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Switched On: What Happens When Treatment Works?

Switched onBy Kim Stagliano

Kim and John BEA
Book Expo America 2007 for John's First Book Launch

Dear AofA readers, I'm going to share a few thoughts about this book by one of my first friends in the autism writing community, John Elder Robison. I know some of you will get your back up when I talk about our friendship.  And about this new book.

Please stand down.

I am too damn tired to manage a negative day. I have a 21 year old with 3 more months of school and the adulthood cliff awaits. My days are filled with trying to save our funding to pay for a palatable day program for her.  She has a 19 year old sister with autism. She has a 15 year old sister with autism too. As I'm typing this, my back is seizing up with stress pain. I'm exhausted. We haven't slept a full night in years.  Money is tighter than a 20 year old wedding dress. Like so many of you, I've been using biomed treatments and behavioral and educational programs for years and years and years. Anyone remember the old Yahoo group TNOT? Tough nuts and old timers. My 3 kids are tough nuts. I'm an older timer at 52.  Treatments have been hit or miss for us.

Today I want to talk about John and his latest book, Switched On, which is about what happened to him when a treatment WORKED. The treatment is TMS - Transcranial-Magnetic-Stimulation.  John was part of a study conducted by Harvard and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.  Read about TMS here.

Switched on Kims book
21 yea old Mia's desk. Not staged! She grabbed John's book and mine.

When I first met John in 2007. His Asperger's was painfully apparent.  At the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the day, John is an adult with autism/Asperger's.  We met at the Farmington Mall in Connecticut for lunch.  He barely looked at me. (And I thought I looked fetching that day! HA HA!)  His voice had a rather high pitch for such a large, strapping man.  Check out that photo of us, he's well over 6' tall.    I attended the Book Expo America with him. this is a huge book event, and Random House had featured John's memoir Look Me In The Eye with an impressive splash.  John and I walked the show together. I remember he had a list of books he wanted - and publishers give the books away at BEA.  I had a list too.  He walked into a booth and said bluntly to the young, mostly female marketing staff who was handing out books, "I need this (title) book."   I immediately saw their response.  They looked at John funny. They glanced at each other with the look that said, "Who the heck is this rude man?"

They did not know he was one of the hottest new authors at the event.

He did not know he had  been borderline rude and was being judged by them.  He did not notice their looks of disgust. I did. It bothered me. A lot.

Over the years following that event, I saw John gain social skills because he was interacting with the public in a new way while on book events.  Stupid he's not, and he told me at our first meeting how he had trained himself to look up and make eye contact at predetermined intervals to accommodate his Asperger's. 

But one night, I got a phone call from John that blew me away, immediately after he began his TMS. His words to me?

"Kim, I can read minds!"

In my  neurotypical, female fashion, I immediately thought he meant literally that he could read minds.   He explained that following TMS, he could tell what people were thinking by their facial expressions.  A first for him and something you and I, if typical, take for granted.  You know how we can get into trouble with email - because the reader can't sense our nuance or tone? Imagine life like that.

I was thrilled for John. Turns out, the result wasn't as thrilling as one would hope. I won't tell you  much about the book, I think it's important for you to read it.  I will tell you that his subtitle could be, "Be careful what you wish for."

Suddenly the safe cocoon of Asperger's was ripped away, exposing John to all of those nuances, some good, many bad.  His marriage collapsed. Relationships changed.  TMS rocked his world.

I'm still thrilled.  Why?

Because John, who many AofA'ers think of just that big Neurodiversity guy, used a treatment to ameliorate a symptom of autism. And it worked.  Just like we try with our own kids with biomed and other treatments. He medically changed himself.  Just like we do with when we treat the gut, the heavy metals, the microbes.  He's one of us.

Please refer back to the top of this post.

Stand down.

Never in the 9 years that I have known John has he ever denied the severity of my girls' autism. Never has he told me I should leave them as they are without treating their autism. Never has he accused me of not loving my girls for wanting to change their autism. 

He respects me.

I respect him.

I asked him if I could come to William and Mary college where he teaches a class in Neurodiversity. I want to tell the students my perspective as a parent.  He pointed out that many of those students have siblings just like my Mia. My Gianna. My Bella. So they process the concept of Neurodiversity differently that the Americans (are there any?) who are not yet touched by autism within their families. The siblings know the challenges, the heartache, the worry.  And they know treatment is a MUST.

We need to learn about how this treatment might help our own kids.  Believe it or not, not even Harvard and Beth Israel could get proper funding to expand the study.  After all, there's no pill to be sold. No profit in actually remediating some of the crippling aspects of Asperger's.    I think this surprised John very much. Not us, right? We know that drill.

If our kids could benefit from TMS at a much younger age, perhaps they could manage the changes better than a grown adult? Life is risk/reward.   Most of us would take the risk.

So I invite you to stand together and please get a copy of Switched On.

House of Cards 200 pixelsKim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel,  House of Cards; A All I Can Handle 50 pixel Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.



Joan Stevens,

Great quote at the end of the video:

"Blindness separates people from things.
Deafness separates people from people" ~ Hellen Keller

It seems that researchers are finally looking into how children with autism hear:

Hearing Test May Identify Autism Risk -Monday, July 25, 2016

"Researchers have identified an inner ear deficiency in children with Autism that may impact their ability to recognize speech....... "

Joan Stevens

Losing your hearing can be absolutely debilitating. There’s a video on youtube that is very well done that shows some of the potential effects of hearing loss. Let me find it real quick...
'time goes by'
…found it!

Grace Green

Angus and Hildegard, I'm so sorry that you've been spoken to in this way. As someone who occasionally describes myself as Aspie (for want of a better word, but more often vaccine injured) I would in no way condone such uncaring treatment. Perhaps having some ability to empathize is the reason why it's often denied that I have ASD. You can't win! I think it may sometimes be the case that people misunderstand the others meaning, which is another aspic difficulty. I hope to keep advocating for both ends of the spectrum, because I know we all suffer in our different degrees, and also because we need as many hands on deck as we can muster to fight the war on vaccines.


Hidegard Your points are very valid and genuine concerns of most of the parents carers of, severely damaged Autistics.

The problem as I see it is that genuine Autistics , find it hard to show empathy it’s not in the genome mix anymore .They usually adopt the name of Asspie or autis ,and a don't mess with me attitude,also claim to be higher functioning Autistics and love every minute of it..good luck with that one I say. .

I have been accused on-line never to my face,, "disgusting" ,and “who would insult their son like that” earned, after stating my son, is 18 years old, with the mental school assessed, age of 2 years at best, low functioning, non-verbal, regressive autistic,(haven’t missed anythink from the government assessed title) I also chuck in for good measure ,vaccine damaged, that usually brings the house down 9/11 style by the Guv trolls.It isn’t made in any point scoring antagonistic manner, far from it ,the truth hurts, and the truth for others- if they have no capability of understanding other peoples hurt, hurts a lot more for them.,,feel sorry for them.

In summery, I have found out the hard way that ,nobody will win an argument against a genuine Autistic sufferer ever, because they have no empathy of others points of view…doesn’t matter how right your point of view is.


Hildegard Martens

Where does a parent of a young adult who is severely affected by autism; dare I say disabled, go for support these days. The social media is full of parents who claim to be autistic themselves, married to fellow autistics, and raising usually more than one autistic child. Mention the word "severe" and you are shot down. Mention "nonverbal" and receive an immediate reference to all those who use FC.

According to these parents, if a child is gifted, it is part of their autism and shouldn't be changed. If a child has an intellectual disability it is not part of the autism but instead a result of a comorbid condition.

Feel good stories about autism take away from the reality so many of us face of aggression or self-injury. Reducing autism to a meme "Autism is just another way of thinking" takes away one of the greatest struggles we face. I wish I knew what my child was thinking. I wish those thoughts could identify what hurts, or what they did in school, or where they put their favorite toy, or what the most recent medication feels like.

But, when I express this part of autism I find myself attacked, viciously, by persons who advocate for acceptance.



Hi Kim

Just wanted to drop a quick line in to say what a wonderful post.

thanks and respect



Medical conditions in autism research have been grossly overlooked because, as everyone here knows, autism has been considered a purely psychiatric condition, hence the Refrigerator Mother and Smother Mother theories - and recently the Depressed Mother theory. Behavioural therapy and teaching Mums to play with their babies is not going to help the infants and children who can't distinguish voices from background noise or process language.

Struggling with the meaning in language is an auditory processing problem, even when you are reading because we 'hear' what we read. In addition to autism, some of our children have hyperlexia and although they may read well, their comprehension is very poor.

The problem is that a Central Auditory Processing Disorder can't be detected by a standard hearing test which is why our children always 'pass', even though they still appear to be deaf. This result leads health professionals to believe that there is nothing wrong with our children's hearing and, in turn, they mislead parents (and teachers) into believing that their children are just not listening or paying attention. (I was told many years ago by a SLP that children like mine had a _language_ problem and that CAPD was BS.)

There are many clues that auditory processing is the central deficit in autism:

hypersensitivity to normal sounds - hyperacusis (as British Autism Mother said)
appears deaf
ignores voices
doesn't respond to name
doesn't orient to sound
lacks attention
talks or babbles with an unusual tone
speaks in jargon (which might be how they hear us speak)
plays alone (avoids noisy and unpredictable children)

reverses pronouns
is echolalic
uses metaphorical speech
re-winds videos or an audio tape to a favourite spot over and over, and over again
craves visual input (alphabet, numbers, shapes, patterns, jigsaws etc)

How many parents of children with regression noticed that their children developed hypersensitive hearing at the same time as their children lost language? My son appeared deaf and started covering his ears at ordinary sounds that hadn't bothered him before. Why was this?

If this change in behaviour is commonplace in a subgroup of children with autism - the regressive type - it should be researched because it must be a symptom of brain/auditory damage.

I don't understand why there has been so much research on eye-contact and eye-gazing when the first symptoms parents of children with regression report are that our children appear deaf, and they've lost their words or phrases they knew well. I've never heard a parent say that the first thing their child lost was eye-contact.

In my opinion, autism experts have been steering research in the wrong direction for years.


British Autism Mother,

Autism experts, and by experts I mean the ones who've been around for a very long time - Rutter, Baron-Cohen, Gillberg, Uta Frith, Attwood and the late Lorna Wing - must know that not all autism is genetic and viruses can cause encephalitis which can result in autism but they stay completely silent on the matter.

Perhaps being mental health professionals they don't know that many vaccines contain live viruses and that no one knows where these viruses go once they've been injected or what they do, apart from creating antibodies. Although we know that mercury and aluminum end up in the brain, do some vaccine viruses end up there too?

Here's what Lorna Wing had to say about viral encephalitis:

“Disintegrative psychosis is recognized as a sequel to measles encephalitis. Viral encephalitis can give rise to autistic disorders, particularly when it occurs early in life.” - Lorna Wing - The Autistic Spectrum, 1996 p 68-71

And Gillberg's reports at Pub Med:


Dev Med Child Neurol. 1991 Oct;33(10):920-4.

Autistic syndrome with onset at age 31 years: herpes encephalitis as a possible model for childhood autism.
Department of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry, University of Goteborg, Sweden.

The author describes a previously healthy man who contracted herpes encephalitis at the age of 31 years, and over the following months developed all the symptoms considered diagnostic of autism. This case report casts doubt on the notion of autism as an exclusively developmental disorder. It is suggested that temporal lobe damage may cause autism in some cases."

Gillberg IC.

PMID: 1743418


J Autism Dev Disord. 1986 Sep;16(3):369-75.
Onset at age 14 of a typical autistic syndrome. A case report of a girl with herpes simplex encephalitis.

Gillberg C.

PMID: 3558293

Grace Green

Patience and ATSC. This topic is very interesting and I whole heartedly agree that understanding the brain is the best way forward in solving the autism problem. I do experience some of the auditory symptoms you describe, however I don't think this can explain all of the symptoms of autism, such as gut problems, skin sensitivity etc. Also, I find I struggle with meaning in language even when it's written down. I think hearing deficit was probably investigated and discounted in the early days of autism, but of course all systems of the body are connected with the brain, and it may be in the connections that damage has occurred.
On the long term solution to the happiness and well-being of adults with autism, I would recommend looking into the Camphill Community movement. I am fortunate to live in the city where this was founded, and our local community runs a very successful organic wholefoods shop, cafe, craft workshops etc. All of the residents are found employment, at whatever level they can manage, and there is a wonderful happy and respectful atmosphere. Not all have autism, but I'm sure some do. Best wishes for your son, Patience.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Thank you all, Margaret, Benedetta, Cait from Canada, Aimee Doyle, John Stone, Linda1, and others who commented upon and (I feel sure) prayed for my son's safe return.

I am still waiting to talk with group home and hospital staff. I hope he was not allowed to check himself out during the night. That has happened in the past...

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

British Autism Mother, yes!!!
Subacute Sclerosing Pan-encephalitis (SSPE) is something I first read about back in the 1970s, and it was found to be a long-term complication of measles. If the measles vaccine contains live virus, SSPE should be investigated as a possible unwanted outcome in some children.

Also, I remember reading that SSPE can begin with initial injuries in the brainstem. I just put "subacute sclerosing panencephalitis colliculus" into PubMed, and found the following article:
Thomas M et al. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis with bilateral inferior collicular hyperintensity on magnetic resonance imaging brain. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2012 Oct;15(4):329-31.

Has anyone included the above article in their "The Science is Clear" exoneration of the MMR vaccine???

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

ATSC, thank you.
In 2011 damage in the superior olivary complex was reported in 9 brains from people who were autistic from childhood [1]. The superior olives are relay centers just below the inferior colliculi in the auditory pathway. The authors of this report chose to look at the superior olive because this is where damage had been reported in a patient who was autistic and also a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome [2].

After finding superior olive abnormalities in the 9 brains from autistic people, the authors then exposed laboratory rats to valproic acid (Depakote) during gestation, and found similar derangement in the superior olives [3]. I submitted these papers to the IACC for their advances in knowledge report for 2011, but they were not included. No one from the IACC replied to my suggestion, which was just ignored as always.

Relay centers in the auditory pathway (cochlear, trapezoid, superior olive, inferior colliculus, geniculate) have higher blood flow and aerobic metabolism than any other area of the brain. British audiologist Ladislav Fisch pointed out that the auditory system is constantly active, even during sleep, and that it is the "vigilance center" of the brain. Professor Derek Denny-Brown believed the tectum (inferior and superior colliculi) was locus of the conscious state. Damage in the tectum may lead to diminished awareness.

The inferior colliculi show up as bright dots on fMRI scans [5], especially in people with tinnitus. They should be looked for in fMRI scans of people who were autistic from early childhood.

[1] Kulesza RJ Jr, et al. Malformation of the human superior olive in autistic spectrum disorders. Brain Res. 2011 Jan 7;1367:360-71.
[2] Rodier PM, et al. Embryological origin for autism: developmental anomalies of the cranial nerve motor nuclei. J Comp Neurol. 1996 Jun 24;370(2):247-61.
[3] Lukose R, et al. Malformation of the superior olivary complex in an animal model of autism. Brain Res. 2011 Jun 29;1398:102-12.
[4] Fisch L. The selective and differential vulnerability of the auditory system. In: Sensorineural hearing loss. Ciba Found Symp. 1970:101-26.
[5] Budd TW, et al. Binaural specialisation in human auditory cortex: an fMRI investigation of interaural correlation sensitivity. Neuroimage. 2003 Nov;20(3):1783-94.


So glad that your son is safe Eileen. I hope that his living situation improves too.

British Autism Mother

I apologise in advance for taking this thread in a slightly different direction than originally intended.

Many of our children have sensory processing difficulties including, in my now adult ASD/AD child, hyperacusis commonly known as very sensitive hearing.

In my generation (I'm now in my mid-sixties) it was known that, after having the wild measles, one problem could be partial or total hearing loss in one or both ears. It was one reason why the single measles vaccine was, broadly speaking, welcomed in its earlier versions.

I now put forward a theory I haven't seen elsewhere. Supposing the vaccine measles doesn't clear the body as the wild measles presumably used to do? Suppose the inflammation of the auditory nerve doesn't die down and is left permanently sensitised? Would this account for the many ASD/AD children with hyperacusis who I see wearing headphones to access the community, i.e. supermarkets, shopping malls, rail/coach stations and airports?

Please note that I am grateful to John Elder Robison for his willingness to share his experiences with us. The more we can help each other the better.

John Stone


Very glad to hear this - worst nightmare.



Kim and John Elder,

When John talks about autistics tending to have a deficiency in Emotional Intelligence isn't he actually highlighting problems that his brain has with processing visual and auditory information?

Here's an example from this talk:


"...we tend to have a deficiency in emotional intelligence. That's the part of our brains that allows us to look at you and say 'she really likes me' and 'she's really mad at me' and sort of divine what people are thinking and feeling. It's the part of the brain that if I drop something on the floor and you say 'That's really great!', it says 'he's pissed', not 'I'd better break another one' because, you know, I did stuff like that as a child and it's funny now but when you 're a kid you just cry because you can never say the right thing."

In my view, over the last few years, far too much emphasis has been placed on eye-contact. John has focused on it, and so have researchers. Yet, it is the auditory system that is processing the sounds of 'That's really great!' and John's misunderstanding of what it meant at the time has nothing to do with vision or empathy. A neurotypical child will not only easily process the sounds of the words and understand them, his or her brain will also just as easily register and respond to the angry or sarcastic tone in a parent's voice.

Seeing as many of our children are distressed by everyday sounds and cover their ears, and don't respond or orient to voices, perhaps it's high time autism researchers took a very close look at Eileen Nicole Simon's research, and the auditory system that she has been studying for fifty years was thoroughly explored. Modern technology may show that the inferior colliculus is at the core of the problem.

Although the American Speech Language Hearing Association banned their members from using Auditory Integrated Training in 2003, many of us took our children for this therapy in the 1990s because we knew that their auditory processing was deficient, and it was definitely beneficial for some. At the time, Drs Rimland and Edelson gave their response to this banning and asked "ASHA to recant their policy on AIT, and encourage ASHA to conduct an objective, non-biased review of AIT". As far as I know they didn't.

To me, a deficiency in "Emotional Intelligence" points very strongly towards deficiencies in the auditory and visual pathways of our brains - and this has been referred to as "meaning deaf' and "meaning blind" by autistics themselves.

It doesn't look to me like Simon Baron-Cohen took auditory processing difficulties into account when he designed the Empathy Quotient test for ASD. I dare say that no one could empathise without auditory or visual input.

If people on the autism spectrum are bothered by sound, and can't differentiate voices from background noise, they will find it very hard if not impossible to learn how to speak. If they can't hear tone, pitch and inflexion in the human voice, those who are verbal will misunderstand language and take things literally.

With Eileen's knowledge of the auditory system, and John Elder Robison's knowledge of sound systems, maybe research would make progress and children could actually be helped. If there's a break or interference in the circuitry, it won't work, and Behavioural Therapy or Play Therapy won't fix it.

I'd like to read an article about Eileen Nicole Simon's research on AoA so that it could be discussed further. If Eileen is willing to do this, would AoA be willing to publish it?


Is TMS different than the MRT therapy Dr Bradstreet was working with, or are they the same thing?


Thank you Eileen for letting us know. I am so glad he is found. I hope he is okay? What to do to make him happier where he lives.

Aimee Doyle

Eileen Nicole - I am so very glad that your son was found! My adult son has wandered in the past, so I understand the gripping fear and worry you must have experienced. Once again, really happy for you...I was thinking about you and him all day.

I empathize with you too, on the challenges of finding good (or even adequate) day programming for your son. Mine is also capable of doing productive work, but it seems only high functioning individuals are seen as having any potential. The job programs and training opportunities just don't seem to be there for the lower 2/3 of the spectrum.

My son spent his day today hanging around a community center with his DSP (Direct Support Provider). He said they went to the playground. He's 26. Of course the playground equipment is too small for him.

Cait from Canada

Eileen Nicole, I am relieved to hear your son has been found.


the study John Robison participated in was never meant to be a treatment study, contrary to what Kim Stagliano, others, and perhaps Robison himself imply. It was a measure of brain plasticity in persons with asperger's. Alvaro Pasqual and Lindsay oberman et. al. have not done research into TMS as a treatment for autism. Manuel Casanova and Peter Endicott have though.


Patience, I'm so glad you got good news! There needs to be much more discussion of the dangers individuals with autism face. Ditto for the need for jobs. You're right. Too often staff just take the easy way out and don't make a real effort, assuming you're not so understaffed that they can't do their job right.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

My son has been found!!! He is being kept overnight in the hospital, then possibly transferred to inpatient psych unit. It's too late for me to go visit now. I will go first thing in the morning.

Thanks to everyone for your concerns. This is the kind of problem the neurodiversity self-advocates are totally unable to understand.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Margaret and Benedetta, thank you. My son is still missing. He was discharged from Westborough State Hospital in 2003 (13 years ago) to a group home with 6 residents, who do not get along. This has not been helpful for my son to improve interpersonal skills.

Also, my son is capable of doing useful work, but training for employment has been completely absent from his day program over the past 13 years. He also should have been trained to use email and Google. I setup two email addresses for him, but staff at the day program tell me he has shown no interest. I think they should insist on competence in using computers.

Linda1, thank you for pointing out the dangers of treatments like TMS, which have no basis in understanding how the brain works.


Eileen Nicole Please let us know how it is going? It never ends, I am so sorry.

Jeannette Bishop

Thanks, Kim, for an introduction to John's book, and I pray for some positive advancements for your girls and all our children.

Ronald Kostoff


There's one point I would add to my previous post. The MRI references were for general populations, which may or may not include any people with autism. To identify potential adverse effects of MRI, or TMS, on people with autism, one should have trial data from ASD populations. In particular, to identify potential adverse effects FOR A PARTICULAR PERSON WITH AUTISM who is considering TMS therapy, the test population should have characteristics as closely aligned as possible to those of the prospective TMS patient. That lack of alignment tends to be the Achilles Heel of many extrapolations from clinical trials to practice. I addressed that issue in my eBook, and have appended it below.

9D1. Inadequacy of Foundational Cause Accounting

Clinical trials are very important for determining the efficacy of treatments for disease. While much effort and attention are expended on insuring a credible statistical structure for the trials, and some co-morbidity of the test subjects is taken into account, much less attention is typically placed on the potential foundational causes of disease being experienced/ pursued by the test subjects. Why is this important? I will demonstrate its perceived importance through examination of one interesting data point.

Dr. Terri Wahls is on the medical faculty of the University of Iowa. She developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and eventually became non-ambulatory. Her book [148] describing her experiences shows pictures of her giving classroom lectures from a wheelchair.

At that point, she decided to research the biomedical literature to ascertain whether MS could be reversed. Based on her research, she concluded that a major contributing factor to her MS was poor diet. She speculated that the MS could be halted/ eliminated using mainly a dietary improvement approach, and the motor control damage from the MS could be reversed using a technique called Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). Heretofore, NMES had only been used for athletes' rehabilitation from injury.

Dr. Wahls eventually integrated nutritional enhancement with NMES. Her experience was that she used NMES and made very slow progress, then improved her diet and made rapid progress. This comports with the LRDI holistic medical hypothesis: removal of cause is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for restorative treatment to be effective. This appears to be exactly what happened in Dr. Wahls' case; the cause (poor diet) was removed and the restorative treatment (NMES) became effective.

If one separates the sequence of events necessary for healing into
1) disease cause removal,
2) disease symptom removal, and
3) disease damage removal,

explanation becomes somewhat easier. Dr. Wahls eliminated the major cause of her MS (poor diet), and the symptoms associated with MS disappeared (pain, fatigue, etc). However, the damage from MS (gait and motor control problems) remained, to some extent. To reverse that damage, she had two major options. She could let nature take its course and reverse the symptoms of the damage. This alone might work, but natural biological processes can take a long time for healing. For faster results, she could use some external form of treatment to accelerate healing. She chose NMES, and, in combination with improved nutrition, was able to accelerate healing.

Now comes one of the more critical insights from this book. Assume we rate the quality of diets from one to a hundred, where one is the lowest. Assume further that Dr. Wahls had an average American diet before she contracted MS; her diet pre-2000 (before being diagnosed with MS) was perhaps a 40. Then, she was diagnosed with MS, started to deteriorate, and changed to a Paleolithic diet in 2003 (there are various incarnations of the so-called Paleo diet, but they consist mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and exclude grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils). Assuming she followed it strictly, I would rate it about 95, based on our past LRDI (mainly dietary) findings for different diseases.

Then, in 2007, she started NMES. Her progress, if any, was minimal. When she switched to her present strict diet, which a pro-Paleo advocate might rate at 99, the NMES results increased dramatically.

If she had received the NMES when her diet was 40, there probably would have been zero gain, since the poor diet was continually destroying the myelin sheath (the electrically insulating layer around the axon of a neuron whose degradation is a characteristic of MS). Even receiving the NMES when her diet was ~95 didn't do very much. It was only when her diet approached near-pristine status (from a pro-Paleo perspective) that real change occurred. So, if someone were to run clinical trials of the efficacy of NMES on many MS patients, the spectrum of responses they would see would be a mirror of the quality of the diet (or, more generally, the degree of cause removal from whatever source), and tell relatively little about the efficacy of NMES.

This means that if we see clinical trial results of a new 'treatment' performed on a number of patients who have the average American diet, and the test results don't show much improvement, it may tell nothing about the quality of the treatment, irrespective of the randomized double-blindedness of the trials! If all the test subjects were like Dr. Wahls pre-Paleo, with a ~40 level diet, and they had received NMES, we probably would conclude that NMES does not work for MS. The more accurate conclusion might be that it doesn't work for people with MS when the dominant cause(s) is still being experienced; in fact, why would one expect it to work under those conditions?

But, that's the reality of many medical 'treatments' today. The foundational cause is not addressed, 'treatments' are administered, and there is a wide range of responses. The so-called 'incurable' diseases, like MS, are never 'cured' because the true foundational causes are never removed!

Angus Files

as they say "see what your permitted to talk about to find out who controls you"..glad to see someone has had success with alternative help, always good to read.


Ronald Kostoff


You raised some interesting questions about potential adverse effects from TMS therapy. In our EMF health effects paper, and in the version I am presently updating, I don't remember too much negative about the effects of TMS therapy. However, we need to remember that conclusion is based on what is published in the open literature, and you know my views about the open biomedical literature.

I did a quickie search for TMS side-effects in Google, and came up with the references appended. They all say pretty much the same, and it checks with a quickie search of Medline. Side effects are relatively minimal, although there could be rare instances of seizures. All the references state or imply that long-term effects are unknown, and have to be researched.

Neurostar TMS therapy states: "Is similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)". The implication is that the therapy is as safe as MRI imaging. In my eBook, I identified some potential side-effects of MRIs; they are also appended, showing the titles of relevant papers. I have no idea how this would translate to TMS therapy. Certainly, MRI diagnostics are very valuable, and my guess is that the benefits far outweigh the risks, especially with moderate use. Like everything else, too much can be problematical. CT scans, which are also useful for diagnosis (and involve ionizing radiation), can be problematical in large amounts. I identified potential adverse effects of CT scans in my eBook, and they are appended as well, in the same format as for the MRI adverse effects.


2D2b. Non-Ionizing
(e.g., Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI))
*An unusual burn during routine magnetic resonance imaging.
*Arteriovenous fistula complication following MRI.
*Deleterious effects of MRI on chondrocytes.
*Efficacy of diphenhydramine in the prevention of vertigo and nausea at 7 T MRI.
*Genotoxic effects of 3 T magnetic resonance imaging in cultured human lymphocytes.
*Hearing loss after noise exposure.
*Iatrogenic hyperthermia during cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.
*MRI magnetic field stimulates rotational sensors of the brain.
*Spontaneous dissociation during functional MRI experiments.
There were many papers addressing the impact of MRI on implantable devices, many of these impacts being adverse, but only biological issues were used for these examples.

2D2a. Ionizing
(e.g., X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT))
*An association between cerebral aneurysm re-bleed and CT angiography--more than a coincidence?
*Cancer risk in 680,000 people exposed to computed tomography scans in childhood or adolescence: data linkage study of 11 million Australians.
*Cancer risks from diagnostic radiology.
*CT scans in childhood: leukaemia, brain tumours.
*Risk estimates for meningiomas and other late effects after diagnostic X-ray exposure of the skull.
*Leukemia among medical diagnostic X-ray workers in China.
*Theoretical increase of thyroid cancer induction from cervical spine multidetector computed tomography in pediatric trauma patients.
There is a very extensive literature on radiation doses from CT scans, the dose-disease translation, and ways to reduce the dosage and eliminate unnecessary scans. There are also many papers on the adverse effects of the contrast media used as part of the CT scan, but since the taxonomy contains a category for contrast media, they are not included here.


I would exercise extreme caution with TMS - Transcranial-Magnetic-Stimulation. First, I would want the opinion of experts in EMF/RFR starting with Drs. Martha Herbert, David Carpenter and Devra Davis. I would see what the research in the BioInitiative Report says about exposures like this - if there are comparable studies. My bet is that if there are, they would be ignored by scientists proposing the treatment. Could TMS result in increased sensitivity to electrical fields? That would not be a good thing since in modern society we are bombarded with electrical fields in the community (and sometimes in the home, which should be remediated, but most people are unaware). Could TMS affect cellular metabolism in other adverse ways? Carcinogenicity? Does TMS affect the blood brain barrier? If there is an effect, could there be adverse effects of taking medications during or after TMS treatment?

I wonder what is the difference between the fields used in TMS and those used in MRI or in everyday exposures? Is the "benefit" dose dependent? Upon what science are doses determined? If TMS is safe and effective, is there a narrow therapeutic range such that less or more would be harmful, and what is the relevance of other environmental exposures to the dose?

I hope my questions haven't hurt your head, Kim. I hope you get some much needed and deserved rest. Thanks too, for sharing your insight into your friend. But I still do not think it is appropriate for him to be in such a powerful position to affect the lives of others with an autism diagnosis.


Hello, Patience. I'm so sorry about your son. I didn't notice that he was missing in the news, but then our children are conveniently overlooked whenever possible, especially when they're adults. I always wonder how much misery could be avoided if we only could see a 25% improvement in our kids. Certainly this treatment is interesting. But there's no interest at the top, where money is being made.

Dan Olmsted

when i met john a few years back, before this treatment, i introduced myself and he said, "you wrote that pig book..." he was thinking of david kirby and his book, animal factory. i'm always glad for anything that helps another human being be happier and wish john the best...even if i didn't write that pig book! but as john stone says, he really should look deeper -- there is clearly an autism epidemic.

John Stone

I hope John is going to take note, however, of comments in Jonathan Rose's blog "Yes, There is an Autism Epidemic": perhaps when he states "The "autism epidemic" idea is not part of the conversation at NIH and CDC because the evidence does not support it" he has not read the minds of those that he is dealing with closely enough - the CDC had it in their own data for Atlanta that the rate of ASD had risen among 8 year-olds by nearly 4 times between 1996 and 2010 and was then about 1 in 64.5. The rates are probably even higher now (they are miles higher in the UK where the media connive to suppress the official data). But John, in his first book (published in 2007) mentions a rate of only 1 in 150.


One is, of course grateful that he responded in a concerned and courteous way (unlike the trolls) but I believe he needs to re-examine the facts.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Kim and John, have you looked into which anatomical structures in the brain are responding to TMS? The INFERIOR COLLICULUS in the midbrain auditory pathway should be investigated. So, I just put "transcranial magnetic stimulation colliculus" into PubMed and 35 citations show up dating back to 1994. I will start by reading the following article, which is free online:

Park HJ et al. Activation of the central nervous system induced by micro-magnetic stimulation. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2463.

The inferior colliculus has higher blood flow and aerobic metabolism than any other site in the brain. I may be daffy to keep trying to point this out, to all kinds of experts, but this is the structure in the brain where damage from vaccine components has been found, like various forms of mercury.

Arguments over causes of autism will continue until the dysfunctional circuits in the brain are identified. The inferior colliculus, and the whole auditory pathway, is my bet.

I hope you have a good day. My 53-year old son has been missing from his group home since a week ago yesterday. His problems are the result of brain damage, even though he is a savant. I began my research efforts 50+ years ago, and am tired of being viewed as an old crank who refuses to graciously accept my son's suffering.

Dan Burns

I like John Elder. Met him at an AutismOne conference. His first book, Look Me in the Eye, helped me enjoy my brother. Thanks for the tip, Kim. I've ordered Switched On.

Dawn DiMarco

Love this review and am grateful for your perspective Kim. You are a hero to many of us in the trenches ❤️

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