Dachel Media Review: More Autism Schools, Mental Health and Autism
Dachel Media Review: Communication Breakdown

The Tragically Hip, Chronically Sick: America's Young

America's Young
On Dec 19, 2013, The Atlantic published the story, Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America--Chronic illness is the new first-world problem, by Leah Sottile.   It wasn’t about autism specifically, but everything about it related to what the autism epidemic is doing to our kids.
The writer started by telling us about her husband, Joe Preston, 30, and his struggle with having Ankylosing Spondylitis, a serious inflammatory condition.  From there she expanded into the broader picture.  “But here’s the thing: We recently realized we weren’t alone. Almost all of our friends are sick, too. When we met our friend Missy Narrance, Joe found solace in talking to her about his health. She’s 29 and has been battling lupus and fibromyalgia for the past 10 years.”
Sottile asked the question, “Do we know so many people who are dealing with pain because people are just getting sicker in general?” And, as she discovered, the answer is, YES, THEY ARE.   Chronically ill people, like her husband are “one of America’s biggest health emergencies. And it’s one that many people say we’re not prepared to deal with.” (That last line reminded me of what we often say about the impact of autism.)  
Sottile cited a grim statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Almost half of American adults had at least one chronic condition in 2005.”  I’m sure that number has only gotten worse in the last nine years.  We’re talking about everything from autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus, to obesity, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and diabetes.  Incredibly, one in five Americans now has arthritis, according to the CDC and the numbers are increasing.  Officials project that today’s 46 million arthritis suffers will be 67 million by 2030.  (No wonder we’re seeing all those Humira ads on TV.)
If this situation isn’t bad enough, Sottile went on to tell us, “It’s not just that Americans are getting sicker—it’s that young Americans are getting sicker. A 2013 report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine echoes the shock of that fact. ‘The panel was struck by the gravity of its findings,’ it reads. ‘For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high income countries.’”
The story noted that the state of America’s health was the subject of a US Senate hearing last month.    At the hearing, as shown on the video link, Senator Bernie Sanders stated, “When we found that female mortality rose in 43 percent of US counties between 1992 and 2006 that is a profound reality that has got to be dealt with right here in the nation’s capital, Washington DC.”  The hearing strongly linked Americans' poor health to poverty.     
The bleak reality that America is now the land of the chronically ill and disabled can no longer be denied and it doesn’t involve just poor people. Sottile pointed out, “Women are less likely to live to age 50 if they’re born in the United States than other high income countries.”
Sottile quoted Dr. Steven Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who helped prepare the NAC/IOM report:

We analyzed the data by a variety of social classes and have found that the problem is pervasive. Rich Americans die earlier than rich people in other countries. College-educated people die earlier than college-educated people in other countries. It’s misguided for people who are better off and doing well to think that this is someone else’s problem.

‘It’s very concerning.  We are living shorter lives than people in other countries. We’re sicker than people in other countries.’

Sick Americans also affect our economy.  Experts are worried that sicker workers mean less production.  

Dr. Enrique Jacoby at the World Health Organization attributed this situation to a variety of things: bad diet (including processed foods with addictive additives), lack of exercise, air pollution, genetics and the push to be too clean with anti-bacterial soaps.  

Sottile talked about several theories to explain what’s wrong.  One was from Dr. Frederick Miller of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  Miller explained that because we’ve eliminated so many infectious diseases that used to kill off a lot of people, maybe the  problem is that the weak are surviving.  People with compromised immune systems now survive to adulthood when they develop these chronic conditions and they live with them for decades.

One of the unique things about autoimmune diseases, as opposed to cancer, is that these are more likely to be long-term. You’re not just dealing with the immediate problems, but the entire lifelong implications of that.’

Despite the Senate hearing that blamed poverty for bad health, Sottile cited the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: ‘Diseases of poverty, such as communicable, maternal, nutritional and newborn causes, have decreased universally while non-communicable conditions traditionally associated with wealthier countries have risen.  As people live longer and die at lower rates, the number of years spent living with disability… has increased.’

Sottile acknowledged that Dr. Woolf (who worked on the IOM health report) gave us a ray of hope in this dismal situation.  ‘We’ve known for many years what needs to be done about this. The problem is not a lack of knowledge about what to do, but a lack of resolve and resources for how to do it… For each [issue], there are major blue ribbon reports that have outlined precisely what needs to be done about it.’ And the reason nothing has been done is because Americans are resistant to health legislation, according to Woolf.  

He also believes that the latest findings aren’t really being made public and ‘the general media … haven’t been briefed about this sufficiently.’

It’s interesting that The Atlantic published this.  Officials and experts do seem concerned about our declining health.  What’s lacking here are any real solutions. Why isn’t this being talked about everywhere in the press?
I think there may be a number of reasons for that.  There’s now a large segment of our economy dependent on us being sick—from the drug industry to all the clinics springing up everywhere—sick people mean jobs and profit.  Doctors don’t cure us; they medicate us.  
Our country has willingly accepted a two percent autism rate, no questions asked, so why should anyone demand to know why everyone else is getting sick too?  The IOM and the CDC may come up with statistics and publish reports, but nothing ever changes.   I have long felt that autism has to be seen in the context of all the other health issues out there.  For decades we’ve been pushed aside with the official explanation that all the autism is just better diagnosing of a condition that’s always been around.  When autism is talked about along with the other things disabling our kids, the truth can’t be hidden.  The epidemic increase in autism is just as real as the frighten rise in seizures, bowel disease, allergies, and asthma among our children.  And guess what?  Doctors can’t explain why any of it’s happening.
Maybe when there are just too many people out there like Sottile’s friend, Missy Narrance, 29, who has had lupus and fibromyalgia for the past 10 years and can’t work, we’ll be forced to face reality.  There is no future for a country where we’re just getting sicker and sicker.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.


Jeannette Bishop

"An ounce of prevention..."

In our "healthcare" this has been twisted and used so much that now we're pushed at every turn to "prevent" the adverse effects of "disease-causing microbes" (of which I'm now wondering might not be more correct to view as the adverse effects of pollution and/or malnutrition) to the point some are now raking in the "pounds," and not even for the cure, but more like through a line tacked on to the proverbs, "and better yet pounds and pounds for the 'treatment.'"

The mainstream is both cavalierly dismissing scrutiny of and even pushing the very exposures that may have been always making diseases dangerous all in the name of "preventing" them, while often simultaneously disdaining, disparaging focus, even trying to restrict access to the nourishing and detox approaches to creating health. They have more or less just accepted the rise in chronic illness and related suffering in the "developed" world with a lot of mystery, fatalism.

There is another proverb, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

It seems like we have removed the necessity to provide a meaningful product to healthcare customers in exchange for our funds or to make an exchange the patient sees as worth the cost. The costs have to be paid, and the patient hardly has a choice. We need a change in mindset that views a health professional not as an authority set over us, but more like an emergency manager with last resort risky chemical tools when needed, but preferably a health consultant paid to the extent he or she gives effective advice and products. We have to put the health responsibility and right of choice in the patient's and parents' hands, remove it from "regulatory bodies," I believe, to truly provide the most effective regulation possible. Today the piper in a sense repeatedly leads away our children to toxic land, leaving the rats behind, and we keep paying him to try again (ok, enough with the proverbial...).

For those unable or unwilling to see how much our corporate mandated healthcare is a big part of the problem, at best we can say as the the current tyrannical system has obviously little to none to offer in the way of results for our "modern" health problems. We shouldn't be encouraging the status quo through automatic funding, prestige, authoritative voice, worship even, when we get nothing, or worse, with a huge price tag.

Roger Kulp

This story arrived in my inbox yesterday

We've seen similar stories about autism in China.The decline in health is worldwide,but the US and China are leading the way.Epigenetic changes from environmental toxins are no doubt a big factor.I am glad to see there are people who read this blog who see this.What we are seeing has been gradually building for generations,and has come to a head with the children born in the 1990s and 2000s.Five years ago,when I had my first tests that led to my diagnosis of cerebral folate deficiency,and MTHFR deficiency,the lab said I had a mysterious inborn error of metabolism.That was all they knew to call it then.In the short five years since,what we know about methylation disorders,and their epigenetics has grown dramatically.Knowledge brings diagnosis to people like me,who struggled all their lives with unexplained sickness,and disinterested doctors,who were puzzled at,frustrated by,or just uninterested in diseases they could not explain.As SM says,diagnosis is empowering.I have only gotten the diagnosis I have,because I have been working with a DAN/MAPS doctor all this time.Had I not,I would still have my autism,and all the medical crap I have to constantly keep under control.

The epigenetics of autism is something that has only begun to be looked at in the last few years,but the science of other diseases is far ahead of that of autism,as far as epigenetics is concerned.Anybody who is interested in this stuff should see this article from 2011 about epigenetic changes that impair methylation,that start in the womb,that have been found in people with multiple sclerosis.


Mothers with MS often have kids with autism.There are a lot of very important dots that a lot people are not connecting here.


S M -
I'm sorry to hear you are among those who are suffering under the mantel of a chronic illness. You are so right, the mental endeavor of keeping a positive attitude is so important, though I personally diverge from the idea that handling that part of the situation first is always the best approach. I do think you have to draw on that positive attitude and mental strength to begin your healing process and admit that you are not a helpless victim who has to sit around and just take your medicine and just live with the problem as if there are no options.

Maybe others can benefit from your experience. Can you provide additional info re: your personal dietary approach to your condition with regards to your weight and how much grain and which types you allow in your diet, as well as milk, egg whites, and genetically modified food? Also, do you take anti-oxidants by any chance, in addition to your prescription? Which kind?

In light of research now showing our power over epigenetic markers and whether or not they will activate a predisposition for disease, when it comes to regarding whether chronic illness in youth is tragic, I would ask: If you had the power to walk into Toys R Us and buy the gift of life for a child, would you choose the box that says "an ounce of prevention for a childhood of unencumbered health" or "a childhood of painful flareups, and daily medication for your pound of cure." Anyone settling for the second, in my heart, would be less than ethical.

Also, knowing what I know now about epigenetics and prevention, if my tax money is still going to fund the corporate causes of somebody else's epigenetically preventable issues 20 years from now, I'm going to be really mad. I get that this is relatively new science, but medical consumers, insurance companies, and our government need to be changing to accommodate the new information NOW. And if vaccines are a cause of these issues, the government needs to stop funding them and promoting them so that 40 years from now it no longer has to pay to treat their lingering adverse health effects.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

So Dr. Woolf tells us that we already know precisely- yes- PRECISELY - what to do about the chronic disorders . Let me guess what that means.......uh could it be better HEALTH CARE and a few more vaccines ?
Isnt it interesting that this article appears just at the time that the medical complex wants to tell us that taking vitamins is useless ? Maybe Im taking this a bit too far, but could it be that the pharma companies have figured out that the people who take vitamins and minerals are the same people who start reading the health websites that tell you how to stay healthy on your own steam and to avoid unhealthy medical practices. Perhaps Dr. Paul Offit is our barometer of what the health communists dont want us to know: Dont know the truth about vaccines and Dont learn what vitamins and minerals can do for you.


As a person with an auto-immune disorder that I've had since early childhood, I see several issues at play:

The power of diagnosis: We are able to (and do) diagnose at a much higher rate than in the past. I think we forget the evolution of our medical system, both the impact of technology (better ability to diagnose) and the impact of empowered voices (people don't suffer in silence anymore). Do we have higher levels of disease at younger ages? Maybe. However, it's hard to be conclusive in the context of our changing world. This is especially obvious in the field of mental health, where the every new version of the DSM offers new varieties of human issues. You can't diagnose a disease if it doesn't "exist".

Do chronic illnesses exist? Of course! I know mine is real and I do have to take medication to control it. However, lifestyle choices make a huge difference. I pay a lot of attention to my diet, my exercise regimen and my mental health. In some ways I am grateful for my illness because I am a very healthy person overall and rarely does it enter my mind that I am "sick".

Our medical system, unfortunately, is not able to offer a complete solution. I advocate starting with the experience of becoming ill. How does it change your self-image? How are you moving through the grieving process? What is important in your life and how can you ensure it remains in your life? In some ways this process gets down to your core needs and will help you understand what truly brings joy to your life. For me, playing with my niece is a priority. If it causes a brief flare-up I am willing to suffer. If it causes a long-term flare-up then I am willing to increase my medication. I will do everything possible to prevent taking more medication, but I will not stop carrying my niece around.

Once the mental side of the chronic illness experience is addressed, then it is time to move onto medical treatments. It needs to be done in this order because understanding how you feel about the disease and its place in your life motivates you to find effective treatment. It also motivates you to follow through with your treatment - you create a vision for your life.

The medical treatment then has to be holistic with a lot of talking between practitioners and compassion for the patient. It should be monitored by a mental health professional who can get to the heart of why or why not a patient is complying with treatment.

Lots more to say but this is long enough. I suppose I want to end by saying youth chronic illness is not a tragedy and doesn't have to be disabling.


Estimated deaths of Americans due to iatrogenic medicine are about 1 million yearly. American medicine is worst among all developed countries and most expensive in the world, designed to kill and harm for profits, but not to heal. I realized that all medical problems I have had in my life were of iatrogenic origin. I avoid all medical doctors now. Most can't be trusted. Happy NY to all. I guess we have two choices. Either to leave this country of medical killing field, or fight the system by boycotting all commercial media, most doctors, drugs, all vaccines, and all industrial food.


Heidi N

No Scottie. The reason people are more ill is not that they would have died years ago from infections, but the opposite. For example, my family is chronically ill with auto-immune disorders, and what I found out is that I have low ability to detox and great ability to avoid pneumonia and fatal infections. It's all the extra toxins and horrible food that we have today that is killing us. The proof is asking those who healed themselves. They ALL did it by supplementing nutrients and better diet. Just ask them. My family is no longer disabled because we now do the same thing. Those that keep eating fast food, pesticides, don't supplement, etc., will keep on succumbing. Docs are not saving us from chronic ailments, learning healthy living is. It's all in the toxins, and the scientific literature supports this. All have low healthy nutrients when testing is done properly.

Unfortunately, most docs still refuse to test, don't know how to test, etc. You can't just do a blood test to test nutrient levels. But, anyone and everyone can learn which supplements forms are good, as in many vitamins are junk, and how to eat healthy. We can now buy organic, etc.

I could go on and on about how things in our daily lives are contributing to our chronic ailments, but just know that people just need to start paying attention to fine print on labels, fish advisories, MSDS on products, etc. Just reading up on common over-the-counter things like acetominophen will put you in shock. America is run on right-now profit, and it's killing us. The governmental regulatory agencies meant to protect us are severely lacking. Just comparing us to other developed countries is proof. I blame the media for portraying that it's ok to trust that some agency somewhere will make sure our food and products are healthy. They're not, and the media is at fault for saying they are.

It's really sad that I had to come on this Internet to learn how to un-disable my family (autism, etc). We need a million changes to happen, starting with honest media, not bought and paid for, not afraid to be truthful, and not lying constantly. Frankly, I have absolutely no faith that much change will happen, but I definitely applaud, with highest esteem, those who try.


No good discussion there at all as to cause, just a little talk about exercise. Sooner or later some of these young people will figure it out.


Maybe Congress will pay attention to this! No country can afford this kind of reality and there can be no doubt that the most vaccinated country is the weakest in many ways.


Barbara Loe Fisher has been asking for many, many years, long before the so-called hygiene theory, if contracting and conquering childhood illnesses is necessary for normal, healthy immune system development. She saw this coming decades ago.

cia parker

The article made me remember Gareth Colfer-Williams, the only fatality in the Wales measles outbreak last spring. If he hadn't been vaccinated, he wouldn't have had asthma, and if he hadn't gotten the measles vaccine as a child, he would have gotten measles then rather than as an adult when it can be more dangerous. Thanks to vaccines, he suffered for many years from a severe chronic disease and died of measles at 25, leaving a young orphaned daughter behind.


The theory behind the massive increase in chronic illness in the young is a restatement of the assertion that those reacting to vaccines with autism or diabetes etc., would have developed those diseases anyway, if not from the vaccine, then from the wild disease. It is blaming the victim, claiming that what was done to the victim by medicine or the filthy environment is not anyone's fault - that the outcome is attributable to the victim's inherent weakness. It's survival of the fittest, 21st century style. Those who can endure being dipped in and injected with the huge array of manmade toxins, over and over again, get to survive, assuming that any can.

And of course, there's a bit of revisionist history here, not taking into account the many 20th century years occurring after the improvement in sanitation and nutrition where the infant and child mortality rate was low without any significant increase in chronic illness in the young and before the onslaught of increased vaccination and the era of ubiquitous environmental toxins.

I did not see one insightful comment over at the Atlantic article. Not one. Which maybe another effect of the massive dipping - complete cluelessness.


"As people live longer and die at lower rates, the number of years spent living with disability… has increased."
What bull! These are young people! Nobody I grew up with died prematurely except in accidents.

"We’re talking about everything from autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus, to obesity, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and diabetes."
Actually, "obesity, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and diabetes" may also be autoimmune diseases.
Hmmm, what on earth could be affecting young people's immune systems more now than in the past? Obviously not the increased number of vaccines - vaccines have nothing to do with stimulating the immune system, right?

Theresa 66

I cannot remember where I read it, but, something about childhood illness promoting social, emotional, academic growth after recovery. That would really explain our issues. Give a vaccine and miss a developmental jump. And possibly an immune system boost once the illness abates. I know there are disablities and death's with vaccine preventable disease. Please don't comment on how many we are saving, I know this. BUT there should be checks and balances and of course, freedom to vaccinate or not.


I was all excited to share this on my facebook wall but then I see the part about one explanation from a scientist being that contagious disease killed off "weaker" people who are now the ones with chronic illness. Where is the scientific study to back up such a claim? Or are we just guessing? And then what we need is "more health legislation"... don't even get me started.... I think those of us on AoA know that more health legislation is more pharma-backed mandates. Chronic diseases are a cash cow for pharma.


Vaccines, GMOs, EMFs, Insecticides, and PCBs....the crisis is corporate-government policy for profits.

Some ideas...first, create the conversation with others that this is happening, second drive decisions about what to choose, ban together, third drive policy that is independent of corporatism. Fourth, see to it that we are free to say, choose, pay for what we want. Further legislation under the current corporate influence is not the answer.. freedom to choose what goes into our bodies is the answer.

Bob Moffitt

"A 2013 report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine echoes the shock of that fact. ‘The panel was struck by the gravity of its findings,’ it reads. ‘For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high income countries.’”

Duh .. is it possible the overly aggressive administration of recommended and approved childhood vaccines in the United States .. beginning with HEP B within hours of birth .. is responsible for the chronic autoimmune diseases that are now ravaging young adults .. who were over-vaccinated as children in the United States?

"We analyzed the data by a variety of social classes and have found that the problem is pervasive. Rich Americans die earlier than rich people in other countries. College-educated people die earlier than college-educated people in other countries. It’s misguided for people who are better off and doing well to think that this is someone else’s problem."

Duh .. why should anyone expect the health of Americans to be any better later in life .. than it is during the first years of their life .. when the United States .. arguably the wealthiest, most technologically advanced nation in history .. has a dismal "infant mortality" rate compared to other .. less wealthy, technologically advanced countries?

Indeed, can someone please explain to me why people in the United States .. arguably the most vaccinated people in world history .. has such dismal "infant mortality" rates .. as well as .. the now "provasive problem" of later life chronic autoimmune diseases .. that are LESS COMMON IN ALL OTHER .. LESS VACCINATED .. POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD?

If its not the vaccines .. maybe its our shoes......

Science is pure.  People are corrupt.

For those who can get beyond the paywall this is a good description of the underlying problem:

'The pharmaceutical industry funnels money to prominent scientists who are doing research that affects its products--and nobody can stop it.'



So, perhaps the Chinese way of population control was the kinder way after all. At least more honest.

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