Dan Olmsted

Lost Article by Dan Olmsted: What's the Matter With NPR?

This prescient article was brought to our attention this week: Dan identified already how vaccine critics were being crudely branded as public enemies.  It was written 10 years ago by Dan for the now out of print Spectrum Magazine.  We thought it deserved a home here.

Nprby Dan Olmsted,  March 9, 2009 

And why are they making me want to vomit?

Recently I received an email with the rather provocative subject line: "I may vomit - NPR segment." The body of the email was simply an NPR segment on vaccines and autism by Jon Hamilton. After listening to it, I felt kind of sick to my stomach, too.

"Defending Vaccines: Actress Dispels Link To Autism" is the headline on the NPR website story summarizing the segment. The actress in question is Amanda Peet, who has become the anti-Jenny McCarthy of the celebrity duel over whether vaccines are safe.

"A movie star and a prominent scientist have teamed up to reassure the public that childhood vaccines are safe and do not cause autism," the article begins. The prominent scientist is Paul Offit, who tutored Peet on the fact that an autism-vaccine link has been disproven by "more than a dozen large scientific studies," as Hamilton puts it. In the segment, Offit bemoans the fact that the media still calls the issue "controversial."

We've heard all this before, of course, but what turns my stomach is the source: my beloved National Public Radio. This piece is part of a pattern pointed out by many parents and others involved in the environmental-biomedical approach to autism. Some even say NPR is the single most hostile news organization to the whole question of vaccines and autism.

The hostility is obvious from the intro to the segment on Morning Edition: "Today in Your Health, scientific studies show that childhood vaccines are remarkably safe (the last two words emphasized for effect) but a lot of parents do not agree." One reason, the announcer goes on to say, is all the celebrities pounding on the poor pitiful vaccines.

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Best of: Why Progressives Don't Get Autism by Dan Olmsted

Enablers Managing Editor's Note: We first ran this post in November of 2010 - it's apropos this week with the upcoming Presidential election. Our take on vaccines as a topic during 2020? One side will tap dance and the other side will stomp all over Americans' rights to medical choice. Stay tuned. This post almost seems quaint a mere nine years after our dear Dan Olmsted, a devout Progressive, wrote it. We ran a "sister" post by Ginger Taylor on Why Conservatives Don't Get Autism.

By Dan Olmsted - January 2010

The midterm elections have ushered in a period of reflection and reckoning for the nation’s liberal-left movement that today usually describes itself as “progressive.” As The Huffington Post bluntly put it, “Progressive Heroes Go Down to Defeat.” Especially given health care reform’s big role in the election debate, this reckoning ought to include the biggest health problem facing the next generation and hence the nation: Autism.

But first, progressives have got to come to grips with their abject failure to “get” the autism issue.

Progressivism, the idea that government can and should intervene to improve the lives of its citizens, arose early in the last century in response to the Darwinian excesses of Industrial Revolution, laissez-faire capitalism – child labor, abject poverty in the elderly, untaxed corporate profits that went right back into the pockets of the richest. It peaked during the New Deal, then plummeted during Reagan – “Government is not the solution to the problem, government IS the problem,” he famously said.

While this political philosophy waxes and wanes, as it should, I would argue that the word has a wider meaning now – that our country, great as it is and has been, faces challenges and problems that can be addressed by doing something, by making progress, sometimes but not necessarily led or funded by government. So it’s not so much a left-right issue as one of the static status quo versus the impulse to improve on it.

One key part of the progressive agenda of the last century has been improving health – and especially children’s health – through mass vaccination against deadly diseases.  And now come a new group of people, autism parents, who allegedly want to roll back all this progress so long in the making. And how do they want to accomplish this nefarious (and nebulous) goal? By questioning the consensus that genes cause autism, and by claiming that the environment – and plausibly some aspect of the very same mass vaccination campaign -- is implicated in autism’s epidemic rise. Cleverly labeling these concerns “anti-vaccine” and, implicitly, anti-progress, makes it easy to ignore a fundamental truth -- that every ideology including progressivism can go too far, get hijacked by forces that should be its natural enemies, and fail to understand what is required at a particular historical moment.

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No More Measles, Lots More Autism: Dan Olmsted on Vaccine Mandates

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNote: Dan wrote this post in 2016. It holds truer than ever today, when vaccine mandates and pushes to eliminate exemptions are raging from coast to coast. I miss Dan so much. Our anchor. Our beacon. The General of the Rebel Alliance. Kim

By Dan Olmsted

"An effort spanning two decades has resulted in a global first," CNN reported Thursday. "The Americas have eliminated measles, the World Health Organization said this week. The battle was won through mass vaccination to prevent the viral disease, which can cause severe health problems including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death."

Well, the battle was mostly won before the battle began, as anyone who's looked at the pre-vaccine wipeout of the disease would know.

From Mark Blaxill and my 2015 book, Vaccines 2.0:
Measles Mortality DO MB

In Vaccines 2.0 we wrote: “Much of the recent publicity about measles reflects a small increase in US cases in the past few years—usually overseas travelers becoming infected and then spreading the illness in small pockets that generate alarmist headlines.

“In the spring of 2014, a news outlet in suburban Washington, under a large banner titled “Health Warning,” reported public health workers “are informing people who were at various locations . . . that they may have been exposed to a person with measles. Northern Virginia area health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to identify people who may have been exposed.”

“The idea that measles is highly infectious is certainly true; the claim that it is a health emergency is not. For generations, measles was considered a rite of passage for children, with little risk of complications and the reward of lifetime immunity."

A blogger at Livingwhole.org made the same point in June 2014 in a post titled, Measles Shmeasles:

“So far, in 2014 there have been 288 cases of measles, no cases of encephalitis, and no death. In 2013 there were 189 cases of measles, no encephalitis and no death. In 2012 there were 54 cases of measles, no encephalitis, and no death. In 2011, there were 22 cases of measles, and you guessed it . . . no encephalitis, and no death.

“I could go on, but you get the point.

“By and large, measles is unpleasant, not deadly.

“In comparison, the same cannot be said for the MMR vaccine. As of March 1, 2012 there were 842 serious injuries following the MMR vaccine and 56 deaths. Since 1990 there have been more than 6,058 serious adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). What’s even more sad is that only 1–10% of cases are actually reported ….”

Honestly. If you’ve seen Vaxxed, you know it does a great job of contrasting the Disney measles hysteria with the blasé attitude of mainstream media and medicine and the CDC and the NIH and HRSA and etcetera to the endless, increasing, debilitating, sometimes lethal autism epidemic and its allied catastrophes.

But of course kids will all be getting the MMR into perpetuity – now with one part that doesn’t work and spawns epidemics post-adolescence that are far more dangerous (mumps); a vaccine for a disease that is usually not serious and is no circulating (measles) but can have serious side effects, and one for which there can be an altruistic argument given the risk of congenital rubella syndrome, but also with serious risks. Put them all together, shake it up and voila -- the autism shot, as Jenny called it.

Kind of like the DPT – diphtheria doesn’t circulate, tetanus is not a serious risk, and certainly not to anyone but the person who might get it, and pertussis, for which we believe there is a case worth discussing.

Not to mention the deadly and disgusting HPV, the useless and dangerous Hep B, the useless and dangerous chickenpox.

This is why parental choice and no mandates are so important, regardless of one’s stance on vaccines overall. Too much autism, too many vaccines with too many side effects – but at least, thank God, no measles.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Best of Dan Olmsted: Mumps Vaccine on Trial

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNOTE: Dan wrote this post in 2016.

###

By Dan Olmsted Mumps can't play

If you’ve been wondering what’s up with the suit filed by two whistleblowers against Merck for allegedly hiding the fact that the mumps vaccine doesn’t work – well, so have we.

Now a timeline has emerged, although you might need a telescope to see its further reaches. An Amended Scheduling Order was released this month that extends deadlines even longer: “dispositive motions” to be filed by December 20, 2017 – basically two years from now; “motions involving class certification” by May 3, 2018. That looks like the earliest a trial could start, and it’s not hard to see the whole thing going into 2019, if not a new decade entirely.

This for an allegedly blatant fraud against taxpayers that occurred last decade – in 1999!

A key date appears to be October 31 of next year, when a status report from both sides is due on whether “the parties would consent to alternative dispute resolution” – in other words, I believe, to settling out of court.

Backed by a major California law firm that knows how to write powerful briefs and has a lot of material to work with, the whistleblowers – Stephen A. Krahling and Joan A. Wlochowski – haven’t budged. Attempts by Merck to get the suit thrown out on all kinds of grounds (such as, unbelievably, that the FDA knew about it and didn’t care, so why should anyone else!) failed in federal court in Philadelphia.

Discovery of documents must also be completed by that October  date. Discovery – the delivery of relevant material that might help make a case – is exactly what private firms of all kinds dread, and one reason you see so many settlements where terms are not disclosed, nobody admits any wrongdoing and the whole thing goes away. The big firms pay millions to defend themselves, so what’s a few more million out of billions in profits to buy someone off? Most people can’t resist the temptation given that they could lose everything in court.

That’s why getting to discovery in this lawsuit is the crux of the matter – it’s so rare, and there’s so much at stake. That includes billions in potential penalties for Merck if it’s found the firm defrauded the government, which pays hundreds of millions a year for the MMR – the mumps, measles, and rubella shot. Merck has the only license to manufacture any of the MMR components in the United States, and in the worst outcome for Merck it could lose that lucrative monopoly entirely.

There is no discovery allowed in the so-called “vaccine court” that has so far thwarted thousands of parents who claimed their child’s autism was due to the MMR, the mercury in some vaccinations, or a combination of both. The judges who threw out all the cases ridiculed the families for having no evidence to that effect, a Catch-22 if ever there was one.

So while it seems like bad news that this case is stretching so far into the future, the fact that it is still headed for daylight is kind of a miracle. If it makes it all the way, you have to wonder what a jury will make of some of the Merck documents already disclosed – such as the one in which a Merck official told subordinates that their job was to show that the mumps vaccine met federal licensing standards, when it clearly did not. To bridge the gap, according to the suit:

“Merck set out to conduct testing of its mumps vaccine that would support its original efficacy finding. In performing this testing, Merck’s objective was to report efficacy of 95 percent or higher regardless of the vaccine’s true efficacy. The only way Merck could accomplish this was through manipulating its testing procedures and falsifying the test results. … Krahling and Wlochowski participated on the Merck team that conducted this testing and witnessed firsthand the fraud in which Merck engaged to reach its desired results. Merck internally referred to the testing as Protocol 007.”

Naming a secret project after a British spy with a license to kill might have seemed amusing inside Merck; perhaps not so much in an American courtroom.

Continue reading "Best of Dan Olmsted: Mumps Vaccine on Trial" »


“Protocol 007”: Merck Scientists Accuse Company of Mumps Vaccine Fraud that May Be Endangering Public Health Today

Merck-buildingAs mumps or "mumps like illness" is in the news, we're re-running this post from Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill from 2012. Here we are, 7 years later - 9 years after Krahling and Wlochowski originally launched the suit. Merck is more powerful than ever and vaccine mandates are racing across the nation like wildfires.

From June, 2012.

By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

At its core, the 55-page whistleblower lawsuit unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia makes one stunning allegation – that pharmaceutical giant Merck traded children’s health to protect monopoly profits, and engaged in a systematic, elaborate, and ongoing fraud to do so.

If the charges – which Merck denies – are true, a 12-month-old child getting a recommended shot containing the mumps vaccine at their pediatrician’s office this morning would not be adequately protected from the disease, and could face serious health complications down the road as a result.

The alleged fraud: a multi-year effort to hide the fact that the mumps vaccine is no longer anywhere near as effective as Merck claims. The project was widely known and approved within the company’s vaccine division and even had a name, Protocol 007, according to the two former Merck scientists who filed the suit more than two years ago under the federal whistleblower statute. Virologists Stephen A. Krahling and Joan A. Wlochowski claim they witnessed the fraud firsthand when they worked at the Merck vaccine laboratory in West Point, Pennsylvania, between 1999 and 2002, and were pressured to participate.

They describe a supervisor manually changing test results that showed the vaccine wasn’t working; hurriedly destroying garbage-bags full of evidence to keep the fraud from being exposed; and lying to FDA regulators who came to the lab after being alerted by the whistleblowers. A top Merck vaccine official told Krahling the matter was a “business decision,” the suit says, and he was twice told the company would make sure he went to jail if he told federal regulators the truth.

The alleged fraud occurred because, in order to maintain its license for the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine, known as the MMRII, Merck needed to show that the mumps vaccine was still as potent as when originally approved in 1967 as a single vaccine, able to induce immunity in 95 percent of those vaccinated. That number, according to vaccine authorities, is crucial because it leads to “herd immunity,” protective against outbreaks even among unvaccinated people. The problem with the mumps vaccine lay in the fact that by the late 1990s, after decades of producing it with the original strain of mumps virus, the vaccine’s effectiveness had steadily declined, the suit says.

Merck is the only company licensed in the United States to produce the individual mumps vaccine, as well as the MMRII and a newer shot called the MMRV or ProQuad, which also contains the chickenpox vaccine. That gives Merck an effective monopoly on the product line, which by our estimate has brought the company as much as $10 billion in business since 2000. The complaint conservatively estimates MMRII purchases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at $750 million.

If tests showed the mumps vaccine is ineffective -- or far less so than promised -- the door would be opened to any number of adverse events for Merck, from federal regulators pulling the licenses for all of its mumps-vaccine-containing products, to intensified competition from other manufacturers if they became aware of the problem.

What’s more, weak efficacy could be triggering real-time, real-world health problems here and abroad, where a version of the MMRII is also used. Mumps outbreaks unexpectedly occurred in the United States in 2006 and in 2009-10, reflecting the three-year cycle in which younger children become exposed. A total of 6,500 cases were reported in a highly vaccinated population in the Midwest in 2006, according to the suit, and another 5,000 cases in 2009; in the years leading up to the first outbreak, the annual average had been 265 cases.

If that pattern holds true, another outbreak might be due as early as this summer.

Additionally, poor vaccine efficacy has the effect of pushing some cases of mumps to a later age, when mumps is a more dangerous disease that can induce sterility in males. One intriguing implication is that no vaccine at all might have been better than the one Merck currently produces.

The suit claims that as a result of the fraud, the U.S. government has been cheated out of millions of dollars paid by the CDC to buy the vaccine for its immunization program. It says the agency, and other government bodies, were wrongly deprived of the knowledge they needed to make proper use of taxpayer money and sound medical decisions. (The CDC predicted several years ago that mumps would be eradicated in the United States by 2010, an outcome predicated on the idea that the vaccine worked.)

The suit describes Merck’s allegedly no-holds-barred effort to protect its market position. “Merck set out to conduct testing of its mumps vaccine that would support its original efficacy finding. In performing this testing, Merck’s objective was to report efficacy of 95 percent or higher regardless of the vaccine’s true efficacy. The only way Merck could accomplish this was through manipulating its testing procedures and falsifying the test results. … Krahling and Wlochowski participated on the Merck team that conducted this testing and witnessed firsthand the fraud in which Merck engaged to reach its desired results. Merck internally referred to the testing as Protocol 007.”

Continue reading "“Protocol 007”: Merck Scientists Accuse Company of Mumps Vaccine Fraud that May Be Endangering Public Health Today" »


The Age of Polio. Explosion.

Polio FDR fightNote: Before his death in 2017, Dan wrote an in depth series on the rise of the Polio epidemic that swept America and ushered in what is now an extreme reverence for vaccination. He and Mark Blaxill had written about polio back in 2011. When anyone dares question vaccine safety or efficacy, the kneejerk reaction is "Do you want polio back?"  Of course the answer is a resounding "NO."

As children are becoming ill from adenovirus right now in 2018, and 10 previously sick children have died following adenovirus infection in New Jersey we thought it a good time to re-run this 8 part series.  Below is a video from CNN with Moms critical of CDCs handling of the spreading sickness among children. When there are no vaccines involved, Moms' opinions are worthy of sharing on national TV. I'm glad for them.





Dan wrote, But the question remains, and it remains important, because while the worldwide eradication effort makes slow progress, related viruses like EV-68 -- which paralyzed and killed children in the U.S. -- are surfacing, and other diseases with similar characteristics are waiting for their moment."

All 8 parts are below. Dan was planning to write a book on The Age of Polio, an epidemic he believed was a result of environmental toxins triggering the virus.  I miss Dan every day.  Perhaps his work could have helped children so sick today. Kim

Polio color Egypt
Limestone stele of priest with withered leg. Fourteenth Century BC by anonymous stonecutter.

 

By Dan Olmsted

 

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

 

1.

On May 1, 1916, thirteen-month-old Lettie Caruso* moved with her family to a tenement at 1295 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn. A fifty-six-year-old woman named Mrs. G.H. Franklin lived and worked on the first floor, where she ran a small ice cream parlor that “the children naturally frequented,” according to a subsequent report by the New York Health Department. Lettie and her family lived in the apartment adjacent to the ice cream shop. On May 9, Lettie became ill. “A private physician was called the first day and came several days,” the Department reported. “She was examined with the stethoscope and at the first visit the doctor thought it was only a cold. As she grew worse a physician from New York was called in consultation. Mrs. Caruso thought the diagnosis was pulmonary bronchitis. So far as she knew the child was not paralyzed, but she cannot remember any special examination for that. There has been no Infantile Paralysis in this house, nor in the adjoining properties.”

That was about to change.

Looking back with perfect hindsight, Brooklyn in May 1916 was ground zero for an explosion that no one saw or heard for a month and more -- and, to this day, no one has satisfactorily explained. Before it ended late that summer, 25,000 people in the Northeast developed paralytic poliomyelitis, most of them young children, and an extraordinary 5,000 died -- nearly half of them in the City of New York, a toll approaching the September 11 tragedy. It was by far the largest and most lethal polio epidemic to date, and it remains one of the biggest ever (see chart).

As spring turned to summer, polio gripped every parent with fear, not just in the Northeast but nationwide. It was a fear that never entirely lifted until the outbreaks ended in the U.S. and most other countries after the Salk vaccine was introduced a half-century later, an occasion so momentous that church bells rang out across the country. But 100 years ago, and especially Brooklyn, there was barely suppressed panic that the authorities and the media did their best to tamp down.

"While there is no need of undue alarm," the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported in a careful front-page (but one column) article on June 17 announcing the epidemic, "the officials of the board of health are somewhat worried and are taking measures to stamp out the disease."

Since 1894 there had been smallish though increasingly ominous clusters of cases around the country. The first, in Vermont, affected 132 and killed 18; strangely, domestic animals were also affected even though polio is a disease of humans. The worst so far had been in 1907, which began in Brooklyn, too, before spreading to Greater New York but not much further, killing 125 in the city. Around the world, particularly in Scandinavia, larger clusters had started appearing, seemingly at random, since 1905.

But 1916 marked the moment the Age of Polio arrived in America.

Perhaps because the outbreak rose and fell so suddenly, bracketed by much that came to define the turbulent 20th century -- war in Europe in 1914, the sinking of the Lusitania, which departed from New York Harbor the next year; shark attacks along the crowded Jersey shore that sweltering summer of 1916 that caused sensational press coverage and became fodder for Jaws 60 years later; U.S. entry into WW I in 1917; and the Influenza Pandemic that killed 2,157 New York City residents in the week of November 1, 1918, alone -- the epidemic has faded from collective memory. 



Polio 3

But the question remains, and it remains important, because while the worldwide eradication effort makes slow progress, related viruses like EV-68 -- which paralyzed and killed children in the U.S. -- are surfacing, and other diseases with similar characteristics are waiting for their moment. So this series asks: What set off the Explosion of 1916? Why didn't it spread like that again till after World War II? This work picks picks up on reporting Mark Blaxill and I conducted over a number of years and first set out in our Age of Polio series in 2011. We decided to focus next on a single polio outbreak to see if we could find evidence for our hypothesis that epidemics resulted from an interaction of the virus with novel environmental toxins. 

Continue reading "The Age of Polio. Explosion." »


Best of Dan Olmsted: The US Government Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Step Right Up!

BarnumManaging Editor's Note: So maybe I used a bit of clickbait...  But the headline is technically true! True! True!  We run this article from 2010 each Fall during the Flu Shot push that is everywhere.  CVS?  Earn a 20% savings card!  Stop & Shop? "No Cost Flu Shot!" No cost? Not exactly. Read one woman's horror story below.  Hell of a way to make a payday.  

By Dan Olmsted

On the whole, Lisa Marks Smith would rather have had the flu. Instead, the Cincinnati mom of two college-age sons got a mercury-containing flu shot that nearly killed her, led to paralysis, severe neurological problems, 24 days in the hospital – and a check from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that attests to the truth of her story.

Smith has come to see first-hand how carelessly flu shots are administered, how dangerous the mercury that remains in most of them can be, how little public health officials actually seem to care when the worst happens, why the worst may not be so rare after all – even how similar the side effects can be to symptoms of autism.

She talked to Age of Autism about her ordeal, which began in 2005, in the hope of sparing others.

--

Dan: I thought I’d start by asking you where things stand now. How’s your health? How are you feeling at the moment about everything?

Lisa: The only lingering thing I have at this point is that if I do not take big doses of magnesium, my legs shake. And I mean muscle spasms, Charlie horses, twitches – think Parkinson’s shaking. I do feel my feet again after four years. I need to go shoe shopping because I only own sandals, and it’s cold this winter in Cincinnati, and if you feel your toes you can’t wear sandals in the snow.

Dan: Well, I guess that’s a good problem to have, considering what happened. Just to go over the basics, you got a monetary award from the vaccine injury compensation award program and it was how much?

Lisa: I am not allowed to tell but in all honesty the award would not have covered my medical bills. To me, it’s the validation – they can’t claim they don’t know what’s happening when they’re paying people.

Dan: And of course one thing we hear so much about, and it’s almost a cliché, is that correlation does not equal causation – in other words, "just because you got a flu shot and then got very sick doesn’t mean it caused it." But in this case, correlation was a very strong indication of causation.

Lisa: In my case, my neurologist said straight up, this is what caused it. So it’s very hard for them to say one doesn’t equal the other. You’re walking around, you’re perfectly healthy, you don’t even get colds. You have a flu shot and within two weeks you’re paralyzed, and paralysis is listed as a possible side effect.

Continue reading "Best of Dan Olmsted: The US Government Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Step Right Up!" »


Best of Dan Olmsted: How the NYT Missed Another Story of a Lifetime

American_flagNote: Memorial Day in the USA is a day to remember men men and women who died in active military service.  So many of us in the autism community feel that we, and our kids most of all, have been drafted into a war on health, logic, common sense and the very values for which our soldiers gave their lives. Dan wrote this post below nine years ago, just after Memorial Day. That boggles my mind. Age of Autism has been writing about the epidemic for over a decade now. Some things have changed. Mostly, we've all gotten older, wiser and tired-er. Keep up the fight, friends. Your personal battles for your own child, and the bigger war to protect our kids as they grow into an autism adulthood never imagined, let alone prepared. This commemorative holiday kicks off summer in the USA. Many times, we forget the meaning of the day. Let's remember those who gave their lives with solemn thanks. Kim

By Dan Olmsted

The New York Times published a piece over the Memorial Day weekend that must have been painful to write – they now realize they had the Watergate scandal handed to them on a silver platter four decades ago and just plain missed it. “The Watergate break-in eventually forced a presidential resignation and turned two Washington Post reporters into pop-culture heroes. But almost 37 years after the break-in, two former New York Times journalists have stepped forward to say that The Times had the scandal nearly in its grasp before The Post did — and let it slip.”

“Robert M. Smith, a former Times reporter, says that two months after the burglary, over lunch at a Washington restaurant, the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, L. Patrick Gray, disclosed explosive aspects of the case, including the culpability of the former attorney general, John Mitchell, and hinted at White House involvement.”
 
Exactly how this big fish got up off its silver lunch platter and swam away is worth reading (HERE).
 
But the bottom line is this: If the account is correct, “The Times missed a chance to get the jump on the greatest story in a generation.”
 
You can watch the same thing happen every day now with the greatest story of this generation, and I mean “this generation” very literally – the catastrophic rise of developmental and chronic diseases in this generation of children, the leading edge of which is starting to age into young adulthood. Start anywhere you want – 1 in 10 with asthma, a forty-fold increase in bipolar diagnoses, record levels of juvenile diabetes and, of course, our focus – the rise of autism and ADD and ADHD and sensory integration problems and etc., the neurodevelopmental kitchen sink that is disabling our future.

Continue reading "Best of Dan Olmsted: How the NYT Missed Another Story of a Lifetime" »


Best of Dan Olmsted: Weekly Wrap January 21, 2017

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNote: About a year has passed since our dear Dan Olmsted, leader of the Rebel Alliance, died.  Feels to me as crushing as when Dumbledore died in the Harry Potter stories. Just an unfathomable blow.

Below is the last Weekly Wrap he wrote. Much has happened in the last 52 weeks - plenty of it pretty darn rotten. We've made precious little progress in vaccine safety within the government. Not sure that's shocking. Many a President has entered the office with agenda points that are quickly replaced by the status quo.  Dan gives a nod to many in our community - and we each carry on within the Alliance in our way. Thanks for your support. Always. Kim


By Dan Olmsted

Bernard Rimland, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Andy Wakefield and now Donald Trump -- yes he does!  -- represent a kind of mainstream thread of vaccine safety advocacy. The first three put themselves forward and paid a price – Rimland went from the father of “autism isn’t caused by parenting” to being considered a fringe quack kook multivitamins cure autism kind of guy. Bobby went from respected environmental Riverkeeper Kennedy scion who beat GE and got the Hudson cleaned up to mercury-thimerosal-obsessed. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated as president Friday, saying what Bernie said. And if ever a paragraph break was called for (pick your reason) this is it.

Dr. Rimland
Dr. Bernie Rimland conspiracy theorist fringe quack kook. And Andy, well, Andy didn’t even pass go – he was considered a fraudulent finge quack kook from just about Day 1.

Covering autism through the prism of an environmental illness, with vaccine safety a paramount issue, I do have more familiarity with these four folks than I might otherwise. Bernie was an indifferent dresser with a messy beard (me too) who, at least in my memory, thundered with the truth. My Kennedy Albanysingle favorite quote in my decade on this beat is his statement that “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.” This is brilliantly simple, stark and bold. First you have to stipulate that autism has increased exponentially (it has – that’s the subject of Mark Blaxill and my book out later this year). Then you have to be both narrow enough – pointing not just to some vague chemical or environmental exposure – and broad enough – pointing not just to one vaccine, or one ingredient – to survive the onslaught of denial and rebuke and phony science you can expect the minute you say such a thing. (“Excessive vaccinations” even leaves room for mercury as the prime cause, because if they hadn’t Andy Long Beachadded all those vaccines with mercury, kids wouldn’t have gotten enough of it to cause an epidemic – bad as it is at any dose The MMR also fits -- three live viruses in one, and now a fourth in the MMRV; talk about excessive!)

Lately I’ve been thinking of Bernie, as a new president who says much the same thing takes the oath of office; protecting our kids might be described as Job One. Now that he is one day in office I certainly hope that he will take on the issue and bring Bernie’s claim front and center. I think our collective minds were pretty much blown when he summoned Bobby to the Tower and sent him down with some sort of message, garbled or tentative as it may have been, that he intends to tackle vaccines and autism and that people like Bobby are going to play a major role.

What’s more, before the election Trump met with Andy and some kindred spirits who are editors and sponsors of this blog and listened attentively.

These are huge developments that have been a bit overwhelmed – perhaps by presidential-elect design – by the whole shakeup going on in the transfer of power. More than trial balloons, less that full-fledged policy initiatives, they have made the CDC quake in its cesspool, if that’s possible, and the usual talking heads like Offit and Schaffner turn purple with rage (makes me think of Dylan: “The man standing next to me, his head was exploding. Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn't fall on me.”) The mainstream media is both outraged and, one senses, outgunned at the moment. Who cares about the mainstream media anyway? The best story we got out of the Kennedy meeting was from BuzzFeed, which interviewed both me (I?) and J.B. Handley and, except for repeating the antivax canard (which I told them not to in writing) treated the event as news, not as a crime scene. While I was on the phone with them going through security at National Airport, Nature magazine was on the other line. Quite a moment for a humble blogger.

Everyone comes to this issue from a different perspective, although of course for most it’s witnessing or understanding the fact that vaccine damage is much more frequent and much more serious than the “experts” will admit. For Bobby it was understanding the damage of environmental mercury and hearing from enough autism moms to intuit the connection. For Andy it was a call from the mother of two autistic children in England. He tried to interrupt and refer her on to the neurodevelopmental department, but then she started talking about strange GI issues they had, and, thank God, he stopped to listen.

For Bernie it was the recognition that he and his wife were not bad enough parents to have caused their son Mark’s nonstop screaming as an infant and his subsequent odd behaviors. That opened into an insight that autism was not genetic but environmental, and that led into vaccines.

We’ve had committees and commissions before – Mark Blaxill served on one and, with Barbara Loe Fisher, valiantly dissented from its blue ribbon inanity. (See the excellent “From Safety Last to Children First.”)

So however they – and we – got here, the moment is ripe, and Bernie’s dictum ought to be our guiding principle, one we can unite behind. I hope that before long the president will be sitting at a table with Bobby and Andy and many more people, including Mark and Barbara, who have fought long and hard to bring this issue to the fore. And I hope they leave an empty chair for Bernie and that, at least occasionally, everyone looks in its direction and remembers that there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Dan Olmsted's: Six Bad Ideas that Triggered the Autism Epidemic

6Note: Our dear Dan wrote this post in 2015 at the end of the year. I miss him every single day. I know you do too. We've weathered a rotten year, friends. And I couldn't have done this without your support, financial, emotional, content, in every way. Thank you. KIM

By Dan Olmsted

We probably all know the saying that Ideas Matter. Lately I’ve been mulling a handful of ideas – very bad ideas, I’d say – that have come together to trigger, expand, and perpetuate the autism epidemic and a host of allied disorders that constitute The Age of Autism.

Today I’m going to lay them out in brief, and in coming days I’ll say more about each one, and end with the counter-ideas that could really bring us a happy new year.

Please add your own!

Bad Idea Number One. Vaccines are the Eric Clapton of Medicine; they are God. Vaccines are the number one medical accomplishment of all time, and every day in every way they make our world safer and safer. Bow down!

Bad Idea Number Two. The evidence for Number One is clear. “Study after study” has shown that vaccines work wonderfully and that the so-called “risks” are effectively zero – a one-in-a-million chance of anything serious happening. (“One in a million” is pharma speak for zip, zilch, nada, roll up your sleeve.)

Bad Idea Number Three. Disagreeing with Numbers One and Two is Unacceptable Speech. Claims that vaccines are more dangerous than advertised are bogus and should be suppressed. You need to be a conspiracy theorist, a purveyor of junk science, a pathetically gullible parent looking for someone to blame for your damaged kid, or out-and-out anti-vaccine to harbor such ideas.  

Bad Idea Number Four. Conflicts Don’t Count. Drugmakers, doctors, legislators, bureaucrats, TV programs buoyed by pharma money are immune to the usual concerns that conflicts of interest -- profits, incentives, campaign contributions, ad dollars, liability worries -- require extra vigilance by the press and public. The drug companies may be caught red-handed in corrupt dealing, Congress bought off, the media lazy and desperate for drug dollars, but when it comes to vaccines (see Number One), they have only our health at heart!

Bad Idea Number Five. Because the first four are true, we must trust The Experts who are working hard every day to help us stay happy and healthy. They are god’s messengers on earth.

Trust. The. Experts.

Continue reading "Dan Olmsted's: Six Bad Ideas that Triggered the Autism Epidemic" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 12 The Age of Autism

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Today is day 12 of 12 and I thought it only fitting to feature the book that shares the name with our site. Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill drew an exquisite map of the autism epidemic. Sadly, much of the world is unwilling to acknowledge the man made epidemic that threatens to change the fabric of our nation as boys are affected in such numbers that our socio-economic systems will feel a seismic shift. But this is America. So carry on friends. Buy your holiday gifts. Think about which TV show to binge watch next. Wait for the next Apple phone. There's nothing to see after all. In the AGE OF AUTISM.....

The Age of Autism bookDay 12: The Age of Autism by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Much of the public discussion about autism has missed the point about the possible causes. To solve this question, two writers began digging into the history of other degenerative neurological disorders. Their research led them to discover incredible and previously unacknowledged links between a strain of syphilis which left suffers raving mad, the spike in incidence of schizophrenia during the Industrial Revolution, and the hidden commonalities between the parents of the first children diagnosed with autism in the 1930s.

The Age of Autism connects these dots to form a startling new thesis: behind each of these disorders – and many more – was exposure to mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive substance known to man.





The Set Up Martin WalkerDay 11: The Setup by Martin Walker

In 1988, the British government launched the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, even though central figures knew that the vaccine could cause brain damage, autism, and other problems.

The Setup traces the extended efforts made by drug companies, with help from the British government, to cover up their responsibility for putting a vaccine known to be damaging on the market. It details the way public relations companies, social media, legal teams, judges, and reporters all utilized covert media tactics and public statements to deceive, ultimately leading to the British General Medical Council (GMC) initiating the famous trial against Andrew Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith, and Dr. Simon Murch. The vaccine was on the market for over four years, but the parents of the nearly 1,600 affected were not only excluded from that trial but are still awaiting their day in court. Instead, they have all had to shoulder an immense financial burden and many have become the subject of court actions over spurious charges. The trial also destroyed Wakefield’s reputation―despite the fact that within months, a high court judge declared Walker-Smith innocent on the grounds that the GMC panel, acting as jury, had misunderstood the evidence.

Any parent whose child has become sick after a vaccine will appreciate the dedication of investigator Martin J. Walker, and his exposure of a cover-up the British government and pharmaceutical companies hoped to hide forever. Available Spring 2018.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 12 The Age of Autism" »


Best of: Age of Autism Week In A Number 1938

1938
1938



NOTE: Dan Olmsted wrote this post in 2016. Dan was like Christopher Columbus, following an unknown path in search of a discovery. Autism found Dan - he wasn't a father of an affected child. He was a journalist who knew to listen to sources and follow up. We miss him. If you haven't read The Age of Autism, by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, we recommend it to you.  Their most recent collaboration is also a must read - Denial How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future.

Editor's Note: Mark Blaxill and I appreciate the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders -- Journal of Autism and Developmental Disordersthe leading peer-reviewed autism medical journal -- running our commentary in the issue published this week.

Leo Kanner's Mention of 1938 in His Report on Autism Refers to His First Patient.

Here is the abstract: "Leo Kanner begins his landmark 1943 case series on autistic children by stating the condition was first brought to his attention in 1938. Recent letters to JADD have described this reference as 'mysterious' and speculated it refers to papers published that year by Despert or Asperger. In fact, as Kanner goes on to state, 1938 is when he examined the first child in his case series. An exchange of letters with Despert and later writing by Kanner also point to the originality of his observations."

--

The matter at hand is both seemingly arcane and ultimately overarching -- what did Leo Kanner mean when he said he became aware of autism in 1938? (He first named and wrote about it in 1943.)  Commenters in the Journal have speculated it was a reference to earlier papers by other psychiatrists, which would mean autism was not a new entity, just one that Kanner codified by describing more precisely through a case series. Based on a decade of research with primary documents and personal interviews, we argued -- and, I think, we demonstrated -- that 1938 was a reference to the year the first patient was seen at his clinic at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

That patient, Case 1 Donald T., was the first of 11 who displayed the same novel  syndrome "markedly and uniquely different from anything reported so far," as Kanner wrote in that landmark 1943 report. As Ginger Taylor (who first called our attention to the recent discussion in the Journal) aptly wrote on Facebook this week: "Olmsted and Blaxill (again) show that Autism had a start date, and it was after Eli Lilly invented and began selling a water soluble form of mercury in fungicide and vaccine preservation."

So thanks to Ginger, and to Teresa Conrick, our fellow AOA editor who has made invaluable contributions to this ongoing work of identifying those original cases (we are up to 8 of 11!) and finding patterns that point to causation. You can read all about it in our book The Age of Autism, in our subsequent blog posts here, and now in the prestigious, peer-reviewed Journal. And you can count on more to come.

We ended our commentary by writing: "This timing remains the essential clue to the disorder. Something happened to bring a new condition to the attention of child psychiatry." That component can be seen from the beginning -- 1938 -- and it can be seen today, in the damage mercury-laced vaccines, and other vaccine toxins, continue to do to children in the United States and around the world. We feel privileged to have wandered onto this amazingly fruitful pathway, and we intend to keep going until its full implications are recognized and the truth about the condition first observed in 1938 is fully and finally addressed. As Einstein said, "It's not that I'm smarter than anyone else, it's just that I stick with problems longer."

Ditto.


Uncle Sam Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Earn Thousands Today!

BarnumManaging Editor's Note: So maybe I used a bit of clickbait...  But the headline is technically true! True! True!  We run this article from 2010 each Fall during the Flu Shot push that is everywhere.  CVS?  Earn a 20% savings card!  Stop & Shop? "No Cost Flu Shot!" No cost? Not exactly. Read one woman's horror story below.  Hell of a way to make a payday.  

By Dan Olmsted

On the whole, Lisa Marks Smith would rather have had the flu. Instead, the Cincinnati mom of two college-age sons got a mercury-containing flu shot that nearly killed her, led to paralysis, severe neurological problems, 24 days in the hospital – and a check from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that attests to the truth of her story.

Smith has come to see first-hand how carelessly flu shots are administered, how dangerous the mercury that remains in most of them can be, how little public health officials actually seem to care when the worst happens, why the worst may not be so rare after all – even how similar the side effects can be to symptoms of autism.

She talked to Age of Autism about her ordeal, which began in 2005, in the hope of sparing others.

--

Dan: I thought I’d start by asking you where things stand now. How’s your health? How are you feeling at the moment about everything?

Lisa: The only lingering thing I have at this point is that if I do not take big doses of magnesium, my legs shake. And I mean muscle spasms, Charlie horses, twitches – think Parkinson’s shaking. I do feel my feet again after four years. I need to go shoe shopping because I only own sandals, and it’s cold this winter in Cincinnati, and if you feel your toes you can’t wear sandals in the snow.

Dan: Well, I guess that’s a good problem to have, considering what happened. Just to go over the basics, you got a monetary award from the vaccine injury compensation award program and it was how much?

Lisa: I am not allowed to tell but in all honesty the award would not have covered my medical bills. To me, it’s the validation – they can’t claim they don’t know what’s happening when they’re paying people.

Dan: And of course one thing we hear so much about, and it’s almost a cliché, is that correlation does not equal causation – in other words, "just because you got a flu shot and then got very sick doesn’t mean it caused it." But in this case, correlation was a very strong indication of causation.

Lisa: In my case, my neurologist said straight up, this is what caused it. So it’s very hard for them to say one doesn’t equal the other. You’re walking around, you’re perfectly healthy, you don’t even get colds. You have a flu shot and within two weeks you’re paralyzed, and paralysis is listed as a possible side effect.

Continue reading "Uncle Sam Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Earn Thousands Today!" »


Mark Blaxill Talks Autism Epidemic Denial on Imus in the Morning

Mark Dan Book 2017Please tune into Imus in the Morning at 7:35am (EDT) on Thursday, September 7 (tomorrow) to hear our own Editor-At-Large Mark Blaxill talk about the new book he co-wrote with Dan Olmsted. 

To find your listing click HERE.

DENIAL: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future


Epidemic Denial: The Math is Simple

Autism chalkboardNOTE: JB Handley ran the excerpt below from Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill's new book, Denial on his Facebook page.  Me?  I've never been much of a math lover, but I sure agree with JB. Autism has NOT always been with us in these dramatic, traumatic numbers. To think it has is to accept an astounding level of disability as normal.  Like JB's page at Facebook here.

We're happy to report strong sales for this book - please remember to leave a review at Amazon, that really helps  authors.  Thanks.

#19 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Children's Health > Autism & Asperger's Syndrome
#21 in Books > Parenting & Relationships > Special Needs > Disabilities
#30 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Medicine


###

"I love deliciously simple math and logic that shatters the myth that autism "has always been with us." You?

"Epidemic denial doesn't add up. Take the US population of 124 million in 1931--the year the oldest child in that first report on autism was born. Divide that number by the current autism prevalence of one in sixty-eight children. There should have been 1.8 million Americans with autism in 1931.

There weren't. We have scoured the medical literature for cases before then, and there are essentially none to be found. This may seem counterintuitive--surely such children have always been around, misdiagnosed by a less sophisticated medical establishment or simply missed because they were hidden away in the attic or mental institution--but it's the simple truth.

Back up a bit more: how many people have ever lived on Earth? About 100 billion by 1931. Again, simple math yields about 1.5 billion autistic individuals who have lived before 1930.

Now we begin to glimpse the emptiness behind the Epidemic Denier's claims."

- Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Denial: How refusing to face the facts about our autism epidemic hurts children, families, and our future
2017, Skyhorse Publishing


Best of Dan Olmsted Upon The Debut of Denial

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNote: While we were offline taking care of behind the scenes tech issues, Dan was at the forefront of our Denialwork. After all, Dan Olmsted WAS and IS the driving force behind Age of Autism. We carry on his work and legacy as best we can, but none of us can replace or duplicate or even approximate his sharp, pithy take on the state of the autism epidemic and how it relates to the world. Below is a post he wrote to tell you about his and Mark Blaxill's third book together.  Denial: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future available now from Skyhorse Publishing.  Please honor Dan and thank Mark Blaxill by purchasing a copy and sharing it with family and friends. And leave a review anywhere you can, especially Amazon.  This book shines a light into the dark corners of the genesis of neurodiversity and its intent to obfuscate the reality of a crippling epidemic. Haters will trash it, because autism is a parallel universe diagnosis.  But you, dear readers, know that. Enjoy these words from Dan. And thank you to Mark Blaxill for making sure the book was finalized under the most difficult circumstances. A lesser man, a less dedicated father and community leader, might have walked away. Kim

By Dan Olmsted, December 2016

Last week I said adieu to old acquaintances and was touched by the comments I got both on- and offline. This week it’s time to move forward into what promises to be a big year for AOA and its allied enterprises. There’s even more to come than I’ll talk about here.

But first let me say, did you ever work on a big project over a long period of time that you cared a lot about – but still had a moment of, “How did I ever get myself into this?” Or, even worse, how do we translate an important but overlooked paper from 1907 in a journal called, I kid you not, Zeitschrift fur die Erforschung und Behandlung des jugendlichen Schwachsinns.*

Well, that moment has come and gone as regards the book Mark Blaxill and I are finishing up this month. Although the title is not set yet, the topic is autism epidemic denial – how it hurts kids, families and our future.  AOA readers always come to the rescue, and Birgit Calhoun translated a trove of Mark Dan Book 2017 useful documents from German that are crucial to understanding the whole issue. Thanks, Birgit.

The book, our third together and something of a bookend to the first (The Age of Autism) and second (Vaccines 2.0), will be out in a few months. It has been a fascinating and deep dive into the history of mental disorders in children, which of course is a dark topic, but what we came up with makes hash of the “better diagnosing, awareness, substitution/these kids were always there” mantra we are all so sick of. One more time: No these kids were not ”always there”! We aim to present the definitive account of why autism instead must be a man-made epidemic (the subtitle of our first book) that needs to be stopped. As we say in the book, epidemic denial is not just improbable or implausible; it is, based on both facts and logic, impossible.

We quote our redoubtable colleague J.B. Handley on Paul Offit and his ilk of deniers: J.B. calls epidemic denial the “original sin” of autism. “In Offit’s world, there is absolutely no problem here. Things are as they always were, we just understand it better. Of course, we all know, if there’s no epidemic, there is no environmental trigger, because why have a trigger if something hasn’t actually grown? Said differently: Denying the autism epidemic is to deny the suffering of millions of children and their families and also to deny the exploration into the true cause so the epidemic might end.”

Amen. That’s all I’ll say for now. We have some finishing up to do but are grateful that Skyhorse is again proving a hospitable publisher for our cause. Oh, and we dedicate the book to Bernie Rimland, who “sought the truth and helped sick kids.” Like all of us, we hope to in some small way to further that effort. And we think the timing could be good, eh?

Continue reading "Best of Dan Olmsted Upon The Debut of Denial" »


Denial by Blaxill & Olmsted from Skyhorse: Families Face The Facts

DenialNote:  We've asked readers to let us know their own stories of how the denial of the autism epidemic and the constant push to make autism "the new normal" has negatively affected their own families, or themselves if they are on the spectrum. 

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted (RIP) have a new book out called Denial: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future.

The title speaks for itself.  Please order a copy and leave a review at Amazon.

Thanks to C for sharing this story of her sons' autism.  Please send your stories to me KimRossi1111@gmail.com. Thank you.

Hi. I have 2 sons (A, 22, ASD and B, 21, PDD-NOS). 

My son, A (22) is very smart.  Got straight-A’s in high school, and even scored in the superior range in his Social Studies Texas TAKS test (high school assessment).  Basically, the following is an example of why, even though he is “high functioning”, he’ll never function normally (hold a job, drive, marry….):

One weekend, his favorite YouTube video game player was having a “video-thon” to raise money for a children’s cancer research fund.  By Saturday night, he was furious and yelling how their constant asking for money, and the dollar amounts scrolling on the bottom was “RUINING EVERYTHING” of his video enjoyment.  He said it was just making everyone feel bad about not even contributing $5.  I said that we could contribute $5, thinking it would make him feel better; it made him happy.   About 5 minutes later, I heard screams from his room.  “They’re still asking for money!” he yelled at me, fists raised, when I entered the room.

Also, just an observation.  Twenty years ago, I had never heard of Autism.  At first, when I told people about Autism, they had never heard of it either.  As the years have gone by, when I mention that my sons are on the spectrum, they not only know what it is, but always have a kid next door, niece, nephew, grandchild, or child of their own on the spectrum.  The funny part is, no one mentions knowing someone on the spectrum who is an older neighbor, aunt, uncle, dad, mom, brother, or sister.  If diagnosis have gotten so much better, where are the 2-3% of adults on the spectrum?


Dan-ecdote

Dan Obit HeadshotNote: When Dan Olmsted passed away last January, we put out a call for Dan-ecdotes.  These are your fond memories of our good friend, mentor and leader, Dan. Thanks to Moira Giammatteo of TACA for this lovely tribute. Fitting to run on a Saturday, which was Dan's Weekly Wrap day.  Feel free to send your memories of Dan to me at KimRossi1111@gmail.com. Thanks. Kim

By Moira Giammatteo

When he and Mark Blaxil were on the book tour for Age Of Autism, they kindly agreed to speak at my TACA Chapter meeting in Woodland Hills, CA. After the meeting I offered to have them over for some wine and munchies. It was a lovely evening. My son has a service dog named Navarro and at the time we were also babysitting a friend’s service dog named Reba so our house was full of laughter and dog hair. Dan was delighted with both the dogs and spent a lot of time scratching each one behind the ears, alternating between the two depending on which one was bugging him for attention.

A few years later, at one of the many, many autism conferences I attended, I ran into Dan and we chatted for a while. He then asked me about the dogs. I said, “Oh, I only have one dog.” having completely forgotten that he had met our friend’s dog as well. He not only remembered both dog’s names he remembered that we were babysitting one of them and what breed they were. To me this just illustrates not only his attention to detail but also his gentle soul. I hope wherever he is that he has a comfortable spot to read a book and a dog to keep him company. 


Mommy, Where do Books Come From?

Keep calm and use helvetica NOTE:   Below is a post written by Age of Autism Founding Editor Dan Olmsted back in 2009.   Read it carefully and you'll see the genesis of Denial How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future his new book co-written with A of A Editor-at-Large Mark Blaxill.  Dan was able to see into the future with a sharp clarity.  We wish he were here to lament it with us.

By Dan Olmsted
 
The Washington Post, my local paper, recently redesigned itself from head to toe. I have to say I like it – it’s kind of Wall Street Journal-y, not surprising given that its relatively new editor used to be in charge there. But a redesign is not going to cure what ails the Post when it comes to covering what’s the matter with kids today.
 
Those deficiencies are on compact display in the new weekly insert that is part of the redesign. Called Local Living, it combines health, home, wellness and community news in an amalgam that, in its first edition, told me the following:

  -- Ethyl mercury is harmless to fetuses and infants. “The dose of mercury you get from a vaccine containing thimerosal is far below the limits of mercury exposure, but the fact that thimerosal has mercury in it causes many people to be concerned about getting injected with it. It is not associated with any adverse side effects at the doses present in influenza vaccines, but it is being eliminated from childhood vaccines due to public concerns.”

So says Andrew Pekosz, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University in answer to a question about concerns over the swine flu vaccine. I’m going to skip the usual rejoinder and let that statement twist in the wind.

 -- A few pages later, there’s a Q&A with the authors of a new book on baby care titled, “Is It a Big Problem or a Little Problem: When to Worry, When Not to Worry, and What to Do.” Here is the second question from the Post reporter: “Sensory processing issues seem to be so common now. Do most children grow out of them or should parents be more proactive about getting their kids therapy?”

Really? Sensory processing issues seem to be so common NOW? What the heck is that about? I don’t recall my friends having sensory processing issues. In fact, I don’t even know what that means, to tell you the truth. But it sounds like a Big Problem to me. The experts’ answer is reassuring, though: “A lot of people don’t really realize that we all have sensory sensitivities.”

Continue reading "Mommy, Where do Books Come From?" »


Share Your Stories of Autism "Denial" with Age of Autism

DenialMark Blaxill, our Editor-At-Large, has a new book coming out from Skyhorse Publishing called Denial How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future.  He co-wrote this book with Dan Olmsted, our founding editor who passed away early this year.   Please order the book today, and leave a review at Amazon when you've read the book.

As a campaign to bring home the reality of this book, we'd like to share reader stories of how autism has been anything other than normal to offset the  media juggernaut of disinformation.  We all love our kids with autism, from toddlers to teens to twenty-somethings and beyond. And none of us wants to paint our lives as bleak and grim, except when life is bleak... and grim, because of autism.  Every day we run into "Oh, I can't - because of autism" and that stings. These small examples can add up. The big ones, like wandering and drowning speak for themselves. Share big and small.

From vaccine injury to camp exclusion to school expulsion to employment refusals to even just a routine shopping trip that turns into difficulty, share your story with us and we'll publish it.  Just a few sentences will do - or a paragraph - or more - your call. We won't publish names. Send me your story at KimRossi1111@gmail.com.  About the book:

Even as the autism rate soars and the cost to our nation climbs well into the billions, a dangerous new idea is taking hold: There simply is no autism epidemic.

The question is stark: Is autism ancient, a genetic variation that demands acceptance and celebration? Or is it new and disabling, triggered by something in the environment that is damaging more children every day?

Authors Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted believe autism is new, that the real rate is rising dramatically, and that those affected are injured and disabled, not merely “neurodiverse.” They call the refusal to acknowledge this reality Autism Epidemic Denial. This epidemic denial blocks the urgent need to confront and stop the epidemic and endangers our kids, our country, and our future.

The key to stopping the epidemic, they say, is to stop lying about its history and start asking "who profits?" People who deny that autism is new have self-interested motives, such as ending research that might pinpoint responsibility—and, most threateningly, liability for this man-made epidemic.

Using ground-breaking research, the authors definitively debunk best-selling claims that autism is nothing new—and nothing to worry about.


Remembering Dan – Six Months Later

Blue sand timerBy Cathy Jameson

The kids and I celebrate half birthdays.  We don’t do them up like we do a regular birthday but six months after a birthday, we commemorate the day with an extra hug and a half a gluten-free cookie or cupcake (or half a gf-granola bar if there are no desserts in the house).  It isn’t a major celebration but a fun one that reminds us to look how far that child’s come from their last birthday.  It gives us a chance to dream about how much more growing, learning, and living they’ll get to do before their next birthday comes around, too. 

When I glanced at the calendar this week, I remembered that almost six months has gone by.  We won’t be celebrating a half birthday this week, but we will remember something else.  It’ll be a day of reflection, not of treats, because something incredibly sad happened six months ago. 

We lost a writer. 

We lost an author. 

We lost a powerful voice. 

We lost a friend. 

Six months ago this week, we lost Dan Olmsted.  It’s been a short six months, but it’s also felt like a long six months.  We began to create a new routine without him.  We began the healing process.  We remembered, or are at least trying to remember, to keep going in a forward direction.  That’s been hard because there are so many more things I wanted to know from Dan, to read from him, and to ask him. 

He and I had been able to get together a few times, for which I’ll always be grateful, but with how busy life got for me, those meet ups weren’t often enough.  I’d always been able to send Dan a message though.  I’d email him when I’d read something of interest or when I needed to hear a word of encouragement.  I hate that I can’t send a quick email and get an even quicker reply back from him now.  He was always available to me, as he was to a lot of other parents, and never made me feel like I was a bother. 

Available, knowledgeable, and kind.  Dan was extremely good at what he did.  And I miss him so very much. 

Some days, I still can’t believe that he’s gone.  I know that a lot of us here still miss him so.  In promising to keep his memory alive, I wanted to share something that I’d written after friends and family had gathered to remember Dan, his life, and the work he’d done.  I’ve edited it a tad for today’s Sunday post:    

Paper crane
"The paper crane.....a compelling symbol for hope, love, honor, and peace."

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Best of Dan Olmsted: Raspberries, Pesticides and Polio

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNOTE: Many years ago, I planted raspberries next to our house. The birds ate every single berry, so we abandoned the effort. Now I have a wild patch that is bursting forth with juicy red berries and zero effort on my part. That's life! As I was picking a few for breakfast, I remembered this Weekly Wrap from our own Dan Olmsted. Dan and Mark Blaxill's book is coming out later this summer. I hope you'll reserve a copy today as a thank you to Dan for his brilliant work on behalf of our kids and the truth.  DENIAL: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future.

By Dan Olmsted Rasperberries on fingers

The alarm bells are ringing louder over the increasing number of cases of sudden paralysis among children in the United States. But the predictable focus on germs by “disease hunters” is obscuring what surely must be a strong environmental component.

Last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times’ piece put the issue on the mainstream media map,and another cluster of nine in Washington State this week – focusing on a six-year-old boy from Whatcom County – made the national news. (That child died.)

Here at AOA, which focuses on autism and other environmental, man-made threats to children’s health, we first called out this issue as urgent in early 2014 because it lined up eerily with work Mark Blaxill and I had done about the original paralysis-inducing epidemics of poliomyelitis. In 2011, we first proposed a new theory for those outbreaks – suggesting the poliovirus combined with novel manmade toxins, most notably the pesticide lead arsenate, to kick off the Age of Polio. The ideas is simple: Toxin plus microbe = polio outbreaks. Without the toxin, polio is a minor, often unnoticed infection. With it, the virus can gain access to the nervous system and cause polio's dreaded effects.

So when this new outbreak of polio-like paralysis among children arose in California, we looked into it. We interviewed the mother of a child, Sofia Jarvis, who developed a paralyzed arm, and we came up with a possible pesticide connection. Here’s a screen grab from a story Mark and I wrote in April 2014.

DO screen grab polio rasperries

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Now it pays to be humble in the face of a new illness. There was a lot going on in this cluster of early cases, which spread from California and Colorado to Illinois and across the country before seeming to fade out last year (it’s back now on a scary cycle that also recalls the periodicity of polio). Some of those patients two years ago tested positive for EV-68, a virus in the same enterovirus family as polio, but others didn’t, and a conclusive link between the infection and the neurological damage couldn't be made in any case.

Sofia had been hospitalized and gotten an IV antibiotic in the same arm that became paralyzed, which is similar to the “provocation polio” caused by needle sticks that allowed the virus to travel, through a process called “reversal axonal transport,” to the anterior horn cells at the top of the spinal column that control movement. (It was upon hearing about this phenomenon while we worked on our 2010 book “The Age of Autism” that Mark and I looked deeper at polio. It seemed to mimic a process we were investigating involving the combination of syphilis and mercury treatment triggering the worst form of that disease, general paralysis of the insane. Note paralysis.)

We were the first to report last month that the CDC was informing state health departments of a new wave of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) cases starting this summer, and we again put forward our idea that the environment, probably in the form of pesticides but whatever the case something besides a microbe, was involved. (Some of our readers will suspect vaccines, which is also certainly plausible.) AFM is basically medical code for WTF?, since it does not describe an infection but a condition. It's like calling poliomyelitis infantile paralysis, the term it went by before anyone figure out what was going on.

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Best of: Dan Olmsted on Ian "Check my Buttocks for Lesions" Lipkin

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNote: We miss Dan's voice every single day at AofA. Here is a post he wrote about Columbia Professor, autism/vaccine "debunker" and icky bottomed Ian Lipkin in April, 2016.

By Dan Olmsted

A while back -- on September 4, 2008, in fact -- I wrote a post titled "Letting the MMR Off the Hook" that began: "The last time I saw Ian Lipkin was at the IOM Environment-and-Autism workshop last year. He was spending a lllloooottttttt of time describing some gizmotron that could do something or other to analyze some stuff that might hold clues to autism." I never published it. I'm not sure why, but I did make a note to myself that I was being "deliberately provocative," so perhaps I decided to hold off.

That, anyway, was my impression of Dr. Lipkin, and the bzzz-bzzzt-bzzzt at the meeting was that Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health -- it takes half an hour just to say the title! -- was hogging the microphone to promote, as I put it, some gizmotron, complete with a slide presentation. For all the world he looked like a salesman raising money for his lab, which sources report that in private conversations seems to be what he cares about.

I went back and found that column this week after picking up my Wall Street Journal on Monday at Starbucks and nearly spitting up my Venti Hazelnut Pike when I got to the Op-Ed page and found, by W. Ian Lipkin, "Anti-Vaccination Lunacy Won't Stop." The professor wants you to know that he was a major player in getting Robert De Niro to pull the plug on Vaxxed at the Tribeca Film Festival.

"I am among those Mr. De Niro consulted. In a 45-minute conversation with him, I recommended that the festival withdraw the film from the 'documentary' category and not screen it." 

Why not just title the column "I, Ian"? 45 minutes with a big star! And a star so famously inarticulate that a glossy magazine once titled its interview with him "Fifteen Mumbling Minutes With Robert Di Niro." I am guessing, but I bet Rankin spent a llllloooottttt of time talking. 

In the WSJ article, Lipkin also manages to call attention to a study he and colleagues did in September 2008 (hence the column I was writing back then), which supposedly absolved the MMR of any involvement with autism. "We tested Mr. Wakefield's two major findings. ... In our peer-reviewed study ... we found that only 20 percent of children fit the Wakefield model in receiving MMR vaccine before onset of GI disturbance and autism."

This study caused a lot of consternation at the time, not least because another author of the study, Mady Hornig, made extravagant claims about those findings and also because Hornig had long seemed sympathetic to vaccine safety concerns around not just the MMR but thimerosal. She authored the famous mouse study that showed auto-immune-susceptible mice given thimerosal chewing on each other and otherwise behaving like out-of-control autistic mice might be expected to behave.

I included her in that 2008 column, too, noting:  "The last time I saw Mady Hornig she was giving me a llllooonnngggg disquisition on exactly how the measles virus could mess up kids in a way that, I swear I'm remembering this correctly, leads to autism."

And I still remember it. She was telling me how the MMR could cause autism! She was doing vaccine lunacy! We were sitting in a round glass restaurant on top of a hotel in Crystal City, Virginia, talking above karaoke, one tune being "Brown-Eyed Girl" (How's that for recall!). There was a terrible storm that I decided to leave in the middle of, and ended up at a close-by friends' house waiting it out. I, Dan Olmsted, am a trained observer. I remember these things. (And here's a what-the-heck: Back in 2005, after the Times ran its infamous Parents-vs-Science takedown of the vaccine-autism concerns, Hornig and Lipkin were among those paying a visit to the public editor to complain. Who looks a little looney now?)

So when the MMR study came out and Hornig was fronting for it, I got the feeling it was a ticket back to respectable mainstream scientism. Mark Blaxill and I addressed it in our book, The Age of Autism, in 2010.

--

“The Hornig study was by all accounts carefully done and the reported results valid. In the press release announcing the publication, however, Hornig went further, claiming, “The work reported here eliminates the remaining support for the hypothesis that autism with GI complaints is related to MMR vaccine exposure. We found no relationship between the timing of MMR vaccine and the onset of either GI complaints or autism.” In our view, this claim was an exaggeration. In her study, only five of the twenty-five children developed these symptoms after the MMR vaccine and therefore, only these five were comparable to the 2002 Wakefield study. In contrast to her public statement, her new study effectively confirmed that results from an earlier study from the laboratory of Professor John O’Leary were correct, and identical to the results obtained by the participating laboratories, which included Wakefield’s original collaborator, as well as the CDC and Columbia lab. Far from repudiating Wakefield’s findings, it provided support for the reliability of the original analysis.”

--

As I look back at my e-mail traffic from the time, this observation was a pretty civil distillation of what most people in the vaccine safety community considered a stab in the back. The operative phrase was "selling out." 

"Just thinking out loud," one e-mailer said. "It’s a big claim to make for a little study. The evidence is what it is. But Hornig makes a grandiose claim. It’s kind of embarrassing, like the way she overstated her mouse findings (one mice ate through the 'scalp' not, as Mady said in talks, the 'skull' of its cage mate). Mady is a good scientist and does thorough work and we should respect it. But she’s way out of her depth as a big picture interpreter."

Right on cue, the Forbes headline read: "U.S. study claims to clear MMR vaccine of autism link."

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Dan Olmsted: Columbo, Hero, Friend

Dan Obit HeadshotBy Teresa Conrick

Dear Dan,  

I miss you.

Dan Olmsted was a hero to me and so many others who have children and young adults diagnosed as, "AUTISTIC."  His Columbo investigations about the FIRST CASES of Autism, convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was an epicenter to Autism and exposure to certain toxins -- Mercury and Vaccines -- seemed to be a huge trigger to increasing numbers of children being diagnosed. The search for cause and then treatments became a passion of mine, as well.  Dan's support and frequent emails helped me through many a rough day, as well as his encouraging me to keep on investigating how Megan, and so many others who regressed into Autism, became so ill.  Dan told me how much he was learning about the MICROBIOME from all of the articles I had posted over these past years on Age of Autism and told me -- "keep going as nobody is tying it together like you." He cut out an article from the NYT when they were finally mentioning "viral and bacterial issues of the gut" and gave it to me one night at dinner.  I have it on my fridge always as a pledge of not giving up on the research (or Megan and so many others!) and also of how motivating an influence Dan was in my life.  I could not attend Dan's Memorial today in Virginia but wanted to share how fortunate I was to know Dan and be involved in the investigations regarding the Age of Autism:

It was a very warm, September night in 2008, when I first met with Dan Olmsted. I had first seen Dan in a large auditorium at an autism conference a few years earlier. He had been up on the stage in a plaid shirt, talking about mercury, seeds, and Ceresan. With glasses and a laid back way about him, he seemed like Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper in Jaws, ready, willing, and able to take on Autism's menacing monster -- MERCURY.

I didn't understand why this "lumberjack guy" was talking to all of us parents about trees, Lignasan, and ethylmercury. My daughter became sickly and regressed in skills after vaccines -- many with the vaccine mercury called thimerosal. Bacterial and viral infections were then to be constant unwanted parasites in her life as her immune system took a direct hit. Meg was diagnosed with autism shortly after and just recently has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Dan seemed to me to be on the wrong trail. It took me a while to connect the research and see that these clues Dan, along with Mark Blaxill, had been discussing and writing about for quite some time were the first "puzzle" pieces to Autism.

I shared Dan and Mark's passion about the origin of AUTISM.  MERCURY, both environmentally and in pharmaceuticals, like VACCINES, has been, and continues to be a significant culprit in the damage being seen in both the BRAIN and the MICROBIOME

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First Peer-Reviewed Study of Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated Children (Censored by an International Scientific Journal) Now Public

Breaking newsBy Kevin Barry

Today, a groundbreaking new study of the overall health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children has been released to the public for the first time. The critically important new pilot study has been posted on line.

The paper was leaked to journalist and author James Grundvig, who published an article describing aspects of the study on Medium on February 22, 2017.  Grundvig describes how the paper was leaked to him (and others?), and he describes how he authenticated it with the study’s author and with the journal which censored it.

I will list a few of the many reasons why this paper is critically important at this time.

1. The #RFKcommission.

This study provides numerous clues for potential future research. It may help serve as a blueprint for the RFK Commission in the United States and for other countries.

  1. President Trump

    President Trump is the first President to show any interest at all in vaccine safety. This study reaffirms that President Trump’s concerns about vaccine safety are legitimate, and may help him stand firm in forming the #RFKcommission.

    3. Existing vaccine rights are under attack in 30 states.

    Vaccine exemption attacks and vaccine mandate increases in 30 state capitals in 2017.
    Parent advocates nationwide can add the findings of this study to their arsenal when protecting their and their children’s existing rights from the trillion dollar Pharmaceutical industry in state capitals.

    4. Informed consent

    The international bioethics standard for preventative medical is informed consent. Comparing total health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations are an important piece of information to weigh when considering consent.
  1. Censorship or self-censorship?

    Is submitting papers dealing with vaccine safety to the “peer review” process of scientific journals, after years of rejection, a form of self-censorship?

    The paper released today was scheduled to be published in November 2016. Had it been published in the journal it would have been “peer reviewed”.

    Speaking for the 7,484,325,473 billion people on the planet who were NOT peer reviewers of this paper, it’s absurd that this paper is legitimate if the 3 reviewers bosses don’t get spooked, and not legitimate if they do get spooked. I hope the 3 peer reviewers - Amit, Kelly and Linda - would agree that their bosses shouldn’t block important information from the other 7 billion of us.

---

I’ve read numerous beautiful tributes to brilliant, wonderful and fearless Dan Olmsted on Age of Autism over the past month. I’m not nearly as talented a writer as those who have honored Dan on these pages. I didn’t know how I could help honor him … until now. Dan tried for more than a decade to get a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study done, and he pioneered the concept with his series on the Amish.

Please help guide us Dan, and thank you for your dedication to all of our children.
First Freedoms LogoFirst Study of Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated Children - Censored by an International Scientific Journal - Now Public Vaccination and Health Outcomes: A Survey of 6- to 12-year-old Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children based on Mothers’ Reports, was censored by the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Key Study Findings

Background: The long-term health outcomes of the routine vaccination program remain unknown. Studies have been recommended by the Institute of Medicine to address this question.

Specific Aims: To compare vaccinated and unvaccinated children on a broad range of health outcomes, and to determine whether an association found between vaccination and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), if any, remained significant after adjustment for other measured factors.

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Best of Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: An Absolutely Shocking Statistic From England

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaNote: Dan wrote this piece last May about the wringing of hands of childrens' diminution of skills in the UK, and here in America.

By Dan Olmsted

I met a friend for lunch this week. He was fresh off the plane from London as part of a multi-country jaunt, and he had the baggy eyes to prove it. The first thing he did was pull out Monday’s Daily Telegraph and point to an article on page 12: “Primary pupils who can swipe but not speak.”

The article began: “Parents’ immersion in smartphones has left thousands of children starting primary school unable to hold conversations, teachers say.

“Around one in three children starting school is not ready for the classroom with many lacking social skills, suffering speech problems or not toilet trained, a survey of senior primary school staff showed.”

The litany included “more and more children entering our early years stage with delayed speech” and “levels of reading, writing and numeracy lower than they should be.”

The rest of the article basically blamed the parents and their failure to keep children from coming into contact with the world we live in, which is deemed self-evidently noxious and destructive – too many smartphones, too little parent-child interaction.

Before tackling that bogus argument, let’s just acknowledge the facts in evidence here. A third of pre-school kids in England today have some version of issues that echo autism – speech problems, lack of social skills and toileting problems. My friend, much more knowledgeable about autistic children than I am, said the latter probably reflected sensory issues and GI problems (as well as general delay, I’d suggest).

I don’t care what this is called – autism-like traits, or school-readiness deficit syndrome in a third of children, not otherwise seen before (SRDSIATOFC-NOSB), or whatever. It’s the kind of thing we’ve been talking about for years, a generation and now more damaged by something new and terrifying, and at least in England, it’s indisputable. I asked my friend what he thought was going on, and he said some combination of vaccines and other medical mayhem, pesticides, and god knows what else (the Environmental Working Group's study of all the evil crap found in mothers' umbilical cords is passing through the back of my brain). Unless you want to argue that the ability of one-third of children to make their way in life from the very start is just good old genes doing their work of making our species less able to thrive in a hostile world, it's definitely environmental. And it is NOT smartphones, dammit!

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Best of Weekly Wrap: Do MMR + Hg + SSPE = ASD?

Keep Calm Write OnBest of from September 2012.

By Dan Olmsted

"I wonder whether autistic enterocolitis isn’t a kind of SSPE with a weakened (vaccine) virus," Kathy Blanco wrote in an e-mail this week, with a link to a blog post HERE  that reports: "Hidden government documents have revealed that leading professionals have had serious concerns about the safety of the single measles vaccines for many years. Secret government documents that have been under lock and key for thirty years have revealed that the UK government has known for many years that the single measles vaccine can cause the debilitating neurological disorder SSPE or Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis."

Whether "autism" is in effect a variant form of SSPE is well worth wondering.

SSPE, as many of you will know, is a rare outcome of wild measles virus infection that is debilitating and usually fatal and can come on well after the original infection. It's often cited as a reason the measles and MMR vaccinations are worthwhile public health interventions -- yes, for most kids measles is unpleasant, but for some it can be far worse. It is neurotoxic and lethal.

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Champaign IL News Gazette On Death of Newspaperman Dan Olmsted

Dan headshot for bookHere is an excerpt of a fine tribute to Dan Olmsted by Melissa Merli.  Read the full article in the The News Gazette.

In the late 1970s, the post-Watergate era, daily newspapers ruled the media landscape. Their staffs were robust, with talented reporters hungry to make a mark.

The best and brightest among them at the Gannett-owned Commercial-News in Danville was Dan Olmsted, who had graduated from Yale University in 1975 and had come back to his hometown to work at the newspaper.

He had written for it while a student at Danville High School, where he had been news editor of the Maroon & White student newspaper.

Mr. Olmsted, who died Jan. 23 at his home in Falls Church, Va., won an Illinois Associated Press award for public-service reporting while in Danville and went on to receive national recognition for his work elsewhere.

"Dan was truly a prodigy, an artist and a door-kicking newsman," former Commercial-News reporter/columnist Kevin Cullen said. "I always thought of him as a class act and a model for the rest of our ink-stained little subculture."

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Best of Weekly Wrap: More Mushy, Misdirected Autism Empathy

Keep Calm Write OnOriginally posted on 10/20/2012.  

Dan Olmsted wrote his "Weekly Wrap" each Saturday. The topics and tone varied, yet always informed and entertained in Dan's inimitable style.  We'll be featuring Dan's work over the coming months. Enjoy this post.

By Dan Olmsted

The morning shows were agog Friday over the duet between Katy Perry and a tween girl with autism, to be broadcast on tomorrow’s “Night of Too Many Stars” benefit on Comedy Central. On the Today show, Al Roker said he teared up, and trotted out the old “it must be my allergies” joke as a way of calling even more attention to it.

Touching. But what exactly is this benefit benefiting? PR for the event says it uses “comedy to raise money for autism education programs.” On the benefit’s Web site, we learn: “Night of Too Many Stars benefits a variety of autism programs across the country in support of the overabundance of individuals with autism that so desperately need quality services. In 2010, thanks to your support, Night of Too Many Stars, through its partner organization, New York Collaborates for Autism, gave more than $3.1 million in grants to 41 programs in 13 states."

 I couldn't find any easily located list of who those recipients are, though I'm sure many of them are worthy. But this “partner organization,” New York Collaborates for Autism, is clearly the charitable entity involved, and it has two current initiatives, one of which is the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, due to open next year.

This is Catherine Lord’s project – along with redoing the DSM-V in a way that a lot of us don’t care for. We think it will exclude some high-functioning children with autism and muddy the waters about the real epidemic increase in autism. If you support this work, and the idea that we don’t really know if there’s an epidemic, and never will, and certainly don’t know what is causing it, by all means, contribute.

But you might want to read some of AOA’s coverage of Dr. Lord, starting with this from Katie Wright:

 “What kind of human being makes money by testifying against disabled children with autism?

Dr. Eric Fombonne.

Dr. Catherine Lord.

Dr. Bennett Leventhal.

“These parasites regularly take the stand in Vaccine Court in hopes of preventing sick autistic children from receiving financial compensation for their injuries. … I think their 'work' as anti-child professional testifiers has been insufficiently discussed and deserves a good public airing, don’t you?"

 Anne Dachel has also put Dr. Lord under the microscope. “In April, 2012, Dr. Catherine Lord was STILL saying that all the autism everywhere might just be ‘better detection.’”

 The lifetime cost of autism is pegged at around $3 million (conservatively, given the cost to

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My Tribute To Dan Olmsted – Natalie Palumbo

Natalie and The Age of Autism BookBy Natalie Palumbo

I will never forget the very first time I spoke on the phone with Dan Olmsted. It was spring of 2013, and I was 19 years old. I was already writing for Age of Autism as their youngest contributor, and sibling advocate. Dan wanted me to assist him in creating a video on research that he, Teresa Conrick, and Mark Blaxill had collected for a presentation.

I was honored and excited to contribute to this. I was just beginning my journey into the world of animation and film, and it was before receiving formal instruction from the Motion Design department at Ringling College. The fact that this presentation was going to be shown at AutismOne absolutely thrilled me as a young advocate still finishing my senior year of high school.

Dan sent me newspaper clippings. Articles. Photographs. Everything that supported his research. It was both fascinating and eerie because one of the first children to be diagnosed with autism was born in Baltimore, Maryland just outside of my hometown. I remember distinctly having to re-record Dan saying the word “two” with three different inflections in order to properly time the visuals to the audio. Dan was so nice about it, and we both couldn't help but laugh. I will miss Dan's gentle voice. It had a nurturing quality, much like a parent reading a storybook to a child. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I heard him speak.

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The Final Wrap

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Mark Blaxill

Dan Olmsted’s “Weekly Wrap,” his regular Saturday column, was one of my favorite weekend pleasures. Dan’s death last weekend makes his January 21st version his last. So in his honor, I spent much of this week connecting with a few folks who knew him well in order to write a tribute to him in this space. A final wrap.

Dan was born and raised in Danville Illinois, started his career there and maintained close ties to friends and family in the region. His sister Sallie died last year but his other sister Rosie still lives in Wilmette. She has long been a fierce supporter of Dan’s work. Rosie knew from an early age that Dan was a uniquely brilliant and talented journalist. She was a great advocate for the books we wrote together and especially pleased—Dan told me-- that in The Age of Autism, I insisted that we put Dan’s name first on the marquee! (Dan and I actually competed to be the second author and eventually decided to take turns).

Dan was a journalist from very early in life. While in high school he wrote a column, High Times (the “high” stands for high school, nothing illegal!), for Danville’s local newspaper The Commercial News. His talent was apparent early.

“Dan and I were classmates at Danville High School,” wrote Bina Connelly on the comments section underneath his obituary. “Even then, we knew he would leave a mark, make a difference. He was kind, thoughtful, intelligent, passionate. I am humbled to have known him.” Dan’s friend of 40 years, Melissa Merli, tells me he is still in touch with his high school English teacher, who plans to attend his memorial service.

A career in journalism was on Dan’s radar from the very beginning. An English degree at Yale (class of 1974) separated his stints at The Commercial News, a Gannett paper. From there he went to The Democrat and Chronicle, Gannett’s flagship paper in Rochester, New York. On the Gannett fast track, Dan went on to be a founding editor of USA Today in 1982 and its 1984 spinoff, USA Weekend, where he worked for 15 years. Following a brief and abortive stint at an internet start-up in 1999, Dan moved over to United Press International in 2000. Laid off in 2007 after a series of cutbacks at UPI, he moved on to launch the Age of Autism, “the daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic.”

In speaking with Dan’s colleagues during that 40-plus year journey, I’ve heard an amazing and consistent portrait of a man who was, as his longtime partner and husband Mark Millett puts it, “always passionate about journalism and his work.” Melissa Merli was a colleague in the 1970s at The Commercial News and remembers that Dan was widely liked and respected. “Everyone adored him at The Commercial News.” That adoration extended to a number of the female reporters there, including Melissa. “I had a crush on him,” confided Melissa, “and at one point, Dan took me aside and told me he was gay, but that we could still be good friends!” They’ve been close and constant friends ever since.

Melissa described Dan as a gifted investigative reporter from the outset. One investigation stood out: an exposé of corruption in the local police force, where a gang of police officers were running a drug store burglary operation. A grand jury was convened; Dan was sued for libel and won. Melissa later heard from a local official that “there’s one reporter there that everyone’s afraid of and that’s Dan Olmsted.”

Melissa describes a man that many came to know and love. “Dan had a finely tuned sense of justice and compassion for others. He’s one of the most honest people I know. I can honestly say that I have no negative memories of Dan. He was one of a kind.”

We can all thank the dot.com crash for reawakening Dan’s passion for investigative journalism. While at USA Today and USA Weekend, he focused on lighter fare. But after landing at the once proud UPI wire service --then owned by the Unification Church (aka “the Moonies”), a step down in prestige led to a step up in freedom and investigative autonomy. Dan teamed up there with a young reporter named Mark Benjamin and together they embarked on a project that hit the big time: an investigation of the negative side effects of an anti-malaria drug called mefloquine. Or, as it was marketed by Roche Pharmaceuticals, Lariam.

“The Lariam project was investigative reporting at its most pure,” Mark told me. “It was a case of Dan deciding that we were going to take really damaging, but solid information on a bad drug and go up against one of the most powerful and deep-pocketed companies in the world, Roche. And it was one that had the Army and the CDC, quite literally, in its pocket.”

Lariam was widely used at the time in the Army and the Peace Corp and although effective at preventing malaria, in a subset of recipients it was associated with cases of hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, psychoses and even homicide. According to an August 11, 2016 article in Military Times. “Mefloquine was implicated in a series of murder-suicides at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2002, and media reports also tied it to an uptick in military suicides in 2003.”

Dan and Mark were faced with sharp initial resistance, but their work eventually had a huge impact. According to Military Times, “Once the U.S. military's malaria prophylactic of choice, favored for its once-a-week dosage regimen, mefloquine was designated the drug of last resort in 2013 by the Defense Department after the Food and Drug Administration slapped a boxed warning on its label, noting it can cause permanent psychiatric and neurological side effects.” Prescriptions plummeted from 50,000 in 2003 to only 216 in 2015. That’s not low enough for some. Dr. Remington Nevin, another friend of Dan, argued that any distribution of Lariam is too much. “This new finding should motivate the U.S. military to consider further revising its mefloquine policy to ban use of the drug altogether.”

Their work had many positive and unexpected ripple effects. Mark and Dan were turned into a composite character, Sherm Hempell, on a Law and Order: SVU episode, which told a story of violence and murder in two Afghanistan war veterans that had taken an anti-malarial drug, Quinium. Happily, the good guys won and the Army cover-up was exposed. More notably, in a real life case that wasn’t “ripped from the headlines” Dan and Mark quite literally saved the life of the first soldier since the Vietnam War charged with cowardice, an offense that carries the death penalty. The Army soldier, Andrew Pogany, was put on trial but ultimately the Army dropped the case when it became clear that his “cowardice” was simply an adverse reaction to Lariam. Mark joked that Dan wrote one of the best headlines ever for their article, “Army Surrenders to Coward Soldier.”

“I’ve never seen anyone else like Dan Olmsted in our business, before or since,” Mark claimed. “You can hold him up against any of the all-time great investigative journalists and he deserves a place right alongside them. What made him so good? There were so many things. He was just smarter than anyone else. He worked harder and once he knew he was right, he just never gave up. He would just never stop.”

It was their glimpse into the inner workings of the CDC and its preferred programs that brought the UPI investigative pair to the vaccine issue, and in Dan’s case, into the Age of Autism. In the summer of 2003, Mark pursued (and Dan edited) a story about conflicts of interest in the CDC’s recommended vaccine program, with a special focus on a little known vaccine inventor, Dr. Paul Offit, and the conflict between his role on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and his commercial relationship with Merck, which made his rotavirus vaccine. It’s a story AoA readers know well!

Mark Benjamin is the man that brought Dan Olmsted and me together. The two Marks (who when added to Dan’s partner Mark Millett explain Dan’s dedication in The Age of Autism, “to Mark, Mark and Mark, in that order”) had been discussing the issues swirling around autism and vaccines. Mark Benjamin wanted Dan to meet me and he arranged a dinner between the three of us in Washington DC on October 7, 2003. That began a collaboration that would last for over 13 years.

As Mark Benjamin turned to issues with the military and the health of veterans, Dan turned his attention to autism. He and I began to have frequent conversations and email exchanges. In 2004, Dan had decided he wanted to launch an extended, deep dive. And he wanted to find a way into the issue that was unique. By year end, Dan and I were just beginning to share thoughts on the issues we would turn into a book 6 years later. Dan, as he so often did, was trying to find the critical question, one that could spark an investigation. On December 7, he prefaced an email list of questions this way: “I made a list of some odd ways in (some of which I have seen referred to elsewhere but not conclusively) if you have any thoughts…” The very first question was right on the mark: “Is there anywhere they don’t use vaccines and don’t have autism? Or any group, like Christian scientists?”

Bingo.

I wrote (as is my tendency) a lengthy answer. “We have long discussed the idea of using low and zero exposure groups, religious groups (Amish or others), anthroposophic schools, etc. to test the theory. Since autism surveillance stats are not routinely collected, this would require a specific study, one that has never been done (and epi studies are expensive).”

And so it began. Dan didn’t bother to wait for a bureaucratic funding process. He decided to cut to the chase and do the “study” himself. He drove from his home in Falls Church Virginia to Lancaster County Pennsylvania, and started asking real people about autism in the Amish. A bare four months later he launched his UPI Age of Autism series with his first article, The Amish Anomaly. As many of us know by now, Dan found very few autistic children there and all of these were in the relatively small subset of vaccinated Amish.

Starting with the Amish Anomaly, on April 19, 2005, Dan added dozens of articles to the series. He stopped writing only when he was laid off at UPI, ending on July 18, 2007 with “The Last Word.” Along the way, he found the first of Leo Kanner’s case series, Donald T., the first of eight eventual discoveries and the heart of our book, The Age of Autism. Following his departure from UPI, Dan and I reached out to JB Handley and Kim Stagliano who had started their own blog, Rescue Post. Our joint venture went on line just a few months later.

From the very beginning, Dan stayed close to the families and individuals affected by autism. Dan started out talking to doctors on the front line of the epidemic, free thinkers like the late Meyer Eisenstein and Elizabeth Mumper. In fact, the third column in the UPI series “Sick Children” took Dan’s readers to Liz Mumper’s pediatric practice in nearby Lynchburg Virginia. Dan wrote “Dr. Elizabeth Mumper is an unlikely contrarian. Mumper is a pediatrician in the southern Virginia city of Lynchburg. About a decade ago, Mumper said, she began noticing a change for the worse in the overall health of the children she was seeing, including a startling rise in cases of autism. Ultimately, Mumper came to suspect the increasing number of childhood vaccinations in the 1990s -- and particularly the mercury-based preservative called thimerosal in many of those vaccines -- was a big reason.”

Liz was a great source for Dan and me in our second book, Vaccines 2.0. When I reached out to her yesterday to get her reflections on Dan, she described those initial meetings. “Dan came to my office in 2005.  I was in the midst of running a practice in which many of the children had chronic illness and neurodevelopmental disorders. .Dan had such an inquisitive mind and asked such great questions.  I was surprised that a reporter who had not gone to medical school would understand and be able to synthesize complex medical information the way he could.”

Like many of us, Liz remarked on Dan’s tenacity and gift for words. “What a gift to passionately seek answers to the unprecedented tsunami of childhood chronic illness!  He wove the stories of children, families, medical institutions, government organizations and pharmaceutical industries into compelling prose.”

Dan’s subsequent career-- 10 years here at the “daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic” (he truly loved real printed newspapers!), two published books and a third on the way—is all available here at Age of Autism. Under Kim Stagliano’s leadership and with the help of our amazing group of contributing editors we are continuing the noble project Dan started. But we do so with a heavy heart. I heard the news about Dan from his sister Rosie, driving from Boston to Manhattan this Monday afternoon. When I got to the city I sat down for dinner and wept. I didn’t know quite what to do, so I typed out this FaceBook post, as tears smudged my iPhone .

To everyone who is sharing love for my great friend Dan Olmsted, please keep it up. Dan deserved so much and I hope will ultimately get the recognition he deserves. Dan was the consummate journalist. He had so much to teach us all about the ethics and discipline of how good reporters should respond to and treat evidence. But he was more than that. He was a deeply original and creative investigator. That combination was unique and compelling. Dan was brilliant and compassionate and persistent and uncompromising and balanced and impatient. All at once. And man! could he put words together in such a graceful and powerful way.

I was so fortunate to be his fellow traveler on the Age of Autism (his phrase and it was so powerful) journey. I will really miss him. I wish I had the words to say it as artfully as he could. I love you man. We'll all miss you. But you kicked some ass.

Later this week, I took my two daughters to dinner in Cambridge. Dan got to know both of them quite well in our years working together. My oldest, Sydney, traveled to Vienna with us as we researched the medical history of mercuric chloride treatments for syphilis and hysteria. My youngest, Michaela (now 21 years old and diagnosed with autistic disorder), spent a lot of time with Dan in recent months; he came to Cambridge a lot as we wrote our third book, Denial. Sydney knew the news already, but when I picked them up we told Michaela about Dan’s death. She often has difficulty processing emotions, especially sadness, in an appropriate way. But when I told her, “I have sad news, honey. Dan is dead,” I was pleased to see she was genuinely affected in the way Sydney and I were feeling. “Dan is dead,” she repeated to herself in a subdued tone. Trying, in her way, to process the news. She had grown up with Dan and knew how close our friendship was.

Later in the evening, as we were walking into dinner at Legal Seafoods, she asked me an amusingly autistic but poignant question. “Dad,” she asked, “are you going to get a replacement for Dan?”

“No, honey. There will never be a replacement for Dan.”

Mark Blaxill is Editor at Large for Age of Autism.


Daniel J. Olmsted: Obituary

Dan headshot for bookBelow is the obituary posted on the site of the Fairfax Memorial Funeral home. We invite you to leave a message there.  We share your grief. Thank you for your emails, prayers and kind words. We hope you will join us in March to celebrate Dan's life.  If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in Dan's name by check:  Autism Age PO Box 110546 Trumbull CT 06611.  Or use the secure payment button on this site. Thank you. Kim

Link to Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home

Daniel James Olmsted passed away in Falls Church, VA on January 23, 2017. Dan is survived by his beloved spouse, Mark Milett and sister Rosamund McDonel Augsburgnd. He is predeceased by both of his parents, Robert and Catherine (Hatfield) Olmsted, and his sister Sara Vana.

The family will be receiving guests from 1-2p.m. with a celebration of Daniel's life following at the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home at 2p.m. on Saturday, March 18. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to the Age of Autism, http://www.ageofautism.com/ .


A Sad Announcement from Age of Autism

Dan headshot for bookWe are heartbroken to announce that our dear friend, our brilliant colleague, journalist par excellence, dedicated book co-author, the heart, soul and leader of our "rebel alliance," Dan Olmsted,  passed away this weekend. 

Age of Autism has been a family for many years, and to all of you, we send our condolences, as we are grateful for yours. 

We will share more information as it becomes available. And the rebel alliance will carry on in his name, we assure you.

Mark Blaxill, Kim Stagliano and the entire Age of Autism Team


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Bernie, Bobby, Andy, and Donald

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Bernard Rimland, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Andy Wakefield and now Donald Trump -- yes he does!  -- represent a kind of mainstream thread of vaccine safety advocacy. The first three put themselves forward and paid a price – Rimland went from the father of “autism isn’t caused by parenting” to being considered a fringe quack kook multivitamins cure autism kind of guy. Bobby went from respected environmental Riverkeeper Kennedy scion who beat GE and got the Hudson cleaned up to mercury-thimerosal-obsessed. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated as president Friday, saying what Bernie said. And if ever a paragraph break was called for (pick your reason) this is it.

Dr. Rimland
Dr. Bernie Rimland conspiracy theorist fringe quack kook. And Andy, well, Andy didn’t even pass go – he was considered a fraudulent finge quack kook from just about Day 1.

Covering autism through the prism of an environmental illness, with vaccine safety a paramount issue, I do have more familiarity with these four folks than I might otherwise. Bernie was an indifferent dresser with a messy beard (me too) who, at least in my memory, thundered with the truth. My Kennedy Albanysingle favorite quote in my decade on this beat is his statement that “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.” This is brilliantly simple, stark and bold. First you have to stipulate that autism has increased exponentially (it has – that’s the subject of Mark Blaxill and my book out later this year). Then you have to be both narrow enough – pointing not just to some vague chemical or environmental exposure – and broad enough – pointing not just to one vaccine, or one ingredient – to survive the onslaught of denial and rebuke and phony science you can expect the minute you say such a thing. (“Excessive vaccinations” even leaves room for mercury as the prime cause, because if they hadn’t Andy Long Beachadded all those vaccines with mercury, kids wouldn’t have gotten enough of it to cause an epidemic – bad as it is at any dose The MMR also fits -- three live viruses in one, and now a fourth in the MMRV; talk about excessive!)

Lately I’ve been thinking of Bernie, as a new president who says much the same thing takes the oath of office; protecting our kids might be described as Job One. Now that he is one day in office I certainly hope that he will take on the issue and bring Bernie’s claim front and center. I think our collective minds were pretty much blown when he summoned Bobby to the Tower and sent him down with some sort of message, garbled or tentative as it may have been, that he intends to tackle vaccines and autism and that people like Bobby are going to play a major role.

What’s more, before the election Trump met with Andy and some kindred spirits who are editors and sponsors of this blog and listened attentively.

These are huge developments that have been a bit overwhelmed – perhaps by presidential-elect design – by the whole shakeup going on in the transfer of power. More than trial balloons, less that full-fledged policy initiatives, they have made the CDC quake in its cesspool, if that’s possible, and the usual talking heads like Offit and Schaffner turn purple with rage (makes me think of Dylan: “The man standing next to me, his head was exploding. Well, I was praying the pieces wouldn't fall on me.”) The mainstream media is both outraged and, one senses, outgunned at the moment. Who cares about the mainstream media anyway? The best story we got out of the Kennedy meeting was from BuzzFeed, which interviewed both me (I?) and J.B. Handley and, except for repeating the antivax canard (which I told them not to in writing) treated the event as news, not as a crime scene. While I was on the phone with them going through security at National Airport, Nature magazine was on the other line. Quite a moment for a humble blogger.

Everyone comes to this issue from a different perspective, although of course for most it’s witnessing or understanding the fact that vaccine damage is much more frequent and much more serious than the “experts” will admit. For Bobby it was understanding the damage of environmental mercury and hearing from enough autism moms to intuit the connection. For Andy it was a call from the mother of two autistic children in England. He tried to interrupt and refer her on to the neurodevelopmental department, but then she started talking about strange GI issues they had, and, thank God, he stopped to listen.

For Bernie it was the recognition that he and his wife were not bad enough parents to have caused their son Mark’s nonstop screaming as an infant and his subsequent odd behaviors. That opened into an insight that autism was not genetic but environmental, and that led into vaccines.

We’ve had committees and commissions before – Mark Blaxill served on one and, with Barbara Loe Fisher, valiantly dissented from its blue ribbon inanity. (See the excellent “From Safety Last to Children First.”)

So however they – and we – got here, the moment is ripe, and Bernie’s dictum ought to be our guiding principle, one we can unite behind. I hope that before long the president will be sitting at a table with Bobby and Andy and many more people, including Mark and Barbara, who have fought long and hard to bring this issue to the fore. And I hope they leave an empty chair for Bernie and that, at least occasionally, everyone looks in its direction and remembers that there is much more common in our cause than anything we might occasionally fight over – that the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.

Rebel Alliance, unite!

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Weekly Wrap: Happy News Year!

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Trump Kennedy Pence

The world is turning right in front of us and connections we never saw coming are being remade and rewired on a daily basis. While it is too early to get either elated or dejected by current events, the trend-line is clear: Something's happening here. 

Today I thought I'd use more of Anne Dachel's media reports to show how much is happening. I did an interview with BuzzFeed and as I was walking through the airport yesterday Nature magazine called. It's a new year to top all new years!

From Anne: After hours of reading news reports today, this was encouraging. As any of us can attest, once you know how vast and corrupt the vaccine safety issue is, you can never walk away. This is what Kennedy is saying too. 

Kennedy's description of why the media has universally failed us is absolutely right. No one is willing to risk their career covering this in a fair and balanced way. So they write what they're told ...over and over and over. But I know them all, and I will never forget who they are. 

https://www.facebook.com/VaXismNEWS/videos/826271777515863/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Robert Kennedy, Jr. “All the things that I do are bent on forcing this debate out into the open—because once the science is in the open, the CDC’s position is so fragile, it’s an edifice of fraud, fraud stacked upon fraud, so high and so wobbly, that even a slight breeze of public scrutiny will topple it. It’s not only Congress that won’t investigate, and the regulatory agencies have been captured, the courts and the lawyers that would normally apply that scrutiny have been removed by the Vaccine Act.

And the press has been compromised. And it’s not just the mainstream corporate media, but also the so-called alternative media like Huffington Post. Daniel Schulman wrote in the Columbia …Journalism Review that for journalists this is radioactive, that this is a career-ending controversy. So reporters won’t touch it, they’re really scared of it. Doctors won’t come out. Doctors lose their licenses if they talk about this. 

What we need is sunlight. If you put a little sunlight on this controversy, the whole thing’s going to fall apart. We’re going to beat these people. I feel this, and I’ve spent my life working on energy issues, environmental issues, and global warming, but I’ve taken a hiatus to do just this issue because I cannot stand by and watch these children being poisoned—an entire generation of kids that is being poisoned now by government policies and greed. We’re going to take them on and beat them.

And we need help. We’re at the World Mercury Project. We need your support, we need financial support, we need members because we’re going to sue government agencies, we’re going to sue pharmaceutical companies, we’re suing the people, we’re figuring out different ways to litigate this. In order for a charitable group to litigate, we need to show that we have members who have standing.

==

The media’s desperate attempt to convince us the science is in on vaccines

Jan 13, 2017 Slate.com: Zealots Like RFK Jr. Have Already Made Vaccines Less Safe

By Brian Palmer

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/01/the_thimerosal_episode_explains_the_danger_of_rfk_jr.html

Not just because they fuel anti-vaxxers. This type of paranoia impedes our ability to accurately consider evidence. 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., political scion–turned–anti-vaccine alarmist, emerged from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday claiming that Trump had offered him a position leading a vaccine safety commission. This is a terrible idea for reasons that should be apparent, and a dangerous idea, because Kennedy’s anti-scientific rantings have already exerted a chilling effect on honest medical discourse for at least a decade. The thimerosal episode is a perfect example.

“Infants are exposed to more mercury from breastfeeding than they’d ever get from vaccines,” says Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of vaccine education at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It’s in the earth. It’s in the water we drink. If you want to achieve zero tolerance for mercury exposure, you’d have to move to another planet.”…

Eighteen years later, doctors still argue over the decision to remove thimerosal from vaccines. Halsey has staunch defenders who describe him as an egoless man who was trying to put child safety first, making a very difficult decision in a politically charged environment without the data he needed. Others still rue the decision, arguing that even though there wasn’t hard evidence, our scientific understanding of and experience with thimerosal justified keeping it while research continued.

We caved to public perception,” Offit says. “You’re always better off trying to explain the science—you owe the public that. We made a mistake.”

Wherever you come down on the decision, the real villains in the thimerosal episode are vultures like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who seized on the scientific uncertainty and the public communications challenges to scare the hell out of people….

Specifically, Kennedy insists that thimerosal causes autism. But there has never been any reason to believe that thimerosal or any form of mercury causes autism…

When it comes to his views on vaccine safety, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is dishonest, uninformed, insane, or some combination of them. His refusal to accept medical evidence has put children at risk, and giving him an official position will … you know what? It’s so obvious, it’s not even worth writing. It also doesn’t matter. Neither Trump nor Kennedy care about facts.

Jan 13, 2017, UK Guardian: Trump's vaccine conspiracy theories are a threat to your children

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/13/trump-vaccine-conspiracy-theory-robert-kennedy-jr

Vaccines have been shown safe and effective. When he hints otherwise, the president-elect is gambling with young lives

The science on vaccines is very clear: they are safe and effective. Vaccines do not cause autism. It’s a waste of our tax dollars to rehash this issue yet again. 

Jan 13, 2017, Washington Post: Charles Krauthammer: What happened to the honeymoon?

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/jan/13/charles-krauthammer-what-happened-to-the-honeymoon/

Finally, it’s his chronic indiscipline, his jumping randomly from one subject to another without rhyme, reason or larger strategy. In a week packed with confirmation hearings and Russian hacking allegations, what was he doing meeting with Robert Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist pushing the thoroughly discredited idea that vaccines cause autism?

Comment:

The truth is, the agency that approves, promotes, and recommends the vaccine schedule is also charged with vaccine safety. They literally have oversight over themselves. Hundreds of employees at the Centers for Disease Control have conflict of interest waivers because they're also working for the industry they regulate.


Claims of corruption and fraudulent science at the CDC are rampant, even among employees. Krauthammer needs to investigate the 83 cases of vaccine-induced autism compensated by the Federal Court of Claims (since no American can sue either the doctor or vaccine makers for an injury), and which were made public back in 2011.


Finally Krauthammer needs to talk to Dr. Jon Poling, father of Hannah Poling whose case of vaccine-induced autism was conceded by medical experts at HHS and made public in 2008.


Krauthammer may assume that the link between vaccines and autism is a "thoroughly discredited idea," but he's taking the word the people with everything at stake in covering this up.

--

Anne Dachel, Media Editor

 

 

 

 

 


Weekly Wrap: A New Year of Books and Blogs and Big Ideas

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Dan headshot for book

Last week I said adieu to old acquaintances and was touched by the comments I got both on- and offline. This week it’s time to move forward into what promises to be a big year for AOA and its allied enterprises. There’s even more to come than I’ll talk about here.

But first let me say, did you ever work on a big project over a long period of time that you cared a lot about – but still had a moment of, “How did I ever get myself into this?” Or, even worse, how do we translate an important but overlooked paper from 1907 in a journal called, I kid you not, Zeitschrift fur die Erforschung und Behandlung des jugendlichen Schwachsinns.*

Well, that moment has come and gone as regards the book Mark Blaxill and I are finishing up this month. Although the title is not set yet, the topic is autism epidemic denial – how it hurts kids, families and our future.  AOA readers always come to the rescue, and Birgit Calhoun translated a trove of Mark Dan Book 2017 useful documents from German that are crucial to understanding the whole issue. Thanks, Birgit.

The book, our third together and something of a bookend to the first (The Age of Autism) and second (Vaccines 2.0), will be out in a few months. It has been a fascinating and deep dive into the history of mental disorders in children, which of course is a dark topic, but what we came up with makes hash of the “better diagnosing, awareness, substitution/these kids were always there” mantra we are all so sick of. One more time: No these kids were not ”always there”! We aim to present the definitive account of why autism instead must be a man-made epidemic (the subtitle of our first book) that needs to be stopped. As we say in the book, epidemic denial is not just improbable or implausible; it is, based on both facts and logic, impossible.

We quote our redoubtable colleague J.B. Handley on Paul Offit and his ilk of deniers: J.B. calls epidemic denial the “original sin” of autism. “In Offit’s world, there is absolutely no problem here. Things are as they always were, we just understand it better. Of course, we all know, if there’s no epidemic, there is no environmental trigger, because why have a trigger if something hasn’t actually grown? Said differently: Denying the autism epidemic is to deny the suffering of millions of children and their families and also to deny the exploration into the true cause so the epidemic might end.”

Amen. That’s all I’ll say for now. We have some finishing up to do but are grateful that Skyhorse is again proving a hospitable publisher for our cause. Oh, and we dedicate the book to Bernie Rimland, who “sought the truth and helped sick kids.” Like all of us, we hope to in some small way to further that effort. And we think the timing could be good, eh?

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap: A New Year of Books and Blogs and Big Ideas" »


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Dearly Departed

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Dear Readers:  In an instance of synchronicity, my sister's ex-husband and the father of her two children died this morning after this column was posted.

--

Everybody dies, and everybody knows it, but even so it’s been a death-full year. Celebrities, friends, family, children with autism. Why pretend? I think most of us are just hoping to get out of it without any more demises, our own and anyone else’s.

This is why people sing Auld Lang Syne, I guess, both at the end of the year and at funerals. It’s letting go of the old and the painful and welcoming the new and the promising. It’s best accompanied by enough beer or wine or whatever to be truly mawkish or comfortably numb.

So we’re almost out with the old, and by tomorrow we’ll be focused on the new. But today let me bid a brief adieu and give a couple of people in my own life their due. The year for me began with the death of my sister Sally, a lovely and kind-spirited person who had her share of challenges and met them well. (And told jokes a lot better in the worst of circumstances than I do in the best.) As close as I felt to her while she was alive, and especially during the last couple of crappy years for her, I have not found myself thinking about her as much as I expected I would. Our relationship felt complete when she died, so maybe that’s it. But honestly I don’t know. Maybe this is how we go forward. I will send her good wishes at midnight. It does make me cherish my other wonderful sibling, Rosie, all the more, and I will be sending her wishes for a good year at the same time.

Now the year is ending with word that my childhood pediatrician, W. Robert Elghammer, has passed away. I have a lot of good memories of him back in my youth in Danville, Illinois – one of which is that he invariably ended my visit with telling my how incredibly healthy I was. I think he was compensating a bit for my single mother who worried about scrapes, strains and scratches that would not trouble, say, a father of five boys. One time I set the record for sit-ups at Garfield Grade School, something like 240 at one go, and my mother sent to me to Dr. Elghammer, who seemed more impressed by my record than the fact that my stomach was a bit sore.

That is not the point, however, because in later years Dr. Elghammer became a Dan! doctor, to my great delight. Here was a common-sense decent intelligent experienced reliable credible provider of medical care to children over the course of many years of changes who realized the vaccine program – which in my day consisted of polio, smallpox, and the DPT shot, had gone completely insane. He was not the only doctor to see it, but one of an early, honest and brave minority to say it.

A few years back when I wrote about it for the first time, I said:

This is the coolest fact I’ve come across in quite some time, because here we are hanging out on a limb saying we think there is a problem with the current CDC vaccination schedule, that it’s connected with autism, that an alternative schedule is a no-brainer, and that we need to be treating autism like the environmentally induced illness it really is.

And now I find that W. Robert Elghammer, the level-headed, mainstream voice of reason back in my hometown, is on the same wavelength. I found this out from a faithful reader of our site who posts as Tanner’s Dad and lives in Catlin, Ill., where my grandfather grew up on a farm. [Tim Welsh, now an AOA Contributing Editor who also alerted me to Dr. Elghammer’s death.]

The story ran July 4 -- how perfect -- in the Danville Commercial-News, where I worked in high school, during summers in college and for four years thereafter. Here’s an excerpt from the article.

“Right now, Elghammer believes strongly that the routine vaccinations young children receive may be responsible for the increase in autism. … ‘Immunizations may be fine for 99 percent of the population. I wouldn’t change anything during the first year, just follow the same routine. But I suggest everyone delay their children’s boosters until they’re two years old. By that time, autism will have manifested itself.”

That is a little unclear as reported, but it certainly reflects a concern about too many shots, too soon and autism.  Back in the 1960s, he was the most reassuring and respected person you could imagine. I got the mumps, the measles, chickenpox and a fair number of nasty colds that in those days meant staying in bed and watching “I Love Lucy” reruns all day. But I got through them, and I didn’t get autism.

I looked up Dr. Elghammer on the Web just to make sure he hadn’t been in the slammer in the interim -- you know how the CDC-apologist fringe likes to start throwing stones at anyone who raises these kinds of issues. His record was clear; in fact, I found that just last year the State public health department recognized him “for his excellence in pediatric care and childhood injury prevention initiatives.” It was some obscure honor called THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, people! Here’s one part of the citation that stands out:

“In 1956, Dr. Elghammer spearheaded the Vermilion County polio drive as its director. Volunteering to inoculate all of the county’s children, Dr. Elghammer administered polio vaccine to thousands of children through visits to schools around the county. The drive charged 25 cents per vaccination, which Dr. Elghammer collected and donated 100 percent of the drive proceeds to the two nursing schools in Danville.

“In 1971, Dr. Elghammer established the Intensive Care Nursery at Danville’s Lake View Hospital. He also designed the equipment and developed the procedures for the nursery including florescent lighting for infants with high bilirubin, catheterization procedures and laminar flow and hyperalimentation procedures for infants who required intensive IV nutrients.”

Wow. A doctor committed to kids and to a vaccine that was really needed and really worked. Now, based on a lifetime of experience, that doctor is saying, Watch out, we’ve got a problem.

And he’s not just any doctor. He’s my pediatrician! I am so psyched.

One more thing: "Tanner's Dad," who put me on to this story, tells me his son's last full sentence after getting his shots and regressing into autism six years ago July 4 was the following: "My name is Tanner. My name is Tanner.

"

Now, says Tanner's Dad, "After diet changes and supplements (Methyl B12 GFCF) he said his first words to me for Fathers day.'Hi Daddy'! It was beautiful yet sad."

It may be worth pointing out that Tanner's doctor these days is an old-school, well-respected, mainstream pediatrician: W. Robert Elghammer.

--

A P.S. for 2017: If you say what you think and stick to your guns and you are right, like my pediatrician and many of you who read AOA every week, sometimes even the president of the United States will come around to agreeing with you.

Here’s to a happy and new year to all of us!

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Best Of: Six Bad Ideas That Triggered the Autism Epidemic

6Best of from December 2015

By Dan Olmsted

We probably all know the saying that Ideas Matter. Lately I’ve been mulling a handful of ideas – very bad ideas, I’d say – that have come together to trigger, expand, and perpetuate the autism epidemic and a host of allied disorders that constitute The Age of Autism.

Today I’m going to lay them out in brief, and in coming days I’ll say more about each one, and end with the counter-ideas that could really bring us a happy new year.

Please add your own!

Bad Idea Number One. Vaccines are the Eric Clapton of Medicine; they are God. Vaccines are the number one medical accomplishment of all time, and every day in every way they make our world safer and safer. Bow down!

Bad Idea Number Two. The evidence for Number One is clear. “Study after study” has shown that vaccines work wonderfully and that the so-called “risks” are effectively zero – a one-in-a-million chance of anything serious happening. (“One in a million” is pharma speak for zip, zilch, nada, roll up your sleeve.)

Bad Idea Number Three. Disagreeing with Numbers One and Two is Unacceptable Speech. Claims that vaccines are more dangerous than advertised are bogus and should be suppressed. You need to be a conspiracy theorist, a purveyor of junk science, a pathetically gullible parent looking for someone to blame for your damaged kid, or out-and-out anti-vaccine to harbor such ideas.  

Bad Idea Number Four. Conflicts Don’t Count. Drugmakers, doctors, legislators, bureaucrats, TV programs buoyed by pharma money are immune to the usual concerns that conflicts of interest -- profits, incentives, campaign contributions, ad dollars, liability worries -- require extra vigilance by the press and public. The drug companies may be caught red-handed in corrupt dealing, Congress bought off, the media lazy and desperate for drug dollars, but when it comes to vaccines (see Number One), they have only our health at heart!

Bad Idea Number Five. Because the first four are true, we must trust The Experts who are working hard every day to help us stay happy and healthy. They are god’s messengers on earth.

Trust. The. Experts.

Continue reading "Best Of: Six Bad Ideas That Triggered the Autism Epidemic" »


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Over the Top and Under Their Skin

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Dear Readers: I’m kind of amazed to announce that you didn’t just meet our November matching fund drive goal, you doubled it. Anonymous Reader put up $5,000 if contributors could match it, and with 60-plus separate donations large and smaller, the total kept rising to just over double that amount.

This is our third year for the matching drive, and we’ve topped it each time. This was really a blowout and we thank you so much. And thanks to Anonymous Donor for not just putting up the match but supporting AOA every day.

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I had to laugh this week when Josh Mazer sent an e-mail titled Congratulations! I am not above enjoying praise so I opened it with anticipation. “Hi Dan,” Josh wrote. “You made the Honor Roll. You must be doing something right.”

And what honor roll might that be? What collection of widely respected, even if controversial, worthies have we joined?

Oh. “The Worst Web Sites for Science 2016.”

“The Internet is full of misleading, incorrect, or even blatantly fake information,” Real Clear Science reported. “While optimistic futurists once hailed the Internet as an egalitarian source of knowledge – information for all – it has instead proven to be an equally powerful source of misinformation. The following websites are some of the worst contributors to this disconcerting trend.”

Drum roll, please. We are the third worst website for science on the whole darn web of world-wide wackiness! We actually beat Alex Jones’ InfoWars, number four, and lost out only to Mercola, number 2, and Natural News, number 1. To adapt the Miss America language, if at any time during the coming year Mercola or Natural News are unable to perform their duties, we will be the Number 1 worst science website. That is quite a burden to contemplate.

Here is the full citation, which I hope will be arriving soon in the mail, hand-lettered and suitable for laminating at FedEx Kinkos:

Age of Autism, "The Daily Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic," says it best themselves: "the autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause." Rates of autism absolutely have increased, and the causes are up for debate, but the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that vaccines do not play a role. (A shift in diagnosis likely accounts for much of the rise.) Evidence does not factor into Age of Autism's reporting, however. Either ignorantly or willfully, they misconstrue science and mislead their readers into believing that vaccines are dangerous.

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“Either ignorantly or willfully” – I love that concept. Either we are too stupid to know any better, or we know better but are too despicable to tell the truth. I don’t like my choices there, so I’m going to say we do know the truth, and we tell it.

A further point of pride – We are a lot smaller operation and Web presence than some of our fellow anti-science travelers. We are causing more trouble per post, per pound, per comment and contribution, than any other anti-science site out there.

And for that, dear readers, you have only yourselves to thank!

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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Weekly Wrap: A Little Milton With Your Post-Election Coffee

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

The election just passed still feels so raw and immediate that it almost seems like it’s still going on – I feel like one of those times when I’ve driven for 10 hours and I close my eyes at bedtime and still feel like I’m driving. That happened another time when Mark Blaxill and I were working on our first book and had put in a marathon long weekend session. I tried to go to sleep but words were appearing in front of me as if the inside of my eyeballs was a sheet of paper.

Much could be said, but little needs to be: I wish President-Elect Trump well and I hope this is an opportunity to end the age of autism and confront the damage done by the bloated, unsafe vaccine schedule. Readers of all stripes continue to be welcome here. Partisan politics really doesn’t advance the cause – and as a non-profit we don’t endorse candidates or adopt a political line beyond calling it as we see it.  Yes, we practice advocacy journalism, for which there is a rich tradition. And at least we acknowledge it rather than descend to the sneering condescension of supposedly balanced outlets like the New York Times. (“On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents Versus Science.”)

As for Milton, I was recalling the last lines of Paradise Lost – no hidden message here, just the idea that we need to leave the past behind to fully accept the invitation to shape our future:

“The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.”

Let’s hope and expect that Providence, however defined, will continue to guide our efforts. To invoke another of my favorite quotes, “Continuous, calm, powerful use of the will shakes the forces of creation and brings a response from the infinite.” (Paramahansa Yogananda)

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Our matching fund-raising drive has a ways to go to take full advantage of the $5,000 match being offered by Anonymous Reader. We hope that perhaps with the election over and a few moments before the holidays hit us head on, you’ll consider a donation to keep us going strong in the new year, the new administration, the new era. With wandering steps and slow, with continuous, calm, powerful use of the will, we’ll get there.

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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Weekly Wrap: Raspberries, Pesticides and the New Polio

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Rasperberries on fingers

The alarm bells are ringing louder over the increasing number of cases of sudden paralysis among children in the United States. But the predictable focus on germs by “disease hunters” is obscuring what surely must be a strong environmental component.

Last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times’ piece put the issue on the mainstream media map,and another cluster of nine in Washington State this week – focusing on a six-year-old boy from Whatcom County – made the national news. (That child died.)

Here at AOA, which focuses on autism and other environmental, man-made threats to children’s health, we first called out this issue as urgent in early 2014 because it lined up eerily with work Mark Blaxill and I had done about the original paralysis-inducing epidemics of poliomyelitis. In 2011, we first proposed a new theory for those outbreaks – suggesting the poliovirus combined with novel manmade toxins, most notably the pesticide lead arsenate, to kick off the Age of Polio. The ideas is simple: Toxin plus microbe = polio outbreaks. Without the toxin, polio is a minor, often unnoticed infection. With it, the virus can gain access to the nervous system and cause polio's dreaded effects.

So when this new outbreak of polio-like paralysis among children arose in California, we looked into it. We interviewed the mother of a child, Sofia Jarvis, who developed a paralyzed arm, and we came up with a possible pesticide connection. Here’s a screen grab from a story Mark and I wrote in April 2014.

DO screen grab polio rasperries

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Now it pays to be humble in the face of a new illness. There was a lot going on in this cluster of early cases, which spread from California and Colorado to Illinois and across the country before seeming to fade out last year (it’s back now on a scary cycle that also recalls the periodicity of polio). Some of those patients two years ago tested positive for EV-68, a virus in the same enterovirus family as polio, but others didn’t, and a conclusive link between the infection and the neurological damage couldn't be made in any case.

Sofia had been hospitalized and gotten an IV antibiotic in the same arm that became paralyzed, which is similar to the “provocation polio” caused by needle sticks that allowed the virus to travel, through a process called “reversal axonal transport,” to the anterior horn cells at the top of the spinal column that control movement. (It was upon hearing about this phenomenon while we worked on our 2010 book “The Age of Autism” that Mark and I looked deeper at polio. It seemed to mimic a process we were investigating involving the combination of syphilis and mercury treatment triggering the worst form of that disease, general paralysis of the insane. Note paralysis.)

We were the first to report last month that the CDC was informing state health departments of a new wave of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) cases starting this summer, and we again put forward our idea that the environment, probably in the form of pesticides but whatever the case something besides a microbe, was involved. (Some of our readers will suspect vaccines, which is also certainly plausible.) AFM is basically medical code for WTF?, since it does not describe an infection but a condition. It's like calling poliomyelitis infantile paralysis, the term it went by before anyone figure out what was going on.

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap: Raspberries, Pesticides and the New Polio" »


Weekly Wrap: Bait and Switch

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

'Bout spit up my ginger ale Monday night when I saw an ad from Hillary Clinton taking on Donald Trump for his arm-flapping imitation of a disabled reporter -- Trump claims he didn't remember the reporter and was just lampooning his excitedness, not his illness. 

The Hillary ad's mom said, "It's not uncommon for autistic kids to flap their hands," showing a teenage boy doing just that. "When I saw that [Trump], that was completely disqualifying. I'm a Republican, but this election is so much more than party. My son Max can't live in Trump world, so I'm crossing Party Lines and voting for Hillary. I don't always agree with her, but she's reasonable, she's smart, people can work with her to solve problems. I want to be able to tell kids that I did the right thing when it really mattered."

Oh gosh, well, where to start. Many AOA readers will regard the idea that Hillary is looking out for autistic kids as a canard, to use one of my favorite words for a lie, a fable, a hoary bit of nonsense. Without her resolute "sky is blue" defense of vaccines and her government-heavy intervention in children's health in the 1990s -- progressives always know what's best, and especially love hepping de chewdwen -- we might not have an epidemic to begin with, or at least we might have stopped it earlier, which would have really helped kids. Right now about a trillion dollars would be a nice round figure for the kind of help that's needed.

So yes, galling. But somehow I find even more annoying the elision of the reporter's disability, a joint abnormality, with autism. I mean, the mom didn't exactly say it was the same thing, and the point was kind of the same, but the idea was clearly left that Trump was mocking a child with autism. Which, again, is kind of maddening as his view that vaccines cause autism is exactly correct, and Hillary's claim that they don't is exactly wrong.

Is it any wonder we're going half mad this election season, or half of us are going mad and the other half are just mad, or whatever? Don't take advantage of autism, OK?

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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


US Government Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Earn Thousands Today!

BarnumManaging Editor's Note: So maybe I used a bit of clickbait...  But the headline is technically true! True! True!  We run this article from 2010 each Fall during the Flu Shot push that is everywhere.  CVS?  Earn a 20% savings card!  Stop & Shop? "No Cost Flu Shot!" No cost? Not exactly. Read one woman's horror story below.  Hell of a way to make a payday.  

By Dan Olmsted

On the whole, Lisa Marks Smith would rather have had the flu. Instead, the Cincinnati mom of two college-age sons got a mercury-containing flu shot that nearly killed her, led to paralysis, severe neurological problems, 24 days in the hospital – and a check from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that attests to the truth of her story.

Smith has come to see first-hand how carelessly flu shots are administered, how dangerous the mercury that remains in most of them can be, how little public health officials actually seem to care when the worst happens, why the worst may not be so rare after all – even how similar the side effects can be to symptoms of autism.

She talked to Age of Autism about her ordeal, which began in 2005, in the hope of sparing others.

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Dan: I thought I’d start by asking you where things stand now. How’s your health? How are you feeling at the moment about everything?

Lisa: The only lingering thing I have at this point is that if I do not take big doses of magnesium, my legs shake. And I mean muscle spasms, Charlie horses, twitches – think Parkinson’s shaking. I do feel my feet again after four years. I need to go shoe shopping because I only own sandals, and it’s cold this winter in Cincinnati, and if you feel your toes you can’t wear sandals in the snow.

Dan: Well, I guess that’s a good problem to have, considering what happened. Just to go over the basics, you got a monetary award from the vaccine injury compensation award program and it was how much?

Lisa: I am not allowed to tell but in all honesty the award would not have covered my medical bills. To me, it’s the validation – they can’t claim they don’t know what’s happening when they’re paying people.

Dan: And of course one thing we hear so much about, and it’s almost a cliché, is that correlation does not equal causation – in other words, "just because you got a flu shot and then got very sick doesn’t mean it caused it." But in this case, correlation was a very strong indication of causation.

Lisa: In my case, my neurologist said straight up, this is what caused it. So it’s very hard for them to say one doesn’t equal the other. You’re walking around, you’re perfectly healthy, you don’t even get colds. You have a flu shot and within two weeks you’re paralyzed, and paralysis is listed as a possible side effect.

Continue reading "US Government Will PAY You to Get a Flu Shot! Earn Thousands Today!" »


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Sometimes the Jaw Goes Slack

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Ollmsted

Anne Dachel does a great job of bringing the latest outrages of the mainstream media to our humble blog -- she reads it so you don't have to, it might be said. But one item this week really caught my attention and bears repeating: Nathan Crabbe at the Gainesville Florida Times watched Vaxxed but never mentions William Thompson, the subject of the documentary!

Instead he says: "For a moment I thought the film might actually be an evenhanded documentary, but that thought was dispelled once Andrew Wakefield appeared on the screen. Wakefield, the film's director, also happens to be the author of a discredited study published in the British medical journal The Lancet in 1998 linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism...."

This is the stuff of madness. No one questions -- or in fact mentions -- what Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC, says about MMR fraud. Instead it's guilt by association. Wakefield. Wakefield. Wakefield.

This is not unusual, based on reading Anne's reports. Many news outlets never mention Thompson, but they cheer the fact the movie has been kicked out of film festivals because "repeated studies have found no connection between vaccines and autism." Yeah, repeated studies like the fraudulent one not mentioned here.

This is lousy, rotten, no good reporting. People who subscribe to the Gainesville paper are paying money to find out what a movie is about.

I'd like to throw an idea in the hopper. When I worked on a daily newspaper, we took our readers very seriously (at AOA we do, too). If a reader had a factual or fairness complaint, he or she could get a serious hearing not just from the reporter but from the editor. 

I would like to see some parents who believe their children were vaccine-damaged  get together after the next outrage by their local paper or TV station and politely request a meeting with the editor. Go as readers with experiences to share, not as a pressure group. If you don't get satisfaction, stand out front of the paper and hand out leaflets asking people with similar experiences to call the same editor. (Bring the pamphlets with you and leave one on the way out if you're dissatisfied.)

I'd ask the Gainesville editor to do a follow-up story describing what the movie is about. They can slam it all they want, but to hide the subject matter is poor reader service. And poor journalism.

Don't cancel your subscription! Start a Reader Revolt. My guess is they'll pay attention.

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This week Mark Blaxill passed along an interesting Viewpoint article from the Journal of the American Medical Association, of all places. I couldn't get the abstract, but the note summarizing it said:

What Happens When Underperforming Big Ideas in Research Become Entrenched?
Joyner MJ, Paneth N, Ioannidis JP.
JAMA. 2016 Oct 4;316(13):1355-1356.

In this Viewpoint, John Ioannidis and colleagues review how rarely gene therapy and genomic medicine have led to breakthroughs for patients and call on the NIH to defund preclinical research that fails to deliver on its initial promise.

For several decades now the biomedical research community has pursued a narrative positing that a combination of ever-deeper knowledge of subcellular biology, especially genetics, coupled with information technology will lead to transformative improvements in health care and human health. In this Viewpoint, we provide evidence for the extraordinary dominance of this narrative in biomedical funding and journal publications; discuss several prominent themes embedded in the narrative to show that this approach has largely failed; and propose a wholesale reevaluation of the way forward in biomedical research.

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Doesn't the NIH drive you crazy? It must stand for Not Interested in Health or No Imagination Here, or some such thing. The idiotic slow-motion response to the AIDS epidemic has played out again with the idiotic slow-motion Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, which is also gene-centric. Whatever the NIH is up to we can be almost sure it adds up to Nothing Interesting Here.

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Back in October of 2014 I wrote about the competing threats of EV-D68 and a new wave of paralysis in children compared to the then extant-threat of Ebola."

"Right now the media is fixated on the first case of Ebola to reach U.S. shores … Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, says the disease will be stopped in its tracks, and for once I believe him. This is what the CDC does well -- track an outbreak in real time, find contacts, quarantine if necessary, and put an end to it. 

“Enterovirus 68, I'm afraid, may be another story. This prospect is outside the CDC's wheelhouse because it does not follow the straight lines of germ theory - one microbe, one disease. It's another paradigm altogether -- a possible microbe-toxin interaction, the kind we've written about many times. And it comes uncomfortably close to interactions (MMR and thimerosal, another microbe and metal combination) they have already rejected as impossible. 

“I'm afraid they feel much more at home waging war on Ebola.

“Which story is bigger? I vote for the enterovirus.

"If EV-D68 follows the polio trajectory, it will be back in bigger numbers, following a jagged course of dips and spikes that no on can make sense of until, one day, it explodes."

Now it's b-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k, as we've reported. Even People is on the case: "Polio-like disease is on the rise in the U.S., causing paralysis in children."

As many of you know I've been writing recently -- and Mark and I have been collaborating for a long time -- on the real history of polio and its relation to toxic co-factors. Everything old is new again.

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Just because I want to, I'm going to say I think opening Prince's house as a tourist attraction so soon after his death is some kind of record for instant kitsch. Yes, I know the lack of air conditioning means the items could not be kept around, etcetera etcetera. But please. The man died of an overdose of a prescription drug that is part of a class of drugs that has been hawked, like so many other medical intervention, way out of proportion to its usefulness. 

Here's a memorial to Prince -- take drug ads off TV.

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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Weekly Wrap: No More Measles, Lots More Autism

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

"An effort spanning two decades has resulted in a global first," CNN reported Thursday. "The Americas have eliminated measles, the World Health Organization said this week. The battle was won through mass vaccination to prevent the viral disease, which can cause severe health problems including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death."

Well, the battle was mostly won before the battle began, as anyone who's looked at the pre-vaccine wipeout of the disease would know.

From Mark Blaxill and my 2015 book, Vaccines 2.0:
Measles Mortality DO MB

In Vaccines 2.0 we wrote: “Much of the recent publicity about measles reflects a small increase in US cases in the past few years—usually overseas travelers becoming infected and then spreading the illness in small pockets that generate alarmist headlines.

“In the spring of 2014, a news outlet in suburban Washington, under a large banner titled “Health Warning,” reported public health workers “are informing people who were at various locations . . . that they may have been exposed to a person with measles. Northern Virginia area health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to identify people who may have been exposed.”

“The idea that measles is highly infectious is certainly true; the claim that it is a health emergency is not. For generations, measles was considered a rite of passage for children, with little risk of complications and the reward of lifetime immunity."

A blogger at Livingwhole.org made the same point in June 2014 in a post titled, Measles Shmeasles:

“So far, in 2014 there have been 288 cases of measles, no cases of encephalitis, and no death. In 2013 there were 189 cases of measles, no encephalitis and no death. In 2012 there were 54 cases of measles, no encephalitis, and no death. In 2011, there were 22 cases of measles, and you guessed it . . . no encephalitis, and no death.

“I could go on, but you get the point.

“By and large, measles is unpleasant, not deadly.

“In comparison, the same cannot be said for the MMR vaccine. As of March 1, 2012 there were 842 serious injuries following the MMR vaccine and 56 deaths. Since 1990 there have been more than 6,058 serious adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). What’s even more sad is that only 1–10% of cases are actually reported ….”

Honestly. If you’ve seen Vaxxed, you know it does a great job of contrasting the Disney measles hysteria with the blasé attitude of mainstream media and medicine and the CDC and the NIH and HRSA and etcetera to the endless, increasing, debilitating, sometimes lethal autism epidemic and its allied catastrophes.

But of course kids will all be getting the MMR into perpetuity – now with one part that doesn’t work and spawns epidemics post-adolescence that are far more dangerous (mumps); a vaccine for a disease that is usually not serious and is no circulating (measles) but can have serious side effects, and one for which there can be an altruistic argument given the risk of congenital rubella syndrome, but also with serious risks. Put them all together, shake it up and voila -- the autism shot, as Jenny called it.

Kind of like the DPT – diphtheria doesn’t circulate, tetanus is not a serious risk, and certainly not to anyone but the person who might get it, and pertussis, for which we believe there is a case worth discussing.

Not to mention the deadly and disgusting HPV, the useless and dangerous Hep B, the useless and dangerous chickenpox.

This is why parental choice and no mandates are so important, regardless of one’s stance on vaccines overall. Too much autism, too many vaccines with too many side effects – but at least, thank God, no measles.
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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


The Age of Polio: The Second Baseman’s Son

SeccafinoBy Dan Olmsted

WYTHEVILLE, Virginia (AOA) -- It was the seventh inning stretch of a home game for the Wytheville Statesmen, the Class D League team beloved by this baseball-obsessed Southwestern Virginia town. The date was June 30, 1950.

The announcer told the crowd that Johnny Seccafico, infant son of second baseman Jim Seccafico, had been rushed to the hospital in Roanoke, seriously ill. (How serious can be measured in miles away: 78.) The fans passed a Statesmen hat and chipped in $227, a generous gesture worth ten times as much in today's dollars. Jim, who looks heartbreakingly young in this photo, was not in the game that night. He never played again.

Johnny had polio, the first case in town that summer, and his father instantly dropped the itinerant life of a D Leaguer to help care for him; Johnny lived. He never walked again.

Before it was over that summer, Wytheville – pronounced WITH-ville, pop. 5,500  – and Wythe County suffered an outbreak of poliomyelitis that struck nearly 200, killing 17, almost all of them children. Per capita, Wytheville remains the worst polio outbreak anywhere, ever.

Why? That was the question on my mind last month when I stopped off for a day in this town in the Blue Ridge just off Interstate 81, on my way back from a camping trip in North Carolina. I’ve learned over the years that the most extreme example of a phenomenon – the first cases of autism, for example, or the worst cases of Freud’s hysteria, or the fatal version of syphilis – can be the most revealing. It’s what Mark Blaxill and I have been doing for a decade now. (Another thing I've learned is to try to visit places I'm writing about -- walking the territory, as one editor put it to me.)

In the case of polio, we concluded a few years back that outbreaks were not as simple as they seemed: a toxic co-factor is required to turn harmless poliovirus infections into poliomyelitis, the illness that attacks the anterior horn cells at the top of the spine and causes paralysis and death. The earliest co-factor, we proposed, was the pesticide lead arsenate; its invention in 1892 ushered in the Age of Polio. Arsenic can weaken the immune system and cause permeability in the GI tract and, we suspect, allow the virus to escape into the nerves and cause paraIysis. Lead, too, is infamous for causing both mental and physical handicaps including paralysis. A handful of medical mavericks have long argued so-called"polio" is just lead arsenate or DDT poisoning in disguise. Our equation is new: virus + toxin = poliomyelitis.

Following our “worst and first” approach to historical epidemiology, I recently wrote about the first big regional epidemic in the United States, which started in Brooklyn in 1916. I made a case that the outbreak was triggered by the first use of arsenic as a weed killer in sugar cane fields; Brooklyn was the sugar refining capital of the world.

Continue reading "The Age of Polio: The Second Baseman’s Son" »


Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Don’t Be Cruel …

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

We always enjoy hearing from readers. Here’s an e-mail I received this week from someone going by the pen name Potato Part:

“I will preface this with the fact that I am autistic.

“I accidentally ran across Age of Autism. Age of Autism is the type of stuff that actually hurts autistic people. This type of thing makes it seem like the parents are suffering when their kids are autistic. That's complete bullshit.

“Those parents are the ones trying to kill us in an attempt to ‘cure’ us. It is definitely very nice to see that we are hated. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for helping the content that hurts autistic people. Thank you for putting out content that gets autistic people killed. Thank you for actively harming autistic people. Thank you for reminding us that we are thought of as burdens.

“Thank you for making it harder for autistic people to live. Thank you for the content that makes autistic people suicidal. Thank you for making our life harder. Thank you for making our life worse.”

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Another commenter this week wrote the following:

“We have 16 yr old severe autistic child with violent behavior. We cant leave such a beautiful girl in this world alone after us. So we decided to live till we can bear. When we reach a point beyond which we can't pull any more, we will end our roles in this world along with her. People may call us escapists, but after taking this decision, we started enjoying life. We are sure nobody else can take care of such children other than parents.

"Doctors/scientists/bureaucrats/politicians - Put some more efforts/grant enough funds to research more to find solution ASAP to save families suffering from this problem.”

Those two comments just about cover the waterfront, I’d say.

Obviously, premeditated murder-suicide out of despair for the future of one’s child, as this parent is promising, is not OK.  Autistic people like Potato Part feeling suicidal, or at least that his or her life is made harder and that they are hated after reading sites like ours, is not OK.

It’s not my place to offer a glib counterargument to either, although in my opinion death just postpones your karma, so you might as well work it out in this life and ask for -- demand -- all the help you need to do so. The degree of suffering in both these comments is awful and deserves empathy though not encouragement or consent, a difference those of us in happier circumstances have an obligation to convey.

People high-functioning enough to write a note like Potato Part’s might fairly be asked to drop the nihilistic sarcasm and say plainly what they might, or we should, do to make life better not just for themselves but for autistic individuals so incapacitated that their parents believe it would be an act of love to kill them. Parents who think their kids will be better off dead than without them might want to consider Potato Part’s perspective, as well as resources like TACA, before settling on such a dire strategy. I wrote a few weeks ago about a hundred flowers blooming in terms of ideas for group living and other remedies for institutions and social isolation. A lot of families are in this boat. Don't jump ship. Reach out.

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Another comment this week from a regular reader about a conference Mark Blaxill and I were attending left me a little perplexed: It began: “Dan, you do amazing work but I probably won't watch because the conference looked too slick and commercial, which to me means they will probably downplay the role of vaccines in the health crisis.”

Well, first, thank you, and second, you are seriously harshing my buzz, dude. The Real Truth About Health Conference in Orlando did anything but “downplay” the role of vaccines in the health crisis. I’ll say more about it later when I have some video and transcripts to share, but this falls in the category of not wanting to join the kind of club that would have us as members, doesn’t it? Or something like that.

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I picked up a Time magazine at the airport on the way to the Orlando conference. Mistake.

“We shouldn’t dismiss people who deny facts,” wrote Sara E. Gorman and Jack M. Gorman in a short Viewpoint. “It’s easy to dismiss people who believe things that are factually incorrect – that vaccines cause autism, for example, or that climate change isn’t real.” The article attempted to “empathize” with us poor benighted souls. Since no one knows what causes autism – speak for yourselves, Sara E. and Jack M. – “we tend to fill in the gaps ourselves” and respond more to stories than statistics.

“That’s precisely what makes it more natural for antivaxxers to ‘imagine’ the risk of their children dying from a vaccine than it is for them to comprehend statistics that say otherwise.” The article, dripping with condescension masquerading as wuv, sweet wuv, concluded, “changing minds requires compassion and understanding, not disdain.” As J.B. Handley put it on The Doctors a few years back, “I don’t need your sympathy.”

The idea that we are so pitiably illogical comes in the midst of a rather illogical argument, doesn’t it? Many who saw their child descend into autism after a shot were not (duh!) and are not “anti-vaxxers,” nor are they relying on “stories” about children dying. They are sharing what they saw. The Gormans might try listening.

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The Russians apparently hacked the records of some of our Olympians, and the media is reporting on Simone Biles’ ADHD. That’s a terrible invasion, but nothing for her to be ashamed of. It does reinforce a point I made a few weeks back about all the health challenges this year’s Olympians faced – including Michael Phelps, who has spoken openly about his own ADHD. We’re going to start needing a para-para-Olympics for our only “slightly” disabled athletes. Otherwise I’m not sure they’ll be able to put together a men's water polo team in 2020.

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Did you see how the sugar interests paid Harvard researchers decades ago to blame fat, not sugar, for ill health and obesity several decades ago? That’s a big deal as it skewed us away from what has since become obvious – that there wasn’t that much wrong with our grandparents’ diets (and theirs, and theirs) until sugar and preservatives came pouring into just about everything we eat.

I’ve been writing about the role of sugar in the 1916 polio epidemic, and although this has nothing directly to do with it, it shows what comes first, and it's not the consumer.

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Speaking of which, Bayer bought up Monsanto this week for $66 billion. Monsanto developed glyphosate. Bayer and DuPont created the ethylmercury seed disinfectant Ceresan that led to early cases of autism. DuPont and Dow recently merged. Dow and Monsanto supplied the government with Agent Orange. Coleen Boyle of the CDC helped minimize the role of Agent Orange in harming U.S. troops; she hid the cause of the autism epidemic, including the MMR cover-up described by William Thompson, and the dangers of ethylmercury-containing vaccines like the flu shot, DPT, HIB and Hep B. Thimerosal (Merthiolate) was invented for Eli Lilly by the same guy, Morris Kharasch, who invented Ceresan for DuPont and Bayer. Bayer bought up Monsanto ...

It’s a small, toxic world that spins round and round. And real people are really suffering because of it.

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Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Brett Wilcox on Vaccine Dogma and the Epidemic of Nonsense Live Today

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Editor's Note -- Today (Tuesday) at 9 am ET, Brett Wilcox is speaking on Vaccine Dogma and the Epidemic of Nonsense. Brett is the author of the very new book Jabbed, How the Vaccine Industry, Medical Establishment and Government Stick It to You and Your Family. Mark, Del Bigtree and I were on a panel with him in Orlando over the weekend and he was terrific, a great new asset to the vaccine injury community. We need some fresh voices, and we've got one. Tune in for free here, and leave a note to win a free copy of his book. Brett lives in Sitka, Alaska, by the way, and has already written two books on Monsanto's mayhem. He's a true antivaxxer. -- Dan


California Medical Board Attacks Dr. Bob Sears for Protecting His Patient

Russian rouletteNOTE:  Welcome to the USSV.  United States of Severe Vaccination. The California medical board is practicing communicable disease communism, demanding lockstep adherence to the pediatric vaccination schedule regardless of physician recommendations.   And they will punish doctors who exercise their medical knowledge.  They are targeting Dr. Bob Sears for his audacity in putting his young patients health before pharmaceutical, public health or government wishes.     There is to be NO vaccine choice in the world of Public/Government health. You will vaccinate with no question of your health status, religious beliefs or personal stance. This is communism. The government controls you.

Please share your support in our comments and most especially on this article.

Dr. Bob Sears faces medical board discipline in recommendation not to vaccinate

Dr. Bob Sears, the Capistrano Beach pediatrician who is an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccination laws, faces possible state Medical Board discipline after he recommended that a 2-year-old patient forgo immunizations, according to legal documents made public Thursday.

The board accuses Sears of committing “gross negligence” in 2014 when he wrote a letter excusing the toddler from future vaccinations after the child’s mother described an adverse reaction as an infant.

The documents say Sears failed to obtain a detailed medical history documenting the unidentified boy’s prior vaccines and reactions, which was necessary for making an evidence-based decision. Sears’ recommendation left the patient and “his future contacts at risk for preventable and communicable diseases,” the documents say.

Sears declined to comment Thursday.

If the board finds Sears negligent, he could face discipline ranging from a public reprimand to revocation of his medical license.

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