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Paternal Age Study Implicates Environment Not Genes

EnvironmentBy Bob Krakow Tony randall

The headline generating paper published this week in a leading scientific journal, Kong, Augustine et al. 2013. “Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk.” Nature 488(7412):471–475, has been promoted relentlessly in the mainstream media being featured, among other prominent venues, as the lead front page story in the New York Times. The Nature scientific paper purports to show data supporting a link between children born to older fathers and disease, specifically autism and schizophrenia.

The paper is based on the evaluation of the genetic makeup of 219 individuals, claiming significance for the finding that older fathers possessing a higher number of de novo genetic mutations than younger fathers produce more offspring with autism and schizophrenia. The purported association between older fathers and children with autism is being touted as a breakthrough finding that helps to explain the rise in the incidence of autism over the last two decades. The finding is claimed to support a genetic etiology for autism.

Putting aside issues of the limited number of subjects studied and the question of whether or not the statistical assumptions of the authors are accurate, a glaring issue in the study is that there exists no explanation how de novo mutations relate to autism, or whether they are causal absent other triggering factors. There exists no evidence that the existence of a greater number of de novo mutations in a father actually causes autism. There exists, in fact, no explanation in science as to how de novo mutations might cause autism – the mechanism that the authors theorize may exist is utterly unknown.

Significantly, the paper’s authors themselves state the following: "even through factors other than father's age do not seem to contribute substantially to the mutation rate diversity in our data, it does not mean that hazardous environmental conditions could not cause a meaningful increase in the mutation rate. Rather, the results indicate that, to estimate such an effect for a specific incident, it is crucial to take the father's age into account."

This statement is a profound acknowledgement that factors are at play other than the simplistic genetic etiology promoted in the media accounts of the paper.  Putting aside the question of why the paper received extraordinary coverage in the media (all over 24 hour radio news last night - lead front page of NY Times today, etc. - we all know how that happens) the paper does not (1) offer any explanation of how or even if the high de novo mutation rate in older fathers is causal for autism or schizophrenia and (2) itself strongly suggests that the point here is susceptibility only. If anything, the paper’s findings strengthen the argument that environmental factors are the operative variable in autism etiology, and that children of older fathers may be more vulnerable to environmental injury than children of younger fathers.

Digging behind the headlines, then, what this paper may really show is that there exists a double role for environmental factors, as follows: (1) environmental factors cause de novo mutations, as reflected in the paper's data, and the mutations accumulate with age, (2) the de novo mutations create vulnerability in some children, and (3) environmental factors then trigger disease in the (environmentally-caused) genetically susceptible children.

Thus, rather than showing that autism or schizophrenia may be primarily genetic, the paper supports the argument that the significant operative variables are environmental.

Robert Krakow is an attorney in private practice in New York. Bob started his legal career with the New York Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization. For nine years in the 1980s Bob was a prosecutor with the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s office, serving as Bureau Chief of the special narcotics prosecution division. He founded his law firm in 1989, focusing on the trial of civil and criminal cases, and specializing in the representation of individuals injured by exposure to vaccines. Bob represents families of children with autism in a variety of venues, including insurance coverage disputes, vaccine exemption issues, IDEA education disputes with school districts, and claims of educational and medical neglect.

Comments

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Media Scholar

But isn't it true that older dads were younger once?

There have *always* been older dads, right?

Therefore, it is true that once upon a time older dads never had to worry about Autism simply due to the fact that there was no Autism to speak of.

The wrong side of this issue have been trying to cram the round genetics peg into the square Autism hole for way too long now.

It's so much simpler and less costly to accept the stubborn fact that there is no such thing as an outbreak of genetics.

As Andrew Hall Cutler once said, "If you have genes you can have Autism."

The trouble for the genes crowd is the fact that they can not reach a conclusion without implicating abusive mass vaccination policy. Therefore, they are engrossed in chasing their tail much to the delight of the vaccine-manufacturing drug companies.

"One for you...ten for me...one for you...twelve for me...one for you...five for me..." - Any Autism Epidemiologist

Benedetta

Elizabeth;
Qwerty is a brainaic.
Can't ye tell how she/he responeded to Lab Shanigans?
Why - way over all of our heads!
Qwerty only responds to people that dare talk on Qwerty's level - just the facts (according to Qwerty). That if we show Qwerty the science written down in Pub Med why Qwerty will accept the vaccines cause autism theory is fact and once we convince Qwerty well all CDC will follow, or at least we have one more on our side.

CDC already knows it - if Qwerty would like to look up the Simpsonwood Meetings. Even scratching the surface and not getting to the meet - one can smell a dead rat.

And so Qwerty does what those pretending to be brainacs do best. The look down on our struggeling "not a doctor" "not an educated person"
Shanigans according to Qwerty made no valid points at all?????
Qwerty who pretends to be interested in pencils, and papers, and books, comes in to make a point. It is not, however real life things observations -- just papers, and pencils in a musty office observation -
Not real life.
Not like parents noticing three times giving a shot to a baby and three times it reacts with a swollen, boot shaped heart, passing out with rapid breathing, temps of 105, catitonic,stroke like events and then not getting up and walking the next day.

Papers, papers, papers -- Hitler and his ilk pushed a lot of papers too.


Patrick

On a different note regarding age, older fathers are exposed to more viruses via vaccines or naturally which will effect the fetus as well. I also agree that older fathers are more meticulous in making sure their child is fully vaccinated.

AussieMum

"....so older father's are more likely to have Autistic children....!"

My grandfather was 68 years old when he fathered my aunty (she was his eighth and last child). None of my mum's seven sisters have Autism and none of my 14 cousins have children with Autism.

My twin sister's children do not have Autism (fully vaccinated).

My first born does not have Autism, but my second has severe autism and at the age of 10yrs is still non-verbal (lost language around 2 yrs old).

My husband's dad is 1 of 11 children all of which do not have Autism and none of his siblings offspring (too many to count) have children with Autism.

And Yet! My father-in-law worked with many chemicals over the years and has four son's, all of whom do not have Autism.

Yet! One son has 2 boy's both ASD (fully vaccinated), the other son has 2 boy's both ASD (fully vaccinated), the other son has one boy (ASD & fully vaccinated) and one girl (health concerns & partially vaccinated) and the other son (my hubby) has one girl (healthy and fully vaccinated)and one son (vaccine injured and not vaccinated after 12 mth MMR).

GENETIC OR ENVIRONMENTAL??

Elizabeth Gillespie

qwerty

@Lab Shenanigans,

Wow, OK, so you're citing a 17yr old paper for which only the abstract is available on Pubmed (which means you've never actually read the paper). Perhaps you shouldn't cite a paper if you haven't even read it, particularly when the abstract doesn't support your claims that "modern substances…pathologically increase cell proliferation"!!! I would suggest you try to keep up with modern science rather than modern substances.

As far as your concern about "what the study did not tell us". You're spot on. These authors were NOT conducting a international epidemiology study (hint, they're population geneticists), nor were they making any statement about Icelandic vs. U.S. autism prevalence. This study was done precisely because the Icelandic population keeps unparalleled records of ancestry (they knew paternal age dating back to the mid 1600's!) and DNA samples are readily accessed via deCODE (a controversial topic itself).

Rich

Older fathers are sadly more responsible in getting their children vaccinated according the recommended vaccine schedule hence the autism older dad connection

qwerty - dropped a turdy

qwerty-

What a ridiculous response about Bob Krakow and then this --

"If the authors addressed such concerns, the paper would be too large to publish and too dense to read."

Ummm, too dense, too large? Are you like, in jr high? How about the dance around the elephant and you guys just can't keep that elephant invisible anymore? There is no conflict calling de novo mutations environmental insults as Bob Krakow did. De novo(wiki) - a genetic mutation that neither parent possessed nor transmitted. This is not difficult stuff to understand.

Lab Shenanigans

Cell proliferation/replication leading to de novo mutations? What about modern substances which pathologically increase cell proliferation?

Like pathological cell proliferation from mercury (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8560505) and the potential for DNA damage.

Most studies on the effects of mercury discuss abnormal proliferation of glial cells and the reduction of neurons, apparently an interrelated process-- glia increase as a result of many forms of brain injury, both traumatic and toxic. But it depends on what part of the process is being measured.

Neuroleptics like Risperdal commonly given to individual with autism cause abnormal cell proliferation in the prefrontal cortex http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/resources/about-mental-illnesses/schizophrenia/1378: "Glial proliferation and hypertrophy of the prefrontal cortex is reported to be “a common response to antipsychotic drugs” and may “play a regulatory role in adjusting neurotransmitter levels or metabolic processes.” The increase in dopamine receptors induced by antipsychotics can effect both neuron and astroglia (which contain lesser known D2 receptors).

For a long time, PR for antidepressants boasted "neurogenesis"- the idea that the drugs caused a proliferation of healthy neurons, but in fact this is not the case. Just like a mousse inflates before collapsing, pathological proliferation is a process that precedes mass brain cell death, again on route to DNA damage.

The point here is that many mod exposures-- and these are just a few examples not including pesticides, etc.-- cause the kind of pathological cell proliferation which can lead to de novo mutations. The older someone is, the more of this crap they're likely to be exposed to. And it's possible that certain age groups become more susceptible to these effects. But as Bob points out, it's a huge leap to assume an association between the number of de novo mutations and autism in offspring the same as if paternal gray hair were correlated to autism in offspring.

And what the study did not do was tell us what percentage of children with autism in the US have fathers over 40. As with the "old moms" study, it may turn out to be a tiny percentage (under 4% of autism mothers turned out to be over 35).

I think a more interesting study might be how badly Icelandic scientists need money after the economic crash.

no vac

In most conducted studies, the autistic children had young fathers and most studies see no age difference between the fathers of autistic and healthy children, hence the whole theory is a bogus, intended to avert attention from toxic vaccines. We also know that in the past, even older fathers had perfectly young children. For genocidal vaccine fanatics any ridiculous and false explanation is better than admitting the truth, known to all parents – that autism is a chronic vaccine-induced encephalopathy.

Hmmmmmm

The rate of autism in Iceland is 12:10000. The rate in the U.S. is 110:10000, an almost 10 fold increase. Common sense would suggest that something different is going on here. The number, timing and use of aluminum and thimerosal in vaccines is way different in the U.S. Also, I understand the number of autistic children born to a father over 35 in the U.S. is less than 5% of the total case load.

barbara j

The list of suspects grows at the exponential rate that matches the money provided to steer away from the truth. One day, there will be a test similar to what is used to measure lead , for determining mercury levels in our kids, no one at that point will consider injecting this poison, just as we would think it outrageous to inject lead .The other components will follow aluminum , anti freeze, phenol compounds , we will be able to study the damage as compared to the levels in all children, ranging from basic reflex loss ,as was often the experience with premature infants given hepb/thimerosal at birth, speech delays/articulation delays, attention and behavioral deficits , moving up through the autism spectrum. As I've said, my husband at 43 now is not my suspect as he was 30 at the conception of my 12 year old ,this new revelation is more smoke and mirrors designed, bought and paid for, to divert us once again from the truth. The truth is, we should not inject foreign toxic materials into our children,nor should we inject dna of humans and animals into our children.

GH

qwerty - you have missed, or more likely avoided, the point: the greater the number of genes that need to be mutated to cause autism, the lower the probability of a sufficient number happening spontaneously. I am guessing that simple concept doesn't fit your narrow minded view.

Natasa

qwerty@ "Finally, his criticism that the study doesn't show causation or mechanism is lame."

No it is not. It is the crucial point, simply because this study is not reported in the media for what it is.

Accumulated typos in older sperm are due to accumulated epigenetic stressors - accumulated oxidative and inflammatory stress in germ cell line (toxins, nutrition, radiation ... not to mention germ line infections!). This again tells us it is more stressful environment, not the ‘Hand of God’ (and unfortunately it is very common for science to resort to religion when speculating about causes of autism).

Even if paternal age and number and type of those de novo mutations is one day correlated with autism (and we are still a loooong way from any evidence) this would still be in no way proof of any causation. No, this was not in the scope of the paper, and if the media reports on this study were intelligent or honest enough to note this crucial point there would be no need for this debate.

Also, when it comes to genes+environment interaction in autism it is really very simple, as simple as: some mutations in certain CCRs make you more susceptible to HIV infection and AIDS. Some CCR mutations make HIV+ children more vulnerable to developing neurodevelopmental disturbances identical to autism. Some mutations in those genes offer a degree of protection. But it is still HIV that gives you (Neuro)AIDS, not your genes.

Thankfully the research surrounding HIV/AIDS is not steeped in religious myths, the way autism research is. If it was, we would be wasting millions on finding those ‘AIDS risk’ genes, instead of looking at molecular mechanics and treatments. But luckily they acknowledge that genetic risks are only that, and are in no way causative. Only a small part of research money and effort involves determining genetic vulnerability.

In the same vein we will only be able to stop autism tragedy when autism science shakes off religious myths and decides to spend the same small fraction of funds to finding those risk genes, and devotes most of money and effort to pinning down pathology and TREATMENTS.

oneVoice

They used to blame the mothers,now they are blaming the
"old" fathers.Nothing new,just the old story:blame the parents and get funding for genetical research.It is time
and I say again it is time now to stop the lies and face the truth that their fragile developing brain had been damaged,their immune system is damaged,their blood brain barrier is damaged,their bowels are damaged,and the system
is focused on the $$$$$$$$$$$s.A corrupted system that keep pumping the toxins into them.One for all system,regardless
of their weight or immune status or maturity.I do not buy
all this sh#!$!!!.Enough is enough.Call me FED UP.

Taximom

drsmalley, you may have a point about the dangers of wearing a cell phone, but the autism rate skyrocketed well before cell phones were in common use.

There are an awful lot of fully vaccinated autistic children whose parents didn't have cell phones before they were born--but whose parents did go on to have unvaccinated, neuro-typical children.

No cell phones.

But vaccines.

And fathers who were (technically) younger than the fathers of the unvaccinated younger siblings.

Eye witness

qwerty :
Duh, is it really so surprising that autism might involve a vaccine reaction since many of the parents witnessed it in their kids - unfortunally more than once?

chuck

I'll be 54 tomorrow. My precious son Charlie, who has autism, will be 7 next month. Thanks for clearing this all up for me....

Lou

In 1924 Doctor Otto Warburg found the cause of cancer

“Just by decreasing a cell’s oxygen content by about one-third, cancer is automatically induced. Nothing more is required for cancer to develop.” Doctor Otto Warburg 1924

http://healthyprotocols.com/2_cancer_intro.htm

In the late 1950s the discoverer of vitamin B15 discovered the anti-cancer vitamin, vitamin B17.

"Laetrile is more effective in the control of cancer than any substance I have ever tested". Doctor Kanematsu Sugiura, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute

http://healthyprotocols.com/2_vitamin_B17.htm

Given these two discoveries cancer should be a trivial health problem in the USA, indeed in the world. Yet cancer is responsible for about 1 in 4 deaths in the USA.

Ergo cancer is a political disease desired by those who rule us and control our medical system.

Autism is a political disease desired by those who rule us and control our medical system.

This is simple to prove or disprove. An honest CDC could compare the un-vaccinated against the vaccinated as to autism.

Since the Rockefeller controlled CDC will not do this simple thing it is up to the epidemiologists to step up and make a few intelligent guesses and give us the next best thing to proof.

n davis

Taximom5 asked, "So why is it that, for most of us in the autism community, it's our OLDEST, FULLY VACCINATED child who develops autism, while their YOUNGER, UNVACCINATED OR LESS VACCINATED siblings are neurotypical?"

Of course the younger siblings of chidren with ASD are at markedly increased risk for ASD (roughly 16-fold higher) compared to children in the general population.

Even half siblings of children with ASD are at increased risk of developing ASD, although that risk is, not unexpectedly, about half of that of full sibs.

DoctorSmalley

It makes sense that men are causing the Autism epidemic. The epidemic will be easy to solve. Men are microwaving their reproductive cells at close range, causing massive DNA fragmentation which in turn causes autism and a spectrum of disorders in their babies. How are men doing this? By keeping their mobile phones in their front pockets in the days before conception. See the autism science at www.whyautismhappens.com

Women, if you want healthy children, have your partner keep his cell phone away from his private area for at least 30 days before you try. Those 30 days can make the difference of a lifetime.

For qwerty

qwerty

Slippery.

qwerty

@"for qwerty" -- I would suggest that you actually read the paper in its entirety, rather than parrot a single quote that fits your narrow-minded view of the world. The authors of the study mention "hazardous environmental conditions" simply to acknowledge that such conditions could still impact mutation rate (duh!) even in the presence of the apparently strong influence of paternal age. This is neither new nor particularly surprising. If that is all you take away from this study, then you've missed the point.

@GH -- is it really so surprising that autism might involve several hundred genes? When you consider the broad spectrum of autism and the variable combination of traits (sensory integration issues, motor planning problems, gross and fine motor deficits, high or low IQ, social and language issues, etc), it would be utterly shocking if only a few genes controlled these very distinct phenotypes.

barbara j

Lung cancer is genetic. If one has a protective gene they simply don't get lung cancer. However, we know that tobacco, diesel fuel, radon, causes lung cancer. Not everyone who is environmentally exposed to these things will experience dna damage, tumor growth,etc.. I'm thinking we are too narrow in our understanding of the word "genetic". Our own genes mutate, these mystery de novo genes, can be acquired, if this is true, why couldn't the same exposures that cause genetic mutations, our exposures to radiation, toxic chemicals, viruses, etc. cause autism in the tiny little babies so heavily exposed to the chemicals mercury, aluminum,along with others , and the mix of antigens of both viral and bacterial origin. Or could it be the epigenetics,where the genes aren't mutated but the messaging is skewed. I just wonder, if the truth isn't in the understanding of what these vaccines have done to damage the dna of our kids. Adding dna from animals and aborted fetuses by injection, might not be a sensible approach either. I'm not pretending to know, this post is followed by ?????

Taximom5

Stupid autocorrect.

The older fathers are the ones with college degrees and jobs, and the ones whose babies went to all their well-child checkups and got all the vaccines.

Taximom5

So why is it that, for most of us in the autism community, it's our OLDEST, FULLY VACCINATED child who develops autism, while their YOUNGER, UNVACCINATED OR LESS VACCINATED siblings are neurotypical?

Apparently, the researchers didn't bother to find out that the younger, less vaccinated, neurotypical siblings of autistic children have even the same fathers (except even older).

Oh, that's right. They designed the study to hide that fact, and to hide the vaccination rate amongst the children of these older fathers--you know, the fathers with college degrees and jobs, the ones whose. Abode acts went to all the well-chld checkups and GOT all the vaccines.

Benedetta

Qwerty;
Your comment as usual makes my heart burn with anger.
Nothing like twisting everything around in knots to make me feel that away.

My family's situation has never, ever really showed up in these studies.

We had our kids in our 20s.
Granted we should have had them in our early teens -- because by our late teens we were receiving tetanus shots, tick shots, swine flu shots all so we could be confirmed by rules of the forest service - as we worked our way though college.

GH

A few months ago from a researcher speculated that there were five hundred to a thousand genes involved in autism, a number that could yet be revised upwards in a search that looks more and more like chasing shadows. The idea that an increase in the average age of fathers from 27 to 33 would cause enough mutations in the right areas of the genome is a stretch, nor is there anything to explain why so many genes would differ between men in Iceland and the US to cause the autism rates to be an order of magnitude apart.

A billion dollars ought to buy a lot more.

For qwerty

qwerty

Great trolling - total mystification. "Hazardous environmental conditions" was a phrase from that comes to mind from the paper. Some people might think that could imply something like prolonged toxic exposure (just a teensy weensy possibility, eh?).

Angus Files

Walking on the cracks in the pavement can cause it to..

Angus

nhokkanen

This latest "old dads" study also adds to the ever-mounting pile of evidence showing just how lazy, uneducated and corrupt the mainstream media has become.

qwerty

@Natasa - de novo mutations definitely do NOT need to have an environmental cause (assuming you define environmental as a toxic insult to the DNA). Indeed, during the normal process of a cell dividing to make two cells, the entire content of our genome must be copied so that both of the resulting cells have the necessary DNA. This process of DNA replication is error-prone and leads to 'typos' scattered throughout the copied DNA. The more times a cell divides, the more times the DNA is copied, the more typos we accumulate. No need for toxins to be involved AT ALL. In fact, to minimize the detrimental effects of this process on reproduction, we (and many animals) don't just hand our off any old DNA to our offspring. We only give them the best….we package heritable DNA into special 'germ' cells (i.e. sperm and ova) that are sequestered away from potentially detrimental insults (like UV light, etc). Male sperm carry more of these mutations compared to ova simply because the undergo more divisions to get to the point of maturity.

qwerty

Autism is a disease that undoubtedly has both a genetic and an environmental component -- I've never met a scientist that would argue otherwise. Diseases that are purely genetic (like hemophilia) show 100% concordance among identical twins and can often be traced to single gene defects passed down from parent(s) to child. Neither of these are the case with autism. So, yes, environment is an important factor. The study in question does not dispute that notion.

Judging from Bob Krakow's post and the comments that follow (and other similar articles on AoA), I think that the majority of the AoA folks equate the word "environment" with toxin, pollution or other such contaminates in the water we drink, air we breath or the food we eat…..or vaccines. This is certainly NOT what geneticists mean when they say environment. Environment is a general term that refers to ANYTHING other than the gene itself. This can include the 'environment' inside the cell that contains the DNA in question, or it could include other biological factors (like a fathers age!).

Bob's interpretation of this paper is WAY off, which may not be surprising considering he's a personal injury lawyer who stands to make substantial financial gains from convincing people that autism is caused by vaccines (where's Jake Crosby and his intricately woven conflict of interest narratives when you need them!). Bob questions sample size and statistics, but has no idea what these mean or how to know when this type of study is statistically sound or not. He simply raises these concerns to cast doubt on a paper that he has a fundamental bias against. Finally, his criticism that the study doesn't show causation or mechanism is lame. Showing which (if any) of these mutations cause autism is totally beyond the scope of this paper. If the authors addressed such concerns, the paper would be too large to publish and too dense to read. Besides, there is a long and successful track record in the scientific literature showing that these very same methods actually DO lead to the discovery of genes that have a direct causal link to human disease.

Patrick

Personally the route of environmental injury for me was via a mercury flu shot I received during pregnancy.
My son did not show signs of being severely injured until after his 4 year old shots when he started having a diaphragm tic (several per minute). He recovered with bio-medical treatment by the time he was 8 which was complicated by 2 years of psychoactive drugs at the beginning. It may be more accurate to say it only took him 2 years to recover.
On the other hand, my thyroid completely gave out by a year after giving birth. After adopting several treatments that my son required and learning of supplements directly significant for supporting thyroid function, I have been off synthroid successfully for 2 1/2 months.
It took me 10 years to recover, while it only took 2 years for Patrick. It's obviously environmental, but encouraging how effective detox, supplementing for genetic injuries that cause absorption issues, and avoiding foods that we have become allergic or immune to (toxic), can reverse the disease process.
Regarding genetic mutations, I suppose as the experts put it, there is a way to activate a genetic switch.
As far as age goes, I obviously believe that it is crucial to detox before becoming pregnant (toxins build up and do cross the placenta to the fetus).

Anne McElroy Dachel

On August 22, 2012, the NY Times had the story, The Father's Age Linked to Autism and Schizophrenia, by Benedict Carey.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/health/fathers-age-is-linked-to-risk-of-autism-and-schizophrenia.html?_r=1.

Carey has long denied everything about the autism and couldn't miss the opportunity to compare the older dads study to the vaccine controversy.

"Dr. Stefansson and other experts said that an increase in the average age of fathers had most likely led to more cases of autism. Unlike other theories proposed to explain the increase, like vaccinations, it is backed by evidence that scientists agree is solid."

August 24, 2012, the Times had, The Clock Ticks for Men as Well
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/fashion/autism-study-starts-clock-for-prospective-fathers.html.

"The news reflected widespread interest in the confusing causes of this still-unexplained condition."

"Widespread interest"? "Still-unexplained condition"?

"There was convincing evidence, the study concluded, that - in a fraction of cases - increased mutations found in the sperm of older men meant that they were more likely than their younger counterparts to father children with autism or schizophrenia."

"Convincing proof"?

"In a fraction of cases"?

Why do headlines all over the place make it sound like this is a conclusive answer?

Is the Times talking about the same condition that has destroyed the future for hundreds of thousands of American children and left them dependent for life?

Autism is the perpetual mystery. It's the medical riddle scientists get to guess about over and over. It's been clear for years that no one is ever going to honestly look for the environmental triggers for autism. Likewise, they're never going to admit that autism is a crisis or that the numbers represent a true epidemic.

Dr. Arthur Caplan in the NBC story, Autism link to aging dads won't change vaccine debate or speed cure,

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/23/13436004-autism-link-to-aging-dads-wont-change-vaccine-debate-or-speed-cure?threadId=3548514&commentId=69254825#c69254825

was frustrated because another study linking autism to something other than vaccines isn't going to end the controversy. He seemed to be upset that no matter how many studies come out, the debate never goes away. Older dads, older moms, having siblings too close together, too much TV watching, living too close to a freeway, and on and on.

Caplan: "Unfortunately, this study is unlikely to convince the noisy and influential few who would still link vaccines with autism.''

Dear Dr. Caplan,

Of course it won't convince them. Thousands of parents witnessed their child's regression following routine vaccinations. No one ever wants to study these kids and document their lost skills and concomitant health problems. Older dads and mutating sperm alone can't explain a worldwide disaster called the autism epidemic. It's simply amazing that people like you and members of the media keep trying to convince us it does.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Natasa

Alain@'It remain to be seen how can de novo mutation be caused by environmental factors.'

You are joking, right?

The right question here is "how can de novo mutation NOT be caused by environmental factors."

Natasa

"... there exists no explanation how de novo mutations relate to autism, or whether they are causal ... "

Says it all really.

The only question is whether science writers and editors are simply too stupid/ignorant/lazy to see the glaring obvious here, or they are pushing the agenda regardless.


barbara j

TexasMom, pointed out something the other day that is very true for my family as it is for the families I'm acquainted with. Our children that came along after our autistic children were less vaccinated , often the youngest is completely unvaccinated, when clearly and factually the dads were older. The families that chose to vaccinate often had a second autistic child. NO ONE that I know that stopped vaccinating had that second autistic child. Now, "IF" that genetic mutation is one that affects a gene's messaging and the ability to detoxify, leaving children less able to rid their bodies of poisons, then I will buy it.For now among my ever growing group of pre-schoolers and toddlers that have not been vaccinated, not one is autistic, ADD, asthmatic, obese, or allergic to peanuts. Keep this group growing and the "autism is genetic" crap will die in the face of sheer numbers. BTW, when my nephew was diagnosed his pediatrician offered my sister a medical opt out for her next two children. This does not happen anymore, they've gotten their pharm orders, to offer such a thing would be to admit guilt.

John Stone

Alain

Even the paper acknowledges that environment is likely affecting gene mutation:

"Also, even though factors other than father’s age do not seem to contribute substantially to the mutation rate diversity in our data, it does not mean that hazardous environmental conditions could not cause a meaningful increase in mutation rate."

Alain

It remain to be seen how can de novo mutation be caused by environmental factors.

If it's caused by age, how can it be not genetic?

Alain

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