Dan Olmsted at Autism One on The Wakefield Inquisition
President Obama and Governor Romney on Vaccination

Philadelphia: We Can only Guess about Autism

Liberty_bell_ringing_hg_clrBy Anne Dachel

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently had the op-ed piece, “And the latest cause of autism is . . .” HERE  by Michael Yudell.

In keeping with the usual spin from the mainstream press, Yudell shows no alarm over the autism numbers nor does he talk about any urgency to find answers. His message to us is--we don’t know the cause of autism but we’re sure it’s not vaccines. And we’re going to be very skeptical over any claim that could in any way implicate vaccinations.

He writes,

Autism, the lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder marked by a range of social and communication impairments, has seen its share of reckless claims about causes and cures.

Actually Michael Yudell is giving us only a general description. (If he’s sure it’s lifelong, show us the millions of autistic adults that have been studied.)  His piece doesn’t come close to describing how seriously impaired and desperately ill many children with autism are.

From the belief that the emotional coldness of the so-called refrigerator mother caused her child’s autism to the fabricated science that vaccines were a trigger, such misbegotten ideas have, at best, offered only temporary hope to affected families, and, at worst, done incalculable harm to the public’s health. Because scientists still know so little about autism’s causes – almost certainly a complex combination of multiple factors – it should come as no surprise that claims based loosely or not at all on science continue to attract public attention.

Fabricated science”? That line only works if you believe the endless pharma-funded studies brought to us by the agency that runs the vaccine program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the real world, parents know about Hannah Poling and the 83 cases of vaccine-induced autism that have been compensated by the federal government. The public is also aware that the late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, went on CBS News HERE in 2008 and said that the vaccine-autism question is still open. She said we need to look at the children who got sick—the ones who were born healthy and were developing normally until they suddenly and dramatically regressed into autism following routine vaccinations—but no one is willing to do that.

Parents also know about the power and influence the pharmaceutical industry has over our health officials and they’re aware that if it’s clearly recognized that an unchecked, ever-expanding vaccine program is behind the exponential increase in autism, lots of people will be held responsible. People like Yudell can defend the official denials all they want but those families dealing with an autistic child are tired of waiting for answers.

At quick glance, a recent opinion article in the New York Times by writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff, claiming that “perhaps one-third, and very likely more” of autism cases look like a brain-damaging inflammatory disease caused by a parasite deficiency that “begins in the womb,” offers interesting insight into the science of autism causation. Researchers around the world are hard at work trying to decipher the puzzle that is autism, and Velasquez-Manoff draws attention to some of their work.

But upon closer inspection the article’s claims about the causes of autism and its possible treatments and cures are not an accurate reflection of the best state of the science, may generate widespread misinformation among a public impatient for answers, and should caution us about how to present ideas about a disorder that has witnessed the communication of so much bad information.

Yudell is quick to poke holes in what Moises Velazquez-Manoff wrote about. His claims don’t reflect “the best state of the science”? There is no “best state of the science” when it comes to autism. All autism generates are denials and guesses when it comes to the cause.

Yudell needs to realize that the reason the public is “impatient for answers” is because scientists and officials have turned their backs on a generation of disabled children in favor of covering up a national health emergency with worthless and expensive pretend science. Every couple of weeks another claim for causation is out there. Yudell’s amusing title here, “And the latest cause of autism is…” is a slap in the face for many parents struggling everyday with a severely affected child. How much time do we have to guess about autism and do nothing to stop the epidemic and improve the lives of these children?

I think Yudell is most upset at the Moises Velasquez-Manoff piece in the Times because the idea of brain inflammation can easily be linked to vaccinations. The Yahoo News story about it, Can You Prevent Autism? HERE brought up vaccinations.

For the past few decades, autism has been one of the scariest mysteries of parenting, with debate swirling around its definition, how rapidly the epidemic is growing, and most urgently, what causes it. 

That’s why we were surprised to read a claim this weekend by science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff in the opinion section of The New York Times that scientists have figured it out: In at least a third of cases, autism is an auto-immune disorder that starts in the womb.

“The mother’s attempt to repel invaders – her inflammatory response – seems at fault,” the story says. A range of maternal issues from disorders like celiac disease, asthma and arthritis to getting sick during pregnancy in the most common ways–flu, urinary tract infections–have been shown to be significant risk factors for autism.

The story is a science-writer’s synthesis (informed by a wide and reputable body of science) but has far-reaching implications for all pregnant women. Most surprisingly, it includes a twist on the autism-and-vaccines story, which is that the mother being vaccinated, even for common things like the flu, could be a risk factor for autism. 

This story had experts opening once again the door to the vaccine-autism claim.

“Not every vaccination or flu episode is going to result in an autistic outcome,” says Dr. Paul Patterson, a professor of biological science at CalTech.

Not every, but some vaccinations may “result in an autistic outcome”?

Dr Judy Van De Water an immunologist at the MIND Institute at UC Davis recommended that women get their flu shot BEFORE they become pregnant. In other words, it might be a risk factor for autism to get a flu shot WHILE PREGNANT?

No wonder Yudell is out to trash the Moises Velasquez-Manoff premise. Yudell writes that Velasquez-Manoff “makes claims that are inaccurate and in some cases simply untrue, leaving readers of one of the most distinguished opinion sections in the world with a false impression of autism causation and a possible cure.”

I have noticed that when reporters write stories like this they don’t tell us about the autistic children they’ve personally observed or the number of parents of autistic children that they’ve had in-depth conversations with. Commentators like Yudell have the luxury of talking about “the puzzle that is autism” without ever mentioning the rate. They seem satisfied to leave autism the perpetual mystery. They close their eyes to things like regressive autism, the absence of adults with the disorder, the massive amount of evidence raising serious concerns over vaccine safety, and they show no concern over the future for a million children with autism who will eventually age out of school.

The only message to parents in Yudell’s piece, “And the latest cause of autism is …” is to expect no answers.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. subscribe to her newsfeed at AnneDachel.com.


Cherry Sperlin Misra

To Alain, Usually when one does an expensive research study, one begins at the point of some hypothesis. So lets say we take a look at the situation in New Delhi, which I am familiar with- Lets look at the adults who were in my nursery school between about 1974 and 1994. Well, I did not see any, thats right ANY autistic kids in my nursery school in those 20 years, so I dont think I would bother looking for autism in those adults. And then, starting in 94 or 96 we began to see autism cases in my school and from 2003 (by coincidence correlating with introduction of mercury laden Hep B and Hib vaccines on the pediatric schedule)- we began to see autism cases very frequently. so, obviously, if I study the kids of those years, now as adults or teenagers, I am going to find autism.
So I dont think Im going to do that multimillion dollar stupid study of something that I already know.This is exactly what people at Age of Autism have had enough of-
money wasted on useless studies that are a road to nowhere
Find autistic adults? in people born before 1980? Youre going to look like O.J. Simpson going door to door with the glove to find his wife's killer.

Angus Files

Sooo sad when we have the non believers such as Alain voicing on here ...but its always good to see how much of the jabberwocky pharma science they believe...and how herd like,the thought process is to make such dull comments....


Maurine Meleck

If only people would understand that autism is not a mental disorder.That might really help. Thanks, Anne.

Kim No-Vac

Alain . vaccines = filth ......end of story .

Have you seen the pictures of Zeda Pingel before and after Gardasil , I can forward .
48,000 left wounded in India after Polio jab from Gavi\Gates
4 killed in Nepal from measles jab .

The evidence against vaccines is overwhelming if you take off those blinkers .

I have books and books of evidence , folders and folders of evidence - let me know we can hook up .

Most of all though Alain , please take the flu jab for yourself and keep your entire family fully up to date with all their vaccines and boosters etc etc . You see the evidence first hand yourself soon enough.

How Much Longer?

I want to read that Velasquez NY Times article. When my son was four he got pinworm. He wasn't very verbal, a word here and there. But when he took the anti-parasitic medication he became fully verbal and I got to know him on a whole other level, then his speech regressed once the medication was discontinued. I have always wondered what that was about. It happens on antibiotics too.


Hi Hera,

I had bout of self-injurious behaviors caused by anxiety, sensory overload or pain (sometime a combination of all 3). It wasn't head banging as described in the video but something as painful which I don't want to disclose in public record (here or elsewhere). I can understand what the young guy in the video is going through and wishes there was more training for the intervener and family to help deal with that.

Keep that in mind, the research group I worked for isn't in pharma's pocket (never has been) and I advocate doing something to help autistic people's life, be it as autistic people or not but it should be autistic people who should decide (perfect example would be Jake Crosby).

regarding non-verbal autistic people, they comprise about 15% of autistics in total and in their case, was it possible that the telephone interview occured with the gardian of the non-verbal subject? according to the paper:

"A few of the selected respondents were incapable
of undertaking the interview alone because of mental or
physical incapacity. For them, the option of a proxy interview with another member of the household or someone else who knew them well was available (Figure 1)."

regarding the ratio of asperger subject to autism subject, the differentiating factor is language ability. Currently, I pass for neurotypical in the untrained eyes and I would have very likely have received a diagnostic of asperger if it weren't my hospital record from 6-7 years old specifying a language delay and several intervention with a speech-language pathologist and also, a throat surgery where I woke up during the surgery and who did nothing to correct my voice. The point I want to make is that language ability is not static (nothing really ever is in autism, it's not a developmental stasis) and the adult surveyed might have a higher preponderance of asperger because they didn't have a documented language issue when young; in that case, the psychiatrist have no choice but issue a diagnostic of asperger syndrome. It is still possible that a language issue is there in adulthood and those subject would be issued a diagnostic of autism.


Look at Hera's video and then thank God for his small mercy to you personally.


My son is high functioning.
Where he goes for his epilepsy treatment - called him asking for his opinions - A survey.

A few questions in and heard him give a big sigh and ask how many more questions were there. I also heard some of the questions and his responses were way off. He had long given up listening to the questions - trying to understand them - had was just doing what ever to get through it.

How do you give a phone survey when to people with communication problems???


Hi Alain, hope you don't mind, but sometimes I am not sure you actually know what severe autism looks like.Plenty of peopel who have not seen it for themselves do not understand.
This is a heartbreaking video of a handsome young man with the "new" autism;I would be interested in your thoughts.


As always, consider the source...(sigh)

Dr. Yudell Receives Grant to Study Vaccine Distribution

Dr. Michael Yudell, an assistant professor at the School of Public Health, was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity, to conduct research examining the challenges to integrity in vaccine development and distribution for public health emergencies.

The award builds on Dr. Yudell’s research into ethics of scientific advances and communication. The controversy surrounding the Andrew Wakefield report has polarized many stakeholders on the issue of vaccinations, leaving a deleterious impact on the public’s health.

Dr. Yudell’s project will examine ethical aspects of developing and distributing vaccines in settings of public health emergencies. Potential problems in the conduct of research on vaccine development and distribution and how perceived conflicts of interest concerning vaccines may influence public response to information, interventions, or recommendations will be explored through the development of case-studies and the convening of a one day workshop of a diverse group of stakeholders. Wide dissemination of workshop findings and case studies is expected, as is the promotion of partnerships among diverse stakeholders to improve preparedness for the next public health emergency.

“As health professionals, we owe it to the public we serve to define our values and to articulate a governing ethics that will hold us all responsible for our actions,” said Dr. Yudell.

Dr. Yudell is a researcher in the fields of ethics, genomics and history of public health. His work focuses on the history, risk communication and ethics of autism spectrum disorders, as well as emergency preparedness, vaccines and the history of the race concept in biology. He has published two books on the mapping of the human genome, and is currently writing a history of autism. Dr. Yudell has published numerous articles in both academic journals and popular magazines, and regularly presents at conferences nationwide. He also serves on the Ethics of Vaccines Project and is a member of the Newborn Screening Advisory Board in the Department of Health in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Yudell received his PhD and MPH degrees in Sociomedical Sciences from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, MPhil in American History from the City University of New York, and BA in History and Soviet Studies from Tufts University.


@Alain: Really?


Hi Alain,
As John says that study is unfortunately useless.When I first heard about it,I was interested,and even willing to consider the possibility that I was wrong about generational prevalence.
Then I looked at the study and had to laugh.
As you may be aware, to get a diagnois of autism, two diagnostic criteria can include inability to speak, and disinterest in social interaction.
So how would you find these non social, non verbal adults? Easy.You conduct a TELEPHONE survey and rely on respondents GOOD SOCIAL MANNERS to stay on the phone with the questioner.
Then you ask questions that aren't even related to an autism diagnosis.Do you prefer to go to the library or a party? Most introverts are going to prefer the library( a little under half the population.)
Not surprisingly, these never before diagnosed adults were discovered to be unique amongst those with severe autism; they could speak, liked social interaction and NEVER NEEDED ANY SERVICES as adults.There was no record of them needing any services or having any diagnosis at all as a child, either.
Currently, the US has twice as many adults as children per the census bureau, so there should be twice as many adults wiht autism as children , right now, if the rate has remained constant.
Gotta love that study..

John Stone

Hi Alain

The study you mention could not be better proof that they were unable to detect the cases and had to make them up in line with politically correct thinking. Outrageous.



Anne Dachel,regarding the adults autistics, it's already been done here:

Epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders in adults in the community in England
Traolach S. Brugha, MD(NUI), FRCPsych; Sally McManus, MSc; John Bankart, MSc, PhD; Fiona Scott, PhD, CPsychol; Susan Purdon, MSc, PhD; Jane Smith, BSc; Paul Bebbington, PhD, FRCPsych; Rachel Jenkins, MD, FRCPsych; Howard Meltzer, PhD

and I blog about it here: http://www.securivm.ca/2012/08/lepidemiologie-des-adultes-autiste.html

When running that study to a friend who's doing her PhD in epidemiology, she commented that such a study run into a few millions dollars to replicate so if you are not inclined to take account of that study, how about doing one for yourself? Financed by Generation Rescue maybe...


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