The good folks at The Thinking Moms’ Revolution have put out a call to action today, asking anyone interested in autism to write to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Linda S. Birnbaum, to tell the NIEHS what environmental factors that may be triggering autism you think the government should investigate.
Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S
Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
and National Toxicology Program
The latest numbers are staggering: 1 in every 45 American children has an autism spectrum disorder. One organization likens the rise in autism spectrum disorders to a tsunami. I believe that autism — or, perhaps more accurately, the neurological and immunological dysfunction that we are lumping under the umbrella term “autism” — is THE health crisis of our time.
Though I fret that Lyn Redwood’s assertion that the government is going to continue to willfully ignore the iatrogenic causes of autism is correct, I wrote to Linda Birnbaum at 6:00 a.m. this morning.
I hope you will too.
Here’s my letter:
Dear Dr. Linda Birnbaum,
I’m an award-winning science journalist and book author with an interest in children’s health and autism. I am also a Fulbright grantee — I lived and worked in Niger, West Africa in 2006 – 2007. I was also in Niger in the 1990s, working in part on a child survival campaign. I think it is important to have a global perspective on health.
I have a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from Emory.
I’ve been researching possible causes of autism for over ten years. It’s very distressing that in the time I have been looking into what is causing brain damage among America’s children as journalist, the numbers of neurologically compromised American children have continued to go up. I have no personal interest in autism — my four children (ages 16, 14, 12, and 6) are all in excellent health and have not sustained any kind of genetic or environmental brain malfunction.
My extensive research has a journalist has led me to suspect that two environmental factors may be directly contributing to the autism epidemic:
1) Over/ill-timed exposure to prenatal ultrasound. Dr. Manuel Casanova, M.D., proposes one plausible mechanism of how prenatal ultrasound may be disrupting the developing fetal brain. His work dovetails with the work of Eitan Kimmel, Ph.D., in Israel. More about Kimmel’s theories here. We know that autism disproportionately affects boys. This could be accounted for by the difference in timing in fetal development during gestation.
Pasko Rakic, M.D./Ph.D., has been working on this issue for quite some time—conducting a multi-year double blind study on the effects of ultrasound on the brains of primates. I am under the impression that his research is completed. It has not yet been published, to the best of my knowledge. A reminder that in 2006 he said publicly that we should be using the same caution with prenatal ultrasound as we do with x-rays.
2) The use of Acetaminophen, especially before or after infant vaccination. This may be the smoking gun. Please take five minutes to read this outstanding article by Duke University research scientist William Parker, Ph.D., as well as the accompanying references. There is a growing body of science suggesting a possible connection between acetaminophen and brain damage. I think it would be easy and inexpensive to design a really good study on this subject and either put the issue to rest, because it is incorrect, or definitively show that acetaminophen should be taken off the market. We know that autism disproportionately affects boys. This could be accounted for by the more pronounced effects of acetaminophen in the presence of testosterone.
I imagine you are already familiar with these issues but I’d be delighted to send you more information or to talk on the phone, if that would be helpful.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D.