Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Shot in the Dark

By Cornelia Read

There's a topic I've wanted to blog about here for a long time, but it's pretty heavy stuff--not exactly the bright and breezy fare most people want to skim through online while sipping their morning beverage of choice.

Over the last year or so, every time I said to myself, "hey, maybe this week, if I can just get my head around a way to make the info meaningful and compelling... to personalize it somehow so that it's not a complete drag to ingest, but yet not so bereft of necessary info that it's easy to blow off..." I'd end up scuppering the whole thing as impossible to convey.

I'm still not sure I can make a blog post out of this that won't put you to sleep, but something happened this month that makes me feel like it's really, really important that I give it my very best effort right now, okay?

I'm going to do my damnedest not to make this boring, or strident, or "you can save this child or you can turn the page"-esque.

In fact, I'm not going to start off with the topic itself. I want to just loosely float two ideas first--kind of a warmup. Anedoctal stuff.

The first thing is a story I read some years ago. I don't remember exactly when or where (the New Yorker? The Sunday New York Times?) It was just a snippet from an article about something else, but it's really stuck with me for a lot of reasons.

The gist of it is that there was this guy--a journalist--who happened to be friends with an astonishingly successful investor. This investor had made serious BOATLOADS of money in the stock market, and one day his buddy, the journalist dude, got curious about the way his own line of work might be tied into his friend's success, so asked him which news outlets he'd relied on for accurate information on which to base his buying and selling decisions. Newspapers? Magazines? Television news reports?

Here's what the investor said (I'm paraphrasing more, from here on out), "None."

How can that be? asked his friend, to which the gazillionaire dude replied, "I realized a long time ago that there are two subjects in the world about which I know a great deal. One is sailing, and the other is cabbage varieties. And about twenty years ago, it occured to me that every time either sailing or cabbages were discussed in the mainstream press, the writers got nearly everything wrong.

Well, after a while, I started to wonder why I believed them about things I didn't know about. I mean, what was the likelihood that they were conveying accurate, well-researched information on everything but boats and cabbage? So that's when I stopped relying on journalists' information as a basis for my business decisions. And I've made a great deal of money ever since."

So, my Nakeds, do me a favor and think about a subject you really know by heart--I don't care what it is: your hometown, your favorite breed of pet, or classic muscle-car engines or ham radio...

...or a medical condition that you or someone near and dear to you has battled for a long time--something you have a bone-deep, working knowledge of.

Got it?

Now ask yourself... when there's an article on that topic in Time or Newsweek, or even the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, do they get it right?

Or do you, like me, tend to read those pieces expecting to be disappointed, and sometimes skip them altogether because even the headline is idiotic, because it's just such a goddamn drag to read the fulminations of some J-school grad who skimmed the clips file and/or gave the topic a desultory Google before banging together a cursory overview of same by deadline?

Yeah, I thought so. Please file that feeling away for a bit.

Which leads us to...

Which can basically be summed up: the older I get, the less faith I have in "Miracle Medical Breakthroughs!"

I mean, let's just look at the info propounded by "the experts" on the subject of diet and nutrition since I was in my teens: low-fat one decade, low-carbs the next...eggs will kill you, eggs will save you...Italians don't have heart attacks because they eat olive oil, French people don't have heart attacks because they drink red wine...

blueberries are God, dark chocolate may save your life, monkeys live twice as long if you cut their calorie consumption in half, people in the Caucausus live to be 150 because they eat yogurt, salmon will make you smarter, pregant women shouldn't eat tuna sandwiches because they have too much mercury in them...

And does anyone else remember those ubiquitous Seventies ads in the back of Cosmo and Seventeen about the kelp/B-6/cider vinegar/fourth-ingredient-I-can't-remember miracle weightloss program? That one sounded about as good as eating

I remember one stepfather in the mid-seventies who dumped wheat bran on whatever he ate, because it was supposed to cure everything.

Then after that he wouldn't eat salt. Then it was red meat. The year following was his swiss-chard period, I think. I was thank GOD away at school when he discovered high colonics, because he was also fond of lecturing all of us at the dinner table on the importance of whichever new thing he'd become a devotee of.

He was incredibly boring--not to mention cranky--most of the time.

And guess what? He died anyway, having arrived at the exact median age of life expectancy for an American male that year.

So, you know--all those medical breakthroughs! pronouncements! miracles!...? I tend to reserve judgment.

I'm not against western medicine--I love my penicillin and Excedrin and Motrin and Celexa and suture scars as much as the next person, and it's seriously wonderful that we've got smallpox on the run and don't have a whole lot of use for iron lungs anymore.

But... I also keep in mind the fact that western medical practitioners spent several centuries touting the benefits of leeches and "a good bleeding," while pooh-poohing the radical idea that one might want to wash one's hands (or one's saw) before performing, say, an amputation.

Let's take a look at another health issue that's seen a great deal of "expert" see-sawing over the course of, say, the last seventy years. Anyone remember these ads? I'm a little young to have run across them first hand:

How 'bout we zero in on smoking for a minute, okay? I'm going to cite some stats and a bit of a timeline, briefly (click here if you want backup)

The first study linking cigarettes to lung cancer was published in 1939.

The first statement from the Surgeon General on the topic was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November, 1959.

On June 7, 1962, another Surgeon General announced that he was establishing an "expert committee to undertake a comprehensive review of all data on smoking and health."

On January 11, 1964, after some 15 months of intensive study, this committee--half the members of which were smokers-- issued its unanimous report stating that "cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant, appropriate remedial action."

The government recommended that a warning label be printed on all packs of cigarettes sold in this country as of January 1, 1965, and in all cigarette advertising six months later.

The tobacco industry then prevailed upon Congress to change the proposed wording from "Caution: Cigarette 'Smoking is Dangerous to Health. It May Cause Death from Cancer and Other Diseases" to "Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health," with the passage of the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965.

This act also prohibited the Federal Trade Commission and state and local governments from requiring any other label on cigarette packages and any warnings at all in cigarette advertising before 1969.

Okay, got that? A reputable, peer-reviewed study links cigarettes to lung cancer in 1939, no official statement was issued by federal health officials until 1959 AND the words "may be hazardous to your health" couldn't be included in cigarette ads--newspaper, magazine, radio, and television--until 1969.

A New York Times editorial called Congress's cigarette labeling and advertising act "a shocking piece of special-interest legislation--a bill to protect the economic health of the tobacco industry by freeing it of proper regulation."

An article in the Atlantic Monthly described the political maneuvering behind the legislation under the title "The Quiet Victory of the Cigarette Lobby: How It Found the Best Filter Yet--Congress."

Now let's take a look at current tobacco-based revenues, campaign contributions, and lobbying expenditures of America's three biggest tobacco companies (citation):

Altria Group (Philip Morris)

2006 Tobacco Revenues: $66.7 billion
2008 Election cycle political contributions
by Altria Group PAC: $986,500
2007 Lobbying expenditures: $7.2 million

Reynolds American (RJ Reynolds)
2006 Revenues: $8.5 billion
2008 Election cycle political contributions
by RJ Reynolds PAC: $770,500
2007 Lobbying expenditures: $1.95 million

Loews Corp (Lorillard)
2006 Tobacco Revenues: $3.9 billion
2008 Election cycle political contributions
by Lorillard PAC: $175,250
2007 Total Lobbying expenditures: $1.96 million

Overall Tobacco Industry Political Contributions since 1997: more than $34.7 million

Here endeth the second intro topic-- a recap: medical experts often reverse themselves over time, and it took the U.S. Government nigh on thirty years after the first study linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer to officially warn citizens about the dangers of smoking.

Enter topic the third...

If you think the tobacco companies spend a lot of money on lobbying and campaign donations, let's do a little comparison on how they rate compared to the pharmaceutical industry, in this country...

Tobacco (between 1997 and 2007): $34.7 million
Pharmaceuticals (for same period): $675 million

Oh, wait, those figures aren't exactly comparable... that second amount is for lobbying alone--it doesn't include the drug companies' political campaign contributions, in the United States.

Here's another figure that might give a small idea of the pharmaceutical industry's global clout --the amount spent on marketing (and "administrative costs") by the 11 biggest drug companies in 2004:

$100 billion

And here's what they reported spending on research and development that year: $50 billion.

When Dr. Marcia Angell stepped down from her post as the edtior-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine last year, she published therein a scathing parting-shot takedown of the pharmaceutical industry's impact on contemporary medical practice.

My favorite paragraph is the following, in which she says of the pharmaceutical companies' marketing budgets:

The industry depicts these huge expenditures as serving an educational function. It contends that doctors and the public learn about new and useful drugs in this way. Unfortunately, many doctors do indeed rely on drug-company representatives and promotional materials to learn about new drugs, and much of the public learns from direct-to-consumer advertising. But to rely on the drug companies for unbiased evaluations of their products makes about as much sense as relying on beer companies to teach us about alcoholism.

It's not just doctors and consumers who may be lead astray by these expenditures, however, but the very state and federal regulatory agencies we rely upon to safeguard the public health.

Quoting from government transcripts obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in a 2005 article published in Rolling Stone that:

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy.

The agency had issued no public announcement of the session -- only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur.

All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly "embargoed." There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency's massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines -- thimerosal -- appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children.

"I was actually stunned by what I saw," Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants -- in one case, within hours of birth -- the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.
Verstraeten wasn't alone in expressing concern. The transcripts record Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, as saying, "You can play with this all you want,... [The results] are statistically significant."

Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting's first day, said "My gut feeling? Forgive this personal comment -- I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on."

But the conversation didn't then turn to ways to ensure public safety. Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at Delaware's Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children was more worried about the possibility that, "We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits. This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country."

Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, chimed in with the assertion that, "given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let's say, less responsible hands."

Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that "perhaps this study should not have been done at all," adding, "the research results have to be handled," that the results of the study, "will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group."

Adds Kennedy, at this point:

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children's health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten's findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been "lost" and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants -- but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year [2004]. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines -- including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to eleven-year-olds.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who received $873,000 in contributions from pharmaceutical companies, slipped a "rider" into a Homeland Security bill in 2002, protecting vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits brought by those who suffer vaccine injury--this despite the fact that any vaccine-injury cases ALREADY have to be brought to trial in a special federal Vaccine Court.

Eli Lilly, the company that manufactures Thimerosal, contributed $10,000 to Frist's campaign fund the next day, then bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism.

Kennedy adds:

The measure was repealed by Congress in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. "The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists," says Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to Frist.

But wait, there's more... On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents -- including the Simpsonwood meeting transcripts.

But what do we read about all of this in the mainstream press? Let's see, there was the study claiming that "autism is caused by drinking during pregnancy" this week, that got global play. Last year it was "autism is caused by watching television."

And there are countless articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal assuring readers that "all reputable studies prove there's no link between vaccines and autism," that "autism rates have not gone down since ALL thimerosal was removed from ALL vaccines in 2001" and a great many characterizing concerned parents of autistic children as desperate for someone or something to blame for their children's condition or as lawsuit-hungry money grubbers.

Have autism rates gone down since thimerosal was phased out of vaccines, starting in 2001? Nobody knows. Can you believe that? Seriously, there's been no effort on the part of the CDC or any other federal agency to gather national data on that front.

California is the only state that keeps records of those receiving developmental disabilities services which are categorized by specific disability. It was California's numbers, in fact, which first confirmed what parents had long suspected---and "experts" long denied--that the rate of autism among young children in this country started skyrocketing in the 1990s.

If California's rates went down, that might be an indicator that removal of thimerosal was making some kind of a difference, right?

Let's just ignore the Associated Press article published in 2005 that announced "The number of new cases of autism in California has fallen for the first time in more than 10 years in what may be a bellwether for autism rates nationwide, according to new data compiled by the state Department of Developmental Services."

Everyone else ignored it, after all. And any parent who tries to bring it up is branded a crazed Luddite, or worse.

Michelle Malkin, with whom I don't always see eye-to-eye politically except on this topic, blogged "In defense of parents with informed vaccine skepticism" on March 24th:

The New York Times published a piece today about parents choosing not to expose their children to certain vaccines. This prompted blogger condemnations of those parents as “Bobo sociopaths” and a recommendation from Glenn Reynolds that “we should make clear that parents who, with no genuine medical reason, forego vaccinating their kids are bad parents, and bad citizens.”

Look, I could run you through the flaws in the studies routinely cited in that type of article (the Danish one, the Israeli one, etc.), or the differences in the way ethyl and methyl mercury break down in the body (not many), or the still-toxic and untested preservatives that have replaced thimerosal in multi-dose vials of vaccines, or the study performed at Columbia on the aberrant behaviors of infant mice injected with thimerosal, or the similarities in symptoms between autism and mercury poisoning,

or the fact that among thousands of Amish people in Pennsylvania (virtually non-vaccinated, as a population) only a handful of kids were found with any form of autism--one who'd been adopted in China and three who'd received vaccinations--when the expected number per that population would be around 130 affected individuals, or the hypothesis that autistic kids may lack the proper metabolic apparatus to excrete heavy metals as quickly as "typically developing" kids, or statistics on how much mercury is still in a number of shots administered routinely to infants and children and pregnant women (flu, tetanus, Rhogam, etc.)--because that's my version of the genius investor's "cabbages and sailing," these days....
(please run your mouse over the text of the previous two paragraphs to click through to studies cited--for some reason the hyperlinks aren't highlighted)

But I don't want to bore you any more than necessary, and besides, as a "bad parent and bad citizen," I'll let Kennedy speak to the history of the issue instead:

During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it "poison."

In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly's own studies discerned that thimerosal was "toxic to tissue cells" in concentrations as low as one part per million -- 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as "nontoxic" and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck's vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, "especially when used on infants and children," noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. "The best way to go," he added, "is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives."...

Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic," his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. "This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin." The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of "institutional malfeasance for self protection" and "misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."

And now I'd like to quote some numbers recently put forth by a toxicologist named Michael F. Wagnitz, in a rebuttal letter to the editors of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Wagnitz introduced his list by writing, "Parents get angry when they see the following numbers listed on the internet. These numbers have been out there for everyone to read for years."

Here are the numbers he cited:

0.5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Kills human neuroblastoma cells (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140).

2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water

20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).
200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.

25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.

50,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990's to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age. Current "preservative" level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Wagnitz has a conflict of interest: he's the father of an autistic child.

Way back near the beginning of this post, remember how I said that something happened this month which made me feel it was necessary to at long last write a blog post on, as it turns out, thimerosal?

Here's the event I spoke of: the government decided in favor of the plaintiffs in one of the first Vaccine Injury Court autism test cases to go to trial.

That's right, folks, a judge representing the United States government decided that the family of an autistic girl was entitled to a monetary award, because it indeed seens evident that her condition was caused by "routine childhood vaccinations."

The anti-vaccine-hypothesis gang got started on spinning the verdict immediately--most by claiming that the girl, Hannah Poling, wasn't "typical" of autistic children, in that she had a metabolic disorder exacerbated by vaccines, and that therefore the metabolic disorder is itself responsible for her "autistic symptoms."

There are still nearly 5,000 such cases pending in the special court. I would be cynical if I thought that might have something to do with the intensity of the spin.

And yet... the online version of Time magazine had the courage to look at the facts of the case without the disimissive attitude so many of us have come to expect from the "mainstream" media, in an article titled “Case Study: Autism and Vaccines.”

The piece opened as follows:

What happened to little, red-haired Hannah Poling is hardly unique in the world of autism. She had an uneventful birth; she seemed to be developing normally-smiling, babbling, engaging in imaginative play, speaking about 20 words by 19 months. And then, right after receiving a bunch of vaccines, she fell ill and it all stopped.

Hannah, now 9, recovered from her acute illness but she lost her words, her eye contact and, in a manner of months, began exhibiting the repetitive behaviors and social withdrawal that typify autism. “Something happened after the vaccines," says her mom, Terry Poling, who is a registered nurse and an attorney. “She just deteriorated and never came back."
Hannah Poling's father, by the way, is a neurologist.

Here's one official's response to the court's ruling in the Poling case:

"Our message to parents is that immunization is life-saving," Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, the CDC's director, said at a hastily convened conference call with reporters.

"There's nothing changed. . . . This is proven to save lives and is an essential component of protection for children across America and around the world."
Gerberding further commented:
“Let me be very clear that (the) government has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism. That is a complete mischaracterisation of the findings of the case, and a complete mischaracterisation of any of the science that we have at our disposal today.”
The Time article, however, went on to say:
...there’s no denying that the court’s decision to award damages to the Poling family puts a chink--a question mark--in what had been an unqualified defense of vaccine safety with regard to autism. If Hannah Poling had an underlying condition that made her vulnerable to being harmed by vaccines, it stands to reason that other children might also have such vulnerabilities.
As blogger Kent Heckenlively wrote in response to the article "I found myself nodding along as I read, saying, 'Yes! Yes! They’re getting it!'”

"One of the final paragraphs [in the article] is a statement which shouldn’t be controversial," he continues, "but when our community has said similar things we’ve been treated like we were primitives who wanted to take public health back to the nineteenth century." (And/or "bad parents," "bad citizens," "Bobo Sociopaths.")
Here's the paragraph he's referring to:

It’s difficult to draw any clear lessons from the case of Hannah Poling, other than the dire need for more research. One plausible conclusion is that pediatricians should avoid giving small children a large number of vaccines at once, even if they are thimerosal-free. Young children have an immature immune system that’s ill-equipped to handle an overload, says Dr. Judy Van de Water, an immunologist who works with Pessah at U. C. Davis. “Some vaccines, such as those aimed at viral infections, are designed to ramp up the immune system at warp speed,” she says. “They are designed to mimic the infection. So you can imagine getting nine at one time, how sick you could be.” In addition, she says, there’s some evidence, "that children who develop autism may have immune systems that are particularly slow to mature.”

"It’s stunning to read a paragraph like the one above in a major publication like TIME magazine," says Heckenlively, "when it’s been part of the catechism of our movement for years. It’s as if we’ve been secret believers in God in some totalitarian state and the ruler just announced he’s considering a conversion."

He also cites a report titled, "Vaccine Case - An Exception or a Precedent," from the CBS Evening News broadcast that aired on March 6, 2008, in response to the CDC having stated that Hannah Poling's case is "a singular event":

While the Poling case is the first of its kind to become public, a CBS News investigation uncovered at least nine other cases as far back as 1990, where records show the court ordered the government to compensate families whose children developed autism or autistic-like symptoms... including toddlers who had been called "very smart" and "impressed" doctors with their "intelligence and curiousity" . . . until their vaccinations.

But even if all those remaining cases pending in the Vaccine Court are ruled in favor of the plaintiff families, it doesn't mean that the families of the other estimated 500,000 kids with autism in this country will be able to sue for damages, under existing legislation. The federal government has set a three-year statute of limitations, dating from the first incidence of autistic symptoms in a child.

In light of that, I'd like to close this post with one more quotation from Dr. Marcia Angell's "farewell" editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The pharmaceutical industry is extraordinarily privileged. It benefits enormously from publicly funded research, government-granted patents, and large tax breaks, and it reaps lavish profits. For these reasons, and because it makes products of vital importance to the public health, it should be accountable not only to its shareholders, but also to society at large.

May that sentiment go from Angell's lips to God's ears. And possibly Julie Gerberding's.

And look, maybe it's not the vaccines or the thimerosal that made the rate of autism go from one kid in 15,000 to one kid in 116. It could be some new additive in peanut butter, or exposure to wheat bran and Sea Monkeys.

I mean, until the mid-Seventies the "experts" claimed it was caused by overly intellectual, emotionally distant "refrigerator mothers."

We know, at least, that that last hypothesis is a load of crap. But we don't know anything else.

Isn't it time we expended a little more effort trying to really figure this thing out, and a little less of same calling the parents who are doing their best to make sense of and cope with the horrors of this disorder idiots?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty fucking sick of being told how stupid I am

I won't hold my breath waiting for that to change any time soon.

Meanwhile: smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Oh, yeah... conflict of interest: I'm the mother of a child who has autism


  1. And a beautiful one, at that.

    *Disturbing* piece, GF. I'm astounded at the evidence you've collected & when it's not 8am I am going to go back and read it again...


  2. Definitely something to ponder carefully, Cornelia. I confess, I've been one of those people who roll their eyes when I hear talk about vaccines being dangerous...but lately it occurs to me that injecting mercury into small children may just be a Really Bad Idea.

    And dear God, am I ever sick of every piece of legislation or regulation proposed for the protection of the public being criticized, not on its own merits, but because it might "be good for the trial lawyers." Uh, yeah, if there's a law against hurting people, trial lawyers may sue you for the damage caused if you break it and hurt people. This is not an argument for making hurting people legal.

  3. Cornelia for President!!!!

  4. Cornelia, I do hope that this post is picked up and spread far and wide. The pharmaceutical industry scares the heck out of me, to tell you the truth, and your post here has served to remind me - again - of its power. My mother had a minor stroke a couple of years ago - at 78 she had never taken any meds in her life, ditto my father, who is on his way to 82. She was put on a fine cocktail of drugs that have made her feel desperately ill - one of them giving her the most dreadful muscular pain that brought her to tears. At first I was upset when she started cutting back on them (I don't want to lost my mum!) - especially the statins, which she's now dropped altogether. But she explained, "Jackie, I am now 80 years old, I've had a good innings, and I don't want to go to my grave in pain and feeling sick as a dog every day." Oh, yes, I forgot to add - she found out that she was being monitored for a "study" and a nurse suggested that her dosages - which were high - were experimental.

    Let's all stick with this if we can - spread this post as far and wide as possible. I don't know what it will do, but this is the sort of bringing-it-all-together reporting that sometimes (sometimes ...) has an effect, and may even inspire the mainstream press to get its thick head into something relevant, important - crucial, in fact. Or have the pharmaceutical companies got them by the short and curlies too?

    Thank you!

  5. Most excellent post, Miss C, and well worth reading.

    And a lovely photo of your beautiful daughter, by the way....


  6. Not to be too over the top, but to paraphrase Plato:"to know is to know that you don't know.".....I always get a chuckle out of the fact that we say doctors are PRACTICING medicine [oh and the same indictment hold true for attorneys].

    That add looks like it was from the 50s,but NeoCaine made a comeback,right? ....I think it was the early 80's....I think I remember seeing that ad in the Studio 54 mensroom.

    Cornelia, I love that "blow it in her face" ad.....though I think if it was re-released it would be " blow it in her face and she'll punch you in yours."
    Last take.....The tobacco, pharmaceutical and medical professions [and attorneys] are the only people I know who can blow smoke up their own ass.

    As always, C, a truly enlightening and thought provoking post.....THANKS


  7. I almost forgot....did you catch Demi Moore on Letterman this past Monday? Seems like blood sucking leeches are making a comeback [ oh I mean those tiny worm like animals, not the Drs who "treated" her].

  8. Thoughtful and persuasive, Cornelia.

  9. What a powerful and frightening mountain of information here, Ms. C.

  10. Hey Cornelia - I think you need a job at the New York Times yourself. Such an amazing piece - not just factually, but wonderfully laced with the photos that you always use so well in your posts.

    There isn't enough research being done - that's for sure. What I didn't know (and some people call me a conspiracy theory buff) was all the secret conference info. In the face of all of that, I'm amazed you can be 'objective' enough to call for more research. I think I'd take after Madeline and get me a shotgun. I applaud you. And I thank you for opening my eyes - thought I knew some stuff, but lady, you know a hell of a lot. Shout it from the rooftops! Maybe we'll all start listening soon.

  11. Brilliant essay, Miss C. I say essay because 'post' would trivialize the cutting expose this is. I try not to take many big meds at all, inspite of monthly migraines, muscle problems, etc. My doctor was stunned several years ago when I turned down the latest trend in heavy hitting migraine meds. I told him that I didn't fancy the backlash headaches after the meds wore off. He was impressed that I was so informed about my illness and how to treat it without going overboard.

    I've been watching the lavish pharmaceutical companies and medical insurers control the govt in this country for the last 10 years, and to say that I'm disgusted is such an understatement.

    My best friend has an autistic 15 yo son, and I've watched her go through hell since the day he was diagnosed at age three. Single mother, bad situation. However, he is the glowing light in her life. :-)

    I wonder if the 'shove it under the rug' lobbyists and politicians have thought about the affects that so many autistic adults who live to a ripe old age will have on the social security and welfare systems in years to come? Like so many of the pollies and and medical giants in this country, they think as long as it doesn't affect them, they don't care.

    Oh, God, Our J.: how could they do that to your mum? And she didn't know that she was being experimented on? There's grounds for a lawsuit right there - for putting her in harms way. Urk.

    Angry now...stomp, stomp, stomp. Sigh.

    Many hugs to you both, and all of you. And may the sun shine long and bright in Lila's world, Cornelia.


  12. I want to thank you all very much for reading this. It's a long piece, and there's a lot going on in it. You guys are smart and hip--I know that--but it's a lot to ask of one's friends to wade through a pile of information like this.

    It's not something I can explain in fewer words, or less time, though, and I wanted to just put it all together in one place so I can offer it up the next time someone says to me, "you don't believe in that vaccine crap, do you?"

    As I said at the end of the post, I don't know what causes autism. Hell, I would've been an English major if my college even HAD majors, you know?

    But when there's enough weird stuff piling up to make even an English major take notice and wonder if there's any sort of connection, maybe it's time for the chemistry and biology and geneticist types to do a little checking.

    Again, thank you all for taking the time to read this. It means a great deal to me.

  13. Cornelia: Thanks for posting your vaccine info. That meeting of so-called responsible "experts" at that conference center... Grrrrr.

    Sad to say with all our tax money spent on the CDC and the US Dept of Health and Human Services as well as WHO at the UN, we must do self-education and self-protection.

    I happened to catch a TV show last night about the decades and decades it took for women to get the vote in the US. I hope the prevention and cure for autism won't take as long. Maybe it will take a US President having his or her own child developing autistim in the White House for that to happen.

  14. I like the reverse study you mention on the Amish. Very good insight.


  15. Cornelia, I'm blown away (but not by his smoke....) This is the world I live in, of course, having three girls with autism. Your blog entry was like a very good book, "read read read, page down, read read read, page down..."

    Wow. People are opening their eyes to autism epidemic. It's not a genetic "blip" - it's something that could happen to your child, grandchild, niece, nephew - at a higher rate than all other childhood "diseases COMBINED."

    This was powerful.

  16. Cornelia,

    "I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty fucking sick of being told how stupid I am."

    You can speak for me, and I am sure that many parents echo your very candid, valid words. Thank you!


  17. Amazing, brilliant, post.


    Thank you.

  18. Thank you so much, you guys--again for reading this, and for the solidarity. This is such a complex issue to describe to friends and family. There's just so damn much information and nuance to it all, and it ends up sounding like an implausible thriller novel, plus when ever I talk about it at length, I keep thinking someone's going to slap a tinfoil hat on me.

    As I said to Kim earlier, if I think about it all too much it makes me so angry I want to go to the CDC parking lot and start smashing in windshields with a baseball bat.

    It's a good thing to be able to get it all out of my system in an, I dearly hope, constructive way.

    Thank you.

  19. Jesus.

    I have four kids, all who have been going through their various vaccines and boosters these past 15 years. None of my kids show any signs of neurological issues, but still... jesus.

    I suddenly feel very cold.

  20. Brett, as you no doubt know I've got fraternal twin girls. They had the same shots at the same ages--same lots, same doctors, etc.

    One was the "dominant twin" the first year--hit all her milestones first, etc. Between 12 and 13 months she stopped looking up when we said her name, stopped most of her babbling (they'd both been using words by that point), stopped looking us in the eye, stopped playing with her sister. By the time she was two and a half, she had completely lost her language. She's never spoken again, except for repeating a phrase someone else said twice, over the last 12 years.

    She can't tie her shoes, can't get herself dressed (will put socks on her feet but often backwards, so the heel's at the front), can't quite brush her own hair or teeth. We're very lucky that she finally learned to use the toilet by herself at age ten. Some kids never make that step completely.

    Tiny milestones: she knows how to put on her seatbelt in the car, she understands the phrase "shut the door" and occasionally "get your shoes," she can match photographs of leaves and objects in her classroom to similar photographs. She knows the signs for "food" and "more" and "all done." They've been working on the same ten signs with her since before she was three. They're teaching her the sign for "break" so she'll hopefully use that instead of biting herself or the teacher when she's frustrated.

    She's now three inches taller than I am--like a five-foot-eight one year old, whom I love very dearly. She would have no idea of the danger of walking in front of an oncoming truck.

    Her sister just got high honors at one of the most competitive high schools in the country--she's a year younger than all of her classmates.

    I try really, really hard not to imagine what life would have been like if they were BOTH okay, because if I think about that, it makes me break down and sob every damn time.

    When I read that description of Hannah Poling, I had to leave the computer for about an hour, because I know just what that was like for her parents--to watch a child recede from you when there's not a DAMN thing anyone can tell you about it, and certainly not a damn thing they can do to stop it.

    To find out over the years that there might have been a way to stop it, that the government might have been able to act in time to save several hundred thousand children from this horror (and probably millions more around the world), is goddamn heartbreaking

    I fucking hate this, and I don't want it to happen to another child--another family--ever, ever again.

  21. frightening, sad, disturbing, frustrating...........!
    i know what it´s like to have two girls who are so diffrent from each other. one a winner all the way and the other one always limping behind. and then you find out that there is much more that could have been done......
    i´m right beside you with that baseball bat.


  22. Thanks for the post, Cornelia, from the author-parent of another vaccine damaged child:

  23. Wow - that was an amazing post, or as Marianne said, an essay. It was so incredibly well done and if you had written it any other way I would never have made it to the bottom. I would have simply blown it off and moved on. Thanks for crafting it is such a way that a I was able to actually understand all of the information presented. It's amazing how easily we can all be convinced that "Up is Down" when there is enough money involved.

  24. I'm speechless, this is an amazing piece of work. I've never read anything that echoes exactly what I want to scream from the rooftops on a daily basis, but here it is in black and white. You wrote it. I could be you, you could be me. If you ever were to head anywhere with that baseball bat I'd want to be right beside you. The enormity of what has happened to our children is often too much to bear. Thank you for putting it to words. I will be forwarding your words far and wide. Thank you.

  25. What an absolutely amazing post! Thank you for compiling this information in a manner in which people can easily read this. These are the same points I have been making for a long time, and like you, am sick of people looking at me like I'm nuts.
    I'll be passing this on to everyone I know.

  26. Oliver Reed was a British actor who hit his stride in the 1960's and 1970's. A partier who made Richard Burton look like an amateur, Reed once said in an interview:

    "Don't smoke. Don't drink. Don't have sex. Die anyway."

    Words to live by....

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you (one for each of my 3 boys with autism).

  28. I have 4 boys with autism, two sets of twins. We did not consent to vacciantions for the second set. We told the hospital that we wanted to wait on the Hep B because I was a stay at home mom and not an IV drug user. I did not have Hep B nor did anyone in the family.

    Three years later we found out that they boys were vaccinated anyway. We noticed signs of autism in one of the younger twins when he was just a few weeks old. Today he is 5 and non-verbal. His twin brother was large by almost a pound and a half (They were 6 pounds 2 ounces and 7 pounds 9 ounces born at term). He'll be an Aspie. We got a letter from the State telling us we were bad bacause our vaccinations were not up to date. That's how we learned that they had been vaccinated without our consent at birth. By then, the boys were almost 4.

    My daughter is autism free. No one in the extended family had autism. No strange sibs, no quirky uncles, no really smart engineers. Just boring NT people.

  29. Your photo essay is brilliant, and your description of your daughter's situation mirrors our own. People outside the world of autism who still haven't made up their minds about the thimerosal issue (yet still choose to get mercury-free flu vaccine for themselves, once they are made aware of the issue, just in case) owe a cosmic debt to those, like you, who have prevented other tragedies from occurring, maybe to even their own families.

  30. Cornelia,

    This is one of the best pieces of writing I've read in a long time. It's truly a masterpiece. I know the story all too well but you put it together in a way that was so compelling and impossible to put down. I too am a parent of a child with regressive autism who previously had met every developmental milestone. That is until he got seven vaccines in one day at 15-months of age. He was never the same afterwards. I'm sending the link to your blog to everyone I know because maybe they'll really start to get the bigger picture.

    Thank you, thank you for taking the time to do this.

  31. When I was in college I did some research on methyl mercury and had to do all my work in a fume hood with multiple layers of gloves and supervision. Mercury compounds are just plain nasty, nasty things. The research I did to support my work really opened my eyes, too. And that was all back in 1990. What a wonderful, tragic, enlightening piece of writing, my coffee went cold because I was so engrossed. My heart goes out to you.

  32. "I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty fucking sick of being told how stupid I am."

    I'm also fucking sick of seeing some of the most caring, intelligent, compassionate and common sense parents being called "free riders" and "parasites" in just about every one of those goddamn apologistic pieces of crap that I read in the papers these days, just because they're standing up for the principles of informed consent and "first do no harm".

    I'm equally fucking sick of the repeated use of these ugly terms to get the rest of the herd all worked up into a frenzy - ready to stampede over anyone who speaks out about safety. Funny - where the hell are the rallying cries, and who really gets the free ride, when your kid catches the bullet? Are the ones who yell the loudest about the duty to society ever seen lining up outside the door of an injured child to help with medical costs, respite care, special education, whatever...?

    And I'm totally fucking sick of watching slime like "brain-damage-is-ok-as-long-as-we-don't-call-it-autism" Gerberding rubbing salt in the wounds of injured children.

    My conflicting interest - I'm an autism dad - and like you, I do not know absolutely that any particular shot(s) "caused" my son's autism - alone or in combination with other factors - but we watched the light disappear from his eyes a bit more after every shot, after every subsequent trip to emerg (every time), and after all the lab tests showing heavy metals, demyelination, neuroinflammation, etc. people still look at us like we have 3 heads when we try to talk about this.

    Bill O'Rielly, who used to say (paraphrasing here) "support the war in Iraq or shut the hell up" once threw the son of a 9/11 victim out of his studio for trying to debate him on the merits of the Iraq war. Apparently you're also stupid if you feel that 4000 of your brothers and sisters (so far) have died for a lie.

    So you're not alone. The truth (whatever that turns out to be) will swell up from the ground level, where thousands of parents with very sick children have pretty much had it with the lies and spin coming from the people in charge.

  33. Clap...clap...clap

    I don't think I could imagine it being said better - thank you.

    conflict of interest - autism mom

  34. Excellent article - I'm spreading it far and wide. I think you'd like this site as well:

  35. Oops, the link got cut off

  36. Thank you all very much for clicking through to read this. I am so encouraged that all of us parents are finding common cause--much as it PISSES ME OFF that so many of us have this *horror* as a bond.

    You guys are amazing.

  37. Great article.
    If 1 in 150 kids were going blind would people be calling the parents of the blind kids stupid?
    I think not.
    People that blindly trust the government and pharma and expect others to do the same are some of the most dangerous people in the world!!!!!!!!

  38. I remember all too well the response of the first person in a pediatrician's office we spoke to about our suspicions that our daughter might have autism (we'd just moved to Boston, and had a new HMO).

    The woman was a nurse practitioner--I couldn't get an appointment with a pediatrician for another three months, as a new patient.

    She looked at me when she walked into the examining room and said "if your daughter isn't sitting in a corner spinning plates, you have nothing to worry about."

    I can't believe she'd have been so goddamn flippant if I'd come in saying "I think my child has leukemia," you know?

    When I finally did get to see a pediatrician--very cool guy, very young--he said "I haven't ever had a patient with autism. You're going to have to teach me about this. Please tell me ANYTHING you find out."

    By the time we moved away four years later, he had 30 ASD kids as patients.

  39. I do not think I have ever read a summation as incredible as this one. I believe the only thing you may have left out is the kitchen sink.

    Dad Fourkids

  40. Wow.

    Thanks for breaking a decade of vaccine program mismanagement into visual bits digestible to the ADD minds that the CDC juggernaut created.

  41. Thanks, you guys.

    I tell you, the kitchen sink kept *trying* to bust into this thing. I finally had to Velcro it to my car out in the driveway.

  42. I, too, am fucking sick and tired of hearing that
    1. I'm crazy
    2. I need medication
    3. I'm angry
    4. I don't know what I'm talking about
    5. vaccines don't have thimerisol anymore
    6. even if vaccines DID have thimerisol, mercury is neuroprotective
    7. vaccines don't cause autism
    8. Hannah Poling doesn't have autism, someone dropped her when she was 18 months old or is trying to cover up shaken baby syndrome
    9. I'm, an idiot
    10.the cow really DID jump over the moon.

    Thank you for such an honest and to the point post. This will be forwarded to everyone I know.

  43. Disturbing.
    Well written.

    Thank you very much for writing this.

  44. "neuroprotective"???? WTF???????????????????

    Jesus H. Tapdancing C... maybe we need to take a baseball bat to that COW, you know?

  45. My dearest C, and friends,
    Does anyone remember the virgin who got HIV from her dentist and died of AIDS? She MUST have gotten from her dentist because she was a virgin and had never ever ever been touched by a man or been near anyone with AIDS related complex (remember that one?) or HIV or AIDS?

    Except that the virus cannot, could not live outside the body (I learned this during a class on AIDS and HIV that was part of my training when I worked as a volunteer on the AIDS quilt exhibit) (I know more about RNA than I used to, even if that's nothing) but she stated that she never ever indulged in any risky behavior. Had never done drugs, had a blood transfusion or sex.

    Except she did.

    i don't know why that came to mind here as that's not exactly what we're about but it is about absolutes and lies and absolute truths that aren't.

    I remember reading about those "cigarettes are good for you" ads and wondering, just wondering WHERE they get it. WHERE does it magically come from? I've been told so many things that were "givens" whether medical or other. Here's one - a while ago, we have a slug infestation (that is to say, we had slugs getting into the house. Yeah. One is an infestation as far as I'm concerned) and so we bought something to stop the slugs. It worked. I went and tried for HOURS to learn WHY it worked. i still do not know. It matters far less than the stuff Cornelia is talking about here, but hell. We still don't know how/why ASPIRIN works. I have used a TENS unit and have heard NOTHING but theories on WHY electrical current blocks the pain impulse. I've been TOLD without being asked that all my problems would be fixed by getting ROLFED.
    There are no freaking GIVENS and the more we know, the less we know. I have a medical condition that is now 15 years UNdiagnosed. Didn't know that could still exist, did ya? We don't know things and it fucking KILLS us that we don't so we sometimes MAKE STUFF UP. And we get it wrong at times. Or it's right for YOU maybe but wrong for ME. Don't you DARE tell me absolutes. There are none. There weren't then, there aren't now.

  46. Cornelia, Thank you so much for writing this piece. I'm going to send it to everyone I know. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  47. Right on, Andi. And it brings in that whole other dimension of dealing with any serious medical condition--all the well-meaning people who offer what my pal MBH calls the "green tea for dementia" remedies.

    Leslie, thank YOU.

  48. Thank you, Cornelia--you're brilliant!

    I'm sending this to everyone I know who has children or who may have them someday.

    Tom, T.O.

  49. This is a total breath of fresh air for me to read.
    I am a nurse and a mother of two unvaccinated children, but most importantly, I am the sister of vaccine injured man. I have lived my whole life, seeing and knowing what vaccinations can do to a child, how one shot...can ruin lives forever. My brother will be 28 this June. He cannot walk, talk, sit up...he is infact, a 28 year old infant. He was awarded compensation under the vaccination compensation act, but that doesn't make up for what my family has lost.
    When I read comments, like after the peice in the NY Times, that would call me a monster and say that my kids should be taken from me, or worse "Please leave the herd", it really hurts. Its hurts that ppl are so...hateful. Truely, until someone has walked a mile in the shoes of someone like my mom, who has cared for my brother 24/7 for the last 28 years...they need to keep their pie holes shut! They have no clue!

    Our government has played Russian Roulette with our kids healths for years, they package it in fear and hate and spin comdemnation to those of us who care more about our babies than anyone else. I am doing what I can to keep my kids from having the LACK of life that my brother has!

    I literlly want to stand up and scream "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

    I loved your article (which I found on the "choosing not to vaccinate" forum at and I intend to share it with everyone I can!

  50. An amazing piece of writing, Cornelia, which has the effect of enraging me even as it moves me. And the worst thing is that we are forced to contemplate, as a society, that we are allowing this to happen to child after child and looking the other way, or assuming that the people who have the MOST invested in this are somehow drawing all the wrong conclusions when they have the most evidence and have suffered all of the pain.

    And I'm curious to know if any of those practitioners out there who believe that you parents are NOT idiots are finding any ways to address this disease--any ways of potentially bringing back these children to some level of their earlier selves? Is that too impossible a dream? Can there be an antidote for this damage they've inflicted?

    Or are they not researching it because they refuse to give credence to the original contention?

    Your voice is a beautiful sword of justice.

  51. "And it brings in that whole other dimension of dealing with any serious medical condition--all the well-meaning people who offer what my pal MBH calls the "green tea for dementia""
    No shit, honey. Anyone here who's had a condition that is visible, or whose kids have autism or something noiceble I'm betting all that i have that each and every one of us has been the target of unsolicited "advice" "answers" "you gottas". And it's not that it isn't "well-meant" it is, but you talk about being called stupid? Sheesh. It's like "WHY NO, I NEVER THOUGHT of that when someone who has no clue suggests I try some whoop-de-doo remedy (green tea for dementia - is that NOT the best band name for the opening act for Sad Anoraks?) because I've been waiting around since 1972 for some ignorant doofus to suggest my "cure" because, well, hell, for 36 years, I've done nothing about it. It's like telling you you just noticed Lila wasn't like other kids, just last week and have been puzzling over what to do, what to do.
    Having said that, I acknowledge that about 24 hours ago I emailed a close friend with a "you gotta try this" for a medical condition in the hope that a) she really had never heard of the fix (she hadn't - it's not universally known) and b) it was specific to a specific person and situation. And knowing that she could if needed write me back and call me a fuggheaded jackass if she already knew about it.
    i'm damn tired of "well-meaning" and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Er, could someone help me open this window?

  52. Julia, thank you.

    There are so few people in the mainstream medical community who are even willing to discuss this issue with parents.

    My sister was hoping to send an email with a link to this post to her children's pediatrician yesterday. The practice has a website, but no email contact posted. Instead, there's a banner stating that the office refused to accept as patients any children who haven't been vaccinated.

    That's in Berkeley, where everyone prides themselves on being so "green" and "progressive."

    Sadly, this leaves parents open to lots and lots and lots of charlatans--the "Laetrile" con-artist crowd is alive and well, and they're making a hell of a lot of money these days promising "cures" for autism. The best of these are merely useless. The worst are life-threatening. All are expensive.

    Some parents have seen tremendous improvements after putting their kids on special diets--eliminating dairy or casein or gluten, etc. We tried everything that came down the pike for the first few years following our daughter's diagnosis, and it didn't seem to make a bit of difference.

    It's likely that "autism" is a phrase that covers a number of different but similar disorders, and that better research will help pinpoint what works best for each sub-type.

    The greatest advances in the understanding of cancer over the last decade or so seem to have been made by researching treatments for the individual TYPES of cancer, rather than treating all of them as one single disease popping up in different parts of the body.

    A lot of people suspect the same will prove true of autism.

  53. Nurse S., we have friends in Israel whose son is around your brother's age. He suffered a tremendous vaccine injury many years ago (from a "hot lot" of corrupted vials), when the family lived in Germany. By the time he was five, they could no longer care for him at home, and he's been in a hospital ever since.

    My heart goes out to you and your family.

  54. Thank you for such brilliant article, Cornelia. As someone who also has a child with autism, I'm familiar with (most of!) the same stories but you have done such a wonderful job of condensing it all into one interesting, entertaining and cohesive piece. Beautifully done and I'll be sharing it with everyone I know.

  55. I hope i'm not commenting too much, but every time you reply, Cornelia, you bring up another fascinating thing to discuss.

    "It's likely that "autism" is a phrase that covers a number of different but similar disorders, and that better research will help pinpoint what works best for each sub-type."

    This is so clearly the case and yet we're still stuck with a general label aren't we? Years back, i was given some tests to rule out stuff like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It was the 1st I knew that it wasn't a "yes you have it/no you don't" kind of diagnosis, but a range and a bunch of factors and maybes. Again, we're so accustomed to the medical advances we've grown up with that some of us have to learn that "autism" is not a defined thing. My friend with narcolepsy taught me about the humongous range of symptoms, associated complexes, all sorts of shit about that one. It's not a "you have X, so take Y" world she lives in either.

    "The greatest advances in the understanding of cancer over the last decade or so seem to have been made by researching treatments for the individual TYPES of cancer, rather than treating all of them as one single disease popping up in different parts of the body."

    What I was told years back by someone in a study for interferon (for her MS, not for cancer) was that the hope was that if we unlock the whole "immune system" key, understand why the body attacks itself as it does with cancer and MS and other things, we'll unlock a vast huge room. But whether that will "fix" it all is so unclear because we still may know THAT it happens but not WHY (we know THAT women get period related migraines in a huge number of cases but not WHY.)
    I told folks over on my blog to come here today. This is far too important to talk about than any blather i could offer.

  56. C,
    Conflict of Interest -- A Thinking Person.......
    We had a patient who spiked a 108 fever after vaccination. He isn't autistic, he's just a vegetable. So, now he has a trust fund that will keep him in 24 hour home care until he dies. He is now 26.

    Similar feelings about the Heparin overdose of the Quaid twins-- where Cedars never bothered to call and tell them -- oops -- we hgave the kids 2 doses of 10,000 times the peds dosage.....

    And anyonw who is agst Tort Law should read John Edward's book-- suing people like the pool cover manufacturers who weighed the cost/benefit analysis of installing millions of $10.00 drain covers against disemboweling a few dozen kids.....

    I love you lots and am so glad you are here to fight the good fight on this and many other subjects.
    Taking care of our kids the most important. xxxxxmbh

  57. The thing is, I completely believe that the vaccinations cause Autism. I know that if a vaccination can make a child, who was 2 months ahead on his development, into what my brother is, it can surely cause Autism!
    I also believe that the government will deny deny deny because they are afraid of the amount of lawsuits that they will have to face, because they have been forced to pay out on kids like my brother. They denied that kids were having serious reactions to vaccinations too...but that came back to bite them right in the ass.

  58. N.S., well, it guess it's good the government has a fat ass, because I see a lot of things lining up to come back for further bites in the future. And, hey, no ass deserves it more...

    MBH, xxxxx

  59. Maybe shit will finally hit the fan through the geriatric population; when an increase of Alzheimer's diagnosis is linked to the flu vaccine. With the propaganda over flu shortages in recent years folks have been running to CVS to get their flu shot, including those pregnant women, who interestingly, are discouraged from eating tuna due to mercury.

    Did the drug companies provoke the flu shortage propaganda to get more thimersol in the market. Do the drug companies keep adding to the recommended list of shots for children (which don't have thimersol free requirements) to confuse parents with shots on the schedule to keep autism rates from decreaseing. Are the drug companies purposely masking a correlation between thimersol and autism? Are the drug companies doing these things until legislation is passed that changes statute of limitations even more on vaccine injury claims?

    Alzheimer's, Autism they both begin with "A"

    Does Thalamide cause birth defects?

    Are Ulcers really a bacterial invection?

    We'd much rather be at Disney World.

  60. I'm with you on the give out Thimerosal with one hand, discourage eating tunafish with the other program. What's up with that?

    The idea that they're keeping the thimerosal in flu shots JUST to keep the autism rates up is far too dark for even me to contemplate, and I'm pretty damn dark.

    I think it's more a case of the powers that be putting their hands over their ears and singing "lalalalala." Or perhaps "Nearer My God to Thee," come to think of it.

    Disneyworld indeed...

  61. I don't know tons about this issue, but the way I understand it, it's the preservative that's the problem, not the actual vaccination. Right or wrong?

    And am I right in thinking that the concern is now that the mercury-based one is phased out, the replacements aren't tested so we don't know if they're any better?


  62. hey girlfriend: first of all, the dalai is beautiful - as are you yourself. your anger is well-justified; yet you have corralled it into one of the best-researched and most heartfelt pieces on the subject i have ever read. God bless you, always & all ways, she

  63. Brilliant, brilliant analysis, Cornelia. The Constant Gardner suddenly seems not only plausible but probable.

    I hope someone in the political game, somewhere, picks up your post. We have met the enemy ... and he's on our medicine shelves.

    I wonder if mercury derivatives are used as preservatives in European vaccines, or whether this is strictly an American crime.


  64. My understanding is that the Russians took thimerosal out of their vaccines 20 years ago. Not sure about anyone else.

    And I think there is some concern that just the huge number of vaccinations given now at such a young age can be problematic (as the doctor at the end of the TIME magazine said) for some childen--though perhaps not for as MANY kids out of the population.

    One kid harmed is too many, to me.

    Some people are concerned about what preservatives might be used in place of thimerosal, in multi-use vials of vaccines.

    Thimerosal IS still used in a number of vaccines commonly given to children, as I said in the post--including 94% of the flu shots currently available, and all tetanus boosters. It's also still in Rhogam, a shot routinely given to pregnant mothers who have Rh-negative blood. My sister and I were both given that during our pregnancies.

  65. Superb writing!!!
    I like the comments about using baseball bats but I'd rather go to Congress with an M-16.

  66. Wonderful post, Cornelia.

    You know my opinion about that sadistic egomaniac Bruno Bettelheim.

    I've told my kids "Ninety percent of anything you hear any given day is bull****." And it is.

  67. Thank you for an incredibly brave and brilliant essay. My niece (who IS the most beautiful child on the face of the earth, yes she is) was born on 3/10. You can bet I'll be talking to her mother, my sister about this, and sending her the link.

    Thank you.
    I'll never say that often enough.

    Thank you.

  68. Wow!!! People are starting to get it. That is what ran through my head while reading. What a great piece. As the mother of an amazing son with autism, I can not thank you enough. Your writing and wit are amazing and the pictures you used are fabulous. Thank you

  69. I think more people will read this if it were shorter and more to the point, but regardless, it's a great post on an important subject.

    The most important subject. I have two children who were vaccine injured, and neither was austim. One almost died in the ER and one has arthritis for life that she got at ONE YEAR OLD !

    Vaccines are the biggest and saddest marketing scam to ever hit humankind and we've literally culled millions from our ranks with vaccines.

  70. Foresam, AWESOME!

    Barbara, I'm totally with you on Bruno. I've been corresponding with a woman who went to the Orthogenic School (she read about my novel CRAZY SCHOOL and figured it HAD to be about him, but alas there was ANOTHER egomaniac of his ilk out there). She and I have a plan to dig him up and hit him over the head with the shovel, and I immediately dispatched her to read your book "about" him, too.

    Janet, GOOD ON YOU! And your niece's birthday is two days after mine, five days after my daughters'. I hope that's auspicious in some way, and congrats on being such a proud aunt!

    Anonymous I thank you!!

    Anonymous II--you should have seen how long it was ORIGINALLY! I really tried to make it as to-the-point as possible, but it was tough. First because I wanted to draw the eye-rollers into the story before they realized what it was about, and second because there's so much necessary information that's behind making this point solidly. I think one of the reasons it hasn't received the media attention it deserves is that you CAN'T make a soundbite out of it--the info is too nuanced, too complex. And that's going to be true of more and more "scientific" stories in the future, so we all need to get our chops on making sense of the arguments presented on either side of science/medical/technical issues, as "educated laypersons."

    Plus, well, I SUCK at winnowing down information. It's why I had to go from journalism to novels in the first place, I think.

  71. You are beautiful. I can't top what others have already said so I'll just say: Thank you. And move on.

  72. Aw, Cooper, thank YOU. "Beautiful" back atcha, too.

  73. I think our passion, our desire and insistance on knowing the cause of something may create problems. We've got to understand that sometimes there simply is no answer. I mean if you wanted to set up some perfect lab experiment "proving" how autism happens, you would take Cornelia's life - twins, one who developed autism, one who is neurologically normal and high functioning. That messes up a lot of "X caused this" since that's about as matched as can be.
    We're spoiled. We know what causes polio. We've found ways to stop malaria (which was blamed on "bad air" and poverty) typhoid, forms of cancer. When I had my first back surgery, the one my mother had, which put her in a body cast for 6 weeks, I was walking the next day. Medicine changes. But we don't know it all. We don't and it pisses us off. Somehow we feel entitled since things have advanced so in our lifetimes.
    I have spent over 15 years with something which is not diagnosed and will never be at this point. No one knows why it happened and yes, we tried tests, histories, biopsies (bone biopsies anyone?) more tests, literature searches and more tests. We don't KNOW and that is how it is. I think we will learn and learn and learn more, but I think it's a little naive to assume that we KNOW what causes everything because we don't and we may never know. I have to live with that reality and I'm not alone. I find it stunning that people claim to know things they simply cannot know even while I understand the desire to have answers.

  74. Great piece, Cornelia!

    It's so good to see so many eyes opening up to this issue.

    It's almost like it isn't even a secret anymore... going more mainstream. I went to a vaccination speech at a local chiropractors office (a few years back) and who did I see there? The entire staff of my son's
    school that he was going to for his developmental concerns. All freely talking about the dangers of vaccinations... They know...

  75. Sue M., thank you.

    Andi, I agree that there's a LOT of stuff we may never know, and I wish to hell there was more information for you, in particular, because it makes me crazy to think that you have to go through what you've gone through without anyone having a CLUE what's up.

    But I think one of the reasons parents in the autism community want so desperately to "know" is that we've been blamed for so long for CAUSING our kids' disability, and then told to shut up whenever we question someone advancing a completely bullshit hypothesis about what happened to our kids, and why.

    Again, if we used leukemia as a comparison--what if a kid was dying of cancer, and the parents took him or her to a doctor, and were then told "your child is dying because you too are LOUSY parents who hate your child, and if you loved your child more, he or she wouldn't have to die. Oh, and by the way we think your child would benefit from Freudian analysis, five days a week--might help with those tumors..."

    That was the state of things with autism for upwards of thirty years, until a parent who HAPPENED to be a doctor started asking around about his child, saying the equivalent of, "gee, our *first* three childen aren't autistic, and it's not like we locked our fourth in the linen closet for a year or anything, so what's up with this whole 'refrigerator mother' thing?"

    And you KNOW I am your pal and fan, but let's say you had a strong suspicion that you'd been harmed by eating Jelly Beans. You also knew that a great many people eat Jelly Beans with no ill effects, but all of a sudden there was this huge marketing campaign, government sponsored, decreeing that we should ALL eat three times as many Jelly Beans--For The Sake of The Children!--and you piped up and said, "um, you know, that MIGHT not be such a great idea for EVERYONE," and then you were pilloried in the NY Times and by the head of the CDC, and and and, for being "A crazy hippie child-hating anti-Jelly-Bean FANATIC!!!" or whatever...

    Well, I'm getting carried away, but I think that's what drives the "need to know" impulse really hugely with my A-Team crowd. It's the fear that people are going to throw us in ponds or tie us to stakes in the ground and light us on fire, to see if we're witches.

  76. A very interesting article. However, I wanted to bring your attention to the latest published study on autism rates in California, which I reviewed here:

    The 2004 California data you mentioned was sadly a bleep, for the rates of autism in California have continued to increase through 2007. Sadly there is no evidence that the rates followed the expected, consistent, decline after 2001.

    Best Regards, Nestor.
    Translating Autism

  77. Nestor, thank you very much for the update. Much appreciated. What we need is knowledge, whichever way it leads... I'm not on any bandwagon because I like bandwagons, per se.

  78. Nestor,

    Well, that new study would have been worth more if it hadn't started it's timeline for mercury=0 at 2001, since the stuff was still on the shelves and being sold until years later, and then when those were gone flu shots for pregnant women came around. Kind of difficult to have a floating X parameter when plotting a regression, unless you really want to have confusing or misleading results. Or maybe that was the point of the study.


  79. Brilliant! Absolutely right on the money. Very well put together and It's weird to see my thoughts in print written by someone else.
    Keep shouting it out! I will.

  80. "But I think one of the reasons parents in the autism community want so desperately to "know" is that we've been blamed for so long for CAUSING our kids' disability, and then told to shut up whenever we question someone advancing a completely bullshit hypothesis about what happened to our kids, and why."

    Absolutely and if I said anything that didn't agree with that, I apologize fast. I might be writing too quickly but I'm so het up. I can't tell you how many women I have met in my life who have been told they are "responsible" for what is wrong with them. They are suffering "empty nest syndrome" and want attention. They are neurotic - scuze me I am neurotic and dramatizing their/MY sad lives, or exaggerating and not bucking up the way a man would. I appear calm but I'm really a nervous wreck and need - wait for it - valium. I "shouldn't" hurt the way I do. they can't find what's causing it so it doesn't exist. For years and years and years.

    I'm not denying for a second that you MUST be listened to. I think it's more hearing "well, it HAS to be this/that". It had to be your doing because medical egos could not STAND that they didn't know, so it was YOUR FAULT. For years, my pain was my fault because they could not fix me.

    You do deserve to know, it just worries me that some of the answers aren't necessarily useful but they're grasped onto because we are so desperate and because yeah, we're sick and tired of being blamed for what we DID NOT CAUSE.

    I don't mean to say for a second that you shouldn't fight with everything you have to learn the answers.It just worries me when someone insists that they have the fix. And fuck ME if i implied anything that meant otherwise.

  81. Anon #72, and then there's also the question of higher median age of diagnosis for those on the less-impaired end of the ASD spectrum... Lots and lots of variables, at play.

    It amazes me that the CDC can do a study of a national database of routine medical check-up results and thereby posit the current percentages of American girls aged 14-19 who'd contracted four separate Sexually Transmitted Infections (with those results further broken down by ethnicity), but NOT hustle to do the same research concerning current rates of autism, nationally.

    Then again, the claim that "25% of all teenage girls in this country have an STI" (extrapolated from a sample of 838 kids) is a great stat to toss around if you want public buy-in for the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination program.

    OMG, if I keep thinking about this stuff, I'm going to end up wearing a REALLY BIG tinfoil hat... I can just feel it coming.

  82. Andi, I think the points you're articulating are TREMENDOUSLY important--not least because it's important for ALL of us to think about what the things we've each run up against as individuals might mean institutionally.

    That's especially true when the body of actual medical knowledge has grown so vast that it's breaking up increasingly into specialized mini-chunks that don't necessarily communicate their findings with any effectiveness outside their own narrow "genre," as it were.

    You and I have joked about getting sent to the "LEFT elbow specialist," etc. often enough. We KNOW this is a problem...

    I am morbidly fascinated by the number of acronyms and the amount of specialized vocabulary I've picked up that relate *only* to my daughter's condition.

    My friend Martha's son has type-I diabetes, and she's got her own far-too-lengthy lexicon of hard-earned but necessary terminology. She and I need a Douglas-Adams-Hitchhiker's-Guide "Babelfish" to make sense of one another's conversation, when we really get going. And yet SO MANY of the issues, especially personal, that we're navigating are identical...

    I guess one of the great ethical dilemmas of the age is how we can work to make knowledge connect rather than splinter our communities, you know?

    Actually, I suppose that's one of the great ethical dilemmas of ANY age--otherwise we wouldn't keep having these pesky wars and stuff.

  83. I testified in front of Dan Burton and Diane Watson in May 2004 and can tell you first hand that this is all true....Senator Frist is an unethical man, something that was painfully obvious the first day I met him.

    Well done Cornelia.

  84. 1) Verstraeten was commenting on the results of a pilot study at Simpsonwood. The catchment was small and produced a 'result'. When the data set was expanded upon (i.e. when more participants were taken on board) the association went away. This is why pilot studies exist and why some studies are done in two parts.

    2) The California numbers you refer to have in fact never declined. Here's a graph made from all CDDS data pertaining to autism in the crucial 3 - 5 year old cohort (CDDS data is freely available to all on their website).

    The 'drop' was never a drop. It was a decrease in the rate of increase. In other words, the ever continuing rate of increase dropped slightly - as it does occasionally (it also goes up). However there has never been an actual decrease.

    3) You mention 'similarities in symptoms between autism and mercury poisoning' and link to the Bernard paper. That paper has been refuted. It is also clear from a simple comparison of diagnosing symptoms that they are not similar at all.

    4) You also mention that the Amish are 'virtually non vaccinated as a population' and hence have no autism. There has (to my knowledge) only been one study that looked at the Amish and their vaccination uptake which found:

    "A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and 8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations.

    84% of Amish households reported all their kids had received vaccinations. Only 4% reported that none of their kids had received vaccinations.

    Among all respondents who knew their own vaccination status, 281/313 (90%) reported that they had received vaccinations as children.

    5) You state: Here's the event I spoke of: the government decided in favor of the plaintiffs in one of the first Vaccine Injury Court autism test cases to go to trial. That's right, folks, a judge representing the United States government decided that the family of an autistic girl was entitled to a monetary award, because it indeed seens evident that her condition was caused by "routine childhood vaccinations."

    This is not quite correct. HHS decided to not contest the case. No judge was involved in that decision, although they will be involved in deciding the amount Hannah Poling will be awarded.

    You are correct that she received vaccine injuries - that's why her case was not fought. However, no one has claimed (aside from interested parties) that the vaccine related injuries caused her autism. In fact, we can have a thorough look at all medical evidence presented as that claimed by the Poling's as that caused by vaccines and it cannot be used to make a diagnosis of autism. I blogged about this but for brevity here are the list of symptoms attributed to her vaccines (as per the HHS report and the case study authored by Andrew Zimmerman and Jon Poling) (symptoms matching the DSM (IV) in bold - duplications removed):

    1) Loss of previously acquired language
    2) Eye Contact
    3) Relatedness
    4) disruption in CHILD’s sleep patterns,
    5) Persistent screaming
    6) Arching
    7) the development of pica to foreign objects,
    8) loose stools
    9) CHILD watched the fluorescent lights repeatedly during the examination
    10) fever to 38.9°C
    11) inconsolable crying
    12) irritability
    13) lethargy
    14) refused to walk
    15) waking up multiple times in the night
    16) having episodes of opisthotonus
    17) no longer normally climb stairs
    18) Low-grade intermittent fever
    19) generalized erythematous macular rash
    20) spinning
    21) gaze avoidance
    22) disrupted sleep/wake cycle
    23) perseveration
    24) expressive language was lost
    25) chronic yellow watery diarrhea
    26) appetite remained poor for 6 months
    27) body weight did not increase
    28) decline on a standard growth chart
    29) atopic dermatitis
    30) slow hair growth
    31) generalized mild hypotonia
    32) toe walking
    33) normal tendon reflexes.

    Simply nowhere near enough to make a diagnosis of autism.

    This is not to say that Hannah Poling is not autistic. It is to say that either:

    a) There are symptoms we have not heard about yet (unlikely given Hannah's dad was one of the study co-authors) or
    b) Hannah is an autistic child who also happens to have been injured by her vaccines.

    Conflict of interest - father to an eight year old girl with severe low functioning autism.

  85. Kev, I'm grateful for your thoughtful response to this post. I know this is a tremendously divisive issue within the ASD community, and beyond, and as I've said here I'm an English major, so I'm sure my handling of a lot of this information has been done in a pretty blunt-object way.

    It still seems to me that injecting a known neuro-toxin into infants and young children in these--or any--proportions was a pretty stupid idea.

    My intention in this post was to bring up a number of things I've read and heard over the years since our daughter was diagnosed which I find disturbing, related to the vaccine/thimerosal/autism connection hypothesis. It IS nothing more than a hypothesis, I realize that fully.

    My hope is that we can all have greater transparency in the dealings of the bureaucracies that make what might be life-altering (for good or for ill) decisions regarding medical policy that affect the public health.

    It gives me pause, as J.D. Rhoades mentioned at the top of these comments, that decisions of public policy are made on the basis of what might be good or bad for "the trial lawyers," as opposed to what might be good or bad for our children.

    Again, thank you for your thoughtful response to my questions, as posed in the blog post. I hope that ALL future discussion of this issue can be conducted without acrimony, and without vitriol.

  86. p.s. I do still think Frist sounds like a *major* skeevy butthead.

  87. I'm concerned about possible side effects from Aluminum Foil headgear and am going for the organic Rhubarb Leaf. All I know is this crap does make me feel crazy --because what seems like sense and logic-- i.e. don't put foreign shit in your body or your kid's body, esp. known POISONs is a BAD IDEA is viewed as pinko hippie shit anti-american hoo ha ( like Global Warming)

    GRRRR. mbh

  88. It's impressive that people like Kev can be so sure that there is no connection between vaccinations and autism. In a way, I envy that blind faith in the medical community. For myself there are just too many unanswered questions and too many parental stories in regards to the decline of children post vaccination. I trust those parents. Never mind, the absurdity of claiming that injecting babies with a neurotoxin is 'safe and effective'... I mean, that's just dumb. Even Kev's daughter had such a severe reaction to her mmr that she was rushed by ambulance to the hospital on the night of her vaccination... While certainly that is NO PROOF of anything (in regards to her ultimate diagnosis of autism) it certainly raises some red flags. It is very likely that there are certain children who simply CANNOT handle the toxic and/or live virus assaults to their developing immune systems. The question is ... what can we do about it? Where do we go from here? There are no easy answers.

  89. cornelia,
    if you really want to get sick, which i know you do (sorry, but you're like me, you have to know the truth)...have you seen this doc?
    our kids who are not diagnosed with autism spectrum (i.e. totally verbal) are diagnosed now with bi-polar and are medicated out the ass with adult drugs. watch this program. it's the same thing...vaccine/environmental damage gone so terribly wrong. do you have any elementary teacher friends? they are terrified and don't last long in their profession anymore.
    baseball bats are not enough.

  90. "My friend Martha's son has type-I diabetes, and she's got her own far-too-lengthy lexicon of hard-earned but necessary terminology. She and I need a Douglas-Adams-Hitchhiker's-Guide "Babelfish" to make sense of one another's conversation, when we really get going".

    In a case of "it's a small world"... I *know* your friend, Martha (in cyber-space). My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 months of age (which I'm sure has absolutely nothing to do with an unsafe vaccination schedule... /sarcasm). I Haven't been on the support group that we used to "chat" on but if you check in here Martha... Hello... Long time, no talk... Have you been chatting with Rick lately - he drove me off :)

  91. oh and another thing....don't you think it's really impossible to comment on the Poling case when so many details are really unknown, because of what they can't say? i mean, say she got autism from vaccines and you can't be sure from the terminology that was used. But say she doesn't have autism and she didn't get it from vaccines (according to the court) and you can't be sure you are right either.
    (Especially since her dad, the neurologist, says she has AUTISM and since he did a study that says mitochondrial disorder can come from thimerosal...let's not jump to conclusions)

  92. Kim I was just having a big ranting freakout in the kitchen with my husband, about this whole thing. I mean, one factoid I didn't put in this post was that there are some 3300 lobbyists working on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies in Washington. And there are, let's see, 100 Senators, and 435 members of Congress, so that makes roughly FIVE lobbyists per member of our legislative branch? I mean, Jesus, what do they DO all day? Have intra-mural foosball tournaments? Take turns polishing each other's shoes? Trade tips on combating erectile disfunction?

  93. Cornelia-

    I read the Kennedy article when I was pregnant, and it was instrumental in my decision to severely limit the number of vaccines my child received after she was born (we are one of the only countries in the developed world that mandates a Hep B vaccine within 24 HOURS OF BIRTH...when I was told that, I asked what the hell they thought I planned on doing with this kid on the way home from the hospital, "here, sweetie, have a dirty needle with your baba...") My father has devoted his entire adult life to perinatal and neonatal health issues in developing nations such as Kazakhstan, Armenia, and China, and he agreed that many of our vaccination decisions in this country are financial, since most of the CDC advisory board has direct ties to the pharmaceutical interests (in fact, many of them profit directly from patents they own on various vaccines.) Most European countries and Japan follow a vaccination schedule half of what we subject our kids to. It's a travesty, and despite the "official" reports I still believe that in the end we'll discover that thimerasol was a primary culprit in the spike in autism rates. (They don't want you eating fish when you're pregnant because it could endanger the baby, then they put it in infant vaccines? It would be comical if it weren't so scary.)
    Your daughter is beautiful, btw :)

  94. Yeah, when I first read that "don't eat fish while pregnant" warning, I had a bad case of painful can't-stop-laughing-long-enough-to-breathe attack. Hence the tuna sandwich illustration in the post.

    How cool that your dad has done that work, Michelle.

    God, this is all making me want to grind my teeth down to stubs, you know? I don't think I'd make a very good full-time activist for ANYTHING--I start thinking about it all and I get so wound up that I want to do is invade dinner parties around Berkeley and start lecturing people. Kind of scary, really. "Look out! It's Autism-is-Caused-By-the-Government Lady!! QUICK, Sergei, hide the arugula!!"

    I'm much more suited to writing mysteries--I get to pick some total bad guys, show them LOOKING like total bad guys, and then shoot their heads off and/or blow them up in helicopters. If I didn't have fiction, I'd probably turn into Ted Kaczynski.

    Just wait for my new series--Madeline Dare visits the CDC: Julie Gerberding Noir.

  95. Holy Moly this is GREAT.

    I am a mom of two typical and healthy kids, and I don't give them most of the shots. Even though I have to fight with my very nice doctor about it. Back in the late 90's when I was in school, my child development prof told the class about a suspected link with all the new shots and autism rates rising like wildfire. It just always stuck in my mind. And also, I have never had any shots, and am still here to tell about it, so... Now my best friend is a mother of a child with autism. As a mom, and a friend, it has become so personal. This weekend I am attending a conference on treatment with her.

    I have been pissy all week, as news in my area has been running these "special reports", which are really just trying to freak everyone out about "all the risk" we non-vac parents are putting everyone's kids in. (If they have shots, aren't they safe? Hmmm). It has had me yelling at my tv. It is sooo one sided, and incomplete and just WRONG.

    --"I think one of the reasons it hasn't received the media attention it deserves is that you CAN'T make a soundbite out of it--the info is too nuanced, too complex. "

    -- this is so true, what you say. That is why this post is so brilliant.(I am going to link it on my blog sidebar, btw) I have another best friend, who is an RN and just had two babies in the last two years (lord help her). I TRY to tell her these things, I send her links, I send her books...But it's like I am speaking nonsense to her! She goes and asks her doctor, who says it all good, and that's that. It makes me insane. And sad. And worried. :(

    Anyway, you rock. This is fab. Thanks.


  96. Amber, thank you! And good for you for going to the conference with your friend. I doubt I could convince any of my own family members to do that for me. You're a fine friend.

  97. there is NO way to make a good soundbite and make our points...but this reporter helped:
    there are still some of those that will help us

  98. "Kim has some suggestions for parents who may be concerned about their child's health.
    She says parents should ask whoever is administering the shot for the package insert so that they can make sure there is no Thimerosal.
    She also said there are numerous books on vaccines that let you know the ingredients of each vaccine and which ones are vital for your child to receive."

    Right on.

  99. Cornelia - it is a majorly divisive issue, no doubt about that.

    I've been blogging about this for five years or so now (my daughter was diagnosed in 2003) and I started from the point of belief that vaccines caused autism (although it was DTP she had Sue, not MMR, remember?) and to a point not long after that where I realised that, much as it was a deeply personal issue for me, on the question 'do vaccines cause autism?' the only way to get an answer was via objective quality science.

    I also grew very concerned about the cure industry that sprang up around autism that seemed primarily designed to separate well meaning parents from their money for no scientifically measurable benefit beyond what time, patience and standard therapies bring about.

    Its obvious I think that there are many autisms, not just autism. I also think its obvious that many of these autisms are both genetically and environmentally begun. The simple fact that twin studies show autism in twins to be more heritable than personality but not 100% heritable indicates both these things.

    But I really don't think vaccines are that environmental cause. There's no quality science that indicates that to be true.

    As to Hannah Poling, aside from the fact that like your daughter and mine, she's a beautiful little girl I think she is definitely autistic (it would be very hard for her to get into an Autism Omnibus hearing without being autistic!) I look at the medical evidence presented as the damage vaccinations caused and don't see autism.

    In the early days of the vaccine hypothese it was hard to argue against them as there was no science done at that point. As the science has progressed it has become easier and easier. I think we are at a similar point now with the Poling story.

  100. "I started from the point of belief that vaccines caused autism (although it was DTP she had Sue, not MMR, remember?)"

    Apparently I didn't remember...:) Sorry for any confusion. Let's recap: Your daughter projectile vomited and spiked a fever on the night of her DTP shot and you were worried enough to send her via ambulance to the hospital BUT of course ... according to you there are no safety concerns with the DTP shot? Is that better?

    I simply don't believe that the door is closed on the issue despite the attemps of others to try to shut the door.

    Again though, I am a bit jealous of those who do have that blind faith mentalitity of trusting their "leaders" - whether they be political leaders or medical leaders... Good luck with that!

  101. I have a confession to make. I find it to be so much fun to go to ABA blogs and chat groups and tell everyone there how I don't have an ABA program for my son, how I don't believe in it or it's science, and how much of a waste of money I think it is. I find it to be so so productive to place judgment on other autism parents and their decisions that they thoughtfully make for their own children. I feel that when all is said and done I will have really made a contribution and will have helped so many families by finding them where they congregate to tell them how wrong I think they are, I like to blog my criticisms, too. I think it is kind of my life's purpose, I mean, maybe this is the deeper meaning behind why I have a child with autism in the first place. What do you think about my life?

  102. WoW!That includes the essay and responces.I have a wonderfull boy dx with PPD-NOS,or atypical autism, by the school. why atypical? Because he responded to his name, was loving, and kind, liked people, but at 3 1/2 didn't talk, and had some different behaviors.
    At age three, he was just learning sign language, and then he started "flapping" his hands by his face. The whole flapping hands upset me so much.I never told any doctor about it. It took weeks really to figure out he was making up his own sign language, and that flapping his hands by his face happened to be go outsie. How I figured it out was he was at the door "flapping" his hands and wouldn't leave the door. I looked up and said door? a shake of the head no follwed me back. OPEN? he didn't, didn't nod no or yes, then I said open door? he nodded yes, I opened the door, and he flapped some more. OH please what did my son want, NOW I knew he was trying to tell me something but still had no clue! We looked at each other, then he pointed outside, and then I got it. outside? you want to go outside? BIG NOD of head. He was smart enough to figure out ways to tell me what he wanted.

    In the meantime I had a very tiny premie daughter. So my focus was on her. First on her making it through the first night of her life in a city 90 miles away. Then, getting to see her, and getting her healthy and home. So we were so happy when her devolpement was going great! But then that was when I noticed my son not talking, but that was really the only thing. He was 18 months when she was born. My daughter got behind on her vaccinces, and then started to hear about autism, and my son. Well I stopped all vaccinces on both children, and I KNOW that saved my son's life. He has not gotten one shot since he was 2.

    I remember the earlier years, and thinking I would never hear my son talk, never say MOmmy. yes he signed mommy, but it not the same. Yes he had a voice, he would babble even at 4, and I would let him. Then at 5 years old what did I hear? MOMMY, Daddy! YES HE WAS STARTING TO TALK!!

    Fast foward to when he was 7 speech was coming but he was so hard to understand. The school wanted to put him in an austic classroom, since he was austicc. I went to that class room in another school, and said no way!! I always knew my son needed help so I never cared about the Lable the school had put on him, because I knew he needed extra serives. But my son is smart no way, no way! that was in April, in May I got him to stay in his school in the special ed program here for his second grade year. The school specialists were sure he would fail. In June, on my 40th birthday, I got him to a specialist doctor. I thought this is going to be the worse birthday ever. We drove the 150 miles, and found out he has dypraxia. Dyspraxia can be with autism, but for my son dyspraxia so toally fit him!!! Not austism, it never fit. It got to the point I questioned, my mothering, my husband's fathering, because the "experts" would stay things and get me so upset and down about my son's future. And that very day it change to Me and my husband being in controll of our son.
    Now our son is in 3rd grade doing all the regular work, on his own swim or sink it is him!
    So I know that stopping vaccinations saved my son's life.
    Now if the world would listen when people say don't vaccinate at least SO YOUNG. That is what I think the whole key is! Too young, too many, on a baby, or toodler, or child!

  103. Please remember that autism is not the only illness caused by vaccines. Vaccines cause all kinds of diseases including the diseases they are supposed to prevent.

    So those who think that vaccines are good, but just don't give them to infants, need to remember that older children and adults will also get sick from vaccines and can also suffer brain damage and other illnesses. I was four years old when I contracted polio from the vaccine. There are continual outbreaks of polio in third world countries whenever there is vaccination campaign.

    This piece of writing is excellent. You brought your point home slowly and surely by starting out giving other examples of medical quackery, especially the references to the tobacco industry. We need more of this kind of honest journalism because people have been brainwashed for far too long.


  104. "... according to you there are no safety concerns with the DTP shot? Is that better?"

    Not really Sue. I never made that claim. All medical procedures carry risk. I'm saying I don't think the DTP shot caused her autism.

    "Again though, I am a bit jealous of those who do have that blind faith mentalitity of trusting their "leaders" - whether they be political leaders or medical leaders... Good luck with that!"

    I'm not really sure what you mean there. I don't follow anyone regarding anything I don't think. Thats why I mentioned being led by objective quality science on this issue. To me thats the polar opposite of blind faith - especially from an atheist such as myself ;)

  105. Kevin Leech,

    "I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty fucking sick of being told how stupid I am."

    If our host knew you a little better, I think she'd realize that you are one of the people she is referring to with the above phrase.

    It would be nice if you kept your insanity confined to your idiotic neuroinsanity blogs.

  106. hey sue, love ya :-) i knew i hadn't seen you around lately... i've been so busy myself i've not checked in for quite awhile... i'll email you when i get a chance.

    rick is why i love the gmail filter... he goes straight into the trash.

    cornelia, lovely, striking, and beautifully argued... as usual. xxxxxx

  107. "All medical procedures carry risk".

    So, vaccinations are considered a "medical procedure"? Ok. They also carry some risk? Ok, again. I guess that I am just of the opinion that we need to limit "medical procedures" on *healthy* infants or any infants for that matter (given the known risks)? As an example, it can't be that smart to inject babies with the Hep B vaccine (which is unnecessary unless the mother is a carrier) on day 1 of life... can it? Are you able to tell on day 1 of life that the baby is strong enough to handle this so-called "medical procedure"? I don't think so... So, why are our medical professionals so confused? Their confusion - confuses me... I have difficulty trusting their judgement. Again... I admire your faith in them (I really do).

    "Thats why I mentioned being led by objective quality science on this issue. To me thats the polar opposite of blind faith - especially from an atheist such as myself ;)"

    But Kev your "quality science" pretty much revolves around bogus epidemiological studies, doesn't it? I mean, you must agree that the Danish studies have been torn to shreds AND then there is the heralded Fombonne study up in Canada. Remember that one? For kicks, I checked your blog and even you seemed quite proud of Fombonne for concluding that neither thimerosal nor the mmr vaccine led to an increase in developmental disorders. I believe the title of your blog post at the time was:

    "Canada Speaks: No, It’s Not Vaccines"

    It took a short time before it turned out that Fombonne made an embarrasing mistake in that study. He compared the rates of developmental disorders in Montreal with the rates of vaccinations in Quebec City... Essentially comparing apples to oranges. I imagine this would be something covered in an Epidemiology 101 Class, wouldn't it? It only took one of "our sides" researchers (for lack of a better way to differentiate the "sides") to find his error and report on it. More pathetic is the fact that the Pediatrics Journal at the time refused to retract the study or print the letter explaining the mistake. How sad that many pediatricians likely believed in the accuracy of the study and used it to defend possibly dangerous vaccination policies. How about that "quality science", Kev....?

  108. Hi Martha!

    I'd love to hear from you. Email me at my old address (I'm not on the lists anymore).

    Small world, huh? :)


    Read about Dr. Buttar

  110. Wow. Frightening. Disturbing. Beautifully written. Powerful. Compelling. Thought provoking. I've sent the link to everyone I know. Thank you for saying so eloquently, what we (the parents of children with autism) have been trying to say for so long. I'm looking forward to hearing back from all the people in my life who say, "you don't believe all that vaccine crap do you?" Bring it on.

  111. Thank you for writing this.

  112. Cornelia,

    That must have been a lot of work! This is one of the best examples I've seen of communicating a complex train of thought concisely. I read the whole thing start to finish. Even if you might overstep the strength of some of the details, the logical clarity resonates with a number of my thoughts over the years.

    Although my opinions might not be as definitive on some of the topics as yours, I especially connected with the following:

    "Isn't it time we expended a little more effort trying to really figure this thing out, and a little less of same calling the parents who are doing their best to make sense of and cope with the horrors of this disorder idiots?

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty fucking sick of being told how stupid I am.

    I won't hold my breath waiting for that to change any time soon."

    I don't have any Autistic children, but as a parent of two mostly unvaccinated children, I can say that I am indeed tired of the abuse thrown my direction for actually doing my own research and reaching an informed decision that is contrary to the indoctrinated program of vaccinations. The sad part is that the abuse comes both from the rabid faithful and from the scientifically educated (who can make good compelling arguments), but still feel the need to heap abuse.

    Early in my career I worked for Big Pharma (not as a medical researcher) and I've seen first hand how the machine works. It is not evil by nature (as some would make it out), most people there think they are doing good. Big Pharma is just an impersonal group of corporations, they are predictably selfish, and we must never forget that.

    Regardless of the debatability of the scarce scientific evidence to date, there is no excuse for the pitifull lack of safety consciousness in medicine today.

    I will happily overlook some of the embellishments (although I am certain others will vehemently argue their importance) because the core of your message is right on the money.

    Thank you so much for illustrating these points in a most elegant way.

  113. "But Kev your "quality science" pretty much revolves around bogus epidemiological studies, doesn't it?"

    Hi again Sue,

    Not really. I don't think any of the studies I referenced in my first comment here are epidemiological are they? Possibly the Amish one.

    Your points about the Danish studies are well taken - they're not the best. Fombonne's I think are better but not perfect.

    But no, epidemiology only forms one part of the studies under discussion. I guess it depends on what facet of the various vaccine hypotheses you wanted to debate.

  114. Just in case it hasn't been said already - Cornelia, you said "Don't believe anything you read". And yet here you are - BELIEVING IT!!

    Hannah Poling is NOT Autistic. She has traits, yes, but not enough for a diagnosis. Oh you didn't know that? You didn't know that you can only be on the Spectrum if you have a certain number of traits?

    You - like the mercury militia - are over simplifying the Autistic Spectrum, especially when you bring smoking (which IS simple) into the equation as a straw man argument. The Spectrum is much more complicated than that, and if you would look beyond your own child you'll realise the folly of the thrust of your article.

    This sort of thinking is what delayed the initial writing on Autism - a side track. And the culprit was Eugene Bleuler and schizophrenia. Now we're at it again - and Kanner and Asperger will be wondering whether or not they wasted their time trying to correct the first side track. We made progress in 1994 when the two men's work was finally combined into one and seperated from Bleuler (the DSM-IV) leading to an increase in ASD diagnoses, and a decrease in wrong DX's. Now we're being sent up another medical cul-de-sac and we're nowhere nearer achieving what should be achieved - proper support and CORRECT treatment (if needed) for ASD's. As long as it's treated like a disease - the human race is doomed. Remember, if you want to talk about 1939, we were treating blacks like a disease as well. They've progressed further than we have, but it's the same story slowed down. Fear.

    Fear of what? Fear of nothing. It's not a death sentence - unless you make it one by treating it like one. This is evolution, and the secret is tolerance.

    This posting is laced with a complete lack of it, and for that you should be ashamed - especially as you are a mother of a person who is inherently part of that evolutionary process. Don't try and pull your child into your world. You have to enter theirs and adjust - like going into another country, another culture. Then you teach them about your culture. It's a long hard job, but if you go in there with an completely open mind you'll do it - and then the trick is to combine the two as best as possible. I've been working towards that as an Aspie (and proud of it) and the only setbacks I've had have been due to intolerance.

    You should indeed learn from those who know, rather than from what is written. And the best source for you is your own child. Go into their world - and learn first hand. If you need help doing so, get it. And if it's not available in your area THEN you'll see why so many parents are panicking and falling for the very thing you said to avoid - believing what they read. LACK OF SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING.

    Funny, you probably won't believe me for the same reason. The trouble is it's hard when I'm not exactly in a position to show you and words are the only way I can convey the message otherwise. "A paradox - a most ingenius paradox".

  115. timelord, hannah's father said it himself, she has a DIAGNOSIS of AUTISM. That was apparent even from watching her on numerous news shows. ya'll need to drop this little technical glitch you THINK you've found. it's so offensive.

  116. Timelord, kiss my ass.

    How the hell do you know whether or not I'm "trying to pull my child into my world"? The only think I've said about my daughter in this post is that she's on the spectrum.

    As for the rest of this post, it's pretty clearly stated throughout that these are *questions* that rankle me, as the parent of an autistic child. I do not equate the cigarette debacle with autism--merely point out the amount of time it took the government to act in a case where we KNEW what the culprit was, and a deadly culprit at that.

    Get the hell over yourself.

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. Poor old Phil is well and truly on the spectrum. He is a proud Aspie, but then he has lots of time to be a proud Aspie because despite claiming that every genius in history is an Aspie, he himself is unemployed and spends his days watching DR. Who and WWF.

    The conection you made between vaccine damage and the tobacco industry makes perfect sense. For years doctors told the public that smoking was not only fine for your health, but it was sexy too. I hope it does not take too many more years before the medical profession admits they were duped over vaccines and they stop telling parents to poison their kids. BTW, my teenage children are completely unvaccinated and very healthy.

  119. I think we do a great disservice to our children if we don't also understand the other risks of vaccination. Autism is one, to be sure- personally, I'm not convinced it's the thimerosal, I lean more towards the live virus vaccines, especially MMR and varicella. That's my own conclusion from studying everything I could get my hands on for the past three years, and as the daughter of a pediatrician, that's quite a bit. I get to read Pediatrics and MMWR and NEJM every week, all so obviously biased towards this need to prove every single vaccine to be as safe and beneficial as carseats. Safety testing of vaccines is a complete and utter joke. The "placebo" is an aluminum adjuvant. Aluminum, by the way, is every bit as neurotoxic as thimerosal, if not more. And they know that, too. As long as everyone keeps talking about only thimerosal, they are getting what they want- because they throw a ton of money at the thimerosal situation and the media eats it right up. As long as parents don't know things like, Hib can be almost 100% prevented by breastfeeding. Like that by the time their child is fully vaccinated for pertussis toxin, they will be well past the age when pertussis could actually kill them. That the major benefit of the chickenpox vaccine, when pediatricians are backed into a corner with real evidence, is that "parents won't miss work when their child is sick, because they can't go to school with chickenpox". Or what the real risk factors are for hepatitis b, unless your baby likes to shoot up with dirty needles. That hepatitis A is always a mild disease, usually no symptoms in children, and is being given to ostensibly protect adults. That a 14 yr old boy in Germany developed tetanus from a scrape on his knee, one year after receiving his last booster- fully up to date on his vaccines. That the Japanese don't even vaccinate for mumps (after a horrible failed mumps campaign left many children brain damaged from encephalitis), and usually only once for measles, and they're okay. Thimerosal is a toxic drop into a bottomless pit- in the end, it doesn't matter what's in the vaccines. We don't need them in the first place. We can't let one preservative sidetrack us from the big picture, or we've lost before we've begun.

    Conflict of interest;my daughter isn't autistic, but she does have special needs.

  120. Wow! How, exactly, is this "evolution"? And while it may not be a "death sentence" literally, there are substantial quality of life issues for kids and their families that Timelord treats a bit cavalierly.
    I also think his attacks on C and her parenting are beyond unacceptable: he opines with NO information at all.
    C has refrained from personal attack and invective, something very present in the posts of the critics. Most serious thinking people will read all this and get a sense of who is credible, genuine and thoughtfully inquiring into the problem, and who is simply JFN.

  121. "Not really. I don't think any of the studies I referenced in my first comment here are epidemiological are they"?

    Is that all you've got, Kev? Is there a particular "study" from your original post that you find worthy of discussion here? I didn't. However, if you get a chance... I would love to see some safety studies on some of the ingredients in vaccinations? How about some thimerosal in a petri dish with some human cells of some sort? Do you have those studies handy? Thanks in advance. :)

  122. Great commentary and presented well. Especially like the old drug ads. My grandfather was a doctor in the late 1800's-1900's who believed in common sense: eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, which he said is the 'best medicine there is', getting daily sunshine, and staying away from drugs, when possible. He was truly a doctor's doctor and would be rolling over in his grave at the state of medical 'care' today. Along those lines, I've researched the topic of vaccines for 20 years starting w/reading a vaccine insert and deciding that no way, no how, would I allow anyone to inject my babies w/such a toxic, and potentially lethal blend of ingredients. Thimerosol is not the entire picture, and for those who think they're safe w/'preservative or mercury-free' shots, think again. Check out The FDA allows vaccines to be called mercury free even w/mercury still in the formula if it falls within certain thresholds. Thimerosol is used in the initial stages of vaccine production and cannot be filtered out entirely due to protein antigens binding to ethyl mercury akin to separating water from koolaid. Even miniscule amounts can still cause damage to the myelin sheath, although the current buzz is all about mercury related to autism. Like Bri mentioned, it's the live virus vaccines which are truly involved in causing autism. Mercury is involved, along w/aluminum, in causing Alzheimers due to the synergistic effect which exacerbates the individual properties of each of these neurotoxins. An independent lab study, commissioned by H.A.P.I. (Health Advocay in the Public Interest), whose founder, Dawn Winkler lost a child to mercury poisoning from a set of vaccines, found that in 'mercury or preservative free' lots, there were miniscule to large amounts of mercury still present. I personally made my decision, independent of my husband, who went along for the ride, as he doesn't research subjects that don't interest him), based on the ingredients alone (formaldehyde, aluminum, thimerosol (49.6% ethyl mercury), ethylene glycol (anti-freeze), msg, carbolic acid, phenols, neomycin, streptomycin, squalene, dead animal pus, aborted fetal tissue, live viruses, etc. Enough common sense told me that this was a no-brainer and to this day, I don't understand how parents don't read these labels and come up w/the same conclusion. Also, having developed allergies and asthma after a set of shots in 1st grade, and then in h.s. suffering a delayed reaction to the polio vaccine, which I almost died from, led me to concur that I didn't need any more reasons. I never bought the bunk that vaccines were responsible for the eradication of polio, measles, etc. Check out the gov't graphs and you'll see these 'dis-eases' had a timeline and were disappearing due to better hygiene, water sanitation, etc., conveniently at a time when vaccines were coming onto the market. John D. Rockefeller realized the American public would buy into anything and after selling vials of petrol as a panacea for most anything, he convinced his cronies on Madison Avenue to come up w/the biggest marketing scam to come our way. Thus the AMA was born and 'womb to tomb, a customer for life' Pharma was soon to follow. BTW, my children are completely vaccine-free and very healthy. I give testimony at the Capitol and am an advocate for parents who choose not to vaccinate. I don't get paid, but feel a sense of duty to educate others of the dangers of vaccines. I know too many families who are suffering silently and my friends who are school teachers are overwhelmed at the number of developmentally disabled kids in their classrooms who are being mainstreamed despite the doubling of per student funding DD kids get, but very little assistance. And by the way, vaccines are NOT mandatory for school admittance; filling out the immunization schedule w/exemptions on the backside is the only 'mandatory' requirement. Check out your state statutes for more info. I've never given a doctor permission or authority to perform any medical procedure, which includes vaccines, without my approval. You are the most knowledgeable about your child's health. Become educated in all ways conducive to being the best parent possible. It's the biggest responsibility and privilege I've ever been given and I take it seriously. Just say 'no' to vaccines.

  123. I loved this blog for me not much was new I spent two years researching this topic after my son was diagnosed and I had to decide if I would continue with vaccinating his 2 younger sisters. I found most of what you found and guess what no way in hell. Although you did leave out the video that shows the meylin sheath on the neurons shriveling up and exposing the neurons which also then shriveled up as a result of the introduction of mercury. That one affected me pretty strongly. Anyway I love the way you presented the information I laughed my way through it because it is a topic where you either laugh or cry. I love that picture of Julie Gerderberg she looks just like Cruela DeVile. I've been waiting for this day for about three years now where people are starting to look at the science not the propaganda because the court cases have finally begun to be determined. It was the same way with tobacco people just didn't believe until the lawsuits started being settled. Thank you for taking the time to put this together in such an entertaining way. When I try to do it I sound like I'm giving a lecture. That was a great picture of your kiddo. Thanks again.

  124. Well done and an ellent piece. May I say here in New Zealand its not compolsary, yet it is frowned apon if your childs first shots aren't given. But reassurance freinds refuse to vaccinate completely and to date, their children are just so healthy and guess what, extremely bright for their ages, pre teens, and lower.
    When we have children the decision will be the same, and my decision will be the last decision.
    We have reserched this well and found the chances of disease and death due to NOT having vaccination are far less than actually having reactions of death having them.

  125. Cornelia, you just demonstrated point blank my point. A lack of tolerance and understanding, which is laced throughout your post. Instead of telling me to "get over myself", take your own advice. And while you're about it, take note that the government got taxes from cigarettes - which is why they took so long to act against them. It was general revenue. They get nothing from vaccines - in fact they subsidise vaccines to make them accessible to the entire population. Big difference.

    Kim, Hannah is NOT Autistic because of the vaccines. The story I read stated that she had Autistic traits - that does NOT mean she has a DX. Now - for the sake of argument - if she DOES have one, then what I heard about what she was like BEFORE the vaccines (the five on the trot) she was ALREADY on the Spectrum! So all that vaccines did was regress an already existing condition. Hence the payout. I think lying is more offensive, and those who claim the Poling case proves vaccines cause Autism is lying. Julie Gerderbing knew it as well.

    Anonymous #1, it so happens that I haven't watched Doctor Who for quite some time. And since when did I have an interest in the World Wildlife Fund? LOL! As for employment, you'll have to talk to the government medical officer here about that one. Oh, and while you're about it, name me the benefits of smoking SPECIFICALLY. Just "fine for your health and sexy" is hardly an answer for that question! What - for example - does it protect you from? Hmmmm? Your teenage kids will have a shorter life if they don't vaccinate.

    Anonymous #2, evolution is a process. In the case of the Spectrum, it's a response to the pace of life. We're moving too fast, and the Spectrum is a way of slowing that down and being more logical than instinctive. Redressing the balance if you like. As far as quality of life issues are concerned, they only exist to the extent that they do because of intolerance. Psychological support is needed, and right now it's not happening - and won't happen as long as careless fools pursue the face value of Autism and try to rectify that, instead of looking much deeper into what is a far more complicated issue. I query Cornelia's commitment on those grounds, and I am happy for her to prove me wrong on that count. But I never said she was at the same level as say Fore Sam/John Best for example. Credibility lies in the truth - and you see what Fore Sam tried to do above, in order to hide his own skeletons. He's got a lot more to answer for as a parent than Cornelia - that's for certain.

    Sue M, why go after a study about 1.25 micrograms of something? Do you know what a microgram is?

    Finally - a parent who says no to vaccines says yes to the return of preventable diseases such as the measles. Any risks are associated with how the vaccines are used - not the vaccines themselves.

  126. "Sue M, why go after a study about 1.25 micrograms of something? Do you know what a microgram is"?

    What study are you talking about? Yes, I know what a microgram is ... Is there a point that you are trying to make?

    "Any risks are associated with how the vaccines are used - not the vaccines themselves".

    Huh? This deserves some additional explanation.


    I really didn't want to respond to your comment (due to time restraints and the feeling of not wanting to beat a dead horse)... however, I did think that the second comment in particular is important to have clarified... Not sure what you a getting at there. Vaccines = safe but how they are used = risks...? Trying to wrap my tiny little brain around that one :)

  127. Timelord, Phil Gluyas,

    WWF is the World Wrestling Federation, with which you are obssessed, along with rail travel, Dr Who and football. I know this about you because you post on John Best's excellent blog about the dangers of vaccines.

    As for my teens having a shorter life because they are not vaccinated. This proves your insanity. Healthy children live longer, not shorter, lives. My kids have never been ill, but I was very ill as a child. I got polio after being vaccinated with the "killed," not the live vaccine. If anyone thinks I would allow my children to be injected with poisons knowing the dangers, then they are as batty as yourself.

    Mary H, you wrote a brilliant post about the dangers of vaccines. Not only is there an increase in neurological disorders in children from vaccines, there is also an increase in Alzheimers which is a result of the flu and pneumonia shots forced on the elderly year after year.

    With any luck Phil will soon be so vaccine damaged he will no longer be able to annoy responsible parents who are doing their best to keep their children healthy in an insane world.


  128. timelord, when someone says "kiss my ass" it means "bite me, shut up."

    Get a clue. You're here out of grace because Cornelia hasn't deleted your post. She probably should and will but you need to to show courtesy which you ain't. Haranguing and arguing is over the line - DISCUSSION is not ARGUMENT.

    On behalf of those here trying to understand and actually discuss the issues, I will say BITE ME. Now go away, would you?

  129. WOW!!! I've not even made it half way through your blog yet, (have to finish later), but I just had to tell you BRAVO!!! I have written many articles on vaccines and autism. You can read them here, I also have a section on one of my sites dedicated to vaccines. You can see that site here, Your blog is absolutely fabulous! I have not seen an article written so well on this subject. I hope you will write more on this subject!

  130. thank you for all the info, I loved the tobacco and shift to pharmaceutical buying power. I too have stated in articles and blogs everywhere about how medical science keeps changing, eggs goo, eggs bad, etc. You covered it a little better than I did though.

    Anyway, we too have a 19 year old autistic boy, severely autistic. He was developing normally until he received his 18 month MMR vaccine..

    Those who might be Christians and questions of what to do, read Psalms 118:8, and ask yourself who you are trusting with your choice. God has warned us against this stuff, but it is up to us to read it and listen.

    Bless you so much for this article, we need more and mroe articles like this out there on the net.

  131. Well Cornelia,

    Can I climb up on your soap box? Guess there is room for one more, but we might have to build a bigger box.

    I heard my son-in-law tell the nurse in the maternity ward that they were going to hold off on the shot.

    What shot is that?? I asked. Hepatitis B was the answer. I almost fell over in a dead faint!

    WHAT??? They are going to give a preemie a Hepatitis B shot. What on earth for? (I did not know they were giving all newborns Hep.B vaccines at birth. What in the hell are they thinking??)

    My friend almost died from a hepatitis vaccine that was required for her to go to nursing school. She could not function for 3 years afterwards and her husband had to bathe her she was so weak.

    I asked my daughter and son-in-law to please research it before they let them vaccinate their child for hep B. At least they had the foresight to wait to let him have that shot. I've been trying to counsel them to refuse all vaccines for their son with all the debilitating effects from all these vaccinations, including autism.

    Finally, my daughter sent me to your blog and has decided to hold off on the MMR at 18 months, after reading all this. Thanks a million.

    AFter being an avid student of natural healing for years, I'm convinced that all vaccines are worse than the diseases they profess to prevent, and we have been guinea pigs for this huge experiment since the 50's. Now the baby-boomers are reaping the "benefits" in rampant auto-immune and neurological disorders that were never heard of until recent years.

    The preponderance of the evidence is overwhelming if one will just take the time to study the subject.

    My friend has two sons in Iraq and they are all required to get the anthrax vaccine. Her son called home after his first shot and he
    was so sick he nearly died. He told his mother that they were all getting sick from these vaccines
    and some of the soldiers had died from them. When he refused to take the second anthrax shot, they put him in jail for refusing an order. Then his superior officer came to him and said; "you already took your required vaccines" and he got off the hook because the officer falsified his record.

    It is so refreshing to see so many parents taking responsibility for their children's health care and educating themselves.

    On a solution note, Dr. Mercola has a website on natural health. He treats a lot of autistic children, and states that when they would first come in they would tear up his waiting room so he had to have a separate waiting room that was indestructible for these special children, but after several treatments the children's behavior would change and they could then come in through the main waiting room. I believe he uses diet and certain remedies that remove the toxins stored in their bodies.

    My heart goes out to all of the posters who have had to experience the debilitating effects of vaccines and live with it daily.

    I hope that this promise will be comforting.

    "For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Joel 3:21

    Some people just need more drastic measures than cleansing their blood, like a brain transplant. Whatever happened to common sense. Duh!

    Thanks for taking the time Cornelia to post such a brilliant article. I'm stepping down now,


  132. Jacqueline, get up with the times. There has been NO World Wrestling Federation for almost six years now. Who's making a fool of themselves? WWF today stands for World Wildlife Fund, and they have the copyright and the trademark on the letters.

    Children who are not vaccinated are not healthy. Don't claim otherwise because they are vulnerable to disease. No amount of face value health will overcome that, because the immune system is not there to protect them. That is hardly "insane". Not vaccinating is far more dangerous than vaccinating, and don't use one experience (your own) as a guide. Chances are the vaccine had nothing to do with your polio. Further, were you free of any viral infection when you were vaccinated?

    Best's bog is full of lies and propaganda. He's a paranoid fool who only knows how his own son is affected by Autism. He doesn't know about the wide range of varieties of presentations of the Spectrum, and that makes him an unreliable source of information. Anyway - all he does is abuse people like David Wolman and certainly the Autistic Amanda Baggs.

    I will keep annoying parents who don't look after their children properly by not vaccinating. I will also keep annoying parents who try to cure what can not be cured - ASD's. I am not vaccine damaged and never have been. From memory my last vaccination was TB when I was 15.

    Sue M, vaccinations are only risky when they are not used correctly. That applies to every single tool (medical or otherwise) on the planet. Matches are safe - and yet we keep them away from children (and pyromaniacs). And rightly so. A bad workman always blames his tools. Poor Hannah Poling got five vaccines on the trot. That was risky, but who's fault was it? You lot are effectively saying that was the fault of the vaccines. WRONG! It was the fault of the stupid doctor who was playing catch up with the program - when if HE had any sense he wouldn't have done! If you lot want to fight the vaccination program, attack the program, not the vaccine - because the vaccine is not the problem. The program (and dumb doctors) are the problem if any exist.

    And Hannah was already on the Spectrum before that anyway - her own mother's description of life before the five vaccines indicate Aspergers.

    Oh - and the study I am referring to is the one that says 12.5 micrograms of almost ANYTHING can be dangerous. That's all the mercury there is in a vaccine with thiomersal in it - in other words, virtually nothing! Do find the study about that before demanding studies from others.

  133. I thought we were finished, but it is impossible for me to let yet another wrong-headed attack by Timelord go unanswered.
    Unvaccinated children are not healthy? In and of itself that statement is absurd.

    ALL humans are vulnerable to disease, INCLUDING those who have been vaccinated.

    All parents who choose not to vaccinate are not caring for their children properly? Another canard.

    Is Timelord a parent? Has he used anything other than his own individual experience (a statistically insignificant sample) as the basis for all of his certitude?

    My parents believed in staying away from physicians unless absolutely necessary-- I still have my tonsils and appendix and uterus and all the original equipment that God provided at the outset and I am FINE. I have never smoked, don't engage in risky behaviours like IV drug use and rampant unprotected sex with strangers.

    The history of the world is littered with the unintended consequences of so-called "progress", and the history of corporate capitalism littered with the victims of marketing twaddle. That was the "point" of C's including all the products that were once widely sold and now off the market because they were found to be dangerous.

    The tobacco issues, including govt. subsidies of tobacco farmers and taxes on the products themselves are Red Herrings that do nothing to change the underlying facts--

    It is unfortunate that TL falls into the biggest group of all, the "often wrong, but never in doubt" bunch.

    C's thesis is that thousands of children are being endangered by the huge load of toxic substances being dumped onto incompletely-developed immune systems without good cause and without thoughtful consideration.

    Probably many kids need SOME vaccinations, but NOT all at once and NOT at birth.

    One size does NOT fit all, which TL seems unwilling to consider.

    Discussion and inquiry and "Blue Sky" exposure to all available information should be the goal-- no one should be forced to drink the CDC's "Flavor-Aid".

    Lastly, I concur with Andi. TL feel free to Bite Me.


    Big Pharma makes little money on the advances of public health and hygeine-- cleaner water, sewage and waste disposal improvements, hand-washing practices.

  134. This has been such an interesting blog to read.I confess, that I really don't know what to believe.

    I don't have a strong understanding of anything scientific.I guess I lean towads those who feel that vaccinations may casue those who have some predisposition towards developing autism to develop it. I find it horrifying that doing something that you think should benefit your child could end up hurting them.

    This is such an emotional issue. I think it's very hard for those on opposite sides to listen to the other side.It's hard to discuss a different point of view civilly as evidenced on this blog. Earlier Cornelia said "Again, thank you for your thoughtful response to my questions, as posed in the blog post. I hope that ALL future discussion of this issue can be conducted without acrimony, and without vitriol." I found myself thinking what a wonderful statement this is. But them later she responded to someone else with the comments,"Timelord, kiss my ass. Get the hell over yourself." These statements should not have come from the same person. But it shows what an emotional issue this is, especially for parents with children with autism.

    I found myself thinkin that I'm glad that I don't have children. I honestly don't know what my decision about vaccinations would be.

  135. Hi Gayle

    it is emotional - my 2 cents - when you read comments from people who continuously rant about how "wonderful" it is to be autistic, and how warped and dangerous those parents are who try to "drag their kids into their world", you eventually get to the point where there is nothing left to say but "bite me".

    You'll notice comments from others such as Kev - who vehemently argues against any vaccine-autism link - were not handled in the same way by Cornelia.

    There are those with a difference of opinion - and there are trolls who just seem to want to get in everyone's face.


  136. Just a minute. I never said vaccines were a one size fits all thing. Vaccines are tools and need to be used properly. I am against getting them all at once (as what happened to Hannah Poling). I have severe reservations about the US program if what I heard is right (28 vaccinations in 26 months - where I believe a month equals four weeks so it's actually two years). Such a program should be spread out more. I also agree that some vaccinations may not be for everyone (again - Hannah Poling is an example of this).

    What irks me is that everyone who isn't getting vaccinated is blaming the vaccines - and that's baloney.

    Some points - people who are NOT vaccinated are far more at risk, and present a risk to those who are around them that have in the process. Vaccinations work in a pack. One rotten apple spoils the entire barrel. So yes, a parent who chooses not to vaccinate is not caring for their child and threatening others. The only exception is if there is another problem stopping it - such as the discovery of mitochondrial disorder (yet again - reference to Hannah Poling). A good doctor would make the appropriate alterations. That's their job.

    Anon - you can take your attitude towards what constitutes unhealthy children and shove it. An unvaccinated child in Australia would be kept out of school for this very reason, and also lose some of the government handouts we get here. I have seen plenty in medicine, and I have done my research to make up for the fact that I'll never be a parent so I know what I'm talking about. I'm an uncle, and my neices and nephews are all vaccinated and healthy. No measles (both myself and my sister got that when we were kids), no mumps (my sister got that as well - I avoided it). The flu vaccine here is only for those who are vulnerable (the elderly and the young).

    I agree that you should only see a doctor if you have to. Getting vaccinated is one of those times as a child. I only go if I have a problem - the last time was when I pulled a muscle in my back and I couldn't cough or sneeze without experiencing unbelievable pain. I also still have my tonsils and my appendix. I'm down to one testicle because of cancer but I got it nice and early and I'm fine. I also don't smoke - or consume alcohol for that matter - and no drugs or rampant unprotected sex.

    I am not wrong. Vaccines are fine. It's usage is not and needs to be reviewed. So if you lot don't want to listen to the truth - to use your own vernacular - bite me.

    Just quickly - Gayle, don't listen to the panic merchants. They thrive on creating confusion. I hate that and always will because it holds up understanding, the very thing you are seeking and quite rightly.

  137. I just know there has to be some reason that everyoe from MIT to the mainstream media and so many are gathering around fostering and supporting Amanda Baggs' antics and going to such lengths to hide the truth.

    Its clear at this point that there is indeed a conspiracy in place and I am in a unique position of being one who's been very directly and personaly victimized by all of this in a rather unique terrifying and devistating way.

    This vaccine theory is as good as any as to the cause/motivation for such extreme and extensive efforts and what I have seen of the reality that a conspiracy does indeed exist is evidence alone to make me a believer.

    While not all bearing names like "Neurodiversity' or "aspiesforfreedom' or "autism liberation front" "Wrong Plane" etc etc are guilty of knowingly/willingly participating in this, a vast majority of vocal and visible ones are.

    By any name they are an extremist political group with some very self-serving goals at the expense of people who actually have autism.

    Their collective profound disregard for those actually afflicted with severe autism is already self-evident. That Phil considers it an 'insult' to deem me severely autistic (LFA) and makes attempts on my intelligence etc and the much larger problematic collective methodical violation of my rights and privacy and the harrassment tactics employed in order to prop up and defend their pseudo-LFA-autistic in order to just to have a token LFA to say their propoganda and things I certainly won't and none of the handful of bona-fide severely autistic out there who are capable to express themelves (such as Sue Rubin, Tito, the young carly etc etc) can be compelled to say either, we are collectively under regular character assassination and persona non-grata status by these not-really-autistic people who seek to keep us all as silent as they can by denying us necessary supports and treatments (by "just accept their autism' sentiments) so that they can vocalize and attempt to take our place/merge/blur the definition of autism ('there is no LFA/HFA') so they might instead horn in and gleen off the scant few services available that people such as myself and others actually need, especially as adults.

    There are two groups of people, two situations profitting at the expense of autism and autistics everywhere. One is the sitaution described very well in this blog, the other is the situatoin/group of people such as Phil Gluyas/Kevin Leitch etc that you see appearing on this blog now.

    TimeLord/Phil Gluyas and his gang of Autism Mafia have a real penchant for harrassing online as well as offline, which I have been a regular target of for my unwilling participation in all of this and my refusal inspte of legal and other sorts of threats to remain silence about it. 'Self-Diagnosig/Rediagnosing' people at will is just one small aspect of their collective tactics (watch as Phil/Timelord responds by informing us that Amanda Baggs who parodies my circumstance is magically not LFA and yet I am, etc etc etc and the personal attacks really begin).

    Conflict of Interest -- I'm the actual severely/classically etc nonverbal typing autistic on whom Amanda Baggs has been basing her fraudulant portrayal of autism and various disabilites (with the staple difference being my childhood and my autism and other various disabilites and the degree to which I have have them have been life long, no sudden onset in my 20's etc here, and my experiences especially prior to her and her neighbor latching onto my life's story for their personal use are actually vastly different from that of Baggs')

    I'm hoping at some point somebody will step forward to put an end to all of this.

    PS, another tactic is to claim my resistance to all of this is that I must be 'jealous' (because the very idea of a severely autistic person desiring a private quiet life and not wishing to have their personal details of their life splattered all over the media in carnival fashion and not being a bottomless pit of attention-seeking is completely unfathomable to them.)

    I was nearly sucked into this whole scam they'vegot going (they are good at what they do, very manipulative and are super at social skills and networking for such a bunch of 'autistics' and they've been at it a long while) but then I was horrified to discover baggs and what's been done to me.

    I welcome the identification of what causes autism. I don't want to inflict this on anyone else and I do want people who are actually autistic to be able to communicate and to get supports and treatments and education and all the things they need and I'm also lookng forward to the day we can weed out these con-artists with a concrete test that shows absolutely if a person has autism or doesn't.

    I'm hoping this whole mess, all of it, the one describd in this blog, the political mess, the mess with Baggs and this thing I've been subjected to, all of it I hope is finally resolved and during my lifetime.

    In the meantime,

    Please add me to the rollcall of Bite Me TimeLord ('and company').


  138. Randy, thank you.

    Gayle, that "kiss my ass" was in response to a comment about my parenting style, which the poster could have no way of knowing the first thing about.

    The original comment would've been an inappropriate, ad hominem argument even *with* that knowledge, but it's still not relevant to the discussion at hand, and it angered me a great deal on my own and other mothers' behalf.

    We were blamed for causing our children's autism for decades, and it's time to stop *all* echoes of that misogynist travesty.

    Anyone who wants to critique my parenting is welcome to, but you're gonna have to come over and clean the shit off the walls for a few days first, to earn the privilege. Otherwise, the "kiss my ass" comment stands.

  139. Droopy, thank you.

    That all sounds incredibly difficult, and I'm very sorry you've been put through it.

  140. "Jacqueline, get up with the times. There has been NO World Wrestling Federation for almost six years now. "

    Timelord, you clearly have far more time on your hands than I do to keep up with these things. I don't watch wrestling.

    You do not know what you are talking about. If you got the mercury out of your brain you might be cured and be required to support yourself, so it's no wonder you support rhe drug industry. You would not have time for your 'special interests.'I, along with countless others, including yourself, got sick from a vaccine. Fortuately it was not my brain which was affected, like yours.

    You have my sympathy.

  141. Jacqueline, if you took just five minutes to pay attention - you'd know about the change from WWF to WWE - especially at this time of the year. Or you're living under a rock - or you waste your time with useless socialising. I don't need the sympathy of someone like you who doesn't understand one millionth of what life is like for someone on the Spectrum who has to put up with BS like yours. I don't and I fight back - because I have a right to be who I am. You don't respect that - which makes you a bigot. I'll bet I get more out of what I do than you do with your life! My special interests are beneficial - especially the football, and I have done positive things in other areas. There is no mercury in my brain and there never has been. It has not been damaged at all. As far as supporting myself goes - don't tell me that. Tell that loser who calls himself a Commonwealth Medical Officer who said I can't work!

    Droopy - just nick off and take your lies with you. No one is buying them about Amanda copying you. She didn't even know you until the end of 2006 and within a month you were claiming the whole box and dice! You've been harrassing her ever since - so don't whine when you get it back from the likes of Kevin, myself, Dave Seidel and whoever else who knows the real truth including Anne!

    The trouble with you, Droopy, is not that you are LFA - but rather you don't accept that you are LFA, and show it in such a way that the mercury militia love you for painting the whole spectrum in such a negative light with no positives. That's YOU, Droopy. Not LFA. YOU! You have the power to put an end to that problem - by SHUTTING UP ABOUT IT!! Otherwise it will NEVER end.

    Cornelia, I want to point out that I for one would never blame any parent for a child's Autism. My own parents have been there way before I was DXed with Aspergers - being accused of bad parents because of my behaviour. Luckily my father stood up to the principal of my primary school (elementary school in the US - I think!) and the principal was the one who ended up getting into trouble.

    But I will blame parents for responding incorrectly. What I mean by that is that they go to an easy option thinking it will eliminate all the problems associated with being a parent of a child on the Spectrum. It is NEVER as simple as that - and I will always criticise parents who seek an easy way out. It is a complicated situation that requires acceptance, understanding and APPROPRIATE responses. And a whole lot of time and patience - something that some parents (I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular on this thread) lack and refuse to even admit that it's a problem for them.

    I've always been critical of the fast pace life moves in general these days. It's too fast - and I've said this before and it's worth repeating. I just wonder if the stress of that is leading to the sensory overloads that I believe contribute to the Spectrum causation. It's nature's answer to the fast life, telling the human race to SLOW DOWN! I don't know - it's just a theory, but it's one that makes the most sense in this confused world being guided by quacks doing populist things that aren't always the right thing. If someone will just take the time (as I have tried to do) and learn about things, so much of this BS wouldn't be happening. Including the nonsense with the vaccines.

    And one more thing, Cornelia, if you are interested I can always give you the full details and the truth about the situation between Droopy and Amanda. If you don't want to get involved in that I will certainly understand. Droopy is an extremely paranoid and delusional woman.

  142. I just want to say thank you. I know what I need to be watchful of when I have children in the US. I am aghast at the number and frequency of vaccines my nieces receive in the US compared to the number and spacing my son has. So sad that the pharmaceutical industry has such a strangle hold on the US. Thank you again.

  143. As I read Phil's words once again I am reminded both of real civil rights issues (you know, Dr King stuff etc, something else Baggs wantonly makes regular mockery of with her antics) and of the old joke seen mostly in 1970's sitcoms, especially if we take Phil's words and replace 'LFA' with 'Black'

    'Just for kicks,' try this on for size:

    "The trouble with you, Droopy, is not that you are Black - but rather you don't accept that you are Black, and show it in such a way that the White militia love you for painting the whole spectrum in such a negative light with no positives. That's YOU, Droopy. Not Black. YOU! You have the power to put an end to that problem - by SHUTTING UP ABOUT IT!! Otherwise it will NEVER end."

    This is about where the gag comes in and I suppose I would look down at my 43 year old skin as if seeing it for the first time and give a large mockup gasp and cry out "ohmygod I'm LFA!"

    The reason you (and Baggs and the lot of you right with her for that matter) know I am LFA/severely autistic, Phil, is because I've made no secret of it, not on my YouTube movies, not on my blog, and not from the time I was even able to express myself at all, got online and in autism-based IRC chats going back to and from 1994 onward (yeah you know them, the same places and chatrooms etc Baggs and her cohort Tisoncik were able to glean details of my life while I naively had no idea what was to come years later from all of this -- yes, we can talk about the truth).

    Meanwhile, what
    Amanda Baggs and Company are doing with this slapping down those of us with actual autism while they claim to be advocates for us truly is paramount to someone white painting on blackface 'Mammy' Swanny River-style and then proceeding to recite and make a a total mockery of Dr King's speeches.

    Hint: Dr King, Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, etc, none of the people who I call my heroes (and Baggs even has adopted this as well) ever had to feign or fake or lie about anything in order to get their point across and certainly none of them had to violate the rights of the people they claimed to be advocating for in order to do what they did (Dr King wasnt lynching any blacks in his backyard 'for the good of all other blacks' and none of them had need while waving a peace sign with one hand to have the other hand behind their back signaling goons to go after and silence anyone from the ranks they were helping. Real advocates are just that, real, and they don't hurt those they claim to help nor do have anything to cover up like this).

    As for paranoid and delusional, I believe, Phil, you have me confused with Amanda (I'll give you a break there as its probably not hard to do given the circumstance she's created with 'my little 27 year old twin' status there).

    While I was online during the 1990's naively talking away in smaller chats with 'autism' stamped on them in one way or another, here's a little of Amanda's disability shopping and 'confusion' over the years prior to finding her neighbor and cohort (and former IRC operator who just happened available to provide amassed years of IRC chat logs of me).

    here's what Amanda Baggs was doing during that same time before she discovered and latched onto autism
    do searches there on the following names:

    Galiganinda Dulin

    and here's a link to my 'ohmygod I'm LFA" YouTube particular one where four months ago I openly (about as openly as it gets I should think) made a movie, an open letter to CNN regarding the situation, one that highlights the difference between my history and Amanda's, one of the things she's struggled hardest with concealing is her own history and my history is one she's had the most difficulty inferring/misleading others to thinking she's lived -- though it hasn't stopped her from trying, and with the assistance of the media.

    I don't have a problem with being LFA, Phil.

    I have a problem with LFA people being being used and taken advantage of and our always being intentionally kept further suppressed than we already are by our autism, and always by people like you and Amanda and company (and maybe these other things behind the lot of you as well, as Cornelia has described here).

    Also, here's some well-said thoughts about Neurodiversity from somebody else 'on the spectrum'

  144. Droopy,

    keep telling your story and don't give up. Your analagy of LFA/Black is brilliant! There are lots of people who have followed your story who believe you. I certainly do. I also have enjoyed your Youtube Videos.


  145. Wow. This was...amazing. I'm going to link it on my own blog.

    I have an 11 month old daugther, and I've always worried about the vaccines but done them anyway.

    She's due for shots later this month. And now I have my work cut out for me, researching what she's getting and figuring out how to make the decision. . . but this has made a HUGE impact in said decision. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this... well done.

  146. Just saw that you blogged this. Very well done! I wrote about it as well last week for the alt weekly I work for, but I had to keep it to 700 words (unfortunately). Nor was I allowed the cool photo montage. But check out the back of Amy Carson's car in the photo!

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  148. Droopy, you want to be cured of LFA. So don't lie - you don't accept your diagnosis. You hate it and you want it to go away. So your translation of what I said to skin colour is so ironic it's hilarious - because black skin won't go away any more than Autism, and for the same reason. It's GENETIC!! I don't have you confused with Amanda at all, because I know what's really going on. You do not and you keep trying to lumber the real world with your delusional fantasies. You only know about those 1990's Usenet things from other people. You weren't there. You didn't even know Amanda then. I already saw your You Tube video soon after you put it up. It doesn't prove me wrong at all. You are holding yourself back - because you don't want to be LFA as I said. Give it up!

    And talking of delusional....*rolls eyes at Fore Sam/John Best Junior*. Note to the same people in this blog - there is no such thing as a Ministry of anything in Australia. "Ministry of" is an old fashioned British term which we dumped years ago. I guess coming from New Hampshire, Best would be aware of that sort of terminology! Best is so scared of me he's trying to paint me as nuts - like he does to everyone he hates. It's part of his denial that he's on the Spectrum himself, something that he won't admit because it will prove that he handed it down to his son and thiomersal had nothing to do with his son's Autism.

    Oh and it was just two pages, not twenty. The multi pages about Fore Sam's meglomania are on my website Wiki.

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  150. Yo, Edgy Mamacita--AWESOME article!! Thanks so much for posting the link.

  151. Thank you, Cornelia - this is magnificent. Crossposted to

  152. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Best didn't know the difference between a blog and a Wiki. That's a RIOT!! And he knew it and took out his comment! So I'll replace the link with the greatest of pleasure.

    By all means, Cornelia, read it. It shows in plain terms just how stupid Best is - and neglectful when you get to the last two pages of the section with his quotes about his son. He calls it mad because he is scared of it. He knows I've got him by the balls, and I'm not stopping this very important job until he shuts off his blog and starts looking after his son properly. And accept that a lot of his son's problems are the fault of the father (Best) and no one else.

    It's hard when you can't mod out isn't it, Best? Made up with Lenny Schafer yet? How's your new website and Google's search restrictions?

  153. Great work on this post.

    Interesting that you chose the Tobacco Industry as the first choice to compare the Big Pharma's vaccine industry to.

    I personally believe that in 20-30 years time when the truth finally comes out it will be in a scandal that will make the Big Tobacco Scandal of the '90's pale in comparison.

    I can hardly wait for the internal memos that will show what I believe the Big Pharma companies have known all along: that vaccines are killing and permanently disabling our children with neurological disorders, but that they don't care in the interest of the Almighty Dollar.

    This fight has only just begun.

  154. Cornelia,
    Thanks for a great article.

    I haven't waded through all of the comments yet to see if someone else posted it but I thought you may be interested in this article. Anecodtal evidence but still compelling:

  155. I find it irritating that vaccines, which are a medication, are not held to the same standards of safety as any other medication. The vaccines are given some kind of "free pass" because of the widely held belief that they are "beneficial" to society at large.

    I find that logic to be terribly flawed.

    If you were to substitute the name of any other medication, (let's say "Nexium") for vaccines in this scenario and if that medication had the astronomical skyrocketing rates of severe, adverse reactions which include permanent brain damage and death, that medication would have been pulled from the market YEARS ago and not reintroduced (if ever) unless it had been thoroughly investigated as to the safety of its makeup.

    In other words, you would never hear an internist (sub: pediatrician) go on Larry King Live and proclaim that the deaths and damage from Nexium (sub: vaccines) are an "acceptable risk" overall because, "look at all the people who no longer are suffering from heartburn!"

    Can you imagine? There would be rioting in the streets. People would be waiting for that doctor outside Larry's studio with a noose if he suggested something so ridiculous!

    And yet, the President of the AAP, Dr. David Tayloe, went on Larry King on Wednesday night (along with Dr. Harvey Karp) and said exactly that with regard to vaccines.

    Tell me Corneila, can you find a parent of a dead or vaccine-injured child who is willing to stand up and say, "Well, my child died for a good cause. At least most kids out there won't get the mumps/measles/chicken pox. He didn't die in vain." I think not!

    No - the "product" of vaccines is not safe. Who knows why? Thimerosal, glutamic acid, ethylene glycol, aluminum, formaldehyde, benzethonium chloride - a combo of these? Too many shots at once? Who knows? Nobody has bothered to find out.

    But, hey, let's keep giving them anyway - in fact, let's ADD to the schedule!

    Because after all, as Dr. David Tayloe said, "..the childhood vaccine program is the most beneficial public health program in the history of mankind."


  156. What has been done to our kids is abhorrent, but equally distasteful to me are drs who claim they want to help cure our autistic kids yet they charge exhorbitant rates outside the reach of most parents.

  157. Blogger Droopy said...

    "[...]While not all bearing names like "Neurodiversity' or "aspiesforfreedom' or "autism liberation front" "Wrong Plane" etc etc are guilty of knowingly/willingly participating in this, a vast majority of vocal and visible ones are.

    By any name they are an extremist political group with some very self-serving goals at the expense of people who actually have autism.[...]

    A subpoena, sent to Katherine Seidel/"" in the case of "Lisa Sykes vs Bayer":

  158. I have read (and am still trying to digest) all that you have written and I won't lie, I never knew any of this until now. (Why would I? I don't even have house plants let alone children) HOWEVER, while the facts and statistics are depressing as hell, thank you for writing this. I've forwarded a link to various friends and family in hopes that they do the same. You could write a blog about how to properly blink and I'd be fully engrossed... thank you. xxxxxxx

  159. With regards to the supposed conclusions of CDC epidemiologist Tom Verstraeten, you can read the transcript from the conference for yourselves:

    Much of what is reported in the post above has, unfortunately, been distorted from the original source materials.

    Here, for example, is the actual quote from Dr. Verstraeten regarding the study's findings on a link between thimerosal and autism (pg. 44 of the transcript):

    "This is the result for autism, in which we don't see much of a trend except for a slight, but not significant, increase for the highest exposure. The overall test for trend is not statistically significant."

    Note how different that is from the statement Ms. Read included above:

    "According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten...thimerosal appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children."

    The latter statement is a clear and deliberate distortion of what Dr. Verstraeten actually said.

    Let's read his statement again:

    "The overall test for trend is not statistically significant."

    No interpretation is necessary for that.

  160. Hey Cornelia!

    Wonderful piece. Wonderful.

  161. I really appreciated your post. I've just begun investing and posting about vaccines on my blog ( and your post was influential in that.

  162. Cornelia... thank you for writing this essay. I thought it was very well written and extremely well researched. I can’t believe (well unfortunately I can) that this has not been picked up by the major media for additional research and exposure.

    My wife and I were just discussing the other day that the statistical growth in autism cases was beyond belief; now we may have some idea as to why and what has been going on. All I can say is that I thank God that our twin girls were hopefully not adversely affected by our ignorance about the make-up of the vaccines we were giving them. Not once did it even occur to us to ask about how the vaccines were preserved, but I can tell you that if we had been told that they were using mercury, we would have looked for another way to protect out kids.

    I can only hope that this information gets out to more parents and we can stop the pharmaceutical companies from using our children as profit centers and guinea pigs.

    Again thank you for taking the time to research and write this.

  163. "When I read that description of Hannah Poling, I had to leave the computer for about an hour, because I know just what that was like for her parents--to watch a child recede from you when there's not a DAMN thing anyone can tell you about it, and certainly not a damn thing they can do to stop it.

    To find out over the years that there might have been a way to stop it, that the government might have been able to act in time to save several hundred thousand children from this horror (and probably millions more around the world), is goddamn heartbreaking

    I fucking hate this, and I don't want it to happen to another child--another family--ever, ever again."

    Cornelia, you seemed to have stole my thoughts,them. It makes me sick when I think of all the parents who have been screaming this for years. Why did the CDC not listen to them? Why did the ACIP not take them seriously? Perhaps, if they had, my daughter could have been spared.

    But sadly, they stuck their fingers in their ears and sang "lalalalala".

    3 yrs ago my daughter had an adverse reaction to either the DTaP, MMR, Varicella, or Prevnar vaccines, or perhaps a combination. Either way, it gave her seizures, rash, high fever, pituitary damage, and possibly encpehalitis.

    You can read about Jade's story here-

    Forgive Timelord, as his condition does not allow him to understand that other's autism is not like his own. His AS prevents him from seeing that there can be differences in the condition, and he tends to generalize his AS on the entire autistic community. He cannot fathom that I would have loved for Jade to be diagnosed with Asperger's, and not the "bite my hand and scream because I can't find the words" autism that she is diagnosed with.

    Perhaps she may have only been diagnosed with Asperger's, had she not suffered a severe reaction to vaccines we now know her body was incapable of creating antibodies to.

    Forgive him as he cannot understand that we know we need vaccines, but we sure as hell need a safer program.

    The neurodiversity nazis cannot wrap their minds around the fact that thousands of children with conditions that should contraindicate them for vaccination, are vaccinated every day. They are amazed when I tell them of Primary Immunodeficiency, and how my daughter should not have had the vaccines. They claim, "the doctor should have known" (as Timelord said about Hannah Poling's doctor over-vaccinating). Guess what, they DON'T know, and most pediatricians don't give a rip, they say vaccinate, or get out of my office.

    Do you understand Timelord? This is not uncommon. What happenned to Hannah Poling is happening to THOUSANDS of children, today alone. Doctors every day play catch-up, and vaccinate sick kids. Look at how many vaccines babies get now, and come back and tell me if you think it is safe.

    Leave Australia, come to the US where we must view countless TV adverts for Viagra and Cialis, and see what Pharmaceutical companies are spending their money on. Lucky you don't have them there, or you may feel as we do.

    Perhaps you would care to read this month's Reader's Digest story about the FDA,

    Perhaps Hannah Poling does not have your "type" of autism, it does not make her any less autistic. And yes, autistic because of the vaccines.

    There is definitely more to this than simply thimerosal. The brain experiences more growth from conception, until age three, than it will at any time in a lifespan. It is senseless that we are injecting live viruses that target the central nervous system into an 18 month old child with a rapidly developing brain.

    Thank you for this wonderful piece Cornelia. I especially like to comparison to tobacco. It is one I make all the time when I hear, "but the epidemiologic studies..."

    Thanks Again,
    Monica- Mom to a wonderful little vaccine injured girl who has been misdiagnosed as severely autistic.

  164. Monica,
    your story is heartbreaking and a sadly it is only one of so many.

    Do not expect Timelord to understand you. Asperger's is a terrible disorder which causes the thinking processes to go awry. They do not understand things that make perfect sense to the rest of us.

    Autism is undoubtaedly caused by toxins from vaccines and other sources. Vaccines being the biggest. Unlike you I do not believe vaccines are needed at all. They are a money making hoax. Vaccines have never been proven to prevent disease and a little research proves this. The information is already available. No more expensive studies are needed.

    Asperger's is a form of autism which is caused by mercury and other neurotoxins. The main source for older people on the spectrum is fillings in the teeth of themselves and/or their parents. These days the flu shot is causing Asperger's to get worse in people already damaged. There seems to be a high percentage of aspies who end up with Alzheimers, which s nothing more than autism in the aged and caused by the endless flu and pneumonia vaccines.

    One thing I know for sure is that deficits in understanding with those with Asperger's means they will never understand the simple logic that vaccines and environmental toxins cause brain damage.

    I am so glad that the truth is increasingly coming out. I refused vaccines for my children and I refused rhogam for rh negative blood while I was pregnant. I only hope more parents begin to do the same.

    Monica, I wish you well.

  165. I have tears in my eyes as I look as the picture of your beautiful daughter. Thank you for your article. It is so reassuring -- I just declined all my daughter's vacs this morning at her 2 mon. appointment. I hate being looked at like a menace to society (or "bad parent")because I am trying to make careful choices for my child.

  166. I just wanted to thank you for a truly thought provoking piece. My daughter's 2 month well baby visit is tomorrow and I stumbled upon this during my 11th hour vaccine research marathon. Whether or not the vaccines are indeed a cause of autism, this definitely raises some eyebrows and brings up concerns about devastating reactions that I had not considered. There is no need for such a tiny baby to recieve so many shots at such a young age. I will be definitely be at least delaying her shots.

    Thanks again for such an interesting read.


  167. When my son was 6 months old, I (for the third time in his little life) declined the Hep B vax. The nurse said she'd have to call the health dept. to ask if I was allowed to do that (I now know my rights). When she returned, she revealed to me that she had described me to the DHHS employee as seemingly well-educated. She seemed surprised--perplexed?-that a well-educated person would decline a vax. I thought it was an interesting revelation of her--and many others, I think--opinion of non-vaccinating parents as ignorant.

    Thank you for your article.


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  169. Thanks for writing that, even though this kind of thing breaks my heart every time I see it.

    You did a great job of walking people into and through a very difficult subject.

    I am one of the lucky ones. Two kids, no vaccines. Don't by the go-along-to-get-along crap "they won't be able to go to school," both of my kids, 12 and 14, are in public school and have been since kindergarten.

    Ed Sanders

  170. I got online this afternoon searching for reassureance that I made the right choice regarding vaccines for my now 12 month old. I stumbled across this beautiful piece of work and now I'm in tears of gratitude....
    THANK YOU!!!!!

  171. Cornelia..........I didn't know you existed until I read an article about SF Bay Area mystery writers and you were mentioned and quoted as being a "WASP noir" writer. I fell outta my chair when I read that. ( I am still laughing at that "genre" invention.) So I ran right out and bought A Field Of Darkness. I am only on page 163. I have had to read it so slowly because I am savoring your descriptions and idioms....your amazing humor......your vocabulary.....your use of vernacular is so right on. I keep rereading and making notes to myself and shaking my head in amazement over some of your observations. and besides.... I don't want to get to the end too quickly! I am having too much fun. You have an enviable talent. Anyway! I wanted to know more about you, so I went to "Naked" and your own website. Then I started reading your writings and went to some of your links and then I started reading your blog. Whew! This essay on autism and vaccines has worn me out. I am sort of numb thinking about what I just read. I have been absorbing it for over an hour. (Slow reader) Thank you for enlightening me and others. I have emailed this to a Seattle friend of mine who has twins, one of whom is autistic. Maybe he already knows about your blog. (I see that you wrote this in March but I am forever the late bloomer not ever having read a book of yours until now!!) My 22 year old son had what "they" call "CFIDS". Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. He became ill when he was 14. A lot of people did not believe it was a "real" illness. Many doctors did not believe in it, but they could diagnose a peripheral illness my son had, Neurally Mediated Hypotension, (severe head rush and/or fainting upon standing) because they had a "tilt-table" diagnostic test for it. Even my husband thought my son was a slacker and that I was a crazy indulgent mom when my son could no longer get out of bed to attend school. (He was a designated G.A.T.E. student but they would not allow him to make up missed work or graduate with his senior class...he had to get his GED) He had the illness for 5 years. Then he "grew" out of it. He is fine, now, even though he has recurrent bouts of some of the symptoms. Whatever. Too long to go into. I didn't mean to start a rant about that. I could fill pages with my frustrations and misery over the school board calling him truant even though he was designated by the state as requiring "special education" for a chronic disease (which he never got even though the school was receiving funding for him), his being INVOLUNTARILY transfered out of his high school to an "alternative education program", me trying to be a good caregiver and an understanding mom when I was worried that he had cancer or something life-threatening... not know WHAT he had......slogging to doctor after doctor, specialists, neurologists, immunologists, and on and on and trying to explain why we had to break appointment after appointment because I could not get him up to get in the car....before a pediatrcian from Children's Hospital in Oakland made the diagnosis. I just wanted to tell you that your NEED to post this blog has just ....well........really touched me. Such a brave little soul, you are. "Bless your little heart" my grandmother would say. Thank you for sharing your research and gut wrenching first-hand knowledge. It must have been hard.

    On a happier note, I also want to thank you for my joy in reading your book. (I will buy the other two next!) It is sort of bitter sweet that your writing has given me such a marvelous escape from the sorrows in my life while you have your own to deal with daily.

    You're what they used to call "a good egg"...or in my native tongue, " a gantzeh mensch" (menschette?)

    Susan Beren/ Danville

  172. Great article. I am a witness to the damage vaccines can wreak.

    My 7.5 month old infant was fat & happy, until the day he received his 3rd round of vaccines. He screamed on and off for two days, began to have respiratory problems, would soak his pillow in sweat as he slept, he stopped eating, stopped growing, fell off the growth chart when prior, had been following it to a T. He just turned 10 years old and hovers around 40-42 pounds. Most of the post vaccine issues have resolved over time, but I can tell you this, he never received another vaccine. My youngest of my five children is 6 now, and will never get a vaccine as long as I have any say in the matter. Is it just a coincidence he has been the healthiest by far of any of all five children...personally, I think I am finally witnessing an unskewed immune system operating as it was intended.

  173. You ROCK!! Congratualtions. That was genius. I am glad that we play for the same team. The CDC, WHO and the NIH would be dangerous if they had you.
    Thank you,

  174. THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE and GOD BLESS YOU! Deep down I always knew vaccines were the root cause of my son bad allergies, chronic ear infections and weak immune system. He was born in 1993 and after the mmr shot he became chronically ill. He looked like he could do a commercial for starving kids in Africa. Took us several yrs of research and natural cures to get him back. I have heard that chelation iv therapy can pull toxic mercury out of the body and reduce symtoms but its only available to adults as far as I know. THANK YOU and GOD BLESS

  175. Loved the post.

    I must disagree with your statement that children cannot recover from autism.

    I have a child who has been chelated of heavy metals for over a year, and is a hair away from being off the spectrum.

    It's nor permadent for everyone anymore.

  176. Phil/Timelord3/07/2015 12:56 AM

    "Do not expect Timelord to understand you. Asperger's is a terrible disorder which causes the thinking processes to go awry. They do not understand things that make perfect sense to the rest of us."

    And conversely you don't understand the Autistic world that I and low functioning Autistics live in, and that world makes perfect sense to us. And you want to destroy it with labels of "broken", "awry" and so on. No - you are required by the laws of human rights to understand our world and accept it, and stop trying to change us (except where we engage in behaviours that are live threatening - and even then you have to find the source and deal with that, and and that again requires understanding).

    Brad's Mom, you'll never get your child off the Spectrum. You can improve the functioning but that's all. Autism itself is permanent. Fact.