SafeMinds' Mark Blaxill Testimony at Autism Hearing
November 29, 2012
Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and Members of the
Committee. I am honored to be here today
on behalf of the non-profit organization, SafeMinds, grateful to Chairman Issa for
today’s invitation and humbled by the opportunity to represent the community of
In addition to my comments, I have provided a more extensive report from SafeMinds and documents for the record.
In 1935, a John Hopkins professor named Leo Kanner wrote the world’s first textbook on Child Psychiatry. In 527 pages and 43 chapters, Kanner described every psychiatric condition in children know to medicine at the time. There was no condition remotely resembling autism.
In 1938, Oliver and Mary Triplett left Mississippi with their five year old son Donald to visit Kanner, by then considered the world’s leading authority on children’s development. When Kanner met Donald he was fascinated. He had never seen a child like him.
In 1943, Kanner wrote a paper inspired by Donald. “Since 1938,” he wrote, “there have come to our attention a number of children whose condition differs so markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far, that each case merits-and, I hope, will eventually receive-a detailed consideration of its fascinating peculiarities.”
The oldest child of the eleven described was born in 1931. Kanner subsequently diagnosed hundreds of children with autism, but never found a case born before 1930. The historical record is clear: before 1930, the rate of autism was effectively zero.
Today, nearly 70 years after Dr. Kanner’s paper, reported autism rates are 1 in 88 American children born in the year 2000. In some states, the rate is higher than 1 in 50.
In New Jersey, 1 in 29 boys born in 2000 were diagnosed autistic.
What’s going on? Why are so many American children sick?
Let’s be clear. Autism is a public health crisis of historic proportions. Worse than poliomyelitis. It’s devastating a generation of children and their families. We need to face up to the reality. Autism is a national emergency.
Here’s a summary of historical autism surveys in America. For a long time, reported U.S. autism rates were low, estimated at about 1 in 10,000. Then around 1990 something new and terrible happened to a generation of children. Autism rates didn’t just rise, they multiplied. This escalation occurred in both “full syndrome autism” and the broader autism spectrum, including Asperger’s syndrome.
Some observers have claimed this rise is not real. That numbers are going up because of “better diagnosing.” While it is true that we now diagnose autism with better tools, that doesn’t mean there is some “hidden horde” of overlooked autism cases. The old surveys didn’t just miss 99% of children with autism. Anyone who reads them will see the obvious: it’s clear the researchers were diligent in finding cases and confident that they found the vast majority of children. It’s horrible but true; reported rates of autism have risen simply because there are more cases of autism.
In the midst of this crisis, the federal agencies responsible for the health of our nation’s children have failed in their duty. CDC’s negligence has led the way. Many believe CDC has actively covered up the evidence surrounding autism’s environmental causes
NIH has received the lion’s share of Congressional funding, money they have wasted on status quo research and gene studies. It’s absurd to focus on genetic research in this crisis, there’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic.
CDC first started investigating environmental causes in 1999 in Brick NJ. Their survey data showed that autism rates went from zero in 1989, to 1 in 128 four years later. But they used statistical tricks (and the fact that autism surveys miss many three and four years olds) to publish a finding that there was no increase.
A CDC analyst also discovered in 1999 that higher levels of infant exposure to a mercury compound in vaccines increased autism risk more than tenfold relative to zero exposure. The analyst wrote about this result to his supervisors: “It just won’t go away,” he said. But he and his colleagues used more statistical tricks and published a finding that made the risk go away.
In the financial world, the result of the pressure to manipulate numbers to provide the answers bosses want has a name - securities fraud. In medicine there are similar pressures: they’re called special interest politics and peer review and what the CDC has given us is the medical equivalent of securities fraud. All to avoid the inconvenient reality of the autism epidemic.
In 2006, Congress gave the NIH a mission to “combat autism.” You authorized $850 million for that mission. Frustrating to most in the autism community, NIH spent most of that money on the great autism gene hunt while blackballing environmental researchers and defying parent concerns. It’s been a colossal waste of money and time. Not a single case of autism has been prevented. Not a single child received improved treatments. American families deserve better.
In 2011, autism parents asked Congress to fix the bill. We told you that when you spend that much money on the wrong things, you haven’t just wasted taxpayer dollars, you’ve compounded the problem by reinforcing the denial. Unfortunately, Senate leaders didn’t take the time they needed to fix the problems; they simply extended the old bill for three more years and the House went along rather than see nothing move forward.
In the face of a national emergency, government agencies, especially CDC and NIH, have performed poorly and behaved badly. We need accountable, new leadership on autism at the NIH and the CDC. We need an advisory committee that believes in combating autism, not one newly stocked with appointees who oppose the mission, who want us to surrender to autism and oppose prevention and treatment research. We need a Combating Autism Act that truly combats autism. We need to stop investing in the autism gene hunt and identify what has changed in the environment that could have possibly injured so many children.
We need to conduct independent research into the great unmentionables, mercury and vaccines, connections that we’ve documented in the earliest cases. (I have provided to the Committee copies of my book, The Age of Autism which provides this history). These are the only environmental factors identified so far that are plausible causes for the magnitude and timing of this crisis.
Ultimately, we need to face and answer the question, why are so many American children sick? We will only do that hard work if agency leaders are held accountable to the American people, not powerful interests in the medical industry. So we’re asking you, the members of the Committee for your help.
The autism community owes a debt of gratitude to Congressman Burton for his dedication to these issues. We hope as he retires from Congress, that other members of this Committee and Congress will continue his good work in seeking the truth about autism.
Don’t make this hearing a one-time episode. Stay on the job in the next Congress. Root out the failures, the waste, the fraud and the abuse.
There’s a crisis and we need your help.
Thank you for your time.
Safeminds Thorsen Background Report - Nov 2012
EBCALA Paper Unanswered Questions
A SafeMinds Report on the Federal Response Submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
The new and terrible thing that happened in 1991...the CDC mandated that every infant receive the hep b vaccine at 1 day old.
Posted by: Bev | December 04, 2012 at 07:19 PM
The CDC never did any studies safety of the CDC's childhood immunization schedule which pediatricians across the country rely on to immunize our children. In other words our kids have been used as guinea pigs and that in itself is criminal. At the next hearing, the Reps need to haul in the members of the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) for questioning. What is the combined effect of these vaccines on a young child's immune and neuro sytem? There is no science that shows that assaulting a young child immune sysem with 6, 7, 9 vaccines at once is safe. SHOW ME THE STUDIES ACIP!!!
Posted by: Sarah | December 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM
1d My Comment
Coleen Boyle, CDC’s Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Her testimony showed that she is in a job way beyond her ability and understanding of many facets of this tragedy that must be addressed. It was obvious that this woman has trouble holding two thoughts at the same time, in that loose mind. Forget about walking and chewing gum at the same time.
She meets all the criteria of THE PETER PRINCIPLE! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle
The Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization's members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, "employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence." In more formal parlance, the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently.
Alan Guttmacher IACC NIH Child & Human Development Director Mr G has that rare talent of being able to use many words giving the illusion of answering a question. When I was younger we called people with this magic ability BS’rs.
The above two out of touch incompetents should be fired immediately.
Mark Blaxill Was brilliant! Sure would love to see him get the job to over see this tragedy and it’s solutions. I guarantee all the parts of this puzzle would get addressed!!
Posted by: Paul S | December 01, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Wow. What can I say? As always, Mark…so eloquent, succinct, and intelligent! Awesome Job!
Signed: “A Blast From The Past” ;-)
Posted by: Kelli Ann Davis | December 01, 2012 at 09:12 PM
I watched all of this today, and it does seem by their statements that many of the congressional representatives are receptive to the facts regarding vaccines and mercury as causation for autism.
I just hope and pray that all of these committee members read the book that Mark gave them because IF they do, there is no doubt that they will recognize the truth...although it is a different story as to whether they make a stand for it, since some may choose to remain "politically correct" for the sake of their careers or bank accounts.
President Obama just signed into law a provision for the increased protection of whistleblowers so we can only hope that SOMEONE will blow the whistle regarding the fraud and waste of taxpayer money in relation to the coverups of the vaccine and mercury issues, which has resulted in the loss of so many millions of dollars. That could get the ball rolling alot faster, but so far since no major players have allowed their conscience to guide them, just maybe someone will figure out that the "handwriting is on the wall" and they had better cut a deal with the Justice Department before the FBI or whomever else ends up investigating this as a crime against this country and it's children and families.
Regarding future meetings, I realize that they had alot of issues to cover, but they really need to hold separate meetings for separate issues in order to get sufficient information and testimony. Mark Blaxill did a great job with the huge FIVE minutes that he was alloted, but I noticed that he had to skip over some things to get the major points made within that tiny window of opportunity. So I am glad to see his complete testimony that was submitted in this article.
I typed notes on this from my computer, but I would have to listen several more times to get all of the major points covered. Since this is 3 hours 45 minutes long, here are some time points in the meeting regarding Mark Blaxill's testimony, starting off with Rep. Dan Burton at 3:00:
DAN BURTON (R-Indiana): [3:00 point]
“Abraham Lincoln said 'Let the people know the facts and the country will be saved”
[3:2 point] “2.4 billion in Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund is not being disseminated to the vaccine injured”
MARK BLAXILL [3:11 point]
DSM-4 stated goal: “corrective narrowing of diagnosis"
“no studies of un-vaccinated population vs. vaccinated population”
Rep. Mike Kelley
“IACC seems to be missing the mark if we can be so far off on this”
[3:15 point]BOB WRIGHT – Autism Speaks:
“What we need is a national strategic plan”... “money is significant but it isn't necessarily spent in as thoughtful way as is possible”
"There needs to be a combination of the CDC, NIH and FDA... to actually undertake the correct research, stay with it, especially in safety research on vaccines going forward."
MARK BLAXILL [3:18 point]
MARX BLAXILL [3:30 point]
Posted by: AutismGrandma | December 01, 2012 at 07:42 PM
i would volunteer for such a study of vaxxed vs unvaxxed, because i don't allow my child to get the shots...but it's too late, because the only vaxxing my child received resulted in immediate seizures, and later she was diagnosed with autism.
she has received no further vaxxing. once was enough.
i'm nearly 60. when we were kids we got measles, mumps, chicken pox, influenza and all managed to survive nicely. never even knew a person who knew a person with autism!
i've got a natural immunity it seems to chicken pox, as did one of my daughters.
my grown daughters were born before the shiny new "recommended schedule" for vaxxing. true enough, they never got the things they were vaxxed against, but neither have i, nor has my adoptive child gotten any of those things that the shots allegedly prevent...even tho she has only received that first one
that first and last one...the one that gave her autism.
Posted by: moon batchelder | December 01, 2012 at 06:05 PM
There is only one reason why public health officials have been so successful in creating their "plausible denial" theory .. that autism has always been as prevalent in the world and any increase in autism is likely due to better diagnosing and a broader definition.
That one reason is the complete failure of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)which is widely recognized for receiving less than 10% of "voluntary reports of adverse reactions to vaccines".
How can anyone claim the "benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks" .. when the ONLY agency responsible for monitoring the risks is receiving less than 10% of the information upon which to evaluate those risks?
So .. in addition to Rep. Burton's request to re-examine the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program because that program has proved itself incapable of providing its original intent .. which was to make compensation awards quicker and less confrontational. Instead .. those seeking justified redress in the Vaccine Court must endure lenghty trials with little chance of receiving compensation due to vigorous opposition of numerous HHS lawyers determined to protect the compensation funds .. rather than awarding those funds to the vaccine injured .. as was the intention of Congress.
Congress MUST re-evaluate the demonstrable pitiful performance of BOTH .. VCIP and VAERS.
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | December 01, 2012 at 05:16 PM
“Some observers have claimed this rise is not real. That numbers are going up because of ‘better diagnosing.’ While it is true that we now diagnose autism with better tools, that doesn’t mean there is some ‘hidden horde’ of overlooked autism cases. The old surveys didn’t just miss 99% of children with autism. Anyone who reads them will see the obvious: it’s clear the researchers were diligent in finding cases and confident that they found the vast majority of children. It’s horrible but true; reported rates of autism have risen simply because there are more cases of autism.”
Mark emphatically made the critical point: autism is not just a new name for a condition that’s always been around. Autism is an emergency. It deserves immediate attention.
Guttmacher described autism as “a national health priority.” He explained, “More children are being identified than in previous years.”
Guttmacher said “definitely” when asked if autism predated vaccinations. “It probably existed before. It’s just that nobody noticed the
pattern…. Well before the immunization era…There’s heavy suspicion that it existed before.”
This is really the starting point. Everyday in the news there are stories that try to convince the public that all the autism is better diagnosing of a condition that’s always been around. With every increase in autism, authorities at the CDC and officials from the American Academy of Pediatrics would make their incredible claim that they still weren’t sure how much the increase was better recognition and how much might be some real increase.
There is a desperate need to do this. If they can continue this smokescreen, then the explosion in the number of children with autism and the coincidental dramatic increase in the number of shots kids get is just that—a coincidence.
Back in 2006, I wrote the piece, The Really Big Lie about Autism.
Several months later, I wrote another piece on the subject.
Officials may produce a number of studies that pretend to link changes in the autism rate to the environment and lifestyle changes, but in truth, they’re doing everything to keep the lie alive. I personally think the push to revise the DSM is fundamentally designed to cover up the numbers. Narrowing the diagnosis will successfully cloud the issue and enable officials to declare that the all the autism was over-diagnosing.
Anne Dachel, Media
Posted by: Anne McElroy Dachel | December 01, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Congressman Elijah Cummings: "I'm just sitting and I'm listening to all this. There's something wrong with this picture. There's something wrong and it's... When you've got this combination of shots and you go from one in 10,000 to one in 88, it seems to me that somebody would say, let's put the brakes on this. And at least, let's try to figure out whether, if I'm giving a baby nine shots in a day... how much impact that's having. I mean, if they gave me nine shots. ..I wish you could see the people behind you. There are grown men that have been crying behind you, and women—crying. Let’s err on the side of keeping children safe. Even if we have to do a pause and give children one shot a day.”
Coleen Boyle can’t get around the facts. The CDC has never studied the effects of the dramatically increased vaccine schedule.
They’ve never looked at the kids with regressive autism to determine why these kids suddenly and dramatically changed.
Routinely doing easily manipulated population studies to show no association with anything just doesn’t cut it. It’s phony science slavishly promoted by the media. It flies in the face of common sense and what’s happening in the real world.
Congress needs to face the fact that our federal health officials at all levels have failed in their mission. They’ve put the interests of the drug industry over the health and safety of our children. Now they’re more concerned with self-protection than admitting their own malfeasance.
Anne Dachel, Media
Posted by: Anne McElroy Dachel | December 01, 2012 at 02:18 PM