By Bernard Rimland
Dr. Bernard Rimland was the founder and director of the Autism Research Institute. He passed away in November 2006
I strongly oppose endorsing "The (Pretending to) Combat Autism Act" unless it includes clear and explicit language supporting meaningful research on the role of vaccines and mercury as plausible causes of the autism epidemic.
The proposed Combating Autism legislation is as sincerely dedicated to combating autism as O.J. Simpson was to finding the "real killers" of his ex-wife Nicole.
The fear that failure to pass the CAA will lead to a catastrophic failure to fund future autism research vastly overestimates the value of government funded research. Most such research is only of academic interest, which gathers dust on library shelves and advances the "publish or perish" aspirations of academic researchers. Is there any evidence whatever that more than a miniscule percent of government funded research has produced any positive and useful benefits for autistic children and their families, or ever will? If you are aware of any examples showing such research is serving a truly useful purpose, please let me know.
I was the first to announce the "autism epidemic", in 1995, and I pointed out in that article that excessive vaccines were a plausible cause of the epidemic. As you know, an enormous amount of clinical laboratory research (as opposed to epidemiological research), has been accumulated since that time, supporting my position. (I did not know then that the vaccines contained mercury, although I had been collecting data since 1967 from the mothers of autistic children, on any dental work they may have had during their pregnancy.)
The evidence is now overwhelming, despite the misinformation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine. Real progress has been made in bringing recovery to autistic children by physicians and researchers who attend the autism/vaccine/mercury connection.
A few million dollars, appropriately directed, has accomplished, and will continue to accomplish much more than the tens of millions of dollars directed along paths intended to exonerate the vaccine manufacturers, the CDC, the IOM and the AAP.
I hope our consortium will purchase, or at least threaten to purchase ads in USA Today an elsewhere saying "Defeat the (Pretend to) Combat Autism Act". We should insist that significant resources be directed at exploiting the treatments that we know work, such as special diets, food supplements and chelation. We have a great deal to gain and nothing to lose by speaking out loudly against this sham legislation which would, in the long run, be harmful rather than beneficial to our children.