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Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Case 1’s Biomed Recovery, and Why It Still Matters

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Why is it that so many writers seem to have an anaphylactic reaction to the fact that the first case of autism in the medical literature recovered remarkably when treated with gold salts?

The short answer is because it suggests that the mainstream has gotten autism very wrong, and from the very first. Neither parent-blaming nor genetic anomalies nor ABA nor Floortime could explain how treating someone with a different diet, or certain kinds of medicine or alternative methods, could trigger a visible improvement in their symptoms, let along the kind of recovery seen in Donald T.

Donald, as you may know, was Case 1 in Leo Kanner’s 1943 description of 11 children with a theretofore-unknown syndrome that Kanner called “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact.”

Mark Blaxill and I tracked Donald down in 2005, and in 2007 met him in his hometown of Forest, Mississippi. Meanwhile, others were on the case. John Donvan and Caren Zucker, doubtless in possession of our 2010 book the Age of Autism which outlined our reporting on Donald, made a suspiciously well-timed splash the day before with an article in the Atlantic and a gig on Good Morning America, with the always-eager-to-diminish-autism George Stephanopoulos presiding.

I don’t doubt Donvan and Zucker independently identified Donald; it wasn’t that hard to do. I don’t blame them for publicizing their work at the same time as ours (I suppose they think they “scooped” us by landing one day before, although our book had been out for review for weeks), nor do I object to the fact that their take on Donald was a very pleasant feature story – the lovely people of Forest adopted him as their own little Hobbit (he is very short and suffered from failure to thrive, a sign of what really happened), and now he had found his own little place in the Shire. If only all the townsfolk of the world would be so kind, they implied, we’d have no problem with autism at all. Now they've recapitulated all that and much more in their new book "In a Different Key -- The Story of Autism," which along with the recent "Neurotribes" paints autism as just another part of human diversity that has always been with us.

Yeah, right. Our book laid out an entirely different scenario, in which we showed that Donald really was among the earliest handful of cases that came to be called autism. That the reason was the commercialization of ethyl mercury in seed disinfectants, lumber preservatives and multidose vaccines, and that the march of industrial progress, not for the first or last time, had inadvertently (and carelessly, given the known toxicity of ethyl mercury) launched the Age of Autism (see our book, the video on our home page, and my column last Saturday).

Let’s set that aside for a second and talk about the fact that Donald, according to his brother, Oliver, developed an acute case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in early adolescence and was near death by the time his parents got him the right diagnosis and treatment at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis. That treatment was intravenous gold salts over several months, during which time his JRA lifted, with the exception of one fused finger bone.

During that time, his brother told me, Donald’s autism symptoms also cleared up to the point that he was able to take his place in the community, go to college, work at the family bank and become president of the Kiwanis.

Interesting, no? Well, no, not interesting, nothing to see here according to Donvan and Zucker’s account. In a footnote, where pesky ideas that threaten the main narrative go to die, Donvan tells a different story, one that acknowledges ours but finds every reason you could think of, and a few you couldn’t, to dismiss it out of hand.

You see, the fact that Case 1 had not just autism but (another) autoimmune disease – rheumatoid arthritis -- interests them not at all as any kind of clue to causation or treatment. What they want to do is tear down any association between the gold salts (biomed) and the improvement in Donald’s autism.

Donvan reports that Donald’s mother, long dead, believed that the fevers induced by JRA, when they weren’t nearly killing him, improved his symptoms. Now, fevers do sometimes seem to have some effect on autism – usually temporary, alas, as I understand it.

But to Donvan, that’s the ticket out of having to consider a sustained anti-inflammatory treatment as anything to do with Donald’s recovery, which he also disputes, saying Donald is clearly still autistic. (Many parents would be thrilled with that kind of “autism” in their adult children.)

Donvan attributes the fever cure concept to Donald’s brother, and makes it sound like our description of gold salts as the source of his improvement is rampant, self-interested speculation by anti-vaccine kooks. "In his initial reporting, Olmsted went so far as to suggest gold salts had cured Donald's autism," they write.

Except, that’s what Donald’s brother told me in his law office above the square in Forest back in 2005!  He said a Dr. Hamilton in Memphis “began to treat my brother with gold salts – two or three months. He just had a miraculous response to the medicine. The pain in his joints went away.”

And then Oliver dropped the bomb I wasn’t expecting: “When he was finally released the nervous condition he was formerly afflicted with was gone. The proclivity toward excitability and extreme nervousness had all but cleared up, and after that he went to school and had one more little flare-up when he was in junior college they treated with cortisone.”

Later in the interview, still processing this unexpected idea, I came back to the gold salts and asked Oliver again if it really seemed like the decisive event: “It sure did,” he said. “He became more sociable.” Oliver added, “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

Donvan also criticizes me for suggesting Donald had moved off the autism spectrum, but when I asked Oliver if Donald had autism he said, “No, he doesn’t. It’s just in certain areas.” Again, some peculiarities, some traits, but c’mon John, the first guy ever reported in the literature got so much better that, if he’d started out like that, he’d never have been in the medical literature in the first place. This is where the diagnostic category itself, as opposed to a concept like auto-immune environmental injury, serves the status quo. The medical establishment controls the category, and you'd best not tamper with it.

Two years later, in 2007, Mark and I met Donald and, sitting around his kitchen table in Mississippi, talked (on tape) about his early life. We ran it in our book in Q and A form.

“Q: There was a mention in some of the medical papers that when you had the gold salts therapy, all of a sudden some of the behaviors and some of the other problems got better. Do you remember that?

A: No, I don’t really remember that.

Q: Did your parents say, though, that you seemed to get a lot better in terms of your relationship with the rest of the world and that sort of thing at that point?

A: Yes, as I got older, things got a whole lot better.

Q: And did they think that had something to do with it, those gold salts treatments?

A: I have a feeling it might.

Q: And the behaviors they were calling autistic, did those change most after the first one?

A: Yes, it seems like they changed.

Q: But you don’t remember that kind of change taking place?

A: No, I don’t remember, really.”

Donald t memo
Unlike this conversation, my earlier interview with his brother was not on tape. Reporters don’t like to share their notes, but here are two pages of mine. They show Donald’s brother, not me, musing about his amazing recovery from gold salts.

Donald t memo 2

Now, maybe gold salts were not what helped Donald, although I think they did; it is at least an idea worth taking seriously and keeping on the table as the number of injured kids soars. The meta-point here is that folks like Donvan can’t stand the idea and its implications, and toss in everything they can think of to discredit it. Maybe he was already getting better. Maybe he didn't really get that much better. Maybe it was the fevers. Maybe it's the lovely people of Forest. JRA has nothing to do with autism. Autism is not autoimmune, dammit! Etc. ...  Just like parents who report that removing certain items from the diet, or using chelation, or supplements, are treated like kooks. Yes, if you always ignore the evidence, people who insist on paying attention to it will remain kooks!

What can I say? I report what people tell me, and Oliver told me his brother’s JRA and his autism – in my view, a couple of co-morbid autoimmune afflictions triggered by early exposure to ethyl mercury – both cleared up with history's first biomedical intervention. Donald thought so, too, but was too young and too sick to know for sure. What a missed opportunity for the world to begin to understand what created this new disorder and what might help alleviate, and even stop, it. If the doctors who saw those early cases suspected the environmental clues that were there to see, we'd be living in a very different world today. One such clue to causation is biomedical recovery from both JRA and autism in Case 1.

But with causation comes culprits, both the compounds that triggered it and the powers that be who let it happen and allow it continue to this day.

And that, I think, is why so many have anaphylactic reactions to Donald T. and gold salts. 


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Ambily jose

proper care and support from parents and care givers are essential to treat the children with autism .I thank you for sharing your valuable information with us .

a reader

There are a lot of letters today in the New York Times regarding an article on home versus hospital births and using midwives. A number of letters and the original article cautioned on some dangers of midwife/home births. No one mentioned the dangers of Hep B injections at hospitals. I think one of the (unnamed) dangers of hospital births are you really don't know if your newborn will be subjected to this dangerous, unproven practice while you are completely out of it. You either have to have an alternative birth or hire a 24 hour guard. Even if you say you don't want the vaccine, can you really trust the hospital?

Pray for sanity

Look guys --seizures are easy to miss. Of course one in 20 kids always had epilepsy . It's easy to miss a seizure. I mean parents and teachers wouldn't know one if they saw one right? One time my date (the only person in my life I have ever known to have epilepsy)!had a grand mal seizure and someone had to tell me that I had to call the ambulance--- NOT. I almost didn't notice him writhing and struggling and crying out. So subtle . Just like when my son got ill the day after his MMR. Why I almost didn't notice the fever the bowel issues the fact he no longer smiled or babbled for months after. What a crazy coincidence that was! . So subtle. Please God let them finally wake up. Please God let sanity replace denial and greed. We have reached the tipping point.


Does anyone treat with gold salts and where can we get them?


I was familiar with the Donald T. Case prior to purchasing and read your excellent book THe Age of Autism. I greatly appreciated the meticulous research included, and am extremely grateful for your pursuit of truth and truly excellent reporting.

I do however want to point out something that might seem like splitting hairs, but it is, I feel an important nuance regarding attribution of it being a successful biomedical treatment. I posit that rather than being a biomedical treatment, that it was possibly a crude version of homeopathy given the totality of Mr. Triplet's overall symptom expression and hence the possibility of long-term improvement in absence of continued application.

When I read some of the case notes, and the mention of the 'gold salts' taken by Donald was made, my thoughts immediately went to Classical Homeopathic medicine as many of the outstanding proving symptoms seemed to be a serendipitous match (like cures like/not exact cures exact) as well as at that time it was common application for (RA) borrowed from homeopathy for allopathically application that biomedicine is.

In homeopathic miasmatic theory (which is akin to its disease/genetic theory) the expression of autism can be attributed to a dominant miasmatic expression of syphilitic miasm. (An expression which can often triggered in fact by mercury and or vaccination). However it is important to note that homeopathic syphilitic expression is not the same as what an allopathic understanding of syphilis means. But in Homeopathic repertory Aurum is considered a remedy that has dominant syphilitic miasmatic affinity.

So, while I too heartily agree that the crude dosing of gold salts could have been an important contributor to amelioration of some of the overall disease state symptoms of Mr. Triplett, I posit that it might have been due to an unintentional homeopathic approach (albeit what would be considered a crude homeopathic approach due to kind of dosing that happened) rather than being a necessarily successful biomedical intervention.

Homeopathic gold would never be considered a cure for an ASD state, but rather if an individual's symptoms matched the proving symptoms of Aurum, then could be curative.

In homeopathic medical science here are some of the proving symptoms of Aurum (homeopathic gold) though keep in mind many proving symptoms are written in an archaic language of materia medica.

So, it is also possible that even though what would be considered rather crude dosing that Triplet's vital force gave a secondary curative action after stimulation and dosing of the 'gold salts'


Thank you Dan for continuing to write with such good sense!!!

With epilepsy at 5% among children under 5, eventually there are sure to be enough people who see a problem so that the scales tip.

Maurine Meleck

I'm so glad you wrote this article. Their interviews all week were really getting to me.
I had to attend a guardianship seminar today as required by the state of Florida(in order to maintain my guardianship of Josh) Out of 20 guardians attending(some others grandparents, some parents, others for their senior parents) 9 had young adults with autism.

Denise Anderstrom Douglass

Sometimes AOA is like a life preserver you didn't expect to be thrown in your direction. Thank you Dan Olmsted, Anne Dachel, John Stone -- and Angry Mother. I am a very grateful mother of four middle aged adults, the oldest soon to be 48, and he's just about unheard of for rarity these days, a survivor of medulloblastoma at the age of 4 years, ll months. Someone who survived brain surgery and radiation in 1973 is rare indeed. But I am an Angry Grandmother, and often holler at the TV and Facebook, because this is getting bad in a Nazi propaganda way. As if my second son, father and custodial parent of my autistic grandchild needs more on his plate!. Angry Mother, don't give up.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for a closer look at your interviews and the discussions of gold salts treatment for Donald T.

Fever cure? .... So all we have to do is stop trying to prevent fevers (with pharmaceuticals?) and maybe we'll see more "cures" and also see why all those under-served adults with autism, who must be all around us, don't manifest autism so much now...they weren't "protected" enough growing up (from fevers) and some of them are (unfortunately?) "cured?"

I don't expect the "fever cure" theory to be picked up by the oligarchy propaganda outlets. It's a little too close to being anti-vaccine.

I love (sarcasm) how also they try to put a mask of acceptance and respect for diversity that all by right should be given with on the face of actual acceptance of exploitative toxic chemical assaults in complete disregard for diversity in ability to tolerate.


Trying to blame autism on genetics , is beyond ridiculous.

And nothing destroys that theory more absolutely, than biomed recoveries.

Tim Lundeen

@Linda1 -- Autism Speaks says that 20% to 40% of autistic kids also have seizure disorders, that more severe autism is more likely to have them. So my FB post:

Vaccines are known to trigger seizures. The rate of seizures in children is epidemic, now one in 20 children. The rate of autism is also epidemic, at 1 in 30 boys. About one boy in 17 has seizures, autism, or both.

It makes sense that the same kinds of brain inflammation that cause autism symptoms could cause seizures as well. A very high percentage (20% to 40%) of autistic kids also have seizures.
Lots of seizures and autism symptoms start after a round of vaccinations (it would be nice if we were keeping track of this).

For information about the scientific studies showing that vaccination causes brain damage leading to autism, see


Why/when did doctors stop using gold salts?

Angus Files

44 Million on gluten free... a suppose they were always with us,

A friend I know in the UK gets gold salt injections monthly for his Hydrocephalus...

Great article Dan as always


An Angry Mother

Somehow my TV was tuned to CNN the other night, I wasn't really paying attention until I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta's name and heard him begin speaking about the lead in Flint, Michigan. He was interviewing a mother who was talking about how no level of lead is acceptable in the human body. He agreed with her, acting the champion of children, and listed the lifelong irreversible effects of the poison, lamenting the criminal behavior of those who could let this happen. It blew my mind.

I screamed at the TV (before turning the channel), But it's okay to inject lead and mercury directly into the blood stream of the human body, of infants! What is wrong with these people! They are condemning so many to a life of suffering while at the same time strutting around like they know all and are the hero's come to save the day. This country suffers from an epidemic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in addition to autism. It's sickening.

My son is in his early 20's. He's in a supported living environment, meaning in his own home but with 24 hour round the clock staff. When I set this up he was doing relatively well, active, no SIB's for a very long time. He was in a good school. His diet and other alternative support systems were in place and were suppose to be followed. His medication list was minimal. He's suffered from the chronic infections so many others have his whole life. He has deteriorated over the last year and a half to the point he barely get's out of bed. He's consumed with OCD and anxiety. I am legally responsible for him. I tried working with his "doctors" who were ordering new, hard core medications for him without my knowledge and scoffing at what was already in place for him "there's no evidence these things work, stop them" while trying to add more and more stupefying medications, which only make him worse of course. At the same time his diet has gone by the way side and he lives on peanut butter and syrup sandwiches, slurpees, McDonalds, and pizza.

After trying to deal with this in every possible way, I quit my job and found a new home so I could bring him back with me, along with some of his staff to assist, in order to help turn him around. Get him back on his diet to reduce the inflammation as well as implement new protocols and supplements to support and improve his microbiome. Give him a reason to get out of bed, a purpose, something to do. Everyone, meaning my immediate family, those who will have to live with and take care of him for the rest of his life should he make no further improvement and I were to die or become unable to do it anymore, were supportive, except for one. The day before he was to move in with me I am challenged in court by that same one who is like minded with Donvan, Zucker, Silberman, Gupta, and the rest of these idiots who are only concerned with their image, status and bank accounts.

It is unbelievable to me this is happening. I am horrified at how this could end and am scrambling to defend myself, find the right attorney, and try and take the focus off the alternative stuff (for now, until he is safe) and put it where it belongs; his present state of care, why it's unacceptable, etc. I am working with an open minded, intelligent doctor who understands the realities of what has happened to my son. The other, drug pushing doctors are used by the supported living agency.

I am not using my name, which I normally do, nor saying where I live. This is what this country has come to. My son was at the beginning of this epidemic. Those who came after; take note this is what is coming if things don't change.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Donald T. will be turned into the poster guy for see-we-just-need-to-care-about-the-adults, without ever asking why they are the way they are.

Nothing will be said about the sicknesses that plague our children, and that affected Donald as a child.

Nope. Donvan and Zucker have created the myth that, as Donvan said on GMA with "the always-eager-to-diminish-autism George Stephanopoulos,"
"We don’t really know if there is not an epidemic, but we also think that it shouldn’t matter when we decide whether or not to respond to the needs of people in the autism community. It shouldn’t matter whether there’s an epidemic or not. What we should do is really try to focus on the fact that they need respect, they need support, they need us to be inclusive of them."

Okay....if we swallow that, it means that just like we've been taught to believe that there have always been hordes of kids who had had no speech, were prone to wandering, and who had started out normally developing but who somehow ended up with autism...we're now ready to gobble up the claim that autistic adults have always been, they were just hidden away in institutions by their cold, unfeeling parents.

Donvan and Zucker were on PBS talking about how we've learned to "love the autistic child," we just don't love the adults yet.

(I believe that their attitude is again laying the blame on THE PARENTS. The cold, unfeeling ones who put their autistic kids in institutions and forgot them, according to Caren Zucker.)

Anne Dachel, Media


I have not gotten to brass tacks, but fever and gold salts may be related to microglial involvement with increased IL-10 improving synapses and lowering inflammation.

Grace Green

Thanks, Dan. Super article. Keep driving it home!


I spoke too soon on the mention of autism in those links John posted. The second does mention that epilepsy is more prevalent in persons with autism. But it doesn't give stats. It is interesting that the CDC can (almost) tell us how many women got pregnant in Brazil last week and show us where they live on a map but they can't tell us how many children were diagnosed with autism in the U.S. and where they live.

Remember not too long ago there was an unexplained dramatic increase in microcephalic births in Washington State? The increase was brought to the CDC's attention by an observant nurse who took it upon herself to file a report. Remember that the CDC couldn't find the resources to do a thorough investigation? For all we know this could still be going on in Washington. From what I read at the time, the CDC did not seem to be terribly interested.

As Lisa pointed out here yesterday, a Brazilian increase in Guillian Barre is also now being attributed to Zika. Remember when Guillian Barre was a side effect of the flu vaccine? It seems those days are over. With WHO and CDC pushing more and more vaccines and with the world's population becoming increasingly resistant, the pushers can no longer afford to honestly acknowledge serious side effects. Now they're getting really creative. They've been circulating the blatant lie that the whole cell DPT never caused serious reactions. They dug up some previously obscure disorder (Dragnets?) to blame that on. And now they have a mosquito to explain the situation in Brazil. But, to date, they don't have a shred of evidence that the microcephaly is being caused by Zika. Pregnant women in Brazil are now reportedly dousing themselves in mosquito repellent, which isn't good either, unless it's nontoxic.

Re all those recently reported women who either miscarried or gave birth to microcephalic babies who were found to be infected with Zika (most asymptomatically) - Have authorities checked to see if women with normal outcomes were also infected? Is there a control group? It could be that the Zika virus carried by mosquitoes is causing microcephaly, but I'd like to know how many women in Brazil have antibodies to Zika, how many have an active infection, how many had those conditions during pregnancy and what was the outcome? And I'd like to know what's going on in Washington State too. I wonder if that nurse is still working there to tell us.


Neurotribes must occur with all afflictions. That is my observation.
Many years back; I remember some talk on how the deaf communities (large schools teaching the deaf) had a thread of anger running through them. They were even saying that being deaf was a better way to live. Some of the deaf were down right militant, and got an attitude that being deaf was in fact a gift.

Then there was the dwarf community that all came together, and about the same thing took place. On a talk show; the host found that angry attitude was there too in some he interviewed. One dwarf man in fact wanted his children to be dwarf, not it would be okay if they were born dwarf outside his power, but he really wanted them to be dwarf; if he had the power to decide.

It is there too in the homosexual community.
You want to get into trouble; just point out that the studies are saying it is a damaged area inside the hypothalamus. That homosexuality just like being deaf is not a gift, and still worse there is depression, irritability that intertwines that community. Many explain that is because of the way people treat them. Is it? Or could a lot of it be organic; since it involves the lower brain functions that control mood.

At any rate; all of this stuff, they all say they were just born that way, and nothing can be done. Well, that is probably true for them. Since it took almost eternity to get here, and we will all be gone in a blink of an eye; they deserve to treated with respect, dignity and to have what ever happiness they can grab hold of.


That kind of attitude has allowed anyone that chooses to use poison to maim and kill the human race, for the most part get away with it.

Get away with damaging them and on -- and on to the next generation.


Thank you Dan for your amazing work and dedication to the cause of autism.

I grew up in the Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and I think I saw one epileptic fit in all those years. So I don't think 1 in 20 kids have always had epilepsy because that would have meant about one kid per classroom or perhaps two because back then the average class was 30 to 40 kids. Now I know three people off the top of my head who have epilepsy. I would say there has been an increase.

John Stone

I can certainly recall gold salts being prescribed for a relative with rheumatoid arthritis as recently as the 1990s, though I don't know whether it ever happens today.

Dan Olmsted

hi grace, yes mercury is used to extract gold from ore, and i've cited that before. it is certainly one possible reason the gold salts worked. an anti-inflammatory effect on both the joints and the brain is another possibility. i didn't try to pin it down in this article because it is really secondary to the fact that the gold salts did have an effect. just getting the mainstream to take that seriously is the first challenge.


So, if 1 in 3 children with ASD have epilepsy, then the rate of autism in children under 5 is about roughly 1 in 7 children under 5 today!!????


I quickly found a 2007 article from Duke University on gold salts for arthritis saying that it does work and why. If they charge a couple of hundred dollars for an aspirin in hospital, imagine what they would charge for a gold IV?

John, those epilepsy stats are beyond alarming. I wonder how many of those children also have an autism diagnosis. That would not be mentioned because these knuckleheads refuse to connect the obvious dots between what they call autism and what autism actually is. Either that or they don't want the public to make the association.

Grace Green

Donald may not have been aware that his "autistic behaviours" had improved because we (autistics) don't see our behaviour objectively, but only experience our symptoms on teh inside. I believe this leads to misunderstanding by psychiatrists when questioning adults for an ASD diagnosis.

Also, maybe you felt it didn't need saying, but isn't mercury used to purify gold when mining it, and mightn't that make gold salts the ideal chelation medium for mercury?

John Stone


Stated with loads of good sense and dignity. The other day while considering the glaring awfulness of Donvan and Zucker (or was it Conman and Sucker?) I lighted on the Danny Kaye version of the Emperor's New Clothes - how he spells it out for his young audience. "In order not to appear a fool" everyone has to declare the very opposite of reality. A century before Ed Bernays Hans Christian Andersen already knew the score. In order not to look a fool you have to take your cue from the manipulators, even if it is quite obvious what they are doing. And in this case it is very obvious: these characters are going from mainstream media outlet to mainstream media outlet (the courtiers and the yes-men) dropping heavy hints about what to do and say.

Meanwhile, I also note the comment of Jonathan Rose in these columns the other day:

"It's wonderful that Donald Triplett grew up in small town (population 3000) where he was loved and accepted. But if the real autism rate in the 1930s was equal to what it is today (2 percent of children) there would have been 60 autistic people in this small community. And their neighbors and doctors simply overlooked 59 of them? They were just like Donald Triplett, and no one noticed them?"

So now, with thanks to Anne Dachel and the Examiner for pointiing it out, Seattle Children's Hospital say 1 in 20 children under 5 are epileptic:

Apparently, this is nothing to be concerned about. We read:

"Epilepsy in Children: Epilepsy happens more in children than it does in adults. It affects about 1% of the general population - one out of every 100 people. About 5% of children younger than 5 years old have epilepsy. That is about one in every 20 children under 5."

So, that's that then. One in 20 children under 5 have epilepsy, but they probably always did and no one noticed (Conman and Sucker can go around the studios saying that too). At least the Examiner has go it right for once: "Parents question vaccines as epilepsy rates rise to 1 in 20 children under five".

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