human; female; parent; nurturing; emotional.  

Nope. That's not me anymore.  I'd like to be Just A Mom, but I am much more than a dictionary definition of mom/mother. 

I stopped being Just A Mom a few years ago when vaccine-induced autism raided my house.  I had an A-ha moment last weekend about this change as I secured a tracking device to my son’s belt loop on his shorts.  Because of that revelation, and the many other reminders of the downward spiral of Ronan's development, I realized I’m actually a private investigator.  I'm not a high-dollar, in-demand sort of professional.  I'm an unpaid, overworked seeker of information.  I wish I was on the hunt for national secrets or a missing jewel.  That sounds much more exciting and probably comes with maps or clues that will lead to an eventual discovery.  No, my search has more intent.  I'm on the constant hunt for Ronan’s childhood and how to fix what took that childhood away.

The hunt for Ronan's childhood is not an easy one.  It should be because Ronan's childhood was Ronan2 sitting right in front of me just a few years ago.  I promise you, it was there.  It was in my home.  It existed in my son!  I recognized that childhood all those years ago, and I celebrated its existence daily. As a baby and growing toddler I could see it in Ronan's facial expressions.  I could hear it in his hearty laugh.  I could smell it on his sweet breath.  I could taste it as I sampled his baby food.  I could touch it when I held Ronan's pudgy hands or tickled his fat belly.  I had all of that right at my finger tips.  

That childhood started to slip away right in front of me.  I wish to God I had more of a clue when it snuck out of my house.  I easily recognize the signs of a lost childhood in my son now.  I can see it in Ronan's blank stare when all manner of little kid fun surrounds him enticing him to play, but he doesn't.  I can hear it in the silence that follows my questions directed right at Ronan--Ronan, are you hungry?  Do you like this?  Are you hurt?  Where do you want to go?  I can smell it in the disgusting poo filled diapers Ronan has.  I can taste it in the tears that roll down my cheek as I cry after another moment of lost time fills my heart.  Wait, that's emotion.  I stopped being an emotional Just A Mom awhile ago, remember?  Scratch that example.  I can taste it in the bland gluten-free noodles I sometimes serve Ronan for dinner. Childhood should include mostly happy and life-living moments ready to be documented in scrapbooks.  It should include playing and discovering age-appropriate games.  Creativity and memories should fill one's childhood not repetitive inexplicable actions that make no sense to the rest of the world.  Non-verbal "can't look you in the eye for longer than seven seconds" gazes shouldn't be the norm.  But, that’s what’s taken over Ronan’s childhood years.

Continue reading "I Spy" »

Now Live and Streaming - the Autism Media Channel

Amc logo Today, we are proud to announce the official launch of the Autism Media Channel (AMC): Our mission is to provide you, the autism community, with engaging, informative and timely content about autism spectrum disorders.

This site was built with your support and we want to make sure everyone impacted by autism can take advantage of what AMC has to offer:     

• Video programs, podcasts and social media to stay informed on the latest developments in the world of autism

• Original content – stories, interviews, informational segments – on treatment and therapies, diet and nutrition, and education and research

• An extended community of families sharing their experiences and the day-to-day challenges in managing autism

Go to the AMC site. Share it with a friend. Share it with several friends. Help us grow so we can add more original programming. And, let us know what you think. Your opinions and ideas are important to us.  

Thank you for your support.

Polly Tommey
Autism Media Channel
Help, Hope & Progress


Your Healing Treatment: Hope and Healing For Families Affected By Autism

Your healing retreat By Maureen McDonnell RN

A new concept for helping to heal children and their families affected by autism was born! The first annual Your Healing Retreat took place June 3rd to the 5th at a beautiful lakeside retreat center in the mountains of western North Carolina. Parents, therapists and physicians gathered to learn not only the biomedical approach and practical pearls for improving the health and behavior of children, they also enjoyed workshops on strategies for healing their own lives. (Visit Your Healing Retreat for photos and more info.)

As most people know, living and working with children affected by autism can be exhausting! The organizers of the Healing Retreat (Dr. Julie Buckley, Maureen McDonnell, RN, Dr. Liz Mumper, Dr. Nancy O’Hara and Dr. Stephanie Cave) decided from the onset this event would be different. Yes, there were excellent and informative CME lectures on the science, and practical approaches for getting the kids better, but additionally these sisters in science spirit and spunk crafted the agenda with careful consideration for the caregivers.

Thanks to the generosity of our title sponsor Hopewelll Pharmacy and Compounding Center, our Gold sponsor OxyHealth and our additional high quality, hand selected companies, attendees were provided with nurturing and rejuvenating experiences that included: free massage, organic food for all meals (thank you Houston Enzymes), a lakeside wine reception, a workshops on ways to create a healthy home or office, toxin free dentistry and healthy gf/cf diets with added information on the how’s and why’s of vegetable juicing and fermented foods. Parents and clinicians alike took advantage of early morning yoga, walked the beautiful trails, swam in the lake, enjoyed the live performance by H Hanson, learned stress management techniques, benefited from sessions on healing relationships and danced (with some wild socks) at the Saturday night SOKHOP.

The 3- day event ended with a special closing ceremony that focused on the healing energy that we each possess. Together we focused that energy on our children and on ourselves. There is hope for us all to HEAL.

Follow the healing retreat movement on our soon to be launched on line community. More details to follow or go to for updates.

Thank you to all who attended and we look forward to seeing you next year!

The Sisters in Science, Spirit and Spunk

Visit Your Healing Retreat for photos and more.

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

Generation Rescue Teams Up With Magic Bullet to Help Autism Community!

Magic bullet
Wow, here's a fabulous product tie in for Generation Rescue that will wrap around and come right back to the community purchasing the product.  And it's something we can all use! And afford. As you know, GR puts dollars, hope and help into the hands of families through their grants, Rescue Angel program and so much more. And they fund actionable research that could directly impact your child in his lifetime! (There's a concept, eh?)

Think of the smoothies you can make with this beautifully blue Magic Bullet. Supplements for the kids and maybe a little something on a Friday night for Mom and Dad? (Share your recipes in the comments.)

Introducing the Rescue Bullet, the limited-edition blue Magic Bullet, where a portion of the proceeds benefit Generation Rescue. Catch Jenny McCarthy on HSN July 18 and visit the Facebook page July 19 to get your own Rescue Bullet before they run out!

Catch Jenny McCarthy on HSN (Home Shopping Network) July 18 during the follo
wing segments: 9AM - 10AM EST 5PM EST (20 Minute Segment) 10PM - 11PM EST

Visit Generation Rescue to learn more, find that last credit card with a few bucks on it (ha ha!) and order yours! KS

Win Two Free Tickets to the AMAB Cleveland Autism Conference!

Free ticket By Kim Stagliano

THE CONTEST IS CLOSED. We'll alert the winners by email.

We have ten sets of two free tickets (one for you and a friend) to the AMAB conference in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday July 22 and Saturday July 23rd compliments of the conference organizers and our wonderful sponsor Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy. Leave a comment to enter. Winners announced on Monday.Go to to learn more.

I'll be speaking and signing books on Friday afternoon and would love to meet you!

Speakers include Raun Kaufman of Son Rise, Dr.Patrick Elliot, a surgeon with twin boys on the spectrum, Dr. Derrick Lonsdale, a pioneer in Defeat Autism Now! (and our daughter Mia's first physician for autism treatment) and many others. The therapy panel on Sunday includes top speech, OT and cranio-sacral experts from the area. Click HERE for the complete list of speakers.

Lunches and refreshments are included each day

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