I have been a practicing pediatrician for over 20
years. I saw my first child
with autism in the early 1990s. Before
that, I had never seen
an autistic child, nor had I seen an autistic child in all my years
at school. The boy was four years old, and you could see the frustration
in his face as he wanted to speak, but nothing intelligible would
come from his mouth except shrieks of anguish. As I studied his tortured
face, it was as if there was an old-time telephone switchboard operator
inside his head trying to plug in the correct phone cables but not
being able to complete the call. This family had known me from an
old practice in another city, and they had traveled to see me because
they trusted me and were looking for answers that no one seemed to
have for them. Yet I too had no answers, and I could see the mom
was greatly disappointed. After the family left my office, I poured
over a few dusty textbooks and wondered if I had just seen a very
rare disorder, a disorder that affected one child in 10,000 children:
I had been involved in pediatrics for a decade by the time I saw
this boy, and it wasn't as if I had no experience working with rare disorders.
For example, I had been able to identify a boy with Fragile-X syndrome, and
his mom ending up starting the Fragile-X support group at Children's
Hospital in Los Angeles. I had noticed there was a strange upswing in children
with attention disorders and impulsivity problems. I wasn't a neurologist,
but had studied with one of the finest at UCLA. While I was still a pediatric
resident, I spent time in his office where he helped me study the parade of
unusual maladies that was starting to afflict children. I considered myself
a closet neurologist, because that was what I had really wanted to specialize
in – not pediatrics – but during my neurology rotation in medical
school I learned some discouraging news. The attending neurologist, whom I
greatly admired, had taken me on rounds for the first time, and I watched him
brilliantly explain to the family of a stroke patient how he had figured out
where in the brain the blood clot had lodged. Then he stood up and walked out
of the room, and I asked him what therapy he was going to prescribe for the
patient so he could recover from his stroke. "Therapy?" he said. "There
is no therapy."
Well, I scratched neurology off my list. Diagnosis was only meaningful if you
could offer a treatment, and it seemed neurology had few treatments to offer.
My second patient with autism came to me in the mid-1990s, but to my relief,
the purpose of the visit was only to treat worms. I dutifully prescribed the
medicine for pinworms and went on to my next patient. Later that afternoon,
I received a call from the autistic boy's mom who wanted to know what
was that medicine I had given her son for pinworms. Her boy was starting to
make eye contact, show affection, and communicate with his family. She said
it was amazing! I told her I didn't really didn't know what was
in the pinworm pill but immediately prescribed enough pills for her son to
take every day for a month (normally you only take one or two pills to treat
I called up the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the pinworm pill and
spoke to one of their technical staff. They told me the pill worked by blocking
the transport of molecules of a certain size from crossing cell membranes,
so in the case of the hapless pinworms they were unable to absorb the sugars
they feed upon in the lower intestines of their victims.
What did that have to do with this boy's newly found improved behavior?
Either one of two things were going on: 1) the drug was either blocking a molecule
that shouldn't be passing across the gut to the blood, and then the brain
and that molecule was having a drug-like effect on the brain; or 2) the drug
was blocking a molecule that normally crossed from the gut into the blood;
however, in certain children, these molecules had a strange drug-like effect.
I made several calls across the country to find a researcher who might be interested
in this serendipitous finding that could be an important clue into this disease,
because I had not found any studies or information regarding the involvement
of the gut in this disease. Unfortunately, no one I talked to was interested.
Testifying to Congress
In May 2004, I had been invited to testify in front of the Government Reform
Committee to discuss new developments in treating children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders. I had been invited because of the work I was doing with hyperbaric
oxygen in treating brain-injured children, including fetal alcohol syndrome.
In hyperbaric oxygen treatment, oxygen is given under pressure in chambers
used to treat scuba divers who get the bends. Several other physicians and
I had found that hyperbaric oxygen returned functionality to the brains of
Sitting next to me was a physician who told the story of how his son become
autistic after receiving vaccines and how he discovered his son was retaining
toxic heavy metals, specifically mercury. Over the course of a year, this physician
had given his son a chemical to pull out the mercury, and his son began speaking
again and, in fact, jumped on his dad's lap and addressed the Committee
members, having been restored to be a healthy boy without any signs of his
In the 1990s, I had known there was a problem with many vaccines because they
contained the preservative thimerosal (50% mercury), and I had discouraged
many parents from having their children vaccinated with vaccines containing
thimerosal. There is no safe level of mercury, and it didn't make sense
to inject the most toxic non-radioactive element on the planet into children.
Still I had never made the connection between autism and mercury. (I knew what
thimerosal was because while I was in college, my brother had a very bad reaction
to the thimerosal that used to be used in contact lens solution.) I was taken
aback that something so obvious had not registered with me, but I didn't
realize that my physician colleagues and I had been subjected to a disinformation
campaign to make us think there was no connection between mercury and autism.
It has been known for sometime that mercury was causing autism, but someone
has been running interference. The question is, who was running interference?
In February 2007, the watchdog agency on America's health, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made the official announcement that a
breathtaking one in 150 kids is autistic in the US. If you go to the CDC website
on autism (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism), you will see lots of pictures
of smiling happy children with autism, and we'd be told that autism spectrum
disorders are "a group of developmental disabilities defined by significant
impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual
behaviors and interests." You won't be told that, for many parents,
autism is a nightmare from which they never wake up. "Significant impairments" can
mean that a child is violent and self-abusive, non-verbal, and physically sick.
You won't be told that this is a medical disease in which most autistic
children have significant inflammation in both gut and brain including colitis,
super-infections, and severe food allergies.
Even though autism affects one in 90 boys (four boys affected for every girl)
in the US, the CDC can't seem to tell us exactly why. The CDC states, "We
still don't know a lot about the causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders
(ASDs). Scientists think that both genes and the environment play a role, and
there might be many causes that lead to ASDs." The site also doesn't
mention that only one in 10,000 children in the 1970s and one in 2,500 in the
1980s were autistic.
The CDC site also doesn't tell us about a secret meeting that was held
in June of 2000 in which over 50 individuals from the CDC, World Health Organization
(WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Academy of Pediatrics,
and many representatives from pharmaceutical interests discussed data from
the CDC Vaccine Data Sets showing that the increase in mercury exposure from
the stepped-up vaccine schedule in the 1990s caused an 11-fold increase in
What you will see on the CDC website is "Several studies have looked
at whether there is a relationship between vaccines and autism. The weight
of the evidence indicates that vaccines are not associated with autism."
Evidence? Someone at the CDC was "cooking the books," and what
they told the public was not what they knew to be the case. You see, the CDC
was put in the untenable position of helping to develop vaccines, mandate the
vaccines, promote the vaccines, pay for their administration, and be responsible
for their safety: ye olde fox watching the henhouse scenario with the inevitable
untoward result. There will always be a problem with vaccine safety until this
responsibility is moved out of the CDC. Today, the CDC and its vaccine public-relation
front group's answer to any criticism is that those who are critical
of any part of the vaccine program are motivated solely by a desire to destroy
the vaccine program.
The truth is that the CDC has been very effective in laying the foundation
to destroy the vaccine program all by themselves, and their double-speak is
analogous to someone saying you can't be against war and support the
troops at the same time – you're either for us or against us, etc.
It is actually illegal for a federal agency to propagandize the American public,
but that is exactly what the vaccine division of the CDC does. It has used
the tactic of generating fear, and it has earned billions of dollars for this
agency. Once the public loses trust in public health programs, it can take
many years to regain that trust. I am reminded of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments
that are still a cause of distrust of public health programs amongst black
Losing the Public Trust
The cover-up at the CDC surrounding the mercury preservative found in so many
vaccines (up until about 2003) has had very serious and far-reaching implications.
The children whose lives were forever changed by being injected with thimerosal
preservative were giving us a global "heads-up." They were showing
us that the background level of mercury pollution has increased to the point
that it is beginning to take its toll on the human species, but the CDC turned
its head away from this crisis because it conflicted with what the agency
was promoting in the vaccine program.
As I said before, mercury is the deadliest non-radioactive element on Earth,
and thousands of tons are spewed into the environment every year. With each
coal-fire power plant that comes on line, we are one step closer to exterminating
human life on this planet. However, mercury is politically protected because
of its connection with the fossil-fuel industry, dentistry (amalgam dental
filings), and vaccines. Thimerosal is still in the flu vaccine for children
over the age of three, and those children are receiving as much as half the
dose of mercury that the child in the 1990s received. Thimerosal was not removed
from vaccine in 1999. That was when the promise was made, but promises weren't
kept. Thimerosal is also in the meningitis vaccine.
Lower IQ levels linked to mercury exposure in the womb cost the US $8.7 billion
a year in lost-earnings potential according to a study done by the Mount Sinai
Center for Children's Health and the Environment (http://fusion.mssm.edu/media/content.cfm?storynum=252).
If it were publicly acknowledged that mercury pollution was the trigger for
the autism epidemic, this number would be in the trillions of dollars. One
in six children is born to mothers with dangerous levels of mercury in their
blood – perhaps the same one in six that the CDC admits have a neurobehavioral
Our regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have been taken over by the very
industries they were mandated to regulate. The revolving door between industry
and top-level appointees at these regulatory agencies has eliminated many of
the normal safeguards we have relied on for our protection. There is no disputing
the numbers. Last month, the Tonawanda News in New York reported that "cases
of autism in the state jumped from fewer than 2,000 in 1992 to 9,500 in 2003." Even
worse was the number of affected children in New York schools in 2005-2006,
according to the Department of Education. New York's autism total had
increased to 12,257.
Maybe what we really need to be made aware of is what the eventual cost of
autism will be to the US. The Autism Society of America tells us that autism
is growing by ten percent to 17% a year. They also say that it currently costs
$90 billion a year, and that number is projected to increase to $200-400 billion
annually in ten more years. A Harvard study out last year put the cost of lifetime
support conservatively at $3.2 million per individual.
April was Autism Awareness month, but why are we only asking for awareness
and not for answers? This is a glaring omission when we're talking about
so many affected children. Awareness, treatment, and identification are critical
but so is preventing autism.
If we were talking about children going blind, think how obscene the following
The number of children diagnosed with blindness is rapidly increasing.
According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
nearly one in every 150 US children is blind. These numbers are startling,
and this disability is affecting more and more families. Twenty years
ago, blindness was a very rare case. Today, blindness is becoming a
frightening statistic in every community. April is Blindness Awareness
Month, and I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to learn more
about this disability…
It would be absurd to relate this information
about blindness without giving any explanation about what was
causing it. Everyone
be demanding answers, and I dare say there would be protests
in the streets
to say the least.
The CDC and Autism
CDC director Julie Gerberding announced the new autism rate of one in every
150 children with a flourish. She said that while there are more kids being
diagnosed with autism, it doesn't mean autism is necessarily on the rise.
No one in the press seemed concerned that the CDC has been counting kids
with autism for years and still can't tell us if there are actually more
of them. After all, it's just "better diagnosing by doctors" and "better
statistics by the Centers for Disease Control." And now we learn that
the Autism Genome Project (AGP) recently uncovered evidence shows that autism
is caused by "genetic flaws." Common sense would tell us that
pushing children onto a busy street, observing that some of them were injured,
and then looking for a genetic reason why some of them were hit defies credulity.
No other disease in history has been subjected to the spin that has been
put on autism.
Dr. Ezra Susser, chairman of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman
School of Public Health in New York indicated that he believed the new genetic
findings would help scientists to understand how "the environment might
lead to autism by causing genetic changes."
Susser said, "It shows us that we need to think about many environmental
factors that might influence autism."
The new genetic findings on autism got a lot of coverage from major news outlets,
and reports made it look like we were on the cutting edge of a major autism
breakthrough. But let's do a reality check here, genes don't just spontaneously
and randomly mutate all by themselves. There has to be an environmental agent
affecting these genes.
Some will have you believe that autism is some medical mystery that's always
been around, one that we just have managed to get a handle on. So, show me
the 30-year-olds with autism, the 40-year-olds with autism, and the 50-year-olds
with autism. Guess what? They aren't there for the most part. The explosion
in the number of children with autism is real, but most of the scientific community
has ignored this. Let's face it: they have been encouraged to ignore
it, and anyone getting close to the truth finds that they get their NIH research
That's right…science is being manipulated, so that a big lie can
stay alive, and those culpable can remain unaccountable.
It seems the scientific world isn't concerned that more children will be diagnosed
with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes, and pediatric cancer combined.
News stories about autistic kids are now beginning to reveal the duplicity
of CDC officials. These reports clearly show that this isn't something we have
all the time in the world to theorize and ponder about.
All the experts searching diligently for those elusive genetic mutations seem
blissfully unaware of the impact of autism on our schools and the impending
disaster, as these autistic children become autistic adults. Anyone looking
at the graphs and charts based on Department of Education statistics showing
the soaring autism numbers has got to be worried. The dramatic increase in
children in our schools disabled with autism is a scary preview of the impact
they will have on the Social Security System in the next five to ten years.
Michael Ganz's Harvard study last year conservatively put the lifetime care
cost for one autistic individual at $3.2 million. Robert Krakow from Lifespire
gives us estimates that put the lifespan cost at $10.125 million per autistic
individual. This figure is based on an annual rate for each person of $225,000
with a life expectancy of 66 years. It doesn't include the cost for the period
up to age 21.
One of the many questions we need to ask ourselves is if the very integrity
of the biosphere on this planet is in jeopardy unless there is an immediate
curtailment of manmade mercury pollution. Coal miners don't look at a
dead canary and blow it off or say they have just "gotten better at diagnosing
dead canaries," or "that dead canary just had a genetic defect
so pay no heed." Yet that is exactly analogous to the situation we find
ourselves. We continue to pollute the planet and ourselves (there is no separation),
yet the very governmental agency that would normally be taking the lead in
sounding this five-alarm alert has been compromised and remains less than silent.
Mercury pollution should be considered a global crime against humanity and
against mammalian life on this planet, and there should be zero tolerance.
If you want to know why more isn't being done for autistic children,
why there has been a strange cover-up of the facts, then simply follow the
mercury and those that benefit from its use.
Stoller, MD, FAAP is medical director of the Hyperbaric Medical Center
of New Mexico (www.hbotnm.com) and the Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic
of Sacramento (www.hbot.info). He is President of the International
Hyperbaric Medical Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne McElroy Dachel of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin is a member of Advocates
for Children's Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning (A-CHAMP) and the
National Autism Association (NAA). She can be reached at email@example.com.