Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: John Upledger | April 6, 2000

John Upledger has white hair and is wearing black glasses, gray suit with a white shirt and multi-colored tie.

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Dr. Upledger. Thank you.
    I am John Upledger. I am an osteopathic physician, and I 
thank you for inviting me to come and present today.
    I should probably tell you a little bit about my background 
first, because you will understand that I am coming at autism 
not in disagreement with anyone but by adding another parameter 
to it.
    First of all, I used to teach biochemistry, so the 
molecular things are not new to me. I practiced general 
medicine and surgery for about 11 years in Clearwater, FL and 
then got into the rather avant garde things, and they invited 
me up to Michigan State University, where I became a clinician 
researcher in the Department of Biomechanics.
    Being a researcher in biomechanics, I was researching a 
system which ultimately became called the craniosacral system. 
The craniosacral system is simply a semi-closed hydraulic 
system. The boundary of the hydraulic system is the dural 
membrane which encases the brain and spinal cord and provides 
sleeves for all of the cranial nerves and for the spinal nerve 
roots. The fluid inside it is cerebrospinal fluid, essentially. 
Of course, there is blood flowing and so on and so forth within 
vasculature, but it is not really part of the system. And it is 
called ``semi-closed'' because the inflow of the volume is 
controlled, and it is rhythmical, and the outflow is rather 
constant and reabsorbs the fluid; so you have a circulation of 
fluid with a rhythmical rise and fall of fluid volume and 
pressure within the system.
    If one looks at advances as we go along, we used to think 
that cerebrospinal fluid bathed the surface of the brain, and 
that is what it did. About 8 years ago, it was very definitely 
shown using radioactive tracers that cerebrospinal fluid is 
formed in the ventricles of the brain, and within seconds of 
its formation, it not only bathes the surface but it penetrates 
all the spaces between all the cells that form the brain; it 
also goes down the spinal cord internally as well as 
    More recently, in a symposium called ``Neuroprotective 
Agents'' by the New York Academy of Science, I came across a 
piece that had just been discovered, that is, that 
cerebrospinal fluid not only circulates nutrients and carries 
away waste products, but it also has chelating agents in it, so 
it cleanses the brain of metallic deposits, which would be the 
mercury, the aluminum and that kind of thing.
    So it is very important, and if you look at it this way, it 
is extremely important, that cerebrospinal fluid flow be kept 
moving. Stagnation of cerebrospinal fluid is going to lead to 
brain dysfunction.
    In my work at Michigan State in developing this department, 
developing this whole system, what happened was that it was 
decided that I would be working with brain-dysfunctioning 
children to see the applications. Autism happened to be one of 
the things that I was assigned to, so for 3 years, I spent 2 
days a week at the Genessee County Center for Autism, and I 
went in there not even understanding the first thing about what 
autism was.
    We did work with what was called hyperkinesis in those 
days, and we found out on a structural level that the 
hyperkinetic child could be relieved of his hyperkinetic 
activity if we released a compression at the base of his skull 
between the first cervical vertebra and the occiputal base. 
Tracing this backward, this happens a lot during delivery. The 
baby is face down, the obstetrician assists the baby coming out 
under the pubic bone, the head comes base or forward, and the 
cervical vertebra goes that way, and they jam together. You 
release that jamming, and you get rid of your hyperkinesis in a 
matter of minutes many times.
    That is not the only cause for hyperkinesis, but when it is 
there, and you release it, it is very definitely going to show 
you clinically that it is over.
    We also found out that in newborns we could treat colic 
this way.
    When I got into looking at autistic behaviors, there were 
several things that we noticed, and being a novice, I was not 
about to accept anybody's word for anything. I went over there 
with a neurophysiologist and another fellow who was a 
generalist in science, a design specialist, and we started 
going every week, Thursday and Friday.
    Our observations showed first of all that a lot of the kids 
were banging their heads. There were 28 kids in that first year 
we went there. I noticed their head-banging, and they were 
chewing on their wrists; they would get all the way down to the 
tendons sometimes. We were also told they sucked on their 
thumbs, and I saw that, but they were not making an airtight 
things with their lips; what they were really doing was pushing 
up on the base of their skulls.
    So we thought about this a lot, and one would say, OK, they 
are banging their heads, and this happened at a behavior 
modification center that we were working at, so I had them take 
the helmets off, and we let them bang their heads and watched 
very carefully, and it looked like they were trying to knock 
something loose in their heads, as if something was jammed 
    When we started looking at their wrists and everything, I 
thought, OK, maybe they are inducing a controlled pain for a 
pain they have in their head that is uncontrolled, because I 
think anybody here would agree that sometimes when something 
hurts, and you just cannot get to it, you will give yourself a 
pain somewhere else, and it at least gives you some sense of 
comfort. And the other thing that might be happening is when 
they are chewing, they are inducing endorphin production and 
getting that natural analgesia, because endorphins are like a 
natural morphine.
    The thumb-sucking clearly, to the point where it was 
causing the teeth to protrude forward over a period of time, 
the thumb-sucking clearly was an attempt to mobilize the base 
of their skull.
    Anatomically--and now I am in biomechanics, so I am 
thinking anatomically, and what I am doing a lot of on the 
other days off is getting very fresh cadavers, dissecting them, 
studying membranes and all of that kind of thing on the inside 
of the head, so I am tying these two things together. So we 
began to get the idea that the cranial rhythm or the movement 
inside that head was not giving the amplitude that we were 
looking for in other children. The autistic head just did not 
have the craniosacral rhythm, the activity, so it was not 
pumping cerebrospinal fluid.
    Hence, you would get an accumulation of toxic metals. You 
would also get a deficit in the delivery of fluid carrying 
nutritional agents and carrying away metabolic byproducts. You 
would also get a thing that we began to understand clearly, and 
this became the model we put forth after about the second year, 
and that is that something occurred to denature the membrane 
biochemically so that it would not expand and accommodate the 
normal growth pattern of the skull as it was trying to expand 
in the brain and trying to grow. If the brain is trying to grow 
against the resistance of a membrane that is having difficulty 
expanding, you are going to cut down cerebrospinal fluid 
exchange and you are going to cut down blood flow.
    We finally got into it and started decompressing heads 
forward to backward in this direction--forehead forward, back 
of the head backward. We would just sit there and hold it, a 
small force over a long period of time, and ultimately, the 
head would begin to expand in that direction. When it did, 
those things that looked like they were trying to create their 
own pain--the thumb-sucking stopped, the head-banging stopped, 
and the wrist-chewing and that kind of thing stopped--they 
stopped spontaneously after we released that particular 
forward-to-backward compression.
    That was probably very close to 100 percent response. Now, 
you had to spend a lot of time to get an autistic kid to lie on 
a table in an autistic center and let you work on them and have 
them be quiet, but after we saw them three or four times, they 
would actually come in, lie down on the table, take your hands 
and place them on their head where they wanted them. And I 
would go along with that.
    The next thing I wanted to do was expand the head side-to-
side. I had a lot of graduate students with me all the time and 
did not know what to do with them, so I would put one student 
on each leg and one student on each arm, and I would just start 
expanding the head laterally. Well, we found out that after we 
got that expansion done laterally, first of all, the child 
would very, very much relax, and the body would go into all 
kinds of contorted positions and stay there. As they stayed in 
that contorted position, you could feel energetic changes going 
on throughout their body, and when they finished that 
particular thing, they were very liable to turn around and kiss 
you and give you a hug. And after that, they became sociable.
    So what I am looking at is a model here that says, OK, 
decompress these membranes. What caused the membranes not to 
expand? And then, historically, we started looking at it. 
Febrile episodes were extremely common. The fever could be due 
to a vaccine reaction, it could be due to a viral infection, it 
could be something in utero that occurred when Mom had a little 
fever when she was still pregnant. And it seemed as though it 
was taking about 2 to 3 weeks historically for most parents to 
discover the signs of the changes occurring which were later 
called ``autism''--after the febrile episode.
    So we chalked up the idea that most likely febrile episodes 
could cause a change in the biochemistry of the membrane so 
that it did not accommodate the growth process as readily as it 
could. Now, that does not fly in the face of genes at all, 
because I am sure that genes control some of the accommodative 
process of the dural membrane, and therefore, if they have a 
genetic predisposition to a membrane that is vulnerable, it 
takes a smaller shock to make the membrane become less 
accommodative. That does not bother me at all.
    We also found--after I got this going, I was invited to 
London to start an autistic treatment program for children in a 
craniosacral therapy clinic, and again, in Brussels. And in 
London, I have to tell you that I wound up evaluating children 
that I thought were autistic from a craniosacral evaluation 
perspective--I wound up with 42 children in that clinic, and I 
was there for about 4 days evaluating them--and 38 of the 
parents out of the 42 said the febrile episodes were subsequent 
to a vaccine. And most incriminating--and this would be in the 
late seventies--the vaccine most incriminated by the parents in 
their opinion was pertussis.
    When I went to Brussels, it was an entirely different 
thing. The feel of the head, the energy patterns in the head, 
everything was different. Almost all of the autistic kids I 
picked up there had been delivered by vacuum extraction--that 
is where they put the suction cup on the head and just pull. If 
you consider a plumber's tool, and you clamp it on the top of 
the head and pull, what you are going to do is extravasate a 
lot of capillary blood, and when blood breaks down and 
deteriorates, it becomes bile in one of its stages, which is 
extremely irritating, so the tissue that has these red blood 
cells that are deteriorating begins to contract and cause 
scarring and lose its accommodative ability. In Belgium, that 
was the main cause we came across.
    In this country, there is a great variation. At the 
autistic center where I spent the first 3 years of my 
experience, I would have to say that two-thirds of those kids 
were in foster homes, so we did not know much about their 
backgrounds. But when I finished the contract for autism at the 
Genessee County Center in Flint, we opened a clinic at the 
university, and there, I have to say that probably 50 percent 
of the parents were totally convinced that the autism was 
secondary to a febrile episode which more often than not, they 
related to a vaccine reaction. And I do not say that that is 
yes or no, but I say it certainly does deserve a healthy look.
    Some of the things that I would like to share with you that 
we did--and it is interesting that Dr. Megson talked about 
parasympathetic, because one of the pieces of research we did 
on our autistic children was to monitor with a thermograph the 
hand as we were stretching the membranes in the head. And as we 
got some releases, the temperature of the hand would go up 2 or 
3 degrees Fahrenheit, which indicates that the blood vessels in 
the hand are relaxing; you are getting better blood flow. And 
in order to get better blood flow, you have to reduce the 
activity level of the sympathetic nervous system which she was 
referring to, and that is the flight-or-fight system.
    So we were able to reduce their sympathetic activity by 
working on their head and stretching their membranes.
    Now, the whole thing begins to make a lot of sense if you 
consider, then, the things that we were watching happen. If we 
got a child's membrane stretched in all directions, and he was 
feeling pretty good, he would take on a lot of good behaviors; 
and if we got that to happen and then--our research was always 
held up from June until September when school was out, getting 
the contract renewed and all that kind of thing, so we had a 
lot of children who did not receive treatment for 2 or 3 
months, and they would regress. I look at it this way--their 
head is trying to grow, and their brain is trying to grow, but 
they need a mechanical stretching activity which is 
craniosacral work to keep the membrane spreading enough so that 
it will accommodate that intended growth process. And if you do 
not have that for a while, then you begin to regress because 
the pressure on the brain and the reduction of fluid activity, 
the reduction of blood flow, all begin to recur.
    So the next thing we try to do--and we have done this 
successfully I would say with 30 percent or so of our parent 
groups, and I did not have the opportunity to do it the way I 
would really like to--but we taught them to do this treatment 
process once a week and maybe see a therapist every 6 weeks or 
so. That seemed to work if the parents were willing and able to 
learn how to do it. It is not hard once you get the initial job 
done; then it is a question of maintenance, which is not too 
difficult. And that is one of the things we look for.
    I left the university in 1983 and took time out to develop 
a prototype for a holistic health center for Unity Churches, 
and then we started our own institute in 1985, at the end of 
1985. Since that time, the way we handle the problems is, first 
of all, we do not always focus on autism, because the kind of 
difficulties we have with the craniosacral system can involve 
anything from autism to hyperkinesis to chronic pain--seizure 
activity is a big one we work with--and all those kinds of 
things, but about four times a year, we will have a special 
intensive program for just autistic children. That is what we 
do, and we try to help the parents learn how to work with it. 
And when I say ``intensive,'' it is a week, and it is from 10 
a.m., until 6 p.m., and it is hands-on work almost all the 
time. During that week, we get things pretty well taken care 
of. And I do not think we have had a child yet who did not show 
at least 50 percent improvement during that period of time, and 
most of them do significantly better than that.
    That is about where I am.
    Mr. Burton. Very good. That was a very good lecture. I 
enjoyed that, and we will have some questions about whether or 
not any of our health agencies have picked up on your 
    Dr. Upledger. Thank you.


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

One response to “Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: John Upledger | April 6, 2000”

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