Folk art, Telluride, CO, 2003
I read a little about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the March, 2019 issue of Psychiatric Annals. The prevalence has risen dramatically in the last decade, now at one in fifty-nine children. However, it’s not clear how these statistics were obtained. Broadened diagnostic criteria, diagnosis by hearsay, and other factors may be involved.
Autism used to be lumped with “childhood schizophrenia” but no longer is. It lacks the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia but has features of social withdrawal, repetitive behavior, communication and socialization problems, and resistance to change. The article had some history about how the diagnosis came to be and the idea that “mother blame” became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. I thought that wasn’t fair, because if close others contribute to the problem, the whole family dynamic should be considered as well as the larger role of society.
I also wondered about the cultural expectation for children to conform to socialization models dictated by the schools. Anyone who doesn’t fit the excessively structured militaristic regimentation of grades, classes, sitting at desks, and listening for hours of every day, is considered abnormal, autistic, hyperactive, or given other labels applied to those who fall outside the bell curve.
Schizophrenics I’ve encountered have trouble dealing with society’s hypocrisy, and I wonder if autistic children retreat inward to escape a world that makes no sense.
Meanwhile, I caught part of an interview on NPR about the measles outbreak, which let me know a judge has blocked the Rockland County, New York ban on un-vaccinated children entering public places. This “public health emergency” consists of hundreds of cases--465 in 19 states as of April 4, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)--but not one death or any real complications. The CDC spokesperson on the radio informed us that before the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine was developed, millions of people got measles, and there were hundreds of deaths. She mentioned complications like meningitis. Further research revealed the Rockland County outbreak started with a traveler returning from Israel, which is also experiencing a spate of measles. The CDC says outbreaks in the US are primarily among un-vaccinated people in orthodox Jewish communities.
I was glad that state judge in New York, Rolf Thorsen delayed the ban—which I consider a gigantic government power grab to force medical treatment on people—at least until a hearing on April 19. Even the mentally ill have more rights to refuse medications than parents of children in today’s drug-crazed world.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued “an emergency health order necessary to curtail the large measles outbreak in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community” of Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, according to the New York Times. Mayor de Blasio has targeted those living in several zip codes for vaccinations and threatens a $1000 fine for non-compliance. This has generated a heated backlash, in advance of a lawsuit, with an affidavit circulating to the effect that the mandate is in “clear violation of the Nuremburg Code which forbids forcing medical procedures on anyone without their fully informed consent.”
Government officials and the CDC lament the “misinformation” being spread by the anti-vaxers, who are “falsely warning that [vaccines] cause autism and lead to other health problems,” says the New York Times. Now, “City officials say countering the anti-vaccine movement is a priority.”
The Psychiatric Annals report discounted the link between MMR and ASD in one sentence. That had been a hypothesis of Bernard Rimland, a psychologist who founded the Autism Society of America in 1965, two years after the MMR vaccine was introduced. (The CDC says on its website that thimerosal, the mercury-containing agent implicated in the claims of autism, was removed from all childhood vaccinations in 2001, and that the flu vaccine may or may not contain it.)
What they don’t say is that a case of the measles confers lifelong immunity. Nor do they say that some doctors claim even vaccinated people can be carriers of the disease, or that vaccinations can confuse the body such that it becomes hypersensitive or allergic to a variety of usually innocuous substances.
Why do I care? My psychiatric confreres are wimps hypnotized by their own propaganda. Psychiatric Annals laments physician burnout and the loss of doctors from an “economy” that turns on the doctor’s signature. This can be alleviated, they say, by a CWO, a wellness officer, who monitors physician burnout, and by better access and reduced stigma for seeking mental help. And we should make electronic medical records more efficient, with doctors involved in design of software.
I wrote all over that article. As one of the burned out physicians who preferred to retire and maybe starve than be beat to death by a psychotic system, I feel especially qualified to diagnose the health scare/snare racket as “suicidal, homicidal, psychotic, and out of emotional control.” Doctor burnout is also a public health emergency. We are losing prescription-writing machines faster than we can replace them, and everyone who has a “right” to health care has to pay through the nose for that right. If they are broke or broken, Congress and federal/state bureaucracy, our “medical providers” of first and last resort, will step in and make sure the approved insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, bureaucracies, lawyers, government lobbyists and contractors, as well as universities, get paid to make sure everyone’s rights are protected from everyone else’s rights. With the federal government and the mayor of New York practicing medicine, who needs doctors?