December 31, 2005

Autism: An Epidemic Is Finally Acknowledged

Autism: An Epidemic Is Finally Acknowledged
Government agency takes first step to protect our children
James Ottar Grundvig
Special to The Epoch Times
Dec 30, 2005

BEVERLY HILLS: Actor Dustin Hoffman speaks at the 2005 Cure Autism Now's 10th Anniversay Gala last November. Hoffman is known for his convincing portrayal of a man stricken with autism in the film Rain Man.

The year 2005 will be a year to remember in the autism epidemic: The debate came to a head between parents of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) children and the federal government, which has long denied an autism epidemic exists.

The ebb and flow has turned in the favor of these long-neglected children, who today number well over one million in the United States alone. Governmental agencies in charge of children's health and the pediatric-psychiatry-pharmaceutical axis had erected a wall to protect their errant policies regarding baby vaccinations. In 2005 that wall began to shows signs of cracking.

Turning Points

The turning point came not as a single event, but a timely confluence of several streams. In April, New York Times contributing writer, David Kirby, came out with the book "Evidence of Harm" that tied the increase in vaccines to the rise in autism. Others, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and radio show host Don Imus drove the vaccines-mercury-autism debate home last summer. The efforts of these high-profile individuals combined with those of autism not-for-profit organizations and parents like myself—who have filed a deluge of vaccine-injury cases on behalf of their children in the "vaccine court" created in 1986 by Congress—to help remove the shadow of ignorance from autism. The prevailing hypothesis that autism is a psychological disease rooted solely in genetics was debunked.

In 2005 Iowa and California became the first states to ban thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative used in many baby vaccines. For a long time, most parents of ASD kids have suspected that thimerosal was the major culprit in the sharp rise of autism cases, particularly the regressive form of the disorder. New York State jumped into the act by passing a law that will ban thimerosal from vaccines. The only problem: the law won't go into affect until 2009. Better late than never. I suspect those states, which will undoubtedly be followed by others in the coming years, realized that with the spike in autism comes a spike in costs for special education and healthcare that has placed an enormous burden on the tax coffers. Yet none of those states' actions against thimerosal would have been necessary if the federal government, namely the CDC and FDA, had acted in 1999.

Where Has the Federal Government Been?

Seven years ago, those agencies were warned, informed, and had ample opportunity to ban the known neurological toxin, but failed to do so. Because of their inaction, tens of thousands of babies born since 2000, including my son, won a most unfortunate lottery. America's ASD children were given vaccines with just enough thimerosal to shutdown their ability to filter out heavy metals, while simultaneously poisoning their brains and central nervous systems.

Instead, the CDC suggested to the pharmaceutical companies, like Merck (maker of the hepatitis B "birth dose" vaccine) and Eli Lilly (grandfather of thimerosal, invented in the 1920s), to remove gradually this known toxin from vaccines. Of course, Merck & Co.'s suppression of the bad reports on the painkiller Vioxx, and subsequent attempts to keep Vioxx out of the courts and the press, provides an example of how Big Pharma can't be trusted. And the CDC's actions on thimerosal suggested the government might be too close sometimes to that industry.

So it came as a shock this December to learn that ASD children were receiving an early holiday present, gift wrapped by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Although barely covered in the news, the NIMH finally admitted that autism is an epidemic. And genetics alone can't cause epidemics, since genes only mutate from one generation to the next. The cause for the epidemic might still be an issue, but such a revelation in the wake of all those denials is the jump-start that is needed to make other guardians of our healthcare system look at the very least foolish, and at the worst promoters of terrible propaganda.

An Opportunity for Change

How should the Pediatric Association of America, which continues to state that vaccines are safe, take this news? And what about the legions of psychiatrists and psychologists who have long sold the mantra that there wasn't an epidemic, only people who were not properly trained in the past to diagnose autism in children? What do I think? They should be ashamed of themselves for choosing to protect vaccines over the health of children.

I grew up in a small town in Westchester County, north of New York City. In the 1960s, there were no children on the spectrum there, and that was for kindergarten through 12th grade. In the past year I learned that beside myself, three other students within two grades of my own (the average grade size was 120 kids per class) have ASD children. For me, nothing has been more powerful than that fact. All the denials, disinformation, and twisting of numbers of the amount of thimerosal in a given vaccine couldn't cloud the truth. Autism is an epidemic.

For the New Year, there will still be people, companies and agencies that deny there is an epidemic, let alone one caused by the over-use of vaccinations. Some are ignorant; while many will do anything to protect the status quo, due to the financial windfall that the twenty-plus vaccines given to each newborn baby within its first two years brings to the vaccine-makers.

Now is time for the CDC, FDA, the White House, and our congressmen and senators to join the NIMH and admit that autism is an epidemic. It is time for the news media, which have too often under-reported this plague of the twenty-first century, to do the same. Then maybe the frontline defenders of children—pediatricians and child psychologist—can come clean and join in chorus with the parents. That would be an enormous first step in defeating autism.

Until that day, there will be an epidemic. And it's not going away until those in charge of the American healthcare system admit they have crisis on its hand.

Its name is autism.

James Ottar Grundvig lives and works in New York City. He is the father of an autistic child.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ginger,

I think the quote below is a falsehood, I don't think that the NIMH announced that there was an epidemic, would you know what he is talking about specifically? I could be wrong.

"So it came as a shock this December to learn that ASD children were receiving an early holiday present, gift wrapped by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Although barely covered in the news, the NIMH finally admitted that autism is an epidemic."

Ther facts show that there hasn't been an epidemic, or even a sharp rise in cases. It would be helpful to your readers if you would supply better information. I think.

Anonymous said...

There is a very interesting article on the internet on the approaches to the autism epidemic and causes in the United Kingdom (UK).
The UK doesn't just focus on mercury. They also are doing studies on: the altered measles virus in the measles vaccine; and on the relationship between genetic predisposition and being vaccinated, finding that children from families with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoic arthritis, lupus, etc., who are vaccinated, are much more likely to get autism than kids from families who have no one with an autoimmune disorder, or who have not been vaccinated. There are also studies in the UK on the effect of receiving more than one vaccine at a time (like in the MMR), and a lot of other issues.

Anonymous said...

the link to didn't work. I don't think that any of what you said is true, anonymous [from the second comment.] Do you have anything to back it up? there isn't any research being done in the UK on measles. That measles idea is dead, or as my friend from the South says, "dead and stanky."

In the UK they don't focus on mercury at all. Not a bit. The mercury interest is all in the United States, and there is very little research being done on it. The real progress toward understanding autism is being made by looking at MRI scans and EEGs on people with autism and also in genetics. Maybe ginger could tell us more about research that isn't about mercury.

Ginger said...

Anon 1,

"I think the quote below is a falsehood, I don't think that the NIMH announced that there was an epidemic, would you know what he is talking about specifically? I could be wrong."

You are not the only one to think this. Several people have written to the paper asking for the reference for this claim. So far as I know the paper has not responded yet.

And actually everyone agrees that there has been a sharp rise in cases. Incidence has gone from 1 in 2000 to 1 in 166. In Jan 2004 the CDC and AAP put out an “Autism Alarm” because of it, although they did not specifically call in an epidemic. Some argue that this increase only represents an increase in recognition of the condition, and that previously autism was being diagnosed as mental retardation, but the study that was held up to back that theory did not stand up under scrutiny.

I will keep you updated as to whether or not the author and paper can back up the claim that a govt agency has used the “E” word.

Ginger said...

Anon 2,

The same range of causes are being investigated here. The discussion is that thimerosal is the trigger which sets off all the dysfunction in these systems, and that it is not the only trigger which can begin the cascade of damage that leads to autistic symptoms, but that it is likely the most common one because it has been so ubiquitous in vaccines.

Ginger said...

Anon 3 who I am assuming is also Anon1,

The measles theory is not so dead. I just don't write about it much because my son didn't get the MMR, and I have not tackled that area of research yet. Many children are being successfully treated with anti-virals.

And I do report the kind of research that you are mentioning; I just don't focus on it. For two reasons:

1) The media always picks up on these stories and you usually don't need me to point them out to you as they are printed in every paper because they are not controversial.

2) They don't lead to any treatments. You said, "The real progress toward understanding autism is being made by looking at MRI scans and EEGs on people with autism and also in genetics".

"Understanding" autism is important and interesting and useful, but if it does not improve the health and lives of those with autism it is nothing more than an academic pursuit. The minute that an EEG leads us to a treatment for autism, I will be all over it. The reason that I am not is that it has no practical application to my son or to the children of my readers.

There are millions being poured into genetic research for autism. As far as I can tell the only practical application for that research is to someday allow pregnant women to find out that the baby they are carrying will be autistic so that they can abort their ASD child. That does not serve autistics, it is a crime against them.

mimi said...

If scientists identify a certian gene has a higher rate of presence among a population of autistic people and their parents, then frequently they can ask, "what does this gene do?" Well, dear, it codes for a protein and they can find out what that protein does. If for instance the protein, like serotonin, is somehow involved in both the development of the intestines (as hypothesized or proven, I'm not sure...) and the brain, well bingo, Ginger, there you go. A discovery you can "be all over".

There is no evidence that measles can cause autism. Show it. You can't. There is no evidence that mercury can cause autism. Show it. You can't.

You don't "do" science. You do politics, in my opinion. You aren't interested in science. If you were you would have blogged on the dangers of gold salts, remember the ones you blogged about as if they were a new and exciting chelator? Even Andy Cutler says they can't chelate, and he's got to be part of autism biomed's holy trinity, doesn't he?

I hope you will also note the coroners report about Abubakar's death and about how Dr. Jang could have killed a little boy last April with an overdose of Vitamin A. But I expect you will avoid those topics.

I really think you are spreading harm, Ginger. But I don't think you realize that you are.

I wish good health and prosperity to you and your autistic son and the rest of your family.

John F. said...

The author of this piece also wrote back in September 2005 about his son's experimental treatment with IV glutathione, followed by chelation.

He reported some positive changes during the glutathione treatment, but regression (as expected) during chelation, which was still ongoing at the time he wrote the article.

According to the schedule described in the article, the 3 month chelation treatment period should have ended last month. Grudvig looked forward to the end of treatment, "after which he will rise out of the autistic fog that has enveloped his mind."

As the father of an autistic child, I'm familiar with that hope. I'm also familiar with a lot of claims for cures that don't pan out.

I certainly hope that his expectations were met, but the absence of any mention of a miraculous recovery (or even a notable improvement) in this latest article doesn't bode well.