Subject: Response to "New Theories Help Explain Mysteries of Autism"

Ms. Cornelia Dean
 Science Editor
 The New York Times
 Dear Ms. Dean:
 Attached is a letter I will be sending to Ms. Sandra Blakeslee at the New York Times along with the 1998 Lancet article by Dr. Wakefield (not attached here), the 1998 Clinical Immunology and Immunopathologyarticle by Dr. Singh (not attached here), and the abstract by Dr. Tina Zecca (below).
 Dear Ms. Blakeslee:
 I'm the parent of a 15 year old autistic boy and President of the Autism Autoimmunity Project and am writing this letter in response to your December 28th article, "New Theories Help Explain Mysteries of Autism" ( Enclosed are articles by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. Vijendra Singh showing that autism has a gastrointestinal/autoimmune factor. Also, enclosed is an abstract by Drs. Tina Zecca, Donnatella Graffino, James Oleske, et al. This abstract was responsible in part for the formation of the Autism Autoimmunity  Project.
 On September 23, 1997, Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Vijendra Singh, Dr. Donnatella Graffino, Dr. Tina Zecca, and myself met with Marie Bristol of the National Institutes of Health (the very same Marie Bristol mentioned in your article) and two of her associates. We discussed the immunology research of Dr. Singh, Dr. Zecca and Dr. Graffino and Dr. Zecca handed out the abstract that I enclosed. Dr. Rimland and I  mentioned the fact that many of the parents have contacted us regarding their autistic children and that they have reported adverse reactions to vaccines causing their children's autism. In fact, I have contact with several hundred parents regarding the connection to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the children's autism. Some of these parents are MD's and RN's so they are knowledgeable about the medical field.
 After assurances thar Marie Bristol would help us and get funding for this research, we never heard any more about this. Dr. Singh applied 4 times in the last 5 years for funding and was turned down all 4 times. It was then that I decided to form the Autism Autoimmunity Project to fund autism research in this critical area of autism research. It was approved by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) charity in October 1998. As of December 31, 1999, we have raised $23,000.00 for Dr. Singh's research and $8,000.00 for Dr. Wakefield's research. Another autismorganization, Unlocking Autism ( has raised $50,000.00 for Dr. Wakefield's research.
 The following information was left out of your article:
 * There is one set of identical twins in Louisiana and two sets of identical twins in New Jersey, where one child is autistic and one is not autistic. If autism was truly genetic in nature, both children would be autistic.
 * No explanation of many cases of autism where the child is born normal, then goes downhill and then is diagnosed at three or four as autistic.
 * Dr. Wakefield has found measles in the gut of autistic children and  calls it immune autism enterocolitis. Dr. Singh, Dr. Gupta and Dr. Oleske have found elevated measles titers/antibodies in autistic children. This is found and published in medical articles but yet the NIH ignores this important research. Why?
 * There is a documented case of an autism epidemic not only in the U.S. but in Britain. In the U.S., this information is available through the statistics of the U.S. Department of Education IDEA as well as a recent published report by the State of California. In our son's school, Allegro in Cedar Knolls, NJ there were 20 autistic children in 1992.Now there are over a hundred children. Epidemics are not genetic by nature and this epidemic is due to an immune insult.
 This last fact should be very disturbing. It means that more children will become autistic if we don't find the answers soon. Theories are always out there, but facts should be further investigated rather than being ignored.
 Thank you.
 Raymond Gallup, President
 Autism Autoimmunity Project
 Elevated Rubeola Titers in Autistic Children

 T. Zecca, D. Graffino, M. Lania-Howarth, M. Passannante, J. Oleske NJMS, Children's Hospital of NJ, Newark, NJ

 The syndrome of autism is a clinical entity affecting 20 out of 10,000 children. We have evaluated the possible role of MMR in the pathogenesis of autism by comparing rubeola titers in autistic and normal children. Among 16 children diagnosed with autism followed in our clinical  practice, we noted these children to have a 3 fold increase in their rubeola titers over expected normal range. A Wilcoxon Kruskal Wallis test comparing 13 rubeola titers from normal children reveals a statistically significant P-value of 0.0050. Subjectively, parents have stated that their children's developmental milestones deteriorated following MMR vaccination. Neurological sequelae following MMR are widely reported. MMR therefore may play a role in the pathogenesis of  autism. The elevated titers of anti-measles antibodies in autistic children may signify a chronic activation of the immune system against this neurotropic virus.