By Tedd Koren, D.C.

Autism, a term originating from the Greek word auto (self), was first described in 1943 by psychiatrist Leo Kanner, who said, "This condition differs markedly and uniquely from anything reported so far." Autistic children are totally self-absorbed and alienated. They are in their own world, detached, unresponsive, unable to relate to others, often mentally retarded, hyperactive and violently aggressive.

"This disorder is difficult to characterize, but a very prominent feature is the inability to relate to or communicate with other human beings in ways that are natural or meaningful," says Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., director of the Autism Research Institute.

Rimlands 1964 book, Infantile Autism - The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior, is credited with demolishing the idea that bad parenting or mental illness causes autism.

"Autism is a biological disorder, not an emotional illness. Refuse psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and intensive counseling. These approaches are useless", recommends Rimland.1

What Causes Autism?

Five out of 10,000 babies are autistic, and nobody knows why. Although each autistic child is different, in general about 75 percent have some degree of mental retardation and another 10 percent are known as autistic savants (like the character Dustin Hoffman played in "Rain Man").

Now that emotional factors have been ruled out, experts are now looking for a brain malfunction caused by physical, chemical or biological abnormalities. Its cause is a mystery. But not to medical researcher and historian Harris Coulter, Ph.D.

"The first victims of the medical assault on the American brain were the autistic children", says Dr. Coulter. "Autistics ordinarily suffer from a multitude of disorders mental retardation, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and others which are clearly of neurological origin ... Autism [is] a neurological disorder... The first cases of autism emerged in the United States at a time when vaccination against whooping cough was becoming increasingly popular." 2

How does vaccination cause autism? The answer: encephalitis. Although encephalitis or "brain inflammation" can be caused by severe infection, trauma to the head and severe burns, those occur rarely compared with post-vaccinal encephalitis encephalitis following vaccination.

"Kanner was mistaken in thinking that autism differed from other diseases," says Coulter. "He may be excused for his error; he was not a neurologist but a psychiatrist. The symptoms Kanner called autism would have been immediately recognized by a neurologist as post-encephalitic syndrome." 2

Encephalitis was well known in the second and third decades of this century. Infectious encephalitis occurred in epidemic numbers. Mental institutions and reform schools were the home of many "post-encephalitic syndrome" individuals who were left with a wide variety of neurological conditions after the encephalitis ravaged their brains - conditions often identical to post-vaccine damage, especially to what we today call autism.

"In examining the enormous literature on infectious encephalitis," says Coulter, "I realized very quickly that the long-term effects of encephalitis is totally congruent with what we see today in the DSM3 of the American Psychological Association as 'disorders usually evident in infancy or childhood' (developmental disabilities). That includes autism, hyperactivity, dyslexia, attention span difficulties and several dozen other conditions.

"This is, at first glance, a startling omission," continues Coulter. When the neurologic (as opposed to psychological) nature of autism was finally revealed, he notes, "mental health professionals should have immediately appreciated the tie with encephalitis. Furthermore, it had long been known that a variety of encephalitis was caused by vaccination. But this is precisely why physicians shied away from the topic! Since no one wanted to impugn the [vaccination] programs, encephalitis was never discussed openly and fully." 2

The Effects of Vaccination

Autism and minimal brain damage, while rare before mass vaccination programs began, are now widespread disorders. Counter's claim that they are the result of post-encephalitic syndrome, resulting from childhood vaccination, should be disturbing to anyone with a child who has a learning disorder; is hyperactive or dyslexic; suffers from cranial nerve damage; or is, of course, autistic.

The numbers of damaged children we are dealing with appear to be very high. Although medical authorities may claim that perhaps "one child in hundreds of thousands of children are in any way affected by vaccination," that may be a pathetic underestimation.

For example, in the first book to seriously attack the medical myth of vaccine safety, DPT: A Shot in the Dark, Coulter and Fisher estimate that 12,000 to 15,000 cases of severe neurological damage are caused by childhood vaccines each year. However, those numbers pale beside Counter's statement that "one child in five or six is affected to some degree by the vaccination ... about 20 percent of the population."

When some researchers investigate this information, they are led to state incredible findings. Vera Scheibner, Ph.D., in her book, Vaccination: The Medical Assault on the Immune System (one of the greatest anti-vaccination books written to date), says: "Vaccination is the epitome of ignorance and the unscientific approach to illness ... Immunizations, including those practiced on babies, not only did not prevent any infectious diseases, they caused more suffering and more deaths than has any other human activity in the entire history of medical intervention. It will be decades before the mopping-up after the disasters caused by childhood vaccination will be completed. All vaccination should cease forthwith and all victims of their side effects should be appropriately compensated."

Finally, Coulter, who reminds us that this subject is difficult to discuss, in spite of the evidence, says, "Awareness of the relationship between these neurological disabilities and the post-encephalitic syndrome has been blocked ... by reluctance to admit that the childhood vaccination program is the only possible cause of a mass epidemic of clinical and sub-clinical encephalitis." 2

What will you think the next time you see a neurologically damaged child? Bad luck, bad genes or bad vaccines? About the author: Tedd Koren, D.C., is president of Koren Publications, Inc., which publishes books by doctors quoted in this article. Inquiries should be addressed to him at Koren Publications, Inc., 2026 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103; or call (800) 537-3001, in Pennsylvania call (215) 567-2611.


1. Gazella, Karolyn A., Autism, Journey Out of Darkness, Health Counselor Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 6, June/July 1994.

2. Coulter, Harris, Vaccination, Social Violence and Criminality, The Medical Assault on the American Brain. [More information on the topics discussed in the article can be obtained from the books:
Vaccination, Social Violence and Criminality ($14.95), by Harris Coulter, Ph.D., DPT: A Shot in the Dark ($9.95), by Fisher and Coulter; and
Vaccination: The Medical Assault on the Immune System ($26.00), by Vera Scheibner, Ph.D., all of which which are available from:
Koren Publications, Inc., 2026 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103; or call:
(800) 537-3001. Please add $4.50 for shipping and handling per total order.

Two short reviews of Coulter's books are available here.

Web Author: Juergen Buche, ND, NHC, MI, Phy.D.
- except where other sources are indicated. - Check the News Page for mailing info.

Last modified: 01/04/99

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