Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Autism and AutismBites Polls

I don't know about the visitors to this blog, but I like the polls we can put up here. I've noticed that A LOT more people will anonymously answer a poll question then will comment to the posts. That's good, because I can find out more about our visitors as a whole... especially the shy ones. Now for historical value here is a post of the past polls:

What is the greatest need for the Autism community?

More funding for research 223 (25%)
National funding for 8 hours daily of ABA for each ASD child 352 (39%)
Funding for families financially devastated by Autism (i.e. AutismBites Foundation) 520 (58%)
Total Votes: 883

My notes: This is exactly what I thought and was very glad to see that I was not alone. Our total votes were VERY high because I put up this poll right when our Good Morning America story came out, sure wish we could get those numbers again. Research is good, however day to day needs of families is where the greatest need is felt. ABA for children was high as well, but not as high as I thought it might have been. From every thing I heard and experienced its the best education were have available so far, it just COSTS SO DARN MUCH!! Next poll:

Why Do You Like AutismBites T-shirts?

They are cute 45 (43%)
Says what I feel 49 (47%)
Increases tolerance 42 (40%)
People are nicer to my child 17 (16%)

Total Votes: 104

My notes: Now I was somewhat surprised with the results on this one. We have found that NT people ARE nicer and more tolerant of our children when wearing their t-shirts. Most did not find this too be the case it looks like unfortunately. But hey! If it 'says what you feel' and our most popular shirt is: I'm Autistic, what's your excuse'... great. We are filling a need and that is what we hoped to do with the t-shirts.

I will try hard to keep at least one poll going at any given time. If you have a subject or question you would like to see let us know here or email us at: Later...


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vaccine-Autism Question Divides Parents, Scientists

We get a lot of Autism email, newsletters, etc. as I'm sure many of you do. I received this newsletter today, subtitled: A critical look at the public deception perpetuated by hidden personal agendas. The article:

13-year old Michelle Cedillo is at the center of a court case pitting thousands of families of children with autism against the medical establishment. While a number of prestigious medical institutions say there is no link between vaccines and autism, the families believe vaccines caused their children's autism, and have taken their case to court.

Theresa and Mike Cedillo, Michelle's parents, believe the MMR vaccine, which at the time contained a mercury-based preservative, drastically altered the course of their daughter's development. Within days of receiving the injection, Michelle suffered from a high fever, persistent vomiting and problems with her digestion -- and also stopped speaking and no longer responded to her name.

Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, claims the apparent connection between vaccines and autism is “nothing more than a sad coincidence.”

But families who believe vaccines can trigger autism point to the case of 9-year-old Hannah Poling; the U.S. government conceded that vaccines "significantly aggravated" her underlying illness, predisposing her to symptoms of autism.

The court heard testimony in the Cedillo claim in June of 2007. Testimony in other test cases is scheduled for 2008.

Sources: April 2, 2008

(The newsletter commenters response)

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The debate over whether or not vaccines contribute to the onset of autism is heating up.
I commented on another vaccine-autism article just a few days ago. If you missed it, please review it now to find out more about common sense prevention strategies, and how you can treat autism if your child has it.

But today, I’d like to talk about misinformation, deception, and personal agendas.

Who is Dr. Paul Offit?

Some of you may recognize the name of Dr. Paul Offit, as he is a fairly frequent commentator for the pro-vaccination camp. But what do you know about Dr. Offit?

Dr. Offit, a.k.a. Paul “For Profit” Offit, by some vaccination opponents, is not just a doctor who believes that vaccinations save lives.

Dr. Offit is also one of the patent holders of the rotavirus vaccine (Patent Application number 353547), and the recipient of a $350,000 grant from Merck for its development. Additionally, he is a consultant to Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Talk about conflict of interest. Jeesh! But that's not all.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a 15 member panel of immunization experts, selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. They provide advice and guidelines to the Secretary for Health the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine-preventable diseases.

As a member of the ACIP, starting in 1998, Dr. Offit voted “yes” three times out of four on issues pertaining to the ACIP’s rotavirus statement, including, voting for his own vaccine to be included in the immunization schedule.

He is also the doctor whose incomprehensible statement, “an infant can safely receive up to 10,000 vaccines at once,” will live on in infamy.

So the question is: if YOU held a patent for a product of enormous income potential, would you even consider the possibility that your cash-cow might be doing more harm than good? Would you admit that a similar product might be the cause of needless suffering?

And if you WERE able to consider it, would you admit there might indeed be a problem?

Here’s the deal, folks. It’s not enough to look at the obvious credentials of your spokesmen, whether they’re pro- or anti- an issue. Today, you also have to consider the hidden motivations behind their recommendations. Where is their loyalty? How do they feed themselves? And by that I don’t mean, “what’s their nutritional type?” I mean, who pays for their lifestyle? Where is the money coming from?

Do you believe Dr. Offit is an independent, neutral expert on the vaccination issue? Do you believe he’s looked at both sides and made an educated and honest judgment call?

I guess that depends on just how independent and honest you believe a man can be when there’s pharmaceutical patent money at stake.

Hilleman’s Confidential Memo

To give you another glimpse of the reality behind the Big Pharma curtain, Maurice R. Hilleman, Ph.D. is another leading expert on immunization, in the sense that he developed more than 40 vaccines and published close to 500 articles on virology, infectious diseases, epidemiology and immunology.

In 2005, a confidential memo was discovered that was written in 1991 by then senior Merck Vice-President, Maurice Hilleman, to Dr. Gordon Douglas, then head of Merck's vaccine division. (Douglas is now a consultant for the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.)

In the memo, Dr. Hilleman wrote:

“The regulatory control agencies in some countries, particularly Scandinavia (especially Sweden) but also UK, Japan, and Switzerland have expressed concern for thimerosal, a mercury preservative, in vaccines. Some countries require absence of thimerosal from single-dose package. This trend will probably spread… Sweden is requiring thimerosal free single-dose packaging of all products as soon as can be reasonably achieved. The deadline for DT is January, 1992… “

The focal point for present concern is in Scandinavia… The immediate Merck concern is to be able to qualify for sale of single-dose products in Sweden and in Norway and Denmark…

The public awareness has been raised by the sequential wave of experiences in Sweden including mercury exposure from additives, fish, contaminated air, bird death from eating mercury-treated seed grains, dental amalgam leakage, mercury allergy, etc… In some instances, public immunization programs may be endangered by public refusal to accept vaccines with thimerosal.”

Dr. Hilleman went on:

“For babies: The 25 µg of mercury in a single 0.5 ml dose and extrapolated to a 6 lb baby would be 25X the adjusted Swedish daily allowance of 1.0 µg for a baby of that size…

If 8 doses of thimerosal-containing vaccine were given in the first 6 months of life (3 DPT, 2 HIB and 3 Hepatitis B) the 200 µg of mercury given, say an average size of 12 lbs would be about 87X the Swedish daily allowance of 2.3 µg of mercury for a baby of that size.”

And finished off the memo with the statement:

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... does not have this concern for thimerosal."

So, in 1991, the premier U.S. vaccine expert told the chief of the largest U.S. vaccine manufacturer that they had to immediately produce mercury-free vaccines for Scandinavian children because the Scandinavians refused to expose their children to these unacceptable levels of mercury, which would eliminate Merck’s Scandinavian market share.

(It should also be noted that the Swedish maximum daily allowance of mercury from fish is roughly the same guideline used by the U.S. FDA.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. continued to produce and administer mercury-containing vaccines to American children throughout the 90’s. It wasn’t until 1999 that U.S. federal health officials admitted that infants were in fact being exposed to mercury through their vaccinations.

Are ALL Vaccines Now Mercury-Free?

NO! They’re NOT!

That’s another cry you hear over and over again: that “we’ve now removed mercury from all vaccines.”

But a more accurate statement would be that mercury has been removed from MOST vaccines – not all – and several still contain traces of mercury, at a level so low the actual amount doesn’t have to be stated.

Here is the most current schedule (updated January 28, 2008) disclosing the amount of thimerosal and mercury contained in U.S. vaccines. It’s also available as a printable PDF.

The following vaccines still contain 25 mcg of mercury per 0.5 ml:
DT (diphtheria and tetanus) multi-dose vial
Several brands of the 2006/2007 influenza formulas
Meningococcal multi-dose vial

Interestingly, as they’ve removed mercury from most childhood vaccinations, the flu shots still have plenty of it – courtesy of a 2007 Presidential veto against its removal. And guess what? Now the standard recommendation is to vaccinate your child against the flu EVERY YEAR. Come on!

Why the persistent insistence on injecting mercury into our children?

How Much Does Conventional Medicine Know?

That’s actually a great question, and it was originally posed, not by me, but by the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.

They found that of about 2,500 treatments offered in conventional medicine:

13 percent are beneficial to the patient
23 percent are likely to be beneficial
8 percent is a trade-off between benefits and harm
6 percent are unlikely to be beneficial
4 percent are likely to be ineffective or harmful
46 percent have unknown effectiveness

States BMJ: “…the figures above suggest that the research community has a large task ahead and that most decisions about treatments still rest on the individual judgments of clinicians and patients.”

So, in conclusion: if you believe conventional medicine is based on scientific, cold hard facts, think again. It’s a crap shoot -- a 64 percent chance that the treatment will be either harmful, ineffective, or “gee, we have no idea what might happen.”

There’s no more scientific proof of the safety and effectiveness of drugs and vaccinations than there is for natural treatment methods against the same ailments. The only real question is: how high is your risk tolerance? --End of article

A VERY enlightening article. Makes me wish we lived in Sweden in the 90's! Here is the link to the original. Until next time...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Walking For Autism

Our family will be a part of the "Walk Now For Autism" event here in Utah on May 3, 2008. This is our AutismBites donation page if you'd like to support our efforts.

Where have we been otherwise? Just being Mom and Dad to the six pumpkins. Cleaning up (Mom was the lucky one this time) 12 oz. of Garlic Powder from the children's room (sorry no pics) and it still smells 3 days later. Going to school conferences last week and the IEP for Emma and Nephi this morning.

The biggest event the last few weeks has been starting the children in Sound Therapy treatments. Dorinne Davis of the Davis Center evaluated our children and make recommendations. They offer remedial and / or enhancement therapies that address challenges related to Autism, ADD, ADHD, APD, Apraxia, Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, Downs Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, learning disabilities, central auditory processing (CAPD), other minor learning / attention / focus related skills, and health and wellness issues.

Also last week I was interviewed by Dorinne on her monthly radio program on So we've been involved in doing the therapy which initially took over 2 hours a day for all the children, to now less then 10 minutes per child.

Keep those cards, letters and comments coming... Dad

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Other Side of Larry King

I thought it would be interesting to show some of the 'other side' of the cameras from our interview with Larry King and Jenny McCarthy yesterday. We were very glad to have been included in the program and discussion. We were hoping to have had another question or two to answer, but hey... that's live TV I guess.

Here's the scene in front of our house and my gorgeous wife in the makeup chair.

We had a 'pre-interview' on Monday to help the program and Larry create the questions to ask while on the air. The one question we've received the most in the last few months is, "why did you continue to have children when you knew the first couple were Autistic." We didn't know. It has been brought out in other interviews and written in People magazine that ALL the children were born, THEN we got an 'observation evaluation' from Bobby's school. We did not have an official diagnosis until October/November of 2006. Mary, our sixth, was born in 2004. I asked specifically that they help us to clarify this point during the interview. Larry's question was worded badly and did not help to clear this up, but hey... that's live TV I guess.

Of course Robin's answer is how we feel about being parents of six children, regardless of the Autism. We love them, we are happy (yet challenged) to be their parents and we will continue to do our best to make their lives better.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mayor Daniel Snarr Meets With Dad

Mayor Snarr of Murray, Utah (the city we live in) and I got together to talk about Autism. One of the first questions he asked was: "How do you and your wife do it?" I said with loving each other, being friends, looking at the positive, humor and a whole lot of prayers.

I also wanted to let the Mayor know about the 'Walk Now For Autism' event sponsored by Autism Speaks that is being held in his city on May 3, 2008. (NOTE: if you could support our family team we'd be very thankful).

Mayor Snarr is a very friendly and, I believe, humble man. He asked many questions about the children and how they are doing. When he asked about their school I was surprised to find out that the school Emma and Nephi go to holds a favorite place in his heart. It is a tradition on Valentines Day that Mayor Snarr rides his Harley Davidson motorcycle down the hallways of their school. The children are very excited, he relates, when he stops at each classroom where they sit on the motorcycle and beep the horn.
I asked Emma if she remembers some guy riding down the hallways. She smiled really big, "Yeah, it's cool. One of my friends got to sit on it". "Do you remember who he was? I asked. "He's the mayor" "Does the sound of the motorcycle hurt your ears?" "No" she said, "I like loud sounds. I don't even hold my ears when the fire alarm goes off." I learned something new with that.

I also wanted to let the Mayor know why we are involved in our family mission of media exposure:

1) increase the awareness and understanding of Autism.
2) help people to be more tolerant with Autistic people (i.e. how our AutismBites t-shirts help us with this)
3) jump start our efforts to create our AutismBites Foundation. That goal being to help put funds directly into parents hands for whatever, without a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through.

Why all the pictures? If you don't know by now that I like to be a little goofy, you do now. Plus Mayor Snarr said these are the kind of poses he does all the time. I think he's a little goofy too.


FYI, we will be joining Jenny McCarthy on CNN's Larry King Live tonight at 7PM MDT. Be sure to watch.