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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. May 14, 2008

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


Leading Dr.: Vaccines-Autism Worth Study
CBS News Exclusive: Former Head Of NIH Says Government Too Quick To Dismiss Possible Link

(CBS) CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson wrote this story for CBSNews.com.


Jordan King was a typical baby. His parents called him vocal and vivacious.

Then just before age 2, after a large battery of vaccinations, he simply withdrew from the world.

"The real scary thing was when I noticed he wasn't looking at us any more in the eyes," Mylinda King, Jordan's mother, said.

William Mead was a Pottery Barn baby model and met all the typical milestones. Then, also at age 2, after a set of vaccinations, William became very ill and he, too, changed forever.

Dr. Bernadine Healy is the former head of the National Institutes of Health, and the most well-known medical voice yet to break with her colleagues on the vaccine-autism question.

At first, both sets of parents suspected hearing problems.

"The reason we had him tested for a hearing deficit was 'cause he wouldn't respond to us," Mead said. "He no longer used any of his language."

"We had him tested for deafness, it was that bad," King said. "I mean, you could slam a book on the floor and he wouldn't turn around to see what the sound was. It was like he was in this bubble of somewhere else, like he'd left the planet or something."

Doctors said it wasn’t a hearing problem … it was the brain disorder autism.

[Dr.] Healy goes on to say public health officials have intentionally avoided researching whether subsets of children are “susceptible” to vaccine side effects - afraid the answer will scare the public.

In both children, batteries of tests revealed dangerous levels of the brain toxin mercury in their systems. Their only known exposure: the mercury preservative once widely used in childhood shots.

"Our doctor, Dr. Green, said 'you can stop looking for sources'," King said. "I know where it came from and it was … when he told us it was the vaccines, you just can't believe it."

Now, William and Jordan are two test cases among nearly 5,000 autism claims filed in federal vaccine court. Most claim that mercury, or MMR shots, or both, resulted in their children’s autism.

Government officials and many scientists insist there’s nothing about vaccines that can lead to autism.

"Our doctor, Dr. Green, said 'you can stop looking for sources'," King said. "I know where it came from and it was …

"I think it's important for the average parent to know that the government hasn't made a link between vaccines and autism," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Bernadine Healy is the former head of the National Institutes of Health, and the most well-known medical voice yet to break with her colleagues on the vaccine-autism question.

In an exclusive interview with CBS News, Healy said the question is still open.

Click here for entire story.



The "Open Question" On Vaccines and Autism
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson is an investigative correspondent for CBS News.


Perhaps the most puzzling thing about autism and ADD is that more than a decade into this public health crisis, our best, smartest government scientists and public health officials still say they have no idea what's causing it.

[Dr.] Healy says it's called "personalized medicine" and is being done in virtually all areas of medicine today with the exception of vaccines. Yet the government continues to frame the conversation in all-or-nothing, "one-size-fits-all" terms.

Scary stuff, when parents having a child today realize there's at least an estimated 1 in 150 chance their child will have an autism disorder (1 in 90 if it's a boy).

According to Healy, when she began researching autism and vaccines she found credible published, peer-reviewed scientific studies that support the idea of an association.

While the government has been utterly unable to stop it, or even tell us what is causing it, they say they do know one thing: it's not vaccines. But today, in an exclusive interview with CBS News, Dr. Bernadine Healy becomes the most well-known medical voice yet to counter the government on that claim.

[Dr. Healy] says, we should vaccinate, but work to do it in the safest manner possible based on what we know and what we can find out.

Healy's credentials couldn't be more "mainstream." After all, she once was a top government health official as head of the National Institutes of Health. She founded the first school of public health in Ohio, and then headed both the school of public health and the school of medicine at Ohio State University. She's an internist and cardiologist. And she's a member of the Institute of Medicine, the government advisory board that tried to put the vaccine-autism controversy to rest in 2004 by saying a link was not likely.

Click here for entire story.


 

New summer camp for kids with Autism
Teens with Asperger's Syndrome will have their own camp program

Cincinnati, Ohio - Stepping Stones Center for children and adults with disabilities is launching its first summer residential camp just for children and teens with autism.

Teens with Asperger's, a high-functioning form of autism, will have their own camp program emphasizing social interaction and expressing their feelings.

"Teens with Asperger's often have social issues," said Tabbie Ross, residential and respite coordinator for Stepping Stones at Camp Allyn. "They need help expressing how they are feeling and what their needs are. A lot of kids with Asperger's go to typical camps, but a lot of times they are not successful because they feel pressured to perform at a faster pace, to keep up with other kids.

"Here they do things at their own pace. Our definition of success is totally different. It's not about who does the best. You don't have to hit the ball. Maybe you just want to hold the bat."

Click here for entire story.


 

Study uses music to explore the autistic brain's emotion processing

By Mark Wheeler

Music has a universal ability to tap into our deepest emotions. Unfortunately, for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), understanding emotions is a very difficult task. Can music help them?

Thanks to funding from the GRAMMY Foundation Grant Program, researchers at UCLA are about to find out.

Individuals with ASD have trouble recognizing emotions, particularly social emotions conveyed through facial expressions — a frown, a smirk or a smile. This inability can rob a child of the chance to communicate and socialize and often leads to social isolation.

The study should help us to better understand how the brain processes emotion in children with autism;

In an innovative study led by Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, a researcher at the UCLA Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity, music will be used as a tool to explore the ability of children with ASD to identify emotions in musical excerpts and facial expressions.

"Music has long been known to touch autistic children," Molnar-Szakacs said. "Studies from the early days of autism research have already shown us that music provokes engagement and interest in kids with ASD. More recently, such things as musical memory and pitch abilities in children with ASD have been found to be as good as or better than in typically developing children."

In addition, he said, researchers have shown that because many children with ASD are naturally interested in music, they respond well to music-based therapy.

But no one has ever done a study to see if children with ASD process musical emotions and social emotions in the same way that typically developing children do.

Click here for entire story.

Autism and Asperger's strategy signalled by Ivan Lewis
Government reveals fresh autism and Asperger's plans

writes Corin Williams

Plans for a groundbreaking national strategy for adults with autism and Asperger’s syndrome have been announced by the government today.

“This is great news for the thousands of adults with autism who told us they feel isolated and ignored,”

For the first time, research into the number of adults with the condition will be carried out, as part of the strategy. In addition, a study has been commissioned jointly by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health into the needs of those in transition from children to adult services. The research will inform the strategy, which will be launched next year.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis said the measures would help people with autism who were “too often abandoned by services” or misdiagnosed and given inappropriate services.

Click here for entire article.

In This Issue:
Leading Dr.: Vaccines-Autism Worth Study
The "Open Question" On Vaccines and Autism
New summer camp for kids with Autism
Study uses music to explore the autistic brain's emotion processing

News Around the world
Autism and Asperger's strategy signalled by Ivan Lewis


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USAAA 2008 Annual International
Autism and Asperger Conference,
Austin, Texas, September 4-7, 2008

2008 Conference - Register Now!

Hotel reservations online now. Click here to reserve your room.

US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. (USAAA) kicks off its third annual International Autism and Asperger Conference (and 5th overall conference since 2006) in Austin, Texas, September 4 - 7, 2008. Twenty-eight of the world’s most renowned leading autism experts will present new interventions and new research in both education and medicine. The conference is presented in part by CARE Clinics and International Hyperbarics Association and will be held at the Hilton Austin Airport.




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USAAA 2008 Annual International
Autism and Asperger Conference,
Austin, Texas, September 4-7, 2008

2008 Conference - Register Now!
   

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