June 20, 2007

RFK Jr. Defends Katie and Autism Moms

I needed this.

Attack On Mothers
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week--for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury -- surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. But the patronizing attacks on the mothers of autistic children who have organized to oppose this brain-killing poison is one of the most persistent tactics employed by those defending Thimerosal against the barrage of scientific evidence linking it to the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders, including autism. Mothers of autistics are routinely dismissed as irrational, hysterical, or as a newspaper editor told me last week, "desperate to find the reason for their children's illnesses," and therefore, overwrought and disconnected.

But my experience with these women is inconsistent with those patronizing assessments. Over the past two years I've met or communicated with several hundred of these women. Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I've found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other professionals. Many of them approached the link skeptically and only through dispassionate and diligent investigation became convinced that Thimerosal-laced vaccines destroyed their children's brains. As a group they have sat through hundreds of meetings and scientific conferences, and studied research papers and medical tests. They have networked with each other at meetings and on the Web. Along the way they have stoically endured the abuse routinely heaped upon them by the vaccine industry and public health authorities and casual dismissal by reporters and editors too lazy to do their jobs.

Many of these women tell a story virtually identical to Katie Wright's -- I have now heard or seen this grim chronology recounted hundreds of times in conversations, e-mails and letters from mothers: At 2-1/2 years old, Christian Wright exceeded all milestones. He had 1,000 words, was toilet-trained, and enjoyed excellent social relations with his brother and others. Then his pediatrician gave him Thimerosal-laced vaccines. He cried all night, developed a fever and, over the coming months, this smart, healthy child disappeared. Christian lost the ability to speak, to interact with family members, to make eye contact or to point a finger. He is no longer toilet trained. He engaged in stereotypical behavior--screaming, head-banging, biting and uncontrolled aggression, and suffers continuously the agonizing pain of gastrointestinal inflammation.

After hearing that story a couple dozen times, a rational person might do some more investigation. That's when one encounters the overwhelming science -- hundreds of research studies from dozens of countries showing the undeniable connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological illnesses. In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between autism and Thimerosal. Their purpose was to provide plausible deniability for the consequences of their awful decision to allow brain-killing mercury to be injected into our youngest children. Those deliberately deceptive and fatally flawed studies were authored by vaccine industry consultants and paid for by Thimerosal producers and published largely in compromised journals that neglected to disclose the myriad conflicts of their authors in violation of standard peer-review ethics. As I've shown elsewhere [see www.robertfkennedyjr.com], these studies were borderline fraud, using statistical deceptions to mislead the public and regulatory community.

The CDC and IOM base their defense of Thimerosal on these flimsy studies, their own formidable reputations, and their faith that journalists won't take the time to critically read the science. The bureaucrats are simultaneously using their influence, energies and clout to derail, defund and suppress any scientific study that may verify the link between Thimerosal and brain disorders. (These would include epidemiological studies comparing the records of vaccinated children with those of unvaccinated populations like the Amish or home-schooled kids who appear to enjoy dramatically reduced levels of autism and other neurological disorders.) The federal agencies have refused to release the massive public health information accumulated in their Vaccine Safety Database (VSD) apparently to keep independent scientists from reviewing evidence that could prove the link. They are also muzzling or blackballing scientists who want to conduct such studies.

Ironically, it is the same voices that once blamed autism on "bad parenting," and "uninvolved" moms that are now faulting these mothers for being too involved.

Due to this campaign of obfuscation and public deception, Thimerosal-based vaccines continue to sicken millions of children around the world and potential treatments -- like the chelation that benefited Christian Wright -- are kept out of the hands of the mainstream doctors now treating autistic kids with less effective tools. Like thousands of other mothers of autistic children, Katie Wright knows what sickened her child. Her efforts to spare other families this catastrophe, deployed with a cool head and calm demeanor, are truly heroic. Maybe it's time we all started listening. Maybe it's time to start respecting and honoring the maternal instincts and hard work of Katie and her fellow mothers by aggressively funding the studies that might verify or dispute them.


Anonymous said...

I think Autism Vox's response to this is the best. I encourage people to read that.

Ginger said...

I read the piece, and I differ with Kristina on the idea that Autism is not an illness.

She is correct that it is presently categorized as a developmental disability, but from looking at the medical pictures of these kids, it is becoming clear that most of these kids are sick and autism is incorrectly defined.

It is solely defined in psychological terms, and not defined in medical terms, despite the fact that GI docs who treat autistic children report that they have never seen an autistic child that did not have some form of GI distress. Yet GI problems are in no way a part of the autism diagnosis.

I am the one to constantly hammer home that we are looking at autismS , multiple forms. Parents who see no link to vaccines may have kids whose autism has no link to vaccines. There are children with autism who are unvaccinated. There is regressive and non regressive autism. There is big head autism (7 to 1 boys, high IQ) and there is small head autism (1 to 1 girl boy ratio, lower IQ).

Autism is not one disorder, it is at least two or more. Until we start categorizing it by what is going on the bodies of these people, we are not going to make real progress.

My oversimplified example is this: The way autism is being studied now is like taking two people with severe mental retardation and doing a study to see what the causes, cures, and successful educational interventions are, and finding inconsistent results. So we throw up our hands and say "it is a mystery". Only to find out upon proper investigation that one of the subjects has downs syndrome and the other suffered a severe head injury in a car accident driving his mustang 90 miles an hour because he was late for his law school exam.

Kristina and Kevin and I may both be right about our children, even though we complete disagree on the origins of their autism.

Anonymous said...

"There is big head autism and little head autism". I have never heard of these terms. What is that?

Ginger said...

It is my shorthand for "essential" v. "complex" autism that I discuss here:


and research papers are here:


Grace said...


Speaking of the abuse we moms endure trying to help our kids, I am trying to find info or get feedback on the idea that autism - at least for some kids - is an inflammation reaction (like the mercury reactions dentists are supposed to test for - don't know if they will go as far as to call it an allergy or just a sensitivity)

After all, they do admit that thimerasol can cause an inflammatory-type reaction at the injection site. I got to wondering (esp. after reading VK Singh's autoimmunity hypothesis), why couldn't the mercury that gets deposited in the brain (regardless of how much or how little, although the more there is, the more likely one's immune system will react) generate chronic inflammation thereby triggering autoimmunity to develop because of this foreign substance's attachment to brain tissue (myelin in particular).

That would make sense of chelation helping some of these kids, but not all. (With allergic or autoimmune reactions, removing the trigger allows the immune system to calm down and hopefully even heal)

But it wouldn't be true for all because of the many individual variables & because autoimmunity tends to be a cascade event and typically leads to additional reactions wherever inflammation crops up in the body - so it might involve some other chronic irritant, like perhaps attenuated measles, located in another part of the body that keeps the immune system in hyperdrive. Or instead of one irritant or the other it might be both - or multiples.

This would explain the fact that ASD kids come so predominantly from families with allergies &/or autoimmune disease. Something has their immune system primed and then the vaccines hit (or some other major immunostimulant) and the cascade of events begins.

I was just recently diagnosed with hyperthyroid after many years of symptoms that several doctors missed. I have learned that this is common for many if not most autoimmune diseases - this is one of the areas where modern medicine is really in the dark. The more I read about autoimmunity and the genetic risk factors, the more it all seems to make sense of autism in general as being an autoimmune disease involving the brain.

Hope this is coherent as I'm trying to abridge a lot of musings into as small a space as I can manage. Do you know if this is already being discussed or studied by anyone right now beyond that which is being done by Singh?

P.S. Having recently dipped my toes in over at the Autism Hub and quickly gotten them chewed off, I am more appreciative of your blog than ever!

Ginger said...


Your suspicions are correct. Inflammation in people with autism is established.

There is a University of Virginia Study that describes cytokine activity in the brain that I think I wrote about back in the day.

I will find it for you.

back later...