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2636 Grand Avenue # 310
San Diego, CA 92109
858. 581. 6205
20 March 2000
Congressman Brian Bilbray
1011 Camino Del Rio South #330
San Diego, CA 92108
Att: Kelly Bingham
Dear Congressman Bilbray,
Thank you for your review of the letter and attachments that I sent you on 28 February 2000 concerning the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health's (NIH) unlawful abandonment of its agency responsibility to study the causes and consequences of violence against children and the developmental origins of violence back in the late 1970s, which has had such devastating consequences upon the children and youth of America today.
Your willingness to meet with me to review this history, as well as the wrongful termination of my 17-year federal career in science administration for opposing those unlawful administrative actions and to take corrective actions is appreciated.
Enclosed is another report that I have prepared for your review that is titled: "An American Generation of Suicidal and Homicidal Deaths of Children and Youth". This report with its accompanying Appendixes of Tables, Figures with highlights of selected relevant studies, portrays a greater deleterious picture of the national health of our children and youth, than that advanced by the public statements of DHHS Secretary Donna Shalala which are basically wrong.
Although, Dr. Shalala chooses to emphasize the decline in overall crime and homicide for the general population, a contrary pattern is seen in the specific age groups of 5-14 and 15 to 24 years of age, where homicide and suicide are the second and third leading causes of death in the 15-24 year age group and has remained so for over a generation.
Suicidal deaths have doubled from 1979-1997 in the 5-14 year age group. The above cited report elaborates upon these facts with an enumeration of the number of lives of children and youth actually lost for the years 1979, 1994 and 1998, as well as the cumulative number of lives lost over the five year period from 1994-1998. This number is 1, 580 lives lost to suicide in 5-14 year olds and 21,910 for 15-24 year olds--a shocking disgrace for America and this is for just a five-year period.
Additionally, the ratio of suicides to homicides have systematically increased from 36 % (1979) to 60 % (1994) to 73 % (1998) in the 5-14 year old age group. Over the past generation, suicidal death has become an increasingly greater threat to American children and youth, than has homicide. Suicidal death of children and youth is the greatest condemnation of any human society for it declares that death is preferable to living in that society. Other statistical findings and insights can be found in my report.
The above statistics document the massive failures of the NICHD and NIMH of the NIH over the past generation to understand the nature of suicide and homicide in these age groups, which prevents them from developing effective programs of prevention. This conclusion is further supported by an examination of the 2000 year Reports of the NICHD and NIMH to the Congress that proposes future plans and programs to prevent child abuse homicides and suicides, as well as the "The Surgeon General's Call to Action To Prevent Suicide (1999).
None of these reports with plans for future programs even mention the role of maternal-infant/child bonding and breastfeeding for the prevention of suicidal and homicidal behaviors and other forms of violence. Similarly, the failure to recognize how failed maternal-infant/child bonding and the lack of breastfeeding contributes to abnormal brain development and behavior is inexplicable. Given the available scientific data on these issues, this neglect is disgraceful and represents grossly negligent science and irresponsible scientific leadership.
In my cross-cultural studies of "primitive" cultures, a single measure of maternal-infant bonding (carrying of infant on the body of mother throughout the day for the first year of life), was able to predict with 80 % accuracy the peaceful and violent nature of 49 primitive cultures distributed throughout the world. Additionally, 65 % of cultures that breastfed their infants 2.5 years or longer were peaceful. These two measures of the mother-infant/child relationship are powerful predictors of adult peaceful or violent behavior.
This nation is now reaping the whirlwind of violence from the NICHD/NIH actions taken over a generation ago which abandoned the scientific study of child abuse and neglect; suppressed the scientific breakthroughs made through NICHD supported research, which documented that failed mother love results in developmental brain disorders and depressive and violent behaviors; and have failed to implement national health policies that would be effective in preventing depression, violence and drug abuse.
This nation must support mothers being nurturing mothers, which includes breastfeeding for "two years of age and beyond", as recommended by WHO and UNICEF; and to reverse its national policies of supporting infant day care. No infant or very young child belongs in institutional day care.
As a member of the "Health and Environment" and "Oversight and Investigations" subcommittees of the Commerce Committee, I am requesting that you seek joint subcommittee Congressional Hearings on this deplorable and tragic history at the NIH, which has betrayed the children and youth of America; to challenge the scientific integrity of the NICHD and MIMH future plans and programs to prevent infant and child abuse homicides and child / youth suicides; and to provide Congressional mandated programs of research and action that will prevent child and youth homicides and suicides, specifically maternal-infant/child bonding and breastfeeding.
I am also requesting that the Congress reverse the wrongful termination of my 17 year federal career in science administration with an appropriate, fair and just compensation for the losses that I and my family have suffered and to restore my honor and integrity, which was stolen by the unlawful actions of the NICHD/NIH.
Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.
James W. Prescott, Ph.D.