Champaign IL News Gazette On Death of Newspaperman Dan Olmsted
Dr. Paul Thomas Responds to AAP's Dr. Fernando Stein's Vaccine Safety Article

Experts Respond to Dr. David Amaral (MIND Institute)

Experts respond
NOTE:  I'd like to thank Dr. Amaral for responding to Anne Dachel last week.  We're going to move the ball forward (Superbowl analogy) by conversation.  He did not have to make that effort and I am asking readers to respond to him with courtesy and manners.  Even if  you're really pissed.  Thanks. KIM

By Anne Dachel

Recently I wrote about David Amaral, Director of Autism Research at UC Davis MIND Institute.  Amaral had been quoted in a article    where he said he was “worried” about President Trump’s plans to look into vaccine safety and autism research. The piece was a call for the status quo to continue, after all, we already have the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (of which Amaral is a member) which advises HHS on autism.

In my story, Autism Scientist Worried About a Vaccine Safety Panel,  I reminded readers that six years ago, Amaral was covered on PBS admitting this about vaccines and autism, “It’s not to say, however, that there is a small subset of children who may be particularly vulnerable to vaccines.

“And in their case, having the vaccines, or particular vaccines, particularly in certain kinds of situations — if the child was ill, if the child had a precondition. Like a mitochondrial defect. Vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it is incredibly important, still, to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities, in a small subset of children, might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations.”

I wanted to know what happened to Amaral to make him now more worried about someone looking into the vaccine safety than about which kids are there are susceptible to a vaccine reaction.

Dr. Amaral posted this comment on my story:

Dear Anne,

The beauty of science is that you are taken where the evidence leads you. The MacNeil interview was carried out early in 2011 and at that time I thought that there was some chance that postnatal factors might lead to some cases of autism - particularly in children that had a genetic or other medical predisposing condition. But, our own research has argued against this view. Later in 2011, we published a paper about brain changes in children with and without regression (Nordahl et al 2011). We found that it was the children with evidence of regression that generally had enlarged brains. We also found that head enlargement started at 4-6 months of life - long before the behavioral regression.

Nordahl, C.W., et al., (2011) Brain enlargement is associated with regression in preschool-age boys with autism spectrum disorders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(50): p. 20195-200.

Posted by: David Amaral, Ph.D.

I think that the phrase “postnatal factors” was intended as a reference to vaccines, since he didn’t actually use the word in his explanation. I was at a lost to understand how a study of regression, “enlarged brains” and “head enlargement” could nullify the claim of vaccine-induced autism.

I asked a number of experts in medical and scientific fields and advocates in the autism community for their opinions on what Dr. Amaral wrote. Here are their responses.

Response from Laura Hayes:

As I said in my recent WAPF presentation: "MIND has been a huge disappointment and has chosen to ignore and deny the unmistakable role that vaccines have played in the vaccine-induced Autism epidemic that has been plaguing our country for more than 25 years."

Furthermore, MIND has now wasted nearly 2 decades of time, money, and precious resources...thus failing miserably, and inexcusably, in its mission to find the cause of and cure for Autism, in addition to other neurodevelopmental disorders.  The actions and inactions of those who comprise MIND have helped to continue and proliferate the many childhood epidemics now plaguing our children, at a rate so devastating I don't even think the powers that be are tracking it accurately anymore, as the last stat I am aware of is now years old...i.e. that 54% of U.S. children have some form or a developmental disability and/or chronic illness.  No doubt, that figure is much higher now, and continuing to grow.  What has MIND done to address and stop that? 

Under MIND's watch, both the Autism Epidemic and the Vaccine Holocaust have continued and worsened.  It appears they have no desire to stop either.

Laura Hayes

Co-Founding Family of MIND
Does not currently support MIND, and would support its immediate closure.

Response from Dr. Paul Thomas:

David Amaral has just disqualified himself as one who is honest, one who is looking for the actual causes of the autism and health crisis we find our children in.  He has to know the literature on thimerosal, on aluminum and he has to know that there are no long term studies comparing unvaccinated to fully vaccinated or selectively vaccinated. 

When I hear this nonsense I know I am dealing with someone who is compromised - usually by conflicts of interest, or they are just too afraid of losing their status or income or both by being open and honest on this topic. 

Sadly most of my Pediatrician peers fall into this same category (conflicted or fearful) - but in their case many of them I suspect really are ignorant.  I don't think David Amaral can claim ignorance.  

Paul Thomas, MD
Founding Director of PIC (Physicians for Informed Consent)
Co-Chair for OFMF (Oregonians for Medical Freedom)
Author of The Vaccine-Friendly Plan

Response from Barbara Loe Fisher:

Amaral conveniently ignores the body of scientific evidence that demonstrates there is an association between biodiversity, epigenetics and individual susceptibility to harm from environmental exposures, including pharmaceutical products like vaccines. He ceases to be an intellectually honest scientist when he becomes so enamored of his own autism hypothesis that he excludes all other hypotheses because they do not conform with his own. Amaral begins with the a priori assumption that vaccines do not cause any negative changes in immune and brain development and function or genetic integrity when a fetus is exposed to maternal vaccination and an infant is injected in the first six months of life with multiple vaccines starting on the day of birth. It is ignorant to categorically dismiss a causal association between vaccination and autism when there are no large, methodologically sound scientific studies that evaluate all morbidity and mortality outcomes and measure biological and genetic changes among children in the U.S. who are highly vaccinated and those who remain unvaccinated in the first two years of life.

Barbara Loe Fisher                                                                                                                           Co-founder National Vaccine Information Center

Response from Mary Holland, Esq.  

Dr. David Amaral’s insights based on the 2011 Nordahl study are interesting.  But to use those insights to seemingly dismiss all postnatal factors contributing to autism is preposterous.  I commend to Dr. Amaral’s attention the new and comprehensive book by Dr. Lyons-Weiler, The Genetic and Environmental Causes of Autism, looking at all contributors to autism based on over 3,000 studies.  The overwhelming yet still incomplete body of scientific evidence points to the reality of postnatal autism triggers, including vaccines. 

Dr. Amaral and the MIND Institute can either myopically look at studies that support the ‘no link’ vaccine-autism hypothesis, as corporate-oriented scientists have long done, or they can look at the complete body of science about autism, which clearly points to postnatal factors as well as prenatal ones.

Mary Holland                                                                                                                             
Research Scholar, NYU School of Law, Chair Advisory Committee, Health Choice                   
Board Member, Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, Co-founder and Board member, Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy

Response from Dr. James Lyons-Weiler:

Early head enlargement in and of itself if not autism.

I don't see anywhere in the Amaral publication where any part of the the study look at rates of autism in children with early tendencies toward large heads who have been vaccinated vs. children with early tendencies toward large heads who have not been vaccinated.

So, the study found that boys with ASD especially tended to show brain changes early on. But nowhere in the study is there any evidence of consideration of their vaccination status, and nowhere is there any evidence of consideration of the fates of children who had the same tendencies who were not vaccinated.

For Dr. Amaral to justifiably change his position, or to make any knowledge claim on the potential role of vaccines (or any other source of toxins), it would seem a higher level of evidence would be needed. The study simply does not address the question.

It would be worth looking into vaccination histories during pregnancy, and a look into whether anti-brain antibodies in the autistics and their moms due to vaccination during pregnancy may explain anything.

Also the new Fogarty/Lyons-Weiler hypothesis of pelvic CT scans in parents prior to pregnancy causing the increase in CNVs seen in 20% of ASD patients could contribute both to macrocephaly and ASD, involving toxic overload, including susceptibility to toxins from vaccines (and many other sources).

Autism is a multifactorial complex disorder, and simple observations like tendencies toward early head enlargement do not rule out increased susceptibility. In fact, if you think about it, it may in fact be a predictor of increased sensitivity.

Compare ASD rates in kids tending toward early macrocephaly w/ and w/out vaccines, and you may have more information.

James Lyons-Weiler, PhD

Dr. Lyons-Weiler is the CEO and President of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge (IPAK), a pure public charity research institute that exists to reduce human pain and suffering through knowledge. He is former faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Departments of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics, and the former Senior Research Scientist and Scientific Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Genomic and Protoemic Core Laboratories’ Bioinformatics Analysis Core. He has made key contributions (study design, data analysis) to over 100 basic, translational and clinical studies in dozens of areas of biomedicine.  “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism”  is Dr. Lyons-Weiler’s third book, and second book released in one year.

Response from Dr.  F. Edward Yazbak:

The full text of the 2011 publication by Nordahl et al mentioned by David Amaral PhD yesterday is available for review.

RE the following paragraph: “The major finding of this study is that a subset of boys with regressive autism have normal head circumference at birth, which diverges from normality around 4–6 mo of age, well before any loss of skills were documented. Thus, rapid head growth beginning around 4–6 mo of age may be a risk factor for future loss of skills. Furthermore, whereas behavioral regression in autism usually occurs between 12 and 24 mo of age, we found that the brain changes that are associated with this form of autism begin as early as 4 mo of age. This calls into question the association of pediatric vaccinations, in particular the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, administered close to the time of regression as a causal factor in the disorder. Clearly, additional studies need to be conducted to elucidate the precise neural underpinnings of this rapid head growth that precedes the behavioral onset of regressive autism.”

“Calling into question” is of course not “incontestable evidence”

A Pub-Med search this morning revealed 175 publications on “Autism, Microcephaly
vs. 176 publications on “Autism, Macrocephaly

Of note: The publication #18 among the macrocephaly studies seems to be by the same authors who wrote the 2011 study mentioned by Dr. Amaral. It was published very recently (November 2016) and is titled: “Persistence of megalencephaly in a subgroup of young boys with autism spectrumdisorder.”

In that study, the investigators “evaluated head circumference and total cerebral volume in 129 male children with autism and 49 age-matched, typically developing controls“

They determined that: “At 3 years of age, 19 boys with autism had enlarged brains while 110 had brain sizes in the normal range” and only seemed to conclude that their data suggested “that there is a subgroup of boys with autism who have brains disproportionate to body size and that this continues until at least 5 years of age.”

One hundred and ten sets of parents should not be very difficult to locate.

May be someone from the MIND Institute can ask them what they thought caused their child’s regression.

  1. Edward Yazbak MD

Response from Dr. Edward Fogarty:

Dr. Amaral,

I hope you can take a moment to review my associated graphical heuristic.


This was presented years ago at the UC Davis MIND institute by Kenneth Stoller, MD.  This was some time after I created it for an annual North Dakota American Academy of Pediatrics chapter meeting.  I was invited by my close friend Todd Twogood, MD to give an overview of the landscape facing the nation, physicians and our American families in this extremely complex situation.  By my profession’s ALARA ethics of toxin dosing, one must ask why pediatric radiologists are concerned about developmental timelines and the impact of waveform toxins while the CDC and pediatricians are not when it comes to chemical toxins they control.  ALARA stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  It is clear in the messaging and massaging of the situation which includes the muzzling of whistleblowers who know what is going on, that ALARA principles are ethics to which the whole paradigm may now drastically improve with the advent of titer-checked protocols reducing unneeded boosters in the individual patient.  Backed by titer decay calculations in individual children, we have the most ethical vaccinomics approach available for implementation, but this has only been delayed by the distraction of misguided research. 

The CDC and the AAP have sacrificed the ALARA ethical principle long ago on the altar of the ‘greater good’ for populations rather than the best Hippocratic ethical good for an individual. This is a most egregious situation in the current age with regards to the continued mindless use of Hepatitis B on day #1 of life. We now have a well vaccinated population of mothers in this country who have prenatal labs showing hepatitis B surface antigen antibodies from prior vaccination. This maternal-derived hepatitis B surface antigen antibody coverage gives us little current need of HepB day #1 of life.  It is a fraudulent waste of money and an unneeded molecular mimicry risk as well as aluminum exposure at a defining moment in life. Maternal immuno-interference in the vaccinations of this series also actually risk multiple ineffective vaccination doses by which aluminum still does harm yet the immune system of the child derives no good leaving the child at future risk of hepatitis B infection as no one is ethically duty bound to check efficacy because of the misguided politics preventing the change in approach we need for truly individualized hippocratic care.  There are other nation states that do not have our intense schedule and a lower incidence/prevalence of autism.  As plausibility goes, French courts have recognized adults injured by hepatitis B vaccination for its induction of multiple sclerosis on the molecular mimicry of myelin basic protein to hepatitis B surface antigen. As plausibility and ethics are concerned here, would you advocate for your family’s next generation of neonates to have this risk applied with no reward as described here?  I am guessing the answer is no, and you had no idea that this is quite plausible.  I will be directing imaging research to prove the hazards of this intervention, sadly so few in academia have the real integrity to withstand the political assault that this safety research will produce.

Recalling the first ethical principle of radiology-ALARA-which is cited in the federal Nuclear Regulatory Code, one can derive an understanding of how problematic aluminum, mercury, organics such as squalene and even a complex of 3 LAVs might be for the progressively overburdened naive immune systems of children.  The most dangerous day of life from a genetic standpoint for the dosing of radiation is day #1.  The most dangerous day of life to inject a child with aluminum is day #1-by simple ALARA ethical principles.  As alluded to above, the VAST majority of children now being born in our society no longer need a prophylactic Hep B vaccine on day one of life when the maternal antibody load to the hep B surface antigen from mom’s vaccines is the highest of all on day #1 of life.  It is a possible trigger for head size increasing in the subsequent months of life. Cranial vault expansion may have its roots in many autism cases with that very important day #1 neurodevelopmental epigenetic timing event.  Reading between the lines, your work is impressive but its interpretation is concerning in a way that leads one to believe someone such as yourself in the establishment of science isn’t trying to solve a problem here but rather distract from the solution.  This is likely not by conspiracy but by fear of the politics of medicine and loss of research funding.  The medical profession and scientific communities have seen repeated economic and professional destruction unleashed upon those who might find the inputs of autism running through the mis-timed delivery of chemicals or viral neurodevelopmental disruptors by the needle of a vaccine.

From the above simple search, one can imagine a hit to the hippocampus from aluminum in vaccines on day #1 of life in some of those kids who had hours of preceding head compression and a small bleed from a vaginal delivery (mild transient traumatic encephalopathy). On day #1 of life, this might give a combination of toxic aluminum and degradation products of iron at some of the wrong spots in the stem cell lineage nests that starts the sequence of deranged brain development. The hippocampus is too important to place at risk of molecular injuries like this on day #1.

Your work is hinting at my last paragraph, your research is a actually a sign the development of autism is well underway as a repetitive subacute on chronic metabolic encephalopathy syndrome precipitated in part by vaccine delivered toxins in a genetic population with poor cellular astrocyte and hepatic detoxification kinetics encoded in the genes.  The later cognitive expression of autism is probably happening in many by repeated micro-architecture derailments occurring during the development years of the pediatric vaccination schedule timing devised by the CDC for political population based agendas. These delayed cognitive findings against cranial vault expansion that you have found are likely because it takes time for the interrupted orderly development of brain microstructure to create the distorted/disorganized connectomes of autism.  Radial glial cells being the being the confused choreographers in these brains.

Great learning from the pathology crowd here:  which suggests ideas expressed here may be quite valid.

As you know, the brain’s detoxification system is the collective of the astrocytes and microglia. As toxic insults occur with an epigenetic index favoring accumulation in the poorly detoxifying, the molecular autism piece above would suggest this toxic encephalopathy syndrome is associated with the increase of the astrocyte/neuron ratio. This creates the head size increase in advance of the developmental delay. As the astrocyte population up-regulation and interdigitated tissue expansion peaks in response to the toxin load, it is ultimately diverting reparative and restorative function to neurons and likely impairing radial glia from chaperoning neurons into the appropriate mini-columnar architecture. The Glutathione system is intimately involved here. Sadly, it seems politics are the root source of misdirected research from the MIND institute and other academic institutions that continue in the mismanagement of research dollars for information that is not helping solve this neurological detoxification crisis.  This would have been figured out years ago if not for the frauds at the CDC that Dr. William Thompson has outed and this political climate.  You might have already produced these answers in your work at MIND if not for the spineless lack of integrity of so many in public health and science who are afraid to focus on the real problems here.  Please take these ideas and study them, they are part of the answer.  The world’s leading molecular psychiatrists are pointing out an extremely important pathway of understanding for you, and the diligence of others will continue to move policy towards a much better construct through ethical vaccinomics.  Please help that cause in your new editorial position, for to hinder it will put you on the wrong side of history.

Edward F. Fogarty, MD

Response from Dr. Stephanie Seneff:

It's easily the case that macrocephaly is a risk factor for increased
susceptibility to encephalopathy, which is the second listed "reportable
event" in the VAERS database following an MMR vaccine. (see A paper by  C.
Dionisi-Vici et al. ("New familial mitochondrial encephalopathy with
macrocephaly, cardiomyopathy, and complex I deficiency," Ann Neurol.
1997 Oct;42(4):661-5.) describes a syndrome consisting of a fatal
progressive macrocephaly beginning at one month of age, associated with
a deficiency in Complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and
with encephalopathy.  Complex I deficiency is also a common factor in
autism. To deny that the vaccine might precipitate an acute response
leading to autism that might not otherwise happen is not scientifically

Furthermore, only 15% of the autism cases in the study published by Dr.
David Amaral actually were diagnosed with macrocephaly.  You can't say
that autism can be completely explained by something that only affects
15% of the autistic population.

Stephanie Seneff, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Response from Dr. David Brownstein:

Dr. Amaral,

Surely you are aware of the epidemic increase in autism rates over the last 60 years. From the mid 1960s to the mid 1980’s, the autism rate was stable at one in 2,500 children.  However, in 1995, one in five hundred children had autism.  In 2014, one in sixty-eight was diagnosed as autistic.  Surely you know that a rapid rise in the diagnosis of autism rules out a genetic cause for this illness?

Your article concluded that rapid head growth may be a risk factor for autism.  But, the central question is what is causing the rapid head growth? Could it be an insult to the brain that causes an overload of oxidative activity in the brain?

We simply do not know the answer.  One of the main reasons we do not have the answer to what is causing the autism epidemic is because the CDC has not done the proper studies looking at vaccine safety and comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated children. 

Your comments perpetuate the myth that we do not need to study vaccines as a cause of autism.   Where in your research do you answer the question about what is causing an increase in head circumference?  And, perhaps the enlarged head circumference association you found in autistic children is the result of early vaccines such as the hepatitis B vaccine given at birth.

Dr. Amaral, you must be aware that association does not equal causation? 

How can you rule out vaccines as a cause of early brain enlargement?  You did not study this, you only erroneously concluded this. 

Your own research did NOT argue against the view that vaccination may cause autism. In fact, your research lends one to ask further questions about what is causing the enlarged head circumference.  Vaccines causing inflammation of the brain should be investigated as the cause of early brain enlargement. 

David Brownstein, M.D.


Response from John Gilmore:

It is unfortunate that the director of an organization like the MIND Institute hides behind claims of following the evidence when we all know that researchers are doing everything they can not to look at the role of vaccines in causing brain damage, autism and other neurologic injuries.

John Gilmore

Executive Director, Autism Action network.


Response from Dr. Ken Stoller:

 Dr. Amaral,

The MIND Institute works under the auspices of University of California – Davis. You are not allowed to say anything to jeopardize funding sources—BIG PHARMA.

So it is your job to promote their disinformation.

KP Stoller, MD

Author of Incurable Me

I would ask readers to look at what the MIND Institute has done about autism. In 2016, the Sacramento Bee announced that there were more than 97,000 public school students in that state with autism, and the biggest increase was in kindergarteners.  The article had no explanation, except that experts were sure IT WASN’T BECAUSE OF VACCINES. 

So what is being done about autism?

In 2012, AP reporter Mike Stobbe wrote the story, After $1 billion, experts see progress on autism's causes.


ATLANTA – More than $1 billion has been spent over the past decade searching for the causes of autism. In some ways, the research looks like a long-running fishing expedition, with a focus on everything from genetics to the age of the father, the weight of the mother, and how close a child lives to a freeway.

Dr AmaralUC Davis Photo
Dr. David Amaral looking at a brain tissue slide.

That perception may soon change. Some in the field say it's the beginning of a wave of scientific reports that should strengthen some theories, jettison others and perhaps even herald new drugs.

The effort has been infused with new urgency by a recent federal report that found autism disorders are far more common than was previously understood, affecting 1 in 88 U.S. children. Better diagnosis is largely responsible for the new estimate, but health officials said there may actually be more cases of autism, too.

Stobbe went on to explain that most of the research money was going into genetic factors in autism. So far they’ve found “dozens of risk genes” and “drug companies are said to be working on developing new treatments.”  He also noted that there are “environmental influences,” mostly related to the mother. Stobbe was also adamant that Wakefield’s theory about vaccines and autism wasn’t being considered  because it “has been thoroughly discredited” and that there were “dozens of later studies that have found no link between vaccines and autism.”

Instead of vaccines, MIND Institute researchers were looking at the mother’s obesity and how close the family lives to a freeway. Other scientists were studying illnesses, medications, nutritional deficiencies or other problems during pregnancy.

At the end of his article Stobbe quoted Dr. Coleen Boyle at the CDC who said, ‘We’re at the infancy of just understanding how these factors relate to autism.’

That was five years ago, and it seems we continue to be in the nursery stage of autism science since experts at the MIND Institute are still scratching their collective heads over all the kids with autism everywhere. Despite this, according to MIND’s top doctor , David Amaral, after studying brain size in autistic children, he’s convinced there is no link between injecting known neurotoxins into babies and their development of autism.

Most of all, David Amaral doesn’t want a separate commission looking into vaccine safety and scientific integrity at the CDC.



Thoroughly enjoyed reading the feedback. Love this format. Keep it up!


ndavis: "Amaral has moved away not only from the idea that vaccines might cause ASD in a small subset of individuals but also that the causes of ASD might best be found if affected individuals were grouped more closely according their condition."
Editorial: Time to give up on Autism Spectrum Disorder? Ralph-Axel Muller and David Amaral January 2017

Time to give up on ASD? Well, that's one way to stop the autism rate increasing and stop people talking about the epidemic.

After Dr Amaral's research showed that parents were right and there were many more children who were losing skills after perfectly normal development for 12 months or more than the few diagnosed with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (because of the ridiculous 24 month cut-off for a diagnosis) one might have expected to see the group of regressed children studied separately, but what did the American Psychiatric Association do? In 2013 the APA subsumes Childhood Disintegrative Disorder into one large ASD "autism" category, effectively striking out regressive autism as if it had never existed. I strongly suspect that Ari N'eman of ASAN as a regressive-autism denier and advisor to the DSM-V committee had something to do with that. He said, "There's a misperception that autism is some thief in the night that takes a normal child and places an autistic child in its place. That's not true."

Autism experts should have informed Ari Ne'eman, ASAN members and other neurodiversity advocates that autistic regression might not happen overnight but it does happen and told them that their own brand of autism, Asperger's Syndrome, is not the same as Autistic Disorder or CDD. Instead, they placed them all under the same ASD category and called them all autism, blurring the important differences between them. Now, according to Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes, it's an Asperger's world, and Leo Kanner was wrong.

Asperger's Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are very different and they shouldn't be thought of as one disorder. Fred Volkmar and Michael Rutter wrote twenty years ago that, "The identification of cases of CDD may be of particular importance for research". (J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 1995, 34, 8:1092–1095). It should be. Loss of skills at any age indicate brain damage.

Neurodiversity activists have been given free rein by autism experts for over a decade to deny the reality of regression, and paint a totally false picture of autism.

To me, it is totally nonsensical for the IACC to appoint high-functioning Aspies like Ne'eman, who says he spoke early and didn't have a problem with language, Aspie author John Elder Robison, and Harvard Law School graduate and autistic self-advocate Samantha Crane to the IACC committee supposedly to give everyone on the spectrum "a voice", when their path to an ASD diagnosis and outcome is so markedly different from non-verbal or semi-verbal children and adults who spend many years in speech therapy struggling to learn and understand their own language like non-native speakers.

The most obvious division between these two groups is language, although the neurodiversity advocates seem to think that once given a communication device and a guiding hand, the non-verbal can not only speak for themselves but can spell and communicate far better than the average neurotypical. Science has shown that they are wrong, Facilitated Communication is a dangerous fraud. (Frontline: Prisoners of Silence 1993)

Unfortunately, I have yet to hear an autism expert who is familiar with the entire spectrum of disability talk about how devastating it is for parents to watch their perfectly-developing children lose their skills, and how devastating it is for a child to be robbed of his or her speech. I have never heard an autism expert speak up for parents who are caring for autistic children and adults with severe language and auditory processing disorders which, unable to communicate their needs, can so often lead to severe tantrums and aggression. It is as if the experts are intimidated by the autistic self-advocates who celebrate all autism and consider it a difference that should not be prevented or cured. That might indeed be true for the highest-functioning Aspies, whose language problem, like Ne'eman's, might simply be a difficulty understanding sarcasm, but it is certainly not true for people with Autistic Disorder and regressive autism who suffer from severe language problems.

In 1971, Rutter and Lawrence Bartak wrote:". the language and cognitive defect constitutes the primary handicap in autism, the social and behavioral abnormalities arising as secondary consequences. " (Causes of Infantile Autism: Some Considerations from Recent Research)

Within two months of my son's vaccine reactions at age two which triggered a sleeping disorder, he had lost all language and sounded exactly like Jackie Murphy's son Fenton in the Unlocking Autism video. When our children stop responding to their names, lose their words and start covering their ears at normal everyday sounds that didn't bother them before, it is incomprehensible to me that researchers would focus on eye-contact and theory of mind, instead of damage to the auditory system.

It is primarily language that separates Asperger's Syndrome from the other disorders on the spectrum, and I think the APA, autism experts, the IACC, and researchers have let us and, more importantly, our children down.

Unlocking Autism video:
@ approx 4.30

Anna Quandt

I love Gary Ogden's maxim --slightly rephrased --the beauty of Science (in America today) is that it follows wherever the funding sources wish to lead.

In 8th grade science I learned that science followed a hypothesis, AND the hypothesis arose from a theoretical framework.

Those of us who read this site have understood the theoretical framework for ten years. The dramatic, unexpected, widespread rise (see definition of epidemic) in rates of autism must be caused by environmental toxins as well as genetic vulnerabilities. We have expected that scientists would tell us: What are the environmental causes? And how do those environmental insults operate in the brain (and gut) to produce the symptoms of autism?

I really appreciate the book by Dr Lyons-Weiler because it reviews the science connecting environmental and genetic causes of autism. (With my training in the social sciences I admit that I find the book a difficult read.) I'm interested in the comments of Dr. Fogarty because they describe how toxins can act to cause autism.

In contrast to the work of Drs Lyons-Weiler and Fogarty, most research In the last decade has been aggressively designed to divert attention away from the issue of environmental causation.

To Dr. Amaral, I suggest:

1. Review the studies in your portfolio. If they are not addressing the fundamental issue of environmental causation, stop them and put the money towards studies that do.
2. If funding sources do not want to address the real issues, terminate the funding source. (You are not graded by the number of studies produced, but by solving the problem.)
3. Rekindle the Children's Study that was aborted a few years ago. But this time trace all toxins from the womb through childhood-- including all vaccines.
4. Carry out the vaccinated vs unvaccinated study. You can fund this study through a gofundme site and all of us will contribute!

Thank you Anne, Kim, Mark and all the rest of you for keeping this site honestly focused on ending the epidemic.


Dr. Amaral says that head/brain enlargement starting at 4 to 6 months rules out vaccines as the cause of autism. That makes no sense. Vaccines often begin on the day of birth with the hepatitis B vaccine, and then continue at 2, 4, and 6 months. There are two very obvious ways that vaccines could cause enlargement of the brain:

1) Inflammation of the brain
Vaccines are known to cause encephalitis, which means inflammation of the brain. It's on the HRSA vaccine injury table. And a huge growing body of research links inflammation of the brain and autism.

2) Microglial cells play a role in synaptic pruning

“As the principal CNS immune cells, microglial cells represent the first line of defence in response to exogenous threats. Past studies have largely been dedicated to defining the complex immune functions of microglial cells. However, our understanding of the roles of microglia has expanded radically over the past years. It is now clear that microglia are critically involved in shaping neural circuits in both the developing and adult CNS, and in modulating synaptic transmission in the adult brain.”

Study Finds That Brains With Autism Fail to Trim Synapses as They Develop

Children with Autism Have Extra Synapses in Brain
“Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions.”

Synaptic pruning by microglia is necessary for normal brain development.
“Microglia are highly motile phagocytic cells that infiltrate and take up residence in the developing brain, where they are thought to provide a surveillance and scavenging function. However, although microglia have been shown to engulf and clear damaged cellular debris after brain insult, it remains less clear what role microglia play in the uninjured brain. Here, we show that microglia actively engulf synaptic material and play a major role in synaptic pruning during postnatal development in mice. These findings link microglia surveillance to synaptic maturation and suggest that deficits in microglia function may contribute to synaptic abnormalities seen in some neurodevelopmental disorders.”

“Fine-tuning of neuronal activity was thought to be a neuron-autonomous mechanism until the discovery that astrocytes are active players of synaptic transmission. The involvement of astrocytes has changed our understanding of the roles of non-neuronal cells and shed new light on the regulation of neuronal activity. Microglial cells are the macrophages of the brain and they have been mostly investigated as immune cells. However, recent data discussed in this review support the notion that, similarly to astrocytes, microglia are involved in the regulation of neuronal activity. For instance, in most, if not all, brain pathologies a strong temporal correlation has long been known to exist between the pathological activation of microglia and dysfunction of neuronal activity. Recent studies have convincingly shown that alteration of microglial function is responsible for pathological neuronal activity. This causal relationship has also been demonstrated in mice bearing loss-of-function mutations in genes specifically expressed by microglia. In addition to these long-term regulations of neuronal activity, recent data show that microglia can also rapidly regulate neuronal activity, thereby acting as partners of neurotransmission.”

Paul Anderson

Money and money only is driving the fact that Autism and vaccines is a closed subject.

If we could get by Big Pharma potential liability if the mmr is found to be too many vaccines for a small child too handle in one DR. visit.
Logic says any drug or vaccine can be overdosed. For god sake children overdose on candy.

Handle the money issue and really begin researching to find a cure. Not just drip drip drip
Settle the money with true scientific research ........... Otherwise are will just keep spinning...............


I admit it is hard to listen to Joel sitting atop his ivory tower passing judgement as we try to keep our children from headbanging because they're reacting to food and they're allergic to almost everything and are dealing with overgrowth of yeast, viruses and bacteria that mainstream doctors don't realize but we know because GAPS diets are helping their once horrible eczema to heal and reducing their self injury and aggression but it's still an issue. Also, some parents dealing with seizures that don't stop. Joel's arrogance and condescension are hard to endure as we deal with the aftermath of their so-called science. Is it scientific to not do double blind studies on vaccines? Vaccines are not treated as a pharmaceutical drug, and therefore new vaccines are compared against other vaccines or neurotoxic substances like aluminum, not sterile water. Is it scientific for top CDC scientists to throw out data when it isn't to their liking? Are all the 400 recent critical vaccine studies linking vaccines to seizures, death, asthma, allergies, autism wrong? Is it scientific to not compare the health of populations of never vaccinated children to totally vaccinated children? Does science only happen in a controlled study or are parents seeing science happen at home, but being ignored by their doctors because they've been misinformed in pharma-funded medical schools?

Ed Yazbak

John Stone,

Please see

Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact By Leo Kanner

Please note in the first paragraph on page 248: “Physically, the children were essentially normal. Five had relatively large heads….”

So, apparently 5 of 11 children with autism were macrocephalic in the early 1940’s and 19 out of 129 were macrocephalic in 2011.

I still think that asking parents to describe what happens to their children is easier, cheaper and makes more sense than some on-going research.


David Amaral and the MIND Institute uu-scientific positions, perfectly illustrate the necessity for a Vaccine Safety and Scientific Integrity commission. No doubt Dr. Amaral is justifiably afraid of the third rail seeing people getting Wakefielded, Kennedyed and Seared. David Amaral and the MIND Institute: Leading the way with tobacco science and tax payer dollars.

John Stone

Thanks Grace,

We don't want to draw Joel out any further. His last comments - unposted - were full of personal unpleasantness, misrepresentations, and were wildly off topic in parts. I am not sure of the complete badness of the paper which made limited observations, but it was just impossible to see how Amaral got from there to burying the issue of vaccine damage. Joel is partly wrong because in our age of specialisation the scientists do not exist who can necessarily comment on every aspect of every paper, but if things don't add up they don't add up and careful reading can get you a long way. In school we are taught to read things carefully (or we used to be) but now we are just being told to leave it to the experts, and the experts exist within a totalitarian order which has nothing to do with the spirit of science. We don't know why Amaral has formed his view and Joel advises him not to talk about further it in public, which is certainly very convenient for Dr Amaral.

Grace Green

Joel Harrison, I find the rudeness of your response to John Stone shocking. As someone with a degree in Music and English I believe music is closer to the sciences than the arts. But then, my father was a Phd and senior lecturer in pharmacology. I don't find it difficult to spot the difference between papers which have scientific integrity and those like Dr. Amaral's which are clearly trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible. As for your MPH, I paraphrase Margaret Thatcher - There's no such thing as Public Health, just individuals and families!

John Stone


This is certainly interesting background but we are being told what they think, whereas Amaral cites a study which made very limited claims as the thing which closed the issue - and there are whole unaccountable levels of inference. Then he just wafts in and out telling you how important his thoughts are rather than explaining anything (like children crashing in ever greater quantities). And now, in the last years since this research was conducted, we have the widespread vaccination of pregnant women without any research into that. In the UK (in Scotland) we are now heading for between 1 in 20 and 1 in 10 boys getting an autism diagnosis, and this precedes the introduction of new additions to the infant and maternal vaccine schedule in the last three years - likely in three years time the position will be catastrophically worse while Dr Amaral thinks beautiful thoughts. The reality is that the expansion of the schedule is not tested against anything - it is ideologically based on Offit's 10,000 vaccine article.

George stevens

The simple fact they don't run a titer test before giving a second round of vaccines to see if it's even necessary tells me all I need to know about the vaccine program and how profit driven it is. It doesn't take some one with a PHD added to the end of their name Mr Harrison to see that.


For those who are critical and don't listen to the thousands of parental stories of various vaccine injuries after vaccines, "Miller's Review of Critical Vaccine Studies: 400 Important Scientific Papers Summarized for Parents" by Neil Z. Miller, with a foreward by Gary Goldman, PhD, is a great resource.


It is ALL the vaccines that overload babies, toddlers and children with a toxic mess of bacteria, viruses, aborted fetal cells, glutaraldehyde, aluminum, formaldehyde, monkey kidney tissue, on and on. It is not JUST the MMR causing gut problems and probable autoimmune encephalitis and allergies, eczema; it is the accumulation of ALL these toxic vaccines. So it's not surprising that during the first six months of life when they're given at least 24 vaccine doses that their head enlarges/encephalitis. They can't detoxify so much toxic mess injected into them. We're the only developed nation that injects a sexually transmitted disease on the first day of birth and we have the worst infant mortality rate of all the developed nations. Barbara Loe Fisher said it well on the Doctors, "Why are highly vaccinated children so sick?"


The MIND Institute was founded by families of affected children to find a cure. For a brief moment, I had hopes that they may do at least some of what they were created to do. In November 2006 they hosted the Environmental Toxicology Conference, which I attended. It was excellent!
Scroll halfway down the page until you get to the set of videos dated November 2nd, 2006:

Unfortunately, MIND quickly returned to business as usual, which is of course, avoiding any research that might implicate vaccines.

In 2011 I attended a meeting with some of the top scientists at the MIND Institute, along with other parents like myself who advocated for vaccine research at the MIND. While discussing some of the most dangerous ingredients of many vaccines, the issue of Thimerosal came up. One MIND researcher made the un-guarded comment that he would NEVER allow anyone he loved to ever get a Thimerosal containing vaccine. Let that sink in for a minute. A MIND researcher says that Thimerosal is so dangerous to the health of humans, that he would stop his friends and family from getting any vaccines that contained it. Yet officially, the MIND says everything is just peachy with all vaccines for all people, of all ages. And now Dr. Amaral is calling for block of a vaccine safety commission? How twisted has the original intent of MIND become?

Truth be told, the MIND Institute is an EPIC FAIL. They spend obscene amounts of money on mediocre (at best) studies, which were designed and chosen to deflect from the elephant in the room: an out of control and thoroughly corrupt vaccine program. Meanwhile the autism epidemic has exploded under their watch, and they have no idea why.

I recently read a comment here on AoA about better dialogue being needed between parents and researchers at MIND. But dialogue is a two way street. Parents and many other researchers have been persistent and polite for well over a decade. We have asked, begged and pleaded to be heard. We have lab results, before and after videos and countless hours of data and observations. And MIND, for the most part, ignores us. That is not our fault. The fault of the communication breakdown lies with them. You can't hear and understand what you REFUSE to hear and understand.

MIND is just another arm of Autism Corporate America: status quo or bust. (I vote bust!)


As much as the MIND Institute has helped, they have fallen far short and could have helped so much more while preventing harm that has come to millions of other children. What can be done to bridge the gap? As Dr. Stoller has pointed out, the MIND Institute would have to be willing to conduct research that their corporate sponsors would not approve of. The ball is in their court.

Jackie Murphy

I am thankful to Anne, as well, for bringing so many thoughtful researchers forward. I am thankful for my family's participation at the MIND, as well. I have learned so much from our participation that I have been able to unravel health issues for my son I may have never otherwise discovered.

My son is one of the 19 large-brained boys in the study. He is severe. I understand the frustration here. I do. I shared some of our journey on the previous post on this subject.

I am not here to defend Dr. Amaral or the MIND at all. The MIND Institute has endured years of scathing letters from me, and at times I have questioned our participation. At the end of the day, I think we have learned more to help our son with our participation. I hope it will help others, too.

I think the answer may be found in a better working relationship between scientists/medical practitioners and parents. For the life of me, I have not been able to find the best way to bridge that gap and foster the connection so we can move forward.

Does anyone have viable ideas about that? We don't ignore what we have been through...but we need a more aggressive approach to put the breaks on this pandemic situation.



Typical for Age of Autism that you allow someone to post a comment, in this case Dr Amaral, then attack what he said without any further comments by him responding to the attacks. It is impossible to anticipate in one or even a couple of comments what others will say and, thus, by his not responding gives a biased picture, clearly a set-up, not a forum for an honest dialogue.


And yours is a very typical response from an academic crybaby. Who can't stand that parents are finally calling bullshit, on what people like you have been peddling as real science.


"So, what makes you think you can judge science?"

Wasn't there a time when the non priest was not allowed to read the Bible?

Not that scientific literature is the same as Scripture, but, the Allopathic Church, in the same desperate attempt to maintain power, is trying to wield the argument that are critical cannot understand science.

The answer to the question is, your interpretation is not trustworthy. We all need to know how to judge "science".

John Stone


I am basing my understanding on many things - years of reading and experience. Things which in the official account do not add up at even a basic level, and I am tired of flannel. What Dr Amaral said manifestly did not make sense at all or there was something missing. I said this right away, politely, when I posted his comment, and several people - some of them highly qualified doctors and scientists - came and made very similar observations. But you are playing the ad hominem card: you are bringing me into it, and not what I said. It doesn't answer the questions, it is just distraction and bluff. And what is most significant so far is that Dr Amaral has not answered.


Great strategy, Anne, to have the other experts' rebuttals to Dr. Amaral.

Cynthia Cournoyer

Anne Dachel thank you for presenting this article.

As a witness to agencies morphing themselves into a status quo, rubber stamp of the CDC, from a previously investigative, even real science stance on the vaccine-autism connection, I am left with the only conclusion that these agencies never had the steel to blaze new trails in the first place.

Was there ever an example of ingrained, cultural belief as the genesis of ignorance exampled by the 180 degree flip of the MIND Institute?

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

@ John Stone:

You write: "Well Joel, here you are back again with bucket loads of ad hominem and red herrings. David Amaral could easily respond by acknowledging all the interesting points. He could also seek to explain further the reasoning in his posted comment, and I hope he will do so."

First, how is asking what level of expertise or even the bare basics of microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and biostatistics you have in order to validly judge whose "expertise" one should rely on? I am fluent at Swedish; but can only read French and German, so, if I need to understand an article in either language, I first do my best, write it out, and send it to a friend who is a native German with Master in French who has been living in Canada for over 20 years. So, I have the basics of the two languages and still don't trust my translations. So, what makes you think you can judge science?

As for "Amaral could easily respond by acknowledging all the interesting points. He could also seek to explain further the reasoning in his posted comment, and I hope he will do so."

Yes, I guess for people who think soundbites and a few paragraphs suffice; but for the rest of us, each comment needs a careful footnoted (and not just one or two) response. You have made it quite clear that, despite not knowing even the basics, you are absolutely confident you are right, so why should Dr. Amaral waste his time? He could write a book with thousands of references and you wouldn't accept it.

You stated in a comment months ago that the statistics on smallpox may not be correct. I asked you what you based your statement on and gave a list of the books I've read, quite a few, and mentioned I've read well over 100 articles on smallpox history, including some newspaper articles from the 18th Century. You NEVER responded. I guess this is also an ad hominem argument to ask the simple question of what you base your statement on. Apparently, you don't even understand what an ad hominem argument is. Doesn't surprise me!

It must be nice to be so certain without even having to devote much time to learning the basics and to get continual reinforcement mainly from people who agree with you.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

@ Bob Moffit:

You write: "With all due respect .. as I understand it .. the studies that were done on smoking .. for decades .. are notorious for their lack of scientific integrity .. relying heavily on epidemiological studies .. which are well-known for being unreliable."

Exactly, "as [you] understand it." First, any study can be manipulated, whether lab or epidemiological; but the beauty of science is that it is peer-reviewed and then open to all who wish to critique it and attempt various replications. Am I to believe that you doubt the science back of tobacco being the major cause of lung cancer, as well as other cancers, and heart disease? "As [you] understand it." As I asked Stone, what do you base your understanding on? I could recommend some good books; but I really doubt you would take the time to read them.


I'm trying to understand Dr. Amaral's statements in context.

As I recall, Dr. Amaral discussed what became his December 2011 PNAS paper at the press conference for the May 2011 International Meeting for Autism Research. In the keynote address at that meeting, Eric Courchesne of UC San Diego discussed research that suggested that brain enlargement in autism was due to abnormal proliferation of neurons begininng early in fetal development; Amaral responded by discussing his own work and suggesting that, especially in cases of regressive autism, Courchesne's findings of prenatal changes explained Amaral's own results. (I think that I found that a few years ago on Youtube.)

Courchesne and others later found developmental patterns and lesions in the brains of autistic individuals that he thought could only be explained by errors that occurred early in fetal development, while Amaral has moved away not only from the idea that vaccines might cause ASD in a small subset of individuals but also that the causes of ASD might best be found if affected individuals were grouped more closely according their condition:

It will be interesting to see if Dr. Amaral responds again.

Allie Fujito

@Joel A. Harrison, PhD: Dr Amaral is free to respond in the comments here. In fact, I would like to ask him a question (and you're free to respond to it, too, if you can answer it):

Dr. Amaral's comment in answer to Anne Dachel: "We found that it was the children with evidence of regression that generally had enlarged brains. We also found that head enlargement started at 4-6 months of life - long before the behavioral regression."

In that paragraph, he strongly implies that this establishes an impossibility that environmental factors after this point play a casual role in autism.

And that's the problem.

That kind of assumption runs counter to what science is all about.

What about the possibility that an enlarged brain at age 4-6 months might predispose the child to neurological reaction to later vaccines?

What about the possibility that 13 vaccines by age 4 months, and 20 vaccines by age 6 months play a causal role in brain enlargement?

Until those questions are addressed, then Dr. Amaral's dismissal of vaccines is, at best, unprofessional. If it turns out that vaccines play a causal role in regressive autism, even if it's only in a relatively small subgroup, then Dr. Amaral's failure to consider them is, in my opinion, criminally negligent.

Carolyn TIcked

Why can't the 3 shots you get at the time of the MMR be the ones that cause autism but if are susceptible to autism and metal injury you are vulnerable to gut injury and get more severe autism? I don't see the need for an either or here. And don't most SIDS cases happen around that 4 months juncture? And couldn't that 4 months head expansion be the early sign that says for Gods sake stop vaccinating this child? How do we know if they could recover if you did? And isn't the purpose of the double flu shot in pregnancy to push the autism cases earlier so regression Isn't so obvious as they were in children born in 2000 or so like my son? And wouldn't someone call you a conspiracy theorist to suggest a few top people at VW would have rigged emissions tests to increase their own stock profits while thousands of innocent sales folks unknowingly lied to consumers?

Han Litten

The results of this new investigation show the presence of micro- and nanosized particulate matter composed of inorganic elements in vaccines’ samples which is not declared among the components and whose unduly presence is, for the time being, inexplicable. A considerable part of those particulate contaminants have already been verified in other matrices and reported in literature as non biodegradable and non biocompatible.

Jackie Murphy

And while we continue not to reach a common ground...our children continue to suffer.

Jackie Murphy

Gary Ogden

John Stone: Thank you. One would think a person with academic credentials would understand the use of tenses in the English language, and the difference between fact and opinion. There were actually only two factual statements in my original post: The tripling of the vaccine schedule, and that so much our tax money is spent on rubbish (which passes for science and is printed in all the best journals). All the rest was opinion, opinion with a deep grounding in knowledge and life experience. The most salient point, which I did not include in my original post, was that they know it-they know that vaccines cause autism; they simply don't want to get hammered by the thugs who are in charge. They like their jobs and the living they provide, the status and perks which accrue from them. It would be a wonderful thing if Dr. Amaral responded to some of the comments, such as those of David Foster.

John Stone

Well Joel, here you are back again with bucket loads of ad hominem and red herrings. David Amaral could easily respond by acknowledging all the interesting points. He could also seek to explain further the reasoning in his posted comment, and I hope he will do so.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

@John Stone:

As usual, you read into things. Ogden stated that smoking doesn't need clinical trials. That is correct, because the overwhelming evidence from lab and epidemiological studies makes them unnecessary. You are splitting hairs. In addition, the point is that clinical trials never were nor could be conducted on humans, so claiming they don't need them now is a useless statement. Or, perhaps, you believe that if smoking was still controversial as to its health consequences, that we should run clinical trials. Please explain how you would design them?

If anyone following this blog has read any of my papers, available at: they will notice that each contains numerous, up to 150 references. They took me up to three months to research, write, and revise. Dr. Amaral was foolish to even comment since it would take a lot of time and effort to refute each of your so-called "experts", something I could do; but I already have a list of over a dozen articles that I will be working on. I doubt if Dr. Amaral has the time to devote to preparing responses to each comment.

By the way, Stone, how do you and Dachel and others know if your list of "experts" are correct? Since you seem from writings to have some level of expertise in Mozart's operas, I can't for the life of me figure out how that gives you an understanding of microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, biostatistics and other relevant subjects. So, please explain what you base your "BELIEF" that your "experts" are correct? I guess since I've watched a few Mozart operas, being an expert in the aforementioned, maybe I should start writing articles about Mozart?

And what is Dachel's expertise?

Oh, I know, you are absolutely certain you are right since you have god-like abilities. Me, I am a mere mortal and rely on my training and education and multiple colleagues; yet, I readily admit that I lack absolute certainty. I have a suggestion. We have a lake/reservoir in my home town. If you visit and walk across it (never freezes here), I will accept your absolute certainty regardless of what I know as then you will have demonstrated abilities beyond that of us mere mortals.

@Gary Ogden: I tried accessing didn't work!


I have posted this in another thread on AoA, and another reader suggested I post it here as well. I normally don't double post, but it is relevant it seems.

II have found a lot since I last posted here, but doubt it makes any difference in posting all I discover. But, here is a new release on Pub Med. It talks about how the MMR has been clearly shown to have nothing to do with Autism and proceeds to test an association between vaccinations and other conditions excluding Autism. They find an association, or as they say "temporally related". They then say that because of the value of vaccines keep up the shots. Yet, they add "These findings warrant further investigation" but basically prove nothing. In the end signs point to yes, but yes is never an option.
Someone will surely pummel them over doing this study even though there is no direct indictment of vaccines and any thinking reader would have to ask "is there a connection or not?".

Author information

1Department of Public Health Sciences, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine , Hershey, PA , USA.
2Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, CT , USA.

Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control Study.



"Although the association of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine with autism spectrum disorder has been convincingly disproven, the onset of certain brain-related autoimmune and inflammatory disorders has been found to be temporally associated with the antecedent administration of various vaccines. This study examines whether antecedent vaccinations are associated with increased incidence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anorexia nervosa (AN), anxiety disorder, chronic tic disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder in a national sample of privately insured children.


Using claims data, we compared the prior year's occurrence of vaccinations in children and adolescents aged 6-15 years with the above neuropsychiatric disorders that were newly diagnosed between January 2002 and December 2007, as well as two control conditions, broken bones and open wounds. Subjects were matched with controls according to age, gender, geographical area, and seasonality. Conditional logistic regression models were used to determine the association of prior vaccinations with each condition.


Subjects with newly diagnosed AN were more likely than controls to have had any vaccination in the previous 3 months [hazard ratio (HR) 1.80, 95% confidence interval 1.21-2.68]. Influenza vaccinations during the prior 3, 6, and 12 months were also associated with incident diagnoses of AN, OCD, and an anxiety disorder. Several other associations were also significant with HRs greater than 1.40 (hepatitis A with OCD and AN; hepatitis B with AN; and meningitis with AN and chronic tic disorder).


This pilot epidemiologic analysis implies that the onset of some neuropsychiatric disorders may be temporally related to prior vaccinations in a subset of individuals. These findings warrant further investigation, but do not prove a causal role of antecedent infections or vaccinations in the pathoetiology of these conditions. Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines."


anorexia nervosa; anxiety disorder; influenza; meningococcus; obsessive–compulsive disorder; tic disorder; vaccination

Bob Moffit

Joel A. Harrison PhD, MPH:

"They didn't do clinical trials on people with smoking. It was based on a combination of in vitro lab animal studies, and epidemiological studies, e.g. case control, cohort. Get your facts right.They didn't do clinical trials on people with smoking. It was based on a combination of in vitro lab animal studies, and epidemiological studies, e.g. case control, cohort. Get your facts right."

With all due respect .. as I understand it .. the studies that were done on smoking .. for decades .. are notorious for their lack of scientific integrity .. relying heavily on epidemiological studies .. which are well-known for being unreliable .. easily manipulated to reach a predetermined outcome .. so much so .. they eventually became known as "tobacco science" .. defined as "science" done on behalf of an interest defending it's cash cow from overwhelming credible science that shows it is harmful or detrimental to public benefit in some way?

David Foster

I wanted to repeat my original response to Dr. Amaral from the original AoA article. It didn't merit inclusion with the expert responses above, but some might find it interesting:

Dr. Amaral -

The fact that brain size (and/or head circumference depending on the study) is associated with autism, but only in boys and not in girls, is interesting is it not?

Dr. Courchesne did earlier research which found this association and he immediately inferred that whatever caused autism must happen before birth. A later study from Courchesne found altered patterns of cortical development in autistics, and again he jumped to the conclusion that this was further evidence that autism had prenatal origins. His only justification for making this logical leap was that development of these cortical structures began in the womb.

More recently the final version of the Gadad paper, one of those infamous studies which Safeminds partially funded, apparently found that there were no behavioral or neuroanatomical differences associated with exposure to mercury in primates given various simulated vaccine schedules. I wrote up a response to a Newsweek article on this, and someone used my text and added some nifty graphics:

Here I explain why given their methods, they should never have expected to reproduce the differences in cerebellar structures found earlier by Courchesne and Jernigan. I am very familiar with this research because I used to work with Dr. Jernigan, and I wrote the image processing programs which were used for morphometric analyses for the Courchesne/Jernigan study.

It is instructive to read the detailed and comprehensive response from Safeminds on the papers coming out of this primate study, since the final negative results in the papers arising from this study were so at odds with the significant (and quite alarming) findings reported earlier:
Primate Model of Effects of Vaccination on Autism - Like Behaviors and Neuropathology: A Review of the Data from Phases I & II

Regarding the issue of head size in particular, what all of these so-called "experts" neglect to mention is that this phenomenon can be caused by exposure guess it...mercury!

Of Mice and Mercury: Big Heads and Thimerosal

Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent

"Selected parameters of brain enlargement were correlated with measures of anxiety or reduced tendency to explore that were significantly affected in SJL Thim mice".

"In addition to more general findings of macrocephaly, eurycephaly is reported in children with autism. [64] Of further interest, the infrapyramidal mossy fiber bundle, pruned from up to two-thirds the length of CA3 to its shorter adult length between PN days 20 and 30 in mice, [65] varies genetically and its size is linked to exploratory behaviors.66 The finding here of a correlation between enlargement of specific regional hippocampal fields and decreased levels of exploration (i.e., reduced center ambulatory distance and rearing counts, consistent with increased anxiety levels) in thimerosal-treated SJL mice suggests that pruning mechanisms may be selectively disrupted by this postnatal challenge."

George stevens

Perhaps head size and rapid enlarging of the head is a precursor to people susceptible to possible vaccine damage. Obviously it occurs in the same time frame as vaccines. My daughter is autistic and received all her vaccines and her head is in the 95%, however my son's head jumped up to the 85% at his 9 month well visit but is anything but autistic, he also hasn't had any vaccines, how would one know if there has never been a study on vaccines and head size.


Thank you Anne for compiling and sharing these distinguished expert's views. Hopefully the MIND Institute will take note and do an about face and head in the right direction.

Bev Johnson, RN

When the rise in diagnosis is attributed to better screening , I am puzzled. I talk to parents who are reluctant to have their child "labeled" and avoid seeking evaluation or diagnosis. How many kids have ADHD, OCD, Dev Delay, speech delay , etc or are quirky, clumsy , shy, or any number of acceptable tags? With a six month wait to even beginning to get a diagnosis that may take 6 more months and multiple appointments before the A word is whispered , I'm wondering when the actual number will be known. More likely is that we will normalize these behaviors as we move deeper into this swamp. Talk to an early childhood educator with more than 30 years on the job . This new normal is overwhelming.

Jake Crosby

Let's petition the president to de-fund the MIND Institute - another worthless slush fund of autism research dollars.

Managing Editor

We have run and will continue to run comments by Dr. Amaral if he chooses to comment. Thank you for reading AofA.

John Stone


Well, actually several of these comments or ones like them already appeared on the original blog and no one was stopping Dr Amaral from responding. A fundamental problem is that Dr Amaral has given no clear explanation about how the assorted facts he introduced enabled him to close the chapter on scientific concerns about vaccine safety. Also you criticise Gary Ogden for something he did not say. He said smoking does not need a clinical trial: he was speaking in the present tense.

Hans Litten

A toddler who developed severe neurological symptoms including blindness associated with chronic encephalitis and died following MMR vaccination was found to have vaccine-derived mumps virus in his brain, a new study reports.

Published in the current issue of the journal, Acta Neuropathologica, the study is the first of its kind to conclusively demonstrate chronic brain damage in the form of “panencephalitis” due to a vaccine-derived strain of the mumps virus. In light of a recent epidemic of mumps in highly vaccinated populations, the research raises questions about the dangers of live vaccine virus mutations and about public health claims that the MMR is a completely safe and effective vaccine without serious side effects.

Joel A. Harrison PhD, MPH

Typical for Age of Autism that you allow someone to post a comment, in this case Dr Amaral, then attack what he said without any further comments by him responding to the attacks. It is impossible to anticipate in one or even a couple of comments what others will say and, thus, by his not responding gives a biased picture, clearly a set-up, not a forum for an honest dialogue. Reminds me of 10th grade when we read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Anthony got the last word at Caesar's funeral. I wonder what the outcome would have been if Brutus had been allowed to respond? Ogden wrote "smoking do not need clinical trials." They didn't do clinical trials on people with smoking. It was based on a combination of in vitro lab animal studies, and epidemiological studies, e.g. case control, cohort. Get your facts right.
Reply | Edit | 52 minutes ago on Experts Respond to …

Bob Moffit

Dr Amaral:

"The beauty of science is that you are taken where the evidence leads you."

This is an argument FOR the urgent need of a Commission to investigate vaccine safety and scientific integrity" .. unless you are fearful of where the "evidence" of THAT Commission will "lead you".

In other words .. opposing the Commission to investigate scientific integrity .. is in direct conflict with Dr. Amarl's description of the "beauty of science" .. which REQUIRES him to seek .. rather than avoid .. learning where the "evidence will lead him".


The IACC, says the science is in; that vaccines has nothing to do with the rise of autism, indeed if there really is a rise in autism. There is no address to vaccine safety in this committee, nor environmental either. All genetic.

The CDC leads the way in that research that the IACC follows. That is autism is in no way related to vaccine safety.

SOooooo, if that is true, vaccines have nothing to do with autism - why is the head of an autism group, "MIND" even bothering with the subject of vaccine safety?

Vaccine safety is just that, vaccine safety. It would be nice to know there has been research into how much aluminum, mercury and other antigens will do the job, before the patients start exhibiting symptoms like unprotected aluminum industry employees. Since they are giving these vaccines in combinations ; all together, it would be nice to have studies to see if there are any problems.
It would be nice to know that inside the vaccine manufacturing plant there is not some one peeing in the batches, or old equipment is not grinding off pieces of tungsten, or steel or something.

Why would the head of an autism organization be so suspicious of something called vaccine safety?
Maybe autism will not even be mentioned since vaccines are so innocent. Instead something else will be found that is totally unrelated to autism. Like --- Like vassuclities. Narrowing of blood vessels has nothing to do with autism after all. Autism is just -- well - autism -- all by itself.

Gary Ogden

The beauty of an academic position is that you are taken where your funding source wishes to lead you. There can be no question that the explosion of autism which has occurred over the past quarter century is fundamentally of environmental origin. What environmental factors are likely candidates for causing this, and thus, whose exposures should studied without delay? The vast number of industrial and agricultural chemicals, including endocrine disruptors, which are feminizing males across species, in wide and expanded use, and the tripling of the vaccine schedule. We now know that manufacturing standards for purifying vaccines are weak at best, except in the case of those for veterinary use, and that they are contaminated with a wide variety of debris, including red blood cells of unknown origin and metallic elements which shouldn’t be in any injected medical product:
Real science advances through curiosity driven by intellectual integrity, not through tenure, publication, and numbers of citations. The most astonishing thing about Dr. Amaral’s response is that he appears to think that vaccine safety has been fully vetted. Parachutes, seat belts and smoking do not need clinical trials, but the toxic burden to health, especially in our most vulnerable, of vaccines and chemicals most assuredly do. I would remind Dr. Amaria that he is spending my tax money to obfuscate this crime being perpetrated upon our children, and I don’t like it one bit.

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