IF 1 OUT OF 150 KIDS WERE KIDNAPPED
WE'D HAVE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY
WE DO !!!
IT'S CALLED AUTISM
I seek to establish trans fats as the new focus of autism research. My primary goal is to persuade universities, scientists, and government agencies to study the link between autism and trans fat, and publish the findings. We've been online since May 2005, and focussed on trans fat since Oct 2005.
Trans fat is the leading theory because it better matches the data curve for the increase in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) than any other theory. In addition, the increasing use of trans fat matches the data curve for the increase in Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer's, and there is plenty of evidence linking trans fat to those disorders. There are other theories that also match the data curve for the increase in autism, but they do nothing to explain Type II Diabetes and Alzheimers.
Until another unified theory is put forth, trans fat will remain the leading theory.
In November, 2006, I discovered and reviewed the work of Dr. Alex Richardson, a researcher at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Dr. Richardson has implicated trans fat as a possible cause of autism. She is a senior research fellow and co-director of a charity organization called Food and Behavior (FAB) Research. She maintains an impressive website on the subject matter, and is considered a definitive expert. see www.fabresearch.org. I have also linked some of her works directly in my section entitled "Scientific Studies". It's great to have serious scientists from an Ivy League University hypothesizing the link between trans fat and autism, and conducting further studies. I am anticipating more definitive conclusions from the FAB Research Center, and will post them as they come in.
The next step is prompt legislative actions to completely ban trans fats in as many nations as possible. This must be a global effort, and that's the ultimate goal.
On 2/9/2007, the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention released studies which show that the national rate of autism has risen from 1 in 166 to 1 in 150. The highest rate found anywhere is in my home state of New Jersey. Overall, 1 in 94 children in New Jersey is autistic. The official statistic for boys in New Jersey is 1 in 60, including my son. Although only 4 of 21 counties in New Jersey were studied, the authors of the study said that this figure is representative of the entire NY/NJ Metropolitan area.
THE CAUSE OF AUTISM, IN BRIEF
www.autismfries.com advances the theory that autism is caused by partially hydrogentated oil (commonly known as trans fat), which interferes with the development of the brain in infants and toddlers.
The human brain is composed primarily of fat, specifically Omega-3 fatty acids which are commonly referred to as "good fat". Scientists say the most critical time period of brain development is up until the second birthday. From birth to 24 months is the time period when most of the neural connections in the brain are made. This is when the brain is wired. Anything that interferes with the wiring of the brain will cause a "developmental disorder". Autism basically means that a brain which would otherwise be normal failed at some point AFTER childbirth in developing all the normal neural connections.
In the case of autism, "something" prevents normal brain development. The proper wiring of the brain requires a critical balance of "good fat", hormones, vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients. If something throws off that balance, the brain will not develop normally.
How easily is this balance thrown off? This appears to be based on genetic factors. It turns out that 47% of the population carries a faulty variant of the MET gene that helps build the brain in utero and in childhood. Although the vast majority of this 47% are healthy, children who carry the variant gene have more than double the risk of autism (Source: Newsweek, 11/27/06).
Some babies may be more at risk regarding the critical balance of fats, hormones, vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients in the developing brain. This doesn't mean that they have bad genes, or that they are born to be autistic. If they have a proper diet, they still won't become autistic.
Trans fat generally interferes not only with neural development in babies, but with neural functioning in adults and senior citizens. Adults in their prime may be more resistant to the effects, but elderly people could be more susceptible to trans-fat induced Alzheimer's. It's no coincidence that Alzheimer's has also become mysteriously epidemic in recent years. I believe that the two neurological conditions have a lot more in common than is yet recognized by the medical community. For detailed information on other documented health risks associated with trans fat, refer to www.tfx.org.uk.
BRAIN SIZE STATISTICS: Note also that the 11/27/2006 Newsweek feature story on autism made note of an alarming statistic. On page 50, they note that the average volume of the brain of an autistic child is 10% LARGER than that of a normal child. This may sound counter-intuitive, but read on. Then on page 53, they describe that some areas of the autistic brain are connected by too many fibers, "tangled in thickets of white matter". Is this what is causing the extra brain volume, and could the tangled thickets of white matter be the effect of trans fat? Could it even be actual concentrations of trans fat lodged in neural tissue? Only an autopsy could determine this.
This brain size statistics hit close to home with my family. My daughter's previous nickname for her younger autistic brother was "strawberry-head". He doesn't understand what she's saying, but it's a direct reference to his head size and shape, which is quite different from hers. It's quite scary to realize that the condition of autism physically manifests itself with measurable abnormalities in the size and shape of the human cranium.
A quick word about the two vaccine theories of autism.
1. Official studies have repeatedly proven that there is no connection between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. There is no way to hold onto this theory, except by becoming a conspiracy-theorist. That theory is DEAD.
2. The MMR vaccine, which has no thimerosal, has also been implicated as a cause of autism. The MMR vaccine is documented as a cause of infantile encephalitis. Any infant that suffers encephalitis, from ANY cause, is at high risk of autism. Unfortunately, the MMR theory becomes BAD SCIENCE when they presume that infants who never had MMR-caused encephalitis, or ANY immediate adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine, still become autistic from the vaccine.
Over 95% of autism cases have no connection to the MMR virus. Some other factor is at play not yet identified by the medical community. That is where this website becomes relevant.
As you read this, millions of children around the world are falling victim to one of the most terrible and entirely preventable epidemics in modern history. Something must be done. The problem is that public policy makers and the public at large do not understand that an epidemic is underway. Step #1 is to educate the public on the difference between epidemic and non-epidemic autism. Simply put, there is AUTISM, and then there's McAUTISM; I believe that these conditions have different causes.
NON-EPIDEMIC AUTISM VS. EPIDEMIC AUTISM
NON-EPIDEMIC AUTISM: Dont be confused by those who say there has always been autism. Up until about 1980, about one in 5,000 kids have autism. (Previous estimates published on this website of 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 20,000 are not accurate, and I have edited my site accordingly. I am never adverse to admitting any mistake or reversing information as needed).
Non-epidemic autism is multiple conditions with separate causes. That's partly why it's called the autistic spectrum. Documented causes of non-epidemic autism include chromosome abnormalities, brain trauma, pregnancy complications, Rubella infection during pregnancy, infantile encephalitis, etc. 1 out of 5,000 is the pre-epidemic rate of autism in America, and probably the rest of the world. All those multiple causes of autism that people keep reading about is mostly applicable to 1 out of 5,000 kids.
EPIDEMIC AUTISM (McAUTISM): For a moment, forget this 1 out of 5,000, because 30 out of 5000 kids have autism. 30 minus 1 is 29. Something else is causing autism in 29 out of 5,000 children in America. Something unrecognized by the medical community. Something absolutely epidemic, and getting worse every year. This is nothing less than a GLOBAL EMERGENCY. The epidemic began slowly in the early 1980's, increased massively in the 1990's, and continues to rapidly increase now in 2006. Here's the grim numbers, for the USA:
(1) 1 out of 150 children in America has autism. That's 33 out of 5,000.
(2) Of these 33 out of 5,000, lets compare epidemic and non-epidemic autism:
1 in 5,000 has autism due to non-epidemic causes
32 out of 5,000 have autism due to the epidemic
Total: 33 out of 5,000 have autism (that's one in 150)
(3) We have an unidentified epidemic that is causing autism in 32 out of 33 kids who have autism. That's 97% of the cases.
(4) Some published reports say it has already increased to 1 in 125, and it is 1 in 94 in New Jersey, widely believed as the state where autism is most likely to be recognized. In the case of New Jersey, most of the children are "severely impaired" (classic autism), not Asperger's or pervasive developmental disorder (pdd)
(5) This is a GLOBAL EMERGENCY for economic as well as health reasons.
My prior paragraphs debunking all the other autism theories have been migrated to a new section called "Other Autism Theories". Why? The Newsweek feature story of 11/27/2006 has changed the national debate. Their article focussed completely on chemicals, hormone imbalances, and a genetic susceptibility to chemicals and hormone imbalance. I love it, the national debate on autism is moving squarely in my direction. At this point, the old theories don't even merit space on my home page. They have been relegated to another section of this website.
Food is the causal factor. Epidemic autism has to be caused by something that kids are eating. Here's the big question: Have children's diets changed since 1980. Yes, there isnt even any question about that. Babies and toddlers are eating massive amounts of junk food and fast food. We are feeding our precious young ones all this garbage. Is fast food and junk food consumption by babies and toddlers increasing every year. Yes, it is.
If you plotted the increase in fast-food consumption since 1980 on a graph, would it correlate to the increase in autism? Yes, it would strongly correlate. Consider the following as epidemiological evidence:
(a) There are more and more fast food establishments than ever before, especially since 1980.
(b) The amount of visits per week by families with young children to fast food restaurants is ever increasing.
(c)These trends match the data curve on the incidence of autism
(d)The increase of fast food consumption by children is the ONLY factor that matches the data curve of the autism epidemic.
(e) Ask parents of autistic children what their child's favorite food was during early childhood, and you'll find an amazing percentage that admit it was french fries.
(f) Ask those same parents if their autistic child ate a lot of fast food, especially fries, between the ages of 6 and 24 months and you'll find a frightening percentage that say "yes"
At this point, I have established a statistical correlation strong enough to warrant further consideration by the scientific community. I have a strong enough case to advance a hypothesis.
HYPOTHESIS: Trans fat in fast food and junk food has caused an explosion in autism cases
I searched the internet and found www.bantransfats.com and www.tfx.org.uk, and more recently www.fabresearch.org I am very intrigued by these websites. As of now, trans fat in fast food appears to be the "smoking gun". As of 10/8/2005, www.autismfries.com is now identifying a specific chemical cause of autism - Trans Fat.
THE CULPRIT IS STEALTHY
Scientists and medical researchers have spent untold millions of dollars in researching autism, and have rule out various theories as to what is causing the surge in autism. All the individual causes of autism (i.e. chromosome problems, encephalitis, blunt trauma to the brain, etc), as currently described in medical literature, simply don't account for the statistical surge.
As of right now, they don't have an answer as to what is behind the numbers. How can this be? Well, the culprit most be something "stealthy", something totally unsuspected. For decades it has eluded the attention of the autism community and the medical research community. That's how stealthy it is.
This means that whatever it is, when the truth comes out, it's going to be a GIGANTIC SHOCK to everyone. TRANS FAT contained in french fries and other foods certainly fits the bill, doesn't it? The culprit is right under our noses, literally. It's fast food and junk food. Now is the time to blow the lid on autism.
I wouldn't be surprised if all sorts of learning disorders are linked to fast food. 1 in 6 kids has some sort of learning disorder. Trans fats is in many other food, especially deep-fried fast food, junk foods, baked goods, Crisco, and margarine. This chemical gets digested, gets into the blood stream, and goes straight into the brain.
This is where the medical and scientific community must take the ball and run with it. I will endeavor to post any relevant information (see Alzheimer's Research, section began January 24, 2006). I welcome all emails towards this end.
The website, www.bantransfats.com goes into great detail on the problems of this chemical. At this time, they do not advance the position that there may be a connection between autism and trans fat. But here's what they have to say about trans fat:
"Partial hydrogenation is an industrial process that changes the molecular configuration and properties of oils used for baking and frying and other purposes. Partial hydrogenation creates trans fatty acids ("trans fats") in the oil. This is by far the most dangerous type of fat. We need to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils from our supply as soon as possible."
Autism basically means that a brain which would otherwise be normal failed to develop all the normal neural connections. Something retarded this development. This is a permanent condition, barring major advancements in cellular research (not necessarily stem cell research) that would allow "neural super-cells" or some sort of nanotechnology to be injected into the brain to rewire the normal neural connections that were not wired during infancy. This could be 10 years away, 100 years away, or never. Over 1.5 million American children have autism, and even more worldwide. There lives have been ruined, and its largely because of fast food and junk food.
ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH SHEDS LIGHT ON AUTISM
As my research progresses, I'm increasingly looking at Alzheimer's research as something that can shed light on why trans fat negatively affects the developing brains of children, especially those under 2 years old.
The Alzheimer's community is much further along in their research. Why is this so? Well, autism research is clouded by the vaccine conspiracy theorists, and no similar problem exists with Alzehimer's.
Autism and Alzheimer's are both brain disorders. It is plausible to theorize that whatever causes the degrading of the brain in the elderly could also be retarding the development of the brain in babies, thus causing autism.
Many scientific reports are on file regarding Alzheimer's. What got my attention is "Alzheimer's Disease: Minerals and Essential Fatty Acids" by Joseph D. Campbell, Ph.D.2. Campbell focuses heavily on DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which he identifies as "the critical long-chain fatty acid so prominent in the brain". Campbell specifically identifies "high trans fatty acid intake" as something that interferes with the production of "important enzymes necessary for the production of DHA in the brain". Phospholipids of the brain are the substances that form the "bricks and mortar" of nerve cell membrances, and they contain DHA. Campbell specifically describes how trans fats enter the body and become lodged within the cell membranes, including the brain. Campbell cites the decline of omega-3 (brain) fats in Western diets, and then goes on to list the following foods high in trans fatty acids, including french fries, cookies, candy, potato and tortilla chips, cake, mayonnaise, shortening, deep fried foods, corn chips, doughnuts, margarine, and most salad dressing.
Campbell is also wary of aluminum concentration in the brain, which he believes can be mitigated by including enough Zinc in the diet.
A few other pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit into place:
SPECIAL DIETS ---There are parents who swear that they cured autism by immediately placing their child on a special diet, and rigidly adhering to it. One of the most popular is the gluten free/casein diet. These reports almost always involve toddlers who have been diagnosed at a very young age. Maybe these stories are true, and the specifics of the diet don't matter. Perhaps all that matters is that the kid stopped eating fries and other junk food containing trans fat! Perhaps the brain of an autistic child still has the capacity to heal itself before the age of 36 months! I pity the parents who have placed their baby on a special diet and then rewarded him for eating "good" food by giving him his favorite food - fries. Teachers and case workers handling autistic children often note that they all have a craving for "carbohydrates", and then list a littany of fast food and junk food items that contain trans fat.
DEVOTED AND INDULGING PARENTS --- Why is it that autism seems to strike the very families that are most devoted to their children? Could it be that these devoted parents are over-indulging their babies with their favorite food - fries and other junk food containing trans fat?
MULTIPLE CASES IN FAMILIES --- Not only is the rate of autism on the rise, but so is the rate of multiple cases striking the same family. Parents of autistic children are so loving and attentive, and wishing to bring joy to the lives of their child. And nothing brings greater smile to the face of an autistic child then the first sight of a fresh warm pack of fries. So they feed their autistic child a lot of fast food. Meanwhile, the whole family is eating fast food, and they are exposing the younger baby to the same poison.
OTHER TRANS-FAT DISEASES WITH SIMILAR DATA CURVES ---- Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer's are also mysteriously increasing. Are the mercury moms going to blame this on vaccines too? Heart disease is not rising as fast, but it is rising nonetheless. I need to research to see if they began increasing around 1980, and then strongly after 1990. The connection between Alzheimer's and Autism really needs to be explored by the medical community, since both are neurological disorders and both are becoming epidemic. I am putting forth a single unified theory, the trans fat theory, that explains both epidemics.
MY SON, KENNY --- This also matches the personal experience of my family. My son, Kenny, was born in 1998. He was literally weaned on French Fries. From age 6 months to 2 years old, it seems like all he ate was French Fries and chicken nuggets. He was addicted to this food, and he learned that if he refused to eat real food, his mother would order me to drive to either of the two largest fast food chains in America (you know who they are) and pick up some food for Kenny. He was averaging at least 5 meals a week on fast food. At first, he seemed to be a healthy normal child. Now he is autistic. After so many years of frustration, I have finally figured out what devastated my son's brain and destroyed any chance that he could have as a normal productive adult life.
CORRELATION VS. CAUSATION
I have established a correlation between autism and fast food, but does correlation mean causation? Not necessarily, any statistician will tell you that. Could there be some other factor, something else that changed in our childrens environment after 1980, and still increasing, that could be the "real" cause of autism? Theoretically, the answer is yes.
But what could that factor be? I think that the chance of some other factor emerging, a factor which also matches the data curve of autism incidence, is very low. Combine that with the data curve for Alzheimer's, and it then becomes even more unlikely that another factor will emerge.
Therefore, I'm stating with very high confidence that trans fat in fast food and junk food is the primary cause of the autism epidemic. While some cases result from encephalitis and a few other factors, the lion's share of the epidemic is trans-fat related. There will be no progress in cracking autism as long as all the effort is focused on vaccines, mercury, and other dead ends.
OBJECTIVE VS. SUBJECTIVE
We live in a world of reality, a world of truth. Reality exists regardless of whether or not anybody is perceiving it correctly through thought. Here's a point to ponder: Nothing "false" ever existed on earth until the human mind developed the ability to think subjectively. Before humanity, the world was pure, and everything was truth and fact. There was simply nobody around to perceive reality in a false way. There is a difference between opinion and objective truth. (For instance, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, YES, it does make a noise. A noise will be generated, and that is a matter of objective truth; it's not simply my opinion that there will be a noise.)
I have advanced a hypothesis, this is my opinion. A hypothesis is nothing more than an educated and thought-out subjective opinion which could be true or false, depending on whether or not the hypothesis is consistant with objective reality. Theoretically, I could be dead wrong. This hypothesis is no different than any other hypothesis; it needs to be tested, retested, and scrutinized to the 10th degree by scientists, medical experts, and statisticians. The hypothesis is either true or false, based on objective reality.
In the end, it doesn't matter what you or I think. It doesn't matter what the politicians or pundits have to say. It doesn't matter how lawyers and media figures twist and distort this issue to their ends with sound bites and non-sequitors. In the end, all that matters is whether this hypothesis is true or false. Sorry for the philosophy lecture, but how this issue is approached is a paramount concern.
THE NEXT STEP - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Authors whose work might be relevant include:
(1) David Horobin - on Omega-3 fatty acids
(2) Udo Erasmus - "Fats and Oils"
(3) Joseph D. Campbell, Ph.D. - Alzheimer's research
(4) Edward N. Siguel, M.D., author of "Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Disease"
(5) Michael Schmidt, author of "Smart Fats"
(6) Dr. Alex Richardson of Oxford University - autism and trans fat
At the moment, I believe that Alzheimer's research is the first step in establishing the connection between trans fat and brain disorders. All these leading scientists who have so much to say about the connection between Alzheimer's and diet need to look at autism and apply the knowledge they have already gained.
Scientists and researchers must take action. Universities must take action. Professors must discuss it in their classes. There must be a flurry of activity, everything from graduate school research papers to full-fledged government-funded research.
In order to prompt the required research, there must be publicity on this issue.
Articles detailing the theory that trans fat is the cause of the autism epidemic must appear in NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES.
Some possible angles to research:
A) Prove a statistical correlation between autism and the rise of fast food in foreign countries such as Great Britain and Japan. Both should be BEHIND the United States because fast food became popular in later years. (Note: I have recently already seen a graph comparing autism rates in Great Britain vs. California over time, and the data is consistent with my hypothesis).
B) Figure out if there are difference in the rate of autism between different ethnic groups in America, and see if this matches the frequency of fast food consumption for these ethnic groups. I previously speculated that Orthodox Jews in America might have a lower rate of autism because they eat less fast food and more "healthy" kosher food. I was dead wrong on that. Although kosher products themselves apparently contain little or no trans fat, Kosher dietary practices require the separation of dairy & meat. This encourages the use of margarine, Crisco, and non-dairy creamers during everyday food preparation. The result might be more autism among the children of families who follow kosher dietary practices, not less.
I'm still looking for an ethnic group that generally refrains from eating trans-fat products. If it could be established that this ethnic group has a lower rate of autism in America, that would go along way towards proving the basic premise of this website. Perhaps Hindu's and/or the Amish. If any readers can offer input here, it would be welcome.
C) Selected reader suggestions for research
1. On 11/25/2005, Oliver Tickell of the world's leading anti trans-fat website, www.tfx.org.uk suggests the following "One interesting place to look for evidence will be Denmark. As you may know Denmark banned all but very low levels of trans in 2003. They should already by now, if your theory is correct, be recording lower levels of autism. See if you can get the data. Fortunately Danish people are good at English, and happy to correspond.
This epidemic can and will be stopped.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(1) Do not feed your babies French fries, baked goods, and junk food containing partially hydrogenated oil.
(2) Boycott all fast food establishments that serve French fries and chicken nuggets fried in trans fat (as of now, this is all of them except Wendy's & KFC). Do not patronize them.
(3) Spread the word about the connection between autism and fast food, especially to the mothers of babies and expecting mothers.
(4) Refer to french fries as "autism fries", and refer to autism as McAutism when appropriate.
(5) When ordering a meal from a diner or restaurant that comes standard with fries, ask for an alternative to autism fries such as mashed potatoes, baked potato, sweet potato, or rice.
(6) Contact your Congressman, and demand a full Congressional Inquiry.
(7) Buy food at Whole Foods and Wild Oats, national retail supermarket chains which do not sell any products with Trans Fat content
(8) Eat traditional ethnic foods, most of which are very healthy and contain all natural ingredients.