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No responsible historian quotes Unabomber Ted Kaczynski for a proper understanding of the Industrial Revolution and the struggles of a technological age.
So why is uber-scientist Dr. W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University quoting with approval the work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield? Isn't Wakefield supposed to the author of our common mass delusion that vaccines are linked to autism?
And wasn't it Dr. W. Ian Lipkin who wrote Lack of Association Between Measles Virus Vaccine and Enteropathy: A Case Control Study in September 2008 which was widely seen as the final "nail in the coffin" of the MMR vaccine/autism theory? (Author's note - Lipkin's study also showed that the lab work of Dr. John O'Leary, relied upon by Dr. Wakefield, was accurate. And little reported was the fact that the measles virus was detected in the gut tissue of 1 of the 25 children with autism and 1 control. Perhaps the most serious critcism, and difference from the Wakefield study was that only 5 of the 25 children with autism had received their MMR shot prior to the start of gastrointestinal problems, according to parent reports. The parents of all Wakefield's patients in the original Lancet study claimed that the development of GI symptoms came after the MMR shot. That's why he was investigating the shots as a possible cause of the development of GI symptoms AND as a consequence, autism.)
Or to put it a little more clearly, even Dr. W. Ian Lipkin found 20% of the children whose parents claimed that the MMR shot preceeded the development of GI symptoms in their children with autism were positive for the measles virus in their gut.
You can no doubt imagine my surprise when I picked up Dr. W. Ian Lipkin's latest publication, Impaired Carbohydrate Digestion and Transport and Mucosal Dysbiosis in the Intestines of Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Dysbiosis (HERE) and read the following sentence:
"Macroscopic and histological observations in ASD include findings of ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, entercolitis, gastritis, and esophagitis." This sentence was supported by footnotes 2-7. Footnotes 3 and 4 referred to works by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, specifically his works, Entercolitis in Children with Developmental Disoders (2000) and The Significance of Ileo-Colonic Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2005).
Can somebody please explain all of this to me?
Isn't Dr. Wakefield supposed to be some super-villain, leading all of us gullible parents to believe that vaccines aren't quite as safe as sugar water? Didn't he make up fake diseases? So, after being stripped of his license to practice medicine in the U. K., it turns out there really is something called autistic entercolitis and ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia in children with autism. At least Dr. W. Ian Lipkin seems to think so.
Has anybody told Trine Tsouderous of the Chicago Tribune about this? I'm sure she'll want to get right to work getting Dr. W. Ian Lipkin fired from Columbia University.
I was almost as surprised to read a later sentence, "Furthermore, a recent study found a strong correlation between GI symptoms and autism severity." (Okay, so the more impacted the GI system, the worse the autism. Has anybody ever noticed this before?)
The next sentence almost read like something from a gluten/casein diet support group. "The intestinal mucoepithelial layer must maximize nutritional uptake of dietary components while maintaining a barrier to toxins and infectious agents." (I've got it, maybe we'll call it . . . wait for it . . ."leaky gut!" Just as a warning, I've already submitted my copyright application to the United States government, since, well, you know, I invented the idea! Before you read it in this article, nobody, and I mean nobody in the entire world, had ever put the words "leaky gut" together!)
Although this study used a relatively small sample of gut biopsies from children with autism (Hey, isn't that what Wakefield got in trouble for? Or is my memory failing me?), Dr. W. Ian Lipkin wrote, "Our data show that at least some children with autism have a distinct intestinal profile that is linked to deficient expression of disaccharides, and hexose transporters, potentially promoting maldigestion, malabsorption, and multicomponent, compositional dysbiosis. Although the underlying cause of these changes and the extra-intestinal effects these changes may elicit remain speculative, the identification of specific molecular and microbial signatures that define GI pathophysiology in AUT-GI children sets the stage for further research aimed at defining the epidemiology, diagnosis, and informed treatment of GI symptoms in autism."
Translation for those of you who are not Columbia University Professors - There's a lot that's wrong in the digestive system of kids with autism! Maybe it's affecting their brain and behavior! Let's investigate!
After more than ten years of loose stools from my daughter, I don't need to be a Columbia University professor to know that.
But if a big shot scientist like Dr. W. Ian Lipkin is quoting Dr. Andrew Wakefield as a reliable source, maybe the rest of the world will soon be doing the same thing.
And that would be righting one of our new century's greatest injustices.
Kent Heckenlively is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism