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Happy Third Birthday to Age of Autism!

Posted Nov 10 2010 12:00am

Editor's note: This post ran on November 10, 2007

Welcome to The Age of Autism, the nation's first daily Web newspaper for the environmental-biomedical community – those who believe autism is an environmentally induced illness, that it is treatable, and that children can recover. For the most part, the major media in the United States aren't interested in that point of view, they won't investigate the causes and possible biomedical treatments of autism independently, and they don't listen to the most important voices – those of the parents. We will do all those things, and more.

To illustrate the difference The Age of Autism will make, consider the way the Baltimore Sun edited a story about Jenny McCarthy, who believes that vaccines triggered her child's autism and that biomedical treatments are a big part of his remarkable and ongoing improvement. Here are phrases that were taken out of the story that originally ran in the Chicago Tribune, as noted by Anne Dachel, who will be Age of Autism's media editor:   

1)  Autism is "something McCarthy believes was triggered by vaccines." Deleted.

2)  "It's not just that she is voicing the same thing parents have been saying for years ('We vaccinated our babies and something happened') on high-profile programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live." Deleted.

3) "DAN! also provides contacts for the approximately 600 doctors in the U.S. who use complementary and alternative therapies to treat autism." Deleted.

4) "McCarthy wasn't about to wait for evidence-based medicine; she felt she had a limited window of time to pull her son back into this world." Deleted.

What the (deleted)!? And what an irony that Baltimore is where autism was first diagnosed, and that the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist who did so was the first of many to miss the environmental clues that could have kept hundreds of thousands more cases from ever happening. How can we trust the mainstream media to cover the autism epidemic when they themselves censor important information and skew the discussion toward the tired old genetic argument? Even the fact that autism rates are soaring – self-evident to anyone with eyes to see, and clear evidence of an environmental trigger – is treated as a big question mark by the media and public health officials. At The Age of Autism, we're not going to let those suffering from epidemic denial -- E.D., as our editor-at-large Mark Blaxill calls it -- waste our time or delay urgent research into What's Going On (the apt name of Mark's landmark epidemiology review).

As many of you know, I wrote the Age of Autism column for United Press International for two years, and I became convinced by my own reporting that autism's origins are recent -- triggered by something new in the environment -- and that treatment can work. I located the very first case ever described in the medical literature, Donald T., and heard from his brother the remarkable story of Donald's recovery from severe autism when gold salts were used to treat his juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. To state the obvious: The very first case of autism recovered with biomedical treatment, but the doctors ignored it because they were so busy blaming parents. Now they don't blame parents for causing autism, they just blame them for trying to do anything about it.

I'm proud to team up with several people who have done a great deal about it, both for their own children and for the autism community at large: Managing Editor Kim Stagliano, mom of three autistic daughters who still found time to write for Rescue Post and for Huffington Post with a brand of hard-won humor that is uniquely hers; and editor-at-large Mark Blaxill. They and J.B. Handley were instrumental in bringing this site to life, along with our founding sponsors SafeMinds, Generation Rescue and TACA. [Now including the Autism Research Institute and Lee Silsby.]

The Age of Autism will be wide-open and transparent in its reporting and commentary on causes and treatments; I am beholden to no individual, organization or fixed point of view. My commitment is to in-depth reporting. I am not a social worker or an autism parent, I'm a journalist drawn to what I called, in my last UPI column, "the story of a lifetime." Based on my own work, I do believe mercury – including the horrendously neurotoxic ethyl mercury in vaccines – is clearly implicated in the rise of autism, and that its continued use in flu shots for children and pregnant women is catastrophic. So is the expanding use of thimerosal in vaccines shipped to developing countries where (no surprise) autism rates are soaring.

Generation Rescue did a phone survey showing much lowers rates of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, in never-vaccinated kids. That study demonstrated by example that such children are not at all hard to find in the United States, contrary to the protests of the CDC. Again, the media ignored this startling survey when they weren't belittling it – another sign of journalistic group-think from those who believe whatever "the experts" tell them.

We're not going to settle for that. We'll follow the truth wherever it leads, and we hope you'll come along with us and, if you can manage it, donate to The Age of Autism and help us pursue this story. Fasten your seat belts – it's going to be a bumpy ride.

All the best,

Dan Olmsted

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