The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new report that says 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder—a 78% increase compared to a decade ago. Boys are five times more likely to have autism than girls.
While some of the rise in autism rates may be due to greater awareness of autism spectrum disorder and therefore more diagnoses, this alone cannot account for the huge jump.
What most mainstream physicians and most autism specialists seem determined to ignore is its likely link to administering so many vaccines to children at a very young age. The CDC recommends twelve different vaccines be given to children before their second birthday, many of them starting at birth.
The human brain develops most rapidly between the third trimester and through two years after birth. Fifty years ago, when the immunization schedule contained only four vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and smallpox), autism was virtually unknown. Autoimmune disorders are also seeing a dramatic rise in children—from type I diabetes (it afflicted 1 in 7,100 children in the 1950s; now it affects 1 in 400), to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and bowel disorders.
Health officials consider a vaccine to be safe if no acute bad reactions occur—like seizures, intestinal obstruction, or anaphylaxis. The CDC has not done any studies to assess the long-term effects of its immunization schedule. Besides autism and ADHD, Dr. Joseph A. Mercola lists a number of neurological disorders associated with vaccinations: encephalopathies, epilepsy, convulsions, mental retardation, depression, anxiety, central nervous system disorders, paralysis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, nerve deafness, blindness, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The blood–brain barrier, or BBB, is a semi-permeable network of blood vessels with closely spaced cells that makes it difficult for many substances to leave the blood and cross the capillary walls into the brain tissues. But this barrier, which might protect the brain from the toxic effects of vaccines, is not fully formed at birth, making very young children especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of some vaccines.
The age at which the BBB is fully developed is open to some debate, though most experts believe it matures somewhere between six months and two years. Even if it is fully formed, the BBB can be broken down by high blood pressure, a very high concentration of a substance in the blood, microwave and other forms of radiation, infection, physical trauma, and inflammation.
Children may show signs of autism before the age of 2; it becomes most noticeable when children start to develop communication skills (speech, babbling, gestures, or social skills) and then regress. NIH has published a list of the signs of autism, some detectable as early as 12 months.
Not surprisingly, doctors working to update the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association and considered the psychiatry “bible,” have proposed significant changes to the definition of autism. If the changes are carried out as expected in 2013, this could reduce the number of children being given a diagnosis.
The reason this is important is twofold. First, the media will note the drop in the number of autism diagnoses, and will no doubt trumpet the change as a significant reduction in the number of children actually afflicted—which of course is nonsense. And second, many of the authors of the DSM-5 have ties to the drug industry. In an analysis of DSM workgroup members’ financial disclosures, most of the conflicts of interest were in groups where drugs are the frontline of therapy. These also happened to be the groups whose proposed changes to the diagnostic categories were the most controversial.
A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is usually followed with treatment that relies heavily on a pharmaceutical approach. SSRIs, tricyclics, antipsychotics, stimulants (like Ritalin), and anti-anxiety medications are the most common drugs prescribed.
You may recall our previous coverage of British physician Andrew Wakefield, the author of the controversial British study published in The Lancet linking autism and vaccines. As celebrated investigator Tim Bolen has revealed, the controversies seem to have started because of one man, a freelance journalist named Brian Deer. He wrote a series of articles in the London Times deriding Wakefield’s scientific work. After that, he wrote a similar crop of articles in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The BMJ then accused Wakefield of perpetrating an elaborate fraud, and the Lancet retracted his paper.
Since last October, many of the individual elements in the case against Dr. Wakefield have started to crumble. Here is the story as reported in the online newspaper The Age of Autism: Wakefield’s colleagues have been exonerated; the charges of the General Medical Council (which removed his right to practice medicine) have been mostly eviscerated; and the BMJ seems to have been caught in a lie when they said all their allegations against Wakefield had been externally peer-reviewed, which was not the case; moreover, very little fact-checking took place, and one of the editorial’s co-signers was a member of a company backed by a large pharmaceutical company.
Brian Deer may have been dropped by mainstream media in Britain—again according to Tim Bolen. Last year Deer submitted a proposal for an article to Nature magazine—an attack on the British medical hierarchy for not treating Andrew Wakefield harshly enough. Nature responded with a simple contract offer, requiring Deer to legally and personally stand behind his writing, indemnifying them against any legal actions that might arise from Deer’s article. (They were understandably skittish after the Wakefield affair.) Deer not only refused, but attacked Nature publicly, and waged a public war of words with the magazine.
Dr. Wakefield has moved to the US and has now filed a defamation suit against Brian Deer, the BMJ, and Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor and the writer of the two editorials alleging fraud. The suit claims that Deer’s article and the two BMJ editorials “contained unfair, incorrect, inaccurate and unjust criticisms of findings previously reported by Dr. Wakefield and twelve other co-authors” and made “false and defamatory allegations.”
Last year, Tim Bolen ran a searing three-part exposé about what the CDC knew, and when they knew it, about the devastating side effects of thimerosal in vaccines—and how they covered up that information. It is long, but well worth reading. Part One shows that in 1998, an internal CDC study on vaccines clearly pointed out the dangers of the autism vaccines, but CDC management changed both the data and the findings. Part Two discusses the lawsuit that biochemical scientist Brian Hooker (who has an autistic child) filed against the CDC, while Part Three offers a shocking timeline of events regarding thimerosal in infant vaccines.