June 28, 2005

HHS Considers Studying the Amish

Dan Olmstead, who has been looking for the autistic Amish, lets us know that the department of Health and Human Services is considering studying them.

A top U.S. health official is considering whether to launch studies of the Amish -- and perhaps other unvaccinated groups -- in response to United Press International's articles about a low prevalence of autism in that community, according to several people who spoke with him last week.

William F. Raub of the Department of Health and Human Services suggested this possibility at a private meeting at HHS headquarters in Washington, participants said. His comment adds to recent signs that some federal officials monitoring autism research and funding have not ruled out a possible vaccine link.

I am excited to hear this. We seem to have a built in control group in this country I think it is, to be blunt, stupid not to explore it.

The vaccine question is important, but genetics, diet and differences in the habits of pregnant women need to be looked at as well. As I have mentioned before, if I was the head of HHS, Lancaster PA would look like a scene out of Outbreak.

I have posted Dr. Raub’s contact information in case any one wants to let him know that they encourage him move forward with the study.

Dr. William Raub
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 434-E
200 Independence Avenue, SW.
Washington, DC 20201
Tel: (202) 401-9456
Fax: (202) 205-8835
Internet: wraub@osaspe.dhhs.gov

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