Best of Age of Autism: Why Tom Insel Must Go!
CDC reported that the autism rate is at least 1 in 88 yesterday. And IACC announced new members. Dr. Insel wrote on his NIMH site yesterday, Autism Prevalence: More Affected or More Detected? and still questions, from the zenith of the government cash pot whether there is an actual autism epidemic. Trampoline falls are an epidemic according to AAP. Obesity is an epidemic according to CDC. But children who face a lifetime of under/unemployment, sheltered living, and even death? Still wondering... Use this Tweet today: CDC: 5 years, $686 million, still no idea whether autism is epidemic or not. IACC = I Am Completely Clueless! #autismresearchfail
By Dan Olmsted
Thomas Insel, the feckless factotum who heads the committee that will decide the future of the autism epidemic, needs to follow Dr. Story Landis (HERE) out the door TODAY and resign as chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Tomorrow is too long.
Landis inadvertently revealed the bankruptcy of Insel's leadership of the group when she both bashed parents and suggested investigating the most severe cases of vaccine injury -- which is all the parents want -- in notes dropped on the floor (see the notes here) at the IACC, recovered by friendly forces and reported on our blog by the relentless Katie Wright.
At an IOM environmental working group meeting in 2007, I walked up to Insel and handed him a copy of the piece I'd written for the Baltimore City Paper, implicating mercury in the first cases of autism. (See "Mercury Rising" HERE.) Insel told me he thought that the mercury hypothesis had been disproven (not true, but certainly his right to say so). But then he went on to say, in these words or just about, that of course, it still could be the vaccines.
So two years ago, he told me vaccines could be causing the autism epidemic -- and to others, he acknowledged that he believes the autism epidemic is real. Since then, he has dillied and dallied, shillied and shallied, and otherwise failed in his duty to the American people to get to the bottom of the autism epidemic with all deliberate speed.
In fact, he shouldn't just resign from the IACC, he should quit as head of the National Institute of Mental Health and go help his brother invent more vaccines to give babies. (See When Vaccine Development is Family Business: Thomas Insel's Conflicted Role on Vaccines and Autism ) I don't think they get enough, do you?
Of course, he won't do that. But until he does, let's realize that the IACC is a sham, run by people like Story Landis (gone) and Tom Insel (go!) who have one thing in common: They're bureaucrats who make the trains to Autismland run on time.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.
Dan E Burns, thank you for your comment on my comment, and the concise link to my books on Barnes & Noble!! How did you ever find that?
I read your July presentation at IACC yesterday on my iPhone while waiting for the showing of the first film at the annual Moving Images Film Festival here in Boston, two thought-provoking films on dealing with trauma, War Torn 1861-2010 and Rebirth (see http://projectrebirth.org/). I attended with my movie-buff autistic (Aspergers) son, whose favorite films will be a subject for conversation in a future book (Back to the Future, Trading Places, etc). One of the Rebirth participants revealed a second trauma during discussion of the film, two children on the autism spectrum. This epidemic is an outrage.
I am very impressed with your Autism Trust organization and plans for lifespan communities. I wish we could establish such a community in Massachusetts. My son is capable of so much more than his current group home placement offers. We have toyed with the idea of setting up a hobby shop based around model railroads and cars, but I have no business smarts.
As for IACC, the best meeting they had was when people came with their autistic children. I hope they will have more meetings like that in the future. The federal members of IACC are the people most in need of "autism awareness".
Posted by: Eileen Nicole Simon | April 01, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Good work, Eileen. That's the way to do it! Use the IACC as a springboard to launch our message into other media. No one expects the committee to respond immediately. Our greatest impact is with the much larger after-audience.
I looked up your books, and here's the link: http://ow.ly/9ZLr8
Posted by: Dan E. Burns | March 31, 2012 at 09:14 AM
Ivor Hughes, thank you, and it is not just the needle being used to usurp Mother Nature. Read Marsden Wagner's Born in the USA, How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Mothers and Infants First.
Dan E. Burns, I will lookup your presentation to the IACC. I made the trip down there several times (in 2003, 2008, 2010), but held to a strict time limit. Discussion of public comments were advertised, but nothing more happened than asking committee members at the very end of the meeting if they wanted to discuss public comments.
Remember the remark last year, "It's time to change the conversation?" OK, I am now putting my conversations up on Barnes & Noble as Nook Books, all with the primary title Autism and the Inferior Colliculus. See Book 4, Topics of Conversations, a collection of comments I have submitted to the IACC since 2003. Public concerns need to be discussed. Why isn't the language handicap of children with autism the primary focus of the IACC "strategic plan"???
Posted by: Eileen Nicole Simon | March 31, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Remember at the NAA conference in Atlanta (you was there) when Tom Insel said "his hope is that someday they can come up with a vaccine for autism" that should tell everyone how clueless he is.
Posted by: Jeff Ransom | March 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM
One in eighty eight ?
That is a sizable army .. of people locked into realities that are not ours .. and then what of the mothers .. and for those that still hold to old values .. mom and dad .. that is an even a larger army .. and then the support brigades of those who empathize with the waste of human potential and the suffering ....
Exactly what are we waiting for .. take it to them .. sock it to them .. hit them in the pocket .. bring down the false idols ... let these people know that we pay the wages .. because those who serve us have got out of hand.
But its not gonna happen is it ? Too many Ladies and Gentlemen, who after all have some vested interest in the system .. and after all we were the ones that consented to that fateful needle .. it is understandable of course you have already been frightened out of your wits as to what will happen if you dont.
But hey when ya try to usurp Mother Nature by thinking that science knows best .. she has shown us that we are involved in a race .. a contest that we cannot win .. but enough .. the numbers are in .. where is the General who will lead us to victory ?
Posted by: Ivor Hughes | March 30, 2012 at 09:30 PM
So, if Senator Dan Burton is retiring -- I wonder if he is retiring in all things?
Posted by: Benedetta | March 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Is this Matt Carey the actor?
Posted by: Benedetta | March 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ok, Dan Olmsted and John Stone, I've been introduced,via private email, to the pharma-challenged members of the IACC committee. Now I can see why the faithful and astute among our readers are alarmed.
Is it possible that the unfortunate makeup of the IACC is in part a failure of organization on our side? I've worked with Tom Insel; he's not necessarily an enemy, just a politicized bureaucrat (and a competent administrator) pretending to be clueless and trying to keep the autism trains running on time, as Olmsted suggests. Insel will go where the wind blows. Our opponents are the blowhards. And the sad fact is that IACC is as much about politics and money as it is about science. Yes, as you say, John, it is a game, and cynical one in the sense that survival of the organization, power, and reputation are among the drivers. But it's also at least a little bit about people caring for people and trying to work together with their opponents, IMHO, and it's a game we need to learn to play, because that's the way the system works and wishing it were otherwise won't make it so.
The good news is that we can use the committee to put numbers on the scoreboard. As far as I know, anyone can request time to present to the IACC during the scheduled public discussion time slot, like I did a few months ago. Presentations are videoed and placed in the public domain. Organizations can sponsor a presenter, edit the public domain video, and issue a press release putting whatever spin on it they like: "FEDUP-DOT-ORG DENOUNCES CDC FOOTDRAGGING TO AGHAST INTERAGENCY AUTISM COORDINATING COMMITTEE." In other words, IACC is a national stage. We can perform there and write our own reviews.
And people listen. After my presentation, I was contacted by Autism Speaks, who tried to solicit my cooperation as Chair of ATUSA to prevent a change in the rules governing the IACC committee mandate. On advice of the Canary Party, I declined. But Autism Speaks can lobby for change in the committee structure and mission, so can our team. Are we doing so?
In my fantasy, and yours, Dr. Insel the "feckless factorum" resigns and is replaced by somebody with a dog in the fight. But what if he doesn't resign? Or what if his replacement is worse, or the committee folds? Then where's our stage? The choir has already heard our side of the story. Now we need to be evangelists ... to take our narrative to Ninevah.
Posted by: Dan E. Burns | March 30, 2012 at 04:46 PM
From March 29 NBC Today.... should pediatricians 'fire' unvaccinated patients?
Dr. Tanya Benenson states that studies have "debunked" the link between Autism and vaccines. (we have another debunker to be debunked)
Dr. Benenson ALSO STATES she is using an "alternative method" for vaccinating her child, which means she is not following the standard CDC, AAP vaccine schedule.
Did she scrap the heb b vaccine on the day of birth ??? Did she scrap the rotavirus vaccine which is used only in the USA and one other country ???
Posted by: cmo | March 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Having read Insel's lenghty comments on the latest CDC estimated rate of autism being 1 in 88 .. I am certain of two things:
#1 .. Mr. Insel is as "befuddled" by dramatic, continuing increases in autism today .. as he was when he was first appointed Chair of the IACC in January 2007.
#2 .. Mr. Insel appears incapable of acknowledging his pitifull performance as Chair of the IACC .. a Federal advisory committee that is responsible for the critical task of coordinating all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism spectrum disorders.
Consider .. Insell in his comments .. had no problem identifying all the questions raised by the latest CDC estimate .. such as:
"These new numbers, up 78 percent from 2002 and 23 percent from 2006, raise immediate questions. Are more children affected or more detected? Does the increase reflect a growing problem, or do these new numbers reflect an improvement in our ability to diagnose and serve those affected? .. "These new results, as with those from other records-based surveillance systems, do not answer questions related to why the identified prevalence of autism has changed over time."
However, the "mission" of the IACC is not to keep ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS YEAR AFTER YEAR .. it is to PROVIDE ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS BY:
a) Providing advice to HHS regarding Federal activities related to ASD
b) Facilitating the exchange of info and coordination of ASD activities among the member agencies
c) Increasing public understanding of the member agencies' activities, programs, policies, and research by providing a public forum for discussions related to ASD research and services.
The IACC .. under Insell's chairmanship .. has done NOTHING to fulfill their "mission" statement.
Indeed, Mr. Insell's leadership of the IACC has been so demonstrably unsuccessful .. BY ANYONE'S STANDARDS .. the honorable thing for him to do would be to VOLUNTARILY RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | March 30, 2012 at 09:58 AM
There are only a certain number of people that are allowed to sit on this committee, right?
And these people are backed by organizations.
Allison Singer - who is backing her now?
Your last comment says it all;and they need to think about that and they need to get scared.
"Bureaucrats who make the trains to Autismland run on time."
And because they don't seem to be scared - makes me wonder about them?
Posted by: Benedetta | March 30, 2012 at 09:40 AM
I am viewing this from the other side of the Atlantic but our side has given plenty of attention to the committee (as evidenced for example by the numerous stomach-churning reports by Katie Wright in these columns) and it is perfectly obvious that they are just playing cynical games (as for instance where they had a secret meeting to overturn a decision to investigate vaccines - with Alison Singer voting against the policy of Autism Speaks, who she was representing).
Posted by: John Stone | March 30, 2012 at 09:03 AM
The IACC is not supposed to take sides; its mission is "to ensure that a wide range of ideas and perspectives are represented and discussed in a public forum." Insel supports the mission by agreeing with everybody. Lynn Redwood is on his committee, seated right next to Alison Singer. If more people from our team attended the public meetings and spoke out in Insel's forum, we could extend our reach.
Posted by: Dan E. Burns | March 30, 2012 at 08:38 AM
The only purpose of this committee is to see how much of our lives and our children's they can waste with their tomfoolery. As a matter of record Insel's close associate and now boss of the NIH, Francis Collins, told Congress all of 6 years ago that the rise in autism was real and the causes environmental
but yesterday Insel was still musing that it might be better identification. Meanwhile, a new gang of pharmaceutical industry stooges are appointed - good God they've even got LB/RB's Matt Carey there (presumably the US tax payer will to pay for him flying in from California four times a year). Now that's really going to crack it!
Posted by: John Stone | March 30, 2012 at 06:38 AM