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Shock and Autism

Weekly Wrap: Movies, Drugs, Strange Ideas, Mercurochrome, Anorexia, Hysteria

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted 

Times One: Nice to see a positive review in The New York Times of The United States of Autism, which I favorably reviewed a few weeks back. In the great minds think alike category, I wrote this:

" At one level, it's like a bunch of Love It or List It episodes on HGTV jammed together: Host and (unseen) camera crew arrive at the door, family greets them, they go inside and chitchat for a few seconds about their difficult circumstances." I went on to point out that at a deeper level, the quick-cut technique was highly effective.

The Times wrote: "But all should be prepared to forgive the fakey vibe of an HGTV fix-up show, with the happy-faced Mr. Everts being greeted with cheery bonhomie at stop after stop."

The Times didn't like the part where Richard Everts connected with a family member (no spoilers here!). I did. On the other hand, the photo the Times used illustrated what I called my favorite moment in the movie, when a typical sibling who can't really express himself causes Everts to shake with laughter.

The bigger point is the Times reviewed the movie because it opens Friday in Manhattan. Showings there and in LA are prerequisites for Oscar consideration, which this film deserves.


Times Two: Also nice to see an op-ed piece in the same paper this week about Lariam, also called mefloquine, by a man who took it in India and completely lost his memory overnight. "Last week," wrote David Stuart MacLean, "the Food and Drug Administration finally acknowledged the severity of the neurological and psychiatric side effects and required that mefloquine’s label carry a 'black box' warning of them. But this is too little, too late."

He's right about that. The bigger issue is the sentencing hearing this month for the Army sergeant who killed 16 Afghan civilians, apparently while taking the drug. As I've been reporting for more than a decade, the Army, which invented the drug, has been derelict in facing up to its atrocious side affects, which include psychosis, suicide, and homicidal violence. A nice combo when mixed with guns.

Just this week the military put out another worthless report on its exploding suicide rate. As Kelly Patricia O'Meara wrote online, the report is "utter garbage and a complete insult to the men and women of our armed forces," largely because it avoids alltogether the role of prescription drugs in triggering suicides.

"Literally thousands of news articles have been written questioning the connection between the military suicides and increased number of psychiatric drugs being prescribed and 'researchers,' using taxpayer funds, do not even consider it as a possible risk factor? Shameful." And Lariam is not even a psychiatric drug. What mayhem are all the others causing, and how will we ever find out if they won't even acknowledge the damage so clearly wrought by Lariam?

Lariam and the military's broader problem with its pill-popping culture is a parallel situation to the vaccine-autism saga -- an FDA approved, CDC-recommended catastrophe and coverup. I wonder if any of the "skeptic" crowd ever wonders how I could have been right about Lariam but, in their opinion, so very, very wrong about vaccines. I hope it gives them nightmares.


A few weeks back I wrote that Temple Grandin ought to stick to her subject-matter expertise, this after she said on MSNBC that the big increase in autism was "because the definition of autism over the decade has expanded." No, it's not. She also told the aforementioned NYT that if any vaccine has anything to do with autism, it's the MMR.

No, it's not. Clearly the MMR has triggered autism in a lot of kids, but the best evidence is that most of those kids have been set up by immune-damaging triggers, in most cases -- in my view -- earlier vaccines, and especially ones containing thimerosal. There has never, to my understanding, been a standalone MMR autism epidemic, but there sure has been a vaccine-fueled autism epidemic.

Now Grandin's mother, Eustacia Cutler, has wandered well outside her wheelhouse by writing in the Daily Beast that autistic men have an affinity for online child pornography. I read the piece and, wearing my journalism hat, was struck that an editor let it through -- not because of the sensitive subject matter, but because there was not a single case-in-point mentioned.

As Jake Crosby on, and others, have pointed out, this is pernicious nonsense. Apparently Cutler is writing a book in which she will expand on this and other topics. As my own mother would have said, Oh, joy.


Meanwhile, from Cutler's first book, A Thorn in My Pocket, about raising Temple, it's worth recording this passage. Mercurochrome, remember, is organic mercury.

"On the salmon side of the bed, in a metal cage, lives Crusader Mouse, a present to Temple from her buddy Lyman, who lives next door to us in Dedham. Crusader's white back is often painted with a red cross of Mercurochrome to make him look like a Red Cross knight. Each morning, as one of her projects, Temple makes Crusader run along her room strings.

"One morning the children come to me in great distress.

"'Crusader's lying on the floor of his cage. He looks dead.' We decided to take him to the vet.

"'Is he really dead?' The vet nods. "Was it because we painted him with Mercurochrome?'

"'No. The Mercurochrome won't hurt him.'

"'We wanted him to look like a Crusader Knight.'

"'How long have you had Crusader?'

"'A couple of years. He belonged to Lyman first.'

"'How long did Lyman have him.' Everybody looks at each other. Nobody can remember.

"'A couple of years maybe. A long time anyway.'

"'That's a very old mouse. Crusader's lived a long and happy life. He died in his sleep.'

"'Oh.' Relief. Then a new idea.

"'Can we have a funeral?'

"I think we do, though in truth, I don't remember. I'm sure it was a grand funeral with a tin cookie box for a coffin and hymns and 'Amens' and a long, talky obit. We're a family of talkers and, by now, Temple is no exception."

(My hunch: The Mercurochrome probably did kill Crusader. I wonder what it did to Temple.)


On Thursday, my AOA colleague Teresa Conrick took on Simon Baron-Cohen's latest laugh-riot, linking behavioral traits on autistic and anorexic individuals. Any connection, Teresa pointed out, is not psychiatric but likely through the gut, which mediates the immune system and is clearly out of whack in both disorders.

The discussion reminded me of some of Freud's early case studies. In our book, The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic, Mark Blaxill and I argue (apparently for the first time) that those "hysteria" cases were mostly misdiagnosed mercury poisoning.

The first such case was Anna O., who was taken ill while tending her sick father in 1880, just as mercuric chloride was coming into use as an antiseptic.

She had every possible symptom of mercury poisoning, from a chronic cough to loss of peripheral vision to contractures to visual hallucinations -- but Freud decided it was all in her mind.

She also couldn't, or wouldn't, eat. "She had eaten little previously (during her illness), but now she refused nourishment altogether. However, she allowed me to feed her, so that she very soon began to take more food. But she never consented to eat bread."

Freud's co-author Josef Breuer actually treated Anna. As we write in our book: "Breuer treated Anna O. with hypnosis and also began to interview her deeply. Over the next few months, Anna's symptoms worsened dramatically till she was unable to eat. But as Breuer talked with her about her problems -- and spent several hours a week with her -- he thought he noticed something. When they hit on what appeared to be an association between a symptom and some event in the past, the symptom seemed to diminish and even disappear. The first and most dramatic example was that despite her thirst, Anna had stopped drinking water, getting liquid only by sucking on fruit. But one day she mentioned her disgust that someone had let a dog drink from a glass of water intended for humans, and soon after that she took her first sip of water.

"This has been described as the moment when psychoanalysis -- or, as Anna called it, the talking cure -- began."

All this, well, it makes me want to holler. She was anorexic because she was mercury poisoned, for God's sake! As her body was gradually able to detoxify, her symptoms waned.

Autism and anorexia share the misfortune of having fallen into the hands of psychiatrists. I think both are physical disorders, triggered by toxic exposures.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.





Seeing how Sargent Bales is being railroaded, I wonder how many others have suffered a similar fate.


" 'Act of cowardice': US soldier behind Afghan massacre apologizes"

Robert Bales defense is that he had a breakdown. No mention, at least in this article, of any drugs, including Lariam.

Sue Keller

We used mercurochrome exclusively at our house, growing up. It didn't sting like iodine. I only use iodine now but it does sting like a son of a gun...


I should have said "pharma patent cliff."


@Unite, that sounds an awful lot like the current struggle in the MS community. The fact that a surgical solution (angioplasty and the CCSVI theories) could help many is not welcome news by the pharmaceutical groups (which unfortunately basically equal the traditional Multiple Sclerosis Societies). Many former MS Society people have gone rogue and you see many new reformed groups online now with patients helping each other. Some good researchers are pushing ahead with treatments but the medical industrial complex is doing everything they can to tear down the idea - writing 'hit' pieces - one interventionist recently noted that journals would not print these studies, similar to what you are saying. It has nothing to do with quality of the research and everything to do with pharma trying to block this effort so that they can keep making money off MS. I guess with this "pharma cliff" (which even pharma marketing companies like Sociable Pharma talk about), they will fight too and nail to keep the MS and cancer monies coming in.


Re: movies: On the Burzynski antineoplastons first ever independent randomized controlled clinical trial:

"The first ever independent randomized controlled clinical trial using Antineoplastons for the treatment of cancer at Kurume University in Japan—was rejected by Lancet Oncology this week. Even more interesting, the Japanese consulted with one of Britain's top oncology peer-reviewers to ghostwrite the manuscript, to make sure it was in perfect format for the Lancet.

The Lancet's reason for the rejection? It had nothing to do with the science or the study's design—but instead the Lancet simply said "we don't have enough room in our journal for this randomized study on Antineoplastons". In other words, the Lancet and the cancer establishment as a whole does not have any room for an oncology paper that involves cancer being cured by a paradigm-shifting invention, especially when the study is a randomized study which elevates "anecdotal" to "proven"—since the randomized study is the industry's holy grail of clinical testing. If the Lancet had accepted it—they would have ironically been Lanced.

The fact is, Antineoplastons do not fit the Pharma mold, and therefore they are not allowed in. It's just the way our system works. Science is secondary to profit in today's market. Anyone who feels the need to come up with conspiracy theories to justify the ignorance toward Antineoplastons, just doesn't have a basic understanding of how our system works. This is just business 101.

Unless there is a major shift in our social consciousness, profit will always trump scientific truth. The entire industry is clever enough to realize that if Antineoplastons were allowed onto the market, their patents would eventually run out and they would eventually become a generic drug. And that can't be allowed to happen. If all companies within Pharma are allowed to make and sell Antineoplastons (as they do the antibiotic), who in their right mind would choose destructive and carcinogenic chemotherapy or radiation ever again? The industry knows this, and to protect the bottom line and Wall Street as a whole, Antineoplastons simply can't be allowed in.

However, the Japanese randomized studies WILL be published, but likely not in a journal that serves the industry and the owners who dictate the journals' content."

The 99% are the sick, the 1% are the healthy. Will it eventually be shown that the 1% are also the wealthiest because they still have their health? We will eventually see that the 1% all turned out to be the people who decided to NOT get vaccinated?


"Autism and anorexia share the misfortune of having fallen into the hands of psychiatrists. I think both are physical disorders, triggered by toxic exposures."

Yeah and almost every other "psychiatric" illness.

barbara j's the same old story..those vaers reports..just can't trust'em..that's how I saw it ...


also new this week

Read more:

Flu vaccine not tied to pregnancy complications

"This is a wonderful study, I found it delightful," said ....Dr. William Schaffner Ga Ga.... chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee.

"This is the single largest and best and most reliable safety study we have to date," Schaffner said. "We didn't have concerns about (the safety of the vaccine), and this puts the icing on the cake," he said.

Lets see, flu vaccine mercury banned from contact lens solutions, kill infants when used on their umbilical cords....

But mercury is OK to put into the blood circulation of a pregnant woman when her fetus only weighs a few ounces.

Dr. Schaffner is a medical nitwit...


"The package insert for the Tripedia Dtap vaccine lists both "autism" and "anorexia" in it's list of possible adverse reactions."

How about putting THAT on billboards across America? Somebody - quick, copy it before it disappears.

Jake Crosby

In all fairness to Temple, her liaison did say regarding Eustacia Cutler's Daily Beast piece: “Dr. Grandin was not consulted on the article and was not aware of it’s publication until she saw it on the internet.”

But no one from The Daily Beast including its editor, Tina Brown, ever replied. What makes this all the more remarkable is that Brown wrote in Newsweek back when the magazine was still in print that she has an adult son with Asperger's.


As far as I can tell, the Skeptics have ignored your Lariam reporting, only mentioning that your partner on that story misrepresented himself to someone in the process of gathering information for another story. (Oh snap!)


The package insert for the Tripedia Dtap vaccine lists both "autism" and "anorexia" in it's list of possible adverse reactions.


I think the MMR is a trigger (a major one) but the real damage is the mercury. It's a set-up like none other.


So Temple Grandin thinks she knows better than 72% of Professional Psychologists (De Soto, "Professional Opinion on the Question of Change in Autism Incidence.")??! And you have to realize that these Psychologists would fully understand the issue of de-institutionalization and its impact on the numbers.
LOL, mercurochrome. My dad worked in drug sales and I remember that stuff well. I'm sure it killed the bird.
About Simon Baron Cohen- I can just imagine him thinking up stupid ways to waste more research monies. Maybe he should get together with that crazy cousin of his- Sasha Baron Cohen and make some inane movie about this, it really could be quite humerous.
I was very heartened to see recently that a Harvard Psychologists (Dr. V.) actually wrote a piece on Huffpo stating that there really is no consensus on what causes autism. He actually seemed un-biased.

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