<I>Hook</I> should be ashamed

Are you nuts? I just finished reading your piece on autism in the April 7 issue ["Generation Hg? Is Autism puzzle solved?"]. You really published such a one-sided article on such a sensitive topic with such an elusive answer? Where have the morals of the press gone?

I work extensively with families that have disabled children of all types. As with most disorders, often the family of an autistic child knows little to nothing about their child's diagnosis. With especially devastating diagnoses like autism, after diagnosis usually comes an extended period of confusion compounded by a bombardment of medical information. I hope no parent in this situation reads your article.

The fact is that the debate over vaccine's link to autism is far from over. The evidence linking Hg poising and autism is very circumstantial– although not without some merit– and without a doubt requires much more investigating. This article is written as if the answer is clear.

I understand that the parents who wrote this article believe what they wrote, and I applaud them for attempting to spread what they believe is an important truth. Personally, I disagree and think it slightly ridiculous to say the entire medical organization of the USA has suppressed this evidence because they simply cannot fathom such a mistake.

These are not dumb people. In general, they are people who have dedicated their lives to the aide of others. I don't feel that so many smart and good people would all join up in cahoots to hide the real cause of the rising numbers of autism cases because it was their collective mistake. However, regardless of my personal views or those of the author, it is the job of the press to publish reliable information that accurately portrays the topics reported on. This piece was not featured as an editorial, but was a cover story.

Seriously, what were you thinking? As the debate stands now, this is an opinion piece and it should have been published as one.

I like the Hook, and I like the voice of many of its stories, but this ignorant error has shamed your institution. Did you really think the puzzle is solved? Open your eyes, double check your information, and stop this opinionated journalism, especially on topics as sensitive as this one.

For shame!

Jeff Donowitz<BR>Charlottesville