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Thinking Mom Takes on Thoughtless Doc on NPR

Tmr bookBy Anne Dachel

June 10, 2013, KALW Public Radio San Francisco, Your Call: How are moms organizing to help their kids with special needs?

Alison MacNeil, co-founder and author of The Thinking Moms' Revolution and Megan Davenhall, co-founder and author of The Thinking Moms' Revolution were guests on "Your Call," a program on KALW public radio in San Francisco.
The topic was getting help for sick kids and host Rose Aguilar let listeners know that the situation is dire--our children are chronically ill in never-before-seen numbers-but there is hope.  Rose solemnly announced that fifty percent of U.S. children live with some form of chronic illness, calling that number "staggering." Megan Davenhall talked about how it's now "normal" to have a child with asthma and debilitating food allergies. 
Alison MacNeil talked about how the book, The Thinking Moms' Revolution, came about, how the 23 moms and one dad found each other and put their stories together.  Megan brought up the failure of the medical community to do anything to address what's happening to children today. 
Alison made it clear that her son Nick was injured by his vaccinations.  She gave us a litany of the health problems he lives with.  Alison stated that Nick "was born healthy" and before his 15 month vaccinations he was "meeting all his developmental milestones." 
Megan also said her son was born healthy and that continuous ear infections and antibiotic use set him up for vaccine injury. 
Alison brought up the fact that doctors have no liability if a child is harmed by vaccines and said that only a fraction of vaccine injuries are ever reported.
Megan agreed with the suggestion that GMO foods are also a factor in the decline in the health of our kids and their growing sensitivity to certain foods. 
When Rose opened the phone lines for calls, a mom called in to say she's had to struggle to get help for her daughter with sensory issues and outbursts. 
Next a doctor phoned from Berkley to discuss the "misinformation that vaccines actually lead to autism" that was being discussed on the show. 

"The link between vaccines and autism has, for all intents and purposes, been disproven."  She was adamant that studies show no link. 
Alison countered by saying that the schedule as it's given has not been studied. 
The doctor said we're seeing "increased detection" because the definition of autism has changed. Megan disagreed.  She talked about her experiences as a teacher and the changes she'd personally witnessed in our schools.
According to the doctor, all that is anecdotal.  She said it was dangerous to be talking about this topic on the air to a large audience.  
Rose asked the doctor about the huge increases in autism and she responded by saying, yes, "there may be something environmental going on."  She suggested that it might have something to do with older parents, but mostly she thought it's because of changes in the definition.  The same thing is true about ADHD.  The doctor urged caution about the diagnoses. 
Alison and Megan stressed that autism doesn't stand alone.  These kids aren't "a little quirky."  They're sick.  They're in pain. 
And there are answers.  We were told that healing the gut can help the autism.  Homeopathy and diet can make a big difference in a child's health.  Megan emphasized that there are so many ways to help these kids, but "it's up to the parents."
Robert Sears, MD, joined the conversation at the end of the show and talked about what's happening to our kids.  As a pediatrician, Sears didn't see the conditions he's seeing now when he started practicing medicine in the 90's.  He believes our toxic environment is damaging our children.  He urged parents to be green and organic.  He endorsed the protocols that Megan and Alison talked about to help autistic children get better.
What stood out in my mind as I listened to this was the disconnect between what the moms said about how sick their children are and the response of the emergency room doctor who called in. 
The doctor called to counter the "misinformation."  She referenced the studies that show no association and retreated to the tired claim that signs of autism "happen to occur around the same time certain vaccines are given."
The doctor conceded that while there may be "some degree of increasing prevalence," there is also "a huge degree of increasing detection" because of the changes in the definition. "A lot of things that in the past may not have been called autism spectrum are now called autism spectrum because of increased recognition."
This doctor sees no real problem with so many autistic children.  While "there may be something environmental going on," she's not really interested in what it might be.  It just can't be vaccines. 
Actually I could have predicted what this doctor was going to say when the host announced that a doctor from Berkley was on the line.  They always say the same things.  They've got all the studies that show no link.  There's never really a problem with a soaring autism rate because the definition was changed and doctors are better at diagnosing it.
In truth, no one really buys that defense.  All the studies officials use have been shown to have pharma ties. 
Those studies are the least trustworthy in medicine.  "Epidemiological" may sound impressive but in reality they're just population studies that are easily flawed and likely to be manipulated to get the results the researchers want.
It's almost laughable to still be hearing that a definition that was changed almost 20 years ago is still responsible for the continual increases in autism.  Just how good are doctors going to get at recognizing it?  And as long as no one can show us a comparable rate among middle aged and elderly Americans, there is no proof that all the autism is just better diagnosing of a disorder that's always been around.
This ER doctor is on very shaky ground.  If she really wanted to make her case for something in the environment, she'd have been able cite something other than older parents. 
She can't say they looked thoroughly into the issue of vaccines and autism-because they haven't.  They've never looked at the cumulative schedule.  They've never looked at the kids who suddenly and dramatically lost learned skills and regressed into autism to see what the causal factors might be.  They've never done a simple retrospective comparison study of never vaccinated and fully vaccinated kids to see if they have the same rates of chronic health issues, including autism. 
I was amazed that the doctor ignored the whole first part of the discussion where Megan and Alison talked about how sick children are. Why are kids now plagued with things like chronic infections, seizure disorders, asthma, bowel disease, life-threatening allergies, arthritis and diabetes?  She never addressed this issue.
This doctor is an emergency room physician.  Emergency room?  She must be seeing an endless parade of children coming into her ER with these problems.  In the early years of my son's life we're made so many trips to the ER that I said we should have chairs with our names on them in the waiting room. 
John had chronic ear infections, sinus and upper respiratory problems where he couldn't stop coughing.  He had tubes in his ears and the ER doctor finally said, "He's here so much, he's probably got asthma.  Lots of kids do." 
That was it.  I finally got so tired of the endless prescriptions for antibiotics from doctors who didn't care that I became determined to make my son healthy.  I turned to a naturopath who introduced me to homeopathic remedies, supplements, and natural medicines. I learned about organic food, raw milk, and free range meat. I now grow an organic seed garden and can my own vegetables. I threw out all the toxic cleaners in our house. 
Incredibly, John got better. The whole family is extremely healthy and we're going to stay that way.
The message from this doctor is that we just need to accept the status quo.  She did her best defend vaccines and ignore autism, along with everything else crippling a generation of children.  The Thinking Moms, Alison and Megan, offer hope.  They told about things they did to improve the health of their children.  They're sharing their ideas everywhere and people are listening.  The ER doctor needs to realize that the Thinking Moms are also the Writing Moms and the Talking Moms, and they're never going to stop!



Someone explain to the Berkeley doctor this equation: Anecdotal = Reality.

Every hour, every day, doctors base their diagnoses on anecdotal evidence.

Why is that same firsthand empirical evidence discounted for vaccine safety reporting?


Just saw film "The Hobbit." toward the end the main character Bilbo Baggins has a choice to make. the leader of the group he's joined is under attack, about to be beheaded. Bilbo looks in terror, his face a wondrous study of fear. He's just a halfling with a short-bladed knife. His side is overpowered by numbers and strength. And they're losing...badly. What can he do?

He attacks. He's no warrior, but his ferocity gives him strength. His chivalry gives him endurance. His love gives him the edge he needs until rescue is available.

Replace "bilbo" with "mom" ... Imagine it's her kid--attacked, beaten, brutalized. And you'll agree, these are Talking, Writing, Thinking, Fighting Moms. and yes, Dads, too

Back in the box? Might as well ask them to go back to the Shire and bake cookies...

Proud Mom of Thinking Parents!

Marie-Anne Denayer

Does the lady doctor have children? If not does she plan to have any? Either way, isn't she concerned that autism could someday affect her family? What would she do to minimize her kids'risk(s) to regress into autism?
Unless autism is one of those catastrophic events that only happens to "others".
Of course it is not that big a deal, right, since according to the news individuals with autism are computer wizards, therefore readily employable,


A doctor of my acquaintance told me that he knows several "insert-name-of-giant-HMO-here" pediatricians who don't vaccinate their own children.

Erik Nanstiel

I never hear doctors come up with any new talking points/arguments against a vaccine-autism link. They're like broken records...and their thinking is from the era of when we used to play records! I know parents who understand the pathologies, chemistry/science of how vaccines work better than most doctors who administer them. And that even when a vaccine "works," it does so at a cost to the body.


We were in San Francisco for the presentation the day after the radio show. There was not one dissenting voice there. We are coming out of the shadows because there are so many affected children. We are pushing them into the shadows. That Dr. couldn't site any specific studies at all. I think she knew that if she tried, Alison and Megan could have shut her right down.


I'm glad that Dr. Sears called in to confirm that family docs and paediatricians were not diagnosing and treating children in nearly the same numbers 20 - 25 years ago, and it's not because the diagnosis criteria have broadened. It's because it was rare for a child to have autism. Children that hit all of their early milestones and in many cases were ahead of the developmental curve, weren't all of a sudden losing language and retreating into their own world. The "better diagnostic" argument is so absurd and so tired already.

Laura Hayes

Thank you, Alison and Megan, for sharing your stories on public radio. No doubt, you saved at least one child and one family (and hopefully, many more!) from the devastations of modern "health care," which I now refer to as "death fare." And, Anne, thank you so much for yet another timely, well-written, and poignant article. You, your tenacity, and your perseverance to keep speaking the truth and exposing the lies are inspiring and very much appreciated :)

Shelly, I loved your "they'll never get us all back in the box" comment!

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you to these moms and the NPR program for having this discussion.

Alison MacNeil

Birgit Calhoun, I live in a similar community to Berkeley, CA - Cambridge, MA likewise full of 'enlightened academics' afraid to look at this stuff with any depth. And you are right Shelly, "they'll never get us back in" the box!


A few days ago I met a young professional couple and their 6-month-old son. At some point the mom announced that the boy was "already on Claritin." She wasn't upset, though. She seemed kind of proud.

Birgit Calhoun

Talk about UC Berkeley when it comes to research having to do with mercury. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, when David Kirby came to Berkeley anumber of years ago to promote his book "Evidence of Harm", I went to see what it was all about. I had been interested in mercury ever since I started my website on Dental Amalgam and Mercury in 2000.

After the reading there was a question and answer session that I remember very vividly. Among all the thoughtful questioners there was a young student who was going into graduate school at UC Berkeley studying chemistry. He said that he was there with his professor to find out more about mercury. He wanted to know whether it would be a good idea to study the toxic effects of mercury. His professor shot him down saying that he would never get grants. Corporations don't want to fund studies having to do with mercury. He would wind up in a dead-end field; there is no money in it.

I don't know if things have changed since then. I rather doubt it. It's a shame that the only way a line of study can be pursued nowadays is with corporate assistance. The corporate arm has thoroughly influenced where people put their interests. Corporations pretty much govern what is studied at the graduate and post-graduate level.

My own experience is that the area where I live is full of "enlightened" academics who are afraid to venture into anything controversial, and curiosity is not their strong suit. It is a wasteland when it comes to open-mindedness about autism. It even is a wasteland regarding fluoride and Vitamin D.

The San Francisco Bay is polluted with mercury, and it is hazardous to eat fish coming from its waters and surrounding lakes because mercury has been mined here since the gold-rush days. Some of the creeks around Almaden (near San Jose), named after the mercury mine of the same name in Spain, have red-tinged rocks of cinnabar near the water's edge.


Isn't it amazing when a parent takes a sick child to a doctor and the doctor turns to the mother and says it's her imagination, which is basically what this ER doctor is saying. Go home and accept the status quo. So, the parents are stuck with curing their own children. My new grandchild is not going to receive any vaccinations. She will get vitamin D, breast milk, and acidophilus instead. Because my daughter has to work I am going to be the caregiver and I'm thrilled. And in terms of sick people I've noticed that people my age are getting horribly sick now too under the doctors' good care. I know people that are in and out of the hospital with cancers and RA and all sorts of autoimmune disorders. I am healthy but then I learned the hard way by having a sick child--no "immunizations" for me either, organic meats and vegetables, no gluten, only whole organic yogurt for dairy, no wine.... Thankyou for standing up and fighting, and for writing. There are more and more of us out there who pass on that vaccinations.

White Rose

Dont forget the Effin Angry Dads !


"The ER doctor needs to realize that the Thinking Moms are also the Writing Moms and the Talking Moms, and they're never going to stop!" I love that statement. When the AAP, AMA and CDC tell parents there is no hope, that is exactly what pushes parents into looking outside the box. There are so many of us outside the box now, they'll never get us all back in.

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