David Kirby

Kathleen Sebelius: “Autism Now Hits 1 in 100 Children. We Have No Idea Why.”

No idea By David Kirby

Washington loves to dump its bad news on a Friday afternoon, and today it confirmed that one percent of American children  (and by extension, perhaps 1-in-58 boys) - has an autism spectrum disorder.

On a hastily arranged telephone “visit” with US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the autism community, the health chief announced that “the prevalence of autism might be even higher than previously thought.” But, she added, “We don’t know if it has gone up, and we are hoping to unlock these mysteries.”

The Secretary then declared autism “An urgent public health challenge,” declared that President Obama was “right to make it one of our top health priorities,” including research into “treatments and a cure” for the disorder, and promptly ended her visit.

Helping to fill in some of the details was Dr. Thomas R. Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, who confirmed that CDC data to be published later this year will estimate the current childhood ASD rate at 100-per-10,000 children.

The data, collected from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, shows a significant uptick in ASD prevalence estimates in just two years.

According to ADDM, the average rate of autism among eight-year-olds across all study sites was 67-per-10,000 in 2000 (the 1992 birth cohort), and 66-per-10,000 in 2002 (the 1994 birth cohort). Only six sites were included in both studies, and their average prevalence rate increased by 10%, from 67-per-10,000 to 74-per-10,000.

Now, CDC has announced that among the 1996 birth cohort, the estimated rate of ASD is 100-per-10,000; a staggering 50% increase over the 1994 birth cohort.

Continue reading "Kathleen Sebelius: “Autism Now Hits 1 in 100 Children. We Have No Idea Why.”" »

David Kirby's Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms

Animal Factory

Our good friend and frequent contributor David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm  is also the author of a new book titled, Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, that looks at the impact of the factory farm on our lives. You can pre-order Animal Factory at Amazon now Click HERE. It debuts on February 16th of 2010. 

On Saturday, the New York Times ran an article about the fallout from a dairy farm in Wisconsin. You can read the full article HERE.

MORRISON, Wis. — All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe. 

There are 41,000 dairy cows in Brown County, which includes Morrison, and they produce more than 260 million gallons of manure each year, much of which is spread on nearby grain fields. Other farmers receive fees to cover their land with slaughterhouse waste and treated sewage.

In measured amounts, that waste acts as fertilizer. But if the amounts are excessive, bacteria and chemicals can flow into the ground and contaminate residents’ tap water.

In Morrison, more than 100 wells were polluted by agricultural runoff within a few months, according to local officials. As parasites and bacteria seeped into drinking water, residents suffered from chronic diarrhea, stomach illnesses and severe ear infections...

David Kirby: New Study: Hepatitis B Vaccine Triples the Risk of Autism in Infant Boys

Dice no yes maybe By David Kirby (Click HERE to read and comment on the HuffPo version of this post.)

“The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism; six have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause autism.”
-- Dr. Paul Offit, “Autism’s False Prophets”

“16 studies have shown no causal association between vaccines and autism, and these studies carry weight in the scientific industry.”
-- Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Today Show Medical Editor

Conventional wisdom holds that the autism-vaccine question has been “asked and answered,” and that least 16 large, well-constructed epidemiological studies have thoroughly addressed and debunked any hypothesis that childhood vaccination is in any way associated with an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders.

But there are several critical flaws in such an oversimplified generalization, and they are rarely given close examination by public health experts or members of the media.

To begin with, it is unscientific and perilously misleading for anyone to assert that “vaccines and autism” have been studied and that no link has been found. That’s because the 16 or so studies constantly cited by critics of the hypothesis have examined just one vaccine and one vaccine ingredient. And the studies themselves have critical design flaws and limitations.

The current US childhood immunization schedule calls for 28 injections with 11 different vaccines against 15 different diseases by two years of age. Of those 11 vaccines, only the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) shot has been studied in association with autism, (although a CDC study of an MMR-plus-chickenpox vaccine did show that the risk for febrile seizures in infants was doubled.)

Meanwhile, those 11 vaccines contain scores of ingredients, only one of which, thimerosal, has ever been tested in association with autism.

It is illogical to exonerate all vaccines, all vaccine ingredients, and the total US vaccine program as a whole, based solely on a handful of epidemiological studies of just one vaccine and one vaccine ingredient. It is akin to claiming that every form of animal protein is beneficial to people, when all you have studied is fish.

Now, a new study has shown that giving Hepatitis B vaccine to newborn baby boys more than triples the associated risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder.

An abstract of the study was published in the September, 2009 issue of the respected journal Annals of Epidemiology. In it, Carolyn Gallagher and Melody Goodman of the Graduate Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University Medical Center, NY, wrote that, “Boys who received the hepatitis B vaccine during the first month of life had 2.94 greater odds for ASD compared to later- or unvaccinated boys.” The authors used U.S. probability samples obtained from National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 1997–2002 datasets.

The conclusion states that: “Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine had a 3-fold greater risk of ASD; risk was greatest for non-white boys.”

Continue reading "David Kirby: New Study: Hepatitis B Vaccine Triples the Risk of Autism in Infant Boys" »

The 2nd Annual NY Autism/Asperger's Conference

JoinUs If you're near New York City, we hope you'll plan to attend the 2nd Annual Autism/Asperger's Conference "Educating and Healing Children" on Saturday October 3 and Sunday, October 4 at the Stephen Gaynor School. On Saturday at 4:30pm, join David Kirby, Dan Olmsted, Stephen Shore, Barbara Fischkin and Kim Stagliano for a Writer's Panel. We'd love to meet you! 

Full conference details are HERE.

Featured speakers include Eustacia Cutler, the mother of Temple Grandin and the author of “A Thorn in My Pocket” which describes the challenges raising a child with autism. And DAN! physician Dr. Nancy O'Hara. 

Other Conference Highlights:

•Nutritional Problems in Children with Autism: Assessment and Treatment –
James Adams, Ph.D.

•A "Best Practices" Model of Behavioral Treatment for Autism –
Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA

•Teaching Yoga Skills to Young Children with Developmental Delays –
Deborah Gruber, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Co-sponsors include The NAA New York Chapter and The Autism Research Institute.

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.

David Kirby on HuffPo: Autism Rate Now At One Percent"

Shooting gallery Read and comment on David Kirby's "Autism Rate Now At One Percent" at Huffington Post.

A pair of federally funded studies on autism rates is about to make news -- big news -- and it isn't good: It would appear that somewhere around one percent of all US children currently have an autism spectrum disorder. The rate is even higher among six to 11 year olds and among boys, according to data from at least one of the new studies.

If you are an expectant parent, or planning to have a child soon, you might want to sit down before absorbing these staggering statistics, recently released by the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

According to data from the 2007 telephone survey of parents of nearly 82,000 US children, the odds of a child receiving an ASD diagnosis are one in 63. If it is a boy, the chances climb to a science fiction-like level of one in 38, or 2.6% of all male children in America...

Podcast on Autism One Radio: David Kirby and Mark Blaxill At DC Autism Briefing Today

Click HERE for the podcast on Autism One Radio.

The first photo is of David presenting, Mark is seated facing the attendees. The second photo is of Mark presenting. Waiting for updates from today's briefing by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ) all week.  You can view the PowerPoint presentation in full HERE. The podcast will be available after the event at Autism One Radio.

Maloney presentation

Mark DC

Continue reading "Podcast on Autism One Radio: David Kirby and Mark Blaxill At DC Autism Briefing Today" »

“Tidal Wave” of Young Adults with Autism about to Flood Cash-Strapped California

Golden gate destroyed By David Kirby

Broke California will begin the new decade with crushing debt and wholesale elimination of human services. Meanwhile, President Obama has rankled Congressional Democrats with plans to earmark millions of dollars in NIH funds to find the causes and cures of autism.

Are these two things related? You bet they are.

Barack Obama is not a stupid man. He sees the budgetary train wreck hurtling down the track towards the US Treasury. His Administration knows that the number of adults with autism in this country is about to explode. Parents can’t foot the bill, so taxpayers will have to. The price tag will be stratospherical.

Isn’t it better to earmark millions in autism research funds right now for NIH to identify the causes of autism – despite outcries from Rep. Obey, Sen. Harkin and others – in order to save hundreds of billions further down the road?

It’s called frontloading the budget, and if we don’t do it, the coming army of young adults with autism will march in and break the bank.

Continue reading "“Tidal Wave” of Young Adults with Autism about to Flood Cash-Strapped California" »

NY's Maloney and NJ's Smith Letter to HHS Secretary Sibelius for Vax/Unvax Study

Study time Click HERE to read and comment on David Kirby's Huffington Post piece on a request for a vax/unvax study.

On Wednesday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) called on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to dedicate between 1.6% and 6.6% of the $300 million in federal stimulus funds earmarked for the purchase and distribution of vaccines to fund a major study of health outcomes -- including autism -- among vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The move comes just one week after the federal government's National Vaccine Advisory Committee also unanimously voted to recommend a feasibility study on conducting the controversial investigation.

Some federal officials have balked at doing a vaccinated-unvaccinated study, citing its high cost -- which Maloney and Smith said would fall in the $5-$20 million range...

HuffPo: David Kirby's Seven Studies to Watch

Seven hearts By David Kirby

Yesterday, I wrote that US officials had approved or recommended seven new studies related to autism and vaccination. I have listed them all here on one page, for readers who might want to share it with medical personnel, family members, elected officials, members of the media and anyone else who tells them that the vaccine-autism debate is over and done with.

Anyone complaining about parents asking for more research should direct their ire at the following US Government agencies and affiliated groups, who concur that many gaps in vaccine-safety research remain:

US Department of Health and Human Services
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institute of Mental Health
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Vaccine Advisory Committee


1) The National CADDRE Study -- This 5-year project of the CDC's Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network will "help identify what might put children at risk for autism," the CDC says. Among those risk factors: "specific mercury exposures, including any vaccine use by the mother during pregnancy and the child's vaccine exposures after birth." HERE

Continue reading "HuffPo: David Kirby's Seven Studies to Watch" »

New NIH Autism Study - Nothing is Off the Table

Kitchen sinkInvestigators seem to have thought of virtually everything they could possibly ask. Included on the list are prenatal exposures to medications and vaccinations, including the flu shot - which has not been studied for fetal effects, should only be given during pregnancy “if clearly needed,” and contains 25 mcg of ethylmercury, which for a 110 pound woman is five times over the EPA daily limit for mercury exposure. Researchers will also comb through each child’s medical records at different intervals, and look closely at vaccination history and other medications given.  “We absolutely want to collect data on vaccines,” Dr. Newschaffer said.

By David Kirby (This post is now on HuffPo - read and comment HERE.)

US Government officials are finally getting serious about studying all potential environmental factors in autism, and I for one applaud them heartily for leaving no etiological stone unturned.

Five years ago I wrote in the introduction to “Evidence of Harm” that “something in our modern world” was causing autism in a small number of susceptible kids. And though that book was mostly about vaccines and the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, I also wrote that other environmental “triggers” should be considered, including “mercury in fish, pesticides, PCB’s, flame retardants, jet fuel, live viruses in vaccines or some as-yet unidentified virus, and even rampant cell phone use.”

Now, in one of the largest, boldest studies of its kind, researchers in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Northern California will begin collecting data on many potential risk factors, both prenatally and during early childhood – including vaccines, thimerosal, and heavy metals.

Continue reading "New NIH Autism Study - Nothing is Off the Table" »

David Kirby on HuffPo: Top US Panel Agrees On Vaccine Safety Research

Davidkirby Click HERE to read and comment on David Kirby's latest HuffPo.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government's leading immunization advisory panel unanimously approved a sweeping list of vaccine safety research recommendations for the US Department of Health and Human Services, including several that are directly or indirectly linked to the vaccine-autism debate. The endorsement, from the highly influential National Vaccine Advisory Committee, will surely intensify the argument.

Proponents of continued research into possible relationships between vaccination and a wide variety of immunological, metabolic and neurodevelopmental disorders will be cheered by many of the recommendations, while their critics will take comfort in noting that the NVAC declared that the epidemiological evidence to date assured them there is no link between vaccines and autism, at least within "the general population."

David Kirby on HuffPo: Notes from the "Big Anti-Vaccine" Conference Autism One

Moreay Click HERE to read David Kirby's lates on HuffPo. Please comment over there too.

Last weekend, the Autism One organization held its annual conference in Chicago, attended by thousands of parents, doctors, educators and others, to discuss a wide array of autism-related issues. The New York Times labeled it an "anti-vaccine" conference and the Chicago Tribune portrayed it as a freak-show spectacle straight off the island of Dr. Moreau.

Yes, there was some discussion of vaccines - and some admittedly unconventional, and controversial, autism therapies. But there was so much more than that. Out of nearly 150 presentations, only a few dealt directly with vaccines at all. Most of the days were filled with topics such as "Creating Theater with Autism Spectrum Youth," "Epilepsy in Autism: An Overview," and "Perspectives from cell biology and autism risk factors and treatments," a fascinating talk by the forward-thinking Dr. Mark Noble, Professor of Genetics and Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester.

My own remarks dealt with vaccines, and so much more as well, including environmental mercury, wild-type viruses, tainted food, air pollution, pesticides, arsenic, antimony, formaldehyde in household products, even pet shampoo...

Part 1 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?

Managing Editor's Note: Click HERE to see the entire presentation in a printable Word doc. Due to the number of slides, we've broken the presentation into three separate posts to speed up loading the post onto your computer. This is part 1 of 4.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

By David Kirby

2009 Autism One Conference, Chicago

I first want to say that this conference was described by The New York Times as “an anti-vaccine conference.” And, you know, when I read that I actually laughed out loud. And I thought, “What would you even do at an anti-vaccine conference, anyway?” And I know there are some people in this audience who are anti-vaccine, and they have that right. I just don’t happen to be one of those people.

Continue reading "Part 1 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?" »

Part 2 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin, Mitochondria Pathways To Autism?

Managing Editor's Note: Click HERE to see the entire presentation in a printable Word doc. Due to the number of slides, we've broken the presentation into three separate posts to speed up loading the post onto your computer. This is Part 2 of 4.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

By David Kirby
Presented at Autism One 2009.

Now, that’s vaccine mercury. But what about environmental mercury? Like I said, we’re exposed through food, air, water. And air is one of the biggest sources. And there have been plenty of studies. There was this one, done out of Texas - the closer you live to coal-fired power plants, apparently, the greater the risk of autism in school districts. Coal obviously emits a lot of mercury. 

Continue reading "Part 2 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin, Mitochondria Pathways To Autism?" »

Part 3 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?

Managing Editor's Note: Click HERE to see the entire presentation in a printable Word doc. Due to the number of slides, we've broken the presentation into three separate posts to speed up loading the post onto your computer. This is Part 3 of 4.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

By David Kirby
Presented at Autism One

Now, few people know this, but there is a Hep B Omnibus Proceeding – or a demyelinating disease Omnibus Proceeding - in Vaccine Court. At least 65 cases have been filed and they’re starting to get paid out, and they’re starting to win. This is just one case that was recently paid out. This was an adult woman. She ended up dying from her vaccine. And the court ruled she got MS from her Hepatitis B vaccine, and that that vaccine damaged her myelin. And they’ve ruled this in other cases, as well.

Well, now we have MMR in Bailey Banks’ case damaging myelin, probably because of the live measles virus. And I forgot to point that out. About 1 in 1,000 kids who get live-type measles virus will develop ADEM. Now we don’t know the rate for vaccines because they haven’t been studied as extensively, but measles virus can cause ADEM; and there is measles virus in the MMR vaccine.

Continue reading "Part 3 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?" »

Part 4 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?

Managing Editor's Note: Click HERE to see the entire presentation in a printable Word doc. Due to the number of slides, we've broken the presentation into three separate posts to speed up loading the post onto your computer. This is Part 4 of 4.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

By David Kirby
Presented at Autism One 2009.

These are some of the things you might want to look for, particularly if you can go back and look at when your kid was younger, because Hannah, I believe, no longer shows these markers. But when she was young, she had these elevated levels and imbalances. And many people I know have gone back and looked at their own kids’ blood work early on, and they’re finding a lot of these same markers.

So, what attacks mitochondria? Thimerosal is one of the things that attack mitochondria.

Continue reading "Part 4 David Kirby's Autism One Presentation: Metals, Myelin & Mitochondria Pathways to Autism?" »

David Kirby In Huffington Post: The Discover Magazine Chris Mooney Article

Davidkirby Read and comment on David Kirby's Huffington Post piece HERE.

The following letter was sent to the editors at Discover Magazine last week, regarding a recent article on vaccines and autism. The magazine claimed that the debate is over, but ignored the fact that federal and private support of research into a possible association continues.

I have seen a number of online postings and comments from readers of Discover Magazine who are wondering why freelancer Chris Mooney did not interview doctors and scientists who believe that more vaccine-autism research is warranted in his recent article, "Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?"

Chris contacted me in mid-March to ask if he could interview me for the piece. When I wrote back to say that was fine, I added that I hoped he would consider "doing an honest examination of this controversy..."

David Kirby on Chris Mooney in Discover Magazine

News blackout Managing Editor's Note: David Kirby's email content with Chris Mooney is at the end of this post.

By David Kirby

I have seen a number of online postings and comments from readers of Discover Magazine who are wondering why freelancer Chris Mooney did not interview doctors and scientist who believe that more vaccine-autism research is warranted in his recent article, “Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?”

Chris contacted me in mid-March to ask if he could interview me for the piece. When I wrote back to say that was fine, I added that I hoped he would consider “doing an honest examination of this controversy.”

I also urged Chris before, during and after our 90-minute interview to not just listen to me, but to speak with several scientists and clinicians who do not feel like the vaccine-autism question has been thoroughly answered.

Chris and Discover Magazine have every right to craft an article as they see fit, and I would not tell another journalist how to do their job. Nor am I complaining about how I was personally portrayed in the piece. I am writing this simply for the record.

Among the things I mentioned to Chris was that Department of Health and Human Services' National Vaccine Advisory Committee Vaccine Safety Working Group (NVAC VSWG) had just recommended appointing a panel of experts to explore the strengths and weaknesses of conducting studies on health outcomes in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, and they said it was "desirable" to include autism as one of the health outcomes.

I suggested he might want to contact some of the mainstream doctors who supported the measure, which is still moving forward, even if they didn’t personally believe in a connection. I sent him the names of many of these doctors, including Bruce Gellin, M.D., MPH, Director of the HHS National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) and Executive Secretary of NVAC, Andrew Pavia, M.D., an NVAC Member and Chair of the NVAC Vaccine Safety Working Group, and James Mason, M.D., DrPH, an NVAC member and member of the Vaccine Safety Working Group and a former CDC Director and former Assistant Secretary of Health.

Continue reading "David Kirby on Chris Mooney in Discover Magazine" »

Nothing Could Be Swiner... David Kirby on HuffPo

NC BBQ Click HERE to read David Kirby's latest post on Swine Flu in Huffington Post.

In researching my upcoming book on factory farming for St. Martins Press, I have come across many warnings from our past about the looming threat of pandemic influenza emerging from large-scale hog operations.

It now appears that six of the eight genetic components in the currently circulating virus are direct descendants of a swine flu virus that first emerged in North Carolina a decade ago. That bug was discovered in August 1998, at a 2,400-head breeding facility in Newton Grove, NC, where all the sows suddenly came down with a phlegmatic cough. Pregnant animals spontaneously aborted their litters...

David Kirby on HuffPo: Patient Zero Identified in Mexican Flu Outbreak?

Swine flu kids Click HERE to read David Kirby on HuffPo, "Patient Zero Identified in Mexican Flu Outbreak?"

...Until now, the first flu death confirmed by Mexican authorities had been a woman in the southern state of Oaxaca, who died on April 13. But Health Secretary Cordova on Monday "suggested an earlier timeline for documented swine flu cases," the Associated Press is reporting.

"Cordova said tests now show that a 4-year-old boy contracted the disease at least two weeks earlier neighboring Veracruz state, where a community has been protesting pollution from a large pig farm," the AP says. "The farm is run by Granjas Carroll de Mexico, a joint venture 50 percent owned by Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, Inc."

Company officials said there were no "clinical signs or symptoms" swine influenza in the vast herds anywhere in Mexico, "But local residents are convinced they were sickened by air and water contamination from pig waste," AP says. "There was a widespread outbreak of a particularly powerful respiratory disease in the area early April, and some people reported being sick as early as February. Local health workers intervened in early April, sealing off the town of La Gloria and spraying to kill off flies they said were swarming through their homes."

David Kirby on HuffPo: Mexican Lawmaker, Factory Farms are Breeding Grounds for Swine Flu

Pigs2 Please read and comment on David Kirby's latest piece on HuffPo HERE.

Large-scale swine producers in Mexico deny that their industry is the source of the deadly new influenza strain, saying the animals are all healthy, and that it is scientifically "not possible" for hogs to infect people with the illness. But lawmakers in the eastern state of Veracruz are now charging that large-scale hog and poultry operations are "breeding grounds" of infection that are making people sick and fueling the pandemic...


David Kirby on HuffPo: Mexican Swine Flu and Factory Farms

Factory farms Click HERE to read and comment on David Kirby's latest on HuffPo: Swine Flu Outbreak -- Nature Biting Back at Industrial Animal Production?

Officials from the CDC and USDA will soon arrive in Mexico to help investigate the deadly new influenza virus that managed to jump from pigs to people in a previously unseen mutated form that can readily spread among humans.

One of the first things they will want to look at are the hundreds of industrial-scale hog facilities that have sprung up around Mexico in recent years, and the thousands of people employed inside the crowded, pathogen-filled confinement buildings and processing plants.

Industry calls these massive compounds "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs (KAY-fohs), though most people know them simply as "factory farms." You have seen them before while flying: Long white buildings lined up in tightly packed rows of three, four or more. Within each confinement, thousands of pigs are restricted to indoor pens and grain-fed for market, while breeding sows are kept in small metal crates where they spend most of their lives pregnant or nursing piglets...


David Kirby on HuffPo: UK Autism Doctor Launches Formal Complaint Against London Sunday Times Reporter

Davidkirby Managing Editor's Note: David added the following to his post. NOTE: It has been pointed out that my name appears on a list of "Advisors" on the website for Thoughtful House, the autism treatment center in Austin where Dr. Wakefield works. An official there asked me a few years back if I would lend my name and, because I respect their work, I agreed. It is an honorary listing - I do not literally provide advice to the group, nor do these advisors ever meet or speak. I had forgotten I was even on the list, or else I would have made this disclosure originally. Thanks to the person who pointed it out.

By David Kirby

Dr. Andrew Wakefield - the British physician who was accused in February by the Sunday Times of London of altering data in a 1998 paper on autistic children, bowel disease and the MMR vaccine – has filed a formal complaint against the freelance journalist who wrote the article.

Wakefield this week delivered the complaint against the journalist, Brian Deer, to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission (PCC) - an independent body that investigates alleged inaccuracies, invasion of privacy and misreporting by the media.

The complaint accuses Deer of “publishing incorrect information and also of having a conflict of interest caused by his involvement in the General Medical Committee’s (GMC) investigation of Wakefield,” according to a news release issued by the doctor’s advisors.

Wakefield – who now lives in Austin, TX - and two colleagues are currently the subject of hearings at the GMC, which has accused them of serious misconduct in the research and writing of the 1998 paper on autism and MMR vaccine.

“Mr. Deer has failed miserably as a reporter and has done great harm to me and many others conducting autism research,” Wakefield said in the release.

Read the full post at HuffPo HERE.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a founding contributor to Huffington Post and a contributor to Age of Autiusm. . His next book, “ANIMAL FACTORY” – about the impact of industrial livestock production on our health and the environment – will be released within the year.

"We Need To Learn Where Toxins Impact Gene Expression to Find the Cause of Autism."

Brain gut By David Kirby

A new study written up in Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2009) and elsewhere says that researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Vanderbilt University have “identified a specific gene variant that links increased genetic risk for autism with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.”

So far, reporting on the study, to be published in Pediatrics, has suggested that a polymorphism in the Met gene has been identified which, by itself, may explain both brain abnormalities and GI disturbances in children with autism spectrum disorder.

But there may be more to this story than that relatively simple explanation. Is it possible that these genetic variations produce susceptibilities to other environmental triggers, such as toxins? According to one of the lead authors of the paper, Patrick Levitt, PhD, autism cannot be explained by genetic factors alone.

Dr. Levitt made this comment when presenting his findings at the Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders 2007 workshop on “Autism and the Environment - Challenges and Opportunities for Research,” of the Institute of Medicine.

(Please see: (HERE))

I hope everyone will look at these excerpts and read the full remarks (both are below) before drawing conclusions about these very significant findings.


1) Environmental factors “must” play a role in ASDs

“Gene–environment interaction is one of the unique properties of the brain. So, of course, regarding ASD, it is not genetic versus environmental, irrespective of whether you think there is a principal cause that is genetic or environmental. Because ASDs have at their core disrupted brain development, in terms of etiology, both genetic and environmental influences must play roles because this is in the basis for brain development.”

2) The Met gene is important for normal nerve and myelin development in the brain:

“It turns out that this gene is expressed in the brain during development and is important for a number of different processes, including cell migration, development of excitatory and inhibitory neurons, synapse formation, and myelination.”

3) The Met gene is also important for proper GI and immune function:

“Met is also involved in gastrointestinal repair, in immune response regulation, and some other peripheral functions that are consistent with the co-occurring medical issues that are described clinically for individuals with ASD.”

4) But manipulation of Met gene expression in animal models can change brain architecture and cause ASD behaviors

Continue reading ""We Need To Learn Where Toxins Impact Gene Expression to Find the Cause of Autism."" »

News Alert from WBAI 99FM in NY/NJ/CT: Autism and Vaccines

WBAIUpdate: Listen to the archived program HERE. If you have difficulty opening the link, an archived version will be available for listening-on-demand, download or podcast at www.archive.wbai.org under science, health and healing.

From David Kirby, who works tirelessly on behalf of vaccine injured children - and those yet unscathed:

**** NEWS ALERT FROM WBAI 99.FM in NY/NJ/CT -- Please circulate ******

Tune in Mon., Mar. 2, 1:00-2:00 PM
Health Action Program - Latest on the Autism/Vaccine Controversy
WBAI, 99.FM in NY/NJ/CT and streaming live at

Host Bob Lederer explores the latest chapter in the controversy over whether childhood vaccines may be a contributing factor to the rising rates of autism. Despite adamant denials by medical establishment figures and recent adverse court decisions, the evidence continues to mount that one of at least three theories - the mercury-containing thimerosal additive, reactions to introduction of live viruses, and overstimulation of the immune system - may combine with genetic variations in some children to become key factors in the onset of the disease.

Continue reading "News Alert from WBAI 99FM in NY/NJ/CT: Autism and Vaccines" »

David Kirby: US Health Officials Back Study Idea on Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children – Will Media Take Note?

Do it now By David Kirby

It is not accurate for members of the media to report that the link between vaccines has been “disproven.” This is especially true in light of recent news from the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and a series of news items from the Federal Court of Claims, Federal health agencies, leading universities and top autism researchers around the country. There are now many reasons why the media should continue its coverage of this serious and ongoing debate:


On Friday, February 27, a special group convened by The Keystone Center on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Advisory Committee Vaccine Safety Working Group (NVAC VSWG) recommended appointing a panel of experts to explore the strengths and weaknesses of conducting studies on health outcomes in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations. The group, known as the “Salt Lake City Writing Group,” said it was “desirable” to include autism as one such health outcome.

As they stated in a draft “consensus statement”:

“(There is) a strong desire to study the health impact of the immunization schedule, potentially through a ‘vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study’. Outcomes to assess include biomarkers of immunity and metabolism, and outcomes including but not limited to neurodevelopmental outcomes, allergies, asthma, immune-mediated diseases, and learning disabilities. The inclusion of autism as an outcome is desired”

The Writing Group supported a recommendation to “charge an expert panel with evaluating study designs for research on the impact of the standard schedule of vaccination on an array of health outcomes of significant public interest. This draft charge is responsive to issues raised at community meetings in Alabama, Oregon, and Indiana as well as the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee request for collaboration with the National Vaccine Program Office.”

Continue reading "David Kirby: US Health Officials Back Study Idea on Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Children – Will Media Take Note?" »

David Kirby on HuffPo: NIH Agency Head: Vaccine-Autism Research is “Legitimate”

Too legit By David Kirby

A major health official within the United States Government today endorsed more research into possible links between vaccination and autism, saying that such studies are “legitimate.” 

The official, Dr, Duane Alexander, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), an NIH agency, said scientists must investigate susceptible subpopulations of children, including kids with mitochondrial disorders and those who have trouble metabolizing mercury...

Read and comment on the full HuffPo piece

Vaccine Court Awards MMR Victim Millions. Conceals Diagnosis with Word Games.

Spade Managing Editor's Note: If you're joining us after having read the Generation Rescue ad in USA Today, welcome. The Banks v. HHS file link is below.

By Dan Olmsted

Just two weeks after the U.S. Vaccine Court haughtily dismissed claims that vaccines can trigger autism, David Kirby and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. report another quietly settled case that shows the same court ruling exactly the opposite HERE. Clearly, there's something wrong with this picture when the same court can't get its story straight while the fate of thousands of children and their families hang in the balance.

The truth is vaccines can and do cause autism, and even the federal government seems to know it, except when it comes to actually uttering the "A word."

And congrats to our friends and colleagues David and RFK Jr. for relentless pursuit of this important and still-unfolding story.

To read the .pdf file of the 2007 Banks v. HHS Vaccine Court ruling, click HERE.  Or you can read the transcribed copy that follows:

In the United States Court of Federal Claims
No. 02-0738V
Filed: 20 July 2007

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
BAILEY BANKS, by his father




Continue reading "Vaccine Court Awards MMR Victim Millions. Conceals Diagnosis with Word Games." »

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby on HuffPo: Vaccine Court Autism Debate Continues

Davidkirby Rfk2 Managing Editor's Note: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby have teamed up on Huffington Post.  Click HERE to read and comment on ANOTHER AUTISM CASE WINS IN VACCINE COURT at Huffington Post. Here's a preview:

On February 12, the federal "Vaccine Court" in Washington issued a sweeping ruling in three highly touted "test cases" against families who claimed that their childrens' autism had been caused by vaccines. The Special Masters in those three cases found that Petitioners failed to establish causation between MMR vaccines, the mercury-laced vaccine preservative thimerosal, and autism (the court decision, which is under appeal, deferred any finding on a thimerosal-only theory of causation). The rulings could have a significant precedential impact on some 5,000 families who opted to bring their cases in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP) hoping that the vaccine court would officially hold that that the MMR vaccine or thimerosal had caused autism in their children.

The New York Times joined the government Health Agency (HRSA) and its big pharma allies hailing the decisions as proof that the scientific doubts about vaccine safety had finally been "demolished." The US Department of Health and Human services said the rulings should "help reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism." The Times, which has made itself a blind mouthpiece for HRSA and a leading defender of vaccine safety, joined crowing government and vaccine industry flacks applauding the decisions like giddy cheerleaders, rooting for the same court that many of these same voices viscously derided just one year ago, after Hannah Poling won compensation for her vaccine induced autism.

But last week, the parents of yet another child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were awarded a lump sum of more than $810,000 (plus an estimated $30-40,000 per year for autism services and care) in compensation by the Court, which ruled that the measels-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine had caused acute brain damage that led to his autism spectrum disorder.

Vaccine Court To Weigh In On Thursday

Davidkirby By David Kirby


I have confirmed the following information:

Members of the US Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs have been caught somewhat off guard with the news that the MMR autism rulings would be released on Thursday.

Yesterday, I sent a letter to the Court of Federal Claims, and to the Justice Department, asking why the decisions had not yet been handed down. I wrote:

“It seems very clear that the Court is aware of the content of these decisions, yet there does not seem to be any rationale for withholding the rulings any longer. As a journalist, I believe the public has an inherent right to know the decisions made by the Special Masters in a timely and responsible manner.”

I did not hear back from the court. But within 45 minutes, I got this reply from DOJ:

We have no information in response to any of those questions.  We, too, are awaiting those decisions from the court.
Charles Miller
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Justice

That was at 2:30PM yesterday. But by 2:30PM today, Public Affairs staff were bracing for a huge workload and a very long day on Thursday, knowing they would be taking press calls from all over the globe. They are grumbling that the Court did not give them more time to prepare.

Interestingly, and in an unusual move, the DOJ staff are also sending around copies of the Sunday Times of London articles by Brian Deer, about Andy Wakefield’s alleged scientific misconduct - in an effort to discredit him and his work prior to the Vaccine Court rulings.

I have no idea what any of this means, but I thought I would report it.


Continue reading "Vaccine Court To Weigh In On Thursday" »

Jeffry Fawcett: "Participation by concerned citizens is an essential feature of scientific progress."

Change the world Managing Editor's note: This entry is from the "Your Own Health and Fitness" blog. Link is below.

By Jeffry Fawcett, February 3, 2009 in the Editorials blog

Last week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby published as article about autism on the Huffington Post. They were writing about how remnants of the Bush administration sabotaged funding for research on the relationship between vaccinations and autism. The actions of these members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee blocked the allocation of funds specifically designated for such research by the Combating Autism Act of 2006. As Kennedy and Kirby point out, these men and women promote vaccination and some are on the payroll of the drug companies that manufacture vaccines. Each represents a Federal agency. Although there are civilian members of the Committee, the agency members outnumber the civilians by over two to one.

A major point of the article was that the vaccine-autism theory is now generally accepted as a legitimate subject of research in mainstream science. Of particular note is the increasing attention paid to this issue by many government agencies and programs, such as the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services, and EPA. There was a time when that wasn’t so. What made the difference was the activism of citizens supported by concerned scientists.

Click HERE to read the full post.

Vaccine Court: Hepatitis B Shot Caused MS

Ms By David Kirby

All eyes are on Vaccine Court this week, as people await rulings in the autism “test cases” on MMR and thimerosal. But another omnibus proceeding involving Hepatitis B vaccine and autoimmune disorders in adults, including MS, has already been quietly ruling in favor of several petitioners. (HERE)

The most recent case was announced about a week ago. In it, the Court ruled that the victim, an adult female, had contracted a form of demyelinating disease and MS, and eventually died, after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine series. It was just the most recent case in a rash of rulings in the omnibus proceeding dealing with hepatitis B vaccine and “demyelinating diseases such as transverse myelitis (TM), Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease (CIDP), and multiple sclerosis (MS),” according to court papers.

“Petitioner has prevailed on the issue of entitlement. The medical records during decedent’s final hospitalization reflect that she died from demyelinating disease. Not only did decedent have a vaccine injury, but also her death was vaccine-related,” wrote the Special Master in the case.

Interestingly, the US government chose not to present any expert witnesses, nor to contest the case any further.

Continue reading "Vaccine Court: Hepatitis B Shot Caused MS" »

An Addendum to February's "First Read"

Bene Managing Editor's Note: David Kirby's post  Il Mercurio and the AAP on the Italian study has been duly noted by Dr. First of AAP. Dr. First has updated his site. Molto bene. Click HERE.

It has been brought to my attention that in the study on thimerosal briefly highlighted below, I noted that groups did or did not get thimerosal and had similar results in terms of neuropsychological developmental outcomes. Reading of this study will indicate that both groups studied actually did have thimerosal in their vaccines, one group having 62.5 micrograms cumulative intake and the other 137.5 micrograms cumulative intake. While the amount of thimerosal in the lower group studied in Italy is less (according to the author of this study Dr. Tozzi) than the small amounts used in this country, I do want to correctly indicate there was no group studied that received no thimerosal whatsoever in their vaccines. The results of this study suggesting essentially minimal (if any) differences in developmental outcomes remains as stated--although a limitation as noted by Dr. Tozzi is that there was no comparison group with zero exposure to thimerosal. I appreciate the readers who have brought this to my attention so that I could more accurately clarify my interpretation of this study. Please read this article for yourself to learn more.


Il Mercurio and the AAP

Fudge By David Kirby

The new thimerosal study published in Pediatrics leaves a lot of open questions. So does the response to the study by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Dr. Lewis First.

In his blog introducing the study, Dr. First wrote that, "You'll be reassured that the results show essentially no differences between groups who did or did not get thimerosal in their vaccines-and you'll want to know this information when talking with parents of your patients about the safety and benefits of vaccines."

But that made no sense. The study clearly stated that all children received thimerosal in the first year of life - some got 62.5 micrograms and the rest got 137.5 mcg. But there were no children who "did not get thimerosal," as Dr. First urged America's pediatricians to tell parents.

I thought I would write to AAP and clear things up, and see if a correction would be run. Officials there were (and have been) courteous, respectful and professional. So I sent the following email to the press office of the Academy:

Continue reading "Il Mercurio and the AAP" »

David Kirby and RFK, Jr. On HuffPo: Autism, Vaccines and the CDC: The Wrong Side of History

Dewey wins Click HERE to read the collaboration of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and David Kirby on Huffington Post is a piece called, Autism, Vaccines and the CDC: the Wrong Side of History. Please comment at HuffPo. It may take a while for your comment to appear, be patient.

Even as the evidence connecting America's autism epidemic to vaccines mounts, dead-enders at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) -- many of whom promoted the current vaccine schedule and others with strong ties to the vaccine industry -- are trying to delay the day of reckoning by creating questionable studies designed to discredit any potential vaccine-autism link and by derailing authentic studies...

David Kirby on HuffPo: On Kirsten Gillibrand, NY Senate Choice

Kirsten gillibrandBy David Kirby 

If media accounts about Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are correct, then I am pleased to be the first to report that my new Senator is a supporter of research into possible connections between vaccines and autism.

The presumptive Senator, a moderate Democrat from the Hudson Valley, is sure to join the growing chorus of voices in the US Senate - and well beyond - in calling for more Federal funding for scientific studies into vaccines and autism, including Senators Kennedy, Dodd, McCain, Lieberman and Enzi, among others, and former Senators Clinton and Obama.

In the 110th Congress, Representative Gillibrand was one of 22 Co-Sponsors of H. R. 2832, the "Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2007." This bill would direct the Secretary of HHS "to conduct or support a comprehensive study comparing total health outcomes, including risk of autism, in vaccinated populations in the United States with such outcomes in unvaccinated populations in the United States."

Read the full piece and comment at HuffPo HERE.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm and a contributor to Age of Autism.

David Kirby on HuffPo: IACC Recommends Millions to Study Autism Causes

Research (Someone please send some aspirin to Dr. Offit, Alison Singer and Dr. Andy Shih, won't you?)

By David Kirby

The Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has voted to recommend earmarking millions of dollars in research funds from the Combating Autism Act of 2006 to study the possible role of vaccines in the causation of autism.

The panel also proposed spending an additional $75 million to study a wide variety of other environmental factors in autism, possibly including parental age, infections, heavy metals, neurotoxins, occupational exposures and "other biological agents."

The decision, made last month, received little or no attention in the media. The vaccine research provisions are now included in the official IACC Draft Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Research.

Click over to HuffPo to read the full piece HERE.

David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm and contributor to Age of Autism.

Change.gov v. Change.org and Autism Recovery

Domains Yesterday, I received several emails from parents of children with autism who were concerned about an autism blog that they thought was posted at the official website of the Barack Obama Transition Team, www.change.gov. On the blog, it says that, "Recovery from autism is neither possible, nor desirable."

Shortly after posting it, someone alerted me that this website was at www.change.org, and was not affiliated with the President Elect. Though I take small comfort in knowing I am not the first person to make that error, I take responsibility for the mistake.

Continue reading "Change.gov v. Change.org and Autism Recovery" »

Is Autism Speaks At War With Itself?

Good evil By David Kirby

“We are committed to exploring the role of vaccines”
– Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr

“The vaccine-autism issue has really been put to bed”
- Autism Speaks Vice President of Scientific Affairs Dr. Andy Shih

Do officials at Autism Speaks believe in a possible link between vaccines and ASD, or do they believe that the irksome issue has been settled for good, and now it’s time to move on?

The answer is yes.

Confused? You could hardly be blamed. If you listened to AS Co-Founder Bob Wright speak in England recently, you heard him say that immunization cannot be ruled out a possible contributing factor. And if you looked at new AS research grants, you would see money going to studies of thimerosal and vaccines.

But if you only paid attention to the words and deeds of some executives at Autism Speaks, you would probably surmise that the vaccine debate is kaput.

Continue reading "Is Autism Speaks At War With Itself?" »

POP QUIZ - Pull Quotes from US News Magazine

05adco_large1By DAVID KIRBY

For more than a year now, in my talks, slide presentations, and interviews, I have been discussing the possibility that there may be a subset of genetically susceptible children who simply cannot handle the overstimulation of our rather crowded “one size fits all” vaccine schedule.

I have suggested trying to screen out children who might be most vulnerable to vaccine injury – including autism, in the case of Hannah Poling and countless others like her – and devising a separate vaccine schedule for them. The goal is to get them immunized, but on a less intensive timetable.

Below are comments from health experts and medical journalist on this very subject. Virtually any one of these statements could have been made by me at one of my talks. But they weren’t. Can you try to guess who said these quotes? (Answers below) They were all (yes) “cherry picked” from a major vaccine series just out in US News and World Report:

Continue reading "POP QUIZ - Pull Quotes from US News Magazine" »

David Kirby on Autism and the Military: One Very Brave Captain

Purple_heart By David Kirby

I often receive letters from parents of children with autism, from all over the world. They are moving, gratifying, and powerful. They keep me going.

Yesterday, I received a letter that I will never forget. It was from a Captain in the U.S. Army, who has risked his life in the name of his country. He also has three sons on the autism spectrum, and he blames vaccines.

"To be honest, the vast majority of military families dealing with autism that I know, think that vaccines are the cause," Capt. Joe Mickley told me in a phone interview.

Continue reading "David Kirby on Autism and the Military: One Very Brave Captain" »

David Kirby on HuffPo: The Pentagon, A Voice of Reason on Vaccines and Autism?

PentagonUPDATE, 12/5 - I recently received a response to my query from Paul Stone, AFIP Public Affairs. He wrote that: "Dr. Centeno's presentation, entititled 'Mercury Poisoning: A Clinical and Toxicological Perspective,' did mention Thimerosal. However, its inclusion was specifically intended to point out that although there has been some speculation about a potential association between Thimerosal and Autism, currently there is no data or science to support such a claim. Neither the AFIP nor Dr. Centeno have been involved in or conducted research on Autism."

I have asked Mr. Stone to clarify why Methyl B-12, DMPS and glutathione GSH appear under the heading "treatments" on Dr. Centeno's thimerosal slide -- DK

Click HERE to read David Kirby's post at HuffPo: The Pentagon, A Voice of Reason on Vaccines and Autism?

When it comes to fighting autism, maybe we should send in the Army.

Autism and the military have a deep history together. Children of service members are reportedly almost twice as likely to have autism (1-in-88) than those in the general population (1-in-150). Meanwhile, the Department of Defense quietly spends millions in taxpayer dollars researching the possible causes of autism at far-from-the-spotlight centers around the country.

Recently, several documents have been brought to my attention which, when viewed together, suggest that the Department of Defense has legitimate concerns about vaccine injuries and their possible connection to autism, perhaps more so than other branches of the Federal Government...  Read the rest and please comment over at HuffPo (link above.)

CNN's Anderson Cooper Blogs David Kirby's "CDC Missed the Memo" Piece

AndersonUpdate:  It seems Mr. Cooper's blogteam needs some moderation assistance. My comment has been sitting since 2:07pm yesterday afternoon.  I see that many of us are in mod limbo together.  Feel free to post your comments in OUR section. Let's hope AC360 isn't vetting the comments with their medical editor...

Click HERE to go into CNN's Anderson Cooper's blog. He picked up David Kirby's Age of Autism piece, DOD and CDC: Studies Suggest a Possible Link Between Multiple Vaccines and Injury. You can read the original (HERE).

Please do comment at Anderson Cooper's blog, won't you? Thanks.  KS

DOD and CDC: Studies Suggest a Possible Link Between Multiple Vaccines and Injury

Baby_soldeierBy David Kirby

It looks like the CDC may have missed a memo to itself on vaccine safety.

One very contentious issue in the vaccine-autism debate has been whether a certain subset of genetically susceptible children is unequipped to handle the early and intensive US immunization schedule – including kids like Hannah Poling, who developed autism after receiving nine vaccines at once.

The theory is that some people with abnormal immune or metabolic systems might become overtaxed by the fever, inflammation and/or other stresses sometimes caused by multiple vaccines.

Many doctors and scientists scoff at the notion that someone could be injured by getting too many shots at once. They say that people of all ages, including babies, can handle multiple exposures at any given moment.

Continue reading "DOD and CDC: Studies Suggest a Possible Link Between Multiple Vaccines and Injury" »