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"Science Stoppers" and the Question of Autism

Stop By Kent Heckenlively

I recently spent three days engaging my "inner geek" by attending the California Science Teacher's Convention in Sacramento.  For most people I'm sure the highlight would have been the closing speech by the hosts of Mythbusters, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.  But for me the highlight was the speech by professor Kevin Padian, curator of the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

Professor Padian was one of the chief expert witnesses in the Dover trial in which a local school board was trying to adopt a creationist textbook.  Now I should probably confess I've been an evolution freak since the age of three when I fell in love with dinosaurs.  My job as a science teacher gives me free rein to talk about such issues and also get paid for my eccentric interests.

I don't have much energy for attacking creationists, being a Catholic, and knowing our own tumultuous history of trying to mix faith with science.  Although I went to a Catholic college with a Galileo Science Hall, it would still be several years after I graduated that the Catholic Church finally rescinded his excommunication.  After a couple centuries wrestling with the issue I think we've come up with a pretty good formulation that "science without faith is blind, and faith without science is lame."  I believe in God (I'm actually a eucharistic minister in my parish) and science, but they live in different zip codes.

What really interested me in professor Padian's talk was the masterful way in which he showed multiple lines of evidence for the turning of a fin into a foot, the development of feathers in theropod dinosaurs, and how whales went from land to water animals.  Then he said something about creationist arguments against evolution which I felt went to the heart of why so many of us don't trust the medical authorities when it comes to the vaccine-autism issue.

He said that creationist arguments against evolution are "science stoppers" because they discourage the efforts of the human mind to understand evolution in all its complexity.  

With voluminous accounts of parents detailing how the problems of their children began after a vaccination it's nothing less than a crime that the medical authorities stop the science by claiming that the question has been "asked and answered."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They have refrained from doing the type of population studies of vaccinated and unvaccinated populations which might yield promising information.  How about also doing extensive biological studies of their immune systems to see what is going wrong?

The medical authorities like to portray themselves as "science against parents", but in truth they have failed to do the science.  They're like the creationists claiming that autism is beyond the capability of humans to fully understand and that our questions are somehow "heresy" against the existing order.  I know my daughter's seizures, her inability to speak, and various motor development problems have a biological basis.  If the medical authorities truly cared about autism they would have given our kids every test in the book as well as developing a whole host of new ones to get to the root of the problem.  They have not.

Because the question of autism hasn't been fully answered I've been following with great interest the controversy in the chronic fatigue syndrome/ME community over whether the retrovirus XMRV is involved in the condition.  I think this is an important question as a retrovirus might explain a number of the immunological conditions involved in chronic fatigue syndrome/ME.  Detection of a retrovirus has always been difficult as the history of HIV demonstrates, but this is an extremely interesting development.  My interest is also personal as my daughter, my wife, and mother-in-law have all tested positive for this virus.  A recent poster presentation at the 1st International XMRV Conference showed in a small study that 82% of children with autism tested positive for this retrovirus.  Children with autism and those with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME share many common immune system abnormalities.

Like everything in science this information needs to be chased down and confirmed.  It was with some surprise I discovered my two articles on XMRV had become the partial subject of a blog which was critical of my even talking about this subject.  You're welcome to read this blog HERE.  I thought it would be appropriate to respond as my two articles were the subject of at least part of the post.  I was respectful and pointed out three points I felt the author had left out.

1.  The XMRV study by the collaboration between the National Cancer Institute, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Whittemore-Peterson Institute had been confirmed in a study by Dr. Harvey Alter, co-discoverer of the hepatitis-C virus and winner of the Lasker Prize for medical research, equivalent to the Nobel Prize in terms of prestige.

2.  Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institute of Health, and leader of the Human Genome Project, had opened the recent 1st International Conference of XMRV and stayed for 75% of the session, clearly broadcasting his interest in this issue.

3.  The governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most recently Great Britain have banned blood donations from people who have ever had chronic fatigue syndrome/ME.  I doubted these countries would have taken these steps without a well-founded concern about the possible connection between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME.

I made these points in a cordial fashion and waited for them to show up on the website.  They didn't.  Apparently it's okay for them to criticize the articles I write, but not okay to let me respond.  Instead, my answer came in a comment posted by the editor of the website.  I have reproduced it in part below:

"Note to Kent Heckenlively: Everyone is welcome on ERV. Billy Dembski. Casey Luskin. Even Lenny Horowitz. I filter most comments from a certain 'CFS' forum, because the members are clearly mentally unstable, and I dont think its ethical to provide them with a fixation.

But you sir, are not welcome here, you sick f***." (Last word edited for a family audience.)

I'm really not sure how to respond to this and I don't encourage any of you to go over there and post any nasty comments.  It really isn't worth your time.

But I worry about "science stoppers" like these web-sites, although I believe their reach is probably extremely limited.  I think of the wonderful people I've known in science and how they would never engage in such rude behavior.

Instead I'd like to share a story told to me by one of the senior science teachers in our district.  He recalled being present at Lawrence-Livermore Labs when the legendary Dr. Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb was brought to view the National Ignition Facility, where 192 giant lasers would be focused on a BB sized particle of hydrogen fuel in an attempt to generate nuclear fusion.

"What do you think you will learn from this big machine?" the aged scientist asked the director of the facility.

The director gave a long-winded answer to the question.

Dr. Teller listened politely, then addressed the director in his thick, Hungarian accent, and said, "No!  You have no idea what you will learn!"

In the face of such suffering in both the autism and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME communities I would urge those who might question our efforts to express a little humility in the face of all those things which remain unknown.

Kent Heckenlively is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism

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Which is it? genetic cause versus environmental cause of the epidemic of neuroimmune disease. Nature versus nurture? Are the "sins of the father" being visited upon their offspring?

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/The_sins_of_the_father_shall_be_visited_upon_the_son_a_thousand_times

Here's a lovely little article from the font of unbiased "CME" - MedPage Today:

"Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and Intermittent Explosive Disorder"

http://www.medpagetoday.com/tbprint.cfm?tbid=23026

Just when you thought that reality could not get any stranger! Bad genes? How about just "bad"? Maybe pharma will introduce an innovative new home DNA in vitro diagnostic for "bad" actors? how about an innovative new, Johnny-on-the-spot genetically-engineered xenobiotic to "fix" the problem?

:>)

VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM

Kent,

The analogy of creation and stopping science was a very poor choice as it gives the reader the impression that you believe that the theroy of evolution has merit and creation and God do not in a similiar way that biomedical is discounted by pro vaccine idiots, no matter what your intent was that is how I read it. This of course is simply not true.

Kent, your experience as a catholic not withstanding whatever problems you encountered in your "religion" do not impugne the credibility of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. Many religions have various man made rituals and rules that have nothing to do with our Lord so please do not confuse the two.

God and science are not mutually exclusive these are the incoherent rantings typically of liberal aetheist and agnostics. On the contrary and in fact this is impossible because just as it would be illogical to assert that an author is seperate from his work that same reasoning holds true for God, as God is the author of science and is one with his work, that we cannot fathom his thoughts and creations and decipher his work is a function of our limited minds in comparison to his.

Isaiah 55:9

"Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts"

Kent I have an expression that I use when I talk to other physicians and surgeons and patients "take it for granted God is smarter than we are"

Finally with regard to Kevin Padium and others like him , do not be enamored with fools. They will change their mind tommorow about the flying dinosaurs, and palentologist have been known to do such things, you may recall there was a time when they believed dinosaurs all dragged their tales, no one has ever found convincing evidence that there was a evolutionary relationship between these reptiles and birds.

Finally there are several different types of evolutionist they not only disagree but they think of the each other as heretics, so I would not put much faith in that 18th century man made theory.

Romans 1:25

"They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen."

I had to write to you Kent no one else is reading this but us now, and it is not done with bad intent but of the hope that you will see this brief correspondence as a light in a different and good direction


VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM

Kent,

Your articles have always been informative, and i will continue to read them. But i have to go with Janice Nicholson and BJ when it comes to your use of Creationism as one of the science stoppers. I have read a number of Creationist books and articles (some which could be found icr.org, and creationontheweb.com (or org). I have noticed as i have read both said literature and autism/vaccine literature many parallels betw our movements.

Creationism and autism/biomed research has been marginalized by the scientific community.

Adherents to both have been either prevented from publishing articles in major journals, or have faced retractions or similar measures afterwards.

There's a whole lot to be learned by both groups by the population at large if they would only ignore the dominating scientific paradigms long enough to read some alternative sources.

And also, we, in both camps have found evidence that the other side(s) have deliberately falsified or held back info, in order to "prove" their "science", and therefore keep us out in the dark.

I know this is an autism article. But i did have to add my 2 cents too. I think that given the volume of info in both Creationist and autism/biomed camps, that it would behoove us to consider both. Thank you.

PS... It was actually Galileo who was much more Biblically accurate than Pope Leo and his cardinals of the time, who wanted to keep pushing the pagan Greek Ptolemaic system. I couldn't resist saying this.

I am sorry Kent about ERV. People like that upsets me, but remember not everyone can be sane and logical, and some times they are just mean and you being a nice guy has a hard time understanding why.

I am also like LJ Goes
being a Christian is hard, especially if it the CDC.

Kent referred to a period of Christianity that was way back in the dark ages - but we all know that Christianity has also been the shining light that has put us in the Industrial Age. Why, because those of that religion cared about the truth and fought for what was right.

Evolutionist or Creationist;
Remember what God told Job: Where were you Job when I laid the Foundations of the Earth?

I think the point of Kent's creationism comparison (at least, the way I took it) is that some things (like "vaccines are safe" and "CFS has nothing to do with a virus") have become articles of faith for so-called scientists, and that should never be the case. Science should be about openness to discovery and pursuing lines of inquiry.

...and Kim, I loved your book. Loved it. Thoughtful and funny and touching at the same time; I had to keep reminding myself that this is your real life, and not a work of fiction. And I thought the way you handled abortion was thoughtful and honest.

It is the scientific establishment which attempts to suppress criticism of their ruling paradigms, not creationists or concerned parents.

You might have missed the studies that show that DISC1 is implicated as a gene in autism and CFS. The reason why they may be similar is probably because they "are" similar. Also explains why the chemical sensitivity of MCS and autism are similar is because they are similar. Also, Nrf2 may play an important role also...but other environmental and genetic factors effect and influence the phenotype.

I think we might be due for an echo epidemic. The population as a whole has become autoimmune. What does that do to offspring? If a parent was partially damaged by a vaccine, what does that do to her children? Something else to study!

If you believe that AIDS was caused by the huge push to vaccinate for polio, you would understand AIDS in Africa. Also, virus infected African monkeys were used to make the vaccine. Also, gay men were treated with tainted polio vaccines in the 80's. Read the Virus and the Vaccine by Bookchin and Schumacher.

Thank You Jen and Cynthia for trying to answer this question. And maybe you both are right - maybe it takes piling on a lot of vaccines to allow the virus to multiply. True the autism rates increased when they added the Hep B and retrotec vaccine in the 90's.


Yet:
It was the whooping cough vaccine that caused our problem - not the polio or diptheria, or MMR or Hib because my kids went on ahead and took them with no problems???? Don't know about the retorvirus or the Hep B vaccine because I wised up and refused them (untill my daughter three years back took the Hep B and yes she reacted badly)!

And if it is a lot of people carrying around the XMRV, already infected, and it only comes to light because they have a vaccine reaction that stimulates their immune system and suddenly they are ill - Well --- why only certain vaccines -- why not all vaccines??? Are not all the vaccines causing our immune systems to reproduce?

What about the Gulf War Veterans.

Here was a huge group of young healthy men and women, in good shape, running 2 miles in 8 minute type of stuff - these guys were carrying a XMRV virus around with them all along??? And and suddenly this large group when given a vaccine that caused this XMRV infection to show up,with ALS? This same group of young healthy people had gotten by fine with their previous childhood vaccines with no problem but this vaccine causes the XMRV to replicate.

So how many people are out there that seem fine, look fine, think they are fine - but have this virus just waiting to replicate?

Maybe those who have AIDS or studied it have some ideas on this?
I have heard they have to be really careful with vaccines. They have to take steroids or something after they take a vaccine.

And I don't understand the AIDS thing either. It shows up in New York and then the west coast suddenly - in the 80's-- What was going on that no body knew that half of Africa was already dying from it? Africa was already dying from it wasn't it? Well how long had that been going on and nobody noticed.

I think we need to disband the CDC, I think that everyone taht works for the CDC needs to be fired. I think that anybody that worked for the CDC in this time period and has retired should be denied their retirement because they don't seem to be doin' their job. How could half of Africa be dying and our CDC disease hound dogs didn't get a sniff. Yet, they know when one of their own - son-in-law boards a plane and flys to Europe and he has TB. and reports him even though his doctor said it was fine. Mean spirited, small people must work there.

For those interested, below are a few further reading links to neuroimmune pathologies induced by XMRV-family viruses. As Karin said, they fit autism like a glove!

Unfortunately gov agencies are aware, and falling over themselves to keep XMRV research well away from autism and/or CFS. Funding applications are being turned down left, right and centre, and positive association studies are being blocked from getting published. Many scientists are too scared to touch the subject for fear of being ostracised.

Innate immunity in the pathogenesis of polytropic retrovirus infection in the central nervous system.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18818884
Neuroinflammation, including astrogliosis, microgliosis, and the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines is a common response in the central nervous system (CNS) to virus infection, including retrovirus infection. However, the contribution of this innate immune response in disease pathogenesis remains unresolved. Analysis of the neuroinflammatory response to polytropic retrovirus infection in the mouse has provided insight into the potential contribution of the innate immune response to retrovirus-induced neurologic disease. In this model, retroviral pathogenesis correlates with the induction of neuroinflammatory responses including the activation of astrocytes and microglia, as well as the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Studies of the neurovirulent determinants of the polytropic envelope protein as well as studies with knockout mice suggest that retroviral pathogenesis in the brain is multifaceted and that cytokine and chemokine production may be only one mechanism of disease pathogenesis…..

The Pathogenesis of Murine Retroviral Infection of the Central Nervous System
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3639.1993.tb00736.x/abstract


Neurologic disease induced by polytropic murine retroviruses: neurovirulence determined by efficiency of spread to microglial cells.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9188597


Microglial response to murine leukemia virus-induced encephalopathy is a good indicator of neuronal perturbations.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20059990


Activation of transcription factor Nrf-2 and its downstream targets in response to moloney murine leukemia virus ts1-induced thiol depletion and oxidative stress in astrocytes
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15479833

Interaction between endoplasmic reticulum stress and caspase 8 activation in retrovirus MoMuLV-ts1-infected astrocytes
… We have reported previously that ts1 infection causes apoptosis in astrocytes via endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondrial stress… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

and last but not least

Induction of intestinal lesions in nu/nu mice induced by transfer of lymphocytes from syngeneic mice infected with murine retrovirus
…Lymphocytes of the virus infected mice induced colitis and HYPERPLASIA OF INTESTINAL EPITHELIAL CELLS as well as systemic exocrinopathy in nu/nu mice. Our experimental system may give some insight into intestinal lesions associated with virus infection… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1891452/?tool=pubmed

Kent, I shall employ the creative license Kim encourages.

I too am Catholic and given my son Noah's diagnosis I've quickly developed a penchant for science.

Catholic LJ: Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Science (ie."evolved") LJ: Tell those sick close-minded mother f*%$ers to drag their hairy knuckles over and kiss your diplomatic erudite tail-less ass.

Alas, it's quite difficult to balance the two.

Respectfully, LJ Goes

Bennedeta,
It doesn't take 3 generations for autism to show up, it took adding more and more vaccines each generation until we have hit a breaking point.

"What really interested me in professor Padian's talk was the masterful way in which he showed multiple lines of evidence..."
I believe that is the point to the 'autism debate.' There are so many "lines of evidence" that rather than taking a scientific view and applying everything we know about scientific principles, we get caught up in the nuances in the art of arguing.

The world wants desperately to believe that vaccines work, so they start with that hypothesis (that they always work) and twist and contrive and contort until they find (or ignore) an argument that fits their world view.

Benedetta, you said "BUT WHY--- ANY SPECULATION on
Example:
Why it takes three generations (with vaccines) before autism is showing up?"

People with ME/CFS have cognitive dysfunction and neurological issues also, they just aren't occurring at a critical developmental period in their lives. Children with ASD are developmentally delayed and do get back on track in their development if you can get them well through medical intervention. I have seen this in my own daughter. We are still awaiting our XMRV results but I believe we are infected with XMRV or a variant of this retrovirus. I also have CFS.

To me the government/medical establishment seems to be afraid on a intuitive-reactionary level (at least I sure hope it's not with direct knowledge) that XMRV could be another one of their not-so-wonderful contributions to the human race. It's either in the head or in the genes, not the environment, or in some few cases, mothers suddenly become refrigerators. They did this with schizophrenia, with AIDs, autism, morgellons,...

Why don't they just acknowledge that human interventions (such as vaccination) may lead to unwanted problems, and go for broke in investigating those possibilities to improve our ability to treat and prevent them? They may even find out this time that this is not a manmade disease, but either way our understanding and progress in prevention and reversal should increase.

And AoA "censors" comments. Right! :S

Kent rightly asks, "How about also doing extensive biological studies of their immune systems to see what is going wrong?" A logical mind would answer "yes." But too often capitalism overrides, deeming scientific investigation worthy only if some blockbuster drug can be developed.

The only conclusion one can draw from the medical majority's actions (and inaction) regarding controversial autism causality theories is that profit and PR image are more important than patients' health.

Instead of compassionate medical care after vaccine injury, what we get from public health policymakers are images of bellowing ogres aiming more needles at us. What a consumer nightmare.

My son daughter and myself were in the XMRV study. I know the status so far of my son, but am awaiting results on me and my daughter. It is interesting that he parallels what CFS parents have, that is heart conduction problems (aka could have dropped dead), and had to have a pacemaker placed in his heart, isnt it?

All I can say, is once I heard he was, I straightway talked to my very open minded (very important) GP, and he got on the phone with Dr M, and got the protocol down, talked to other doctors around the country. Right now, my son is on Minocycline/Amantadine and a host of nutrients known to combat XMRV. After that we will move on to antiretrovirals (we have to go slow with my son because he is very fragile). I am sure, this is one of the reasons for the autism, althougn I entertain the thought, that simple (if any virus is simple) viruses/bacteria lyme are to blame as well, including what was in my sons DPT shot, and I mean WHATEVER, like contaminants too (aka mycoplasma), polio, which we tested positive for SV40 wise...and of course the numerous toxins and immune genetics in our family that made it simply impossible to have healthy children. That in and of itself is concerning..but then I watched a terrible commercial the other day about purple crying which was promoted by an organization called purple crying (imagine the image), and sponsered by the CDC, leading parents to believe, that kids screaming and crying is a typical new norm. The aim and focus was, to make sure we don't lose it as parents, and shake babies to brain damage and or obstifucate that they are experiecning a vaccine reaction. Excuse me, I know plenty pediatricians who are brain damaging kids everyday, and then sending them home to their mommies, leaving them to question what happened to my once normal child, and or, since six hours of birth after a HEP B shot. If you want further information, please go to my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_161667697200117

This willy nilly approach to our children has to stop. Parents need to question why their children are not doing well and or question the whole medical system and motive$ at this point, and question what was done to them medically to get to the bottom of it. Dr M is a saint in my book, and clearly is getting Wakefield like attacks for her work on our behalf. She didnt have to GO THERE..her mission was soley on CFS...but when she saw the neuroimmune array of damage, how could she not say autism is in the family but even atypical MS, possibly Niemman Pick and others, even cancers other than prostate, when a CFS mom has simply the same biochemistry as her child, including methylation and glutathione block, gut problems, thyroid, etc?

Lets not let decades go by like the AIDS stories, to not identify a new virus that can destroy families. Get the pride out of the way, and examine together. Forgive my naivity, but can't we all just get along?

Thanks Kent! I have to add my two cents which honestly doesn't pertain to autism, but I have never, for the life of me, ever been able to understand how Creationism and the Theory of Evolution are mutually exclusive. I have always thought evolution itself to be the greatest of all miracles. I mean God created evolution right?? Oh well.
And I am a history teacher, and I am constantly reminded in our textbook of how science has been "stopped".
I think of fellow Swede Carl Linnaeus. He has a motto when faced with, to put it nicely, "critics" in working with his science:
Innocue vivito, numen adest- Live harmlessly, the spirit is close.

BUT WHY--- ANY SPECULATION on
Example:
Why it takes three generations (with vaccines) before autism is showing up?

On the general question of mercury and autism, this recent paper by DeSoto and Hitlan is interesting:

"Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence"

"To summarize, of the 58 empirical reports on autism and heavy metal toxins, 43 suggest some link may be present, while 13 reports found no link. Even with the tendency for null results not to be reported, it cannot be said there is no evidence for a link between heavy metal toxins and autism: although the question may still be open--in sum, the evidence favors a link."

http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:DCv2DeOSW9sJ:scholar.google.com/+Sorting+out+the+spinning+of+autism+author:DeSoto&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

On the subject of erv, erv is a public relations tool. She has shilled for Mountain Dew on her blog. She called Dr. Mikovits a c*nt. Don't bother with her or her blog.

I hope the author was not trying to convey any notion that creationists are "science stoppers". I kind of got that impression and therefore was unimpressed.
That is not true at all. In fact everything in science points to a creator and we welcome an honest investigation scientifically. There are many scientist like Louis Pasteur who said "The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator." "Science brings men nearer to God."
There is a really good website called christianevidences.org that supports creationism with scientific evidence. I realize this is a site for Autism but I would like to offer proof to the contrary of the idea that creationists are "science stoppers" That is a ridiculous notion and to even slightly suggest it is ruining the credibility of the author in my opinion. Why does he even have to go there in this debate over vaccine injury?

Love your post Kent (as always).

Another analogy (science stopper) would be the ABA-only folks (e.g., "why investigate anything biomedical and spend any money in that direction when the only proven therapy is ABA therapy").

I love ABA too (and RDI and VB and Floortime - whatever floats a family's boat) to be one of the many ingredients in a child's recipe for success. But the "ONLY ABA is proven" crowd (whatever flavor of ABA) are science stoppers too.

Being the history nerd I am I can't help but say this all reminds me of a far darker time.

The time of witch hunts and histeria, and the cruelty of the Inquistion. Paticularly the ruthless manner in which both spiritual and temporal authorities dealth with "hersey", slaughtering entire peoples and silencing any hint of someone speaking out against the madness!

Granted we are not burning people at the stake anymore, or casting them into the ghastly iron maiden, but we have new forms of torture now don't we? And like all those years ago, the victims of these crimes are so innocent!

In response to the madness was born the Reformation and call to reason. Let us hope that like that movement, slowly but surely, our voices will be heard. And like Latimer said once "Do not fear my brother, for I tell you we shall light such a candle in England that no one will ever be able to put it out".

Thanks for calling out ERV! She is illogical and not very bright. I have been called stupid and other expletives I wont name on here by ERV.
I urge people NOT to read her blog or link to it because then she gets more hits and attention and that is what she wants.

Readers, we're all about debate and we do sometimes wade into controversy - that's OK! The day AofA plays is "careful" or tells our contributors that they can't get into a controversial topic we're cooked.

I get into an abortion conversation in my book - not sure how people will take that either.

We've been praising FOX news and other super conservative sites and then liberal sites too - keep your eyes on Kent's messge and I hope you'll keep commenting. Thanks!

KIM

Kent, why do you want to isolate a large group of autism parents by comparing our belief and arguments for a Creator God to the "science stopping" tactics of the likes of the CDC, Big Pharma, etc? I know many parents like myself, who are strong Creationist Christians, with a firm belief that vaccines injured our children; who hold the same belief as you do regarding the present "science" surrounding vaccine safety.


It just makes me sad because I always recommend AoA to other Christian autism parents I know, and I respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I feel like this is unnecessarily divisive and clouds your bigger point in the article.

Thank you so much Kent for covering the XMRV facts and the possibility that the autism epidemic might be linked to XMRV spread in the population.

After four years of intensive biomedical treatments and exploring all avenues, I am now personally convinced that XMRV is the best candidate as root cause of the autism epidemic, together with other contributing factors, of course.

Because the more you read about murine retroviruses as well as retroviruses in general, the more it fits as the central missing piece of the autism puzzle: brain capillary damage, microglial activation, leaky gut, gut inflamation, immune activation and dysfunction, oxidative stress, depletion of glutathione, allergies, chronic infections, mitochondrial dysfunction, neurological problems, on and on, it all fits so well.

Do I like the fact that my son (and maybe myself) might have a retrovirus for life? Hell, no. Does it matter what I like or don't like? No.

But that being said, what I am most shocked about is that IF XMRV is contributing to (or causing) the autism epidemic, it would be PREVENTABLE.

Pregnant mothers could be tested for it, and if found positive, measures could be taken during birth to minimize the risk of transmission to the newborn, and most importantly, no breastfeeding. Plenty of HIV-positive moms have babies who are HIV-negative.

And if babies are infected anyways, then measures could be taken to minimize immune activation in order to minimize the spread of the virus when the BBB is still developing.

So why aren't things moving faster? Each minute new babies are born and are needlessly contaminated. Even if there is just a remote chance that XMRV might be causing autism, why aren't we looking into this and acting NOW to prevent more futures to be destroyed?

Why don't we STOP IT NOW? So that other families don't have to suffer through what we all went through?

Once upon a time in the United States--- so the news reported many years ago was- that the medical outcomes for the sick all over the world was the same as it was in the United States. So why did the rest of the sick world flock to the United States if given a chance. The answer was - not for treatment but for dignosis. and not just a dignosis but a real understanding of the disease.

All human beings wants to know - because we are human beings ---WHY! How come that is!!!

The last three decades I have been amazed at the lack of curiosity by the medical community.

I am deep into the book "Age of Autism" I have read all I can find on the XMRV, Is it mercury poisoning, is it XMRV, is it both? OR is it something else all together. One thing for sure right here on this forum there seems to be no shortage of ideas and there sure is no lack of curisoity.

GH as it happens in this case and this point in time, mentioning or including XMRV in one's scope of research has disastrous consequences to one's funding applications with gov agencies.

ALL good XMRV research linking it to CFS or autism so far has come through private funding. Gov agencies and big funding bodies are sending very clear signals that they have no intention of funding this area of research, and are actually discouraging it in many ways.

Mr. Heckenlively: As always, thank you very much for your article. I do have one comment. I think dragging the creationist/ evolutionist discussions into the Age of Autism website is not helpful because, obviously, there are those of us who do believe in the veracity of the Biblical account of creation and others who believe in evolution. Whichever side we are on, we can all believe that due diligence and credible research needs to be done on the vaccine/autism debate. Some would argue, as Ben Stein did in his movie "Expelled", that it is actually the science into intelligent design that has been suppressed, not evolution. Obviously, we all need to be a united front in trying to change the course of vaccination, whether or not we believe God created the immune system or not. Thank you.

Well-stated, GH! Very eloquent and insightful.

Since it is "unethical" in some people's mind to do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study because they couldn't bear the thought of "withholding" vaccines from any child, these ethical researchers must be all over the idea of testing the blood of vaccinated children for XMRV and comparing it to the blood of unvaccinated children so see if there is less of a presence of XMRV in them. Wow, they could even do it on children who are getting vaccinated, but spreading out the shots, after each shot to see if there is any correlation to a particular disease or manufacturer of vaccine. If XMRV in vaccines is correlated to autism, it would take no time at all to confirm it or eliminate it. Wow! The possibilities are exciting!

The author of the blog you are speaking of responded to an autism parent by writing, "(VACCINES GAYVE MAH BABBY AUTIZOOM!!!!)"...this is a ridiculous, immature person who doesn't deserve a response. I understand why Kent wants to respond (because he's not allowed on the site)...but really? Who's the sick f***?

Unfortunately the attitude of 'you have no idea what you will learn' started to lose favour with funding bodies about 40 years ago, who started to demand the answer before the question could be asked. It was an inevitable change as the areas of research demanding funding steadily grew, but it has caused economy with truth in PR. I worked on a nuclear fusion reactor a little over twenty years ago, which was, and remains, very high budget research; and there was at that time a detailed plan for how the research would over the course of 30 years lead to a workable reactor for power generation. I was young and naive then, but I still wondered how such projections could be made in view of how far we were from finding answers to the fundamental problems, I also wondered why there were periodic press releases of advances which bore little resemblance to what was actually happening. As I say, I was young and naive.

The motivation behind the press statements leading to the headlines of XMRV being linked to CFS, and finding the autism and ADD genes, is the funding application, plain and simple. All research needs to be challenged, and eventually the truth will be known, meanwhile it is important to avoid the temptation to jump to conclusions. What must NEVER happen is for open discussion to be stifled, as it has been over vaccine damage.

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