I've always believed in the power of nicknames to reveal truths about a person. My grandfather nicknamed me "the little professor" because I could usually be found with my nose in a book. Indeed, one of the favorite images I have of myself is a picture taken by my fourth grade teacher and given to my parents. In the picture, class is over, the chairs are up on the tables, and yet I'm still sitting there reading a book.
After two years working on the book, "PLAGUE - One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, and Other Diseases", I have a greater appreciation for the nickname given to my distinguished co-author, Tsunami Judy. Dr. Judy Mikovits certainly can talk. Sometimes I'd interview her for an hour and a half and when I did a word count we'd be at well over fifteen thousand words. "Judy, they wanted a hundred thousand word book. With just one interview we're fifteen percent of the way there!" (Update - It's probably going to be a hundred and fifty thousand word book.)
I like the image of my co-author as some elemental force of nature, because to a great extent it's true. And yet, there's also a gentleness and an unshakeable devotion to the betterment of humanity in her. For those of you familiar with the story, you'll know that after a civil dispute with her former employers went in a really "bizarre" direction in the words of Jon Cohen, a writer for Science, she was jailed for five days. I wanted to write in some joke about how the staff at the jail hadn't improved much since the days when they hung horse-thieves.
"Oh, no," said Dr. Mikovits, "They were really very professional." Who thinks to compliment the professionalism of their prison guards? My co-author, that's who! And as she was waiting to be released, one of the other prisoners told the guards that Dr. Mikovits was a cancer researcher. A few of the guards had family members with cancer and came up to ask her questions. They gave her their cards and she promised to review their cases and offer her opinion as to what they should ask their treating physicians. Who does that?
And it reminded me why I was attracted to this story in the first place.
I want to be inspired by scientists. I've heard enough double-talk, wilful ignorance, and outright lies from scientists in the autism struggle that it's blinded me to many of the couragous people who are trying to fight our battle. I want to be inspired by scientists who care about humanity, not whether a certain line of research will affect their lab's funding.
The below surveys are being conducted by Beth Clay, Hawk International.
The purpose of the first survey is to compile opinions about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) from petitioners who have filed claims in the program. Your participation is needed in order to more fully understand how the program is working, what messages legislators should receive, and what messages those working in the program at the Department of Justice, the Federal Court of Claims, the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the lawyers who represent petitioners should receive.
Any identifying information will be kept private and not connected to your responses. (Your state and email will be collected in order to (1) insure we do not get spammers in the petition, (2) share opinions with legislators specific to their state, (3) be able to email you a copy of the report when it is finished.
Neither the government, nor the attorneys involved in the NVICP will see identifying information connected to your responses.
The purpose of the second survey is to compile opinions about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) from the professionals who work in the program (lawyers, life planners, expert witnesses, etc.) Your participation is needed in order to more fully understand how the program is working, what messages legislators should receive, and what messages those working in the program should receive.
Two of my friends are pregnant. Both are in their 40s. Both have a typical child. Both also have a child on the spectrum. Both have been enthusiastically congratulated. I was happily shocked to learn of each of these pregnancies. Then I was excited. It’s almost as if these pregnancies are a first-time pregnancy. With all that these Moms have already gone through, they sort of are first-time pregnancies.
No longer will Mom be timid about what typically happens in a regular OB office.
She is so much more informed!
No longer will Mom let one person dictate all that she must do.
She knows she has other options!
No longer will Mom allow a medical professional trump her mother’s intuition.
She now has experience, knowledge and confidence on her side!
In each case, Mom knows so much more. She knows how to ask for certain things. She also knows how to politely yet firmly decline others. Mom wants so many things to be different and better. Yes, better. Better for her and better for her unborn child.
Part of me is worried for my friends. Being pregnant now, compared to ten or fifteen years ago when youth was on their side, will surely be different. According to literature, they’re OLD. Old means tired, exhausted, fragile. But, knowing these women and their personalities, old is just an adjective, and would never be the first one I’d use to describe them.
Both Moms are active in their other children’s lives. They are both movers and shakers in their own communities. They are both looked up to, respected and sought out for advice. Who better than an already inspiring woman to bring new life…and hope to our world.
Sure, I’m a little worried for my friends, but I’m downright giddy that these two women are pregnant. I’m more excited for these pregnancies than other. They will be far different than that of the younger people in my life. The younger people are having their first and second children and are clinging to every word, statistic and procedure their medical provider tells them. Then, their children are taken to every appointment that the powers that be have dictated. When pictures are shared, I see darkened circles under baby’s eyes and hear of food allergies, eczema, early speech problems and endless sleepless nights. Red flags are waving violently behind baby but Mom has yet to connect the dots or see the destructive path her children are walking.
I've been talking a lot about pesticides lately. In fact, one of our readers left this comment this week. "I'm not in any way stating that pesticide use doesn't pose health ramifications to the outside populous - it does. But I still believe that overall, the biggest 'environmental factor' re: the autism increase we're seeing today, is the continued and prolific use of the bolus doses of vaccines our kids are receiving." (So do I, bear with me just a bit longer.)
It's not the first time someone has wondered where I was going with this topic. When I spoke at Autism One in 2006, this is the impression I left on Teresa Conrick:. "He had been up on the stage in a plaid shirt, talking about mercury, seeds, and Ceresan. I didn't understand why this 'lumberjack guy' was talking to all of us parents about trees, Lignasan, and ethylmercury. 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." (Thanks, Teresa!)
But why are seeds and soil and Ceresan relevant to the current autism epidemic? Because they were an independent vector for the delivery of the same toxin, ethylmercury, that in vaccines triggered the current crisis, and keeps it spreading worldwide (shots are a much more efficient vector than pesticide dust). Critics toss out the "correlation is not causation" truism to try to discredit the vaccine-autism connection. (A better version would be "association is not necessarily causation, but it is a possible clue worth aggressive follow-up."). But when two totally independent delivery mechanisms -- pesticides with ethyl mercury and vaccines with ethylmercury -- starts flashing the same signal -- autism -- at the same time -- the 1930s -- in 11 families with clear connections to both those uses ... Well, truly independent observers ought to sit up and take notice, because they are getting a glimpse of autism's Big Bang -- the roots and rise of the preeminent disorder of our age. And when you know how an epidemic started, you have the key to ending it.
This is always worth repeating even at the risk of coming across as a one-note Johnny (see our book and blog and the video of the same name on our home page). But today I'd like to mention further evidence that links pesticides with neurological and developmental mayhem, including but not limited to autism, especially along the "left coast" of the United States, stretching from the San Joaquin and Central Valleys of California up through Napa and the orchard and wine counties of Washington State. This temperate and fertile arc, sometimes referred to as Ecotopia, began blooming with fruits and vegetables when industrial agriculture, pesticides and irrigation started taking hold at the end of the 19th Century. It now accounts for a large percentage of the nation's food supply -- and increasingly, a number of unusual outbreaks that point to toxins.
July 10, 2014, AShotOfTruth.org: Autism Speaks Flip-Flops on Vaccines and Autism, Walks Away From Prevention
July 10, 2014, WIBW, Topeka, KS: Rash Of Measles Illustrates Importance Of Immunization
July 9, 2014, Fox 13, Salt Lake City: Charter school aiming to meet needs of students with autism nearing completion
We are grateful to Dan Burns for his leadership in crafting a full and meaningful life for adults on the spectrum. Here is a great opportunity to meet others to talk about employment and autism for all of our children, like my daughter who is turning 18 today. Thank you, Dan.
By Dan Burns
Appleseed Ventures is hosting an Autism Enterprise Roundtable at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, Cedar Creek Texas (between Austin and Bastrop) on Saturday, July 19, for autism families and advocates. You’re invited!
Overview and purpose. Job opportunities haven’t kept pace with the autism epidemic. The Appleseed Autism Enterprise Roundtable 2014 will focus on creating home-grown businesses to employ our transitioning kids. Dan Burns will facilitate this informal, workshop-style event. All who attend will be invited to share information about the enterprises they envision or have built. The purpose is to cultivate a network of resources to employ our young adults on the autism spectrum.
Agenda and Program. The Roundtable will convene at 10:00 AM Saturday, July 19, in the Verbena Room at McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Invited participants include:
• Peg Pickering, mother of an 18-year-old son with autism and author of Prioritize Organize: The Art of Getting It Done
• Jennifer Kaut, autism specialist at The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
• Jackie Schlegel-Polvado, Founder and Executive Director at Ashlyn's Hope
• You. This is an open, audience-participation event, and you are invited to share your hopes, concerns, and tips on enterprises you are currently managing, organizing, or envisioning.
We plan to conclude the formal workday at 3:00 PM with informal conversations continuing in the beautiful shaded picnic areas overlooking the valley as desired.
Pre and Post Events. Dinner Friday August 18 (5:00 for drinks, 6:00 for dinner) at Viejo’s Taco and Tequila on Main Street in historic downtown Bastrop near a scenic bend in the Colorado River. Saturday after the Roundtable, look forward to a catered event on the river bank near the Crossing. For directions call Dan at 214-914-0845. Bring your own instrument or purchase an inexpensive kazoo from Larry Land Music and join us for “Pickin’ on the Porch” (anybody can play) for a good time. Optional tubing is available through the Bastrop River Company.
By Kim Stagliano
Today we celebrate my middle daughter's 18th birthday. She is beautiful. Funny. Bright. Anxious. Vaccine injured. Autistic.
Gianna had been "ex utero" fewer than 24 hours before a nurse at Doylestown Hopsital injected her with a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease Hepatitis B. A disease I did not have. That vaccine had 12.5 mcg of mercury in it. I had opted for natural childbirth so as not to put a single chemical into my infant. And then I signed a piece of paper authorizing that toxic vaccine. I gave my consent, but it sure wasn't informed consent. I have the paper in a file.
Gianna's Apgar scores were high. She nursed within moments of birth. She slept. By the time we brought her home she was screaming a high pitched cry. She could nurse, but her mouth worked "funny." I called LaLeche so many times - she was biting me raw. Gnawing at me with an underbite that did not exist during her first feedings. I bled every time she nursed for months. When I read the infant primate study my jaw dropped. Baby primates lost their ability to suck after birth dose Hep B. So did my baby human.
Here are the phone numbers to call:
Senator Harry Reid - 202-224-2158 Senate Majority Leader
Senator Tom Coburn, 202-224-5754
Senator Ted Cruz, 202-224-5922
Senator Rand Paul, 202-224-4343
Senator Mike Lee, 202-224-5444
Senator Jeff Sessions, 202-224-4124
Senator Ron Johnson, 202-224-5323
Senator Jim Risch, 202-224-2752
We are hearing rumors that are scaring parents - telling them that if the bill sunsets, all the money will be lost. This is just wrong. This bill only "authorizes" money to be spent - it does not "appropriate" a dime. What we are fixing here is a failed policy that has ignored the needs of our community and not resulted in a single new treatment. Please make the calls and keep calling. And don't forget to send this far and wide on social media to get your friends and family to help.
July 9, 2014, WPTV West Palm Beach: The Autism Channel in West Palm Beach is trying to reach an international audience
July 9, 2014, Chicago Daily Herald: How should police handle people with autism?
By John Stone
In a CDC study of the adverse effects of MMR:
Above 1 in 17 toddlers in the study developed a temperature of 39.5C (103F) or greater post vaccination, and 1 in 5.6 a raised temperature
Nearly one quarter of toddlers in the study (23%) were routinely vaccinated despite being unwell prior to vaccination with fever (7%), diarrhea (12%) and rash (7%)
It is all too revealing to look at this 2006 study by LeBaron et al ‘Evaluation of Potentially Common Adverse Events Associated With the First and Second Doses of Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine’ which was apparently designed to be reassuring that the effects of a second and third dose of MMR at pre-school and mid-school age are milder than the first in infancy or toddlerhood.
But if so, we might ask, what about the first? We learn that it is quite routine for an infant to develop a raging fever with unknown long term consequences. Again LeBaron et al are frank about some of the limitations of their study:
‘Our study suffers from a number of limitations. Data on adverse events were based on unverified, family recorded symptom diaries. We had no unvaccinated control group. The baseline period for the study subjects lasted only 1 week and was relatively close to vaccination when the “healthy vaccinee effect”14 may well have been present. A 17% attrition rate occurred, mostly during the baseline diary period. The sample size was inadequate to examine rare adverse events or common adverse events with less than a twofold increase over baseline. The study population was atypical of the overall population of US children, in that they were almost all white, rural, healthy, and received vaccinations at the recommended ages. Other vaccines were administered simultaneously with MMR for >80% children in the 2 younger groups and <1% in the oldest group, making attribution of adverse events and comparison of groups more difficult.’
July 9, 2014, Lincoln (NE) Journal Star: Vaccination fears put to rest : Opinion
July 8, 2014, Chicago Tribune: Study paves way for simple blood test to predict Alzheimer's
July 8, 2014, Fox 28, South Bend, IN: Investigation: Indiana pesticide oversight inadequate amid study
July 8, 2014, Autism Daily Newscast: Half of all children will have autism by 2025
July 8, 2014, Charlottesville (VA) Tomorrow: Autism spike leads to school changes
One of the funniest things I’ve ever read – and I’ve referred to this before, so forgive me – is this item that ran in the New York Times:
“Correction: December 3, 2008 An article last Wednesday about Gael Greene’s dismissal as a restaurant critic for New York magazine misidentified the news service she was reporting for when she had an affair with Elvis Presley in 1956. It was United Press, not United Press International, which was formed in 1958 when United Press merged with the International News Service.”
Perhaps my own journalism background, which included a stint at UPI, adds to my amusement here. But I mean, who really cares what United Press was called in 1956, before it merged with the International News Service in 1958, to form United Press International, when it’s part of the same paragraph that tells you a prominent (recently fired) New York restaurant critic somehow ended up having an affair with Elvis Presley half a century ago. Now that’s a merger worth hearing about!
It is in that spirit that I bring you news that the Gray Lady has goofed again. Basically, in its latest paean to vaccination, an article last week on the rising cost of vaccines, it managed to get things so wrong as to raise concerns about its fundamental understanding of the subject. And as you know, we are the ones the Times believes are irredeemably erroneous.
I sent the Times this e-mail last week:
this statement is flatly wrong:
“For most prescription medicines, the crucial hurdle to marketing is to win Food and Drug Administration approval. But for vaccines, the prize is the imprimatur of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Once a shot is on the committee’s schedule as mandatory, every child has to get it before entering school and insurers have to cover it, at least nominally. (Many states require home-schooled children to be vaccinated as well.) ‘We have to give it to every kid, so it’s a golden ticket,’ Dr. Irvin said.”
(My e-mail continued:) In fact, the ACIP recommends childhood vaccines to the CDC, which uses that input to determine the childhood immunization schedule. that schedule is not a mandate. states consult it in adopting school entry requirements, which often do NOT include all vaccines on the CDC's schedule. also, "many" states do not require home-schooled children to be vaccinated, as i understand it -- only virginia and north carolina do so. regarding the first point, contrast it with this statement by the pro-vaccine Shot of Prevention website:
“There are no federal vaccination laws. However, just as the government requires immunizations for those who volunteer to join the military, and health providers may require employees to be vaccinated in a medical setting, immunization requirements for public school enrollment are determined by individual states. Parents are not forced to vaccinate their children. Rather, they’re given a choice as to whether they want their children to attend public school and therefore be vaccinated according to state admission policies.”
(my e-mail ends here)
On Tuesday, the Times printed this correction:
July 7, 2014, Disability Scoop: Validity Of CDC Autism Rates Questioned
July 7, 2014, WPTV West Palm Beach: British newspaper reports "breakthrough" in finding what causes autism
July 7, 2014, San Jose Mercury News: California must improve vaccination rates
9:00 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, Roll Call and Approval of Minutes
Thomas Insel, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), NIMH
Executive Secretary, IACC
9:15 OARC/IACC Update
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), NIMH
Executive Secretary, IACC
Thomas Insel, M.D.
9:30 Science Update
Thomas Insel, M.D.
9:45 Neuroimaging the Full Spectrum of Autism
Sharyk Attkisson has been a watchdog journalist and a "friend of ours" for a long time. Anne Dachel has covered Ms. Attkisson in her news updates. And C-SPAN recently interviewed Ms. Attkisson. NPR interviewed her about her departure from CBS and the changes she has seen in mainstream media's changes over the years. Please read the full story at NPR. You can follow Ms. Attkisson's work at her new website - SharylAttkisson.com. Her new book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington is available for pre-order now. It debuts in November.
When the investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson left CBS this year, she did not do so quietly. She contends the network refused to run stories that might damage President Obama.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
When investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson left CBS this year, she did not go quietly. She contends, the network refused to run stories that might damage President Obama. And her claims have become a flashpoint in arguments over ideological bias in the media. NPR's David Folkenflik has more.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Attkisson joined CBS News two decades ago and covered medical issues in Congress before becoming an investigative reporter. In recent years Attkisson says, CBS News started to shy away from controversy. And here's the claim that stirs real debate.
SHARYL ATTKISSON: You know, times I've been encouraged to begin covering stories about the Obama administration but then mid-stream I've been clearly discouraged from continuing to pursue them as the stories seem to start to get dicey, or as I seem to be able to turn up very good information and sources.
FOLKENFLIK: Attkisson has aggressively chased stories that bedevil the Obama White House, such as the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya and the botched Fast and Furious gun investigation. Attkisson says, she felt CBS wanted reporters to accept the government statements at face value.
Single Dose Reverses Autism-like Symptoms in Mice Old drug used for sleeping sickness may point to new treatment in humans
In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neurological disorder in animals that were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old.
The findings, published in the June 17, 2014 online issue of Translational Psychiatry, follow up on similar research published last year by senior author Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, pediatrics and pathology, and colleagues.
Naviaux said the findings fit neatly with the idea that autism is caused by a multitude of interconnected factors: “Twenty percent of the known factors associated with autism are genetic, but most are not. It’s wrong to think of genes and the environment as separate and independent factors. Genes and environmental factors interact. The net result of this interaction is metabolism.”
The American media will NEVER HONESTLY ADDRESS AUTISM'S CAUSE.
Here we're told that THERE'S NO PROOF it's vaccines, pesticides, cow's milk, or labor-inducing drugs. The only "safe" claims will continue to be things that point to the parents---ESPECIALLY THE MOM: old moms, moms who marry old dads, fat moms, drinking moms, smoking moms, moms on anti-depressants, and moms who live too close freeways.
Salon.com closed their eyes to the damage being done a while ago.
HOW COINCIDENTAL THAT SALON.COM REMINDS US THAT VACCINES DON'T CAUSE AUTISM JUST BEFORE ROBERT KENNEDY'S BOOK ON THIMEROSAL COMES OUT.
The Forbes piece goes further than just blaming non-vaccinating parents for outbreaks of measles. The controversy over vaccines and autism now forces vaccine makers to conduct massive trials involving hundreds of thousands of children to show vaccines are safe. This causes the cost to increase dramatically and some doctors can't afford to buy them for their patients. Forbes will not allow me to post comments any longer. (Their idea of freedom of speech doesn't include evidence that directly contradicts their claims.)
July 6, 2014, Salon.com: Autism blame game: The dangerous rush to blame everything from vaccines to dairy
Note: Read Teresa Conrick's full series on the Microbiome in our AofA Exclusives category.
By Teresa Conrick
Research on the microbiome is booming. I recently read that smartphones could be used as a sensor for personal mirobiome analysis demonstrating that the microbiome is becoming a mainstream concept. “Our cell phones actually reflect the personal microbial world of their owners, with potential implications for their use as bacterial and environmental sensors, according to new research….University of Oregon researchers sequenced microbes from the dominant-hand index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects…The study found smartphones closely resembled the microbiome sampled from their owner's finger, with 82 percent of the most common bacteria on participants' fingers also found on their phones.”
I continue to read and write about the relationship between the microbiome and autism for some very important reasons. First, I have a very ill daughter, called autistic yet affected by infections and now, an autoimmune diagnosis. In addition, there are thousands like her around the world. The significance of the microbiome and this first symposium is tremendous. Whether you have a child who has a diagnosis of AUTISM, PANDAS, PANS, IMMUNE DYSFUNCTION, or a combination of these, the studies of the microbiome are showing how the puzzle pieces may fit. I want to thank John Rodakis and N of One for organizing this first symposium on autism and the microbiome.
For me, leaving town is not an easy feat. Like many of you who live with a child who is chronically ill, a departure from their care can be difficult. I told Meg, who has had GI issues since regression at age two, nonverbal since that regression, seizures starting at age sixteen and then positive for antinuclear antibodies at eighteen, that I was going to go on this trip to learn how to get her feeling better. She smiled and smelled my hand, giving me a tiny kiss as she ran off to her favorite swing. That day was a good one for her but there are too many not good. She deserves a pain-free life where GI pain, vocal tics, OCD and self-injurious behavior disappear. Leaving gluten, casein and soy-free meals plus 3 days of medications and supplements, I left Chicago for Little Rock. I decided to drive as I wanted to stop in Missouri after the conference and visit the cemetery where my parents are buried, along with my maternal grandmother. My parents had bought land in the Ozarks years and years ago as a serene goal for retirement. My father died in 1993, the year Megan was born and my mother died in 1996, the year Megan was diagnosed with autism. Not an easy time for me. I had not been to the cemetery since then, as Megan’s many medical and behavioral issues made life challenging. There were some connections in my family history that the microbiome research may help answer, including Meg’s autism, which seemed to be infections and behaviors that trapped her. More about that connection on the return trip.
Managing Editor's Note: We brought you a post last month describing one possible outcome of genetics tests for autism and a request to slow down the Autism CARES bill until critical details are reviewed. Please HELP Restrict Autism CARES bill from Funding Abortion Research :
A press release sent out on July 3rd talks about the genetics of children diagnosed with autism, constipation, GI issues and sleep disturbance - which sounds like many of our vaccine injured children, doesn't it? Perhaps the genetics is about which kids are susceptible to vaccine injury that results in autism, constipation and sleep disturbances? This is a slipperty slope. A topic fraught with controversy. And worth considering and discussing.
SEATTLE, July 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A researcher at Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Institute has found a genetic identifier for autism that includes physical features that may eventually allow clinicians to identify babies who are at risk for autism before they are born. This is the first time a genetic mutation has been linked to autism.
Dr. Raphael Bernier, clinical director of Seattle Children's Autism Center and Associate Professor at the University of Washington, who led the research in collaboration with 13 institutions worldwide, has discovered a mutation of the CHD8 gene that, in addition to significantly increasing a child's risk of developing a specific subtype of autism, also causes several physical traits and symptoms that are unique to children with the same subtype of autism.
The physical traits – subtle facial features, such as larger heads and prominent foreheads – are features that, combined with confirmation of a CHD8 gene mutation, could allow clinicians to screen babies still in utero for a higher risk of developing autism, much like clinicians now screen for physical and genetic indicators of disorders like Down's Syndrome.
"This is a big leap forward in our insight into the causes of autism," said Bernier, who led the study published today in the scientific journal Cell. "It's possible we may be able to look at features in utero and determine a higher risk of autism, possibly even early detection."
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2034136#ixzz36czZV6xa
Ronan had a spectacular Fourth of July this year. Because his day was good, mine was too.
Instead of being disappointed like I was this time last year, we, meaning me, had already taken it down a notch as far as holiday expectations were concerned. In past years I would have wanted to cram as much fun as possible on a day off. This year, we picked one thing that Ronan could do and that he could do well.
Our family had a few options— play tourist in the big city looking at the sights, hang out with friends across town, or stick around in our own neighborhood joining other families down the street for a block party. All were equally exciting opportunities for us, but we decided that staying closer to home would be the best option.
Being steps away from the amenities of our own home (and all of Ronan’s ‘must-have’ like his iPad, allergy-free foods, favorite movies and such) gave us the chance to celebrate our nation’s birthday with ease. Being well prepared for whatever situation presented itself once we arrived to our neighbor’s house, and the fact that Ronan was willing to do something different, played a big role in the success of our day. Ronan had fun. He played in the pool with the big kids. I had the freedom to actually sit and visit with people. Ronan was melt-down free. He ate a full meal without any fuss which means I ate a full meal with hardly any interruptions. I even had a few conversations with neighbors that I was able to start and finish. I didn’t need to pull out any of our Plan B, or C, or D tricks because Plan A was working so well!
Off to celebrate! Ronan had his headphones, his safe foods and a means to get there and back without tiring.
A couple of recent court cases have me convinced that the religious exemption from childhood immunizations is in big trouble.
The first case is one I somehow missed when it was decided last month. It’s a bit convoluted, but the gist is that three New York parents said their unvaccinated children were denied their rights by being kept out of school because another child had a vaccine-preventable disease. The judge said no.
To tell you the truth, I am not terribly concerned about that. Most parents I know who forego vaccines say that a better solution to disease control is informal quarantine – keep your kid home when they’re sick, or if you don’t want them to catch a disease they’re not vaccinated against.
But the scary part – especially in a state with no philosophical exemption and a nasty habit of trying to make parents prove the sincerity of their religious convictions -- was this comment in the federal judge’s ruling. “The Supreme Court,” he wrote, has “strongly suggested that religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations.”
I couldn’t find a link to the judge’s ruling, but according to the Times, he was pointing to Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which in 1905 (!) found that if Mr. Jacobson wanted to skip being vaccinated during a smallpox epidemic, he had to pay a $5 fine. More broadly, “Jacobson” has been cited as proof that the state’s police powers trump personal choice when it comes to a battle over vaccine mandates.
I don’t see it. He objected, he said, because both he and one of his children had bad reactions to earlier vaccinations. And all he had to do was pay five measly bucks, which even accounting for inflation is not much. How that undercuts religion as a basis for declining vaccination – especially absent a raging, deadly epidemic – is beyond me.
But just as I was digesting this, along came this week’s Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court itself, which said closely held companies whose owners are opposed to contraception don’t have to pay for insurance coverage. Regardless of what one thinks of that ruling, logic dictates that such firms might now be able to decline to cover other medical interventions to which they have the same objections – to wit, vaccination. To me, that case seems stronger than it does for contraception. After all, a personal religious basis for opting out of vaccination is already established in 48 states, excepting only Mississippi and West Virginia.
Nothing doing. On the contrary, the opinion emphasized, “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.”
Managing Editor's Note: Excerpted from the HealthChoice.org site.
By Sylvia Pimentel
Our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance – most school kids learn those words at a very early age. We in the United States are taught to appreciate living in a country that has liberties many people around the world can only dream about. We are taught that we have a voice in public discourse. We are taught that we are part of a political system that allows for justice for everyone, not only the elite few.
But over time, many of us learn that one unfair exception to personal liberty exists in this country within health and medical choice. Regarding vaccines, freedom does not necessarily apply.
If you or your children are injured by a vaccine, you no longer have a voice. And in many instances you may not even have a choice. Not only are parents ignored when they say their child suffered an adverse event from a vaccine, they are also ridiculed, bullied and belittled – though victims’ families feel ethically compelled to speak out in the hope that vaccine injury will not destroy others’ lives.
Parents are told by industry, government and society that they only imagined the vaccine injury, or that it was a coincidence that their child became ill and regressed developmentally after the vaccination appointment. Parents are shouted down by vaccine bullies, and told that by speaking up about vaccine injuries they are harming society because other parents may fear getting their own children vaccinated.
So especially when it comes to vaccines, America is no longer the Home of the Free. To the contrary: Free speech is not only discouraged, it is vilified. It is attacked. It is muzzled.
All this public hostility and censorship comes as a great shock to average folks who have grown up with the secure feeling that they live in a free and just society. As taxpaying citizens we expect truth, transparency, fairness and service from our government agencies. But the reality is a much different story when your child is injured by one or more government-mandated vaccines, and your family now faces multimillion-dollar expenses for a lifetime disability.
This article is written for HealthChoice.org
I have always been drawn to United States history so I hope it will not be taken amiss if I offer an Independence Day perspective of a British citizen: we are, of course, all heirs of that revolution one way or another across the globe: more so today than ever perhaps. Immediately speaking there are two striking facets (I just had to correct the typographic error “strifing”): the incredible historic dynamism of the nation created by this event but also the great amount of thought that the founding fathers went into trying to prevent the re-emergence of the tyranny which they had just escaped. Perhaps never has so much thought gone into avoiding “oppressive government” even if many of the leading participants in the new republic still regarded it as their right to own slaves.
Nearly two and a half centuries on it is possible to see that powerful interests can buy their way into every aspect of a nation’s life defying almost every measure that was ever laid out against oppressive government. Just over half a century ago, as he left office, President Eisenhower famously warned about the military industrial complex and the domination of intellectual enquiry by commercial interest:
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/ technological elite.
As a commentary on this whistleblowing scientist David L Lewis recently bluntly wrote in the “prologue” to his book Science for Sale: How the US govern uses powerful corporations and leading universities to support government policies, silence top scientists, jeopardize our health, and protect corporate profits:
During my thirty-plus years as a research microbiologist in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the University of Georgia, I experienced the far-reaching influence of corrupt special interests firsthand. As this book will describe, my dealings with civil servants, corporate manager, elected officials, and other scientists expose the ease – and disturbing regularity – with which a small group , motivated by profit or personal advancement can completely hijack important areas of research science at even our most trusted institutions.
As I was sitting in my church pew last week feeling sorry for myself, I felt as if I got hit over the head. I don’t know how he does it, but it feels as if my priest is speaking directly to me when I’m sliding into a mental funk. He has a way of knocking much-needed sense into me when I least expect it. Apparently, I needed a good smack upside my head since last weekend’s homily was no exception.
I have constantly struggled with having and not having a diagnosis for Ronan. Clearly the child has some issues. A few years ago I was only worried about finding out what to call it. I had settled for vaccine-induced autism but had a nagging feeling it was more than that. Was it a deadly chromosomal abnormality? Maybe it was epilepsy? Was it really autism? Could it be one of those mitochondrial diseases? We’ve asked top-rated doctors, conducted über-expensive testing and finally did receive a diagnosis. I thought I would be able to accept Ronan’s mitochondrial disease diagnosis for it took years to be identified. I’d waited a long time to hear an official diagnosis but I didn’t expect to hear that it had features of autism. Great. It’s one thing but acts like another.
Not a day goes by without my thinking, is it just autism though? I can recall doing massive web searches back in the early 2000s when Ronan was a toddler. I distinctly remember reading about autism and thought to myself, no, that’s not my son. I even went so far as hoping it would rather be more like Asperger’s, not just autism, because children with Asperger’s had higher levels of language abilities. I looked further at what the spectrum included and thought, w-e-l-l, maybe it is autism but then Ronan was never 100% fully on that spectrum all the time. He would swing back and forth with one day being more cognitively aware than another. He has words but uses them oh, so sparingly. He can take apart many things but hasn’t the fine motor capability or patience to put things back together yet. As Ronan spiraled further away from me and deeper into whatever it was that he had, my thoughts were of what Ronan couldn’t do, and I couldn’t free myself from those thoughts.
Little did I know that what I sought was freedom from some negative aspects of being Ronan’s Mom. I’d love to have freedom from a diagnosis, any diagnosis. I yearn to be free of the stressors of being full-time advocate to a little boy with all his special needs. I ache to be liberated from the worry, the pain, the limitation, the speculations and the judgment of others. That type of freedom, freedom from, holds me back from the freedom to.
July 2, 2014, Autism Speaks: Autism Speaks' Rob Ring to Serve on Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
July 2, 2014, NY Times: The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring
July 2, 2014, Chicago Tribune: Autism rates rise: diagnosis criteria change
July 1, 2014, UK Independent: Exclusive: Controversial US scientist creates deadly new flu strain for pandemic research
I'm not a hero, but I'm trying to live a heroic life.
The other night I was in bed reading the latest adventures of my favorite supernatural detective, Harry Dresden, (often described as a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Phillip Marlowe), and I came across a scene which reminded me of the true nature of heroism.
Harry was in another one of his jams, under contract to the Queen of Winter, who in turn lent him to a villain, Nicodemus Archelone, who wanted to steal the Holy Grail from the treasure vault of the Greek god of the underworld, Hades. Yeah, it was one of those kind of days.
But Harry had the good sense to bring along his friend, Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross, (yes, that Cross!) So this group is down in the treasure vault, all the bad stuff is coming down, with the villain Nicodemus about to double-cross them, and Michael offers Nicoedmus a chance to surrender. Michael's words don't seem to come from your run of the mill fantasy story, but might just be my new code for life.
Michael tells the villain, "You think your power is what shapes the world that you walk in. But that is an illusion. Your choices shape your world. You think your power will protect you from the consequences of those choices. But you are wrong. You create your own rewards. There is a Judge. There is Justice in this world. And one day you will receive what you have earned. Choose carefully."
Okay, maybe that last bit was a little too close to the famous line in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but it's still very powerful. And it made me think about the book I've been co-writing with Dr. Judy Mikovits for the last two years, PLAGUE - One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, and Other Diseases, which is being released on September 2, 2014 (now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can also visit the web-site www.plaguethebook.com)
Because you see, in the past two years I feel as if I've uncovered a lot of villainy in the scientific world. And it makes me wonder what a true hero is supposed to do in such a situation. If you'll let me explain, I think a hero should try to understand the forces which created his enemies.
For those I might call the villains in my story, when they were young I believe they had an overwhelming desire to help their fellow man, and perhaps a bit of vanity that they could crack the great mysteries of our world. They learned that there was a rigorous scientific method in which they were supposed to tell the absolute truth. An experiment worked, or it failed.
Managing Editor's Note: Below is an excerpt from Lawrence Solomon's article in American Thinker. While we have seen Liberals turn their backs on the vaccine injury community, Solomon speaks to Conservatives who have exempted (pardon the pun) vaccination from their thinking.
By Lawrence Solomon
Conservatives much more than most others stick to their principles —individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom of the press — while also maintaining a healthy skepticism of government pronouncements. That combination has in the past saved the U.S. from grief, such as in the 1980s, when President Reagan rolled back the statist tide, and in recent years, when the House of Representatives prevented President Obama from implementing his statist and economically ruinous global warming agenda.
But when it comes to one issue in particular — government mass vaccination programs — many conservatives forget their principles and accept as dogma studies from government bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This deference to government-promoted science is especially perplexing because of the parallel to global warming, another controversial area of government-promoted science, where conservatives have challenged studies from governments and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Many conservatives have had a blind spot when it comes to vaccination, buying the government line. In fact, the list of scientists who have been skeptical of the merits of various mass vaccination programs reads like a Who’s Who; it includes, for example, the former head of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and the former chief scientific officer for the U.K., whose job involved assessing the safety of vaccines.
Read the full article at American Thinker.
Here's an overview of the massive coverage of YET ANOTHER STUDY DISPROVING A LINK BETWEEN VACCINES AND AUTISM. (Don't reporters ever get tired of saying this?)
Researchers examined 67 studies and 20,000 research papers. Now obviously a research paper doesn't have the same weight as an actual study, but notice how certain news outlets got the numbers mixed up.
Vox cited "166 independent studies" without telling what exactly that meant.
INCREDIBLY the Washington Times said that researchers had looked through 20,000 studies. SERIOUSLY? 20,000 STUDIES? So did several others news sites.
Reporters will say ANYTHING. They have no idea how absurd they sound. It was just amazing to see how quickly this story was out. (TIME put the story out twice!)
AUTISM: the disorder no one knows anything about--THE PERPETUAL PUZZLE TO SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS--isn't caused by our unchecked, ever-expanding vaccination schedule. (Why don't people believe it? How many studies do experts have to come up with?)
Washington Times: Medical review: Yes, childhood vaccines are safe
A published review of 20,000 scientific studies on childhood vaccines concludes they are safe — period — and should be obtained to prevent deadly diseases.
We're blessed in the autism biomedical community to have a range of choices in conferences. Old friends gather in the Windy City each Spring, on the sunny West Coast of Florida each November and now, in Dallas, Texas beginning this October with the inaugural Autism Education Summit.
Register with a friend or partner to save. (See registration rates below) Better yet - take advantage of the special group rate savings for TEN attendees who register together. This rate is for any group of ten and includes special bonus recognition at the conference. What a great way to acknowledge a local organization, school program, town support group or even a local treatment center in your area! Email info@autismeducationsummit for more info about creating your own group.
Join the Age of Autism team at The beautiful Fairmount hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas - meet old friends, make new friends - share your experience and take home medical expertise for your loved one on the spectrum.
• Access To All Summit Lectures
• Complimentary Coffee and Tea Throughout the Event
• Gift Bag with Products, Conference Program Guide and Vendor Coupons
Managing Editor's Note: Somewhere in the 8 million pieces of autism related paper that I have for my daughter Gianna, there is a "consent" form for her birth dose of Hep B vaccine at Doylestown Hospital in PA. I had NO idea that Hep B was not an issue for a healthy infant born to a healthy Mom. I had NO idea I was allowing a medical practitioner to inject mercury into my newborn. None. It was not informed consent at all. You might have had the same experience. Now imagine having that knowledge, refusing the vaccine and facing the state approved kidnapping of your child.....
Aliea Bidwell is filing suit against the doctor who blackmailed her into the hepatitis B vaccine for her son.
The family has set up a Web site to spread the word about her family’s ordeal. They are accepting donations to offset legal costs.|
Please join us for an IACC Full Committee meeting that will take place on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET at The Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
Onsite registration will begin at 8:00a.m.
Agenda: The committee will discuss committee business, agency updates and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities.
The Neuroscience Center
6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D
Rockville, Maryland 20852
June 30, 2014, Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI): Childhood vaccines again deemed generally safe
Report: There still is no evidence the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism, but noted a slight risk of seizures and for rotavirus and flu shots
The latest analysis of childhood vaccines confirms they're generally safe.
The report should be reassuring to parents, the researchers say. For example, there still is no evidence the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism. Nor is there any proof vaccines cause childhood leukemia.
This story is by AP reporter, Mike Stobbe who has steadfastly (FOR YEARS) defended vaccines and denied a link to autism.
By Kim Stagliano
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts. My Grandmother Hannah Veronica Sullivan was born in Boston, of parents from County Cork, Ireland. My father was born in 1922, and tells tales of discrimination from "the old days" that, well, you've seen my hair, right? We've come a long way from the outright posting of who can apply for a job, or use a restroom. Or have we? This line (below) is from an article Help Wanted Adults with Autism that addresses the serious dearth of jobs for people with autism. It seeks to offer a bright side by sharing internships that are available through a program called Project Search under the leadership of Dr. David Kuhn Clinical Director at NewYork-Presbyterian Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, - it seems which "county" of autism you live in makes a difference, however.
Interns range in age from 18 to 21 years old. They must have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, have no violent tendencies, be able to communicate and follow a one to two step schedule.
Almost every person I know with full autism has behaviors, some are aggressive and may be viewed as violent, some seriously aggressive and definitely violent and well, that communication thing? It's the foundation of an autism diagnosis. And you know what (of course you do, dear AofA readers) sometimes that aggression IS communication. As fas as I'm concerned, this posting is asking for people perhaps with Asperger's (there can be serious behaviors among this population) and maybe - maybe "brushed" with autism like symptoms. None of my daughters could apply. Could your loved one with autism or Asperger's apply?
Last week I wrote about a vocational opportunity for my oldest daughter, who is starting her post-graduate years within our school district. The more fully impaired with autism also deserve to work in meaningful jobs that take advantage of their sharp minds, unique processing ability and perseverance to a task while repsecting that yes, there are behaviors and communication deficits. Is this going to happen or not? Or will NINA be reborn as "NAWB" become the new discrimination?
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.
Managing Editor's Note: This comment came in yesterday on Adriana's post The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities. I nearly lost my breath reading the words - which summed up my approach to new motherhood completely. I did everything "right." Yours too? KS
This article closely parallels my personal experience in education since 1986. In 1994, 95 & 96, I (and my colleagues), observed a dramatic shift of the health of a segment of our incoming kindergartners. That segment was the families who should have had the healthiest kids- high education high income parents who were up to date, and compliant, with the latest medical advice. They took advantage of not only the required vaccines but the optional ones. They vociferously avoided the sun, mothers in wide brim bonnets and children in 1920's style full body swimsuits. No butter, soy baby formula, no eggs, anti-bacterial everything, indoor play dates, etc. The result? Spindly necked, hyper-sensitive, low muscle toned, shoes on the wrong feet diaper wearing kindergarteners. Contrasted by the kids who's parents didn't know about all of these “medical advances”. Families with insurance that didn't cover non-required vaccines, (pre-VFC, Vaccines For Children), or didn't get vaccinated until they had to have them to get into kindergarten instead of in infancy, mom's who sunbathed, fed their kids real food, let them play in the dirt, no shirt outside, etc. Their kids? Vital, bright, and alive.
June 30, 2014, Fox News: 'The View' used to do politics; Now, after the firings, it's just a mess
June 29, 2014, China News: China to build 'brain database'
June 29, 2014, Science 20.com: Study Implicates Smog In Autism And Schizophrenia
June 29, 2014, Park Rapids (MN) Enterprise: What about fluoride?
June 27, 2014, Indianapolis Star: Families with autistic children struggle to get insurance coverage
June 27, 2014, Parade Magazine: Joe Mantegna: Why I Do Everything in Moderation (Including Moderation!)
June 27, 2014, WebMD: Routine Ultrasounds May Detect Autism in Utero"
June 27, 2014, Berkshire (VT) Eagle: Vermont school, educators sued over treatment of boy with autism
…displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.
~Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
A recent study in Pediatrics reports that autism rates now appear to be higher among the children of American born Hispanic and African American mothers and among children of mothers within certain immigrant groups:
The study group comprised children born in Los Angeles County with a primary diagnosis of autism at ages three to five years from 1998 through 2009. The children were linked to 1995–2006 California birth certificates (7,540 children with autism from a total 1,626,354 births). The investigators identified a subgroup of children with autism and a secondary diagnosis of mental retardation; they investigated differences in language and behavior among this subgroup.
The researchers found an increased risks of being diagnosed with autism overall and specifically with coexisting mental retardation in children of foreign-born mothers who were black, Central/South American, Filipino, and Vietnamese, as well as among United States-born Hispanic and African American/black mothers, compared with US-born Caucasians. Compared to children of US-born Caucasians, children of US African American/black and foreign-born black, foreign-born Central/South American, and US-born Hispanic mothers were at higher risk of autism, characterized by both severe emotional outbursts and impaired language skills.
This report is a dramatic turnaround from only a few years ago, when the CDC reported an entirely different pattern among ethnic groups in the US:
Non-Hispanic white children were approximately 30% more likely to be identified with ASD than non-Hispanic black children and were almost 50% more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children.
The earlier CDC study went on to say that it was unknown whether the disparities in ethnic rates existed because of differences in recognition or diagnosing:
The extent to which this variation might be attributable to diagnostic practices, underrecognition of ASD symptoms in some racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic disparities in access to services, and regional differences in clinical or school-based practices that might influence the findings in this report is unclear.
But as David Kirby reported in the Huffington Post in 2009, not even National Institute of Health director Thomas Insel thought the rise in autism could be explained away by changes in diagnostic practices or “increased recognition,” so it might follow that the formerly low rates of autism among minority children could not be entirely explained by lack of recognition. Not only were rates of autism among minorities lower, as autism rose among white children in the US, rates among Hispanics in some regions were even dropping:
In 2006, the rate among non-Hispanic white children was 102-per-10,000, but among black children it was 76-per-10,000, a 34 percent difference, and among Hispanic children it was 61-per-10,000, a difference of 67 percent.
Inexplicably, the rate among Hispanics in Alabama actually plummeted during the period in question, by 68 percent, from an already low 19-per-10,000 in 2002 to an almost rare 6-per-10,000 in 2006. Meanwhile, with the exception of Arizona, the CDC said, "prevalence among Hispanic children did not change significantly within any of the other10 sites."
For the record, my own affected twins have sixteen different nationalities, including Hispanic, North African and Amerindian as well as European. Regarding the issue of autism within various ethnic communities, when rates were low there were many public discussions of “cultural differences” that could supposedly account for cases being ignored, as if minority parents don’t notice or care when children don’t reach milestones, or that there’s more “cultural acceptance” in some quarters of children who don’t speak, sleep or who exhibit endless raging meltdowns. It should be interesting to hear what the next apologia will be now that rates among the same groups have exploded, and bitterly fascinating to see whether the pop-psych hypothesis of the “autistic killer” receives more media play as a result of the epidemic being racialized, particularly in light of the fact that the theory was founded on arguably racist research. It will also be curious to watch what happens with “investor confidence” in the multi-billion dollar autism drug market now that fresh blood has been thrown into the pool.
What’s also bitterly fascinating—and not mentioned in media coverage of the recent study on high rates of autism among ethnic groups— is that there had also been a radical shift in ethnic and economic demographics regarding vaccine uptake. At one time, for instance, African Americans were the least compliant and most “under-vaccinated”:
Factors That Distinguish Fully Vaccinated Children from Undervaccinated Children (2001 NIS)
These analyses indicated that, compared with fully vaccinated children, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to be black than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white; younger; or foreign-born than born in the United States. Undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to have a mother who was young; widowed, divorced, or separated than married; had educational attainment that was high school or less than a college degree; and whose preferred language was English than Spanish. Finally, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to live in a household with an annual income below the poverty level than in a household with an annual income greater than $75 000…
Unfortunately the study above, which was originally accessed in June, 2011, may have been bowdlerized—the title and text altered. In any case, the old link to the 2001 study (Pediatrics) now redirects to a 2004 study which weaves in the updated issue of “unvaccinated” privileged white children whose parents avoid vaccines rather than having reduced access—something not mentioned at all in the 2001 study. The original 2001 title appears only in the citations of other studies at this point.
By Cathy Jameson
Hush, now. It’s okay. Close your eyes. Sleep. Shhhhh, she whispers. Shhhh….
A young mom is quietly lulling her toddler to sleep. They are sitting in the pew in front of me at Church. She holds him gently in her arms while stroking his hair. At the end of the pew is the woman’s husband. He is handsome, relaxed and proud of his family. He glances over at his wife, reaches for and touches her shoulder. On either side of the young mother are the toddler’s older siblings. Ages 7, 5 and 2, this family’s children appear healthy, happy and typical. Subconsciously, I smile. I think about how perfect they look and how lucky they are.
I see families like this one often. Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I walk past them at the grocery store, in parking lots and around our community. I take in the ease of their movements and the liveliness of their conversations. As I watch and listen to them, I long to experience what I think they have—freedom.
Do they see what I see?
Do they appreciate what they have?
Do they realize how fortunate they are?
They are free of seizures, of wandering and having to draft IEP goals. They are not ruled by weekly therapy appointments, on-going doctor visits and support groups. Their schedule is theirs to create as they wish. I know I’m just a stranger looking in, and I realize that I see only a fraction of their day, but as an outside looking in, I can tell that their life is very different than the one I live.
Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I used to be that person, living like those people and participating in their lifestyle. I don’t run in their circles now, and they rarely step into mine.
Years of managing my son’s vaccine-injury and the medical issues that came with it has done a number on me. On days when Ronan’s health takes a turn for the worse, not only does he tank, but I do too. I’m no longer the relaxed mom who thinks she can take everything in stride. I panic. I mentally run away. I become hyper-vigilant, overstressed and sometimes a tad judgmental.
I think back to when this all started. I want to curse my foolishness and the choices I made. I close my eyes remembering the past and can’t help but wonder how different life would be if what happened to Ronan really didn’t happen. Some days I even wish that this wasn’t happening. Pretending that things would magically return to what I considered normal won’t help. That’s when things can go from bad to worse.
On those very tough days, my thoughts become clouded and my hopes are crushed. It’s hard to be hopeful when my child’s life is documented in a case file, in multiple case files actually. Lots of people would agree that it’s better to have a positive attitude. But with all that I have had to overcome, and with how children are still being vaccine injured like Ronan was, my heart isn’t always in the right place. And sometimes it stays somewhat hardened. I feel it harden more in certain situations.
As much as I try to not let it affect me, my heart hardens when I learn that typical moms choose to follow the same steps I took that I wish I’d never taken.
By Dan Olmsted
This week we got an e-mail from a Wisconsin couple whose local paper is The Lake Geneva Regional News (as a suburban Chicago kid I went to camp there for many summers. It's beautiful.) They attached an article from last week titled, "In county, some parents say no to vaccines." It begins: "ELKHORN -- Walworth County is not immune to the anti-vaccination movement." It went on to talk about the rising number of vaccine exemptions parents were obtaining for their children, and included the usual boilerplate handwringing from public health officials.
"A lot of [parents] have misinformation about vaccinations," said Elizabeth Walsh, public health supervisor at the county health department. "They say that vaccinations cause autism and listen to celebities on TV. It is frustrating as well as concerning." And so on -- you no doubt get the picture.
The e-mail painted a very different picture. I'm going to print the whole thing, including some nice comments about AOA (sue me!), because it really does explain why we do what we do, and will keep on regardless:
Thank you first for your commitment to the Age of Autism! Without this beaming lighthouse of information most of us would be lost, and our family thanks all of you from the bottom of our hearts!
Our only 2 grandchildren were damaged from vaccines. Mom & Dad have to work because as most of you know insurance companies do not pay squat! So our retirement was ended and grandma cares for our precious grandsons. We do not wish to contact the Regional News as we'd be recognized, as this is a small town. It would be wonderful if someone would answer the Regional News who can hit all the reason why vaccines are so dangerous! If one child could be saved by their parents becoming informed from feedback you've given to them then it would be a wonderful gift!
Thank you all for being there for so very many of us!
June 26, 2014, Washington Post: The ethical negligence of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children
June 26, 2014, New York Times: Putting Us All at Risk for Measles
June 25, 2014, NJ.com: Legislation to enhance federal aid for autism research passes House of Representative
June 25, 2014, Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph: Autism-pesticides link not proven, advocates said
The BAD BILL has now passed in the HOUSE and in the Senate HELP committee!!
On Tuesday June 24, 2014, the House voted a passed H.R. 4631, renamed, "Autism CARES" The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act.
On Wednesday June 25, 2014, the Senate version of this same bill passed in the Senate HELP Committee.
Now we have just 48 hours to stop the bill from passing AS IS!!
Now it goes to the full Senate for unanimous consent vote. One Senator can place the bill on hold and allow us to fix the bill.
Today was unusual in that the Senate HELP committee took the bill out of committee for the vote in the morning and set up meetings that were closed to the public and during that time took a closed door vote.
THIS IS A BAD BILL AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP IT!!
If no Senator objects, this seriously flawed bill -- continuing the failed status quo of federal autism policy -- could be headed to the desk of the President within days.
The Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) stands by individuals disabled by autism, their families and communities, in stating that this is a bill that needs drastic improvements. APRC has been working to reform the Act with policy for environmental research; better coordination and accountability in government structures; better medical services for individuals with co-morbidities; help for wandering, neglect, abuse, and restraints; and better prevalence counting and epidemiology. Our policy is online at: www.autismpolicy.org/our-mission.
Media Editor Anne Dachel's Note: Sharyl Attkisson talked about her career, the state of the media, and her future plans with Brian Lamb of C-Span. (Watch here.) Ms. Attkisson left CBS News in March 2014..... Thank you to Bob Moffit for sharing the link with me
Brian Lamb asked her why she left:
"Primarily because there just wasn't a market for what I think I do best. . . good investigative reporting, preferably on topics that are under-reported or underserved
otherwise, and often on topics that other people don't want to touch because they get so much pushback or blowback. I like covering those kinds of topics. It doesn't mean they're easy to cover, but I think that's important."
Lamb showed a clip of Attkisson from an interview from five years earlier. At that time, she loved her job at CBS. "This is the best!" She added, "The joke is, you're only as good as your last story."
Five years ago, she felt, "Overall, this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do." She said her bosses "heavily support" her work.
Lamb asked her, "What happened?"
Attkisson: "I think overall, not just at CBS, according to my colleagues. . . there's been a declining appetite for investigative reporting. It's gotten harder and harder. . . Any kind of reporting that goes after the powers that be. There are such organized, well-financed efforts that go after the reporters and the reports, before, during and after they're being crafted. It's a lot of trouble and it ruffles a lot of feathers, and it upsets a lot of people."
Why are they concerned about "the powers that be"?
Managing Editor's Note: This post on the SafeMinds site is a glimpse of the future for so many of us. The world is "aware" and "cares" and softly lit under blue lights while our kids age into an abyss of service, employment and housing choices regardless of the severity of their autism and Asperger's. Life will not be easy and we will have to work harder than ever. And so we will.
By Heidi Roger
This time of year is very hard.
My friends and colleagues are all attending high school graduations, going to graduation parties, and talking about what colleges their kids got accepted to.
My son Andrew is not going to college.
Andrew is 19 years old but he does not have a driver's license, he has never had a girlfriend, he has not learned to shave himself. I have to help him wash his hair when he takes a shower.
Your friends talk about the milestones, rites of passage, and new opportunities for their kids. You nod and smile even though your stomach gets a knot in it, not because you aren't happy for your friends-you are-just because you had so many hopes and dreams for your own child too.
Jennifer and I talked on the phone every day. Her husband barbequed the best ribs in the state of New Jersey. Their daughter was born four months before Andrew and we were deliriously hopeful together. Jennifer had another child, Avery, a year after Andrew was born. Andrew was 27 months old when he was diagnosed with autism. I hit the ground running trying to help him, researching treatments, finding other parents to talk to , fighting-I mean advocating-for his education with our ill-informed school district.
When Andrew was five, we went to Jennifer's house for a visit. Andrew walked around the room looking at colorful things that caught his eye. Avery was only four years old, he grabbed Andrew's Magna Doodle and made a beautiful drawing of a flower : "Look, Mommy, look what I drew!" Avery was being four -a typical four -that's all, but I couldn't breathe. My heart was broken in a thousand pieces. Read the full post at Safeminds.
For quite some time now, I’ve been using my experience with autism as a way to measure life.
“Well, it’s not autism,” I’ll think as a friend tells me about their child’s issues.
“Been through worse,” I’ll shake my head at what seems to be a trivial matter comparably speaking.
“Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?” I’ll sigh at the person complaining about a problem I perceive as no big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Without realizing it, I gave myself a yardstick by which to measure my life and others: my autism yardstick. As if it were lying down in the grass in front of me, symbolizing life before autism on one side and life after on the other, until now I have used it unconsciously to rate anything from trauma to illness to complaining to whatever.
It isn’t autism.
Been through worse.
Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?
On the surface, it doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad thing. Autism indeed, for me, was a traumatic experience. Watching my healthy child slip into a world without words while experiencing tremendous illness and suffering is hard to describe accurately or completely in terms of how it hurt me as a mother.
Coupled with a medical community that didn’t know how to help and blamed me for her problems all while being left to navigate recovery on my own only doubled the pain and fear. I have no shame in saying it was by far the worse experience of my life, and I make no apologies for that.
And there is a lot of truth in those statements. It isn’t autism. Been through worse. Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with? I have a hefty dose of perspective that I bring to all situations. Those thoughts have served me well.
However, I’ve recently become aware of how those thoughts have gone from helpful to hurtful. The very same thoughts that made that yardstick a tool to measure growth and give perspective also made it a tool to dole out punishment. The scary thing is, I had no idea.
1. They have made me insensitive.
It isn’t autism
Been through worse.
Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?
At some point these thoughts allowed me to put myself on the pedestal of pain, as if no one who hasn’t lived what I have lived could possibly ever have something difficult to deal with or worthy of being upset about.
June 25, 2014, Health.com: Mother's Birthplace May Affect Autism Risk in Kids
June 24, 2014, Health News: Parents of children with autism often have autistic traits
June 24, 2014, U.S. Catholic: Vaccines are for the common good by Kira Dault
June 24, 2014, TIME: Raising an Autistic Child: Coping With the Costs
When it comes to autism causation, the chemicals are coming home to roost. Just on Saturday I reviewed new research suggesting a link between pollution and both schizophrenia and autism. Mice exposed for just a few hours to the kind of pollution caused by traffic had inflammation in their brains; inflammation kills brain cells; dead brain cells cause all kinds of mental mayhem. I pointed out that in our book, The Age of Autism, we proposed for the first time that general pollution – namely, the coal-fired Industrial Revolution that spewed arsenic, lead, and mercury – fueled the amazing rise of schizophrenia in modern times (as well as a number of other inflammatory diseases including autism).
This week has begun with more evidence for our not-so-crackpot theories –another link between pesticides and autism. Reports CBS News: “Pregnant women who live within a mile of spaces where commercial pesticides are applied appear to have an increased risk of having a child with autism, a new study suggests. The risk that a child would develop autism appeared to be highest for women who lived near farms, golf courses and other public spaces that were treated with pesticides during the last three months of their pregnancies.” (As Anne Dachel points out, this is just the latest of several studies linking pesticides and autism -- and ADHD, Parkinson's etc. The media is in perpetual Groundhog Day mode; I don't think anyone covers autism as a news beat, except us, so they don't remember anything past about midday yesterday.)
No doubt the ABV lobby – Anything But Vaccines when it comes to autism causation – will cling for dear life onto this as they have onto the traffic-causes-autism research. After all, they like to point out, we’re talking prenatal exposures here, and autistic regression after vaccination is a key element of the vaccine case. So let’s blame prenatal pollution and pesticides --but not vaccines, period, ever! Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Legislation by the British government will fail autistic people, the United Kingdom’s National Autistic Society has warned :
Details on the rules determining who will get adult social care from April 2015 have been published today (6 June), as part of a Government consultation on the regulations and guidance accompanying the Care Act 2014.
The NAS does not believe the proposals for the new national eligibility criteria reflect the basic needs of adults with autism, on crucial issues such as staying safe, building relationships or being verbally prompted to carry out tasks. They also fail to ensure that adults with autism will be assessed by assessors who have sufficient autism training.
Unless the proposals are changed to cover the specific needs of people with autism, the new system risks leaving many outside of the care system and at risk of harm.
Sources tell us that both chambers of the United States Congress will pass similar versions of the newly named but basically unchanged Autism CARES act this week, confirming once again that the federal government couldn’t care less about the autism epidemic engulfing the nation.
The House was marking up the bill Tuesday. It was expected to pass through a suspension-of-the-rules vote as early as the end of the day. In the Senate, the HELP committee will take up the bill Wednesday, and it's expected to sail through the full chamber by unanimous consent. While there may be some ironing out of differences between the two chambers, a final bill is expected to move to the president’s desk with no further chance of intercepting it. (See end of story for appeal to HELP committee chair Tom Harkin [(202) 224 3254] asking him to delay vote.)
“Autism families are getting f----d again. Autism Speaks should be ashamed of themselves,” said one person who has been attempting to head off the legislation AS and federal bureaucrats have been pushing for months. Autism families will let out a “primal scream” when they realize it’s happened again, he added.
The new law is looming despite efforts by outgunned and underfunded autism advocates to add more environmental research and targeted funding to the bill. They say the process was hijacked by special interest and disability advocacy groups and that, once again, Autism Speaks big-footed the process with its lobbying. The result: Status quo ante -- and inadequate.
I’m always telling anybody who asks that one of the challenges of our movement is to attract the general public to our issues. There are so many pieces to this puzzle, our individual stories, the influence of special interests, the corruption of science, but at its heart the question is a simple one: what factors are causing an unprecedented rise in chronic diseases like autism, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name just a few?
It was with these thoughts in mind that I was delighted to pick up David Hammond’s new book, Mercury Poisoning – The Undiagnosed Epidemic, and find that he had so successfully navigated these treacherous waters. His book is well-organized, easy to read, and authoritative. Hammond has an excellent writing style and his chapters each take on a specific question, such as how mercury increases the toxicity of other metals, or the complexity of mercury symptoms.
Like most of us, Hammond comes to these issues through personal experience. He was a laborer in a steel factory in Australia and suffered from the effects of mercury poisoning via inhaled mercury vapors from the scrap metal in molten steel. He was fortunate enough to find an internet forum comprised of people who had also been exposed to mercury, undergo chelation, and recover his health.
In an unemotional, but straight-forward manner Hammond makes his points. Modern man is exposed to heavy metals far in access of our ancestors. Even low levels of mercury, over time, can lead to very severe health problems. Mercury exposure works in combination with other metals, increasing their toxicity. Hammond provides examples from the medical literature of the diseases which can be caused by mercury poisoning, and details cases of people who have removed the mercury from their bodies and regained their health.
If there is somebody in your life who is curious about mercury exposure, or you are confused about this important issue, I encourage you to go out and buy this book.
Kent Heckenlively is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.