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Autism Ideas Part 8 - 'Rimlanders',
Etiology, And TB Infection

By Mary W Maxwell, PhD,
Thanks to the Internet, the mothers of autistic children are now able to be in contact with one another in a way that could never have happened in the past. Way back in the 1960s, however, one man started his own Internet-like way of contacting autism families. Quite possibly he is the man most responsible for identifying what autism really consists of.
I am referring to psychologist Bernard Rimland, PhD. (1928-2006).  In 1965 he founded the Autism Research Institute, having published a year earlier a book ambitiously entitled "Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior." He composed a Diagnostic Checklist, and by 1980 had received over 6,700 responses from people in 40 countries!
Perhaps it would have helped if he had given the tag "Rimlander" to any child whose parents answered Yes to the questions shown below. Note: he asked a total of 109 questions. I lifted the 35 shown here from Temple Grandin's book "Emergence," in which she provides the answers her Mother gave. Temple was a Rimlander child for sure.
Does child react to bright lights? Did he behave normally before his abnormal behavior? Does the baby rock in his crib? Does he have an unusually good memory for songs, rhymes, or TV commercials? Is the child deaf to some sounds but hears others? Does he hold his hands in strange postures? Does he want to be on a rocking-horse, jump-chair, or swing? Does he crave salty foods? Does he chew on metal objects? Would you describe him as being 'in a shell'? Does he deliberately hit his head? Does he whirl himself like a top? Does he do fine work with his fingers? Does he like to spin a jar lid? Is he very good at jigsaw puzzle, arithmetic, has perfect musical pitch or can tell the day of the week a certain date will fall on? Does he line things up precisely in even spaced rows and insist that they not be disturbed? Does he like mechanical objects such as vacuum cleaner? Does he react badly to being interrupted? Does he resist new clothes? Is he upset by certain things that are not right, like a crack in the wall? Does he adopt complicated rituals like putting dolls to bed in a certain order or insisting that only certain words be used in a given situation? Does he get upset if furniture or toys rearranged? Is he destructive? Does he watch TV quietly for long periods? Is he sensitive to criticism? Is there a problem that makes him hit, pinch, and bite himself? How well did he pronounce his first words ­ unusually good? Does the child repeat sentences he heard which are irrelevant now, and does he use a hollow or parrot-like voice? Does he typically say "yes" by repeating the question "shall we go for a walk honey?". If you say "do you want some milk?", does he answer "you want some milk". Does he use one word for another, such as, always uses "ketchup" to mean "red", or uses "penny" for drawer after seeing pennies in a drawer? Does he have inconsolable crying? After a delay, does he repeat whole sentences he has heard? Does he get hooked on something like maps? Does he hide his skill or knowledge so you are surprised later on?
Naturally, Dr Rimland interwove some questions (not shown here) that would eliminate some respondents from the diagnosis of autism, plus some questions merely meant to give internal validation to the questionnaire.
I said above of Rimland:  "Quite possibly he is the man most responsible for identifying what autism really consists of." That is not to suggest that he made strong assertions. He was in fact cautious and humble.  (The fact that his own son, born 1956, is autistic would probably have sufficed to keep him from thinking he had all the answers!)
There is considerable disagreement as to what constitutes the diagnosis of autism. It will probably remain like this until more is known about the cause.  Granted, that goes against the medical principle "Etiology must await nosology." No point trying to find out where yellow fever came from, for example, until we have records of a number of people all exhibiting a certain group of symptoms. If we can say "Here ­ this is what yellow fever is," then maybe we can say "And it is caused by X." Nosology does logically precede etiology.
I am not eager to put my foot into the question of autism's diagnosis, other than to say that today it is widely labeled a 'developmental disorder.' Many doctors refer to ASD ­ autism spectrum disorders ­ to include both autism and Asperger's syndrome.  Hans Asperger was a colleague of Leo Kanner, who published the first study of autism, in 1943, based on 11 cases. Asperger recognized what might be called a milder type of autism.
(Today there are many 'Aspie's' who make out well in the world.  The series of articles I'm writing here, called "Autism Ideas" is mainly about 'Rimmie's,' not Aspie's. Probably I am influenced by empathy for 'Rimlander moms' who have constantly to worry that their children cannot in any way look after themselves. By the way, healthy siblings are often remarkably devoted. See, on Youtube "For my baby brother Lucas." It is sooo poignant.)
It seems to me that a cause of autism, or at least a trigger of it, is vaccination. And who am I to be Mrs Smartypants about this?  Easy. I am someone who has read many statements by families describing the onset of the troubles immediately after vaccination. Don't I think some of them got confused about the dates?  Sure, a few probably have inaccurate recollection. Big deal.
Don't I realize that it may be in a parent's interest to out-and-out lie about the onset in hopes of receiving compensation due to vaccine liability?  Sure, I'm not stupid.  I believe it would be a miracle if no parent ever lied about it.  But that has no bearing on the fact that a huge number of parents have excellent proof, including videos, about the onset of their child's autism.
Being not stupid, I also can recognize a campaign to discredit people (witness Dr Mudge's extraordinary put-down of Meryl Dorey, quoted in Part 1 of this series).  All of that indicates guilt on the part of the vaccine, does it not?  However, it is quite likely that the receiving of the jab may be only an environmental trigger of an illness that is lurking from some other cause. Below we turn to one that has so far not got much press: tuberculosis.
Note: I have this strange hunch ­ which may yet prove to be worth nada ­ that a lot of illnesses have heretofore unrevealed connections, AND that the reason for the connection is that it was not the hand of God that put these ailments into the population, rather it was a matter of malice.  I already presented that in my essay "The 'No New Diseases' Hypothesis" and in two parts of this series of Autism Ideas ­ #6 concerning thalidomide, and #7 about genocide. For today, though, I am not going off on that toot.
Lawrence Broxmeyer, M.D., proposes that the child gets a tubercular infection from the mom before birth., or genetically from either parent.  His article, posted only on the Net, is:  "John Langdon Down's Autism ­ A Stealth Disease, Part 2."  The same article covers interesting biographical facts about some psychiatrists and pathologists who did their research from 1880 to 1945, which you may wish to 'stickybeak.' (Aussie word, both a verb and a noun, referring to the habits of a Nosey parker.)
According to the California Department of Developmental Services, Broxmeyer says, "Level-one autism, without any of its 'spectrum,' went from almost 5,000 cases in late summer, 1993, to approximately 20,377 by December, 2002"  (i.e., the autistic population got multiplied by four in a decade). He asks, "What was behind this epidemic?"  A major clue, he observes, "was contained in the timeline of the Department's own 1999 Autism report, which concluded that [autism] had increased dramatically between 1987 and 1998."
And now for the amazing correlation: "While autism exploded in California a major spike in the number of tuberculosis cases [was] reported by the Tuberculosis Control Branch of California's Division of Communicable Disease. There, head Dr. Sarah Royce, proclaimed a TB epidemic in California, which peaked in 1992, an epidemic with the same male preponderance as autism." Moreover, "by 1993, the World Health Organization (WHO), declared a global tuberculosis emergency, a warning that has been in existence ever since."
To know more about Broxmeyer's theory, you may wish to hear that he "pursued as lead author and originator, a novel technique to kill TB and the mycobacteria with outstanding results." (See The Journal of Infectious Diseases, October 15, 2002, pp 1155-60.) Sorry, I am not qualified to analyze the merits of it.   But note: according to Alan Cantwell's book, "The Cancer Microbe," microbe hunters are considered politically naughty.
In Broxmeyer's present article, the "John Langdon Down" referred to in the title, is the doctor for whom "Down syndrome" was named.  A mere two years after the American civil war ended, that is, in 1867,  Down published a link between childhood mental illness and the parent's tuberculosis. (I hesitate to say he published it in "The Lancet," but that is the case.) Broxmeyer writes:
"As a result of such tuberculosis from conception or soon thereafter, and nothing else, such children's life expectancy would be shortened, as the same tuberculous infection would lead to their early demise. Moreover, brain and central nervous system tuberculous account for 20- 45% of all types of tuberculosis among children, much higher than its 2.9-5.9% for all adult tuberculosis." [Wow.]  Broxmeyer continues: "In fact tuberculosis of the nervous system has consistently been the second most common form of TB in the very young outside of the lung."
He goes on to say: "of those infants and children that did survive, nearly 20-25% manifest mental retardation, and mental disorders -- serious and long term behavioral disturbances, seizures, and motor handicaps in addition to the various other anomalies associated with autistic and Down's 'neurodevelopment' behavior problems. For his Lancet study, Down submits one-hundred post-mortem records of children He had found no fewer than 62% of these children to have tubercular deposits in their bodies."
Readers wanting more detail should follow two footnotes in Broxmeyer's article.  One refers to a theory that "schizophrenia and autism probably sharing a common origin, both with physical abnormalities which form from 20 to 40 days after fertilization, when the embryo is highly susceptible to disruption." (For this, see Ploeger A Raijmakers ME "The association between autism and errors in early embryogenesis: what is the causal mechanism?" Biological Psychiatry, April 1, 2010, pp 602-7.)
The other is SH Fatemi's idea of prevention. See " Multiple Pathways in Prevention of Immune-mediated Brain Disorder: Implications For the Prevention of Autism" in the Journal of Neuroimmunology, December 10, 2009, pp.8-9. Also -- intriguingly, for suspicious minds ­ Broxmeyer mentions the following:
"The Department of Defense is currently and actively recruiting participants to determine the effectiveness of an anti-tubercular antibiotic to determine if it can improve social impairment in children with autism, Asperger's Disorder, and the Pervasive Developmental Disorders. This particular anti-tuberculosis drug, first tested in the laboratory at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, previously worked to improve the sociability of mice with limited social behavior."
Excuse me, is there any justification for the Defense [and I use that word loosely] Department to spend taxpayer money on a study of sociability, whether in mice or in humans?  Indeed, can the military have even the remotest business in studying "children with autism"?
Mary W Maxwell, PhD, is planning a tour for her book "Prosecution for Treason: Weather War, Epidemics, Mind Control, and the Surrender of Sovereignty."  Starting next week, Insha'allah, she has a new series of articles, rather jauntily entitled "Delenda Est Cabal."
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