ASDs set before birth, in all likelihood

Over the last couple articles concerning autism and vaccines, I have posted information from Mary Coleman's (2005) The Neurology of Autism, which based on the research at hand, indicates that autism spectrum is likely to be similar to mental retardation and multiple congenital abnormalities in that there are literally thousands of gene combinations resulting in ASDs and that these are almost entirely set by birth.

Here's a study showing the likelihood that ASDs are in place before birth:

"Autism is one of a group of developmental disorders that have devastating lifelong effects on its victims. Despite the severity of the disease and the fact that it is relatively common (15 in 10,000) , there is still little understanding of its etiology. Although believed to be highly genetic, no abnormal genes have been found. Recent findings in autism and in related disorders point to the possibility that the disease is caused by a gene-environment interaction. Epidemiologic studies indicate that the number of cases of autism is increasing dramatically each year. It is not clear whether this is due to a real increase in the disease or whether this is an artifact of ascertainment. A new theory regarding the etiology of autism suggests that it may be a disease of very early fetal development (approximately day 20-24 of gestation) . This theory has initiated new lines of investigation into developmental genes. Environmental exposures during pregnancy could cause or contribute to autism based on the neurobiology of these genes. Key words: autism, autism epidemiology, autism etiology, children, developmental disorders, retinoids, gene-environment interaction, Hox genes. -- Environ Health Perspect 108(suppl 3) :401-404 (2000) ."



Really, Heckenlively?

Will be another work in progress, so check back upon occasion as I have the time to work on this. Feel free to volunteer your deconstruction of the post in the comments section. That would be tremendously helpful. I'm a week away from resuming teaching, and I'll have two courses to teach for summer 2, so I'm a bit busy getting things ready, and I could use any help readers are interested in providing in pointing out problems with AoA posts and comments.

Heckenlively writes:

"Nobody was more surprised by the decisions in Cedillo, Hazlehurst, and Snyder than me. It wasn’t just that the decisions went against the theory of vaccines causing autism. I understood how controversial this claim was, and the proof which would probably be needed to sustain it."


No need to go past the first paragraph in this post to spot two glaring inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

I'll buy he was surprised by the decision.

But, I love this: "the decisions went against the theory of vaccines causing autism." No, they didn't and that's the entire point. The theories that AoA supports for autism causes are not scientifically supported. I'll admit that more work needs to be done, that Craig's post elsewhere showing no difference in autism rates in vaccinated and nonvaccinated would be helpful in closing the "controversy" for parents on the fence and close to the fence. Wouldn't do anything for the diehard woolies but nothing will.

Okay, that was the inaccuracy. Here's the inconsistency: "I understood how controversial this claim." If the theory of autism the Cedillos etc were espousing were as accurate as H. was suggesting in his paragraph and the "accepted doctrine" or mainstream science, then why would there be controversy?

It was/is only controversial to people who believe in Wakefield, the Geiers, Gordon (who, I'm sorry you really shouldn't want as a pediatrician), and Sears. Come on, how has no one at AoA caught on that these people are trying to sell you products? And yet AoA screams about pharma shills. I'd say the powers that be over there are awfully close to being con shills?

http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/190 discusses the payout the Cedillo lawyers got (nice, they get big fat checks, but not the families).

http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/183/ discusses the dismissal of the Cedillo and other two cases.

More to come as I have time.

Again, I would be thrilled to see comments by readers offering any additional nuggets they can find in this article. :-)


Work in progress, MMR information -- tracking down how the CDC figures out the number of adverse effects


The following recommendations concerning adverse events associated with measles vaccination update those applicable sections in "Measles Prevention: Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee" (MMWR 1989; 38{No. S-9}), and they apply regardless of whether the vaccine is administered as a single antigen or as a component of measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Information concerning adverse events associated with the mumps component of MMR vaccine is reviewed later in this document (see Mumps Prevention), and information concerning the rubella component is located in the previously published ACIP statement for rubella (18).

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

More than 240 million doses of measles vaccine were distributed in the United States from 1963 through 1993. The vaccine has an excellent record of safety. From 5% to 15% of vaccinees may develop a temperature of greater than or equal to 103 F ( greater than or equal to 39.4 C) beginning 5-12 days after vaccination and usually lasting several days (19). Most persons with fever are otherwise asymptomatic. Transient rashes have been reported for approximately 5% of vaccinees. Central nervous system (CNS) conditions, including encephalitis and encephalopathy, have been reported with a frequency of less than one per million doses administered. The incidence of encephalitis or encephalopathy after measles vaccination of healthy children is lower than the observed incidence of encephalitis of unknown etiology. This finding suggests that the reported severe neurologic disorders temporally associated with measles vaccination were not caused by the vaccine. These adverse events should be anticipated only in susceptible vaccinees and do not appear to be age-related. After revaccination, most reactions should be expected to occur only among the small proportion of persons who failed to respond to the first dose.

Personal and Family History of Convulsions

As with the administration of any agent that can produce fever, some children may have a febrile seizure. Although children with a personal or family history of seizures are at increased risk for developing idiopathic epilepsy, febrile seizures following vaccinations do not in themselves increase the probability of subsequent epilepsy or other neurologic disorders. Most convulsions following measles vaccination are simple febrile seizures, and they affect children without known risk factors.

An increased risk of these convulsions may occur among children with a prior history of convulsions or those with a history of convulsions in first-degree family members (i.e., siblings or parents) (20). Although the precise risk cannot be determined, it appears to be low.
In developing vaccination recommendations for these children, ACIP considered a number of factors, including risks from measles disease, the large proportion (5%-7%) of children with a personal or family history of convulsions, and the fact that convulsions following measles vaccine are uncommon. Studies conducted to date have not established an association between MMR vaccination and the development of a residual seizure disorder (5). ACIP concluded that the benefits of vaccinating these children greatly outweigh the risks. They should be vaccinated just as children without such histories.

Because the period for developing vaccine-induced fever occurs approximately 5-12 days after vaccination, prevention of febrile seizures is difficult. Prophylaxis with antipyretics has been suggested as one alternative, but these agents may not be effective if given after the onset of fever. To be effective, such agents would have to be initiated before the expected onset of fever and continued for 5-7 days. However, parents should be alert to the occurrence of fever after vaccination and should treat their children appropriately.

Children who are being treated with anticonvulsants should continue to take them after measles vaccination. Because protective levels of most currently available anticonvulsant drugs (e.g., phenobarbital) are not achieved for some time after therapy is initiated, prophylactic use of these drugs does not seem feasible.

The parents of children who have either a personal or family history of seizures should be advised of the small increased risk of seizures following measles vaccination. In particular, they should be told in advance what to do in the unlikely event that a seizure occurs. The permanent medical record should document that the small risk of postimmunization seizures and the benefits of vaccination have been discussed."

"Allergic Reactions
Hypersensitivity reactions rarely occur after the administration of MMR or any of its component vaccines. Most of these reactions are minor and consist of a wheal and flare or urticaria at the injection site. Immediate, anaphylactic reactions to MMR or its component vaccines are extremely rare. Although greater than 70 million doses of MMR vaccine have been distributed in the United States since VAERS was implemented in 1990, only 33 cases of anaphylactic reactions that occurred after MMR vaccination have been reported. Furthermore, only 11 of these cases a) occurred immediately after vaccination and b) occurred in persons who had symptoms consistent with anaphylaxis (CDC, unpublished data). "

There's much more information there, Craig, but it looks like they're going off of unpublished data and VAERS. I'll see if I can find any studies that compared VAERS data to survey data. Tomorrow. :-)

Update: 0730 06/30:

It looks like they are collecting the unpublished data this way:

"Rapid Cycle Analysis (RCA)

Recent events in the United States highlight the importance of setting up computerized reporting systems to detect adverse events as they happen. In 2005, the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project team launched an active surveillance system called Rapid Cycle Analysis (RCA). Its goal is to monitor adverse events following vaccination (possible side effects) in near real time, so the public can be informed quickly of possible risks. The VSD Project team uses RCA to monitor newly licensed vaccines and new vaccine recommendations.
RCA data come from participating managed care organizations that include more than 8.8 million people annually, representing nearly 3% of the United States population. The RCA data contain no personal identifiers."


I haven't had the chance to read the whole page yet, but wanted to get it posted and up for you, Craig, and any other readers interested. I'll continue digging and reading when I get back this morning. It's another running around day dropping and picking up kids. :-)

Countering AoA Facebook Group's Focus of Interest

Join us at the new facebook group, Countering AoA (link is to the right), if you are ready to leave behind:

the anger,

the bitterness,

the woo that charlatans try to sell desperate parents,

the idea that vaccines, heavy metal toxicity, lyme disease, herpes, SV-40 and whatever the next nonsense is are the cause of autism.

Join us if you are ready to:

follow the science, wherever the science leads,

accept that autism is a life long developmental disorder and that while not all children will achieve independence, many will make drastic improvements as they age,

support other parents kindly and compassionately,

be tolerant of where others are on their journey of acceptance,

be critical evaluators of both the science and the claims made by those pursuing pseudoscience,

love your children unconditionally while working to improve their social skills, functional life skills, and academic skills.

This new group, born out of a desire by several parents to raise our voices to counter the negative, inaccurate, unrealistic view of autism that Jenny, Generation Rescue, and Age of Autism, Countering AoA: Following the Science, is a group ready to make a difference.

If you are looking for honest, often blunt, answers and have a truly open mind, then all the above conditions really aren't necessary.

You, too, are welcome, if you are truly interested in stepping away from the anger, the bitterness, and the woo.

No comment moderation, no censoring, and no hiding. But also no harassing. Be nice. Breathe and imagine that someone else was saying that to you.

Beyond Disgusted --work in progress

I have a busy day ahead, so this will be a work-in-progress blog as I have the opportunity to pop back in and deconstruct in agonizing detail what's wrong with this picture. I may even have to bite the bullet and go back and read Obradovric's part one and two again and do the same for them.

Suffice it to say that my first pass through this part three leaves me beyond disgusted with AoA and Obradovic for many reasons. The dishonesty in the two positions she provides is more than enough. Reminds me of Bush's 'you're either with us or against us' nonsense. Just like the spectrum, the positions parents take on their child's ASD depends on who they are, what they know, their coping skills, the degree of their child's impairment, and million other things.

I was watching Religulous last night; Maher asked a senior Vatican Priest, Father Reginald Foster what one did about people who believed nonsense (essentially, it was in the context of the priest mentioning that a survey of Italians showed Jesus was 6th on the list of saints they prayed to). The priest said there was nothing to do; “They just gotta live and die with their stupid ideas.” I sincerely hope that is not the case in this situation.


My response (again, dare you, double dog dare you to have the guts to let any dissent or criticism on and to then allow any follow up comments on after the feeding begins):

If Age of Autism wished to be taken seriously in its deconstruction of the studies concerning autism and vaccines (actually more like 23), it would have given the organization at least a patina of credibility had it gotten a PhD in the field to do so.

What possible reason should parents follow the reasoning of someone with no science background? http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/10/julie_deardoff_and_the_mercury_militia_d.php

Had you found a scientist with no "stake" in the matter, someone who neither worked for big bad pharma nor was clearly on the side of vaccines cause autism and had that person critique the studies, I might have nodded my head towards your stated intent by Olmstead to "follow the truth wherever it leads."

And, there are far more than two positions by parents concerning autism; to reduce it to what you consider your reasonable position (not) and everyone else wanting to let children with autism be completely untreated and unhelped is dishonest at best.


Not ever gonna sell my soul. Not even for an MB12 pop.

"Kim: 500 mile drive home. Almost there. I need a www.revitaPOP.com MB12 pop! about 9 hours ago" Twitterfeed from AoA.

While I hope that the trip to Cleveland went well for Kim and her daughters, really, doesn't it seem in poor taste to be hawking a sponsor's wares in conjunction with letting folks know she and her family are on their way home? Doesn't it seem somewhat dishonest at best? I mean, full disclosure would be to reveal how much that twitter just made her/AoA.

It isn't necessary and it doesn't reflect well on a group who likes to accuse others who disagree with them of being pharma shills. How is this any different? You're still trying to sell and promote products, trying to profit off of desperate parents.


I tell ya, I have a way of making friends. :-)

Those of you popping in for the first time or who haven't been here and read through my copious verbosity (a bit redundant, probably) will have missed the utterly delightful (okay, to me, probably not to Roy) exchanges with Roy Mankovitz, who has lead an utterly fascinating life (sincerely, he's an interesting man who has done a lot of things over the years, and I bet would have some frakking awesome stories to tell). So, newbies might not get why I was truly delighted with this response to a comment I made (I won't make you wade through everything if you aren't interested. If you are, click the link and read his original post and my response).

Anyways, I know it seems weird to some but I truly do feel affectionately about my nemeses. Where would I be without them, what would I write? Seriously. Thank you to all of those who write posts that blow my mind, for whatever reason it does so. Roy is a bright man who started off as a scientist, according to his bio and what I could dig up on him; he's done some interesting stuff, is a lawyer according to his linkedin profile from a real college, by the way, has a website, some self-published books because he disdains the establishment. He's interested in health (ah, heck, see the archive for my previous remarks concerning Roy).

So, Roy posts on Huff and almost every single post is him trying to get exposure for his site, his books, and his ideas. Ideas which are at the very least woo-ey. And which I contend aren't scientifically sound. Now, Roy complains that I haven't read his book(s) in the entirety, so I am being biased ( like that's a bad thing). Roy, if you're serious, you can mail me your books to my college: Abilene Educational Center · 717 E. Industrial Blvd · Abilene, TX 79602. I'll read them and give you my honest assessment of them. I'll even look over the references you provide.

His post (frakking beautiful):


"Hi Kim Wombles:

I see you have adopted another user name, but for me you remain the same caring and well-meaning person you have always been.

Having said that, we do have our differences.

Thank you for your opinion on who qualifies as a research scientist, for your continued biased dissection of my bio, for criticizing research of which you have yet to read, for your insistence that I use the IRB and peer-review research paradigms of the medical community that brought you and the rest of the world dozens of falsified studies, qualified them as the third leading cause of death in the US, and which continues (as you pointed out) to allow them to hide behind journal subscriptions to minimize scrutiny.

By applying your own carefully thought out research strategy, I will certainly consider your advice and your bio, as you have considered mine, and give you and your advice the attention they deserve.

Having said all that, you really are a smart cookie, and I respect your persistence, although I believe it is misdirected."

My response:

Ah, Roy,You're a clever man, and I mean that sincerely. I appreciate the chuckle your post gave me (and I don't mean that in a negative way, more in the challenge, chess-strategy kind of way, you know?).

Now, see, it would hurt my feelings terribly if you went and put me on your short list of nonresponders, so don't go doing that. :-)

It's good to have one's ideas challenged, and IRB boards that consider the ethical ramifications of research are an absolutely necessary, and I do believe legal requirement. Peer review is also vital in order to evaluate claims. After all, if your study can't be replicated, then it can't be shown to be accurate. If you are really about science, you know that and you accept that while peer review ain't perfect, it's the best shot we have at getting to the truth. If you're an honest, ethical man who really wants to help people, then you accept that reality and you work within it.

I'll accept that your intentions are good, your motivations are pure, and your interest in advancing knowledge sincere. Please explain to me why you do not feel, based on my above argument, anyone should listen to what you have learned. Tell me, sir, is there an area where you feel you might perhaps be prone to error? Where you might be willing to admit to being wrong? Or are you absolutely certain of your convictions, never suffering a doubt?

You totally dissed me and told me to kiss off in such a fancy way I couldn't decide whether to be flattered or offended. I decided on entertained. It was a beautiful post, Roy. Wouldn't you miss me if I weren't persistent and didn't comment on your posts? Just a little? I have three other screen names, so you know, but the bios all show they're me; I'm not hiding. If you really want me to read your work so I'm not being so "biased" I guess you'll need to send it to my library. If you're serious. :-) in your search to better your health?

I emailed Roy to ask if he would send me his book and he has very kindly said he will. So, see, my nemeses, you can have completely different ideas and still get along. :-)

Thank you kindly, Roy, for agreeing to send me your book. I will read it with an open mind, look into the references you provide, and offer my thoughts on it.

And folks, if you haven't figure it out, I'm easy to make happy. Talk to me some, occasionally give me something (okay, often) to debate about, and I'm ecstatic. Give me a book and it's gold. I love books on everything and getting a new (second hand even, cuz you get 'em cheap so you can buy more) one thrills me no end!

autismherd: Crazy comes to Maine

autismherd: Crazy comes to Maine

Doug and Marsha's Law

Doug writes over at Huff a twisting of Orac's law: "Orac's statements are correct that starting an arguement with certain organizations or websites will automatically turn off some critics of vaccines."


Firstly, you get to call folks who offer evidence that vaccines are not responsible for autism pro-autism, but use the relatively neutral term of vaccine critic to represent those who range from wanting vaccines to be a safe as possible (like Craig) to people who have said the sorts of things that Hydra8, Mofmarrs333, Flavor, Abitcrunchy, and you have? I don't think so. I think there are not two groups or sides at all in the matter.

And I don't know that that I'd even call folks like Craig, OAB, DRPike and the like vaccine critics, but advocates of increased vaccine safety who do not necessarily believe vaccinations caused the autism. You occassionally appear to be in this camp.

Another camp are those who are certain that vaccines are responsible for the autism, but still want vaccinations, increased studies, but are factual in their presentation of information (except for the certainty concerning autism) -- they dont say vaccines contain things they don't. We can call them proponents of the vaccine autism theory.

And then, I would submit to you, is a larger group of people who rightly deserve the anti-vaccination proponents. They do not look at reputable sites (or when they do say these people are paid to lie), they provide inaccurate and often inflammatory information concerning vaccine ingredients. They want vaccines to stop. They blame vaccines for many of today's diseases and problems. They promote information from whale.to, vaclib.org, mercola, naturalnews and other sites than invoke Orac's Law.

"I hereby declare Orac's Law:
In any discussion involving science or medicine--and especially vaccines--citing any material published by Generation Rescue or Age of Autism as a credible source loses you the argument immediately ...and gets you laughed right out of the room. " So says Orac.

So say we all.

Not Orac's law, but a reversal, we can call it Doug and Marsha's law:

Anytime scientific evidence from a reputable and bonafide source is provided, people who range from proponents of the vaccine autism theory to outright anti-vaccination people will immediately cover their ears and go la-la-la-la and close their eyes and run to their conspiracy theory sites to find more comforting scary information that says everyone in the world is out to get them.


Beyond Ridiculous

"Vaccines are not helping kids live through infancy, they are causing new diseases and sometimes spontaneous death (SIDS) and seizures."



Facebook Group

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=91368243169 Countering AoA is now on facebook. Please come join and contribute. :-)

Introspection on civility and why the other side isn't interested in healing the divide

I’ve recently been told my social skills are mediocre (Thanks, Dr. Jay!), that I am a rambling, deranged word twister (Thanks, Doug!). I’ve been called lots of things over the last three months (baby killer – thanks Hydra). I’ve been lectured on the need to remain above the fray and not enter into the debate at the Jenny McCarthy level of name calling and screaming if I want to win folks over.

So I’ve had the time and opportunity to reflect on how to engage in this discourse. Should one always remain civil? What does it mean to be civil? Some would intimate that this means you shouldn’t engage these folks at all, shouldn’t challenge them as the challenge itself is uncivil. I don’t buy that. I think Craig has a fairly good handle on it: reply in kind.

Of course, that means they have to be talking to you first, I suppose, and Kim S. is not talking to me. I’m sure it’s in part because she is busy raising her three daughters, and I don’t ever forget that the person on the other side of my posts is just that: a person, with feelings, beliefs, with a life, with family and friends. And apparently, the more bitter the posts, the more hostile the posts, the more I assume in pain they are over their situation. I figure it’s also that she ignores those who disagree with her unless she sees a good opportunity to attack, which is one way to deal with things. And, I figure the rest of her time is spent writing testimonials touting the efficacy of untested, unregulated nutraceutical items and being snarky. She does snarky well. Okay, to be fair, I do it well, too.

Reading my posts here at CAoA, you could come away wondering what got up my butt that I won’t leave this alone, that I spend a portion of nearly everyday writing something to counter Kim S. and her buds. And I’ve tried to be clear why I do it and what it will take to make me stop. I don’t assume that I have the reach that AoA has, nor that I can compete with them for readership. I can assure you I will never take on a sponsor or advertising on this site. I won’t profit financially on this. Those are personal issues concerning integrity. I will fight, though, to be more than an annoying gnat. To reach out to those who are new to the autism diagnosis or who have been in the midst of it for awhile and offer a different perspective. My hope is that Detritus will reach as many folks as Countering does, that positive, humorous pieces as well as honest, heart wrenching posts on parenting children with ASDs will resonate more than calling out people for their lies, their misinformation, or for their outright crazy. I’ve split the blogs because it seems to me, with my extreme systemizing brain, that they should be split. That the intensely personal pieces ought to be separate from this, although the personal does bleed over onto this site, as it is doing today.

I don’t have any personal malice towards Kim S. I’ve reached out to her on several occasions and asked specifically how we could heal the divide and create a community that is supportive of all parents of children with autism, but received no response. I could take that several ways, that she isn’t interested in that (and I do tend to take it that way), that I am too unimportant to merit an additional response, that she’s irritated about this site and refuses to acknowledge me. I’ll let the reader be the judge of why Kim won’t discuss healing the divide.

My email of May 28th to Kim S., which has gone unanswered:

God, it's messy, Kim. So, when you read the email I wrote that followed this one, please take it in stride, in that what I want are answers for our children and treatments that are effective and finding common grounds that parents of children with autism can stand on. But you know that's not what everybody wants. There are many out there who are absolutely certain that their child's autism was caused by the vaccines and that big pharma is out to get them and yet aren't willing to consider that the people offering treatments and cures are out to get their money, too.

How can we dial it back some? At least at Huff, the disagreements don't get nasty because it's moderated. It gets heated, but it's dialed down in tone. The post by Teresa on my theory of mind essay is just crap. So is the one that followed it. My understanding of autism is from a psychological and neurological perspective and follows that science, a science which rejects autism/vaccine link based on the science, while acknowledging the likelihood of environmental triggers. Not letting my rebuttals on isn't right.

How can we focus on common areas of agreement? How we can work together soften the divide between those who accept the genetic/environmental interplay while discounting vaccines as a precipitator and those who are following the Geiers and Wakefield down what I consider the rabbithole?

You have my assurance that no emails from you will be placed online or disseminated to others, in spite of my assertion in my last email to you from last night. I'm willing to step back and try to work with you personally on how to focus on areas of commonality. I don't want my kids seen as vaccine damaged freaks. They aren't. I want the totality of them seen and appreciated, their struggles appreciated, their gifts recognized.

People like Jenny McCarthy, people working hard to promote our children as shadows and as soulless, are doing our children harm. Following "science" that has been thoroughly debunked by reputable researchers does our children harm.

Age of Autism does not promote or foster a fair and balanced approach to this issue. It doesn't. And when it doesn't allow posts on in rebuttal of the attacks on a person, it really looks one-sided and agenda-driven. My rebuttals still aren't on.

I'm going to stand against that. I'd rather stand in solidarity focusing on effective treatments for our children, and I assure you, if a double-blind randomized study ever shows that chelation has greater than placebo effects on reducing autistic behaviors, I'll be among the first to write on it admitting that it works. Same thing for HBOT and megadoses of vitamins (I'm not against supplementation; I'm talking about the serious over megadoses).

My word to you, I will stand next to you in solidarity to my dying breath in advocating for better treatments for and better treatment of our children. But I will stand against those I believe are putting forth dangerous untested and unproven treatments for our children. And I will stand against those who promote this, as well.

Can we work together to find our areas of common ground? Don't we have enough battles to fight for our children?

Thank you again for your time and your understanding if last night's email got your back up. Even though I have outlets to make sure my rebuttals are there, it isn't right those rebuttals are not on AoA. That frustration with the one-sidedness entered into that email and I hope you will see that as written to you in your capacity as managing editor and not personally, and this letter as written personally. Does that make sense?

:-) Kim

We're all just wading through this fast-moving river of life as best we can; it probably helps when we can stop and remember that, huh?


I’ll let my readers judge AoA and its leadership and its most extreme commenters and the quality of their character.

Why telling the opposition they are drinking the kool aid is offensive

In all truth, I didn’t HAVE to go back a year plus to find something to criticize Kim S. on (see her latest hawking of MB12 lollipops, which apparently have an instantaneous effect on her mood and energy level. Sure.) http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/testimonials-for-revitapop-mb12-lollipops-.html

But, when I saw this, I had to comment on it. Wandering through articles at AoA, I found this gem linking to an article Kim S. did at Huff.

I’ve been through this before with another poster on the drinking the kool aid comment, and I’ll wade through it again because it bears saying: it is offensive to use this term. No reasonable person who knows where the term originated from and thinks of the people who went to their deaths literally drinking poisoned kool aid in their frenzied desire to follow Jim Jones or who were forced to drink it should view this as anything but offensive. And it’s another example of the length to which AoA leaders and commenters will go in their efforts to overlay the dialogue with rampant emotionalism. It suggests further the lack of a solid scientific argument with which to rebut.

It’s a dirty trick and should be called such when it is used.

“The phrase Drinking the Kool-Aid means to become a firm believer in something, to accept an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly or blindly.[1][2][1][3] The term orginated with the "Jonestown Massacre".[4]


It reads as follows:

“No, that's not a typo. I meant Kook Aid.In the words of Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Some days you're the windshield. Some days you're the bug." This week I was the bug. And the autism world (those of us who care about helping kids feel better that is) have been "the bug" for a long time. So today I took off the gloves on HuffPo. I might have even taken off my bra and panties..... Read it HERE and please do comment on the HuffPo site.”
You can find this at: http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/03/kim-stagliano-i.html.

The piece she’s referring to is “”I'm Not Drinking the Kook (I Mean, Kool) Aid

Some of the little gems from this piece:

“Moms and Dads are waking up and refusing to drink the Kool Aid offered by their patronizing pediatrician, CDC Pharma shill, FDA schmuck.”

Now, Objective Autism Dad, this is snide, malicious, and nasty. It is offensive. It also clearly indicate the contempt with which Kim S. holds people and agencies who don’t agree with her view of the world.

Well, Kim S., I hope you stay away from the medical community and the governmental agencies you despise. Since you hold the government in such contempt, I’m sure you won’t avail yourself of any services they provide families with disabled children.

“The reason? Sick kids keep Mom and Dad home from work. Newsflash: If you think staying home for a few days to care for your kid is expensive, try having to quit your career to care for a child with autism for the next oh, 70 years.”

No, it might be more in the lines of preventing deaths. Apparently 100 plus otherwise healthy children dying annually from the flu is an acceptable loss to Kim S. Plus, there is a wealth of studies showing no evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism. And I have you on record over at Huff admitting it’s probably genetic, with environmental triggers. I also have it linked in another post where you admit that your third child is unvaccinated and yet is autistic.

“Parents understand that drug companies lie, cheat, fudge data and advertise using fear to sell all of their products - and that includes vaccines. Parents have lost trust in their doctors. The doctors have no one to blame but themselves for having gorged themselves at the Big Pharma trough for so many years. Parents are thirsty for knowledge - not Kook (I mean Kool) Aid.”

And parents will come to understand that certain websites cloak themselves in holier-than-thou sanctimony, claim that their viewpoint on autism is the only right one, and that any parents not agreeing with them are wrong, pharma shills, etc. They will also come to understand the hypocrisy in complaining about big pharma advertising while being sponsored by nutraceutical companies and while actually having the temerity to write posts in multiple places hawking these nutraceutical products that will recover people’s children.


Do you think crazy comes easy?

" Whoa! I am just shocked! Another pharmaceutical that doesn't work!?
When will they learn? The same people that created this Autism epidemic CANNOT and WILL NOT be the same people to solve this problem. Take that to the bank.

"It is only when you treat vaccinosis and stop calling it by other names such as autism, will you find a way to treat it."



Tracing back AoA's use of the holocaust and the vaccine/autism "controversy"

For a taste of where I'm going, I present to you one of the 170 I kid you not hits on holocaust on AoA:

"I blame those with the inkling, doesn't have to be certainty, but those with the knowledge that the vaccines they are administering to children could possibly cause injury. Those people are no different to me than the gas chamber door holders at Sobibor, Treblinka, Dachau or Auschwitz."
Posted by: bensmyson January 23, 2009 at 02:12 PM

A spare moment and an intense desire to avoid writing a lecture for one of my courses led me to jaunting back through AoA in the months before I became aware of it (hard to believe I've only known of its existence since March of this year), looking for varied sundries and the curiousity of how far back I could track the holocaust equating.

Here are some of the hits I got. Gatagorra seems to like to use this equating best, and I was able to track it back to Feb 2008 before I decided I really didn't need to subject myself to wading through all 170 hits:

"If the species survives, this time in history will probably be studied along side the Holocaust for the capacity of humans for mass denial and the tendency of certain cultures to cooperate with horror."
Posted by: Gatogorra January 22, 2009 at 12:46 AM


"There are times even now when I can’t fully comprehend the holocaust which is happening to our children and how for so long I was blind to it." Kent Heckenlively http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/08/a-prayer-for-am.html

"It can be difficult for a person who does not live our lives to understand what we have witnessed, and the holocaust we see in this current generation of children." Kent Heckenlively

Wakefield's recent article, which I've written about before, is worth the wander through 9just remember it isn't about him): http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/poisoning-young-minds.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e201156fc99c8d970c

"WE worry about nuclear holocaust, terrorists..we worry if history will repeat with holocaust...yet, it is repeating. And you can bet, it's all based on the evil of this world, power, gain and money." http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/david-kirby-on-huffpo-notes-from-the-big-antivaccine-conference-autism-one.html And the poster writes this earlier on the thread: "As a matter of a fact, it's best for kids to get these diseases, rather than in adulthood where they are about to have babies, or whatever...I would rather to have my kids have one week of fevers and spots (with supportive nutrients), than a lifetime of autism...sorry, not buying the politically correct message."

"...could pretend to believe that nothing environmental could have caused the epidemic, leaving a Holocaust to explain the adult autistic population by deduction. We could call for an investigation. Since the most vocal NDs are presently trying to curry favor from mainstream genetic proponents, I think the bulk of them will stay off the "autism Holocaust theory" bandwagon." (sorry just noticed the link didn't copy, but I'm NOT wading back through the quagmire again for awhile).

"epidemic* (call it Holocaust if we don't like "epidemic")." http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/managing-editors-note-thank-you-to-dr-baron-cohen-for-responding-to-anne-dachels-open-letter-to-him-here-we-need-to-be.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e2011570f6954b970b

"well. You could say that Swiss (bank) neutrality is to its acquisition of plundered assets of holocaust victims during WWII what AS's nonprofit status is to its function as profit-driven pharmacogenetic think tank during this epidemic. Not quite as many victims yet, but who's counting (except us)?" Gatagorra


http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/05/if-autism-has-a.html -- gonna figure this goes with the one up above with no link.

Alrighty, people, I'm gonna point out the obvious: it's beyond tacky to equate the systematic extermination of over 6 million people with the 300, 000 children in the United States who have an ASD. And yes, Moffie, holocaust equating is a pet peeve of mine.

Why I take a stand; why I bother

Craig's comment, responded to in the previous blog, played through my mind as I drove my girlies to their summer school program (two weeks left and then I'm on my own in trying to find opportunities to engage their social skills with neurotypical children for the seven remaining weeks of the summer). Why do people who disagree with AoA bother to read the site? Why do some of us stand up and counter the misinformation the editors allow on? After all, we don't have to do this.

I'm not certain just who all Craig thinks is standing against AoA, but he seems to feel they are outsiders to the autism community. I am sure that many are, that many scientists who have conducted the science showing no credible evidence linking autism and vaccines have no personal stake in the situation. However, there are many who are parents with absolutely personal stakes in this.

Craig calls for this other side to reach out, to ask how they can help, to educate, to engage in discussion. While Craig has personally shown a willingness at times to discuss and to engage in dialogue, the same cannot be said for many who comment at AoA. Of course, since AoA appears to heavily moderate their comments section, it is impossible to assess what the actual percentage of misguided parents actually is.

The minute that AoA allows all voices from the autism community a voice, the minute that AoA checks its facts before running bullshit information, the minute that it becomes apparent that AoA has anything other than a victim mentality (they --insert your particular bogey man-- did this to my child and I have to do everything I can to eradicate this soul-stealing shadow-making theft of my child) and quits hawking the wares of nutraceutical companies that will heal your child, I might consider toning down my rhetoric.

I will be here commenting for as long as AoA exists in the capacity it does today, as long as it is out there convincing parents of newly diagnosed children that it is their fault because they vaccinated their child, but that's okay, because we've got all the answers to recover your child, but hey, if your child doesn't recover, it must be because you didn't do enough of the right megavitamins, HBOT, chelation, GFCF diet, you just didn't try hard enough.

As long as Jenny gets to go out and scream at others who disagree with her interpretation of reality, well, then I'm gonna do my metaphorical shout-out here.

AoA does what it does because there is money to it. Look at all their nice sponsors. Look at all the attention they get, the people they get to convert to paranoid conspiracy theorists who think that big government, scientists, and drug companies are out to poison their children, but it's okay because the DAN docs have the answers. If those answers don't work, it's big government, scientists, and the drug companies' fault.

I have no respect for the people running AoA. They are dishonest. They have no interest in working with the larger autism community, for focusing on adaptive coping skills, for creating a supportive network. They have an agenda and that their loyal readers who have bought into the idea of "recovering" their child don't see that illustrates much about them.

When I'm not here working to counter the worst of the things that AoA and Huff put on or let on, I'll be at Detritus working to foster an acceptance and appreciation for those of us who are different from the neurotypical population. And when I'm not there, well, I'll be as many places as I can, working to change the misguided perceptions of autism that Jenny and company are creating.

One last thing. Do you see parents of children with Down or parents of children with MCA/MR screaming frantically that their children were stolen from them and need to be recovered?

Lovely people from the top down over at AoA

Kim S. has a new post on over at AoA on how they took on the squatter at Twitter and wrested their name back. That would be fine, if her need to be pissy didn't come out with her need to label those who disagree with AoA's finest the "neurodiversity circus."


And it just gets better:

"I blocked "the clown" immediately, thanks. God, that Chew woman is lame! You're a mother, now grow up and get a life, b----!"
Posted by: Julie June 22, 2009 at 09:56 PM

You know your opposition isn't particularly full of intellectual heavies when they are reduced to terming anyone who disagrees with them a circus (wow, and you know now that I think about that, freaks are in circuses, could they be more offensive?) and lame. I mean, lame, and then the b.... word? Bingo? Is that what Julie meant? What the hell, I'll go ask.

Here's the comment we know won't get on (double dog dare you, Kim S!):

Did you mean to call anyone who doesn't adhere to the AoA philosophy of cure whatever the cost freaks? Isn't that what you are suggesting by terming the neurodiversity movement a circus? What a lovely sentiment and proof that this how you view children and people with autism who aren't suitably shamed of who they are and full of self-hatred.
And seriously, lame, Julie? What was lame was your little b--- word stunt. Have the balls and be a grown up and call someone bingo if that's how you feel.
If AoA is a non-profit entity and Tanners Dad claims, then where exactly is your non profit tax ID number? Shouldn't it be posted?

And the fun keeps on coming. Craig's post over there is well worth the read, but I'll focus on the last bit: "They are the most pathetic excuses for human beings that I have ever had the displeasure of knowing." Awww. Can I just say, it's terribly tempting to tell you to go frak yourself? It really is. I won't though.

Now, to answer some of Craig's arguments:

AoA is NOT interested in an open exchange of ideas nor in anyway supporting parents of children on the spectrum who do not hold to the party line they have created. Pro-science people (and dude, not anonymous, but AoA won't post my responses) read AoA because it is on the forefront for putting out misinformation on autism, on treatments, on the way the autism community sees itself. Nor do I see them as particularly open for answers on how to help their children.

If you were attacking the science with substance, that would fine. I have yet to see the substance. Handley certainly doesn't offer substantive, valid criticism of the science.

As to whether I get upset when I read AoA. Hmmm. Irritated. Determined to stand against the bullshit. Upset. Not so much. Y'all seem to have a monopoly on the victimhood.

Of course, I'm just a little gnat flitting about AoA, so I'm sure Craig was not referring to me at all. :-)


Me with my mediocre social skills, you'd think

I'd get me some emails, you know?

Look at the stuff Dawkins gets; I mean they come out of the woodworks for him!


I really like this one:

"Go f*** yourself. You , Sir, are an absolute ASS. Your feigned intelligence is nothing more than the fart of GOD. You are one of those unfortunate ones that need GOD to shove it in your FACE. Your soul is at jeopardy."

Wow, I suppose if I work hard at taking my mediocre social skills along with my rambling, deranged word twisting, I too could aspire to get mail from looneys? Since I'd just post them here anyway, go ahead and just post them where you think they'd work (because surely some looneys are reading me, right?).

I just know me and Dr Jay are gonna be buds!

So, yesterday I wandered over to Orac's and entered into the wonderful dialectic with Dr Jay Gordon. Gods, what fun. And he just gave me the best birthday present a gal could wish for, when I wandered back over today to see what was new.

I posted this yesterday:

Dr. Gordon,
Since you've changed your mind on chelation, you'll be prominently displaying on your website that you no longer consider chelation to be a therapy that parents with children with autism should consider and you will refuse to administer it? In addition, you'll be using your Huff blogger status and your newfound knowledge, right, to create a new article on why chelation is not something that should be used and you'll post it to Huff sometime this week, right? It seems the only reasonable thing to do.
And really, could your website be any more narcissistic? You are a panderer. I suppose that's fine for your rich client base, but I want a pediatrician who knows what he's doing, does the necessary literature review in frigging medical journals and makes evidence-based decisions where possible. And exercises some restraint where there isn't clear science. And admits when he's out on a limb and arms me with the necessary tools to come to a decision together about treatment for my children.
You can do better and you should. If you had any self-respect, you'd spend some time reading all of the relevant literature on vaccines and on autism before you shamelessly tool yourself out with Jenny McCarthy.
I feel better now. Thanks.
Posted by: KWombles June 21, 2009 9:31 PM

And then this when he went all pissy on Kathleen:

Dr. Gordon,
Kathleen is not anonymous. Click on her name and it takes you to her blog. Heck, for that matter, click on mine and it takes you to my blog, where I link to my website and offer my credentials (I know, just a lowly adjunct instructor of psychology and English, but hey, what are you going to do?).
Kathleen was not nasty to you (I'm not sure you know what nasty is if you think this was-- try being called a baby killer by an anti-vaxxer because I support vaccinationm that's nasty).
I would respectfully submit, sir, that I want my pediatrician learning from medical journals, conferences, opportunities for continuing education, from other doctors with more experience, etc. Not from a blog, for all that I bow in deference to Orac's wisdom.
And, Dr. Gordon, I guarantee you I'd speak exactly the way I do online in person. One of the privileges in being mother to three on the spectrum who speak their minds is that it has decidedly rubbed off.
Oh, and I have never been financially stressed because of my children's autism. It's called ponying up and doing the hard work, working with the school system to get the services they can provide and then spending all my spare time, close to forty plus hours per week working one on one with each my children to improve their eye contact, their compliance, their social skills, to reduce their stimming behaviors in situations where those behaviors get in the way. Not a penny required except for that spent buying textbooks second hand on ABA and cognitive behavioral therapy and autism. Just bucketloads of time, effort, and sheer determination to help them achieve their potential.
It doesn't go unnoticed you answered none of my comments to you.
I do applaud that you wish to learn more. You should have done that BEFORE you went out on the circuit with Jenny.
Posted by: KWombles June 21, 2009 10:45 PM

So, Dr. Jay has his knickers seriously twisted. I mean, seriously.

His response to Kathleen, me, and others:

"Stupid! I wrote a really wonderful post and just lost it trying to solve Kathleen's anonymity by clicking on her name while I was in the midst of writing. You live in the USA, Kathleen. I have discovered that fact
Kim Wombles is not anonymous.
Both of you have very personal experience with ASD.
Kim, take education wherever you can get it. Scientific journals or here. I respect what you do and I respect the attitude you have regarding ASD families. Children and parents. You and have Kathleen have some pretty mediocre social skills, though. You are just as unpleasant on your home court as you are here.
Kathleen, you are boring. Repetitious, rude, insulting and boring. Perseveration and speaking louder don't make your ideas more interesting.
I'm very happy you've not felt the financial strain of dealing with autism. Most of the patients I see are not wealthy enough to have skipped that aspect of caring for their children.
Some of the people here have spent their lives in disciplines other than mine and I am learning a lot from them. What a jerk I am for admitting that and subjecting myself to your witty remarks about my changing my opinions because I acquire new knowledge and perspectives.
Scientizzle, every time I thank someone I get my head handed to me again, but, thanks for understanding what I'm doing here. We all have core beliefs but there certainly details which can shift around.
Good Night, All!
Posted by: Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP June 22, 2009 3:04 AM

My response (and thank you, Orac, for not moderating!):

Dr. Jay,
This isn't a popularity contest, and Countering Age of Autism isn't about warm fuzzies. Go to Detritus, at kwombles.blogspot.com for that. Countering is exactly that; standing up against the incredible horseshit AoA puts out day after day. There is no pleasant way to state to someone that not only is the information being dispensed wrong, it is endgangering public safety, and it is putting forth a completely bogus perspective on what autism is. I have no need to be pleasant to people who villify me for standing up to speak out against them. Trust me, I started on this road providing evidence in a neutral, objective, and even soft-hearted manner and in return was attacked, called a baby-killer, called pro-autism, called a deranged word twister, etc. I've got me a fine thick skin and these words, coming from the likes of the folks who're saying it, well, it makes me no nevermind, if you ken me? Just as your post full of puffed up moral outrage and the need to tell me my social skills are "mediocre" at the same time you name call Kathleen doesn't much bother me either.
I suggest you get a thicker skin or get out of the limelight. You don't get to align yourself with a segment of the autistic community that sees their children as vaccine damaged goods, as soulless shadows, and then offer them treatments to recover their children that have no known efficacy and get a blank check on that one. You want to educate yourself on what researchers actually know about autism, then pick up the nearly 1500 page Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders 3rd edition, Coleman's (2005) The Neurology of Autism, and Bauman & Kemper's The Neurobiology of Autism.
And I said in my first post, my three children have taught me that being genuine at all times comes in handy. You'll always know exactly where you stand with me, and isn't that a lovely thing?
So, you'll be fixing your website to reflect your updated knowledge, right? I'll be the first to offer you kudos for it and for writing a new blog for Huff stating categorically that you've realized you were wrong about a lot of the autism/vaccine controversy.

Jenny McCarthy far more likely to be seen as....

AoA starts your mornings right. Well, if by right, we mean remembering not to be drinking coffee when we read one of their posts. Coffee on a computer screen isn't a pretty thing, so I've learned to turn my face to the side if I haven't swallowed the coffee in my mouth. Sigh. Seriously, can't AoA take a break from stupid? Is that really asking so much? You think that maybe they've realized that Jenny ain't helping them and that's why it's been Jenny free for a couple weeks and bang, my least favorite esquire is back with stupid.

"And maybe that's been Jenny’s greatest contribution. You need only become familiar with her writings and public appearances to be in on the conversation. She has done so much of the education for us. We just need to continue that conversation."

Followed with this as a capstone: "In the future maybe the question won’t be “Do you know Jenny McCarthy?”, but if they're 'a friend of Jenny?'"


For all that's holy, spare yourself her writings. Seriously, do you want to feel the neurons dying? Watch her, holding on to the idea, as one Aoa poster has, that she's really pretty, no matter how she wears her hair. Uh-huh.

It is far more likely that Jenny will be the barometer that decides which side of the world you fall on: (1) the unabashedly woo-side who believes against all science that vaccines (doesn't matter which one, had to be something in it), heavy metal toxicities, etc., anything but genetics or in utero insults (now I'm picturing readers picturing people bent over a woman's pregnant belly screaming insults at the baby inside) are to blame for their child's autism, or (2) the side who takes the time, the deep breathing, and the effort to read at least some of the vast literature on autism that suggests both the genetics and heritability of the condition as well as the likelihood that autism is set in place by birth in almost all cases (see Coleman, 2005, The Neurology of Autism).

It is far more likely that Jenny will be seen, along with Wakefield, as responsible for the renewed outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases and accompanying permanent disabilities and deaths that will inevitably occur.

It is far more likely that Jenny will be held with the same sort of "esteem" that Jane Fonda's Vietnam war era activities won her.

But, hey, she is an easy way to size up the person you're speaking to, that's for sure. She's a handy shortcut. I'll give her that.


Oh for the love of histrionics. Seriously?

Where on God's green earth do these people come from? Seriously? Each day I go over to AoA hoping to see that someone over there running that show has woke up that morning with a frigging clue. And each morning I am seriously disappointed. I mean really, are you kidding me?

The latest piece of complete horsewash to come out of there is an article by a woman named Cynthia Cornoyer and the level of complete utter rubbish continues to astound me; it really does. http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/science-vs-mothers-emotion-turn-a-lion-into-a-vegetarian.html Go on over and see if your head doesn't take a frikking spin around the corner. Here I am, come in from the hot West Texas summer after an hour bent over weeding, so that I can rehydrate, you know? Click on the web to just take a look around while I'm drinking my water and I find this. Come on, really? AoA, is it that you can't get any completely sane people to write for you? Is that the problem? Well, okay, it probably is. You've gone so far down the damned rabbithole you're left with nothing but Alice in Wonderland characters.

Snippets of the article to follow because if I went down this line by line I might not be the newer, gentler me.

"It’s not science vs emotions, it’s no science vs real science." Uh-huh. When we let emotions get in the way of making rationally sound decisions based on the real risks in a situation, then it is emotions versus science. Sorry, you're just completely frikking wrong on that one.

And the way she's written the sentence it would seem to imply that her emotions are the real science; did you notice that, dear readers?

"These mothers have no conflicts of interest or reputations to protect. It is easy for them to ask for a reasonable study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children--to study whether adding vaccines to an already over crowded schedule is safe. Their pleas go unanswered."

Well, for the love of Pete, I'm pretty sure it's been explained the difficulties in getting a study like this through an ethics board, in terms of a double-blind randomized trial where the control group gets placebo vaccines. Let's say what she means here is she'd like for researchers (unbiased, of course, although she doesn't define what she means by that. Apparently all previous researchers of vaccines or autism are biased and therefore their studies are not honest) to find a population of completely unvaccinated children and compare the rates of autism in this population to one who has received all vaccinations recommended. There are tremendous hurdles in making sure each group is matched and all confounders taken into account. I doubt like hell even if we could find a large enough sample for statistical significance, match it down the line, get results that conclusively showed that there was no difference in prevalence or incidence, that the anti-vaccination folks would accept it. Then it would be we studied all vaccines, when we should have also take it one vaccine at a time, one booster at a time.

"So when emotional mothers ask for studies, simple studies, they are labeled anti vaccine."

They aren't simple studies, as has been explained above.

"If parents do not accept that vaccines are safe and forever safe, no matter how many are given, they are anti vaccine. No middle ground exists. When a child is damaged by a vaccine, parents want safety and real science. Absent that real science, emotions win out."

You know what? This is bullshit. Every reasonable person on the side who believes vaccines save lives admits that there are adverse effects. Not one scientist has even denied the risk involved with vaccination.

No middle ground exists because you deny its existence. Shouldn't you want the safety before the vaccine damage? Real science, I'm sorry, I gotta, versus Wakefield and the Geier's kinds of manufactured "science"?

There's a place for emotion, but it isn't when making medical decisions. If you went into the vaccination procedure without the awareness that there could possibly be an adverse effect, that's your fault. The CDC has handouts, the doctors have those handouts in their offices, and if you refuse to take the responsibility for being an informed consumer, that is on your head. Being bitter and emotional after the fact is an excuse for not dealing with the aftereffects of your decisions. It has not a single damn thing to do with science.

"The people who criticize the Fourteen Studies and offer real science and legitimate questions to counter them, are still mis-labeled anti vaccine."

Real science? Legitimate questions? First off, there are more than fourteen studies dealing with vaccinations and autism. Secondly, basing your decisions on the deconstruction of these studies by a non-scientist like Handley or Julie Obradovic instead of scientists, well that doesn't make you a particularly well-informed consumer. Let's leave it at that.

"I will choose the common sense of mothers over biased “science” any day. And I won’t be taking the easy way out. Observation is one primary aspect of the scientific method. What better witness than the mommy in the trench. Biased science or the most motivated, most accurate observers, with no vested interest other than the health, albeit, very life of one particular child? Easy choice."

By choosing the common sense of mothers over scientific method, you have chosen the fool's way out. Period.

The mommy in the trenches BS is just that. Anecdote isn't data and observation isn't science. It's a start. You are making the mistake of assuming you can observe, then form a conclusion and leave it at that.

Most motivated, accurate observers? Pick up an introductory psychology textbook and read about availability heuristic, affect heuristic and confirmation bias. Your post demonstrates these amply and this is why your post will be used as a teaching tool in my psychology courses and English comp courses. Thank you for brilliantly demonstrating all three of these heuristics to a tee.

AoA commenter thinks that 40-60% of HIV positive people have autism

"Erik and David, you may be interested to know that somewhere around 40-60% of HIV-positive (whatever that means) have autism. The A word is not used, of course.
The severity of their autism is correlated to their HIV-viral load (whatever that means) and the CD4 cell count. Their autism often diminishes or disappears when put they are put on antivirals, including non-HIV antivirals (yes, valtrex included).
Oh, and guess what else, HIV viral load shoots up after vaccination. And comes down when chelators are given."
There is more on the issue http://autismcalciumchannelopathy.com/HIV_and_Autism.html
Posted by: Natasa June 20, 2009 at 09:26 AM


I read this and I am seriously floored by the tremendous ignorance demonstrated in this post. I mean, seriously floored. And amazed that AoA will censor reasonable dissent but let pure-dee-stupidity on. What worries me more is that AoA may not think this allegation is stupid. Each passing day, as I read what AoA has to offer I grow more disgusted with those who run the site and saddened by the depth of paranoia, ignorance, bitterness, hatred, and the depth of conviction that these posters have that their world-view is the correct world-view.

The people that run AoA will have much to answer for in the years that come, especially if they ever rise to more than a fringe element in our society.

Kim Stagliano, if you don't have someone on your staff counter this post with something resembling reality, then seriously, I may be a quiet little voice so far in my quest to counter your site, but you can guarantee I will grow louder in opposition. I will make it my mission to take every piece of crap your people put on and counter it. I will link with other bloggers and we will take on everything your site posts. Every damn piece of ignorance. I will become a serious pain in your ass. I promise you that.


Is it lyme disease or vaccines, Kathy? Or SV-40?

"Thanks Dr H for all the positive SV-40 in our family, just love the autism, seizures, MS and Cancer. MWAH! Love it, NOT!!!!!" http://www.lyme-autism.org/


Seriously, this woman has made some of the more outrageous comments I've plucked from AoA and is in my rarely humble opinion, one of their more extreme posters.

So, which is it: vaccines or lyme disease? Or apparently, she now feels it is the SV-40 to blame for all the ailments in her family.

No name calling necessary here. Y'all can supply the appropriate appellations, right? See, the nicer, kinder, gentler me in action. I didn't call her a nut just because her ideas are. :-) How'd I do?

Where do you stand on the vaccination front?

Comment to Marsha today over at have regarding Vaccination Liberation

No comments have been made at any of my blogs today by anyone; there is no moderation, so I don't know what to tell you. Make sure she goes to the right blog.


I'm sorry, but I've looked over her site and it is not based in accurate scientific information, nor are her links to scientifically accurate information. As such, nothing she has to offer, since none of it is grounded in scientific evidence of the day, is likely to hold any sway with the pro-science side. It has to be either a direct peer reviewed scientific journal or referencing said journals in order for us to consider it reputable information.

We are none of us denying vaccine injuries occur. What we are saying is that based on the preponderance of well conducted studies to date there is no credible link between vaccines and autism. We do not deny vaccine injury and autism can co-exist. So at this point, I really am not sure what the argument between the two camps is. Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the last fifty plus years and are an important part of preventative health. It appears that the extremists in the anti-vaccine movement out of ignorance want to see a reinstittution of the days were parents lived in fear that they would lose one in five children to what is now a preventable disease. I cannot as such respect those who are on the extreme fringe of this movement.

It is one thing to advocate for vaccines that are as safe as possible while adhering to the truth, It is another to lie about the ingredients, to lie about the number of adverse effects, to lie about the link betwen autism and vaccines.

Marsha, you will ultimately have to decide where you stand on this front. Are you a moderate, for more study, for spreading out the vaccines, while focusing on the real protections vaccines offer, or will you be an extremist and decide that vaccines are more harm than good and to blame for everything from autism to alzheimers? Which position you choose will say a tremendous amount about your character.


Marsha, by definition, hyperbole is not truth nor intended to be.
"meaning excess or exaggeration) and is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is rarely meant to be taken literally."

Instead, let's focus on areas of agreement:

We all want vaccines to be as safe as possible.

We want children to be safe and protected from disease.

We want to help families dealing with autism cope better and get better, more effective therapies.

Now, how do we do this? We step away from histrionics and hyperbole. We step away from woo sites that promote inaccurate and dangerous information. We focus on reputable science. We put our money where our mouth is and we donate funds to organizations funding autism research. We think rationally and work hard to educate ourselves about the scientific method, about vaccines, about autism. We do this not from propoganda sites nor from sites that would sell us easy promises of cures, but from reputable scientific sites.

Failure to do these things reflects an underlying unwillingess to focus on the future and on our chilldren and instead reflects a desire to hold onto a victim mentality.

Age of Autism and the spreading of lies, misinformation, and woo

A comment I tried to get on at AoA this morning under another screen name and email:

It took five minutes to figure out that Crosby’s article is bunk. It only took about a minute to figure out AoA’s intention to further inflame the people they already have successfully terrorized concerning vaccines and autism. Great job with that. I’m sure you’ll have a sponsor with some megavitamin concoctions to heal that, as well.

Reply to Pape et al.: The phylogeography of HIV-1 group M subtype B
1. Michael Worobey*,†,
2. Arthur E. Pitchenik‡,
3. M. Thomas P. Gilbert§,
4. Gabriela Wlasiuk*, and
5. Andrew Rambaut


o M. Thomas P. Gilbert,
o Andrew Rambaut,
o Gabriela Wlasiuk,
o Thomas J. Spira,
o Arthur E. Pitchenik,
o and Michael Worobey

From the Cover: The emergence of HIV/AIDS in the Americas and beyondPNAS 2007 104:18566-18570; published online before print October 31, 2007, doi:10.1073/pnas.0705329104


Summary of journal article findings (in case your readers aren't inclined to actually go read the study or rebuttal): http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-10/uoa-hpo102507.php

Even other conspiracy theorists disagree with you: "Last year, the mystery was supposedly solved by Edward Hooper, a former BBC journalist. In his vast tome, The River, he built a mountain of evidence that suggested Aids could be traced to the time when Prof Hilary Koprowski, and Dr Stanley Plotkin, developed an oral polio vaccine called CHAT."


This is proof once again of AoA's agenda to misinform and intentionally inflame.

Countering ignorance

From a psychology perspective, here's what I find fascinating: each of us holds his or her positions to be the correct ones. We have to work actively to consider both that our opinion can be wrong and another's opinion can be right. Most folks don't bother. They know what they know and it's frankly easier to exist in the certainty that one is correct than it is to consider other angles and positions.

We woo fighters spend a considerable portion of our free time actively attempting to combat ignorance with scientific evidence to show why the other side is wrong. The other side is adamantly convinced that they are correct and we are the ones who are ignorant. Seriously. It astounds me, as I am sure it astounds y'all reading this (okay, not my buddies who are on the other side and reading it, they're still trying to figure out why we won't listen to parents's stories-- because stories are ANECDOTE not science and no way of guaranteeing the accuracy).

I offer as evidence the certainty of their convictions and the reason why in all likelihood there is a large proportion of those who devoutly hold their vaccines-are-the-root-of-all-evil (see Crosby's new article blaming AIDS on vaccines), this comment from a poster at AoA:

"Your description of the ignorance and disbelief we have to surmount to successfully warn and inform our "neighbors" about what is happening with vaccination in this country is exactly what I cannot seem to overcome, not even with family." http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/setting-the-scene-part-2-on-the-generation-rescue-fourteen-studies.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e201157037d4c5970c#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e201157037d4c5970c

Well, thank all that is holy that they encounter resistance.


Comparing apples and oranges and going to extremes


No surprise that AoA has jumped right on the report that stimulants may cause sudden deaths. Who can blame them, right? Ritalin and all other special cocktails they provide for autistic, bipolar, and add/adhd kids ought to be last resort meds and should never be taken without the awareness that all medicines have side effects. Got that? All meds have side effects. Am I in favor of medicating kids with stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics and blood pressure meds? Having been there in the early days of using these drugs with special needs kids, having five years of experience with my son taking them until the day he suffered a stroke, well, gee, I'm gonna go with a great big NO. Not unless it really is the last resort, not unless you get the risks inherent. And, so I've gone into my daughters' autism/Asperger with never a thought of medicating their symptoms. My son's been off all meds but aspirin to control his blood clotting disorder and hopefully prevent another episode of overclotting, but even the aspirin is used with the potentiality of side effects. We take aspirin breaks, especially when he has any sniffles.

Do I judge what other parents do regarding this, do I have an opinion? Notsomuch. There are studies on the efficacy of using these drugs to control certain symptoms. I personally won't go near it, not with the knowledge that there is some potentiality that the concoction he was on played a role in his stroke. I won't scream about it, but if studies came out showing the risk was real, I would reevaluate. So, should we drug kids with stimulants knowing that a small proportion of them will die? No. We shouldn't. We should be providing cognitive behavioral therapy for the child to help them learn to work around their impairments. And we should be arming parents with the tools to be effective special needs parents.

All this to get to my criticisms of Stagliano's article for AoA. Firstly, a little turtle decorated coffin REEKS of emotionalism and is a blatant attempt to inflame the readership. Nasty little trick. Not a surprising trick, but nasty.

Second, Kim Stagliano writes for Huff, not me, so where is her blog on it? Is she pissed that Huff is running some scientifically grounded pieces? She bitched about the bloggers not running with it either, so I'll be kind enough to speak out on it (which explains the above bit), but seriously, I don't do biomedical intervention with my children for their ASDs. They get their regular vitamin supplement but that's it. We did GFCF for four years. Stopped it a few months ago and didn't make a damn bit of difference, except we had happier children. I don't do DAN doctors and I am not going to obsess over my children's poops. I'm just glad they all end up in the toilet. Too many years with my oldest (until he was nine) of them not that I am not messing with it. I'm lucky, though, I'll admit, as my kids, other than the oldest's stroke and blood clotting disorder, do not have any health problems. So, if people have kids with "gut problems" (seriously, stupid sounding--- intestinal issues is much better), I having thirty plus years of personal experience with intestinal issues, can relate to the need to help the child feel better. Still wouldn't go all woo-ey, and that's what these folks are doing, for the most part, but hey, I understand the need to help the child feel better. Find the food allergies, get the child the fiber he/she needs, that's all good with me.

So, there, Kim, took care of your second bitch in your post, didn't I?

Let's go through the rest (you sound bitter, by the way):

"Let me get this straight. NOT putting mercury into your child (flu shot) is negligent." Flu shots are optional. Who's calling you negligent? Don't get the flu shot for your child. Or, hey, since you're still so concerned about mercury, get the thimerosal free version. There's a thought. I personally don't care one way or the other. In the back of my mind, though, would be the thought that if the child is one of the 100 or so unfortunate children to die from the flu and I opted out of the flu shot, I might not want that on my head. I mean, it's no picture of a coffin or anything, but it will do.

"Allowing your child to get lifelong immunity to the Chicken Pox, staying home with her, feeding her chicken soup and giving her soothing baths is bad parenting." Setting up your child for the potentiality of complications of chicken pox and later the chance of shingles by deliberately and intentionally setting out to get your child to contract an infectious disease that does in fact kill or maim? Yup, bad parenting. Accidental exposure. No. Huge frakking difference.

"Declining a second dose of a vaccine that caused seizures in your infant the first time around is proof that you're one brick shy of a load." No, actually giving your child a second dose of a particular vaccine that caused a suspected side effect would make you an idiot. See the difference?

"Giving your child a drug that may cause his heart to stop beating and has myriad other side effects is A-OK.How the bleep is that possible?" Already written how I feel about this. No, it's not. Not unless there's no other choice for the child. In the vast majority of cases, I think there's another choice. In my son's case, he came off the drugs when he had the stroke and he came home to be homeschooled. Any school personnel telling me to drug my child would be reported to the superintendent of the school system, as well.

There you go, Kim, a thoughtful response to your overly dramatic piece. A response I'd attempt to put at AoA except for the fact that I don't seem to be welcome there. I assure you, that just about breaks my heart, not to be welcome in the land of woo and bitter. I reckon I'll get over it, though. And I didn't even bring up the things you seem to think are perfectly acceptable practices, like chelation, HBOT, lupron, and megadoses of vitamins. Left those all alone, did you see that?

A life less ordinary?: Mercurial?

A life less ordinary?: Mercurial?


Dugmaze deserves a new award


I don't get you, which makes you seriously interesting. You changing your picture to a chicken shitting demonstrates a wicked sense of humor, which is so completely, incredibly awesome that I am going to make you a new sign.

Moffie wants me to make nice

Awww. Only if your posts merit it, dear. Still waiting on that apology at the top of the thread. And then posts with substance.

My answer to Doug for whether autism can be cured

MCA/MR have over 2000 known causes and are currently incurable. It appears based on known genetic, chromosomal, and epigenetic factors, that there are multiple eitiologies for the behavioral/cogntiive syndrome/spectrum we term ASDs/PDDs. It is an extremely complex neurological puzzle that our immediate gratification society insists immediate, concrete answers for, answers that will eventually come, but will take time.
As almost no MCA/MR are curable in the sense that you would seem to be using, and since it appears that the ASDs are related to MCA/MR, my answer is that autism would also appear to be incurable. Not untreatable, though, for many. However, the underlying neurological differences/ the underlying chromosomal and genetic differences/ and probably the epigenetic causes will all stand in the way of a "cure."
I recognize that was probably too many sentences for you, but what can a gal do?

*** Should also be noted that while I would make my children's lives easier, smoother, and while I will work tirelessly to give them the tools they need to survive and thrive while working at making the world they live in more compassionate and accepting, I would not for anything cure them of autism. The way their brains work is nothing short of amaizing. I would however undo the stroke damage my son suffered in a heart beat. Now that will make the vaccine-damaged parents pissy, so let me explain that I don't buy into your heavy metal toxicity view or vaccine damages view. My children never reacted adversely to a vaccine and they were always different from neurotypical; there was never regression. They do not have comorbid conditions that the vaccine-damage parents present with (not denying that there is a proportion of children with autism who have comorbid conditions, I'm noting mine DON'T).