Anti-vaccination foolishness in Minnesota

I got a request to spread the word around Minnesota—the anti-vaxers are gearing up again to push a silly bill in the Minnesota congress. I’ve put the letter below. If any of these people are your representatives, contact them and tell them they are being very, very silly.

There’s supposed to be a hearing next week on a bill that would limit the use of vaccines containing thimerosal, because of the belief that they may cause autism. This is the third year that this bill has been presented, and it keeps failing, but they keep bringing it back up, even though it’s clearer now than ever that there is no connection between the two – there’s been no more than trace amounts of thimerosal in childhood vaccines made since 2001, and more autism than ever in kids too young to have been exposed to it. This isn’t just bad science: it’s the Legislature telling parents they can’t trust their pediatricians, and giving credence to the quacks who want to treat autistic kids with chelation, homeopathy, hyperbaric oxygen, high-dose vitamin supplements, and all manner of other dubious remedies.

Perhaps you would be willing to spread the word that the committee members who will be voting on this bill (Senate File 1780) need to hear the scientific viewpoint? Especially the ones who are co-sponsors of the bill – including John Marty, committee chair, who just went down about four hundred notches in my estimation. I’ll append a couple of links for background and the committee list. I imagine you have a lot of MN readers who may be constituents of the committee members.


Lisa Randall

(an amateur immunization advocate who has experienced the lunacy first-hand)

Background and statements by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Bill text

Committee (co-authors’ names are in bold):

Chair: John Marty* (DFL-54)

Vice Chair: Patricia Torres Ray* (DFL-62)

Paul E. Koering (R-12)
Fort Ripley

Linda Berglin (DFL-61)

John P. Doll (DFL-40)

Sharon L. Erickson Ropes* [RN] (DFL-31)

Michelle L. Fischbach (R-14)

David W. Hann (R-42)
Eden Prairie

Linda Higgins (DFL-58)

Debbie J. Johnson (R-49)
Ham Lake

Tony Lourey* (DFL-08)

Ann Lynch (DFL-30)

Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-07)

Betsy L. Wergin* (R-16)

Now on top of my usual creationists, I can thank Lynn Margulis for drawing in the HIV denialists that plague Tara‘s site, and this for the anti-vaxers from Orac‘s. Obviously, I need to put up something about global warming next. I’m going to call this little game Poketroll — collect them all!


  1. says

    Perhaps you (or a commenter), could make a positive case here, rather than just linking this to ‘full-on’ anti-vaxers as an obviously bad thing. For several years we’ve checked for thimerosal with all our kids vacinations, and while all of them were thimerosal-free we would have sought alternate arrangements if they were not. Having said that, if it was thimerosal or no vaccination I’d choose thimerosal without hesitation.

    Why did we do this, given that we support vaccination? Because thimerosal contains mercury, and unless I’m given a very clear reason why I should have my child injected with mercury, I’m going to avoid it. I understand that it’s basically inert, but that’s still no reason to accept it. I believe it’s some kind of preservative, but I’m not aware of problems keeping vaccines viable in Minnesota. So by all means head off the anti-vaxers, but don’t assume that the politicians will just understand why this is a bad idea – make the (positive) case.

  2. says

    Paul, you need to think about chemistry: Salt contains explosive sodium and poisonous chlorine, for instance.

    Also, EVERYTHING is toxic in a high enough dose, and thimerosal isn’t in high enough amounts.

    That said, I wouldn’t be opposed to thimerosal removal/reduction if there was a more economical/safer/whatever alternative. I’m not, however, in favor of forcing alternatives without good reason, and the alleged link to autism and fear over component elements that are more prevalent in their harmful form in milk don’t really qualify.

  3. says


    It’s true, thimerosal contains mercury, and you should avoid mercury when possible. That said, the amount of mercury in your average dose of a vaccine that contains it, is slightly less than the amount of mercury found in an average tuna-salad sandwich. It would be nice to avoid mercury altogether, and there are plenty of reasons to want to do that. But for anyone trying to protect their children from mercury, there are many, many places they are getting mercury at much higher doses than they will get from the very few vaccines that still use thimerosal as a preservative.

  4. Azkyroth says

    Speaking as the father of an autistic child, the thimerosol paranoia thing really pisses me off. I hope there’s nothing like this in California that I missed… x.x

  5. Steve_C says

    How much thermisol in in vaccines? How much mercury is in the average piece of ocean caught fish?

    If there’s no link of thermisol to autism and thermisol is evidently not used as a preservative any longer… what’s the point in the bill?

  6. Lisa Randall says

    Hi Paul,

    The problem with this bill is that it insinuates that the Legislature has discovered hidden dangers in some of the vaccines that pediatricians (used to) give to their patients, creating the impression that the whole vaccine regime can’t be trusted.

    (Actually you don’t have to check for thimerosal anymore – it was voluntarily removed from all the routine childhood vaccines some years ago in what was meant to be a reassuring move. It is still present in some influenza vaccines, but as of this year I believe all the influenza formulations intended for children are thimerosal-free; it is still possible for them to get a half-dose of an adult thimerosal-containing flu shot, but the pediatric version is preferred.)

    There are several kinds of mercuric compounds. Some have more troubling properties than others. The kind that gets into fish has the ability to be actively transported across the blood-brain barrier, for example; the kind in vaccines does not. Animal pharmacokinetic studies indicate that the distribution and elimination of the two types cannot be compared.

    There’s plenty of other evidence of the safety of thimerosal, and plenty of reason to believe that banning it will actively do harm. It’s very easy for parents to get a whiff of the idea that vaccines might be dangerous and just decide they’re going to opt out of the whole business. It doesn’t take very many of them doing that to create an opportunity for a nasty outbreak.

  7. says

    Why did we do this, given that we support vaccination? Because thimerosal contains mercury, and unless I’m given a very clear reason why I should have my child injected with mercury, I’m going to avoid it.

    You could use your time and money more productively lobbying for cleaner power plants.

    – JS

  8. Lisa Randall says

    Couple of other things I should have included above.

    – The bill would prohibit not just vaccines preserved with mercury but those that contain traces left over from the manufacturing process – amounts that are not considered biologically significant by any stretch. This would mean that some of today’s combination vaccines, which reduce the number of shots a child has to get, would be eliminated in favor of zero-thimerosal alternatives that entail more shots, which means more discomfort for the child and more potential missed immunization opportunities. (The bill nominally establishes a preference for lower-thimerosal vaccines, not an outright ban, but it doesn’t say how hard a provider has to try to procure zero-thimerosal alternatives, so in practical terms, it’s a ban.)

    – The senators listed are all on the committee that will consider the bill, but only the ones in bold are co-authors. The rest may or may not support it. In case you want to anticipate their stance when contacting them.

  9. says

    If there’s no link of thermisol to autism and thermisol is evidently not used as a preservative any longer… what’s the point in the bill?

    The purpose, obviously, is to score political points with the “mercury causes autism” crowd (a.k.a. the mercury milita). If you read the text of the bill, it’s pretty silly, because it basically says that if vaccines without mercury aren’t available, then vaccines with mercury can be used. For example, some flu vaccines still contain thimerosal as a preservative. There are trace amounts of thimerosal in several vaccines, because it is used at certain points in the manufacturing process.

    The other purpose of this bill is clearly to scare parents, because it requires physicians to obtain an informed consent that says, “A provider administering a vaccine containing more than a trace amount of mercury shall, before administering the vaccine, obtain informed consent from the patient, and also obtain a signed acknowledgment that the patient has received, and has had verbally explained, the following written disclosure: ‘This vaccine contains more than a trace amount of the mercury compound thimerosal.'”

    Anyone want to guess how many parents, given the scaremongering done by the mercury militia about thimerosal, will sign off on this? The unacknowledged purpose/effect of the bill will be to scare parents away from letting their children have the flu vaccine, for one thing. Basically, it’s a pointless, feel-good bill that would have the potential to increase the cost of vaccines because the reason thimerosal is used is because it allows the use of multi-dose vials. People forget that, before the introduction of thimerosal, there were deaths from sepsis because of vaccines contaminated with bacteria. In essence, this bill would mandate a more expensive vaccine (single use vials) for zero benefit in health.

    A similar bill was passed in Hawaii last year, but the Governor had the forsight to veto it.

    Oh, as for the antivaxers descending on this blog, you could always point them to some of my posts on the subject. ;-)

  10. says

    i may be mistaken, but wasn’t thimerosal used ONLY in large, multi-dose packages of whatever given vaccine it was present in, thus giving it a longer useful life? whereas the single-dose packages more prevalent in wealthier nations (yo) didn’t need any preservative, as they weren’t opened and resealed? or am i on the crack again?

  11. Hael says

    Wow. I spent the last half hour trying to find a way to make my newsreader program stop downloading duplicate entries, and then I come here and realize it wasn’t its fault after all.

  12. Colugo says

    Speaking of woo, I’m surprised that nobody has picked up on stem cell researcher Robert Lanza’s ‘biocentric’ theory of the universe.

    USA Today: ‘It’s all about me, me, me, isn’t it?’

    Wired: ‘Will biology solve the universe?’

    On second thought, this stuff is pretty benign compared with anti-vaxers, HIV denialism, and ‘The Secret.’

  13. Lisa Randall says

    Garth – You’re on the right track. A preservative is necessary to prevent bacterial or fungal contamination of a multi-dose vial. These were used for DTaP, Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), and hepatitis B vaccines in the US until it was recommended in 1999 that thimerosal use be discontinued; since 2001, all those vaccines have been dispensed in single-dose vials/syringes. We in the US can afford this nicety; multi-dose vials are still an economic necessity in the developing world.

  14. says

    Pokétroll? I don’t know much about the whole Pokémon phenomena, but wasn’t there a collectible trading card game of some sort involved?

    Want to request submissions on photoshopped images for Pokétroll cards featuring everyone’s favorite creationists, fundamental evangelists, global warming deniers, etc. based on whatever the Pokémon cards looked like?

  15. Jonathan Lubin says

    PZ, I think you’re showing your political naïvety or miseducation by referring to the “Minnesota congress” — most states, including Minnesota as far as I can see, refer to their legislative body as “Legislature”. There are exceptions, called “Great and General Court”, etc., but Minnesota seems not to be one of these.

  16. says


    I posted comments about Robert Lanza’s “biocentrism” at Good Math, Bad Math; Galatic Interactions; Evolutionblog and MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Tracker, where I first heard about it. So far, none of the bloggers have nibbled. I guess this means I have to get my blag fired up now, so I can take the inane nonsense apart.

  17. says

    Also to Colugo (and any others who are interested):

    My fullest rant about Lanza’s “biocentrism” can be found at Good Math, Bad Math (March 12, 2007 05:49 PM). My punchline was as follows:

    As the villain once said in an old DangerMouse episode, “Curses curses squared!” Until now, I’d had a favorable impression of The American Scholar, thanks to Brian Boyd’s illuminating smackdown of “cultural critique” and Literary Theory (Autumn 2006 issue). Now, this unmitigated dreck has put me in a foul mood. Maybe I can erase it from existence by suitably altering the quantum vibrational frequencies of my perceptions. “Without perception, there is in effect no reality.” If I don’t see it, then it can’t exist!

  18. says

    Minnesota HF1917 is the companion bill. I have a friend who is the chair of the Biosciences and Emerging Technologies Committee. I am going to ask him to pull this bill into his committee, as well. I think that his committee is the one in which experts have the best chance of getting your testimony heard. His name is Tim Mahoney, DFL rep from Dist. 67A and he owes me his ear (I am his campaign treasurer.) He is not an author nor co-sponsor of the bill.

  19. says

    I agree that there are other things to be worried about, even in the specific area of mercury exposure. But again, unless you explain to parents and legislators *why* it’s necessary, then the natural reaction will be to avoid it, regardless of any autism link (which, to be clear, I don’t believe in).

    I think a summary of a couple of points made here should work well:
    a. It was used as a preservative, keeping vaccines fresh without any risk from the minute and inert quantity of mercury present.
    b. It’s not used any more, so there is no point in the legislation.

    I’m sure there are legislators who would be receptive to warnings about anti-vaxers, but just explaining that the bill stops something that was a net positive and is no longer used is a simple enough message to get the point across.

  20. Colugo says

    Blake Stacey:

    Thanks; most illuminating.

    I tend to favor megaverse/multiverse theories to explain the appearance of anthropic fine tuning.

    Few respectable journals would give an airing to Lanza’s views had he not been a highly regarded scientist. That is why Margulis’ HIV ‘skepticism’ is so saddening; she may be the most respected of the ‘skeptics.’ (Unfortunately for Neal Adams’ ludicrous expanding earth theory – or rather, fortunately – Adams is a comic book artist rather than a scientist.)

  21. says

    Quoth Colugo:

    I tend to favor megaverse/multiverse theories to explain the appearance of anthropic fine tuning.

    I’m not so sure how much has to be “finely tuned”, so I’m not very willing to commit myself to a mechanism just yet! For example, string gas cosmology presents a mechanism for why the Universe has three spatial dimensions (as opposed to four or six or nine) which is, if I read the runes aright, closely related to the reason why knots can exist in 3D but not in spaces of other dimensionality. If this works out, then that’s one fewer thing for the multiverse to handle!

    Few respectable journals would give an airing to Lanza’s views had he not been a highly regarded scientist. That is why Margulis’ HIV ‘skepticism’ is so saddening; she may be the most respected of the ‘skeptics.’

    Yes. I’m not sure what we, humble blog commenters, can do to resolve the problem of Famous People Saying Stupid Things. Regarding the Lanza matter specifically, I’m curious if The American Scientist sent his essay to any actual physicists, and if so, whether they ignored the remarks which came back. I find it really hard to believe that a professional physicist would let the galling factual errors go unremarked, even if they didn’t want to stick their fingers in the gooey pseudo-philosophy.

    Unfortunately for Neal Adams’ ludicrous expanding earth theory – or rather, fortunately – Adams is a comic book artist rather than a scientist.

    Hey, don’t Neal Adams and Scott Adams both have wacky theories involving an expanding Earth? I smell an Adamsite conspiracy at work!

  22. Sonja says

    I’ve been a loyal reader since 2000, but after that Robert Kennedy Jr. vaccine hysteria article appeared, I got worried I couldn’t trust them to vet their information.

    Well, I suppose I’ll have to send some emails about this Minnesota bill since Torres Ray is my State Senator (and I worked for John Marty’s guber campaign in ’94).

    Then there will be the precinct caucuses in ’08 and these people are always out in force. In ’04 I was lucky to have a medical doctor in my precinct stand up and speak against the resolution and I believe it failed.

  23. says

    Eit. For “The American Scientist“, please read “The American Scholar“, the quarterly journal published by the Phi Beta Kappa society. Their “Contact Us” page says, ironically enough, “Contributors need not be scholars,” also noting that the magazine accepts “fewer than two percent of all unsolicited manuscripts”. It says nothing about a peer-review policy, so I presume submissions are judged by how they tickle the editors.


    Does anybody with serious academic credentials feel like collaborating with me on a rebuttal letter?

  24. Colugo says

    Blake Stacey: “that’s one fewer thing for the multiverse to handle!”

    At this rate, perhaps so few constants will require explanation that we’ll need only invoke a ‘Multiverse of One.’

    A cycling universe to explain the cosmological constant might fit the bill.

  25. brightmoon says

    i think my youngest had whooping cough a few weeks ago ….he was vaccinated but he’s an adult and its probably worn off …what scares me the most is that he had to have caught that from someone and that particular person lives in the greater nyc metro area ..weve got our anti-vac nutters here too

    btw the WHOOP! is distinctive ….and scary whoop like that bacause youre struggling to breathe…i understand completely why people used to lose their children to this ..theyve got smaller airpassages

  26. Lisa Randall says

    Mike – excellent. Even if Mahoney doesn’t deal with the bill in his committee, he may have occasion to speak with colleagues in the committee where it is heard, if that happens at all. (No hearing has been scheduled on the House side, and I don’t think there will be one if it fails in the Senate.)

    Sonja – doubly excellent. I had exactly the same reaction to the Salon article. Isn’t it disappointing when good politicians fall for this stuff? I hope the anti-vaxers will have moved on to another claim by 2008, but who knows.

    Paul – thanks for the constructive criticism. We who have been doing this issue for so long sometimes find it hard to take a fresh look at it.

  27. sailor says

    “The bill would prohibit not just vaccines preserved with mercury but those that contain traces left over from the manufacturing process – amounts that are not considered biologically significant by any stretch.”
    At those concentration it sounds like the perfect homeopathetic antidote to mercury.

  28. Mark C. Chu-Carroll says

    Blake: I just posted something over at GM/BM about the Lanza gibberish.

  29. says

    Update from a Minnesota legislator

    I just spoke with Tim Mahoney, DFL MN dist 67A (my home district) and he told me that this is unlikely to get past the Senate and will most likely die in this session, but he will keep in touch. He is going to speak with Carlos Mariani, one of the House bill’s co-authors about. Tim agrees that the bill is a bad idea and is willing to fight against it.

    It is so freakin’ cool having friends in the legislature!

  30. Tatarize says

    I wonder if there would be anything dumber than vaxers. I mean, is there something else I could argue is going to kill us all that is helping us greatly. Ah hah!

    Hybrid plants are a plague on the natural world! Many hybrid plants cannot reproduce. Their live forces are restricted and it restricts your life forces and causes all sorts of disease. The Bible warns you never to crossbreed for a reason! Unless the strain is pure, you will die for sure!

  31. Lisa Randall says

    Mike: It is also pretty freaking cool having friends with friends with friends in the legislature. I guess this is why Gore invented the internet. :-)

    I hope Mahoney’s right! Others who are in the Senate committee members’ districts, please continue to contact them just to make sure.

  32. Bob O'H says

    It is so freakin’ cool having friends in the legislature!

    And as his treasurer, you get to bribe him with other people’s money. :-)


  33. says

    Now on top of my usual creationists, I can thank Lynn Margulis for drawing in the HIV denialists that plague Tara’s site, and this for the anti-vaxers from Orac’s. Obviously, I need to put up something about global warming next.

    Whine, whine. Try having a go at the 9/11 conspiracy theorists if you want to spend a few days debunking irrational critics.

  34. The Not Crazy Paul says

    Ok – let’s try our ability to assess risk:

    A minute amount of mercury against the very good chance of your child catching a life threatening, potentially debilitating disease (and worse yet – spreading it to others)?

    I mean obviously, it’s the mercury, because, well, doesn’t it sound bad? And some people say it MIGHT, maybe, cause autism. That’s so much riskier than the proven (and therefore boring) certainty that germs cause debilitating childhood diseases!

    If it weren’t for the threat to public health (and the fact it’s inhumane to derive pleasure from the suffering of even the wilfully ignorant), it’d be instructive for these woo merchants to get some first hand experience of just how nasty childhood illnesses can be.

    Of course they won’t, because the sane majority of the population is vaccinated. So the very thing they vehemently fight against is what keeps them from learning the hard consequences of their folly.

    (Not Crazy) P.

  35. says

    Has anyone else read the latest Discover (April 2007) magazine? There is an article in it about alternative treatments for Autism. It does not in any way suggest what specific thing might be the cause of Autism, but does suggest that it is a disease that affects more than just the brain, and that is why alternative treatments such as specialty diets and multivitamins can actually improve symptoms.

  36. amph says

    Are you serious? Multivitamins against autism? ‘Specialty diets’? Autism is a real disorder that is not cured via pseudo-science. ‘It affects more than just the brain, and that is why alternative treatments…’ et cetera.
    Mmh. Interesting logic.

  37. Ruth says


    Autistics appear to have differences in brain structure, including different amounts of gray and white matter compared to the neurotypical population. These changes must have their origin early in the brain development process. That is why German measles can cause autism if the mom has it during the 1st trimester, but less likely in the 3rd trimester. The 1st trimester is the key period for organogenesis, so, yes, the same factors that cause autism may affect other organs. Supplements aren’t going to sprout more connecting fibers in the brain and make everyone normal.

    Aspie mom to an Aspie and a PDD-NOS kid.

  38. says

    Are you serious? Multivitamins against autism? ‘Specialty diets’? Autism is a real disorder that is not cured via pseudo-science. ‘It affects more than just the brain, and that is why alternative treatments…’ et cetera.
    Mmh. Interesting logic.

    I realize that autism and epilepsy are separate disorders, however they do share a few things in common:
    1. There are ranges of disorders within each group.
    2. There are ranges of causation.

    I bring this up because my daughter experienced seizure disorders until her lobectomy. The neurologist explained at the time that there are “promising” results based on a diet-only treatment, but those treatments were not shown to be effective for our daughter’s class (partial complex.) Other juvenile patients in the treatment center were testing a special high fat diet with no medication, but they were experiencing separate ranges of symptoms. And it seemed to be effective. Alternatives to meds are not limited to “woo” stuff, but within proper testing procedures they have applications to neurscience.

    It is not pseudo-science by default. Sometimes it has a real basis in controlled and recognized studies.

  39. Ruth says

    Certain disoders can be helped by special diet, if there is a rational mechanism underlying the treatment. Kids with phenylketonuria certainly need a diet free of phenylalanine. I’ve heard of some neurodegenerative diseases being helped by diets high in certain fats. Some autistics may be helped by the GF/CF diet because they just happen to be lactose intolerant. I’m not against rational changes in diet or supplements. I dislike people trying to sell me a cure for a neurological difference that could not be altered on any rational basis by diet or massive herbs/vitamins.

  40. Ike says

    Just a little suggestion – some more background information. For example, about the basic notion of activating the immune system with a vaccine, and why certain viruses are very hard to vaccinate against, due their high levels of variation – I mean, the evolution of viruses is an important topic. Vaccinations against smallpox work, but an HIV vaccine still seems problematic. The anthrax vaccine has been a disaster – it all depends on what you’re using as the active agent, and given the poor state of affairs at the FDA (i.e. being in the pocket of industry) it’s hard to know who to trust; for example is the human papillomavirus vaccine really all it’s advertised to be?

    The chemical structure of thimerosal can be viewed at . A decent scientific study of the issue, covering all the bases is at

    The bottom line is that pharmaceutical companies lower the cost of production by using preservatives; it’s ridiculous to state that ‘for economic reasons, the Third World needs multi-dose vials with organomercury preservatives’. As with many other pharmaceutical issues, the bottom line is financial – single dose sterile vaccines should be the norm. A complete list of commonly used preservatives is at ; notice that thimerosal falls under the category of ‘unacceptable for use in commercial products’ – along with phenylmercury salts, formaldehyde, etc.

  41. Lisa Randall says

    Hi Ike,

    I’m afraid I have to disagree. To the extent you’re suggesting the legislators be supplied with an explanation of the immunology, virology, and chemistry relevant to this issue, I would anticipate that any committee members who need to be convinced to oppose this bill would not find those explanations meaningful.

    To your point about thimerosal and costs, it’s not that thimerosal makes vaccines cheaper to produce, it’s that multi-dose vials are inherently more efficient: there is inevitably wasted vaccine in a single-dose vial, and they require considerably more refrigerator space, creating potentially insurmountable cold-chain requirements. (If you had to carry 500 doses of vaccine over a mountain in a cooler, would you rather they were in individual glass vials or consolidated into a much smaller number of containers?)

    Manufacturers base their prices on their costs; I am not aware of data indicating that single-dose preparations are more profitable. Indeed, it wasn’t their idea to move away from multi-dose containers; they did it at the request of the AAP and USPHS. (Now, of course, it is known that this precautionary measure was unnecessary, but it was reasonable at the time.)

    The link you provided is to a Swedish site, and it’s not clear how authoritative it is; it has the appearance of being a promotional site for a self-published book, though I could certainly be mistaken. In any event, Sweden stopped using thimerosal in 1992, I believe for the same reason the US did. It remains sensible to minimize total mercury exposure insofar as is feasible; this doesn’t mean thimerosal is itself an identifiable danger. Did you know, by the way, that formaldehyde is naturally present in the human body? It may sound ominous and scary, but it’s all about the dose.

  42. says

    I never said that I thought that multi-vitamins were a cure for autism. If you read my comment, you see that I said AN ARTICLE IN DISCOVER suggests that dietary treatments MAY HELP RESOLVE SOME SYMPTOMS. It is not like this is my hypothesis, or my study. I thought I could mention it to add additional background to the topic, not so I could be personally attacked for having read an article.

  43. amph says

    Lynn, (if you’re still there) no personal attack. My question “Are you serious?” was not rethorical, I just wanted to know why you thought that article was relevant. Your message was possibly totally neutral,unlike all other comments here, but it seemd to suggest some degree of approval. I just happen to be allergic to alternative medicine and multivitamins.

  44. Jack says

    amph, alternative diets do work in a good few cases. As a child i had pretty severe dyspraxia (which is on the autistic spectrum) which kicked in when i was about 3 (the time when my dad mainly looked after me when my mum was in full time education, who loved italian food like pizza and pasta and cooked it all the time), and i went from an intelligent child with a wide vocabulary who could ride a trike to a clumsy child who hated making eye contact with others and rarely talked. At eight, i sent off some urine samples to a nearby university, they ran some tests, suggested a gluten free diet. A few months after i started the diet i had massive leaps in coordination, sequencing skills, maths, a far greater attention span, daydreamed less, made eye contact and became far more sociable.
    If alternative diets are rubbish, how do you explain situations like mine?