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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Age of Autism: New York nixes mercury


Have America's medical authorities -- including pediatricians -- lost their credibility on an issue involving the well-being of the nation's children?

t's hard to avoid that question after New York Gov. George Pataki Tuesday signed a bill banning a mercury preservative from medicines given to children under 3 years old and pregnant women. The law takes effect in 2009 and exempts mercury-containing flu vaccines in case of an epidemic.

The measure was strenuously opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and concern about the preservative as a cause of autism has been dismissed by government regulators. As late as last week, parent advocates feared a veto due to opposition from the doctors and the state department of health, despite overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature.

A last-minute effort by a number of groups, including A-CHAMP -- a parents' organization that advocates elimination of mercury exposure, particularly in vaccines -- prevailed in the end.

"I think this bill sends an important national message that elected officials in the states are looking at federal policy and coming to the realization they can't trust Washington to do what needs to be done," said John Gilmore, president of the New York Chapter of the National Autism Association and treasurer of A-CHAMP.

"Something is fundamentally broken at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control," said Gilmore, whose son Luke, 5, has autism. He noted that Missouri, Delaware, Illinois, California and Iowa have passed similar bans, and legislation is pending in 14 states from Florida to Washington.

The mercury preservative is called thimerosal, a component of many childhood vaccines until it was phased out beginning in 1999 at the urging of, among others, the pediatrics group.

But as states have moved to ban the substance in childhood vaccines and in medicine for expectant mothers, the pediatricians have objected, citing evidence that it has not harmed anyone.

"CONTACT GOVERNOR IMMEDIATELY AND URGE HIM TO VETO THE THIMEROSAL BILL," said a statement from the District II New York Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics before Pataki signed the bill.

"This legislation represents very bad public health policy that is based on junk science and mass hysteria, not on the evidence of science. We at the AAP District II believe this bill is bad for our patients and bad for all New Yorkers, so please act now."

At issue is whether thimerosal -- which is 49.6-percent ethyl mercury by weight -- caused an autism epidemic. While most mainstream experts dismiss the idea, some parents, doctors and scientists say it's too early to rule out thimerosal. They allege flaws and conflicts of interest in some of the studies and say too many parents have watched their children become autistic after vaccinations.

The pediatricians say a ban just reinforces the discredited idea that thimerosal is toxic and might scare parents away from vaccinating their kids.

"This bill, designed to protect individuals from alleged adverse effects of thimerosal which contains ethyl mercury, is completely unnecessary," said the AAP statement. "To legislate based on fear and misinformation is an anathema to those of us who work tirelessly for the health and welfare of our communities.

"To enact this legislation implies that the vaccines that have virtually eradicated many diseases, constituting one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the past century, are dangerous. This bill denigrates our informed scientific and medical communities while supporting all of the anti-vaccine factions in our society. This legislation potentially jeopardizes our most vulnerable communities."

Thimerosal's opponents argue such logic shows why mercury stayed in vaccines so long in the first place: Doctors can't face the prospect they caused harm to children and are still in denial.

"Why would pediatricians now want to continue injecting children with a known nerve poison?" asked Dr. Alan Clark, a founder of No Mercury, which has pushed for the thimerosal ban nationwide.

He said such legislation "directly contradicts their previous position in 1999 that thimerosal should be removed from childhood vaccines."

Gilmore, of the New York autism association, says the law will affect as many as 300 vaccines now under development.

The Buffalo News said in an editorial last week that Pataki should sign the bill. "While it has not been proven, some experts link mercury-laced thimerosal, used to prevent bacterial contamination, to autism and other neurological disorders," the newspaper said. "If there is even a slight chance thimerosal could be linked to these neurological disorders, why take chances?"

After Pataki signed the bill, supporters slammed the pediatricians' position.

"We continue to question why an organization consisting of pediatricians feels no need to protect New York's children," said a spokesman for the law's proponents. "They have opposed legislation similar to New York's in almost every state, but they should get the message, after losing now in six states, that the will and the power of parents will prevail to protect our children from neurotoxins.

"We are not anti-vaccine. We are opposed to injecting mercury, a potent neurotoxin, into babies."

One group, generationrescue.org, has begun serving as a clearinghouse for parents interested in treatments based on the premise that autism is in fact mercury poisoning by another name.

E-Mail: dolmsted@upi.com
Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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The Two-Day Workshop United Top Experts To Discuss Environmental Toxins And Autism

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- National experts in environmental
health sciences and neuroscience came together on Thursday and Friday in
Bethesda, Maryland to create a "roadmap" for future research on the role of
environmental factors in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders.

NAA and Safe Minds sponsored the event through a generous donation from
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Both parent-
led organizations have long advocated for increased research of the
relationship between exposures to toxins such as the mercury-based vaccine
preservative thimerosal and the development of neurological disorders.

Autism spectrum disorders were the primary focus of this symposium, but
the overall objective was to define a research agenda elucidating the
mechanisms by which toxicants may induce neural damage in the developing brain
and ways to reverse such damage.

NAA and Safe Minds gathered experts together to present the latest
research on heavy metal toxicity, biomedical pathways, epidemiology, clinical
treatments, and neurotoxicology. NIEHS presented its current investigations in
developmental neurotoxicology and a framework for funding the research.

After the presentations, the researchers set out to create a plan to
identify the cause, treatments and cure for autism. The creation of this
biomedical research roadmap was moderated by Dr. Ken Olden, immediate past
director of NIEHS.

Laura Bono, Chairman of NAA, said, "A united focus is needed to bolster
environmental research dollars and treatment options for Autism spectrum
disorders which now affect 1 in 166 children with 1 in 6 children suffering
from some form of developmental disorder. Recent investigations reveal
intriguing data suggesting environmental insults combined with genetic
vulnerability may be responsible for this devastating epidemic. The symposium
was our first real step in developing biomedical research desperately needed
for children suffering with autism and in securing NIH funding for support of
such efforts."

A number of non-profit autism and advocacy organizations participated in
the event along with officials from the Department of Health and Human
Services, the National Institutes of Health, and Congressional staff

"Autism groups coming together with important political figures,
government officials, scientists and NIH researchers marks a historical moment
for the autism community and underscores the critical job of helping the
children now," said Jo Pike, Executive Director of NAA.

NAA and Safe Minds plan to submit the roadmap to NIH and Congress with
specific requests for funding the important research.

For the meeting agenda and a full list of presenters at the NIEHS
Symposium, visit http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/niehsagenda.php

Contact: Jo Pike, NAA (SC) 843-206-8449
Rita Shreffler, NAA (MO) 417-725-6107
Wendy Fournier, NAA (RI) 401-632-7523
SOURCE National Autism Association
Web Site: http://www.nationalautism.org

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

American College for the Advancement in Medicine Defends Use of FDA Approved Therapy

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The mission of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is to educate physicians worldwide in the most recent research and evidence-based medical treatment modalities of Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine (CAIM). For over thirty years, in addition to other medical treatment modalities and technologies, ACAM has been training physicians in the appropriate and safe delivery of Chelation Therapy which has been used successfully for over 3 decades and involves an intravenous injection of a synthetic amino acid called ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) that is approved by the FDA.

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The Age of Autism: Gold salts to be tested


A University of Kentucky chemist says he will do tests to see if gold salts might help children with autism -- two weeks after this column reported that the first autistic child seemed to improve markedly after that treatment.

"You follow your nose in research, and when I saw that I thought, yes, this is a possibility," said Boyd Haley, a professor and former chemistry department chairman at the university.

Haley said his interest was piqued by columns describing Donald T., the first person ever diagnosed with the disorder. Donald's brother -- interviewed in the small Mississippi town where they grew up and still live -- told of his "miraculous response" to gold-salts treatment for a crippling attack of juvenile arthritis. He was given injections of the salts over a two- to three-month period at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis at age 12 in 1947.

The arthritis cleared up, and so did the "extreme nervousness" and excitability that had afflicted him, his brother said. He also became more social. He went on to college, where he was invited to join a fraternity; worked as a bank teller; and now, in retirement, pursues his love of golf and travels the world. Most of those early patients were institutionalized when they got older or lived in extremely sheltered circumstances, according to follow-up reports. (Donald did not respond to our request for an interview.)

Haley believes autism can be triggered by exposure to mercury; a mercury-containing preservative was in childhood vaccinations until it was phased out beginning in 1999. Federal health experts and medical groups dismiss the vaccine hypothesis, although it is championed by some parents and doctors. Haley noted that mercury could come from other sources as well, including a teething powder that was used for decades.

In this scenario, gold salts might help someone with autism because mercury and gold -- which are side-by-side on the Periodic Table of the Elements -- interact in a way that could de-activate ongoing toxic effects.

"Nothing has a higher affinity for mercury than elemental gold. They form bonds that are very tight," Haley said. Devices designed to detect and filter out mercury routinely use gold, he noted -- and would employ a less expensive element if gold weren't so much more effective.

In the body, he said, gold is probably "attracted to the same places as mercury. They would probably make it to the same spot in the body. It (gold) would probably cross the blood-brain barrier like mercury. There are reasons to think that if you put it in, it would chase mercury down because they're very similar in their chemistry.

"So you might be able to displace it with the gold. The chemistry gets complicated here, but gold does not do as much oxidative stress as does mercury. The gold isn't nearly as toxic as the mercury. ... It could take it off the enzyme it's inhibiting and reactivate that enzyme.

"So what I'm going to do is get some gold salts and take a small brain tissue and infect it with mercury and see if this takes it off. If it does, then there's something to this argument."

Haley said he was intrigued that the treatment may have benefited Donald when he was 12 -- relatively old for the treatments that some parents and physicians say are helping children.

"It doesn't seem to work with the older kids," Haley said. "These older kids are just lost."

He cautioned that Donald's case doesn't prove anything and that such procedures carry risks. The key is more research, he said, a theme echoed by experts at a meeting in Bethesda, Md., last week to push for more scientific studies by federal agencies. Haley attended the meeting and made a presentation.

"Don't jump on this. Be careful. You can hurt kids," he said.
That concern was underscored last week when a 5-year-old autistic child died while undergoing chelation in Pennsylvania. That treatment is designed to pull heavy metals from the body. Federal officials say it is not a responsible practice, although one advocacy group says more than 10,000 families have tried it, with significant benefit and minimal side effects.

Chelation studies were among those recommended by the group meeting in Bethesda last week.

This ongoing series on the roots and rise of autism welcomes reader comment. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Statement from Dr. Neubrander

August 25, 2005

Continuously updated as new information is known.

From Dr. Neubrander to the parents of his patients:

The cause of the recent tragedy involving the death of a young boy with the use of IV EDTA is expected to take time to determine exactly what happened.

Some of the leaders say that "no comment" is the best comment until the details are known. There is nothing wrong with that statement except that it does not aid in reassuring parents that biomedical treatments, in general, are safe with a relative benefit to risk ratio that is lower than almost anything else known. The truth is, at this time we just don't know what happened. However, considering that IV "calcium" EDTA has been used for years with extreme safety, only so many possibilities exist to explain what happened. The most plausible possibilities include: a) a rare allergic reaction; b) the form of EDTA used was disodium EDTA and not calcium EDTA.

For those looking for a "smoking gun" to justify them not using effective biomedical treatments, this is a dream come true. However, apples should be compared to apples and not oranges. One death from EDTA out of hundreds of thousands to millions of safe doses being administered by an FDA approved drug should be viewed side-by-side with the number of deaths from Ritalin over a 10 year period [186], chickenpox vaccine in a 3 year period [14], DPT vaccine in a 3 year period [471], MMR vaccine in a 4 year period [30], OPV vaccine in a 5 year period [540], Hepatitis B vaccine in a 8 year period [439]. The question must be asked, "Where is the smoking gun in reverse?

Why is one 'unapproved biomedical tragedy' so much worse than the hundreds of 'FDA approved tragedies'?"

Emphasizing this issue of bias, prejudice, inequality, and the frying pan calling the kettle black is an article written by Virginia Linn that appeared Monday, August 29, 2005 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [for the complete article go to http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05241/561879.stm].

Though parents are dismayed about what happened and are now more cautious than ever, they are not willing to stop using a treatment that helps many children.

However, because many parents see chelation as a logical option due to the fact that they believe there is a connection between their children's autism and the mercury preservative in childhood vaccinations, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, made the following statements. He said: a) "Scientific study after scientific study have found no connection, and it's unethical for any doctor to give chelation for this purpose; b) Doctors need to work harder to convince parents that the whole reason to use chelation is pointless; c) I wish there was more outrage with this death. This boy was sacrificed on the altar of bad science and that was unconscionable; d) Who was watching out for this boy?''

To his last statement about who was watching out for this boy I reply -- Each of us who:

a) Studies the issues open-mindedly.

b) Who reviews studies both pro and con about mercury and vaccines and who don't just swallow the party line, especially when there seems to be so much conflict of interest by so many parties involved.

c) Listen to parents to learn why what they are saying may be true, not why what they are saying is not possible because research doesn't support it.

d) Is willing to cry "foul" when articles such as the one that appeared in the New York Times gives only their side of the story, represents it as "truth", and sells their position by saying that parents are illiterate, opposed to science, acting out of desperation, duped by unscrupulous doctors, and who are speaking to God.

e) Is not willing to wait for the wheels of science and medicine to slowly grind to fully document everything as safe, especially when these scientific gristmills are so often fed by the grains of money, politics, and power.

f) Is not willing to ignore the Science of THE GOD known as the "Weight of Evidence" when it shows a good benefit to risk ratio and does not bow to THE IDOL "when" it says it is the only god, the "Double blind Placebo Controlled Study".

g) Is willing to yell "unfair, unfit, unscrupulous" when one tragedy is used to condemn all parents, all clinicians, all scientists who have come to thoughtful conclusions that are in direct conflict with the message that those pointing blame want to sell as being universally true.

But most of all, EACH OF US WHO are intelligent enough to realize that any person, any time, anywhere who points blame with one finger but who does not look into the mirror and point the finger back when equal or greater atrocities occur "in the name of good science that rests on a TARNISHED ALTAR with the blessing of the FDA-GOD" is definitely worshipping at the feet of THE IDOL. However, to be perfectly clear and not be misquoted which is sure to happen, double blind placebo control studies are not an idol or a god. Rather, the problem is the way humans have made an idol out of something that is here to serve them all the while saying it is the only god. Therein lies the fallacy. Herein lies the truth: The "total body of knowledge", as gathered by "the total compilation of evidence" from parents, clinicians, "classic" science, and "the other sciences" is the only way to find THE TRUE GOD OF KNOWLEDGE.


POST #1:

From: "bradfordhandley"

Date: Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:40 pm

Subject: Pittsburgh Story thoughts bradfordhandley

A child lost his life because his parents were trying to remove the heavy metals from his body and he had an allergic reaction from the drug being administered.

There is no way to sugarcoat what happened, all of our hearts go out to the parents and family who are grieving, and, for many of us, this hits very, very close to home and reminds us that no medical procedure is 100% safe.

Will the press and mainstream medicine have a field day with this story?


My wife and I welcome discussions with the press. Losing even one life is too high a price to pay for healing our kids, and we need to learn from this experience to make treatment even safer and more effective.

To say that we are using "chelation therapy to treat autism" is a misstatement. We are using chelation therapy, in our case, to treat a medical diagnosis of heavy metal toxicity. That is what my son actually has, that is what the dozens of medical tests we have run on him show, and one year into chelation he has improved dramatically.

Autism is a psychological diagnosis, based on observed behavior. It does not offer up a medical foundation or explanation for cause.

This case will be blown out of proportion. We can use this as an opportunity to explain to the world why we are treating our children (because they are heavy metal poisoned), how they are progressing, and that we all know and accept the risk involved in making our children better.

Of course, the press will probably not mention some of the ugly truths that are out there about how our children die from other treatments, so here are some resources to consider, in an attempt to help the journalists reading this list put things into perspective:

1. Between 1990-2000, 186 reported deaths from Ritalin:


2. Children's deaths from vaccines, as recorded by the CDC:

Chickenpox vaccine 1995-1998:

Between March 17, 1995 and July 25, 1998, 6580 adverse events - including 14 deaths - were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System in association with varicella vaccination--- Pediatric News 33(3):12, 1999.

For DPT vaccine 12,504 reports VAERS reports with 144 deaths per year


"In a year-long investigation of the Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System (VAERS) operated by the Food and Drug Administration, NVIC/DPT analyzed VAERS computer discs used by the FDA to store data on reports of deaths and injuries following DPT vaccination. A total of 54,072 reports of adverse events following vaccination were listed in a 39-month period from July 1990 to November 1993 with 12,504 reports being associated with DPT vaccine, including 471 deaths."Campaign Against Fraudulent Medical Research


MMR vaccine VAERS reports 7 deaths per year (1990-1994):

"From July 1990 thro' April 1994, 5799 ADRs following MMR vaccination were reported to US Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS); including

3063 cases requiring emergency medical treatment, 616 hospitalizations, 309 who did not recover, 54 children left disabled and 30 deaths."--- John P Heptonstall

For OPV vaccine there were VAERS reports of 108 deaths per year over a 5 year period.

"We commissioned an OPV Vaccine Report and started making all kinds of other inquires. The OPV Vaccine report that we received was a shocking report. It covered a recent period a little less than 5 years and the following is the summary for that period: The number of Vaccine Associated events that

occurred: 13,641 ..The number of events resulting in death 540"--The Polio Connection of America & Polio vaccine victims:


For Hep b vaccine there were VAERS reports of 54 deaths per year


"The total 24,775 VAERS hepatitis B reports from July 1990 to October 31,

1998 show 439 deaths and 9673 serious reactions involving emergency room visits, hospitalization, disablement or death."-- Michael Belkin http://www.whale.to/vaccines/belkin1.html

"Since July 1990, 17,497 cases of hospitalizations, injuries and deaths in America following hepatitis B vaccination have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of the U.S. government. This figure includes 146 deaths in individuals after receiving only hepatitis B vaccine without any other vaccines, including 73 deaths in children under 14 years old. In 1996 alone there were 872 serious adverse events in children under

14 years old reported to VAERS. 658 of those injuries were following hepatitis B vaccination in combination with other vaccinations and 214 of these injuries were after hepatitis B vaccination alone. In these children under 14 years old, there were 35 deaths after hepatitis B vaccination in combination and 13 deaths after hepatitis B vaccination alone, for a total of 48 deaths. Compare these statistics with the total number of hepatitis B cases nationwide reported that same year (1996) in children under 14, just 279, and the conclusion is obvious that the risks of hepatitis B vaccination far outweigh its benefits."---Incao's Hepatitis B Vaccination Testimony

POST #2: The following was posted from Dr. Gary Gordon, one of the founding fathers for chelation therapy and an expert in the field of chelation for all reasons, not just for heavy metal poisoning seen in ASD children.

Dear Health Care Professionals:

You may soon read and hear the kind of hysteria and negative press that I expected to see, but it will get FAR WORSE before it gets better. As of this moment, I can only assume that there must have been a substantial deviation from the standard procedures that I, and all of you, have established for the safe administration of Calcium EDTA. As incredible as it may seem to those of you belonging to this discussion group, the possibility exists that the child was treated with Disodium EDTA administered by IV Push. I am forced to consider this unfortunate explanation unless there was some major undiagnosed illness in the child that no one suspected, such as a major heart defect or perhaps an aneurism that ruptured at the exact time the patient was receiving the IV Push of Calcium EDTA. However, the autopsy has been completed and he results were inconclusive so that they have ordered additional tests, which may take up to 5 months to complete.

This means that there is no obvious explanation for the death of this child.

My fear is that if someone who is not knowledgeable in chelation and has not learned that this is complex chemistry assumes, for example, that all that they have to do to provide magnesium EDTA or Calcium EDTA is just add either magnesium or calcium to a syringe containing Disodium EDTA.

We could have a serious problem because Disodium EDTA has a black box warning about rapid administration to children and simply adding something like Calcium or Magnesium does not fully convert Disodium EDTA to Calcium EDTA. Then there is also a problem with discomfort, if you tried to give yourself an IV push of diluted Disodium EDTA the pain could be extreme so you might wind up increasing the dose of Lidocaine and again we can get into problems with the heart if too much of a "caine" if given intravenously.

So let's look at the big picture, there are NO DEATHS occurring when EDTA, either calcium or Disodium are PROPERLY administered. Now the media will try to make chelation out to be fraudulent and the tests that we do to measure lead etc as being meaningless. Amazingly they will bring out Quack buster Barrett who with a little more effort we may be able to one day put behind bars for his lies and incompetence.

Thus I have to conclude some error in rate of administration, dosage, method of preparation probably occurred; in fact, I now believe this is most likely rather than administering the correct drug, Calcium EDTA, intravenously, which even in children is safe and effective.

Doctors who have been providing this treatment to children can hardly stop talking about the remarkable successes they have been witnessing with children responding far more rapidly than we could ever do with just the oral Calcium EDTA that I have been advocating for so long.

We know that worldwide sales of all forms of EDTA have been steadily increasing and that based on logical calculations it appears that well over 10 million patients have been safely treated with either Calcium or Disodium EDTA over the past 32+ years without a single documented fatality, as long as the established protocols were followed. All the evidence to date that EDTA is perhaps the safest therapy offered in medicine, outside of placebos.

To my knowledge, EDTA has been safely administered for nearly 50 years with the only deaths occurring in the beginning, with terminal cancer patients suffering uncontrolled hypercalcemia where inappropriate doses of Disodium EDTA were administered by rapid infusion to patients with known compromised renal status.

With the extensive proof now existing that everyone today has nearly 1000 times too much lead in their bones and Harvard publishing that this bone lead will compromise vision there can be no argument that we all have some heavy metal toxicity. Then once we conclude that government cannot stop the mercury, cadmium, lead etc from going in the air, and thus into everyone anywhere on earth, then it becomes a matter of personal choice, live with these heavy metals or remove them. Oral chelation is clearly necessary since bone lead will take 10 years to turn over for the average adult, but some of us want results NOW. Nothing is as effective as the 147 fold increase in lead excretion over base line that IV Calcium EDTA, PROPERLY FORMULATED, was documented to induce by Doctors Data with the help of Dr Whitaker's staff.

Thus I must extend my sympathy to the family of the deceased 5-year-old boy from Nigeria whose brave mother came to the Pittsburgh area from the United Kingdom to seek treatment for her autistic child. She was seeing clear improvements in her son. This was the third infusion he had received. He apparently had a cardiac arrest and was unable to be resuscitated immediately following this third infusion of what I fear was not Calcium EDTA, which is the ONLY form of EDTA that I have advocated for the exciting rapid infusion technique.

I hope those who have experience with it in their practice are NOT GOING TO STOP USING it that you have the "rest of the story", as best as we can establish it at this time. Please understand that the involved doctors cannot be expected to admit anything on advice of their attorneys. I have only checked to see if they have ever purchased Calcium EDTA and found the answer was "no"?. leading me to compose this email in an attempt to diminish the harm that the media will do to everyone who otherwise could have been receiving oral and or IV chelation and will now be afraid.

This email may be copied and handed to your patients in an effort to meet the need for a fully informed consent.


Garry F. Gordon MD, DO, MD(H)

President, Gordon Research Institute


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Sunday, August 28, 2005

NIH eases ban on employees owning drug, biotech stock

By Kevin Freking, Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Officials at the National Institutes of Health said yesterday that rules designed to reduce conflicts of interest at the agency went too far, so they eased a prohibition on owning stock in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for thousands of employees.

Under the new regulation, about 200 senior employees as well as their spouses and minor children will be prohibited from owning more than $15,000 worth of such stock. Any holdings above that amount will have to be sold by Jan. 30.

But an interim rule issued in February would have had a much broader impact.

Under that rule, about 6,000 scientists and other high-ranking employees would have been required to sell their stock holdings in such companies entirely. An additional 12,000 employees would have been required to keep such holdings to a maximum of $15,000 in value.

The divestiture rule proved unpopular with NIH employees and threatened the agency's ability to attract top talent, NIH officials had said prior to yesterday's announcement. It never went into effect. The revisions take effect Tuesday.

While the stock ownership rule was relaxed, a ban on consulting work in industry remains in place.

The agency issued the new ethics rules for its employees in the aftermath of media reports that some researchers received thousands of dollars from outside industries, which had the potential to influence their work at NIH, the primary federal agency for conducting medical research.

''The issues that we were facing were not related to stock holdings in great part," said Elias Zerhouni, NIH director.

''Therefore, this is where I convinced myself it was not necessary to have a blanket divestiture rule."

Zerhouni said he decided to continue to keep in place a ban on outside consulting work by NIH staff for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as companies that make medical devices.

''These rules are the most restrictive of any rules we know about in the world of biomedical research," Zerhouni said. ''The rules as you see them today are extremely stringent. With the ban on consulting for paid activities, I think Congress should be very fully reassured we've addressed the fundamental issue of public trust in the integrity of the science."

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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Desperate parents seek autism's cure

Journal Staff Writer

When Dr. Julia McMillan, a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, arrived at work yesterday, she had an e-mail from a colleague with the subject line, "This was bound to happen."

The e-mail said a 5-year-old autistic boy, Abubakar Tariq Nadama, had gone into cardiac arrest and died in suburban Pittsburgh on Tuesday after receiving chelation therapy, a treatment that uses drugs to strip toxic heavy metals from the body.

The Butler County coroner's office said yesterday that tests had not yet concluded what killed the boy, who had been receiving his third treatment.

But his death brings to light the desperation of the growing number of parents seeking chelation, based on the theory -- rejected by the American Academy of Pediatrics -- that autism is caused by a mercury-based preservative formerly used in vaccines. Many are seeking to "detoxify" their children with expensive, unproven therapies such as chelation, in which drugs are administered either orally, topically or intravenously.

The parents say they have no choice but to search for answers -- the mainstream medical community offers no precise reason for autism, nor a cure or specific medical treatment, only behavioral therapies. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ablity to communicate or interact.

"It's truly devastating for families; it's not surprising they would look for some cure," said McMillan, of Johns Hopkins. "I don't fault those families, except when what they're doing is more dangerous. . . . It's a known dangerous treatment."

CHELATION is considered a valid treatment for exposure to lead paint and certain other acute heavy-metal poisonings. But its effect on autism is mostly anecdotal, shared among parents who gather in support groups -- such as Moms For Options to Treat and Heal Autism and Related Syndromes -- which meets in Providence once a month.

"We think our kids were poisoned," said Sherri Crohan, of Lincoln, the president. "The bottom line is: if you get the mercury out, the kids get better."

Matthew and Kristine Rogan, of Cranston, drive their 5-year-old son to an alternative doctor in Rhinebeck, N.Y., every six weeks for a $700 chelation treatment, which isn't covered by insurance.

Some parents have sought to sue vaccine makers. But Kristine Rogan, a teacher in North Providence, says she just wants to help her son. "I want to fix him, and if that happens, I don't care about anything else," she said.

The couple were off to Rhinebeck yesterday, undeterred by the news of the boy in Pittsburgh. Matthew Rogan, a nurse at Rhode Island Hospital, says the couple have weighed the risks and benefits and believe that chelation is the way to rid their son of the mercury that they suspect damaged him.

"In our circle of friends, everyone is doing it," he said. "You go to an autism conference and start talking about mercury, and people look down on you and think you're crazy. But if you read the books, it's a no-brainer."

He says his son hasn't had side effects and seems to be improving, though it's difficult to tell whether it's the chelation, because the couple is trying numerous alternative treatments, including supplements suggested by the Rhinebeck Health Center & the Center for Progressive Medicine. "He's doing better," Matthew Rogan said of his son. "We're not there yet."

"We have a lot of hope for our son," he said.

THE ROGANS, who have also taken their son to California and Chicago for alternative treatments, say they expect that mercury will eventually come out in their son's urine. So far, it has not. Matthew Rogan said he was told that mercury is the last metal to come out during chelation, and that it will take more treatments.

"He just excreted a bunch of lead," he said. "It was off the charts what came out of his body. We're working on lead right now. We have to keep chipping away at that to get down to mercury."

Barbara Coddington, an assistant at Rhinebeck Health Center, said yesterday that the children taking chelation are typically hooked up to an IV and given a drug called EDTA -- ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid. The clinic is a member of Defeat Autism Now, a national network of alternative doctors started in 1995.

Coddington said autistic children come from all over, "from Iraq, from England, from Pakistan. It's been wonderful to watch how some of the kids didn't speak or interact very well when they started coming here, and they do now."

DR. ROBERT BARATZ, an internist and the president of the National Council against Health Fraud, in Peabody, Mass., said parents are being sold false hope. "It's a group of people preying upon the desperate," he said.

Baratz said that even if one accepts the hypothesis that mercury caused autism, there's no evidence that chelation can help. He said that the way organic mercury poisoning occurs -- it's "not a reversible problem."

"What people have to know when they start this is that it's totally unproven -- disproven -- and dangerous," Baratz said. "It is bogus; there is no evidence it works, and plenty of evidence it doesn't."

Dr. Richard Deth, a professor at the College of Pharmaceutical Studies at Northeastern University, has testified before Congress and believes there is a link between autism and Thimerosal, the mercury preservative widely used in vaccines until a few years ago. Deth says autistic children lack the ability to cope with, or excrete, mercury like other children. "Where did it go? The answer is, probably in the brain," he said.

Deth said chelation would be a logical treatment for acute mercury poisoning, but he questioned whether "chelation could get at mercury in the brain." Another problem, he said, is that chelation drugs can remove metals that have an essential role in the body.

Doug Kertscher, a lawyer in Atlanta, has handled cases of botched chelation therapy and has found that some doctors are better than others.

He said: "I don't think in any way, shape or form that chelation cures autism." But he said that the alternative doctors who are part of Defeat Autism Now do seem to follow strict guidelines for administering chelation.

Last year, Kertscher was part of a team of lawyers that settled multiple lawsuits against a Georgia doctor who performed chelation on autistic children. The Edelson Center for Environmental and Preventative Medicine, a Georgia clinic, had been kicked out of the Defeat Autism Now network and is now closed, he said. Lawsuits alleged that children had been hurt by Edelson's treatments, which "included not just chelation but this really awful sauna therapy," Kertscher said. He said a witness testified that children would be held down in the sauna. "They would be screaming to get out and kicking."

"The parents are very vulnerable. . . . Wouldn't you give up all your retirement [money] if this guy really convinced you and was a great salesman and showed you all kinds of charts?" Kertscher said. "You'd sell your cars and triple-mortgage your house to try to cure your child, and that's what happened, time and time again."

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

David Kirby on Huff Post

David Kirby's newest entry on the Huffington Post is titled Autism and Chelation: Where is the Science?.

This is very balanced reporting by David Kirby. Since the tragedy of this boy's death, the media has portrayed parents as desperate and willing to try "anything". This is highly inaccurate. Parents are determined to find appropriate treatments for their physically ill children. The IOM and government health agencies have been unwilling to do anything to help these children. The IOM has even gone as far as to shun any scientific research into thimerosal's role in the causation of autism. The government has stated that autism is not an epidemic, but due to better diagnostics. Better diagnostics is a ridiculous statement. Anyone who sees an autistic child will recognize them immediately - whether it be today or thirty years ago.

Mainstream medical doctors refuse to give autistic children the medical treatment they require. Autism is treated as a mental condition and children are prescribed neuroleptics and other psychotropic drugs. These children have been let down by the medical community, the government and other public health agencies. It is rare to find a doctor who has the knowledge and ability to treat children with autism and that is an outrage.

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Damaging children for the sake of profits

By Evelyn Pringle
Online Journal Contributing Writer

August 26, 2005—TeenScreen is planting the seed of mental illness in the minds of children. School kids are being conned into taking a survey full of loaded questions and the results are being used to convince parents their children are mentally ill and need dangerous brain-damaging drugs.

All children at times feel depressed or different from others, or not smart enough, or not good-looking enough. This is normal adolescent thinking. The TeenScreen survey asks whether the child has ever felt this way and phrases questions to solicit one answer, yes. It takes advantage of impressionable kids when it raises questions about normal feelings.

After taking a survey that suggests they are abnormal, the next thing you know, Susie and Tommie will go running to the teacher saying, "You know, now that you mention it, I do have these thoughts and feelings, I must be mentally ill."

Mission accomplished. Two new customers. All the survey had to do was plant the idea in Susie and Tommie's mind.

The Bush appointed New Freedoms Commission on Mental Health issued a report in July 2003 urging the screening of school children in all 50 states and chose TeenScreen as the model program to ensure that all youth receive a mental health check-up before graduating.

The New Freedom Commission also recommended a drug treatment program based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), which requires doctors to prescribe specific psychiatric drugs, including atypical anti-psychotics and antidepressants known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors [SSRIs] that can lead children to commit suicide or other violent acts.

The truth is the New Freedom Commission serves as the hub for a grand profiteering scheme involving the Bush administration, federal and local government officials, and drug companies to broaden the market for the sale of expensive but lethal drugs. If all goes according to plan, it will generate millions of new prescription drug customers.

For example, pharma reaped great rewards in Colorado where over 350 youths were screened at a homeless shelter using the TeenScreen survey. It determined that over 50 percent of the kids were at risk of suicide and 71 percent screened positive for psychiatric disorders.

Common sense would tell a person that kids at a homeless shelter might be suffering due to logical reasons such as not eating or sleeping properly. But you can bet that the TeenScreen squad marched these homeless kids right over to the nearest Medicaid office to line up funding to cover the cost of their newly prescribed drugs. Never mind that they don't have a bed to sleep in or a dinner table to eat at. Put them on magic pills and life will be grand.

TeenScreen is being used to push drugs on a population of kids who, in the eyes of many experts, are already overmedicated. An estimated 10 million children in the US are now taking mind-altering drugs that have documented side-effects of suicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, and future drug dependence.

Carol Boyd, director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, surveyed 1,017 middle and high school students in a Detroit-area public school district and found that almost half of the children had legitimate prescriptions for Ritalin and other psychiatric medications.

More kids on drugs are showing up for college. The University of Mary Washington reports that a record 24 percent of students using the school's Psychological Services program are taking some sort psychotropic medication that is capable of influencing a person's mental functioning.

The demand for services for 2004–2005 has risen 150 percent over last year, according to Psychological Services director Barb Wagar. The medications students are usually on are SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, for depression; Xanax for anxiety, and Ritalin or Adderall for attention disorders, Wagar reports.

According Bernard Chirico, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, this is also a national trend. "Nationally there has been a 91 percent increase in students at college counseling taking psychotropics between 1998 and 2003," he said.

On January 13, WebMD Medical News reported the findings of a government study that showed more Americans than ever are being treated for substance abuse, depression, and other mental health disorders, but the treatment they are getting is increasingly limited to prescription drugs alone.

The study assessed changing patterns in the treatment of mental illnesses from the mid-1990s to 2001, and determined that mental health drug costs rose 20 percent each year.

According to economist Samuel H Zuvekas, PhD, who conducted the analysis, about 80 percent of the growth in expenditures can be explained by the increase in the use of SSRIs and other antidepressants, and high-priced schizophrenia drugs called "atypical antipsychotics," like Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Geodon.

The atypicals, which are also now being used to treat bipolar and anxiety disorders, cost roughly $8 a day, about 100 times more than the older antipsychotic drug, Haldol, the study noted.

Front Groups as Funnels

TeenScreen's promotional materials and websites say it's not supported or affiliated with any pharmaceutical companies. What a joke.

Laurie Flynn is at the helm of TeenScreen. Prior to her current job, her salary was paid by drug companies for 16 years while she was the top dog of the most prominent industry-backed front group of all time, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). A group dedicated solely to promoting and selling as many pills as humanly possible.

The pharmaceutical industry has long funneled money through front groups like NAMI, which, in turn, provide funding for marketing campaigns.

According to Dr Peter Breggin, psychiatrist and founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, "These groups hold national meetings that bring together drug advocates to talk directly to consumers. They also put out newsletters and other information that praise medications. Sometimes they actively suppress viewpoints that are critical of drugs—for example, by discouraging the media from airing opposing viewpoints."

Flynn is also the author of an article, titled "Before Their Time: Preventing Teen Suicide," in which she states: "The TeenScreen Program developed 10 years ago by Columbia University and offered in partnership with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill helps communities across the nation identify teens with mental illness who might be at risk for suicide."

It's kind of hard to dispute the charge that NAMI is a funnel for drug money since its website lists "Corporate Partners, Grants, and Foundations," as Abbott, AstraZoneca, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Eli Lilly, Forest Lab, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Jannsen, McNeil, Pfizer, and Wyeth.

So if TeenScreen is being "offered in partnership," with the NAMI, it stands to reason that drug money is involved.

Laurie McGuire, second in command of the TeenScreen project, gave a speech at the annual NAMI national convention, and explained the need to con kids and their parents into taking the survey. She told the audience that while only around 54 percent of parents would consent to the screening, when children themselves were asked, nearly 98 percent agreed to the idea of being screened.

"Getting the kids to buy in is such an essential thing because for the most part, you're distributing the consent forms to the kids to bring home to their parents and bring them back. So you have to get their buy in, you have to get them interested in it," McGuire said.

TeenScreen also recommends bribing kids with movie passes or gift certificates for pizza parlors.

Passive Consent is another trick TeenScreen uses to get around the law which requires obtaining a valid parental consent. Passive consent requires parents to return a form only if they do not want their child to participate in the screening. In Oregon, one NAMI member complained that consent forms were being returned with a large "NO" scribbled across the paper.

The problem is, even with passive consent, parents still have to agree to seek mental health treatment their children.

At the convention, NAMI members were told of the need to "loop" the kids to a mental health provider. The importance of getting kids to that first appointment was stressed. They were told that sometimes that might entail calling insurance companies to get the information on where to go and what is covered, and sometimes it would mean picking kids up and driving them to the first appointment.

Before the meeting ended, McGuire passed a notebook around the audience to solicit names of NAMI members who would be willing to be respond if there were a parental uprising against TeenScreen in their community. She explained that they might be asked to write a letter to the editor or go to a school board meeting, things like that.

TeenScreen has many supporting front groups listed in its informational material. Another example of a funnel is the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance which reports pharma financial backing equal to 53 percent of all revenue. According to its 2001 annual report, drug companies which donate between $150,000 and $499,999, include Abbot, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Glaxo-Kline, and Janssen. In addition, nearly all of the other major drug makers donate a lesser amount.

Another favorite mantra by TeenScreen officials is that the program is free and it doesn't get any government money. Well, something went haywire with the "free" mental health check-up business because, according to a July 11 article in the Peoria Illinois Journal Star, in Brimfield Illinois, "organizing the system and employing a part-time counselor specifically for the program is estimated to cost about $100 per student."

Overall, the "Brimfield High School program alone will cost around $20,000 for the first semester," the Journal wrote.

Let me repeat that so taxpayers "get it," that is $20,000 tax dollars per semester to run this marketing scheme for pharma.

In Florida, according to a June 5, 2003, Weekly Planet article, Gwen Luney, assistant superintendent for supportive services for the Hillsborough County Schools, said TeenScreen would cost the school district roughly $200,000 a year.

Drugging Kids with Lethal Medications

On June 18, 2003, GlaxoSmithKline issued a warning to British physicians against the use of Paxil in children, and acknowledged its failure in clinical trials "to demonstrate efficacy in major depressive disorders and doubling the rate of reported adverse events—including suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts—compared to placebo."

On December 18, 2003, Eli Lilly issued letters to British healthcare professionals, indicating that Prozac is not recommended for children—for any use.

The results of a recent study conducted at the Ottawa Health Research Institute were published in the February 2005 British Medical Journal. The study reviewed over 700 clinical trials involving 87,650 patients, and provided an all-inclusive look at the suicide risk with SSRIs, because it counted suicide attempts by subjects treated for a variety of conditions in addition to depression, including panic disorder, bulimia, and sexual dysfunction.

The study determined that patients taking SSRIs are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients given placebos. The fact that there is an increased risk of suicide attempts for patients who were not depressed and were being treated for other kinds of disorders is highly significant.

Most of the drugs being pushed on kids are not approved for kids, but even if they were, it wouldn't mean much. What most people don’t realize is that to gain FDA approval, a company is not required to prove that a new drug is safer or more effective than an older drug. All it has to do is show that a drug provided better results than a placebo in short-term trials of often only 6 to 8 weeks, with a statistically significant group of patients, according to Bob Whitaker, investigative journalist and author of Mad In America.

We know these drugs are very dangerous. Nevertheless, there has been a very large increase in the numbers of children placed on SSRIs in the United States. Not only that, the fastest growing segment of users are age 0–5, reported Dr John Breeding, PhD, Director of Texans For Safer Education, and author of, The Necessity of Unproductivity and Madness, and The Wildest Colts Make The Best Horses, during testimony to the Texas House Select Committee, on October 4, 2004.

He called for a ban on the use of SSRIs for children and warned, "SSRIs are extremely harmful and addictive; and can cause or exacerbate suicidal or homicidal tendencies; withdrawal is painful and dangerous."

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, a court-qualified medical expert, and author of books, Talking Back to Prozac and The Anti-Depressant Fact Book, The Ritalin Fact Book, warns about the life-long damage a label of mentally illness can cause.

"There is nothing worse that you can do to a human being in America today than give them a mental illness kind of label and tell them they need drugs and these children are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years-old being treated in this manner," Breggin reports.

Besides causing suicide, enough evidence now exists to prove that legally prescribed drugs have played a major role in the senseless acts of violence by school-age children all around the country in recent years. Little attention has been given to the FDA’s additional warning that certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania,” according to Breggin.

For more than a decade, he said, "I have documented in books and scientific reports how this stimulation or activation profile can lead to out-of-control behavior, including violence."

"From agitation and hostility to impulsivity and mania, the FDA’s litany of antidepressant-induced behaviors is identical to that of PCP, methamphetamine and cocaine—drugs known to cause aggression and violence," he warns.

"One clinical trial showed a rate of 6 percent manic reactions for depressed children on Prozac," he reported, "None developed mania on a sugar pill."

Bob Whitaker explained what's happening to people who use these powerful psychiatric drugs, during an interview in the August 2005 edition of Street Spirit. "All these drugs may curb a target symptom slightly more effectively than a placebo does for a short period of time, say six weeks," he said. However, "what you find with every class of these psychiatric drugs is a worsening of the target symptom of depression or psychosis or anxiety over the long term."

And he added, "You see a fairly significant percentage of patients where new and more severe psychiatric symptoms are triggered by the drug itself."

So then, "instead of just dealing with depression, they're dealing with mania or psychotic symptoms," he said.

"They're now said to be bipolar and they're given an antipsychotic to go along with the antidepressant; and, at that point, they're moving down the path to chronic disability," Bob told Street Spirit.

It's brilliant from the capitalist point of view, Whitaker pointed out, "you take a kid, and you turn them into a customer, and hopefully a lifelong customer."

"Unfortunately, the cost is dishonesty in our scientific literature, the corruption of the FDA, and the absolute harm done to children in this country drawn into this system, and an increase of 150,000 newly disabled people every year in the United States for the last 17 years, he said, "That's an incredible record of harm done."

In July 2004, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that during treatment with SSRIs, there was a "significantly higher risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts" during the first nine days of treatment and that children who were first starting treatment were four times more likely to think about suicide, and 38 times more likely to commit suicide. It also noted that children as young as five have committed suicide while taking these drugs.

Something apparently happened between then and now because the AMA recently did an abrupt turn around. On June 21, a MedPage headline read, "AMA Supports Use of SSRIs for Treating Teen Depression."

Experts in the field are outraged. Dr Ann Blake Tracy, executive director of the International Coalition For Drug Awareness, and author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? reacted strongly, "clearly there is no logical or sane excuse whatsoever for a doctor who professes to care about the well being of his patients to stand behind a group of drugs known to increase suicide by double," she said.

"It took us two decades to get the FDA to even issue what little bit of warning they gave with the black box placement on antidepressants," Dr Tracy explained, "and then because prescribing is down by 10 percent when it should be down by at least 90 percent, they are upset enough to make a move like this?"

"Of course," she reasoned, "this would be a necessary move to help push Bush's TeenScreen Program through the school system, which is the most likely reason for this seemingly insane move by the AMA. That is a program that will really bring in the business for them."

Never-Ending Cycle of Profits

Before we focus screening efforts on the children, I think we should screen all members of the Bush administration, and all officials at the FDA and CDC, to find out what happened to their consciences. Lets figure out how these people could allow pharma to push lethal drugs on kids and inject poisonous vaccines into a generation of children, without exhibiting any sign of guilt or remorse whatsoever.

In February 2005, Canadian regulators ordered the drug Adderall, used to treat attention deficit disorders, off the market after it was linked to 20 sudden deaths and a dozen strokes, 14 of which were children.

The dramatic growth in the number of children labeled as having Attention Deficit Disorders is man-made. Recent studies have shown that exposure to the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, contained in childhood vaccines until recently, not only causes autism but can also result in a host of other neurological disorders.

And government regulatory officials knew about the harm vaccines were causing from a study they conducted in 1999.

According to a leaked transcript from a secret meeting of a CDC (Centers for Disease Control) advisory committee in June 2000, upon reviewing the study on the link between thimerosal-vaccines and the rise in neurological disorders in children, Bill Weil, a pediatrician, warned the committee, "There are just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest that we've got a serious problem. . . . The number of kids getting help in special education is growing nationally and state by state at a rate we have not seen before."

Committee member Robert Brent, a pediatrician from Thomas Jefferson University, stated: "The medical/legal findings in this study, causal or not, are horrendous . . ."

"If an allegation was made that a child's neurobehavioral findings were caused by thimerosal-containing vaccines, you could readily find a junk scientist who would support the claim with 'a reasonable degree of certainty.'" Brent said, "But you will not find a scientist with any integrity who would say the reverse with the data that is available. . . . So we are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits if they were initiated, and I am concerned."

The CDC knows its in trouble for its part in the cover-up. Excerpt from pages 281–282 of the book, Evidence of Harm by David Kirby, describes an October 2003 visit by Dr Mark Geier, David Geier and Vale Krenik to the CDC Vaccine Safety Datalink in Georgia. The VSD monitor probably gave them more information than her superiors intended.

The monitor told the Geiers that she had been running VSD data on thimerosal for quite some time and knew the numbers inside out. She was assigned to look at the most recent data, checking to see what the rates for autism were doing. She was asked to determine if the numbers of diagnoses had begun to decline, especially in the younger children. If so, this would implicate thimerosal, which began to be phased out in 2000.

"'The autism numbers are going down,'" she said. "'We're watching them drop.'"

An independent study conducted by Geiers, using the CDC's VSD data, has determined that the risk of autism increased significantly with each additional 25 micrograms of mercury exposure, and that children who received three mercury-containing DTaP shots had an increased risk of autism nearly 27 times that of kids who got three mercury-free vaccines.

Since they believe vaccines have caused the damage in the first place, many parents resent the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is now raking in enormous profits from the sale of drugs to treat the disorders it created.

As one activist said a while back, "It's Christmas every day for these guys."

Countless damaged children are now being fed profitable drugs such as Ritalin, Adderal, Depakote, Risperdal, Zoloft and Strattera, when in fact, if a child is affected by mercury poisoning, the drugs can at best only mask symptoms.

"Do you think the pharmaceutical industry may attempt to prevent children from getting mercury testing due to fears of losing market share?" asks Nancy Hokkanan, mother of an autistic child.

I say yes, absolutely, if there's a chance it might lead to a decrease in profits.

Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption.

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Parents of austisic child ask for privacy

By Karen Kane, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The family of a 5-year-old autistic boy who died while receiving a controversial medical treatment touted by some as a cure for the disorder is thanking the community for its sympathy but asking for privacy.

Attorney Frank Botta, of Pittsburgh, said Rufia and Mawra Nadama, the parents of Abubakar Tariq Nadama, "are grieving and they need some time."

In an interview with the Post-Gazette on Wednesday, a day after her son died while receiving an intravenous chelation therapy in a Butler County doctor's office, Mawra Nadama said she was not ready to blame the therapy for her son's death and wanted to wait for autopsy results before drawing any conclusions.

Botta said the Nadamas are continuing their wait-and-see approach. Rufia Nadama is a medical doctor.

Botta said the family is originally from Nigeria but moved to England about 10 years ago. Mawra and her son moved temporarily to Monroeville a few months ago so the child could receive chelation treatment.

Botta said the couple would consider making a public statement after the autopsy report is final. Authorities have said it could take up to five months to complete all the necessary testing.

He said the family has received an outpouring of sympathy as well as offers of financial help with funeral expenses. "They are greatly appreciative of the response from the community, particularly the autism support groups," he said.

He noted that the family is "financially secure" and not in need of the proffered help with their son's funeral expenses. However, Botta said, the couple is in the midst of establishing a trust fund "to advance the research into the cause of autism and to assist others in need of care."

State police at Butler are investigating the child's death, which occurred Tuesday morning after he went into cardiac arrest while receiving chelation -- an intravenous injection of a synthetic amino acid known as EDTA, for ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the practice only to treat heavy metal poisoning. The EDTA attaches to the heavy metals in the bloodstream so they can be excreted in the urine.

The child was receiving the treatment in the office of Dr. Roy Eugene Kerry in Portersville. A licensed physician and surgeon with a speciality in ear, nose and throat, his main office is in Greenville, Mercer County, and he's been practicing since 1965. Doing business as Advanced Integrative Medicine Center, Kerry advertises as offering chelation therapy. Kerry couldn't be reached for comment.

Though chelation therapy has been increasing in popularity in recent months due to positive anecdotal reports, skeptics in the medical community fear the procedure is too risky because it has not undergone rigorous medical trials.

The child's death has spurred heated debate within the autism community as parents and medical professionals argue over the safety of chelation and its varied methods of treatment.

(Karen Kane can be reached at kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.)

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NIH scientists can no longer consult for drug companies

Source: St. Petersburg Times

WASHINGTON - After accusations that some government scientists used their official positions for private gain, the National Institutes of Health announced rules on Thursday that ban scientists from consulting for drug companies.

"Our research should be based on scientific evidence that is not influenced by any other factors," Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the health institutes, said at a news conference.

The rules were issued after disclosures that scientists at the institutes had leveraged their positions to land lucrative consulting contracts that seemed to conflict or at least overlap with their official duties. Those contracts caused some critics to worry that research by the agency could be tainted.

An investigation by the agency concluded that 44 of its 1,200 senior scientists appeared to have violated rules governing consulting and that nine might have violated criminal laws.

The controversy surrounding consulting work and scientists' relationships with drug companies has been a black eye for the health institutes.

Investigations found that the health institutes had such poor and inconsistent controls over scientists' outside activities that the agency could not even answer basic questions by investigators about the extent of the problem.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Billboard has nontoxic effect on Mercury dealership sales

By John Tunison

Even Myron Molotky sees the humor.

A medical-related billboard near his Lincoln-Mercury dealership at U.S. 31 and New Holland reads "mercury is toxic."

"It's actually kind of funny," he said. "We all have talked about it at the dealership."

The billboard is among at least three in West Michigan installed in late July and early August to educate the public about concerns with flu shots containing thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that some fear may cause autism.

A local chapter of Unlocking Autism paid for the billboards and chose the spot not knowing it was near Molotky's new Lincoln-Mercury dealership. The billboard, showing a syringe, is on the corner of Molotky's land.

The autism group looked at moving the billboard, but learned the billboard company, Viacom Outdoor, could not do it easily and without expense.

Molotky has agreed to let it stay for the short time of the group's contract. It is supposed to come down the week of Sept. 5.

He said he understands the placement was simply a mistake and he likes the autism group's effort.

"I'm the father of four kids. I appreciate them trying to get a message out," he said.

Molotky admits he's taking some ribbing from employees and customers.

"I think it's something that belongs on Jay Leno, quite frankly," he joked.

And the sign hasn't hurt business one bit.

Recent incentives offering Ford employee pricing have drawn in many customers.

"We're having another record sales month," Molotky said.

Joy Majzel, of Hudsonville, a member of the Unlocking Autism chapter, said she is grateful for Molotky's understanding.

"The ideal outcome would be for everyone in West Michigan to have access to mercury-free flu shots and for Holland Lincoln Mercury to have a bang-up month in sales," she said.

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Autism boy dies after alternative therapy

By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles and Richard Savill

A five-year-old boy with autism has died in America after flying from Britain for a controversial medical treatment for the neurological and developmental disorder.

Abubakar Tariq Nadama, whose father is a doctor, died on Tuesday after receiving his third round of chelation therapy, an intravenous treatment designed to remove heavy metals from the body.

The county coroner's office said the boy went into cardiac arrest at the Advanced Integrative Medicine Centre in Portersville, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A police inquiry has begun.

Abubakar had moved with his mother, sister aged 11, and grandparents in the spring to have treatment while his father remained at work in England.

Marwa Nadama, the boy's mother, said she did not blame the therapy for her son's death but was awaiting the results of the autopsy. Speaking yesterday from Monroeville, where she had been staying, she said it was "not a good time" to speak.

The boy's father, Dr Rufai Nadama, a specialist registrar in respiratory medicine who works for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, travelled to America, colleagues said.

Neighbours of the family in the Somerset village of Batheaston said the boy's parents, who are believed to be from Nigeria, had been determined to find treatment for their son.

"Carers came in three times a day to look after him," said Brenda Drewett, 69, an auxiliary nurse. "The boy's mother was very concerned that he should get some treatment. They found out that treatment was available in America and within no time they were gone."

Norman Myers, a retired marine salesman, said: "The boy was their life and soul. Everything in their house they made environmentally friendly, including stripped wood and the paintwork.

"Evidently this was important, as was his diet." He said that Abubakar had been "an active child and a beautiful one to look at. He was vigorous and always running about the garden."

Chelation therapy involves an intravenous injection of a synthetic amino acid called ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) that latches on to heavy metals in the body and then is passed out through the urine.

EDTA has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the body that approves medicines for public use in the United States, but for treatment of only acute heavy-metal poisoning diagnosed with blood tests.

Some parents of autistic children, however, believe the therapy can help by purging toxic metals, thought by some to be a cause of the disorder.

Reports of significant improvements in children following the treatment have led to a large increase in those seeking the therapy.

"There are those in the alternative medical field who feel that mercury and other toxic elements contribute to autistic disorder, and that their removal would be a pathway to reducing autism," said Dr Jonathan Collin, from Washington State, who specialises in alternative medicine and has written on chelation therapy.

But critics say there is insufficient evidence to link autism to metal toxicity and call the procedure risky.

Howard Carpenter, of the Advisory Board on Autism-Related Disorders, said: "Parents of children with autism are desperate. Some are willing to try anything."

Stephen Barrett, a retired psychiatrist and founder of the Quackwatch website, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Many doctors who treat children for autism claim they are suffering from mercury or lead toxicity. There is not sufficient evidence that autism is caused by mercury or lead toxicity."

Larry Barr, Butler County's deputy coroner, said that when Abubakar went into cardiac arrest, Dr Roy Kerry, who was treating him, and his staff attempted resuscitation.

He was then transferred to the Butler Memorial Hospital, near Pittsburgh, where he died. An autopsy has been conducted but the results will not be known for several weeks.

"From my conversation with them [the doctor's staff] he had some kind of lead in his system, and they also said his system contained mercury," Mr Barr said. Dr Kerry was not available for comment.

If linked to chelation therapy, Abubakar's death would be the first associated with the procedure since the 1950s, said Dr Ralph Miranda, former president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, which sets standards for such therapies.

He said it was unusual to give young children intravenous treatments. Autism groups warned parents to be aware of the risks of some treatments. Cindy Waeltermann, director of the Pittsburgh-based national advocacy group Autismlink, said in a statement to members: "Some of these therapies are quite dangerous."

Generation Rescue, a parent-founded group that believes disorders such as autism and Asperger's are "misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning", estimates that the number of autistic children treated with chelation has risen from about a dozen in 2000 to more than 10,000 today.

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