A Radical Behaviorist

Observations and comments about autism, behavior, and learning.

Troubled Waters For Autism’s False Prophets

 There has been no sound scientific evidence establishing a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Read More

Very Informative Article

Thank you, this article had helped me make an educated decision on this issue concerning my own family. Very well written.

New Mother

Thanks for the positive feedback and best of luck.

Offit is a Vaccine Patent Holder-

You are either quite misinformed or have a bias regarding vaccines and autism. Offit's involvement is more than a bias, as well as Stephen Barrett's. For more on Offit, read below-


For those of you who are new to the autism-vaccine saga, the Chicago Tribune keeps sinking to new lows with its coverage. In November, they had an article that described an ugly divorce in which a disgruntled father was fighting for custody of his autistic child. Now this past March 4th, they came out with part 2 in that family's personal drama. This time the father is suing the Defeat Autism Now! doctors, "family-practice physicians Dr. Anjum Usman of Naperville and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. — are prominent in the Defeat Autism Now! movement.....Both have spoken to groups of parents at autism conferences and trained other physicians in their methods." HERE

Being prominent in the DAN! movement, speaking at autism conferences and training other doctors has the potential for making you a prime target for possible trumped up lawsuits. The child is reported to be "a playful, funny and outgoing 7-year-old" per his father in November 2009 yet the Tribune reports the father "alleging they harmed the child with "dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments." I need to insert here that my daughter is also a patient of Dr. Usman so I consider myself very fortunate for that as well as more than a casual observer in this story. Both of these doctors, Usman and Rossignol. are passionate and tremendous in their care to our children and commitment as medical doctors. I find myself suspicious of this lawsuit on many levels.

While googling to find the Tribune article, I instead found Orac's site. Who is Orac? Well, suffice to say that he has some mysterious desire to want autism to be only a genetic disorder. He gets upset if you discuss vaccines or the environment as causative factors. The usual suspects of the neurodiverse world and the assorted anonymous Wackosphere characters were hanging out at his site with their typical sarcasm and "blood-thirsty" DAN! comments. Orac though was beyond his usual histrionic self as his comments were pointed at the exact wording of the lawsuit. He actually had the lawsuit in a pdf file for the taking on his site! Now how, within hours of the Trib posting and to be exact, the Trib article by Patricia Callahan was posted online at 5:19 p.m. CST, March 4, 2010 and Orac had his pdf and blog up at March 5, 2010 3:00 AM. Appears to be quite bizarre and a bit suspicious?

What makes this even more concerning is that Dr. Usman herself had not received the lawsuit, all 46 pages to be exact, yet anyone could obtain it from Orac. The question remains how did Orac get it and who gave it to him? He is a vocal critic of the research on the environment/vaccines causing autism reality and spends an inordinate amount of time protesting research and treatments as he blogs to what appears to be an agenda, and now displaying lawsuits to try and shut them up. But why?

Included in the suit are the names of the attorneys. Another odd thing is that one is from California and happens to have been spotted on a website with Dr. Stephen Barrett. I had written about Barrett here. Also, the Tribune has covered this divorced family now twice though they are not famous in any way except they have a child with autism. Here we have some regular folks, not stars and not politicians yet their personal saga of autism is all over the big, old Chicago Tribune, not once, but twice. How come I have missed the tales in the Trib of couples divorcing with children of cochlear implants or alternative cancer treatments bashing it out and dragging their Loyola Hospital doctors into it?

I find this all to be strange, odd and worthy of questions. I'll end with some comments posted to the Tribune in their latest soap opera drama passing as news. There are so many children who have been struck down into a medical illness called "autism" and THAT is the story the Tribune keeps purposefully missing.

My comment:

My daughter is a patient of Dr. Usman's and I have nothing but praise and sincere appreciation for the care and medical treatment we have received. Megan, who just turned 17 this week, regressed after a series of vaccines as a toddler. She lost language, began to withdraw and then started to exhibit symptoms of autism, loss of eye contact, repetitive movements, and isolation. More importantly, she began to have one illness after another, have pain and GI distress for years. Dr. Usman was the only doctor who actually helped my daughter these recent years, after numerous office visits to pediatricians, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and so on as they offered nothing but psychoactive medications or worse, institutionalization.

My daughter had intense GI pain and an inflammatory response due to food allergies, chronic bacterial infections, mitochondrial dysfunction, originating from a huge body burden of toxic metals, high viral titers, and an impaired immune system. Megan's existence has changed from one of head banging, biting, lashing out at others to a new, pain-free life filled with joy, laughter, and an increased ability to learn at school, where she has been promoted from the more severe, 1:1 classroom to an independent track, where she is learning how to type on the computer.

An angry divorced father is not a reason for this attack. Dr. Usman is a doctor of integrity and medical hope for an epidemic of children who on paper, have a list of behaviors though in reality, they are medically ill and have been abandoned by the American Academy of Pediatrics and most standard physicians. Instead of believing this angry father and his very suspicious legal team it is time for the Tribune and the media to believe us, the parents who have witnessed first the regression of our children and now the healing that only the Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors are providing.

Comments from the Tribune website:

"Dr. Rossignol is my son's physician and has been the most caring and professional doctor we have had the opportunity to work with. He has caught problems with my son that have been previously overlooked by the other MDs in our life and he has given my son back his voice. He is always cautious and backs his recommendations with lots of research."

"When no other doctor would help unravel the numerous medical conditions afflicting our son, both Dr. Rossignol and Dr. Usman realized that all was due to a single cause, mitochondrial disease. They took the time to research and integrate science from numerous, specialized journals to discover what is effecting these children and how we can treat them safely and effectively as possible. The simple fact is, they are ahead of their colleagues, and brave enough to ask questions, seek answers, integrate and utilize proven science to help alleviate the suffering of these children, in an extraordinary effort to help them make progress in communicating, responding, and relating to the world around them."

"I'm the mother of a 7 year old with ASD. At 12 months our son was engaged and reaching all developmental milestones. 10 days after his MMR shot, he regressed: seizures, eye contact lost, vocalizations ceased, motor development halted, visual abilities regressed, sensory issues and severe diarrhea emerged. The worst, we could not console him as he lost all connectivity with his family and the world. While investigating his unraveling, we learned that he also had a stroke and "gliosis, brain inflammation. All the doctors ignored the real possibility that he had Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis as a result of his vaccination. Instead, an Autism diagnosis was slapped on and his real suffering and pain ignored. With little support from mainstream physicians, we pursued biomedical interventions with both Dr. Usman and Dr. Rossignol, the two doctors your paper so carelessly disparage in a series of articles that can best be described as a witch hunt, not a journalistic endeavor fairly revealing two sides of a debate."

"Before Dr. Usman, Noah could not speak so it was easy for one to judge his repeated groans and moans as the actions of a mentally defective child, rather than a little boy in excruciating pain. He now has over 100 words. Thanks to probiotics, enzymes, and a gluten-casein free diet, his bowels have improved dramatically. His skin conditions have disappeared. This would not have been possible if not for Dr. Usman."

"My five year old son has been a patient of Dr. Rossignol for two and a half years now. He is the most thorough doctor we have ever worked with. Our pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist, etc., declined to run basic bloodwork or even acknowledge that my autistic three year old was chronically ill when he was missing forty plus days of school a year due to constant vomiting, fatigue and repeated viruses. It was Dr. Rossignol who discovered my sons severe reflux. Dr. Rossignol who ran blood work and discovered he was anemic and severely deficient in Vitamin D. Dr. Rossignol who discovered my child was developing a pectus due to nutritional deficiencies. How could his pediatrician miss a pectus? Our ped might as well have been treating my child over the phone, sight unseen, for all help they gave my son. My son was in the 15-20th percentile for height/weight consistently since his one year check up. Now, at five he is in the 60-70th percentile after the gfcf diet and cutting out food allergies. At two he slept about five hours a day, now he sleeps twelve hours a night. At five and a half he no longer meets the diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of autism, Asperger's or any other ASD. We owe this in large part (VERY large part) to Dr. Rossignol and his fantastic standard of medical care. Not only did my son survive chelation, but he is recovered and thriving."

"A DAN! Doctor found that my Autistic son's white cells were attacking his brain, a common condition in regressive autism. This doctor stopped that brain autoimmunity in it's tracks and I will be forever grateful. A pediatrician or neurologist would not have even known they SHOULD test for this because they do not treat Autism. Yup, you heard me: neither pediatricians, neurologists, or The Chicago Tribune treat Autism"

How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders?
Sharyl Attkisson Investigates Vaccine Advocates Taking Funding From The Companies Whose Vaccines They Endorse

"Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) took home a fortune of at least $29 million as part of a $182 million sale by CHOP of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine"


If scientific evidence is a biased position

I'm guilty! I'd say that to quote/link to AoA articles while calling Dr. Offit and Dr. Barrett on conflicts of interest is the ultimate irony. The same could be said of the DAN! Drs. Their conferences are a means of drumming up business.

Teresa Conrick

Has actually been immortalized by a posting on Orac's Respectful Insolence:


Part of here comment on this post is copied from her posting on AoA. It was excerpted on RI. The comments on that post may be interesting to folks.

Very mature reply, Doc, as

Very mature reply, Doc, as was Orac's post itself (please note my sarcasm). Teresa's article in AoA brought up some interesting points of "coincidence" relating to the filing of this suit -- a suit that appears to be meritless given the father's interview in November in which his comments negate there being any actual harm to the child. Indeed, by all accounts, the child's clinical manifestations improved with treatment.



Washington (CNN) -- A federal court ruled Friday that the evidence supporting an alleged causal link between autism and a mercury-containing preservative in vaccines is unpersuasive, and that the families of children diagnosed with autism are not entitled to compensation.

Special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims released more than 600 pages of findings after reviewing three test cases and finding all the claims wanting.

"Petitioners' theory of vaccine-related causation is scientifically unsupportable," wrote Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith in her conclusion about William P. Mead, whose parents, George and Victoria Mead, had brought one of the suits.

"In the absence of a sound medical theory causally connecting William's received vaccines to his autistic condition, the undersigned cannot find the proposed sequence of cause and effect to be logical or temporally appropriate. Having failed to satisfy their burden of proof under the articulated legal standard, petitioners cannot prevail on their claim of vaccine-related causation."

Paul Offit an autism expert?

Paul Offit an autism expert? He makes his living, an incredibly lucrative living, by promoting vaccines and denying any link to the harm they can cause in some people.

The truth of the matter is that yes, a subset of kids who follow the routine childhood vaccination schedule have had their lives and futures destroyed by them.

Parents who rightfuly look for answers are accused of being anti-science or looking for something to blame. Studies are undertook to DISPROVE the link, not to find out why so many kids are becoming neurologicaly damaged after vaccines.

It is pretty basic stuff. When a baby with a developing brain and immune system is given dozens of things that are meant to trick the immune system into belieiving something that didn't happend DID happen, problems can occur.

Paul Offit is an abomination of science and morality. He perpetuates the cover up that allows more children to fall victim to vaccine injury.

I wouldn't want to be him on Judgement Day.

No one is implying

That Dr. Offit is an autism expert. And it is entirely fair that anti-vaccinationists are being labeled anti-science. Just like we'd call a creationist anti evolution. I also feel no need to defend Dr. Offit, he does a fine job on his own. Having worked with many children who have had rotavirus, I'm glad there is a vaccine out there for that childhood disease.

No one?

In fact, by publishing a book entitled Autism's False Prophets, and making himself available to discuss his views on autism causation and treatment with any and all media outlets, Dr. Offit has represented himself to be an expert in autism. Call me silly if you wish, but I think I would go with someone who actually examines and treats autistic patients (and preferably, someone who does not subscribe to the dead paradigm of autism being a distinct mental disorder unrelated to actual physical sickness).

Dr. Offit

PAUL OFFIT, M.D., is Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics and Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

And your point is? My point

And your point is?

My point was in direct response to your saying that no one was holding out Paul Offit to be an expert in autism. We are all well aware of Dr. Offit's titles, but those have no bearing on qualifications to discuss autism, a subject on which he most assuredly holds himself out as an expert.

No worries here

So psychologists are handing out the "autism' label left and right. "It is a psychological disorder" so they say,based on a checklist of characteristics that have been bundled together. Not one blood, stool or urine test -just a checklist according to the DSM-IV. The real question should be---what is causing that child not to talk or have eye contact? Why is that child throwing things and smearing is bowels on the wall? Why is that child lining their toys up and spinning around and around? Why?? Something psychologists handing out this label are not asking. Possible answers? For those of you who have had morning sickness or the flu---the nausea that takes over, the feeling of vomiting, the burn up the back of your throat, the tight pain in your stomach doesn't really put you in the mood to talk, does it? I know I was just concentrating on not vomiting and barely looking at people incase moving your head or body in the wrong direction will set off more stomach and intestine discomfort. Eating - painful in itself. How about that spinning? Do you remember being a kid and spinning on the tire swing or loving carnival rides? You could do it for hours at a time if our parents would let us -it felt great, parts of your body felt different in a great way...Doesn't it make sense that those kids with stomach pain, nausea, cramping would choose to do those things because for a few minutes or hours of their day they don't feel sick to their stomachs? Lining things up, flapping, etc...same thing - they can zone out and try to escape their pain, something only blood, urine and stool tests can confirm along with a few other medical tests can confirm. This reliance on a checklist is insane, do some real medical testing. Why do you think so many of these kids are recovering, classic Autism is not recoverable? These medical professional - Dr. Usman, Barry Smeltzer PA-C,Dr. Rossignal, Dr. Brown, Dr. Kartinzel and more are recovering their bodies from the damage done and these kids are loosing their diagnosises left and right.

NO troubled waters for any of us who have seen the results of these tests and have seen our child talk , make eye contact, stop flapping and loose their diagnosises...Whether they had it and it was taken or they never had it to begin with. Psychologists get with the program - a checklist, seriously? Adrenal Fatigue, hypothyroidism, and Estrogeon dominance all have the same checklist of symptoms - but any medical professional would tell you medical tests need to be done to determine which one it is - the course of treatment is completely different for each one of those.

Go read my other posts

Referenced in the current posting for counters to the notion of there being more GI problems in kids with ASDs. There is no sound evidence. Such anecdotes don't count.

Never said they had more

Never said they had more moran! Can't you read? Apparently looking at both sides is not an option for you.

GI problems do affect many

GI problems do affect many children labeled with Autism. Check your studies - apparently your lack of medical expertise in that area has not helped you. How were those studies conducted? What tests were run? When were the tests run? I have read most if not all and you apparently need to read them to see the giant holes in these studies.

What about all the kids who are being helped by DAN! clinicians that are loosing their diagnosises left and right after healing their bodies. They are loosing their diagnosises via re-evaluation from a psychologist. Where all these kids misdiagnosed by psychologists?

Has ABA, by itself, ever recovered a child from autism?

Dear Dr. Ahearn,

Please list cases of children with an autism diagnosis who have recovered from autism (no longer have the diagnosis) solely from ABA therapy. Dr. Kenneth Bock, MD, says in his book, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, that ABA MUST be combined with biomedical treatments in order for true recovery to occur. I know of children who have recovered through biomedical interventions combined with therapies (OT, PT, SLP, and ABA).

My son is a patient of Dr. Usman's. Chelation is NEVER the first line of treatment for children with autism. (My son has not received any chelation therapy, and will not receive it if he does not need it.) Dr. Ahearn, it is unbelievable that you have no knowledge of the GI issues that autistic children have. Just do a search on google scholar. Do you even know how the GI tract, the immune system, and the nervous system are related physiologically?

My son was diagnosed with moderate level autism on May 29th, 2009. He is currently 3 1/2 years old. He began biomedical interventions on September 25th, 2009. Prior to these interventions, he kept to himself, had very poor eye contact, had severely limited play skills, and had an attention span of about 15 seconds. He is pre-verbal. These are the treatments that have helped my son:

Vitamin D3: Increased eye contact and social interaction w/in 1-2 days from start of treatment.

Removing Casein from diet: Increased eye contact and social interaction within 1-2 days.

Removing soy: Disappearance of night terrors.

Methyl B12 subcutaneous injections: Began pointing, began examining paintings and details in books, became "aware" of the world outside of himself. (Notices the trees, different surfaces, is extremely curious.) Able to sit with supervision (no physical assistance) for 25-30 minutes with a group of children. Increased verbalizations.

DMG: Began interactive play, including throwing a ball back and forth 16 times in a row. (Compared to just throwing it at another person.)

Cod Liver Oil: Started sharing with others.

In terms of ABA versus occupational therapy, OT is what has long lasting benefits b/c it addresses the child's sensory disregulation and muscle tone. It is client centered, meaning it focuses on what is meaningful to the individual child and his parents.

The speech therapist who my son sees has a PhD in speech and audiology; he uses an approach that is heavily based on neuroscience. My son's reward with his SLP is when the therapist has my son point to himself while the therapist says, "I did it!" My son needs to have internal pride in what HE has accomplished; he should not be looking for another human being to "reward" him or approve of his behavior. (ABA, from what I understand, focuses on external rewards, including candy and adult approval/praise.)

Please, please, please do your research better before you write another article about this. Or, better yet, attend a few days of the DAN! conference in April so that you can meet and hear from the DAN! practitioners themselves. You have an enormous amount of knowledge to learn about biomedical interventions. Your focus should be on recovering children from autism, even if it involves more than your own type of expertise.


Amy L. Gfesser, BA-Psychology, MS, OTR/L

Recovery or optimal outcome

Go back and read the following post on this topic:


Early intensive behavioral intervention is the only treatment method that has rigorous evidence supporting its effectiveness.
The evidence for sensory "treatment" is, beyond anecdote, nil.

Go to aota.org

The studies that have been published in AJOT about sensory integration and improvements in the functional performance of children with ASD have not had significant results. Most of the studies have shown to have a positive influence on the children's behavior, however. The studies were not rigorous enough to show statistical significance. I would not call that "nil".

You are not an author in any of the studies that you quoted in the article that you posted a link to. You talk about all of the children who are doing so well in your program. Isn't the latter anecdotal evidence? The study that discusses long term effects of behavioral therapy is in a journal called Mental Retardation; MR and autism are two distinct diagnoses. (The study looks at children who are, what I would call, developmentally delayed.)

One study says that children are in a mainstream classroom after having behavioral therapy. Does it mention if they have an aide? Does it discuss their overall health: emotional, physical, and intellectual? Are they recovered from autism and all of its concurrent physical ailments? Are they on prescription medication? If their whole bodies are not healed, and they are on prescription meds, I would hardly call that recovery. The study only shows that they are in a mainstream classroom. As an OT, I care about the complete health of the child.

Dr. Ahearn, you live in a very small world if you are not researching the physiological basis of autism and biomedical treatments. You also limit yourself by only using the scientific method. (I have met one other person like you, who appears to treat the scientific method as if it were God Almighty. Do you bow down and worship it?)

Again, I urge you to attend a DAN! conference yourself. The only people I have ever heard calling other health professionals "quacks" are medical professionals who either feel threatened by the people they call "quacks", or they are unable to comprehend the methodology that the other professionals use. (For instance, my diagnostic radiologist friends describe psychiatrists and psychologists as "quacks". In general, I do not agree with them.)

I am sure that you are aware of the Home First practice in Rolling Meadows, IL, where there are only a few cases of ASDs among 35,000 children who are, or have been, patients of the practice. None of these children have been vaccinated. The incidence of ASD should be around 3500 if vaccines are not involved in triggering autism. This evidence is not a double blind study though, so you will pay no attention to it.

Being intelligent does give one wisdom, Dr. Ahrean. Spend some time "on the couch" and gain some insight into why you so rigid in your beliefs.

Amy L Gfesser, BA, MS, OTR/L

No rigidity here

I listen to evidence as it comes in. SI = nonsense is what the literature tells me.

Bill, Aparently you have a


Aparently you have a lot more reading to do on how effective ABA is and current studies:


ABA efficacy

Perhaps you have more reading to do:

Meta-Analysis of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
for Children With Autism

Eldevik, Hastings, Hughes, Jahr, Eikeseth, Cross
Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 38(3), 439–450, 2009

A systematic literature search for studies reporting effects of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention identified 34 studies, 9 of which were controlled designs having either a comparison or a control group. We completed a meta-analysis yielding a standardized mean difference effect size for two available outcome measures: change in full-scale intelligence and=or adaptive behavior composite. Effect sizes were computed using
Hedges’s g. The average effect size was 1.10 for change in full-scale intelligence (95% confidence interval¼.87, 1.34) and .66 (95% confidence interval¼.41, .90) for change in adaptive behavior composite. These effect sizes are generally considered to be large and moderate, respectively. Our results support the clinical implication that at present, and in the absence of other interventions with established efficacy, Early Intensive
Behavioral Intervention should be an intervention of choice for children with autism.

This Just In

As you like to evaluate research as it comes in, I wanted to draw your attention to this, which came in Thursday:


Mercury induces inflammatory mediator release from human mast cells

Duraisamy Kempuraj email, Shahrzad Asadi email, Bodi Zhang email, Akrivi Manola email, Jennifer Hogan email, Erika Peterson email and Theoharis C Theoharides email

Journal of Neuroinflammation 2010, 7:20doi:10.1186/1742-2094-7-20
Published: 11 March 2010


Mercury is known to be neurotoxic, but its effects on the immune system are less well known. Mast cells are involved in allergic reactions, but also in innate and acquired immunity, as well as in inflammation. Many patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have "allergic" symptoms; moreover, the prevalence of ASD in patients with mastocytosis, characterized by numerous hyperactive mast cells in most tissues, is 10-fold higher than the general population suggesting mast cell involvement. We, therefore, investigated the effect of mercuric chloride (HgCl2) on human mast cell activation.


Human leukemic cultured LAD2 mast cells and normal human umbilical cord blood-derived cultured mast cells (hCBMCs) were stimulated by HgCl2 (0.1-10 microM) for either 10 min for beta-hexosaminidase release or 24 h for measuring vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and IL-6 release by ELISA.


HgCl2 induced a 2-fold increase in beta-hexosaminidase release, and also significant VEGF release at 0.1 and 1 microM (311+/-32 pg/10*6 cells and 443+/-143 pg/10*6 cells, respectively) from LAD2 mast cells compared to control cells (227+/-17 pg/10*6 cells, n=5, p<0.05). Addition of HgCl2 (0.1 microM) to the proinflammatory neuropeptide substance P (SP, 0.1 microM) had synergestic action in inducing VEGF from LAD2 mast cells. HgCl2 also stimulated significant VEGF release (360 +/- 100 pg/10*6 cells at 1 microM, n=5, p<0.05) from hCBMCs compared to control cells (182 +/-57 pg/10*6 cells), and IL-6 release (466+/-57 pg/10*6 cells at 0.1 microM) compared to untreated cells (13+/-25 pg/10*6 cells, n=5, p<0.05). Addition of HgCl2 (0.1 microM) to SP (5 microM) further increased IL-6 release.


HgCl2 stimulates VEGF and IL-6 release from human mast cells. This phenomenon could disrupt the blood-brain-barrier and permit brain inflammation. As a result, the findings of the present study provide a biological mechanism for how low levels of mercury may contribute to ASD pathogenesis.

Anonymous because I am not

Anonymous because I am not much interested in a big hassle with commenters on this since I have my own child on the spectrum, usually prefer to keep my own consul, and just wanted to leave these additional references.

To the person citing Spreckley & Boyd,
If you are going to flog this single reference as an evidentiary report (which by nature of the type of study selected concentrated on RCTs), you might want to take note of their conclusion on page 343, that
"―the overwhelming majority of children with ASD change over time as part of their development as opposed to change resulting from an intervention",
If the purpose of using that citation as ad hominem against ABA and, ergo, supporting your own point of view for some other therapy bearing responsibility for improvements, you might consider that the above statement by those authors does not seem to come out strongly on your side, either, and suggests that they would not necessarily favor any treatment. Just a suggestion that one might want to read an entire article, not just the abstract, what studies were included and the parameters of the meta-analysis. In fact the methods of analysis in that article has received some criticism, and the question of inclusion of SS research v. RCT is certainly the subject of some debate in evidence-based practice.

Just in the interest that there might be more than selecting a single article to make a point; while one article can possibly provide information, there was also subsequent reply to the article cited,
Smith, T., Eikeseth, S., Sallows, G.O., & Graupner, M.S. (2009). Efficacy of applied behavior analysis in autism. The Journal of Pediatrics, 155(1), 151-152.
[These folks replied as the authors of the studies used in the metaanalysis]

There are also another metaanalysis, which is currently in corrected proof, so it is still subject to formal publication,
Makrygianni, M.K., & Reed, P. (2010). A meta-analytic review of the effectiveness of behavioural early intervention programs for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Reichow, B. & Wolery, M. (2009). Comprehensive synthesis of early intensive behavioral interventions for young children with autism based on the UCLA young autism project model. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 23-41.

I expect that there are others, and certainly a broad literature worthy of review, but I'll stop here in the interest of brevity. For others, try PubMed.

Additional evidence

Thanks for the comment, you nicely support the argument that there IS evidence for behavioral interventions. I certainly understand the wish to avoid the attacks that may come from some commenters on this thread. Then again, you are merely pointing to real treatment outcomes with actual evidence of efficacy. The metaanalyses are good places to start for the general evidence as they pull together information across smaller studies.

So I can hear more nonsense from DAN?


Washington (CNN) -- A federal court ruled Friday that the evidence supporting an alleged causal link between autism and a mercury-containing preservative in vaccines is unpersuasive, and that the families of children diagnosed with autism are not entitled to compensation.

Special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims released more than 600 pages of findings after reviewing three test cases and finding all the claims wanting.

"Petitioners' theory of vaccine-related causation is scientifically unsupportable," wrote Special Master Patricia Campbell-Smith in her conclusion about William P. Mead, whose parents, George and Victoria Mead, had brought one of the suits.

"In the absence of a sound medical theory causally connecting William's received vaccines to his autistic condition, the undersigned cannot find the proposed sequence of cause and effect to be logical or temporally appropriate. Having failed to satisfy their burden of proof under the articulated legal standard, petitioners cannot prevail on their claim of vaccine-related causation."

Ummm....like the government

Ummm....like the government does lie? or cover up anything??? I am sure with the pharma hands in the post and the millions they have to loose that truth will forever be covered up by our government....It doesn' t matter - we have seen the truth right before our eyes. Language one day to disappear the day after their shots. Titers tests showing Hep B is at 100 - immunity is 1. Those results were 2 years after the last vaccination...Feel free to insert your foot into your mouth. But then again that is medical sciencific fact not pschological mumbo jumbo...

Happy sailing for my son recovering from autism!

"There has been no sound scientific evidence establishing a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism"

And there has been no sound scientific evidence discrediting a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism either. The research that has been used to attempt to clear mercury is horrible at best and criminal at worst. (See the new revelations Poul Thorsen, of the absurd Denmark mercury study that CDC uses to back its 'no association' stance has fled Denmark with two million dollars of his former university's money after forging CDC papers to get the school to front him the cash... note that CDC is not concerned about this at all.. hmmmmmm).

Denmark study was invalid, as the second last paragraph tells the reader that the database used was changed from inpatient cases to begin to include both inpatient and outpatient cases at the time thimerosal was removed from vaccines, accounting for the rise; Verstraeten actually found a 600% increased chance of autism between no thimerosal and high thimerosal groups and was changed over the course of four years to try to 'unfind' it, and ultimately didn't actually measure anything and because of the bizarre methodology used and now can't be applied to any group or anyone in the real world (Julie Gerberding was forced to admit to congress that it was useless, but would not say it publicly); Fombonne believes that if mercury is not in the blood of typical children then it cannot possibly be in the brains of children with autism (brilliant); vaccine uptake rates in one city are compared to autism rates in another city (now that is some sound science, boy howdy); and, my personal favorite) having to sit in a university lecture and hear a state head epidemiologist claim that the fall 2007 NEJM article, "Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years" proved that vaccines don't cause autism, and having to point out to her that autism was part of the exclusion criteria for the study, and that the third sentence of the abstract read: "We did not assess autism-spectrum disorders."

Yet all this garbage gets published and you swallow it! Do you just see what you want to see because you want vaccines to be only good and never harmful?

Mercury kills and inhibits the growth of brain cells, causes mitochondrial disorders, suppresses the immune system, and causes heart disease, and does it all at nanomolar amounts... tiny fractions of the doses found in vaccines. Neuron death starts at exposure to a solution of merely .5 parts per billion, and the flu shot contains 25,000 parts per billion of mercury! None of that is disputed!

from Pediatrics:

"0.5 parts per billion (ppb) mercury = Kills human neuroblastoma cells (Parran et al., Toxicol Sci 2005; 86: 132-140).

2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html#mcls

20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).

200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste. http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mercury/regs.htm#hazwaste

25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.

50,000 ppb Mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990's to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age. Current "preservative" level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials."

But you claim that it is safe to give to babies?! You are out of your mind!

My son, who regressed into autism after his 18 month vaccinations (there is NO research into the four shots - 7 vaccines - that he was given on that day and what they do when administered in combination). Within 48 hours of having him on the GFCF diet he started making eye contact and answering to his name again (along with his first normal bowel movements in years). The FIRST day we gave him an oral dose of DMSA he called me "mommy" for the first time since his regression ten months earlier. When we began IV EDTA chelation for his lead and mercury, he made a DRAMATIC improvement over the course of only two weeks. My neighbors comment, "What is going on with Chandler? He is playing with my son!". When I told her about the chelation, her comment, "It is like you adopted a whole new kid". We did it on and off for two years, quite aggressively, with no side effects except that once his labs showed that his iron was, "a little low" so we gave upped the iron in his supplements.

The questions is not, "does chelation work". It works. The question is, "which kids will it work for and which kids is it too hard on". Pretty much the same question as chemotherapy or antibiotics or vaccines or Tylenol or any other pharmaceutical!

An important note missing from your article... the chelation death referenced here was a medical accident. The child had lead poisoning and was give the wrong drug on accident (Disodium EDTA, instead of Calcium Disodium EDTA), a chelator meant only for adults and never for children. The same thing happened to typical child who was being chelated for lead in Texas. Medical accidents happen every day in this country and his death has no relationship to the proper chelation of children using IV Calcium Disodium EDTA (where important minerals that are leeched from the body during the process are always replaced via supplementation).

Why do you keep pushing this "oooohhhh... autism treatment is dangerous... be very afraid" scare tactics? It has not worked for the last five years, and the reason it has not worked is that everyone has a friend with a kid with autism, who has SEEN WITH THEIR OWN EYES the changes that happen in our kids when we treat them. And you look ridiculous pushing a claim that Paul Offit (vaccine millionaire and vaccine industry spokesperson), a man WHO ADMITS THAT HE HAS NEVER TREATED A CHILD WITH AUTISM, KNOWN A CHILD WITH AUTISM, AND IN FACT DOES NOT TREAT ANY CHILDREN AT ALL, is a man to be believed over the conversation you just had with a child who couldn't talk last month.

And Scientific Consensus my eye. Not at the conferences I go to. And more and more docs every year are being more vaccine cautious and more open to autism treatment.

The only consensus that vaccines don't cause autism and autism can't be treated are among professionals whose livelihoods (and reputations) depend on those dying paradigms remain accepted "science".

Yesterday I had the pleasure of picking my son up from school and hearing his one on one aid, pushing back tears, tell me what an amazing day she had with him, and how he listened in music class and did everything right and how she didn't even have to repeat any instructions and how one of his classmates (Connor) said, "He's becoming more normal!" after only six days getting more oxygen to his brain via Hypberbaric Oxygen Therapy.

I guess Paul Offit should come visit the second grade and tell Connor that he is not really seeing Chandler 'become more normal' because there is no sound research on the matter.

I will take Connor's peer review over Offit's peer review any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

And has any one notice that this dad has not alleged that any harm was done to his child?

Ginger Taylor, MS, Clinical Counseling
Happy Mom to Chandler who is recovering!!

Glad your son is doing well

You state:
Why do you keep pushing this "oooohhhh... autism treatment is dangerous... be very afraid" scare tactics? It has not worked for the last five years, and the reason it has not worked is that everyone has a friend with a kid with autism, who has SEEN WITH THEIR OWN EYES the changes that happen in our kids when we treat them.

Because these are not autism treatments. With the number of children with ASDs I've worked with over the years, my experience is very different. Biomedical quackery doesn't work, only providing the educational and clinical supports necessary to live a happy independent life work. The difference between our opinions is that I do not rely on the anecdote rather I rely on scientific evidence.


Dr. A,

Your experience over the years does not matter, in your opinion. Double blind studies are what matter and statistical significance. What studies have YOU published about the children that you have worked with? Did the results show significance?

You define "autism treatments" from your perspective as a psychologist. Are you so self-centered that you do not realize that there are medically proven perspectives that differ from psychology's? Autism is a biomedical disorder.

You are the one who is a quack!

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Bill Ahearn is Director of Research at the New England Center for Children, a private nonprofit educational facility for children with autism.


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