"...We're at a very, very early stage here. It's as if autism, if you wanted an analogy, was like fever and everybody's trying to figure out what causes fever. And some kids have Ebola and some kids have strep throat and some kids have something very different, and the only thing they share is the elevated temperature. And that ranges from 101 to 105.
"So I think we have a real problem at this very early stage of this field. And it is early. This is a field that has been deeply invested in biomedical research for only a couple of decades.
"There are very few parts of the NIH that are that young in terms of how far they have been expected to go. I can't help but say though that part of frustration in the committee is continued misunderstanding of what we can do. What our authority is. What our resources are.
"We have no money. We have no ability to fund anybody to do anything. We are a bully pulpit and the best we can do is to try and inspire some of the funders around the room, the NIH, CDC, Autism Speaks, the Simons Foundation and others, Autism Science Foundation, to make appropriate investments in the issues that are in the Strategic Plan. But there is no real mandate to do that either.
"We have no recourse if someone doesn't. ...I'm not sure that the public fully understands and I can tell from some of the written comments that there is a clear misunderstanding about what our actually authority is in terms of what we can accomplish. We can have these very honest exchange of views. I think it is useful to try to align the community which is now very polarized. ....This is a multi-faceted problem with people having very different experiences."
I've never seen anyone so eager to plead incompetence and ignorance--over and over as Thomas Insel is when it comes to doing ANYTHING to address what autism is doing to our children.
The numbers don't alarm him.
The mounting research pointing to an out-of-control vaccine schedule isn't cause for concern.
The absence of a comparable rate among adults, the revelation in 2008 that HHS conceded the vaccine injury case of Hannah Poling, a girl in Georgia who regressed into autism after receiving nine vaccines in a single day, and the announcement in 2011 that the federal government had pay off 83 vaccine injury cases involving autism--NONE OF IT got Insel's attention.
In 2008, former head of NIH, Dr. Bernadine Healy, said that no one has ever studied the kids who were perfectly healthy and suddenly and inexplicably regressed into autism, but Insel didn't care to look into it.
AND the recent news that a scientist at the CDC says that they falsified the study results to cover up an association between the MMR and autism in African American boys meant nothing to Dr. Insel who can only throw up his hands anf ask us what we expect him to do about autism.
It seems his job is to look concerned, hold meetings, come to no conclusion and ignore the suffering of a generation of children.
In June, 2014, Laura Bono, board member of SafeMinds, wrote this "Open letter to Tom Insel, Director of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)."
It's been a while. I used to come and plead at the microphone for help for autistic children and families. Up until a couple of years ago, I submitted public comments under my name or with organizations for nearly every IACC meeting - going all the way to back when you took over the National Institute of Mental Health in 2002. Gosh, I've met with you in person more than a half a dozen times to talk about the science, what conditions we were seeing in kids on the spectrum, and the research that was needed to find the answers to help. But not anymore. I realize now that I was wasting my time. You haven't listened to anything I - or the thousands of other heartbroken parents - have been telling you. ...
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.