March 27, 2014
CDC: 2.4% of American 12 Year Old Boys Have an Autism Diagnosis
President Obama: Fire the CDC and NIH Autism Epidemic Deniers Immediately
Dear President Obama,
Fire the deniers! Fire the federal employees who deny the existence of an autism epidemic.
An American child is diagnosed with Autism every 11 minutes – a rate that continues to rise. President Obama, you need to remove the federal autism leadership at NIH and the CDC. Until leadership at NIH and CDC realizes that it is impossible to have a genetic epidemic in one generation, there will not be a proper emphasis on environmental research and subsequent treatments.
Your Federal autism team is at best, misleading you (and the country) and at worst, outright lying. Please consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate their malfeasance.
The undersigned Autism advocacy organizations request that you immediately send a clear message and fire the three federal employees who have made a career of denying the autism epidemic: CDC’s Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-‐Allsopp and Dr. Colleen Boyle as well as NIHM’s Dr. Thomas Insel.
In 1981, Dr. Yeargin-‐Allsopp joined the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The autism rate then was 1 in 10,000. Under her watch, the rate of autism prevalence has gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 68 -‐-‐-‐ increasing 1470% while Dr. Yeargin-‐Allsopp has been counting. Despite this precipitous rise, she can’t be sure if it’s a real increase. For the past twenty years the increase has been attributed to changes in diagnostic definition and better case finding by the CDC despite the lack of data to confirm those comforting suppositions. Even worse the CDC has never conducted, or ever even proposed doing, the basic epidemiology that could determine definitively the extent of the increase. While Dr. Yeargin-‐Allsopp should have been sounding the alarm for the past 20 years, instead the best she can say is “a true increase cannot be ruled out”.1 Dr. Yeargin-‐Allsopp also counts the autism rate unbelievably slowly. Using 21st century technology, the CDC can find tainted eggs, spinach or cantaloupes within a matter of hours or days. How is it acceptable for the autism rate to be counted at age eight with a four-‐year time lag to process the data her agency collects? It takes twelve years for her to come up with a current autism rate, which is simply unacceptable. Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-‐Allsopp is not up to the job of supervising the autism count honestly. We demand that you fire or reassign her to a position where she can do less harm.
1 Rice CE, et al., Evaluating Changes in the Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (2012),
Dr. Colleen Boyle has been with the CDC since 1984 and has been running the National Center on Birth Defects and Disabilities (NCBDD) since 2004. As is the case with Dr. Yeargin-‐Allsopp’s tenure, during Dr. Boyle’s employment the autism rate has increased 1470%. In the 1980’s, Dr. Boyle was a leader in the federal government’s effort to protect Monsanto and Dow Chemical from potential culpability in the Agent Orange health crisis. Today, NCBDD is the main government agency charged with denying the autism epidemic and Dr. Boyle is a leader in the effort to protect the chemical and pharmaceutical industries from potential culpability in the autism epidemic. She is paid by taxpayers, but she appears to work repeatedly to protect corporations from accountability for adverse health outcomes. She has held onto her job despite multiple appearances in front of Congress where she made a fool of herself under aggressive questioning on autism. We demand that you fire or reassign her to a position where she can do less harm.
Dr. Thomas Insel has been at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) since 2002 when the autism rate was 1 in 500 -‐-‐-‐ the autism rate has increased 735% while he has been coordinating the autism gene hunt. At this point, the genome has been mapped and there is no “autism gene”. Despite this fact, the federal government and the committee he chairs, continues to disproportionately fund genetic research vs. environmental research. Dr. Insel is part of the problem, not part of the solution. We demand that you fire him as the leader of the combating autism effort or reassign him to a position where he can do less harm.This increase in Autism is not “diagnostic substitution”. Autism in 2014 was not formerly diagnosed as mental retardation. This is a lie designed to deny and minimize the size of autism epidemic. The increase in Autism is not “greater awareness”: PSAs to create “awareness” are not necessary when there is a child with Autism on every block in this country. Two percent of boys in the United States are currently diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Citing “greater awareness” to explain the increase in autism is designed to deny and minimize the size of the autism epidemic. Federal employees who have exaggerated the role of autism awareness should be fired, or reassigned to a position in the federal government where they will do less harm to society.
President Obama – please Fire the Deniers as a first step towards being the first President to honestly address the ongoing Autism epidemic.
President Obama – when the CDC counts autism slowly and minimizes the scope of this epidemic, it has the real world effect of altering NIH research priorities. The catastrophic increase in autism diagnoses is a clear indication that NIH should prioritize environmental research over genetic research.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Your Federal autism team needs to be replaced entirely in order to possibly slow and hopefully stop the autism epidemic.
Age of Autism
Autism Action Network
The Thinking Mom’s Revolution