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Katie Wright On IACC: Buie Educates, Wachtel Shocks

ECTBy Katie Wright

Dr. Tim Buie gave an incredible and impassioned presentation on the pervasiveness and severity of GI disorders among the ASD population. Buie provided devastating video footage of young ASD adults with pre GI treatment engaging in aggressive and self-injurious behavior. He spoke about how vastly under diagnosed this problem is and how the manifestations of pain are largely treated as troublesome behaviors, treated with anti-psychotics. Over and over Buie detailed classic signs of GI pain in the severely affected and minimally verbal ASD population:

1)    Strange posturing, laying on table and chairs
2)    Self injurious behavior
3)    Aggressive behavior, biting and scratching
4)    Food refusal
5)    The obvious: constipation and diarrhea

Buie estimated that over 50% of ASD children have GI disorders yet only small percentages actually receive treatment. Even today as the AAP accepts that GI disease among ASD children is real, most pediatricians and pediatric GIs do cannot recognize the signs of GI pain nor correctly diagnose the problem.

Immediately afterwards Dr. Buie Dr. Lee Wachtel of Kennedy Kreiger gave a talk that was as bizarre as it was disturbing. Watchel theorizes that a number of symptoms commonly found in ASD people are actually a psychiatric disorder called “catatonia.”

What are the symptoms of catatonia?

1)    Strange posturing
2)    Self injurious behavior
3)    Food refusal
4)    Constipation

Guess what the treatment for “catatonia” is? ECT -ElectroConvulsive Therapy. (Yup, shock treatment.)

I mean really, the woman was sitting through Buie’s presentation but is so determined to proceed with her wacky theories and barbaric treatment she just blocked it all out?

Kennedy Krieger’s autism unit is entirely psychiatric. No GI experts, no immunological clinicians, and no discussion of possible celiac or debilitating food allergies, nothing about regression…..It is all in your head, baby.

Dr. Wachtel went into painful detail about the late 19th century Russian origins of catatonia. On and on about a case study in Germany 100 years ago and a possible catatonia subject among Kanner’s original study. God, help me. Does anything better than this illustrate the gigantic disconnect to what ASD brain researchers feel is important vs. what is actually important?
All the while Dr. Wachtel spoke with such self-satisfaction? Her affect was totally bizarre and inappropriate.

Catatonia? Please, more like environmentally induced brain damage.  For example, when my son began his regression he would freeze, no longer responding to his name or sounds, just staring into space. This could happen a dozen times a day. Regression also meant loss of manual dexterity and find motor abilities. Whereas pre regression Christian would happily run to the playground and climb everything in sight, post regression Christian just stood like a statute staring at a slide for hours if I had allowed him. He could no longer climb a ladder or remember how a swing worked. This wasn’t “catatonia” it is, sadly, vaccine induced brain damage and total body inflammation.

How could food refusal and constipation mean anything OTHER than GI pain? Maybe I just do not understand how the brains of some ASD neurologists operate? If I went to the doctor with constipation my doctor would not prescribe ECT. ASD kids frequently refuse to eat or just pocket food because digesting food causes so much pain. Do you really have to be Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots here?

I have two Masters in psychology. ECT as practiced in 2013 is not “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” I get it. ECT IS an appropriate intervention for a person actively considering suicide, for whom all other options have failed. However, even in those cases there is a very lengthy informed consent process. ECT is a very serious procedure.

Wachtel did show footage of extremely self-injurious ASD people prior ECT and after in which the harmful behavior was eliminated. Don’t get me wrong, I have a severely affected son and we all want the horrific self-injurious behavior to stop. I am happy these 2 children in the video improved but and so disturbed that Wacthel seems to have no understanding of the medical basis of so much of the self injurious behavior. ECT should be option 10 out of 10, not 3 out of 10.

We are talking about performing a devastatingly serious medical procedure on a disabled person who cannot consent. I was so disappointed when instead of addressing this as the human rights issue it is Scott Robertson of the Autism Self-Advocacy Network once again, got all agitated that the doctors were not talking about adults receiving ECT but children. Scott, for heaven’s sake, who cares? If Wachtel were talking about doing ECT on ASD adults then you would be fine with that? Talk about missing the point! Where were all the aspergers voices who were so concerned that a wandering code potentially violating their civil rights? A wandering code is so disturbing to ASAN but ECT treatments are not?

Watchel would not discuss any side effects of this dangerous procedure and even became irate when a committee member voiced concern about the safety of ECT. If there is anything, anything at all, we have learned in this autism epidemic is that informed consent and safety really, really matter and that the human brain is exquisitely delicate.



I started watching the video of this meeting and noticed that after one individual went through treatment for catatonia, someone was helping him/her to make a pizza. Hmmm.



No the Fm system is as you described and is the solution of choice for the time being for APD particularly here in the UK - but it does hiss a lot which was why i wanted to get hearing aids but no one would help us or allow me to buy them till he became "adult" sized! Our NHS wouldnt give him any as they believed he could hear - but based on his comment he clearly couldnt!

As a replacement I ultimately bought some digital hearing aids that suppress background noise whilst enhancing speech - perfect for his APD inability to separate noise from speech it was all babble to him - he loves his new aids over the blue tooth temp replacement we had which sounds much like what your father has. His new aids go in as soon as he gets up and last thing to come out at night.

What has been intriguing is how it has also reduced his hypersensitive hearing and his hyperacusis - i was told it was an attenuation problem - something like his brain trying to fix a problem it has with hearing but making matters worse to overcome the problem (upping the volume) - now it has consistent input and can "hear" it has stopped trying to fix it i guess.

kathy blanco

forgot the link

kathy blanco

Forgive me of my ignorance, but isn't Catatonia a form or expression of a petit mal, a long petit mal? A seizure?


Eileen and Nikkir;

Here we are trying to figure it all out.

FM seems to have a lot of static, seems to pick up random radios signals too -- Is that what kind of hearing aids you are talking about?

I bought these cheaper FM hearing devices for my father and he did not like them. I then bought a more expensive pair - like a blue tooth that works through - I believe infrared. He loves them. For my father it is volume that counts. He has nerve damage. Higher pitches he can not hear -- well his range is limited.

I know my son was oblivoius when he was small to me yelling his name at the top of my lungs as he dashed out of the church into the parking lot.

But he tells me now; he did not talk because it took too much energy.

So that gets me back to the endocrine system and energy. Manipulation of the eye muscles and tongue; and to my surprise - distinguishing sounds are also located in the lower regions of the brain close to the hypothalamus.

Selected Research does that mean then that a tetanus shot could cause the body to fight off the non - pathogen bacteria-- a wrong target then-- and in it's place something else will grow - that is for sure-- like fungus.

And if the immune cells have targeted these Clostidiums types what good would it do to try to give these in a pill -- unless it is an ongoing process forever more.

Infliximab (Remicade®) is also the new darling of fighting off chrons disease too, not just Kawaskais. This medicine has some pretty serious side effects - like the body can't fight off pathogens. Maybe Electric shock would be better, or a pill laden with bacteria?

Lots of questions I guess - Is the IACC doing any of this in research - Do we know? Or is most of the money still going to gene research?

And .

Selected Research

For those interested in "the human gut reduces colitis and allergy-invoked diarrhea in mice."

... and remember one of the finest paediatric gastroenterologists of our time Professor John Walker-Smith ...

"with a cocktail of a few dozen strains of Clostridium bacteria derived from wild-type mice promoted the activity of regulatory T cells (Treg) in the colon. Treg cells produce important anti-inflammatory immune molecules, including interleukin-10 and inducible T-cell co-stimulator, to prevent an overreaction of the immune system, and disruption of Treg cells is known to play a role in autoimmune disorders such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, food allergies, and type II diabetes. Indeed, mice treated with the Clostridium cocktail appeared more resistant to allergies and intestinal inflammation."

“[This work] shows that microbes can influence the balance and architecture of the immune system of their host,” said Sarkis Mazmanian, an immunologist at the California Institute of Technology who did not participate in the research. “I think it has tremendous potential for ameliorating human disease.”

“It’s clear that gut microbes can affect many, many aspects of our physiology,” said Mazmanian.

"Clostridia bacteria include the well-known tetanus and botulism toxins. “Clostridia are very diverse bacteria, and include some pathogens,” said Alexander Rudensky, an immunologist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and a cofounder, of Vedanta Biosciences, which he launched with the paper authors in 2010. “So, their role [in disease] may be surprising to immunologists and public, but not to microbiologists.”

Hot from the Press

A couple of points

1. ECT may soon be replaced by optogentics




2. Three exciting papers have come out from MIND Institute in regards to autoantibodies.


Excessive cerebrospinal fluid and enlarged brain size in infancy are potential biomarkers for autism

July 9, 2013

Children who were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had excessive cerebrospinal fluid and enlarged brains in infancy, a study by a multidisciplinary team of researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found, raising the possibility that those brain anomalies may serve as potential biomarkers for the early identification of the neurodevelopmental disorder. [en español or 中文 Chinese]
UC Davis MIND Institute researchers find exposure to prenatal maternal antibodies affects behavior, development in offspring

July 9, 2013

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute have found that prenatal exposure to specific antibodies found only in mothers of children with autism leads to changes in the brain that adversely affect behavior and development. [en español]
UC Davis MIND Institute researchers identify specific fetal antigens attacked by maternal antibodies

July 9, 2013

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have identified the specific antibodies that target fetal brain proteins in the blood of a subset of women whose children are diagnosed with autism. The finding is the first to pinpoint a specific risk factor for a significant subset of autism cases, as well as a biomarker for drug development and early diagnosis. The researchers have named autism related to these antibodies “Maternal Autoantibody-Related," or MAR autism. [en español] [中文 Chinese]


******Children who regressed following vaccination seem to have trouble even producing sounds. Is this apraxia? This is something new for me to lookup and think about.

Can I suggest you explore Auditory Processing Disorder - my son was a regressive following MMR. Today we are pretty much recovered - what we are left with is a "hearing issue" whilst appearing to be able to hear and produce a audiogram when tested. His articulation was poor, speech production robotic, hesitant, slow - missed words, misheard, misunderstood, was good at filling in gaps whilst still not being able to repeat what was originally said, hypersensitive to sounds, hyperacusis to other sounds, the list goes on. He has been diagnosed with APD aged 11 with little solution other than being told he "doesnt need hearing aids" as he doesnt need amplification - having accepted that for a number of years and using FM systems in school we had a situation whereby he lost one of his fm system hearing aids - so i resorted to giving him a bog standard hearing aid used for amplyfying TV for elderly people (looked like a blue tooth type of aid,) on finding his lost hearing aid he then wanted to keep the other one - when i asked why he said "i can hear"! His support at school felt the FM was better for him because with the other hearing aids he was getitng distracted in lessons and looking around class and noticing what was going on - that confirmed for me that he was hearing more.

I managed to find somewhere on the web that would allow me to buy him digital hearing aids, on the basis i didnt want support as he is 15 now but still considered paediatric - they have transformed his life - 16 mths later he is sociable, interactive, his language has exploded, his hypersensitive hearing has diminished, he doesnt seem to experience hyperacusis now either , he is a transformed child. Everybody who has known him over the years cannot believe the difference.

Just thought I would pass on our experience in the hope it may help others in a similar situation

Billie Joe

Any doctor of any kind who does not assess for GI disorders or other physical issues before the child is given a diagnosis of ASD should be sued for negligence. Once the threats are everywhere, the children will be assessed properly. the problem is the diagnosis and the A word. Dump the A word and you are left with a sick kid that needs help.

Eileen Nicole Simon

Katie, did you watch Jill Escher’s presentation on trans-generational germline disruption? That was truly fascinating in terms of toxic pharmacologic effects that are beyond permanent. Jill’s presentation was the most lucid, and I think she was the only one who adhered to the time constraint.

Portia Iversens’s videos of her son Dov were also very instructive, as were those of people who made “public presentations” and I’m beginning to see that the language problems of children whose autism began after vaccinations are different from that of my sons.

My first 2 sons suffered asphyxia at birth, and Conrad’s resuscitation was prolonged and difficult. My oldest son, now 50, finally learned to speak normally just before he turned 6. Conrad remained fluently echolalic, but you had to understand the original situation that provoked each of his out-of-context phrases. Children who regressed following vaccination seem to have trouble even producing sounds. Is this apraxia? This is something new for me to lookup and think about.

I just got home from the IACC meeting. Like other parents, I feel completely frustrated by the unwillingness of this committee to discus the issues we feel are important. I am grateful for Lyn Redwood’s remarkable gift for diplomacy. She is our advocate.


Teresa Conrick Thanks for the article -so it works on the immune system.

Psych hospitals are now testing for any endocrine problems - standard - I think that is great too.

And in the Maine meeting some years back, they had psych nurses listening to the doctors talk about diet - and I saw a lot of nurses very engaged about diet.

Maybe it all is not so far fetched afterall.
Still like you said there are IVIGs main treatment for Kawasakis, and I believe that Dr. Burns (involved in Kawasakis research out in California) was using a new treatment Infliximab (Remicade®) is an antibody that binds TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory molecule that is elevated in the blood of children with KD.

Sometimes it is where you are with your child, and really we are all at the mercy of who treats us.

Doink, now I get it!

if not drugs....then ECT? Institutional indifference specialization at its finest.
(Insert Edvard Munch "The Scream")

Kathleen Cavallo

My son was treated by Dr.Buie. He took great care and treated my son's G.I. problems. My son now has a healthy gut.
I have also had the opportunity to attend a conference on Catatonia with Dr. Wachtel.
My son's Autism definitely took on Catatonic symptoms at 16.
We are on Lorazipan which is an alternative to EST.
Any new theory on Autism, and why our children do what they do should not be ruled out.
I have seen results by both these Drs.
If you need help, open up your ears and eyes. Believe that there are Drs. doing research and are committed to helping our children.

Martha Moyer

ECT is wacko. Thank goodness Texas doesn't seem to embrace this type of thinking...not that Texas is great either. But, GI issues are a real thing and I know because my son has paralyzed bowels...had a number of impactions...finally no big feces...couldn't go to the bathroom and eliminate at all. And would you do ECT to correct that? Wacko. I heard this lady too and boy was I angry! Is this what autism is coming too? My son has his bowel cleanouts and is healthy and happy with no outbursts. Get real...bowel issues are real! I know. So glad I found} www.piemed.com

Teresa Conrick

There is research showing that ECT can help the immune system-


BUT knowing that, one would expect more research into why it is helping in catatonia, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder or autism. These individuals who have required it may have very dysfunctional immune systems and treatments that are used via immunology may prove to be the more appropriate way to go and less painful. IVIG, antimicrobials, probiotics, antivirals etc are less invasive at regulating the immune system. Sometimes active infections can cause catatonia and antibiotics are necessary...

PANDAS with Catatonia is another example of a very dysfunctional immune system. Here the boy received Plasmapheresis.....http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16239863

Bob Moffitt

@ Amy .. please understand that my comments in no way are meant to question your own views on how best to treat your child. My friend .. we all agree .. whatever we think is BEST for OUR child .. we WILL DO.

I am in the process of reading Peter Breggin's book "Toxic Psychiatry" .. published in 1991 .. and .. like you .. I was struck dumb-founded when I read .. what I believe to be .. his out-dated, ill-informed, hurtful to parents .. comments on autism. And, yes .. reading his comments on autism ..caused me to question the rest of his observations regarding the profession of psychiatry.

After all .. Mr Breggin .. though he did not actually use the description .. came very close to expressing what has been fully discarded as a "cause" of autism .. "refrigerator moms".

Having said that .. I was wondering if you know that Mr. Breggin continues to hold those same .. extremely hurtful to parents .. views today .. twenty years later? I respectfully ask .. because the rest of his book .. 410 pages .. appeared to be well sourced?

In my humble opinion .. putting aside the dreadful comments on autism he penned .. twenty years ago .. it seems to me the rest of his criticisms of psychiatry have held true.

Such as .. no one can deny his warnings of the growing danger associated with the undue influence of the DSM .. which began and remains .. the "source" for psychiatry .. much the same as the Bible .. remains the "source" for religions.

It is from the constant updating of the DSM that many "modern" childhood pyschiatric diagnoses (ADD, ADHD to name just two) are being assigned to children .. in greater and greater numbers .. as if exuberant, excited, adventurous, defiant, undesciplined children .. were non-existant .. in generations past?

Once diagnosed .. the traditional .. individual pyschiatrist .. "one on one therapy" .. became more and more rare .. replaced by a new "treatment" .. more easily applied .. which allowed the pyschiatrist to prescribe psychotrophic/neuroleptic drugs .. to change the disruptive child's behaviors .. in other words to .. "calm them down".

This change in "treatment" appears to be of greater benefit to the pyschiatrist and the pharmaceutical industy .. than it is to the child. But .. that's my own .. admittedly cynical .. opinion.

I am a senior citizen .. but .. I can easily recognize those children of my youth who surely would have been "diagnosed" with various DSM generated .. psychological .. disorders. Myself included ..

And so .. as some sage once observed .. in my own opinion .. pyschiatry is to medicine .. what astrology is to astronomy.

@ Zed .. thanks for your kind words .. I suspect you represent a very small minority of one .. but .. I do appreciate your encouragement.

IAngus Files

ECT should only be administrated by only those have had it administered to themselves..

Katie Wright

All valid points Amy.
It is a shame Dr. Wachtel did not communicate this. I found her presentation to be disturbing and her claim that ECT is perfectly safe bizarre. I am so happy that your son is better. I am also sorry you went through years of agony. Clearly you had exhausted every imaginable option. Thank goodness this worked for your son. However, I have spoken with a number of parents whose children were not screened for underlying medical issues prior to ECT. I think we are on the same page here. ECT is not an easy option be taken as lightly as Dr. Wachtel indicated. I have also spoken with parents whose children had awful reactions to ECT and did not feel they were fully informed regarding possible adverse outcomes.

The one point in which I disagree with you is that losing the ability to void is catatonia. Motility is a huge problem for GI kids. Theirs colon can become horribly impacted and they cannot void. I have seen this 100x This is not catatonia, at least not 99% of the time. I wish Wachtel had listened more carefully to Buie and recognized the overlap between GI pain and catatonia. His talk seemed to make no impact on her.


Will there ever be a time when the President will decide to play the ... "Autism card" ... and demand answers to some very ...SIMPLE MEDICAL/ VACCINE QUESTIONS... ???

Pharma could then cut a trillion + dollar check to those they have damaged and some simple reforms of health care could begin.

There must be ONE country in the world where health care works fairly well.

Amy Lutz

As the parent of a chid who receives ECT to control dangerous aggressive and self-injurious behaviors, as well as an attendee at yesterday’s IACC meeting, I feel uniquely qualified to respond to this post and some of its comments.

First, to correct a few inaccuracies. Catatonia is not a “psychiatric disorder,” as Katie writes. It is a neuromotor disturbance that can afflict those with and without disabilities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catatonia) and that has been diagnosed for the past century. Putting catatonia in quotation marks, as Katie does, is like writing “epilepsy” or “diabetes”; catatonia is as legitimate a diagnosis as any of these, and the most malignant form can be fatal if not treated.

Constipation is not a symptom of catatonia, as Katie also asserts. When Dr. Wachtel noted that patients with catatonia may lose their ability to “void,” she meant voluntarily urinate. Catatonia has nothing to do with the gut.

But perhaps Katie’s most egregious error is her assumption that parents who choose ECT for their children do so prematurely: “ECT should be option 10 our of 10, not 3 out of 10.” Through my involvement with EASI Foundation: Ending Aggression and Self-Injury in the Developmentally Disabled (www.easifoundation.org), I have worked with several families whose autistic children receive ECT to control dangerous behaviors, and I assure you that ECT was option 50 out of 50 for each and every one of them. Before we resorted to ECT, for example, we spent a decade trying a GF/CF diet (for four years), B12 injections, auditory integration therapy, high doses of vitamins, topical chelation, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We also had Jonah tested for reflux, which he was treated for until his gastroenterologist decided medication was no longer necessary. We tried virtually every kind of psychotropic medication ever prescribed for aggressive and self-injurious behaviors, and when nothing worked, Jonah spent most of his tenth year on the neurobehavioral unit at Kennedy Krieger, where we met Dr. Wachtel – who, incidentally, never recommended ECT while Jonah was a patient there, because he initially responded to new medications. ECT was something we pursued when he regressed following his discharge. And we have seen no cognitive side effects as a result of his successful, ongoing treatment. In fact, Jonah’s school achievements skyrocketed once his rages stopped.

I would like to thank Katie for acknowledging how beneficial ECT can be in certain populations. For those commenters who laud Peter Breggin’s condemnation of ECT, I remind you that this is the same man who still blames parents for their children’s autism. He writes in his book Toxic Psychiatry, “It’s hard for me to grasp how a biochemical defect could specifically drive a child to withdraw from other people and to treat them wholly without love or affinity, while sometimes maintaining a normal intelligence or even special intellectual gifts. On the other hand, it’s very easy for me to see how an inherently intelligent child, treated as an object, would learn to treat others in the same fashion.” It is for unfounded, irrational statements like this (and others about ECT and psychotropic medications) that Breggin has been uniformly rejected by the scientific community.

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this important discussion.

Donna K

John Stone, in his comment, listed the abstract for Wachtel's "Childhood catatonia, autism and psychosis past and present: is there an 'iron triangle'?" Within that abstract, Wachtel and Shorter make the eyebrow raising statement

"It is clear from the historical literature that by the 1920s all three diagnoses in the Iron Triangle - catatonia, autism and childhood schizophrenia - were being routinely applied to children and adolescents."

How can they make that statement, specifically, stating that by the 1920s autism diagnoses were being "routinely applied," when autism wasn't even a recognized condition nor a diagnostic term until a couple decades later.


I'll say it again. Bob Moffitt for president.


My manual refers to the posturings of catatonia as "bizarre." Don't kids with autism tend to lie face down over furniture, putting pressure on their abdomens? That's hardly bizarre. I've been known to do this when I've had a really painful case of gas. It never occurred to me that ECT was the way to handle it.


Katie - Immunotherapy over ECT?
"Streptococcal Antibodies in ASD with Catatonia"
Five cases (age range 16-29) out of 78 of teens and adults (age range 16-60) with autism spectrum disorders presented with catatonia. Laboratory screening revealed an elevated anti-DNase Ab (avg. 544 [340-1360]; nl <85) in all five subjects with catatonia and an elevated ASOT (avg 437.8 [105-1210]; nl <200) in three of the five with catatonia. No clear recent streptococcal infections were identified in these five subjects. Three subjects demonstrated a positive clinical response to immunotherapy (the other two patients are still being assessed and are likely going to start immunotherapy soon).


Anne Dachel

It's clear that autism is as big a mystery to these people as it was 25 years ago, when my son was 2.

We've had years and years of guesswork, absolutely no recognition of the horrible suffering these children endure, and no sign that anything will change.

Autism is now an accepted part of childhood. Lots of people make a living from this disaster. IACC's main purpose seems to be to pretend to care about autism and cover up the truth.
Anne Dachel, Media

oy vey, oy vey

I agree with Katie regarding ECT. I know a lot about it because someone close in my family had it with profound positive results Never for our spectrum kids, but for an adult with suicidal depression it can be very effective. Remember, ECT, in this case, is used as a last resort when nothing else has helped. Some may think it's barbaric, but when it helps someone close to you, it seems much less a therapy to totally negate.

Sh*t still rolls downhill

The woman is clearly a mad scientist, willing to destroy the rest of a person's brain in order to stop pain. What's next, people who fidget and complain to their doctor about lower back pain get referred for shock treatment? I suspect that would shut those "whiney" patients up, too. They just keep asking for help, too, never give a doctor a minute to breath. (sarcasm)
I can see the headlines. " . . . epidemiological studies show back pain sufferers suddenly suffering higher rates of mutism, APA denies correlation between shock therapy and destruction of the Broca's area . . . "

I suspect she has been paid well to sit up there. What is more apalling is that a university is funding this type of person. If human rights activists got their hands on the research showing gastrointestinal and probiotic treatment could alleviate the same behaviour institutions say would justify shock therapy, a form of torture that would never be acceptable on any other human being, they would be happy to start communicating with Harvard.

I bet Harvard even HAS a few human rights type groups on their own campus.



Excellent article, Katie. But I do not agree that ECT is ever appropriate. Even in 2013, it is barbaric. Thanks, Jeanette, for the link to Dr. Breggin's article where he explains that ECT delivers a closed head injury, disconnects the frontal lobe from the rest of the brain, and is in effect, a frontal lobotomy.

John, thanks for the abstract. "In the recent series of mass murders in Connecticut, Colorado, Norway and elsewhere, a pattern appears to emerge: young men whose social isolation borders on autism apparently become prey to psychotic ideation, and under its influence commit horrific violence. We argue that in some of these tragic cases two concomitant diagnoses may be at play, namely autism and psychosis."

So, Wachtel was there to present her research about how to prevent persons that suffer from autism and psychosis from committing mass murder with ECT?

Is this really 2013? I feel like we've lost more than half a century.

John Stone

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;22(1):55-62. doi: 10.1007/s00787-012-0320-7. Epub 2012 Aug 25.

Electroconvulsive therapy in adolescents with intellectual disability and severe self-injurious behavior and aggression: a retrospective study.

Consoli A, Cohen J, Bodeau N, Guinchat V, Wachtel L, Cohen D.


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, GH Pitié-Salpêtrière, AP-HP, 47-83, Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013, Paris, France. angele.consoli@psl.aphp.fr


Efficacious intervention for severe, treatment-refractory self-injurious behavior and aggression (SIB/AGG) in children and adolescents with intellectual disability and concomitant psychiatric disorders remains a complex and urgent issue. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on severe and treatment-resistant SIB/AGG in young people with intellectual disability and current psychiatric disorder. We reviewed the charts of all patients (N = 4) who received ECT in the context of SIB/AGG with resistance to behavioral interventions, milieu therapy and pharmacotherapy from 2007 to 2011. We scored the daily rate of SIB/AGG per patient for each hospital day. Inter rater reliability was good (intraclass correlations = 0.91). We used a mixed generalized linear model to assess whether the following explanatory variables (time, ECT) influenced the course of SIB/AGG over time, the dependant variable. The sample included two girls and two boys. The mean age at admission was 13.8 years old [range 12-14]. The patients had on average 19 ECT sessions [range 16-26] and one patient received maintenance ECT. There was no effect of time before and after ECT start. ECT was associated with a significant decrease in SIB/AGG scores (p < 0.001): mean aggression score post-ECT was half the pre-ECT value. ECT appears beneficial in severe, treatment-resistant SHBA in adolescents with intellectual disability

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Jul;128(1):21-33. doi: 10.1111/acps.12082. Epub 2013 Jan 27.

Childhood catatonia, autism and psychosis past and present: is there an 'iron triangle'?

Shorter E, Wachtel LE.


Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



To explore the possibility that autism, catatonia and psychoses in children are different manifestations of a single underlying form of brain pathology - a kind of 'Iron Triangle' of symptomatology - rather than three separate illnesses.


Systematic evaluation of historical case literature on autism to determine if catatonic and psychotic symptoms accompanied the diagnosis, as is found in some challenging present-day cases.


It is clear from the historical literature that by the 1920s all three diagnoses in the Iron Triangle - catatonia, autism and childhood schizophrenia - were being routinely applied to children and adolescents. Furthermore, it is apparent that children diagnosed with one of these conditions often qualified for the other two as well. Although conventional thinking today regards these diagnoses as separate entities, the presence of catatonia in a variety of conditions is being increasingly recognized, and there is also growing evidence of connections between childhood-onset psychoses and autism.


Recognition of a mixed form of catatonia, autism and psychosis has important implications for both diagnosis and treatment. None of the separate diagnoses provides an accurate picture in these complex cases, and when given single diagnoses such as 'schizophrenia', the standard treatment options may prove markedly ineffective.

Med Hypotheses. 2013 Jun 17. pii: S0306-9877(13)00273-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.05.032. [Epub ahead of print]

Autism plus psychosis: A 'one-two punch' risk for tragic violence?

Wachtel LE, Shorter E.


Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 707 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address: wachtel@kennedykrieger.org.


In the recent series of mass murders in Connecticut, Colorado, Norway and elsewhere, a pattern appears to emerge: young men whose social isolation borders on autism apparently become prey to psychotic ideation, and under its influence commit horrific violence. We argue that in some of these tragic cases two concomitant diagnoses may be at play, namely autism and psychosis. Autism itself is not an intrinsically violent disorder, and individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are no more prone to violent behaviors than the general population. The additional presence of psychotic illness, however, may dramatically change the picture. Based on an examination of historical and contemporary data regarding psychosis and violence in patients without developmental disability we explore three points relevant to the possibility of violence in individuals with comorbid ASD and psychosis. (1) Individuals with ASD have an elevated risk of comorbid psychopathology, including psychosis, which is strongly associated with violence. (2) The content of psychotic ideation has become increasingly violent and lethal in recent decades. (3) It is possible that individuals with ASD are readier than others to act on psychotic impulses. We conclude that there may be a kind of one-two 'vulnerability punch,' giving individuals with ASD a baseline higher risk of comorbid psychiatric illness, not infrequently including psychosis. Recognizing the increased susceptibility of individuals with autism other neurodevelopmental disability to concomitant psychotic illness increases the possibility that they can be correctly identified and treated, mitigating tragic outcomes.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

John Stone


I was about to ask what kind of parent would subject their child to this?


Katie Wright

Alison Singer invited Dr. Wachtel to speak

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for this report. Though the later half is disturbing, that Dr. Buie presented is encouraging. We should be considering gastroenterology for more conditions in the DSM I think.

And there are a few psychiatrists who give me hope:



There is a great deal of very exciting research going on in the area of probiotics, looking at which probiotics are right for which person. These researchers say that their research has the potential to help those with various gut-related disorders and they include autism in this list. There have also been several news stories lately linking autism with gut bacteria. I really think that this is the way to go to find solutions for our children. They are really suffering and need solutions that work and that target the problem.

As for Dr. Witchel, she sounds really scary. Perhaps she is suffering from some sort of emotional catatonia. Maybe some strong electric shocks would cure her.


There should be crimnal charges for such behavior???
Well you can't make a law for ever thing.

I see it as the same as the recent train wreck in Canada - no regulations for having an unlocked, running engine, hooked on to a whole bunch of tankers filled with oil, all sitting on top of a hill above a town.

And who invited Watchel to speak?
Who let this crack pot into an IACC meeting?
And why?
Oh, ECT works - sometimes -- but they don't know why? Sort of like vaccines. Oh, Okay that is what they have in common.

Bob Moffitt

Katie describes the presentation of Dr. Lee Wachtel of Kennedy Kreiger thus:

"I mean really, the woman was sitting through Buie’s presentation but is so determined to proceed with her wacky theories and barbaric treatment she just blocked it all out?"

Actually, Dr. Wachtel's professional indifference to Dr. Buie's .. "incredible and impassioned presentation on the pervasiveness and severity of GI disorders among the ASD population" .. is typical of the entire psychiatry profession.

I can't say I blame them .. after all .. if I was a psychiatrist today .. acting purely as a matter of protecting my own self-interests .. I too would be eager to ignore any evidence that suggests the "physical pain" a child is suffering may be responsible for the child's bizarre or abnormal behaviors. After all, if that was so .. who then would need a psychiatrist in hope of improving the child's BEHAVIOR by lessening or diminishing the pain the child is suffering?

We ought not forget that psychiatrist are not alone when it comes to protecting their own self-interests .. they have the entire pharmaceutical industy as their ally.

"If there is anything, anything at all, we have learned in this autism epidemic is that informed consent and safety really, really matter and that the human brain is exquisitely delicate."

Now that "we" have learned that informed consent and safety really, really matter and that the human brain is exquisitely delicate" .. it has become the unfortunate task of Dr. Buie and others .. such as .. Dr. Wakefield .. to TEACH individual members of the IACC and the entire psychiatric profession .. those very same lessons.

White Rose

Watchel is a wacko !

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