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The Obstruction, Cancellation, and Cover-Up of The Research

Recommended reading:
Example for Recent Cover-Up
New as of 99/05/16:
1973: NICHD founds conference,
grants $200,000

1979: Analysis of infant homicide
data denied
Documents on the NICHD affair

Memo: October 4, 1973

Response of the NICHD to a memo on child abuse and neglect from Sectretary Weinberger. The NICHD will found a conference in 1974 and will contribute a budget of $200,000 for fiscal year 1974 to the examination of the problem.

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June 17, 18, 1974 NIH Bethesda, Md.: "NICHD Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Issues in Developmental Research"

Opening Remarks--Gilbert L. Woodside, Ph.D., Acting Director

"It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to make the opening remarks at this Conference on research in the important area of child abuse and child neglect. The convening of this Conference is one of the tasks assumed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in connection with the request, about a year ago by Secretary Weinberger, for increased emphasis on child abuse and child neglect by the agencies of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare."

"The group here today represents scientists, clinicians, adminstrators, lawyers, and others from across the country and from the relevant agencies of the DHEW. I am pleased to note that the program appears to be a highly substantive one giving attention to clinical issues and some of the problems of service as well as to this Institute's emphasis upon research and theoretical considerations"....

"I am sure this Conference will be fruitful, that it will increase our knowledge about child abuse, its treatment and prevention. Also this group can make a significant contribution by pointing the way to future research needs in this field. It is my hope that this Conference will have value for and influence upon all gtovernmental and private agencies concerned with child abuse and child neglect."

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Conference Program

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Memo: April 15, 1975

New Director, NICHD removed NICHD of its agency responsibility to support research on child abuse and neglect and violated the Directive of Secretary Caspar Weinberger to the NICHD. NICHD decided not to publish conference proceedings on child abuse and neglect.

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Memo: May 22, 1975

"The Director, NICHD, has decided not to commit the funds necessary to publish the proceeding of the above indicated research conference. In lieu of this effort, the NICHD has concluded an agreement with NIMH to supply up to $15,000 for a collaborative study of abuse and neglect of adolescents. Dr. Ira Lourie, of NIMH, will be in charge of the study." -- signed Jehu C. Hunter, Acting Associate Director for Program Planning and Evaluation, NICHD, NIH

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May 14, 1975

NIH Memo to Jehu C. Hunter from Joseph Bobbitt, Ph.D. It explicity states that DHEW Secretary Weinberger is upset by the lack of response from various federal agencies to his directive to increase activity and research on child abuse and neglect. "He finally said that perhaps the Secretary would have to remind the agencies and set fiscal obligations as he did for FY [fiscal year] 74." Bobbitt stated "that specific requirements were never set for FY 75 (but that NICHD had maintained its FY 1974 mandate level)".

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Memo: Dec. 29, 1977

Memo Scientist Administrator Prescott to Director NICHD, Kretchmer. Summary of situation and request to fund the research project of Dr. A. Riesen on Somatosensory Deprivation.

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Memo: Jan. 30, 1978

Reply by Kretchmer. Rejects idea to initiate a high priority programm on the developmental neurobiology of socialization.

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Memo: May 22, 1979

NICHD internal memo to Health Scientist Administrator Dr. James W. Prescott prohibits him from any activity to further research on child abuse.

"Please note the attached memorandum to DRG. Child abuse falls within the NIMH's stated referral guidelines and appears nowhere within NICHD's guideline or mission; therefore, assignment to NICHD is inappropriate."

"I have requested that DRG make no further assignments to HD in child abuse. Further, you are instructed not to program grant applications or contract proposals in this area." -- signed Betty H. Pickett, Ph.D., Acting Director, CRMC (NICHD)

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Memo: June 15, 1979 – Analysis Denied

Prescott updated statistics on infant/child mortality rates for an extended epidemiological study. He then requested permission to use computer time at DCRT for $500 to do additional analysis. But Betty H. Pickett of the NICHD denied it. Today (1999) the data is still not analyzed and continuation of studies requested was denied. These denials and rejections occurred despite the NICHD responsibility on epidemiological studies on infant mortality. See 1998 NICHD studies on infant homicide and mortality.

View Prescott's Request
View Pickett's Denial
NICHD Ref. Guidelines of 1978 (Below)

August 16, 1979

Government memo from S. Stephen Schiaffino, Ph.D. , Deputy Director, DRG (Director of Research Grants) to Dr. James Prescott, NICHD. It establishes that NICHD had an official policy to support research on: "child abuse and the unwanted child." according to the NICHD Referral Guidelines of 1970 and 1973. This language was removed in later editions by Dr. Kretchmer, which permitted Dr. Pickett to state in her memo of May 22 (above) that this subject matter nowhere apprears in the Referral Guidelines.

September 1973: NICHD Referral Guidelines. To support work on "child abuse and the unwanted child" and on "social growth".

January 1978: NICHD Referral Guidelines. To support work on:

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View Enclosure: NICHD Ref. Guidel. 1973
View Enclosure: NICHD Ref. Guidel. 1978

Letter: April 4, 1980

Letter from Thomas E. Malone, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NIH to Dr. Prescott that his complaint to the Secretary, DHEW against Dr. Kretchmer titled "Obstruction of Science and the National Health Interest" has been treated as a personal grievance and not as a formal complaint for violation of Public Laws and which requested a review of the unlawful actions of the Director, NICHD and to take corrective actions by the Secretary, DHEW, Joseph Califano. This action by the NIH prevented a Departmental review of changed national science policy of the NICHD established by the Congress in Public Law 89-487; and reduced my complaint to one of "personal interest" rather than actions "in support of the Institute's policy and programs".

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Letter: April 25, 1980

NICHD Health Scientist Administrator Dr. James Prescott is removed from service. Reason: "Removal for improper use of official position and resources to promote research on 'Developmental Origins of Violence' and 'Child Abuse and Neglect', subjects that are not within the mission of the NICHD, as part of the program of this institute."

On the same paper the exact name and location of Prescott's employing office is shown: "PHS, National Institute of Health, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, Center for Research for Mothers and Children, Human Learning & Behavior BR"

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Letter: April 18, 1980

Letter of Leona H. Egeland, Chairwoman, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and Welfare, California State Assembly, to Senator Alan Cranston. About "a serious problem that appears to have developed within the National Institute of Health."

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Letter: Feb. 19, 1980

NICHD Acting Director Pickett's reply to Senator Alan Cranston, Chairman, Subcommittee on Child and Human Development, United States Senate. Stating: "The NICHD has never supported a program of research on child abuse and neglect."

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Letter: July 11, 1980

Letter of John Money, Professor of Medical Psychology and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to Senator Alan Cranston. Statement: "I would like to recommend very strongly that you do not accept Dr. Pickett's statement about research into child abuse and neglect at NICHD at face value, for they do not hold water."

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Article: March 15, 1980

"The Federal Employee" reports under "NIH Hatchet-Job on Distinguished Scientist" that Prescott as "One of the Government's foremost expert in the field of child abuse soon may be railroaded out of his job...".

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Article: Oct. 7, 1980

The Washington Child Protection Report, Vol. VI, No. 20 gives a summary of the whole affair. Recommended.

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Letter: February 23, 1981

Letter to DHHS Secretary Richard S. Schweiker from Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr stating his concerns: "It is clear that if we are to meet our goal of reducing deaths among young people by 20 percent by 1990, we must identify better ways of bringing violence under control, and we must put our knowledge to work in every community". and "Could you inform me of the nature and level of NICHD support for basic research into child abuse and neglect and into the developmental origins of violence?

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Letter: May 11, 1981

Letter to Senator McC Mathias, Jr. from DHHS Secretary Richard S. Schweiker (some 3 months later) presenting the level of support of child abuse and neglect research by the NICHD, yet stating: "The NICHD has never supported a program of research on child abuse and neglect".

Child abuse and neglect (failure of affectional bonding) results in traumatic brain injury that has yet to be studied by the NICHD and other federal agencies utilizing MRI and fMRI brain scans and compared to children and young adults who have been breastfed for "two years or longer" with no history of child abuse and neglect.

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Letter: December 19, 1991

Dr.Duane Alexander, M.D. Director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development letter to Dr. Prescott that stated: "The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has not supported a program of research on the causes of child abuse and neglect".

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Letter: July 7, 1994

The White House, Washington. Letter by George R. Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy, to James Prescott: "Your findings on this topic should prove beneficial to how our society perceives growing children." This letter was the only reaction after the White House received documentation of Prescott's work a month before.

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Example for Recent Cover-Up

April 1994

Publication of the "Report of the Panel on NIH Research on Antisocial, Agressive, and Violence-Related Behaviors and their Consequences", Panel Meetings in June and September 1993. (Participant Dr J. W. Prescott, BioBehavioral Systems, San Diego, CA. He presented this testimony.)

Excerpts of the NIH 1994 Report:

a) NIH Panel Findings and Recommendations: "Violence constitutes the second leading cause of death for youth in America, and it poses a health risk for persons of all ages." (Further Panel Findings and Recommendations)

b) The NIH RESEARCH PORTFOLIO: "With the exception of the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), violence research has not been a major priority at NIH (25)". View Page 75.

c) "In fiscal 1992 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development spent about $8.9 million on research related to violence (33) (...) Other ongoing research projects focus on such things as self-injurious behavior, aggressive behavior in children and adolescents, the effect of domestic violence on young children (child abuse), and intervention to lower violence-related morbidity and mortality among minority youth." View Page 76.

d) Appendix F: "devoting as much money to peace studies as to studies of violence" (46) This is the only reference to Dr. Prescott's extensive testimony. No mention of history of NICHD research on child abuse and neglect nor developmental origins of violence. View Page 121.

e) Summary September 22-24, 1993 meeting: 2nd paragraph: "To date, investment across all Institutes and ICDs in violence-related research has been minuscule relative to the total NIH budget (i.e.0.5%)." View Page 138.