British Medical Journal: the Emperor has no Clothes
HDNet World Reports Looks At Vaccines and Autism's Mixed Signals 8/23

Doctors on Autism Environment Tightrope: Dr. Perri Klass in NYT

Dr tightrope By Anne Dachel

August 8, 2011 the New York Times published the story, 'Environment' Poses a Knotty Challenge in Autism, by Perri Klass, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, New York University.  Doctors like Klass are in a difficult position these days.  After two decades of pediatricians taking credit for the better diagnosing of autism and claiming that it was a genetic disorder that's always been around, the latest research on twins has given us stunning evidence that autism is more likely determined by factors in the environment.  Now the big questions are: What's causing so many children to be disabled and how can we prevent more kids from ending up on the spectrum?  

Are doctors demanding research?  Are they scrambling for answers?  Are they scared the numbers could get worse than the current rate of one percent?

Evidently Dr. Klass isn't too worked up over all the autism no official can explain.  Her biggest problem is that parents keep asking her questions and she has no answers. 

Klass said, "Although there is more research in this area than ever before, it sometimes feels as if it's getting harder, not easier, to provide answers that do justice to the evidence and also offer practical guidance." 

Klass cited the research on twins, "The study sought to determine how likely the second twin was to have some form of autism. If autism was highly heritable, identical twins should have been far more likely to both have autism than fraternal twins. But the researchers found that fraternal twins were unexpectedly likely to both have autism

"The implication is that something in their common gestational or early childhood experience may have contributed to this similarity."

It would seem that autism could be prevented if we can just determine what the environmental factor/factors might be.  So the obvious questions are: What are scientists looking at?  What is harming our children like never before?

 

Before she got to that, Klass gave us the history of autism back to the days of the refrigerator mom theory.  As far as the environment is concerned, Klass cited

Irva Hertz-Picciotto at UC Davis who said, "An environmental influence might be a chemical the fetus is exposed to via the placenta, or it might refer to aspects of nutrition, maternal health, stress - or perhaps exposure to a microbe."

Klass went on, "The causal links most strongly supported by research include rubella infection during pregnancy and prenatal exposure to medications like thalidomide and valproic acid, an anti-seizure drug. Other environmental factors, like air pollution and exposure to certain pesticides and other chemicals, have been found to be associated with autism, but without evidence of causality.

"In a 2010 paper in the journal NeuroToxicology, Dr. Amir Miodovnik, a pediatrician at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his colleagues showed that children who had been exposed to high levels of phthalates prenatally were more likely to show social impairments at 7 to 9 years of age.

‘Yet these data don't demonstrate cause and effect,’ Dr. Miodovnik said. …'Every case is probably a result of the confluence of many factors. No case probably has one cause.'” 

Miodovnik said that potential toxin are everywhere.  But he did urge prospective parents to avoid fertilizers and not to micro-wave plastic. 

Klass added, "Take prenatal vitamins before trying to conceive. Make sure your immunizations are up to date. Get good prenatal care. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any medications you take."

So I guess lots of things might be causal when it comes to autism.  These doctors couldn’t tell us anything specific nor did they seem particularly worried about the explosion in autism, but prospective moms were urged to get vaccinated.  What seemed to bother Klass most is the fact that parents keep bringing it up. 

Klass ended her piece by saying, “Learning more and understanding more ought to make us more helpful to parents, and of course to children. We respect them by acknowledging that there is nothing simple in the development of autism: The causes are genetic, and not simple, and environmental, and not simple. And if the studies tell us anything clearly, it is that we have much to learn about the interplay of genes and environmental exposure and the individuality of this complex disorder.”

What’s clearly missing here is any projected date for when experts might actually be able to tell us something--anything for sure.  Will autism continue to be a mystery during our lifetime?  Our children’s?  In a hundred years, will we be getting any closer?  This was an article offering no hope.  None.   Just one more doctor unalarmed and unknowing about autism.

I found out some interesting things about Klass.  First of all, she wrote a book called, Quirky Kids.

This is about the high end kids with Asperger's and high functioning autism who were recognized in the DSM IV in 1994. The term "quirky" made me immediately think of Dr. Paul Offit.  Offit’s famous for dismissing the explosion in autism saying, "People that we once called quirky or geeky or nerdy are now called autistic."

Perri Klass admires Offit and like Offit she denies that vaccinations have any connection to autism.  I found a review of Offit’s book (HERE) where Klass wrote, "Deadly Choices carries a very important message for parents, journalists, physicians, and everyone who cares about children and health. It is a passionate, but also compassionate, call for civil discourse and rational conversation on a subject which matters so much to each of us individually and to us all as a society. It is a fascinating account of society and science, politics, publicity, and public health."

Klass and lots of other doctors have been dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the environment is harming our kids.  They don’t have any answers for parents.  They’re right there listing every toxins known to man, except of course the toxic stew commonly called the vaccination schedule. 

Most telling of all is their blanket refusal to do two things that would give us the most conclusive findings on autism.  Experts are not out there calling for research on those children who were born healthy and were developing normally and who suddenly got sick and regressed into autism and a host of other maladies.  Something dramatically impacted their health.  Why is it that scientists are afraid to look for the common factor?  This is the research that Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the NIH, called for on CBS News in 2008.

Second, autism-vaccine deniers like Offit and Klass refuse to call for a study of never-vaccinated and fully-vaccinated kids to compare their rate of autism.  Offit has gone on the record saying that this type of study would have to be designed with one study group not getting vaccines and that would be unethical.  However, in this day and age, with so many parents afraid to vaccinate, the study group is out there. 

I figure that we now have endless years ahead where experts cite this possible environmental trigger, maybe that one.  They'll claim that the issue is just too complicated.  We'll probably never know what causes autism in any particular child.  I remember what Thomas Insel, head of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, said when he was speaking at MIT in 2009.

Insel: "I said before this isn't just genetics... There have to be environmental factors."

"We have barely been able to scratch the surface."

"There are something like 80,000 potential toxicants."

Wow--80,000 potential toxicants?  Autism will continue to be the disorder without a cause because we are now at a point where there are just too many possibilities?   When my son was diagnosed the self-assured doctor was convinced that my husband and I were “genetically mismatched” and that's why our son had autism.  Parents will now be told that their child was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was exposed to any number of triggers.  "Sorry, we have no idea what caused it.  Nothing we can do." 

The good news

The doctors who unabashedly tell us they know nothing are being upstaged by ones who are interested in finding answers.  On August 10, 2011, the story  Mercury and Autism Link Strengthened was published.  All the doctors I talked about here--Klass, Hertz-Picciotto, Miodovnik, Offit, and Insel--should be interested in this news.  The piece was by Ananya Mandal, MD and it explained stunning new research linking susceptibility to mercury damage and the development of autism. 

"According to researchers a family history of mercury poisoning could be a significant risk factor for developing autism.

"The researchers from Swinburne University in Melbourne surveyed 522 Australian survivors of Pink disease - a form of mercury poisoning common in the early 20th century - found one in 25 of their 398 grandchildren aged six to 12 had an autism spectrum disorder. This prevalence is six times higher than the one-in-160 diagnosed in the general population. Author Associate Professor David Austin said, 'We asked the pink disease survivors to report any health conditions that their children or grandchildren had been diagnosed with. The survey included questions about Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy and autism.' The prevalence rate of most disorders was comparable to general population figures, however, the rate for autism was extremely high.

"Pink disease affected 1 in 500 young children with a hyper-sensitivity to mercury, it caused a range of severe symptoms including loss of speech, loss of interest in usual activities, hypersensitivity to light, pain and, in up to 20 per cent of cases, death. When mercury was identified as the culprit and removed as an ingredient in teething powders in the 1950s, the disease was essentially wiped out.

"The study, published this week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found the grandchildren did not have elevated rates of other conditions such as epilepsy, Down syndrome or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Authors write that this study added to mounting evidence of a link between genetics, mercury sensitivity and autism-spectrum disorders. They said the research also strongly suggested autism was caused by combined genetic and environmental factors."

This is reputable science and it links a known neurotoxin to a neuro-developmental disorder.  A one in 25 risk for autism.  It's a little hard to walk away from that statistic.  And amazingly, the lead author, David Austin cautioned mothers to avoid mercury exposure, "This can be done by observing the recommendations of Food Standards Australia regarding seafood consumption, opting for non-amalgam dental fillings and requesting preservative-free vaccines from your doctor,"

So what about it, Drs. Klass, Hertz-Picciotto, Miodovnik, Offit, and Insel?  Does this research give you any clues to why hundreds of thousands of children now have autism?   

Dr. Insel, will the Australian mercury findings be on the agenda for the next IACC meeting?  Are you going to ignore this study like all the others that have raised serious concerns over the safety of our ever-expanding vaccine schedule? Will we continue to wander in the desert as more and more kids disappear into the lost world of autism?

Anne Dachel is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. Subscribe to her newsletter at AnneDachel.com

Comments

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Sue, I completely agree with you. "Medicine" will never mean the same to anyone who has watched this autism debacle. Currently, three people known to me are battling cancer and I have to wonder- Are they are where they are today because the cancer researchers used the autism mode- That is - Send the researchers down every avenue of the maze that you know has a dead end or goes off into the wild blue yonder? I also have to note that all three of these people travelled abroad often, which means lots of vaccines- two of them and possibly all three took regular,yearly flu shots. ( Oh, sorry, Dr. Klaas, I forgot that we have to talk about "other chemicals" for an eternity before we look at vaccines)
It is interesting to note that although I know very few Americans, because I have lived in India for many years, and on the other hand I know a huge number of Indians - It is the Americans who have cancers. I rarely hear of people in India that have cancer. And it is to be noted that adults in India rarely take vaccines of any kind. I fully realize that this kind of personal experience does not prove anything , but maybe this is an area of interest for someone and possibly there are clues here. Yes, friends,as I type I can hear those cries of "Anecdotal!!!" from the doctors- but shall I point out that it was the conclusions of the parents of the autistic kids, drawn from their anecdotal kid experiences, that are turning out to be the truth today. Fancy that!

Kathy

This was a good article. I have the perspective as I believe it is both genetic and environmentsl. However, because of the attack on the immune system from vaccines, etc, environmental factors are the LEADING cause of Autism. Genetics only account for a small amount...I know this because my 3rd son was not vaccinated and was dx with severe infantile Autism at 1.5 years old. My older son, I believe regressed after his vaccinations...which is why I did NOT vaccinate my third or fourth child. My fourth child ( as well as my first born) is typically developing. WIthin my family, ( husbands father, my brother) there is HFA. My brother had huge reactions to vaccines to where the ped told my mother to not vaccinate him any longer...that was 50 years ago!!!! I do think History needs to pay attention to itself!! I just did a blog on this ( although it is in reference to complimentary therapies to Bio med!) http://educationforremediation.blogspot.com/

Kathy

Lisa

Sometimes I feel like I am in some type of alternate universe reading the media of our time. I liked this article for highlighting how the writer seems so thoughtful and measured but is actually pretty creepy. Another example: I just got my first issue of Whole Living magazine, a Martha Steward eco mag which I subscribed to after reading an article about safe bug spray (it didn't work). The new issue featured a question column with the Chairman of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Woodson Merrell. He addressed, Do I need a flu shot?
Even though this is a supposedly a wholistic magazine, and "integrative" doctor, indeed the head of the department, now that is impressive, he of course never even mentioned that most flu shots contain mercury. How can you leave that out with those credentials? Aside from the shot, he recommended hand washing and "wellness practices." Here are my suggested wellness practices: Don't inject mercury, and don't subscribe to that magazine. By the way these people leave things out, or massage the facts, they are misleading and brainwashing the American public with tragic results.

Adam M

One word. RETRIBUTION. That's why autism wont stop. In Pink's Disease there wasn't much to speak of. But this time around there is too much on the line for the establishment. Careers and an entire industry will be wiped out over night. As J.B Handley has said the trust in the medical profession will be lost for generations. They just can't bring themselves to confess.

Sue

Coincidentally I came across this website: http://www.pinkdisease.org/ this weekend and the entry "Heather's story" found under the Pink Disease section. Her story brought tears to my eyes because so many of Heather's struggles mirror those of my "quirky" child. The doctors may claim to not know what causes autism. But the fingerprints of mercury are all over this tragedy, if only all those "wise" monkeys were willing to open their purposefully closed ears and eyes.

What a difference it would make to so many kids and families if the cause of their struggles was admitted and real efforts to help them were undertaken with those billions of dollars now being wasted. There are dozens of sources of mercury that may have affected our kids--not just the mercury in vaccines. The desire to protect vaccines from culpability (apparently no matter what the cost to children, families, and society) blinds them to any consideration of the obvious connections.

Mainstream medicine is showing its true colors in this debacle. It is not about health, it is just about making money. They don't want that truth to be known. Because when one realizes what has happened to our children, the prism through which one sees the whole medical industry shifts. And many, many more of the lies they tell us become crystal clear. What remains difficult is figuring out just how deep and far back the lies go.

Benedetta

GH:
Nick on the article of "gut microbes", just finished looking at this study too.

You might look in on what he just finished saying about it.
It is over my head so much that I will have to read and re read it several times to understand it.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/test-for-autism-measuring-gut-microbes.html

Rachael

Have they ever taken in to account, that one of the near universal characteristics of autism is introversion. That's not to say all introverts are autistic. However, introverts do have higher levels of certain types of brain arousal and are more sensitive to some kinds of stimuli, including repeat vaccinations.

Autism experts say, that they recognize the subtle signs present in infants and some dispute claims from parents that say, that their children were "completely normal", prior to a vaccination, but, perhaps, those signs were just those of a normal, developing introverted child.

When children with "introverted personalities" are diagnosed as possible future autistics, the experts have their butts covered. They will say they were correct in their diagnosis; that the parent was wrong, when that parent claims their child regressed into autism after a vaccine. Without that repeat vaccination, the more sensitive, introverted child may have grown up to be a normal, healthy, introverted adult, like many of their parents.

GH

Here is a study that has found that 81% of autistic children have a marker for autoimmune illness, yet has been largely ignored, while finding single digit percentages with genetic markers has made headlines in the past:

Abstract

Autoimmunity to brain may play an etiopathogenic role in autism. Osteopontin is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been shown to play an important role in various autoimmune neuroinflammatory diseases. Osteopontin induces IL-17 production by T-helper 17 lymphocytes, the key players in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders. Anti-osteopontin treatment reduces the clinical severity of some autoimmune neuroinflammatory diseases by reducing IL-17 production. We are the first to measure serum osteopontin levels, by ELISA, in 42 autistic children in comparison to 42 healthy-matched children. The relationship between serum osteopontin levels and the severity of autism, which was assessed by using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), was also studied. Autistic children had significantly higher serum osteopontin levels than healthy controls (P<0.001). Increased serum osteopontin levels were found in 80.95% (34/42) of autistic children. Children with severe autism had significantly higher serum osteopontin levels than patients with mild to moderate autism (P=0.02). Moreover, serum osteopontin levels of autistic patients had significant positive correlations with CARS (P=0.007). In conclusions, serum osteopontin levels were increased in many autistic children and they were significantly correlated to the severity of autism. Further wide-scale studies are warranted to shed light on the etiopathogenic role of osteopontin in autism and to investigate its relation to IL-17 and brain-specific auto-antibodies, which are indicators of autoimmunity, in these patients. The therapeutic role of anti-osteopontin antibodies in amelioration of autistic manifestations should also be studied.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21521652

victor pavlovic

It will be amazing when finally all these doctors that are crying about the safety of vaccines like Klass, Hertz-Picaiotto, Offit, and Insel have to admit that the toxins in vaccines are causing autism and other diseases/conditions, and yet they were supposed to be the experts in their field to prove this but blindly missed it.

Maurine Meleck

This is all so incredibly frustrating. You know as well as I how these deniers invade the media
like prolific cockroaches and work their way into the minds of the average American. Great how you strung it all together in this piece, Anne. Sometimes I wonder if I can make another comment, but then what choice do we have? Maurine

Benedetta

About a week ago on the Kawasakis website- I read and comment on a lot too, a parent wrote in and ask if it was safe for her 8 month old to be around another child that is just getting over Kawasaksi.

Another parent that blogged some on this website replied that her child that came down with Kawasakis also had an identical twin and another sibling and they were all together the whole time, and if anyone would have gotten Kawasksi it would have been these siblings, so the 8 month old was safe.

This parent was then attacked out of the blue!!!!! Surprised me! I did not know what to think Here is The commment that was made by empowered parent - I have never ever heard of that name before, but it sounds just like another blogger I know-- who makes these comments all the time to hurt other bloggers feelings so they will leave!!! Here is the comment.
- let me quote

"I'm sorry I just have to comment here about people not thinking before they give advice. Yes KD isn't contageous, but the child is still being treated and KD can include an underlying virus and maybe a virulent one. When my daughter had KD, my son had the underlying virus too. It NEVER hurts to be cautious because doctors are going to discount issues because they have a full caseload of VERY sick patients. A small baby hanging out with a child who just had KD might not be a good idea. And just to be clear I pulled my daughter out of preschool after KD for several months because I didn't want to overtax her immune system. Not doctor recommended but not everything that makes sense is. I was married to one and know many as I've been in health care for almost 20 years. They don't know everything and to assume they do is foolish"

There is a big push on this website to say Kawasakis is genetic.
Their big doctor they are always quoting came out with data that she is claims makes it genetic. There are holes all in it for anyone that can think and reason.
When I said different, I as attacked and when I quoted the new study out about autism and twins in California they then said what does autism have to do with Kawasakis, please keep to the subject and stay on topic???

Never mind that a lot of parents after their child is better with Kawasakis are coming back to this website and asking about aggression , delaid speech, delaid potty issues.
A Lot is going on out there my friends, and it is dark, sinister and black evil - the age of enlightment is most certianly endangered. After blogging I do have to step outside to see the sun still is shining. I gathered my watermelons last night -My son and I are going to sell them at the end of our road. I need to meet normal, common people that are innocent and sweet, and wipe some other people's evil out of my mind for awhile.

Barry

The reason why the medical establishment refuses to do a study comparing vaccinated and COMPLETELY un-vacinated children, is that they already know what the results of that study will show. And they also know what the implications of those results will mean for them.

The medical community is responsible for an enormous crime against autistic children and their families. And they know it. There isn't a single piece of scientific evidence to prove the safety and/or efficacy of any vaccines that has ever been produced. Yet there is an ever growing mountain of evidence which strongly indicates that vaccines are indeed the cause of the autism epidemic.

The only reason the public is still so blissfully unaware, is that the powerful forces behind this travesty also own the media. And when you own the media, you will always have the power to bend the truth in whatever direction you want it to go.

Bob Moffitt

Unfortunately Anne .. I seriously doubt we will see the "Austrailian mercury findings" on the agenda for the next IACC meeting.

After all .. if history is to be our guide .. Drs. Klass, Hertz-Picciotto, Miodovnik, Offit, and Insel .. will ignore these findings as they do all others that threaten their very successful "delay, deny .. til the day they die" stragegy.

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