Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I hope the panel brought topics to the forefront on how to develop a stronger relationship between the autism community and journalists. I was humbled to be part of the collective conversation.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
My video is taking a while to load...but I do have some clips.
Parents and doctors keep approaching me. It is so great to meet so many faces!
Friday, May 23, 2008
The video that she showed at the end--She is producing with Jim. It was a griping video with some of her best quotes when she has appeared on shows.
I am going to see Haley this afternoon.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
This item was emailed to this blog--AR
The undersigned organizations and individuals are commending KOMU TV on the excellent investigative report, "Combating Autism from Within." The friends and families of vaccine-injured children, with mercury induced autism, congratulate you on the recent coverage and discussions of this serious disorder which has reached epidemic levels across the United States.
We are so pleased to see the extensive research reported to reveal the struggles families face and the truth about the poisoning of a generation of children through the use of thimerosal containing vaccines.
The Missouri School of Journalism should be proud, this report exemplifies why it is known as the leader in the world for students desiring careers in Journalism. We believe the experience and training these student/reporters have gained through this series will prove to be immeasurable for advancement and professional careers in the media.
The amount of science that was covered is the most in-depth, thoughtful and truthful investigation we have watched unfold by any journalist, during the fifteen year explosion in diagnoses of vaccine related autism.
The journalistic integrity and credibility at KOMU has allowed your viewers to see the reality of children affected by autism and the blatant falsehood of the government and medical community trying to keep this tragedy from being exposed. Your unbiased and accurate report was the first to acknowledge the conflicts of interest which have infested the medical community where a "First Do No Harm" attitude should prevail. The heart breaking lack of medical, educational and social service support for these families was reported in a respectful and meaningful way.
Ashley Reynolds and her team uncovered and reported the misleading information, that is often provided by CDC or pharmaceutical funded scientists, and reported the fact that mercury is still in most flu, tetanus, and diphtheria/tetanus vaccines--and an array of vaccines still contain "trace" amounts. (The term "trace" is not recognized as a scientific term.)
We were pleased to see honest interviews with known experts Dr. Boyd Haley and Dr. David Ayoub speaking about the relationship between mercury exposure and neurological injury. Ms. Reynolds secured an exclusive interview with local resident and former chairman of the Microbiology Department, Dr. Frank B. Engley, Jr., whose studies from 1940's-90's found toxicity of thimerosal at a nanomolar level.
The parents of children suffering from vaccine-induced illnesses applaud you for speaking out about the families' tragedies and reporting the research supporting a causal link between mercury in vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.
We sincerely appreciate your brave reporting of all sides of the devastating disorder of autism. We look forward to your hour presentation in February.
A-Champ Advocates for Children's Health Affected by Mercury
Alan D. Clark Research Memorial Fund
Albert W. Burgstahler, PhD., Professor Emeritus of Chemistry; University of Kansas
ARROW- Autism Recovery Resources of Washington
Boyd Haley, PhD., Professor of Chemistry; University of Kentucky PhD.
CoMeD; The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs
Darrel G. Moreland, DDS, MSD
David Ayoub, MD
Edward F. Fogarty, III, M.D. and Family
Exceptional Families Network
Frank B. Engley Jr., PhD., Former Professor and Chairman of Micro Biology; and Assistant Dean of the School of Medicine University of Missouri
Foundation for Autism Information and Research
Foundation for Mercury Injured Children
HEAL! Healing Every Autistic Life
MAM- Moms Against Mercury
Michael J. Cannon, DO
NAA National Autism Association
Oklahoma Autism Coalition
Richard Deth, PhD., Professor of Pharmacology Northeastern University, Massachusetts
Schafer Autism Report
The Wyatt Holliday Foundation
World Mercury Project
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Thank you, Ashley Reynolds and team!!
Sincerely, thank you for having the courage to go where few others have during this very trying, tumultuous time.
Your journalistic integrity and talent are refreshing and very warmly welcomed!!
Best wishes to all of you,
(Mom on A Mission for Autism)
"Even if your are in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."
In November of 2007 Hannah Poling was recognized as being adversely affected by over-vaccination. We are only now finding out about this because of the Fourth Estate, the government has been trying to keep this under wraps for months.
It is no surprise to me that the first mission of guilt in this issue is for a child of parents who's degrees include MD, PhD, RN, and JD. Now that the courts have recognized a link between vaccinations and neurological damage to children, we need to revisit public policy.
Individual vaccines can't get much safer but vaccine protocols certainly could, quite easily. The 2008 CDC protocol for pediatric vaccines is not the safest of all ways to accomplish the goal of immunity of multiple infectious diseases. There are better ways to vaccinate than the CDC wants to admit, its all over the KOMU Combating Autism From Within blog.
Fingerstick titer checking technology will prevent this wide-scaleover-vaccination of children. Such a simple lab test could tell you whether an additional "booster" is needed, the idea has already beendone for HIV titer checks to diagnose disease, we could use it here and now with minor modifications. The vast majority of kids (95%) are immune for life to measles-mumps and rubella (MMR) after one dose. More than half are immune to Hepatitis B for a long time after onedose.
Why are we wasting 3 extra "boosters" on kids who are already immune at their most neurologically tender moment? Sadly, we "scientific" physicians never check titers, we never use evidence based laboratory science to justify second, third, and fourth shots. Parents need to be made aware of this medical option to avoiding over vaccination, in fact, it should be in hospital and clinic consent forms.
Those in medicine better learn quickly that to give consent to a vaccine that you don't need and were not told of a viable option for avoidance (titer check) should pay attention here as this is one of the many legal liabilities that could lead a hospital or clinic into a lawsuit that has no one else on the table for suit by an injured person.
Governments and school districts would be better served to require titer levels not written records of vaccine shots. Titer levels are scientific evidence of immunity, a vaccine record isn't.
Actually a lot of money could be saved across the board by doing this more scientifically. One might think innovative insurance companiesand state level public health officers would get on board if the real vaccinomics were better understood with respect to checking titers to avoid over use of vaccines in the already immune children who are going through the motions for the sloth of not being as scientific as we could be in medicine.
Ironically, we may be on the cusp of Hep B vaccine failures in children born to women who are immune to Hep B vaccine as the maternalantibodies will cross the placenta and prevent immunization in some percentage of kids for up to a year (the whole Hep B schedule iscrammed into the first year).
This is a gaping hole in CDC policy. Shouldn't we be checking titers? Seems pretty obvious, but culture dominates medical thought more than science as I think the University of Missouri School of Journalism has learned through this project.
For the Poling family, public policy finally lost to extensive clinical science in a resource rich family. In this one case, anamazing family of intellect with a father holding an MD and a PhD andmother holding an RN and JD, have a child who has been recognized as adversely affected by vaccines. The average child adversely affected and not studied appropriately by the conflicted pediatricians giving the vaccines out will not be so lucky in this stacked game of
It is true that a vast majority of children will not be affected by the administration of additional vaccinations. But if epidemiological purposes can be met with a more "surgical" approach, there is no reason to endanger a genetically vulnerable child. It is my opinion that all US physicians should thoroughly read the Simpsonwood document which is the most honest assessment of the relationship of vaccines to autism and shows a clear signal ofuncertain strength depending on which "artist" of epidemiology is interpreting the data. It has more to do with the sum of all exposures than any one component of the CDC schedule and we have wasted much time focusing attention onthimerosal, not because its not involved here but it is only a part of the epigenetic effect in the vulnerable populace.
Finally, the Fourth Estate is starting to pay some real attention to this issue, if only for the media hype of this one blessed child, who has a set of parents that are among the few that could even win a judgement like this.
Edward F. Fogarty, III, MD
Chairman of Radiology
University of North Dakota School of Medicine
Father of the child in the image below:
The stunning court case conceding that vaccines were related to autism just last week in Georgia is the beginning of the public's awakening to the truth about autism and vaccines. Many voices are out there questioning the tired claims of public health officials about vaccine safety. The issue is unstoppable now and it will only get more attention in the press.
Ashley Reynolds and her team were among the first few courageous voices in the media presenting the issue in a truly fair and balanced manner. They had to face the criticism from local health officials and university professors, but they were unwilling to downplay the facts they uncovered.
This blog may end, but this outstanding news series will live on!
Anne McElroy DachelMember of the board of A-CHAMP
Media Editor: AGE OF AUTISM
Friday, March 7, 2008
Senator John McCain Implicates Vaccines in Autism
Senator John McCain has gone on record questioning the role of vaccines causing the increasing Autism epidemic. (13 )(14 )
“It’s indisputable that autism is on the rise among children. The question is, What’s causing it? And we go back and forth, and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.” says John McCain, Republican nominee for president.
The vaccine preservative is called thimerosol, also known as ethyl mercury. This statement places republican senator John McCain in the same camp with democrat Robert F Kennedy Jr .
Vaccine Court Admits Vaccination Caused a Child's Autism.
In an unprecedented and stunning verdict this month, the Vaccine Court has awarded compensation to a 9 year old girl, Hannah Poling of Athens Georgia who became autistic after vaccination. The girl has a documented underlying mitochondrial disorder. (1)(5)(6)(7)(11)
Hannah Poling appeared to be a normal child with normal verbal ability until she was vaccinated with 9 vaccines (5 shots) during a routine pediatric visit. Within 48 hours of the vaccination, Hannah developed high fever, cried continuously and stopped walking. Her sleep pattern was disturbed, and she was unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Within three months, Hannah showed typical signs of autism, with autistic behavior such as spinning, staring at lights and fans, and severely reduced verbal ability.
Is Autism caused by Mutation in Mitochondrial DNA Aggravated by Toxins and Immune Challenges?
Hannah's father, Jon is a neurologist and wrote a case report about his daughter's mitochondrial disorder and autism.(19 ) A Portugese study suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction might be one of the most common disorders in Autism. (20 ) Others have found mitochondrial SNP genetic defects in autism involving the Mitochondrial Aspartate/Glutamate Carrier. (22 )(23 ) Dr. Pons at Columbia found mitochondrial DNA mutatons in 5 of 5 autistic children or their mothers.(25 )
Institutional Medicine Denies Any Autism Link with Vaccines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all denied any linkage between the vaccines and autism.
Institutional Medical Groups Petitioned for Mercury Removal from Vaccines
In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics joined the CDC, the FDA, and the National Institutes of Health issued a joint statement urging vaccine manufacturers to remove Thimerosol. (18 )
As of January 2008, most vaccines are thimerosol-free.(15 ) (16 ) However, the following vaccines still contain thimerosol (mercury): Multi Dose DT, Tetanus, Influenza, Multi-Dose Meningococcal.
For more on the Vaccine Autism link: Autism Vaccine Link Real or Imagined? (12 )
(1 ) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-03-05-autism-vaccines_N.htm?POE=click-refer
USA Today Story, Officials: Vaccines may have injured girl
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a 9-year-old girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund.
(2 ) http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20080301/cm_huffpost/089318
Senator McCain: "Strong Evidence" of Autism-Vaccine Link
David Kirby Sat Mar 1, 4:21 PM ET Dear Senator McCain, It was with some amazement that I read about your comments, made tonight while campaigning in Texas, about a possible link between mercury in vaccines and autism.According to Jake Tapper at ABC News, a Texas mother of a child with autism asked you about the Federal Court document, first reported on Huffington Post last Monday, in which Justice Department officials conceded that vaccines had aggravated one child's underlying medical condition, resulting in a diagnosis of autism.
(3 ) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080107181551.htm
Autism: Removing Thimerosal From Vaccines Did Not Reduce Autism Cases In California, Report Finds ScienceDaily (Jan. 8, 2008) — Autism cases continued to increase in California after the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was eliminated from most childhood vaccines, according to a new report.This suggests that exposure to thimerosal is not a primary cause of autism.
(4 ) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/senator-mccain-strong-e_b_89318.html
David Kirby letter to McCain on Huffington Post
(5 ) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-vaccineautism-court-_b_88558.html
The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read Posted February 26, 2008
(6 ) http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.2086683.0.us_to_award_vaccine_damage_payment.php
sunday herald. US to award vaccine damage payment By Judith Duffy, Health Correspondent Campaigners hail decision as ‘unprecedented’ A DECISION by the US government to award compensation under its vaccine damage programme to a child diagnosed with symptoms of autism has been hailed as "unprecedented" by campaigners.
(7 ) http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg19726464.100-autism-payout-reignites-vaccine-controversy.html?feedId=online-news_rss20
Autism payout reignites vaccine controversy 08 March 2008 From New Scientist Jim Giles
(8 ) http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/03/05/autism.vaccines.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch
Case renews debate on vaccine-autism link
(9 ) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jPIMulfcbi1seZqbdrRmkoVP20IgD8V7I5FO0
AP News, Government Concedes Vaccine Injury Case
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund.
(10 ) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/imus-mccain-autism-and_b_89775.html?amp;cid=1139523449&ei=9UzOR7fiEoT2-wGmh4nvDg
Imus, McCain, Autism, and 08 Posted March 4, 2008 Transcript of radio interview.
(11 ) http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/health/stories/2008/03/06/autism_0306.html
March 6, 2008 Girl, 9, Helps Link Vaccines to Autism Cause By ALISON YOUNG The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 03/06/08 In a move autism family advocates call unprecedented, federal health officials have concluded that childhood vaccines contributed to symptoms of the disorder in a 9-year-old Georgia girl.
(12 ) http://jeffreydach.com/2007/10/11/autism-vaccines-and-robert-f-kennedy-jr-by-jeffrey-dach-md.aspx
(13 ) http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/03/04/mccain-strong-evidence-links-autism-to-vaccines/
March 4, 2008, McCain: ‘Strong Evidence’ Links Autism to Vaccines Posted by Jacob Goldstein
(14 ) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/us/politics/04autism.html?ex=1362373200
Into the Fray Over the Cause of Autism New Yoirk Times By BENEDICT CAREY March 4, 2008
“It’s indisputable that autism is on the rise among children,” Senator John McCain said while campaigning recently in Texas. “The question is, What’s causing it? And we go back and forth, and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”
(15 ) http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#t1
Thimerosal Content of Vaccines Routinely Recommended for Children 6 Years of Age and Younger - (updated 7/18/2005)
(16 ) http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm
Thimerosal Content in Some US Licensed Vaccines updated January 28, 2008
(17 ) http://www.robertfkennedyjr.com/
Robert F Kennedy Jr Web Site
(18 ) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4826a3.htm
CDC Joint Statement asking for removal of thimersol from vaccines
(19 ) http://jcn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/2/170
Journal of Child Neurology, Vol. 21, No. 2, 170-172 (2006)
Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism
Jon S. Poling, MD, PhD Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD
(20 ) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=282214
Mitochondrial dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders: a population-based study
G Oliveira L Diogo M Grazina P Garcia A Ataíde Oeiras, Portugal.
Abstract. A minority of cases of autism has been associated with several different organic conditions, including bioenergetic metabolism deficiency. In a population-based study, we screened associated medical conditions in a group of 120 children with autism (current age range 11y 5mo to 14y 4mo, mean age 12y 11mo [SD 9.6mo], male:female ratio 2.9:1).
Children were diagnosed using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria, the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised, and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale; 76% were diagnosed with typical autism and 24% with atypical autism. Cognitive functional level was assessed with the Griffiths scale and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and was in the normal range in 17%. Epilepsy was present in 19 patients. Plasma lactate levels were measured in 69 patients, and in 14 we found hyperlactacidemia. Five of 11 patients studied were classified with definite mitochondrial respiratory chain disorder, suggesting that this might be one of the most common disorders associated with autism (5 of 69; 7.2%) and warranting further investigation.
(22 ) http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/161/4/662
Linkage and Association of the Mitochondrial Aspartate/Glutamate Carrier SLC25A12 Gene With Autism
Nicolas Ramoz, Ph.D., Jennifer G. Reichert, B.Sc., Christopher J. Smith, Ph.D., Jeremy M. Silverman, Ph.D., Irina N. Bespalova, Ph.D., Kenneth L. Davis, M.D., and Joseph D. Buxbaum, Ph.D.
(23 ) http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/162/11/2182
Am J Psychiatry 162:2182-2184, November 2005
Confirmation of Association Between Autism and the Mitochondrial Aspartate/Glutamate Carrier SLC25A12 Gene on Chromosome 2q31 Ricardo Segurado, B.A., Ph.D., Judith Conroy, B.A.,
(24 ) http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/exploring-the-biomedical-issues-of-autism.pdf
AUTISM: THE EVOLUTION OF A DISEASE Bryan Jepson, MD Presented at the National Autism Association conference
asssociated with Thoughtful House and Wakefield
(25 ) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14722523
J Pediatr. 2004 Jan;144(1):81-5.
Mitochondrial DNA abnormalities and autistic spectrum disorders.
Pons R, Andreu AL, Checcarelli N, Vilà MR, Engelstad K, Sue CM, Shungu D, Haggerty R, de Vivo DC, DiMauro S. Departments of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.
OBJECTIVES: To further characterize mtDNA defects associated with autistic features, especially the A3243G mtDNA mutation and mtDNA depletion.
Study design Five patients with autistic spectrum disorders and family histories of mitochondrial DNA diseases were studied. We performed mtDNA analysis in all patients and magnetic resonance spectroscopy in three.
RESULTS: Three patients manifested isolated autistic spectrum features and two had additional neurologic symptoms. Two patients harbored the A3243G mutation. In two others, the A3243G mutation was not found in accessible tissues but was present in tissues from their mothers. The fifth patient had 72% mtDNA depletion in skeletal muscle.
CONCLUSIONS: Autistic spectrum disorders with or without additional neurologic features can be early presentations of the A3243G mtDNA mutation and can be a prominent clinical manifestation of mtDNA depletion. Mitochondrial dysfunction should be considered in patients who have autistic features and associated neurologic findings or who have evidence of maternal inheritance.
Jeffrey Dach MD
4700 Sheridan Suite T
Hollywood Florida 33021
Original article can be found here.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Tell us what you think!
There are seven parts in our hour long special.
the website is going through updates today--So don't be alarmed if you see error messages. The video for the show is working... If you have issues-email me.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Combating Autism From Within show, following the series, is ready for air.
The hour special will feature a look back at the families we featured along with updates. We will also look back into our investigation. Along with reading comments from the series, there is a story on our blog and behind the scenes from the crew that made this series possible.
Once the series is online, I will create a post with a link. We would love to hear from you. You can also send your comments to the station here
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
This is not the case at all. There is no one in my family that has autism.
In my nine years of working in journalism... I knew very little about the disorder until I started working on the first story last June.
No one in my family has autism.
If anyone has any further questions, you can email me at
In the meantime, I hope to post a video promo of the show in a week or so.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I have to say, Fogarty, Haley, Ayoub and Engley are undoubtedly on to something. As a mom who loves and cherishes ALL FOUR of her children, I am very willing to listen to the facts and do what I can to TREAT and/or RECOVER my son.
I do hang on to hope...I have to. I admit, when my son was first diagnosed, and I heard some of the crazy ideas about NUTRITION and VACCINATIONS affecting these kids, I thought it was ludicrous. However, since truly looking AND listening, I have done a complete "180". The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable. As a health professional - but more so as a parent - I won't close my eyes and refuse to believe what's right out in front of me just because the bureacracies in our country are in denial.
I accept and embrace my son AS IS, but what kind of a mother would I be if I wasn't ready to look at ALL TREATMENTS with an open mind?
Tricia Kiefer, RN BAN
Nurse Manager, Birthcenter One
Monday, February 4, 2008
I wanted to take a moment to comment on your blog...
I have a six-year-old son with autism. He was diagnosed almost 2 years ago to the day. I admit, when I first received the diagnosis, I was totally devastated. Since then, my outlook has changed...
Not only am I blessed (refer to my own personal blog: www.blessedwithautism.blogspot.com to have my son (and all 4 of my children!) in my life, but we are blessed with this condition we call autism. The amazing qualities that he possesses far surpass any unfavorable conditions that people tend to think of when hearing about autism.
There is a misconception that these kids lack affection and personality. On the contrary, my son (and ALL the other kids on the spectrum that I've come to know) is a loving, charismatic (and highly "quirky") individual. (And VERY intelligent - he reads many levels above his grade and consistently EXCEEDS the academic expectations in school!) He has helped me learn what it means to truly be patient. He has helped me appreciate life and everything in it. Since my son's diagnosis, I have not only learned to "accept" it, but I have embraced it. I wouldn't change a thing.
Tricia Kiefer, RN BAN
Nurse Manager, Birthcenter One
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Wow! The power of the internet blows my mind. I am still getting emails. I'm very behind but doing my best to get back to everyone that is emailing me. Thank you so much for the emails! I can't get over how many people are watching the series.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
In the spring of 2005, UPI reporter Dan Olmsted wrote that autism is rare among the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. “Where are the autistic Amish?” he wrote. “I have come here to find them, but so far my mission has failed, and the very few I have identified raise some very interesting questions about some widely held views on autism.”
Olmsted’s anecdotal evidence is cited ad nauseum as evidence that thimerosal causes autism. The case rests on twin assumptions: that the Amish don’t vaccinate, and that they don’t have autism. But Olmsted never visited the cryptically-named Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, where doctors treat of children who exhibit autistic behavior. It’s not even necessary to visit the clinic. A simple phone call to a staff physician, such as the one I made recently, is enough to debunk “the Amish anomaly”, as Olmsted calls it.
“The idea that the Amish do not vaccinate their children is untrue,” says Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, a pediatrician at the CSC. “We run a weekly vaccination clinic and it’s very busy.” He says Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population’s, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations.
Strauss also sees plenty of Amish children showing symptoms of autism. “Autism isn’t a diagnosis - it’s a description of behavior. We see autistic behaviors along with seizure disorders or mental retardation or a genetic disorder, where the autism is part of a more complicated clinical spectrum.” Fragile X syndrome and Retts is also common among the clinic’s patients.
Strauss, along with Dr. D. Holmes Morton, MD, authored a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which described a mysterious seizure disorder that resulted in mental retardation and autistic behavior in nine Amish children. The study was publish one year after Olmsted’s mythic voyage, so it would seem a story correction would be in order.
In an email exchange with AutismNewsBeat, Olmsted said he made several attempts to contact Dr. Morton, but Olmsted would not say if those attempts were made before or after his Age of Autism stories ran. Strauss said Olmsted never visited the clinic, and added “I don’t think he spent much time in Lancaster County.
Strauss said the clinic treats “syndromic autism”, where autism as part of a more complicated clinical spectrum that can include mental retardation, chromosomal abnormalities, unusual facial features, and short stature, as well as Fragile X syndrome. “We see quite a few Amish children with Fragile X,” he said.
Strauss says he doesn’t see “idiopathic autism” at the clinic, which he defines as children with average or above average IQs who display autistic behavior. “My personal experience is we don’t see a lot of Amish children with idiopathic autism. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that we aren’t seeing them at the clinic.”
He says a child in the general population is more likely to have autism detected early and to receive a diagnosis than an Amish child. “Amish child may not be referred to an MD or psychologist because the child is managed in the community, where they have special teachers,” he says. “We know autism when we see it, but we don’t go actively into the Amish community and screen for ASD.”
Strauss adds that the Amish have a high prevalence of genetic risk factors and are protected from others. The low rate of idiopathic autism “might have more to do what genetic structure of population than lifestyle, environment or diet.”
So what’s up with Olmsted? Did a UPI reporter fabricate a story, then pass it off as true? Science blogger Prometheus offers three possible explanations:
Mr. Olmsted didn’t look all that carefully for autistic children, having already concluded that there wouldn’t be any.I’m still waiting for Mr. Olmsted’s side of the story.
Mr. Olmsted found autistic children, but didn’t count them - either because he either didn’t feel that they had real autism or because it conflicted with his forgone conclusion.
The Amish families - being somewhat suspicious of “outsiders” (not without good reason) - didn’t confide the details of their family medical issues with Mr. Olmsted.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We are going to keep the blog online, but make it inactive.
We are in the process of planning an hour long show in February. The show will feature a round table discussion and behind the scenes clips.
We will put the entire show online.
We look forward to your comments.
Thank you for participating in this blog.
We enjoyed sharing the process of the series with you and hope you enjoyed getting a first view of the series.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The judge wrote that Haley and the others are not qualified by "knowledge, skill, experience, training or education" to link vaccines to autism.
One the other hand, after reviewing the science of autism for six months, KOMU did find Prof. Haley qualified by "knowledge, skill, experience, training or education" to link vaccines to autism.
What did KOMU find about Prof. Haley that the circuit court judge missed? Some viewers would like to know.
MADISON, N.J., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wyeth announced today that The Honorable Stuart R. Berger of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in Baltimore, Maryland, has granted Wyeth's motion to preclude plaintiffs' expert witnesses in an alleged vaccine injury case from testifying that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause autism. The court's decision, in the case of Blackwell, et al. v. Sigma Aldrich, Inc., et al., followed a 10-day evidentiary hearing held last August.
Judge Berger found that "thimerosal in vaccines does not cause or contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism," noting that "it is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community that autism is genetic in origin except in rare instances of prenatal exposures to certain substances at defined periods during pregnancy."
Judge Berger held that plaintiffs had failed to show that the methodologies underlying their expert witnesses' opinions are generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community. He also held that plaintiffs' expert witnesses were not qualified "by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education" or that they could not set forth a sufficient factual basis to support the causation opinions that plaintiffs wished to present to the jury.
"We believe that the court's decision is in complete accord with the overwhelming scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The court correctly applied Maryland law to bar unfounded opinion testimony on scientific issues," says Daniel J. Thomasch, lead trial counsel for Wyeth in this litigation, who is a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Each day it continues to spread. I have received emails from all around the world. Letters continue to pour in.
I have been touched by every family...every person. Starting with the Everhart's strength in raising two kids on the spectrum. Tim and Dee's drive to help their son. Andy's courage in being a single parent. Jeremy's determination to adapt and improve his social skills. Linda's activism and journey with Adam’s recovery. These families shaped the series.
I'm slowly trying to get back to a somewhat normal life. I started general assignment reporting again this past week. I have to tell you, it is odd to walk out of the building with a camera and not go talk to someone about autism. It has been a challenge to do day turn pieces. I have been “in the zone” for months, having time to prepare questions, write, and edit. Getting back to a normal reporting routine is taking some time...but I am getting there.
I print all the emails I get. I am putting them all in a special folder. So many are heart felt. I have cried several times while reading them. So many people have called us heroes...I am not a hero. I simply tell stories and had the honor of covering this.
Words can't express what each email/letter means. I wish I could find the words to express my gratitude for this wave of feedback. It is rare for a journalist to be at a loss for words...but I stand in awe of the power of this series and the people that told us their story.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Autism cases continue to grow…by AP Science writer Alicia Chang
Here is the original study article:
This is confirming of other studies done overseas showing similar results in Countries which eliminated Thimerosol entirely years ago. Their Autism rates are also climbing at the same rate as Countries which continued to use the preservative.
The "Epidemic that Wasn't" photo is disturbing. Not because, as the blogger suggest, they would have been diagnosed with autism today (who knows), but that at least some of these individuals are very likely suffering from Rubella Syndrome. Rubella Syndrome causes microcephaly, blindness and other birth defects.
In other words, these folks pictured are in the state they are in, because their mother had
a case of rubella when she was pregnant. There are almost no cases of this now that MMR vaccine has become routine. Women in family planning and prenatal clinics are routinely tested for immunity to Rubella and if not pregnant, are vaccinated. Vaccine preventable illnesses as the
photo shows, are NOT pretty.
KOMU has done a great disservice to the public by giving unbalanced air to anti vaccine fanatics trying to make a connection that is just not there. I hope the kid reporters so proudly displaying their photos on the blog page are sleeping well knowing that their "reporting" might result in the tragedy of a child dying of diptheria, or tetanus or being born with Rubella syndrome. They could make up for their error by running an equivalent series showing families dealing with
the consequences of vaccine preventable illness...tho they may have to
content themselves with file footage, decades old. Anyone here old enough to remember polio?
Bill Monroe RN
PS: I will reiterate, that thimerosl has not been used as a preservative in vaccines for children under age 3 in Missouri (andmost others as well) for some time now. This was the result of
irresponsible reporting and junk science testimony to the Legislature. So running local stories in Missouri about the danger to children of thimerosol in vaccines is borders on criminal, in my opinion.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I think everyone started work on this series not really sure what it was going to become or even what direction it was headed in. We began by brainstorming and were all very open to new ideas and ways to get this story across. That's where this blog came in.
We provided a place for all our viewers to come and contribute what they would like to see covered in the series. I want to thank all of you on behalf of the entire team for those contributions, they helped us mold our series into what it became. What I am almost most proud of in this series is the user-directed content and the open dialogue this website provided for our viewers.
My initial research focused on alternative methods to treat autism. This includes bio meds and chelation therapy. Although these are controversial treatments, the fact that parents claim this helps their children makes this newsworthy. I also got to take three trips for this series: I went to Lexington, Kentucky for the interview with Dr. Boyd Haley, Kansas City, Missouri for the interview with Dr. Charles Rudolph, and I went to the Thompson Center in Columbia for the interview with Dr. Judith Miles. I think that even these three interviews show the many different sides of the debate that we showcased in "Combating Autism from Within."
I hope that this series sheds light on the subject matter and judging by the dialogue it created on this website, I know that it did. I encourage everyone to check out all of the extras on http://www.komu.com/. We have extra clips from the interviews, slideshows and behind the scenes footage that will give viewers a more in-depth look at what went into this series.
That being said, the series is not over. There is still a one-hour show left that I encourage everyone to watch. I want to thank everyone who helped with this series, and I want to thank everyone who watched it. I would like to thank everyone we interviewed for sharing their expertise with us and with the viewers. I am especially thankful for those of you who watched the series and came to the site to post your comments. The dialogue you participated in is what I am most proud of in this series.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Catherine DeSoto and Robert Hitlan
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Each family approaches their children's Autism in their own way. Some may be worried about their child not having descriptive language while other are just trying to get one word out. Some are trying to get their children to eat, while others which they could stop eating so many wrong foods.
Weather we believe that our children are just different, ill, or vaccine injured, Autism is still an unimaginable challenge to each one of the families affected by it.
Friday, January 4, 2008
It should be mentioned--the CDC did not send us a hard document in the mail...
The only contact I had with them was by phone and email. In a phone conversation they told me a dialog with Dr. Haley would be counterproductive.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
When I started work on this series back in September, I never could have imagined just how large it would become and how much I would get out of the experience. I started just helping out with researching background information regarding vaccines mercury, laws and the vaccine debate. This allowed me to travel to Lexington, Kentucky for the interview with Dr. Boyd Haley, to Springfield, Missouri to gather more information on Missouri’s mercury law from Senator Champion and to meet Dr. Frank Engley here in Columbia. In covering the vaccine debate as part of our series, I realized how passionate people involved are on both sides of the debate and how important it is to cover the sides fairly.
For the series I was also able to go on the shoots for Jeremy, an adult with autism, as well as Will and the Miles family. Seeing what autism was like through the families was an eye opening experience. Before meeting these families, I was not quite sure of what living with autism and having a family affected by autism were like. I was impressed to see how much Jeremy could tell his mother about different cable companies and it was great when he wanted to help me and Mark change the tape in our web video camera during our interview. Meeting the Miles family was another great experience for me. Right when we pulled into the driveway Will was fascinated with the car and some of the camera equipment that we brought along. Seeing family members become emotional during interviews showed me just how real this disorder is and how it not only affects the person with autism but also everyone around them.
I hope that the blog posts along with our First Veiw videos, picture slideshows and Behind the Scenes web packages allowed viewers to see even more of what went in to putting this series together as well as even more of the stories that we may not have had the ability to put directly into the on air series. I am grateful for all of the comments that we have received on the blog the feedback has been phenomenal. It is so great to be able to share this series online with people outside of our viewing area not only because of the work that has gone into this series but also because the topic of autism is so large and discussion on it should be encouraged in communities everywhere.
Coming up we will be putting together an hour-long show for the series and I anticipate that we will be able to share even more with our audience and keep the topic of autism in the spotlight. I am thankful for everyone involved in this series, I hope that we were able to inform the public on issues relating to autism and I am appreciative of this entire experience.
Like all new endeavors, when I joined the research team for this series, I had no idea where our phone calls, researching, weekly meetings and constant brainstorming would lead us.
I truly feel that our team's initial uncertainty as to the direction of this series made the final product that much better, that much more comprehensive. If I were to choose our motto for this series, I would have to say it was to remain open and to stay honest.
If you ask each member of this series, I am sure they would have their own motto, but I am most proud of our remaining open and honest, not necessarily because these are the foundations of journalism, but because I believe these ideals are crucial for positive public change. Being open and honest is what I expect from our journalists, our public and our audience feedback.
As a journalist, it is easy to fall back on self doubt and begin to ask, "will people really care, will they comment?" The comments we received from the viewer's for this series no longer leaves me doubting public sentiment. If we can tell the stories that tap into our humanity, people will always care.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I'm unable to believe that after so many interviews, emails, posts and comments, the Combating Autism from Within series is over. As I've written before, we have worked hard to not only bring you the viewer coverage of all aspects of this disorder, but to involve you as much as possible in this news-gathering process.
Let's be honest - this series would not be what it is without you, our online audience. Thank you for taking the time to read, watch, defend, and critique our work and the work of each other; we're grateful for your feedback and for the chance to hear (or read) your personal stories. When we geared up for the series in August, we had no idea it would turn into such an expansive project, but thanks to your willingness to participate, it really grew and reached more people than we first imagined.
Thanks again for your help and please watch our hour-long show in February to see clips and hear details about how the series came together!