Autism Research Takes Wrong Turn
By Howard Urnovitz, Ph.d

I am having a difficult time reconciling why a US Congressional Committee that goes by the name of "Committee on Government Reform" would think that throwing more taxpayer money at incompetent government agencies -- like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- is considered reform. I consider it a betrayal of the public trust.

On April 18, 2002, the parents of autistic children were given the false impression that their government was "here to help you." The Committee on Government Reform announced at its hearings and through the press that it will seek more research funding for autism. In fact, if the Committee gets its way and increases funding to NIH and CDC, it will divert any chance kids might have for true breakthroughs into the mysteries of childhood neurologic disorders, including autism.

The Committee on Government Reform did correctly identify the problem, which is disproportionate spending on health care research issues. According to an April 18 Associated Press (AP) report, "Congressman Urges Autism Research" by Janelle Carter, the incidence of autism in the United States may range from 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000. That means if the American population is currently 287 million, 287,000 to 574,000 persons are affected by autism. This is roughly the same number of persons living with AIDS, which the CDC estimates to be approximately 313,000 persons. According to the AP article, the CDC spends $932 million and the NIH $2.2 billion on AIDS research. Comparatively, CDC spent $11.3 million (1.2% of AIDS spending) and the NIH $56 million (2.5% of AIDS spending) on autism research. Also according to the AP story, "The Autism Society of America wants NIH research funding to increase to $500 million a year." Giving the NIH or CDC any further money is a like giving the fox even more access to the chicken coop.

For those of you who like to make your own decisions based on the facts, follow this lead. The CDC position on autism and possible causative factors is a clear denial of the clues. In fact, the agency has formulated a policy against discovery into some of the mechanisms of autism, particularly that it may develop as an adverse event following vaccination. There is more than a strong indication that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may be playing a role in autism. However, the CDC continues to deny the validity of this strong indication, as can be seen by the statements published on its web site:

"At a glance:  The weight of currently available scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. We recognize there is considerable public interest in this issue, and therefore support additional research regarding this hypothesis. CDC is committed to maintaining the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history." (From

I find this statement misleading, misrepresentative and out-and-out malfeasance. In 1999, the CDC co-published an article ( Journal of Virology, Volume 73, pages 5843-5851) confirming the discovery of "junk genes" from chickens in MMR preparations. The CDC acknowledged that, "The attenuated measles and mumps virus vaccines licensed in the United States are produced by a single manufacturer with primary chicken embryonic fibroblasts." The CDC's conclusion in this 1999 publication was that, "The present data do not support transmission of either ALV or EAV [the chicken "junk genes"] to recipients of the U.S.-made vaccine and provide reassurance for current immunization policies." How can such an outrageous statement be made about junk genes? It's simple: the principal authors of this paper are from the HIV and Retrovirology Gang at the CDC. This "old habits die hard" group fails to understand that the confirmed detection of junk genes in MMR vaccines is a very strong warning to look at all the genetic material in these vaccines and not just the "retroviruses."

Hereís why the taxpayer is getting screwed. The CDC is looking at something called structural genes. There are basically two types of genes: structural and regulatory genes. Structural genes code for protein products; they "make" the proteins you're already familiar with, like insulin and hemoglobin. The regulatory genes control the structural genes. Regulatory genes are commonly referred to as "junk genes" because no one is really sure how they work. Because the CDC found no evidence of viral structural genes in either the chicken cell fluids in which the viruses are grown or in 33 children given the MMR vaccine, they gave the thumbs-up to keep putting children at risk. Where are the studies to show that regulatory genes do no harm? Where are the studies to show that there is no regulatory gene activity in these supernatants? How can the CDC conclude that the vaccines do not contain toxic genetic material when they did not test for it? Why does the CDC conclude, based on incomplete testing, that vaccines could not adversely affect childhood neurologic development when clinical data suggest it does?

Investigating only part of the problem has become the hallmark of NIH and CDC sponsored research, and is the reason that research is incompetent. Now, with the Burton Committee money on its way, CDC and NIH will have the resources to put even more children at risk. Then what? The Atlanta Declaration: viruses cause everything and if you donít find any viruses then it's OK to push poorly characterized fluids from chicken and monkey cells into children, and anyone who questions this should be thrown in jail?

When a government agency creates a policy stating that it is permissible to use biological fluids containing uncharacterized foreign genetic material as vaccines, the government has simultaneously created a sanction against discovery of non-viral toxic genetic material. In other words, if non-viral foreign genetic material -- whether from monkeys, chickens, or humans -- is considered by the government to be so harmless that it can be injected into children as part of a vaccine, then the government is not going to fund research into the possible toxicity of that non-viral genetic material. And in this age of "big science," if a field of research is not government-funded, it is nearly impossible to pursue -- therefore, the government has created a sanction against that particular field of research. And, therefore, it will never be proved whether the monkey or chicken non-viral genetic material in vaccines is or is not contributing to autism.

Let me tell you how the new autism research money will be spent. Predictably, some of it will be spent, as is some AIDS research money, on defaming researchers who can show that vaccines or industrial chemicals or both can lead to disease. In AIDS research, the NIH and CDC lead the way in making sure the public doesn't figure out that researchers don't have a clue what causes AIDS. In autism research, the CDC and NIH will attack anyone who finds any culpable data that implicate public health policies such as mandatory vaccinations. Look what happened to the gifted medical researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield of the UK, who is the subject of attack on the CDC website. This is cooperative research? This is how we are protecting children?

It's time for the Committee on Government Reform to do its job: reform government. The problem is that the committee lacks the leadership of a Thomas Jefferson to go in and shake things up. If you are unfamiliar with Jeffersonís position on government reform, stroll over to his marvelous monument and read the writing on the wall just above his statue:

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitution, but laws and institutions go hand in hand with the progress of the human mindÖWe might as well require a man to wear the same coat that fitted him when he was a boy."

My point is that the human mind has progressed on the topic of poisoning children with biologics like vaccines. Progressive thinkers now know that the polio vaccine was a damage control scam, the anthrax vaccine does not work, the smallpox vaccine has serious side effects and the MMR is strongly implicated in the rise of autism. Itís a pity that all human minds have not progressed at the same time and that it took a tragic event, such as the Reform Committee Chairmanís grandchildren suffering adverse effects from vaccines to give the Congress a wake-up call. I seriously doubt that Jeffersonís quote should be interpreted to mean that grandpa should simply throw more money at the very agencies that support poisoning his own grandchildren.

It is necessary for Congress to commit itself to doing its job of investigating gross violations of medical ethics and to changing the way that health care research is done in America. Centralized government research has failed. Itís time now to create a plan containing a variety of tactics that promote the spirit of discovery and punish those who promote sanctions against it.

Hereís the last of the bad news. History has told you that there is only one way to shake things up and that is to organize a march on Washington. The US government should be held accountable for not punishing unethical doctors and giving American parents a raw deal by not providing research systems that get answers.