The Schafer Autism Report
  Monday, April 11, 2005                       [EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN]                                           Vol. 9  No. 60

   * California Reports: Autism Cases Decline in 2005
   * Parents Don't Know Whom To Trust On Vaccinations


    * What Not To Feed Your Child

    * What Your Children Should Eat

    * Illinois Bills coincide with Autism Awareness Month
    * Autism Bill Passes Illinois Senate

  * Scare Tactics, Preying on Young Parents

CA Reports: Autism Cases Decline 2005

      From California autism advocate Rick Rollens.

   According to information released today by the California Department of Developmental Services (
syndrome autism of any  

1st quarter reporting period since
year 2001. 736 new cases were DDS) , the First Quarter of 2005 (1/4/05 to 4/4/05)

 produced the smallest number of new cases of pro- fessionally diagnosed DSM IV fulladded. Syndrome; Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, and Epilepsy. The Quarterly Reports do not include children between the ages of 0 to 3 years old. Children between 0 and 3 are placed in the Early Start Program and accounted for in that section of California's developmental services system.  82% of all new autism intakes first enter the system by age 6 years old, 90% are there by age 10, and 99% have entered by age 15.
      California's autism epidemic now accounts for 57% of all the new intakes, and is the fastest growing disability in California's system.
    At the beginning of 1988, some 17 short years ago, there were 2,778 cases of autism in California's developmental services system. Today there are 27,312
      Today there are 27,312.
Today, California is adding on average eight new children a day, seven days a week, with professionally diagnosed DSM IV full syndrome autism to it's system. 80%, or 8 out of 10, of all
persons with autism in California's
system are between the ages of 3 and 17 years old. The staggering tidal wave of young children is unique to the autism population and is not evident in any other eligible disability except autism.

Parents Don't Know Whom To Trust On Vaccinations
      By Anne Michaud for the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh.

      So many parents are worried today about the side-effects of vaccinations, and many more are likely to be anxious soon.
      A book released at the start of this month, "Evidence of Harm" by David Kirby, raises questions about the controversial link between autism and mercury in childhood vaccines.
      Besides the mercury-autism link, parents question the benefits of the hepatitis B vaccine, which is administered three times before the age of 18 months. The risk of an adverse reaction from the vaccine -- hospitalization or death -- is roughly the same as the lifetime risk of contracting the disease. Does it seem right, on balance, to put your child's life at risk when he or she could be hit by a car long before sharing an infected needle? Some 26 vaccinations are recommended for children before age 2, and while doctors keep telling us they are safe, more parents (and doctors) are fighting for the right to decline vaccinations and still

enter children in school, day care centers and summer camps.
      The debate reflects our fears of polio and smallpox receding into history, even while our confidence in medical professionals and science plummets. What parent believes it's an  acceptable risk that his or her 2-year-old could be brain damaged by a DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) shot -- as was the son of the founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, Barbara Loe Fisher? Has anyone worried about their kid contracting diphtheria for a good three generations or more? As our fear of these diseases recedes, as vaccines bring the illnesses under control, what we fear more are the pharmaceuticals themselves.
      Alison Fujito of McCandless, a member of the parenthood panel, which contributes to this column, has a mild form of autism known as Asperger's syndrome. She lives with the torment that a vaccine could have contributed to his condition. The past 40 years have witnessed a rise in mass-vaccination policy in the United States, along with a skyrocketing of autism cases to where 1 in 500 children are afflicted.
      Alison points out that mercury that was formerly present in nearly all childhood vaccines -- and can now still be found in flu and chicken pox shots -- has been proven to 

harm the nervous systems of young children, even babies in the womb.
      "Look up acrodynia, a condition written about in the early 1900s that sounds exactly like autism and was shown to be caused by teething powder containing mercury," Alison writes. "The disease disappeared when the teething powder was taken off the market."
 Medical authorities make mistakes. The rotavirus vaccine, to prevent severe diarrhea, was introduced in August 1998 and withdrawn less than a year later, when it appeared to cause bowel obstructions. Thimerosal, a preservative in many vaccines, has been removed because it is suspected of causing mercury poisoning in infants. Although a link between thimerosal and autism has been disproved in many studies, other studies say the link is real, and Congress has held hearings on the issue.
      While medical researchers may find a risk of 1 in 100 acceptable -- or 1 in 1 million -- how can that 1 millionth parent rationalize the risk? Don't the elimination of the rotavirus vaccine and thimerosal demonstrate that immunization policy is imperfect?
 In this environment, I think parents should have a right to refuse vaccines. Another parenthood panel member, Sue MacDonald of Cincinnati, a journalist who writes about health issues, says that some vaccines seem 

more worth having than others. For example, she says, chickenpox means a week of sickness without the vaccine. With it, a child can be sick for five to six days.
      "Bottom line," Sue writes, "is it's more income for the drug company and not much health benefit for society."
      Another panel member, Donna Wright of Gibsonia, says that alternative health professionals are willing to write letters exempting children from school requirements for vaccines. Presumably, this works for day care and summer camp as well.
      It's a lot to ask of parents that we second-guess the medical community. But we have learned to be suspicious. Scientific assessments of acceptable risk don't play well when your child's life is in your hands. It's a lot easier to sign a waiver before surgery saying you know you might die, as an adult, than to sign over that same responsibility for your child.
      A newswire story about the Kirby book recommended that anyone with questions visit the Web site So, I did. It is reassuring, but in such a naïve way that I just had to laugh. The site, sponsored by the National Network for Immunization Information, says it is backed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases 

Society and a host of other mainstream medical organizations. The naivete of the site is that many of us don't take mainstream medical advice at face value any more.
      Too bad. The organization's Web site is quite comforting. All that's required is that we trust the authors.    
* * *

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What Not To Feed Your Child
The bad mood diet of sugary drinks and E-additives
      [This information is for our readers' information only and not intended as a recommendation.]

Hydrogenated and trans fats
      May cause: Dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning difficulties, autism.
      Where they are found: Cakes, pastries, biscuits, bread, margarine, snacks (such as popcorn), commercially fried foods - including some French fries and hamburgers.
      What they do: Unlike the liquid omega-3 fatty acids lacking in most children's diets, these solid man-made fats have been shown in animal studies to make the brain membrane less fluid - and there is good evidence that they alter the signalling ability of neurotransmitters or chemical messengers. Some scientists believe the wrong kinds of fat in the diet may be a factor in dyslexia, dyspraxia (the inability to plan and execute actions, including communication), autism and ADHD - though few studies support this. 'Children are replacing essential fats that would make their bodies and brains work properly with ones that are clogging up the machinery,' says Dr Alex Richardson. Hydrogenated fats often contain trans fats, acknowledged by the FSA and others to raise 'bad' cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. In 1993, Flora reduced the hydrogenated fat content of its margarine from 21 per cent to 1 per cent (the label says 'virtually trans fat free'); others have been slow to follow.

Refined carbohydrates
      May cause: Irritability, depression, antisocial behaviour, aggression, low IQ, reduced sense of smell and taste (affecting appreciation of healthy food).
      Where they are found: Products made from processed white flour (white bread and pasta), cereals, crisps and snacks.
      What they do: It isn't so much what they do as what they don't. A diet high in refined carbs is likely to be low in selenium (a deficiency linked to irritability and depression), chromium (essential for blood-sugar control), zinc, iron and B vitamins. Deficiency in the last three was implicated in a 14-year study concluded last year, examining the links between childhood diet and antisocial behaviour as teenagers. Compared to those with a healthy diet, malnourished children showed a 51 per cent rise in aggression at 17. According to Professor Adrian Raine of the University of Southern California, 'Poor nutrition characterised by zinc, iron, vitamin B and protein deficiencies leads to low IQ, which leads to later antisocial behaviour. These are all nutrients linked to brain development.' Similar conclusions were drawn from a 2002 
study of young offenders at Aylesbury prison, whose diet was supplemented with vitamins and essential fatty acids. Antisocial 

behaviour fell by 35 per cent. In a study at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, children who ate the most refined carbs had IQs 25 points lower than those who ate the least.

Added sugars
      May cause: Mood swings, hyperactivity, poor concentration.
      Where they are found: Sugary drinks, sweets, coated breakfast cereals, chocolate (in which sugar is often number two in the ingredients, after milk).
      What they do: As a fast-acting carbohydrate, sugar is claimed by some to boost blood-sugar levels and create a surge of energy and an upbeat mood - though the sugar industry (see main story) denies any link between sugar and 'hyperactivity or any other type of "bad behaviour" or learning difficulties.' However, its 'empty calories' contribute nothing in terms of nutrition. 'If children slurp cans of surgary drinks on the way to school,' says Dr Richardson, 'it puts them on an artificial high in terms of brain function, but that stimulates the release of too much insulin which causes blood-sugar levels to plummet. In a short time, their 
  brains are in a fog. They can't concentrate, they're irritable and find it hard to hold on to stable emotional reactions.' So far, evidence 

has been largely anecdotal: many parents, teachers, nutritionists and some scientists insist there is a link.

Chemical additives
      May cause: Hyperactivity, tantrums.
      Where they are found: Crisps, snacks, sweets and drinks, particularly those with an orange or yellow colour. About 40 per cent of products aimed at children contain chemical additives, according to the Food Commission (which lobbies for a healthier diet for children). Among those claimed to influence behaviour are sunset yellow (E110), carmazoine (E122), ponceau 4R (E124) and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211). MSG, a flavour enhancer in snacks, is another. 'Glutamate is a brain stimulant in the way it's given,' argues nutritionist Patrick Holford, 'because it enhances sensory perception by making things taste better. Some children react badly to it.' The FSA, while agreeing to commission more research, says the evidence 'is inconclusive and remains an area of scientific uncertainty.'
       What they do: Though described as 'sketchy' by the British Nutrition Foundation and others, a Southampton University study in 2002 found that a quarter of three-year-olds consuming E-additives in a drink showed signs
of hyperactivity and

tantrums. (The study, finally published in 2004, is described by Dr Alex Richardson as 'sound, conducted by serious researchers, as impeccably as you could do a study of that kind'.) On the Food Commission's dedicated website  dozens of parents have since posted anecdotal evidence of behaviour changes in children who consumed E-additives. All such additives are tested for safety and approved for use in Britain.

High-GI (glycemic index) foods
      May cause: Mood swings, lethargy, depression.
      Where they are found: Baguettes, bagels, pizza, instant white rice, fries, instant mashed potato.
      What they do: Like sugar, foods at the top of the glycaemic index (which are broken down quickly and converted into glucose) create a surge of energy and an elevated mood. When insulin kicks in to deal with the sugar 'high', the opposite is felt. High-GI foods are best avoided by diabetics. The link with mood is less accepted.
      Stimulants May cause: Hyperactivity, anxiety, cravings, insomnia, tiredness.
      Where they are found: Fizzy drinks, energy drinks, tea, coffee (caffeine).
      What they do: Stimulants alter mood and

behaviour - but the jury is out on whether the small amounts in caffeinated drinks and food affect kids. In 2003, a study of 200 teens in the US showed that those with a high caffeine intake were less mentally alert - a claim disputed by the soft drinks industry. Researchers found the average daily intake of caffeine was 63mg, equivalent to half a cup of coffee.
* * *

What Your Children Should Eat
The good mood diet for optimum health
Essential fatty acids
      May help: Depression, dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, autism.
      Where they are found: Oily fish (salmon, sardines, fresh tuna, mackerel), fish-oil supplements, seeds (flax, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin) or their cold-pressed oils. Tinned tuna is a poorer source but 'better than nothing', says Dr Alex Richardson, a research fellow at the University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford.
      What they do: These are the building blocks of good brain development, similar to

the liquid fats - such as DHA and EPA - of which 65 per cent of the brain is composed. They keep the membrane flexible and allow brain cells to signal efficiently. The main group are the omega-3s (found in fish and seafood) followed by the omega-6s (seeds). 'We already have too much omega-6 in our diet,' Dr Richardson reveals, 'so with children, just get loads of omega-3s into them.'
Complex carbohydrates
      May help: Mood swings, extreme behaviour, hyperactivity.
      Where they are found: Porridge oats, oat cakes, brown rice, wholegrains (including wholegrain bread and pasta), beans, lentils, quinoa and most fruit. 'The ideal good-mood cereal is whole oats,' says nutritional therapist Deborah Colson, 'either as muesli or a porridge with fresh fruit added for variety. The next best would be wholegrain toast with an egg or some nut butter - protein food.' What they do: When broken down by the body, these slow-burn carbohydrates produce an even dispersal of glucose through the system - without the highs and lows associated with refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and white flour).

      May help: Depression, impulse control, 

appetite, low self-esteem, anxiety.
      Where it is found: Turkey, chicken, meat, fish, eggs, nuts (especially walnuts), bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, beans, peas, lentils and soya.
      What it does: This 'good mood protein' (an amino acid) is converted by the body into serotonin, a hormone that elevates mood. Some say the amounts are too small to have an effect, others that tryptophan only works on an empty stomach. Eating slow-acting carbs helps the body absorb tryptophan and convert it.
Essential minerals
      May help: ADHD, fidgeting, hyperactivity, violent and antisocial behaviour, poor attention span, irritability, insomnia, lowered IQ.
      Where they are found: Green leafy vegetables, nuts and wholegrains for magnesium (ADHD, fidgeting); lean meat, liver, offal and tinned oily fish for zinc and iron (nervous system, insulin production); dairy produce, canned bony fish, tofu, egg yolk, pulses and figs for calcium (nerves, cell membranes, sleep); Brazil nuts, wheatgerm, molasses, liver, kidney, sunflower seeds, wholewheat bread for selenium (irritability, depression); unrefined grains, mushrooms, prunes, raisins, nuts and asparagus for 

chromium (blood sugar levels).
      What they do: Among other things, they are linked to healthy brain development and IQ - which influence behaviour. Last month, the Government revealed that all 496 schools participating in a national healthy eating programme - with an emphasis on nutrition - achieved better results in English, maths and science.

Essential vitamins
      May help: Hyperactivity, aggression, depression, poor attention, low IQ.
      Where they are found: Citrus fruits, berries and watercress for vitamin C; fresh raw or cooked Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, kale, black-eye beans and yeast extract for B vitamins (folates), in which most school meals are deficient.
      What they do: According to the Food and Mood Project, endorsed by the mental health charity Mind, vitamins C and B are 'good mood vitamins' essential for emotional and mental health. Studies have shown that deficiency in essential vitamins can lead to antisocial behaviour.
Low-GI foods
      May help: Mood swings, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggression.
      Where they are found: Oats, ryebread, 

pumpernickel, pasta and noodles (ideally wholegrain), yams, carrots, baked beans, lentils, dried apricots and other stoned fruits, fruits from temperate climates (not exotics).
      What they do: Like complex carbohydrates, they release glucose slowly into the bloodstream and do not exert a yo-yo effect on mood.   
* * *

Illinois Bills coincide with Autism Awareness Month
      By Kirsten Singleton for the State Journal-Register, Springfield.
      When 6-year-old Jonathan Cellini ran to play touch football, it was a moment a long time in coming.
      "My husband looked at me and said, 'Look at that, Look at that. My God, look at where we've come,'" recalled Jonathan's mother, Laura Cellini of Springfield.
      Jonathan is autistic.
      His mother joined other parents and their children in lobbying legislators Wednesday for help in the fight against autism.
      Gov. Rod Blagojevich has named April

"Autism Awareness Month."
      Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, both spoke during a morning news conference, backed by a number of legislators, encouraging parents to keep fighting.
      "People united cannot be defeated," Quinn said.
      Speakers made note of several bills they are backing:
      * Senate Bill 1698 would create a database of those identified as autistic, which supporters said would aid researchers.
      * House Bill 18 would allow a tax check-off to fund autism research.
      * Senate Bill 3 would create the Giant Steps Autism Center for Excellence pilot program for the study and evaluation of autism.
      * House Bill 1628 is aimed at reducing the quantity of mercury in the environment by removing mercury switches from vehicles before they are scrapped. Proponents say mercury may be a factor in autism.
      Chris Kennedy, legislative chairman of the Autism Society of Illinois, said autistic children such as his daughter can improve if they have access to treatment.
      "My daughter is able to look in my eyes and call me 'Daddy,'" Kennedy said, choking up. "And that is a remarkable thing for a 

4-year-old with autism."
      Brian Rubin has a 24-year-old autistic son and said there are few services available for autistic adults.
      "I'm fortunate enough because I'm vocal, I'm involved. I can get services for my kid. And, fortunately, I can afford to pay for those services," Rubin said. "That's not true for most people in this state. They don't have the knowledge that services are out there if they can find them, and then they don't have the funds to pay. ... It's just not right." 
      [Thanks to Christopher Kennedy.}

* * *
Autism Bill Passes Illinois Senate
Research Bill Passes Unanimously Days After Hundreds Rally in Springfield

      From an announcement from the Autism Society of Illinois
      April 7, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed the Autism Reporting Act, Senate Bill 1698, sponsored by Sen. Terry Link (D-Lake Bluff).  The bill establishes a confidential database for medical research into the causes and treatments of this complex neurological disorder.  Passage of the bill 

comes just two days after hundreds of families rallied in the Capitol in Springfield in support of autism legislation and awareness.
      Hundreds of parents, children, and over a dozen autism organizations led by the Autism Society of Illinois, held the first ever Autism Lobby Day this past Wednesday to help raise awareness among lawmakers of this baffling neurological disorder.  Autism rates have skyrocketed in recent years and now affects 1 of every 166 children born today.  Researchers are baffled by the increase and its causes.
      "The Autism Reporting Act will help scientists and researchers study this complex disorder by pooling medical data on individuals with autism right here in Illinois.  This will focus cutting-edge research on our children and adults with autism, and bring research dollars to our state," said chief sponsor Senator Terry Link.  Doctors who diagnose the condition and family members who wish to contribute data will report information to the Department of Public Health, which will also incorporate existing information from other Illinois departmental databases.  The information will be available only to qualified researchers and will be kept confidential for all other purposes.
      "One of the biggest obstacles to scientific research into the causes and 

treatments for autism is finding and collecting data to study," said Christopher Kennedy, Legislative Chairman of the Autism Society of Illinois and a parent of a young girl with autism.  "This bill will alleviate that problem and help establish Illinois as a leader in autism research, which will benefit all of our families."  Kennedy also noted that the bill has the support of the two largest private autism research foundations in the world, Cure Autism Now and the National Alliance for Autism Research, and the largest autism


     0  Canada's most read autism publication

      0  United Kingdom's most read autism

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A Calendar of Events makes sense.
          Free Listing here        

* Whew! That's a pretty tall claim. Here are details: ~200 editions, times 12 pages each, times ~20,000 circulation comes to 48 million electronic pages per year.

organization in the world, the Autism Society of America.
      Autism Lobby Day was organized by Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, Representative Patricia Bellock (R-Westmont) and the Autism Society of Illinois.  Hundreds of families and representatives from over a dozen autism groups gathered for a press conference and rally in the Capitol.
* * *
Scare Tactics, Preying on Young Parents
      Please do not utilize outdated verified bunk to prey on the emotional vulnerabilities of young parents, who are having enough difficulties obtaining proper medical care to begin with.  Look at real statistics, and then try to defend any position that discourages parents from obtaining vaccines.
      I realize your argument is based on belief systems rather than science, but in the real world, there is no doubt that vaccinations have outpaced any other developments in ‘modern’ medicine.  This frustrates those of us who are trying to benefit children, rather than use scare tactics to harm them.  This is coming from a pediatrician who maintains healthy doses of skepticism about medicine in

      Just don’t scare poor young parents out of making a decision where benefits clearly, unquestionably, and overwhelmingly out weigh any perceived risks.
      - J. M. L.. MD, FAAP, Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
      L. S. Responds: I assume the bunk you are referring to is the vaccine-mercury-autism connection.  If you care to take the time to read David Kirby's Evidence of Harm you might come to appreciate how the real statistics you refer to are contaminated with manipulation by those who have sponsored and researched the data, by those who have far more to protect than the reputations of vaccines  -- like their own duplicity and iatrogenic negligence.  You might also come to appreciate the cold-hearted disregard government medical scientists and practitioners such as yourself have for the ravage done to so many of our children, our families .
        I include you in here as well as your letter says nothing about autism, just as our public health agencies have done virtually nothing to find the cause of its epidemic.   You talk about scare tactics.  There is little 

more frightening than to see the protectors of our public health and our private health turn away from the evidence of harm before them out of self-protection disguised as high moral concern over loss of herd immunity.
      Doctor where is your healthy skepticism when told by the FDA and your own AAP that injecting mercury into babies is perfectly safe?  What toxin would it have to be before your skepticism kicked in, potassium cyanide? plutonium? Where is your concern for the benefit of our autistic children and their siblings to come in all this?
       It appears you may have lost what you had where you lost your skepticism.   If I were a pediatrician, I would take care not to inject any more of my patients with vaccines that contain Thimerosal, if only out of reasonable caution.  If I were a heels-dug-in mercury injecting pediatrician, I would be praying that mercury in medicine is as safe as my belief system and my pharma pocket protector says it is.  The science is not there. -Lenny Schafer
      Dr. L's response, and more letters, in tomorrow's Report. -ed. 

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