See No Evil, Hear No Evil


I have written, in previous posts, about the deleterious effects of antenatal inflammation – the effects on the mother’s mental and physical health, on birth outcomes, and on her child’s risks for chronic illness. Epigenetic effects of maternal inflammation are exacted through toxins excreted by aberrantly colonized guts, by high levels of reactive inflammatory cytokines, by poor antioxidant reserves and micronutrient resources. When you take a woman who has been eating processed food, taking The Pill, antibiotics, and maybe even a PPI, exposed to xenoestrogens, endocrine disruptors, and friendly-bacteria-slaughtering pesticides and you grow a baby in that womb, there is a good chance you have created a time-bomb. Throw in 70 doses of 16 neurotoxic and immunosuppressive vaccines by age 18, some formula, and genetically modified and processed baby food, 4 years of plastic diapers, and Johnson’s 1,4-dioxane babywash and…Houston, we have a problem.

Our children are toxic. A 1/50 incidence of Autism is not better diagnosis. That’s like saying our planet has always been overpopulated, we just didn’t know how to count before. From some 1978 estimates of 1 in 10,000, this is not Mendelian genetics we are talking about. It is also not just autism. It’s learning disabilities, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, cancer. We are in crisis and the denialism around contributing factors is gilded in dollars shared by our government and corporate interests. The toothless regulation of pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto, sugar, and chemical lobbies is responsible for this. Where is the too little too late corrective response? Where is the tipping point collapse of the collusion? Where is the feverish search for what is making our children sick? If not only because our country will buckle under the weight of the needs of these children coupled with the chronic diseases of the baby boomers and their children?

Here is the proposed solution: revisionist history.

Redefine and eliminate the epidemic. Change the diagnostic criteria1 so that Autism is not the cause for alarm we all thought it was, just as the canaries in the coal mine were beginning to look like backyard finches. Use a pharmaceutically-driven set of hand-waving criteria to ignore the plight of millions of families in this country suffering at the hands of modern medicine and a government-sanctioned pathological lifestyle (make sure to get your 8 servings a day of genetically modified, glyphosate-sprayed processed grains!). Enter the DSM-V. Under this rule,

The culminating shame of a profession marked by hack-science, placebo-driven assertions of medication efficacy, manipulation of data and a total absence of objective diagnostic markers. Psychiatry had a precious opportunity to achieve a rebirth – to look beyond the epiphenomena of symptom clusters in search of common biomarkers and underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms. It would not serve; however, the APA’s relationship with Pharma to diminish or render more precise the demographic of patients for whom medications may be indicated. So, at once, we continue to pathologize normative human experience to better sanction mass prescribing to a populace convinced they need these magic pills, but we stop the hemorrhaging on the pediatric statistics that directly implicate the medical-industrial complex and the consequences of reckless obstetrical and pediatric interventions. Done and done.

There is precedent for this diagnostic revision and many write about the misattribution of polio eradication to the Salk Vaccine in 1954 when, in reality, the diagnostic criteria were changed shortly thereafter to require 60 days of paralysis (rather than 24 hours) and to distinguish coxsacki and aseptic meningitis from what had previously been lumped as poliomyelitis – an insta-resolution to an epidemic. While infectious disease and fear-mongering around contagion is at the helm of pharmaceutically-driven mandates in the name of public health, public health today looks a lot more like autoimmunity, neurodevelopmental dysfunction, and cancer. The impact of these chronic diseases on our society will be crippling if nothing is done to change the course of incidence…but it seems like the DSM has found a solution. Denialism.



  • 25% of children diagnosed with classic autism under the old criteria would not qualify for autism
  • 55% of those with higher functioning autism would not qualify
  • 75% of those with a diagnosis of Asperger’s would not qualify as being on the autism spectrum
  • 85% of those with PDD-NOS would not qualify

Of further interest:
New Definition of Autism Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests (New York Times)


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. The fear of epidemics has always helped promote the agenda of those who also fear that the world is over-populated. This fear is aided by bigotry and supports war.

    Despite the claims that these suggestions will promote more responsible government, better citizens, or safer medicine, the consequence is typically those who are described as victims being blamed. Unfortunately, this results in their shame and abuse.

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  2. On the facebook page for Mad in America there have been many excellent comments from the Neurodiversity/Autism Acceptance movement perspective about the offensive content of this article.

    It is my sincere hope that autistic activists and mad pride activists can work together, seeing as both are abused by oppressive psychiatric practices.

    Here are a few comments of note:
    Autistic people are not “toxic.” We are not an epidemic. We are not diseased. We are not “a problem.” It APPALLS me that a site like MiA which promotes open-minded acceptance of mental differences/disabilities like schizophrenia and depression can promote this offensive, pathologizing, prejudiced view of autism.

    Autism is a neurological configuration that involves core differences in information/language processing, emotional development, body language, and sensory processing. It involves both genetic factors and environment (as every aspect of human development does), but it is *strongly* heritable.

    For families dealing with a newly diagnosed child, I would *highly* recommend seeking out autistic adults who are willing to share their experiences, and also other parents of young children who accept their children as autistic people. There are a lot. A great place to start is the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (the book, blog, and Facebook page all share the same name; you should be able to find it easily by googling). Lots of writers featured there have blogs of their own as well.

    Accepting autism *does not* mean giving up on a child or giving no help, therapy, or specialized education. It means figuring out how to work with a child’s neurology, not against it, so they can understand themselves and use their abilities well.

    Many of us were diagnosed as adults, but we WERE autistic as children, in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, when the statistics that said “1/10,000” simply weren’t counting us, because there was a great deal of misunderstanding of verbal autistic people and of autistic girls. Many people see autism in their family histories when they look back at older family members who were never diagnosed, or misdiagnosed with severe intellectual disability, schizophrenia, or something else.

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  3. To improve social work, mental health and educational practice in this country, the autistic activist community and the mad activist community need to work together!

    Articles like this are very offensive to autistic people who don’t like being called “toxic”. I would hope that Mad in America will apologize/issue a retraction/clarification of what this article means soon. Our communities should work together, not against one another.

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  4. Hello! I welcome the commentary and think that this brings an important layer of sophistication to discussions that are rarely had between different “camps”. My involvement in this forum is with the explicit intention of bringing awareness to a functional medicine approach to mental health and wellness. This model explores the multi-factorial contributors to health outcomes with a focus on modifiable environmental factors (exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, nutrient density and allergenicity of diet, stressors, etc) that may be driving the manifestation of genetic vulnerabilities. In the intellectual circles that I learn in, there is tremendous concern about skyrocketing incidences of neurodevelopmental delay, autoimmune, and allergic phenomena in the pediatric population. Autism can be left entirely out of the conversation, and there can still be a significant conversation to be had.
    When I say that our children are toxic, I am referring to the evidence that our children are born with cord blood, pre-polluted with >200 known neurotoxic elements through antenatal exposure. Of course, that term was not a “slur” and not even an adjective, but rather an acknowledgement of what many environmental experts believe to be a crisis of regulation in this country that is jeopardizing newborns and mothers every day.
    In this model, autism may be viewed as a condition in which perinatal stress and environmental factors play a significant role. If autism is a state not to be pathologized, I suppose the change in DSM criteria would be celebrated. I am interested in this perspective, although, in my practice and personal connections, I have far more exposure to mothers whose services will now be eliminated, and whose support of parenting would seemingly require more than mentorship by an autistic adult.
    I wonder how the affronted community discusses their perspective with mothers of autistic children with impairments severe enough that they *cannot* communicate or function to an extent that would be considered a mental health variant, but rather definitively a struggle. Many of these children also suffer from gastrointestinal and autoimmune dysfunction that is likely related to mitochondrial derailment and microbiota abnormalities. These are problems that have been successfully adressed through the functional medicine/biomedical model using non-medication interventions. These problems are highly related to and reflective of what is happening in the brain. The gut and the brain are more connected than the average psychiatrist is equipped to address or assess. Like many other illnesses, it may be a matter of degree that distinguishes suffering from special.
    Nonetheless, all of this discussion skirts my greater agenda, which is to comment on the mercurial nature of psychiatric pathologizing (which I believe we could all agree on), and my concerns that shifts in diagnostic criteria may be serving pharmaceutical agendas to deliver more product (psychotropics and vaccinations) to more and more individuals without raising any red flags around ever-increasing rates of pediatric chronic illness.

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  5. I appreciate this very important post and that for every person wanting to wean off of medical or psychiatric drugs they would be very fortunate to find Kelly Brogan MD, ABIHM with her deep understanding of first do no harm modalities , with her dedication to the wellbeing of people and truth , and the courage to pursue them , while there are so many content to circle the wagons and profit from pseudo science .

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  6. Kelly asks ‘I wonder how the affronted community discusses their perspective with mothers of autistic children with impairments severe enough that they *cannot* communicate or function to an extent that would be considered a mental health variant, but rather definitively a struggle.’

    They don’t. They pretend these children — the ones who’ll never be toilet trained or learn to speak or communicate at all other than with screams– don’t exist. All that matters is that their self esteem is not damaged, and pharma plays into that and has found a huge army of useful fools to do their bidding, ie, tell Americans “nothing to see here, move along now.”

    They are offered titles and positions and paychecks, but only if they’re willing to say what they’re told to say and shut up when they’re told to shut up. Many of them operate anonymously. Please don’t talk to me about acceptance. I consider myself a person high on the spectrum, but when I’ve attempted to speak about vaccine injury I’ve found that damn near anything and everything can be accepted in the US, everything except for that one sin that I’ve committed– I’ve said “oh look, there are really high levels of mercury and aluminum in vaccines and maybe that’s not such a good idea..” I’ve been told in so many words “shut up or we’ll make you wish you had” more times than I care to count. I’ve been censored, told I’m not welcome in my ‘family’ member’s home (she calls herself a Christian minister, btw), threatened with arrest, lied to and lied about. Acceptance?? Lol. I’ll talk about acceptance of autism. AFTER the special vaccine court has been abolished, and after the vaccine makers are no longer given indemnity from prosecution for their crimes. When those responsible for the destruction of a huge chunk of an entire generation are in prison cells, then I’ll be happy to try to accept that which can’t be changed. In the mean time I’ll thank God my children are as healthy as they are. Those in the neurodiverse community should be thankful they are able to communicate. It’s no thanks to our public health officials and regulators, and pharma and the media and Congress.

    My firstborn screamed as if someone had stuck a fork into her for every waking moment of the first two months of her life. I’m expected to just accept that this is no big deal. No, this is NOT just a ‘different way of being’. When she was four and lost all of the language she’d developed and had bowel movements every ten days, again I was expected to just shut up. And when I learned what caused her health problems, I was expected to not only shut up about it but to smile. It is not sane for a mother to do as she’s expected when what is expected is that she just forget the fact that her child was harmed deliberately and for profit. My children were chemically assaulted. Luckily they escaped the worst of it. Some children were assaulted so severely their lives were devastated and their lives and the lives of their families will never be able to be put back together.

    I’m sorry if there are those on the spectrum who find my words offensive. Nobody has ever guaranteed you the right to go thru life unoffended. There IS however supposed to be a Constitutional right to sue for redress. I guess that’s only for the privileged, now.

    Thank you for this article Kelly. I’ve grown so weary of the excuses and the denial. Over a year after Dr. William Thompson of the CDC released his whistle blower statement to the public exactly nothing has been done by our public health officials or by Congress. The inane ‘debates’ by the anonymous continue to tell Americans “nothing to see here, and btw shut up or else we’ll make you wish you had.” This insanity has to stop or there is NO future in the US for any of our children.

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  7. Thanks very much for this article. Keep sharing the truth – more minds are opening daily to the reality of your words as the environmentally induced epidemics continue to soar. We need an uprising against the established criminal element that continually promotes vaccines and other medical dangers to our children. Most mental illnesses are in fact toxic metal, chemical and/or pathogen damage to the gut and brain. Wake up readers before an entire generation is extinguished due to severely hampered life quality. God Almighty grieves!

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  8. Although my expertise in Ecology has migrated to soil microbiome and human gut microbiomes, I cannot follow all your specific references in this field, but I certainly follow the denial as a means of avoiding the ethical corruption brought on by “medicine for profit” and “medicine for getting to the NEXT patient”. My question requires some background: Roundup main ingredient is glyphosate, a glycine-look-alike, which Monsanto originally claimed “blocks” the Shikimate Acid Pathway, which in plants and bacteria produces the three essential phenolic amino acids, tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. Such blockage in partial form in crop plants will reduce these in the foods from those plants. Glyphosate has been found now in most beverages and foods, having a huge impact first on our gut flora, upon which we depend as a last ditch source of these amino acids when nominal diet fails. Others (Weston A Price Foundation web site) have suggested with reduced tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, we have a plausible explanation for so many angry citizens using their guns for murder / suicide. We have abundant everyday examples of low serotonin and poor self-esteem. I’m asking for your comment on this potential link.

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