David Kirby: Dr. Insel on Rising ASD Numbers: “No Question” About Environmental Factors
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By David Kirby
On Friday, the CDC released its long-anticipated (HERE) autism figures, showing that the average rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among 8-year-olds increased by nearly 60% between 2002 and 2006, with almost one percent of US kids affected.
Also on Friday, the nation's top autism research coordinator said that better diagnosis and reporting could not "explain away this huge increase," and that "there is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here."
He added that some ASDs may be preventable, that some children could recover from the disorder, and that a virus might conceivably play a role in some autism cases.
According to the latest CDC figures, the ASD rate at 11 sites among 8-year-olds in 2002 (kids born in 1994) was 60-per-10,000, and 94 per-10,000 in 2006 - among kids born just four years later, in 1998. Some of this increase was explained by better access to school records and other factors, the CDC said, though it added that a "true increase" could not be ruled out.
Some of the new figures were quite staggering. For example, the reported rate among all 8-year-olds in Arizona skyrocketed by 95 percent in just four years. Also in Arizona, among boys, the ASD rate reached 189-per-10,000. It also reached 193-per-10,000 in Missouri - or nearly two percent (1 in 50) of the total.
Another surprise was the difference between some of the racial and ethnic categories. In 2006, the rate among non-Hispanic white children was 102-per-10,000, but among black children it was 76-per-10,000, a 34-percent difference, and among Hispanic children it was 61-per-10,000, a difference of 67 percent.
Inexplicably, the rate among Hispanics in Alabama actually plummeted during the period in question, by 68%, from an already low 19-per-10,000 in 2002 to an almost rare 6-per-10,000 in 2006. Meanwhile, with the exception of Arizona, the CDC said, "prevalence among Hispanic children did not change significantly within any of the other 10 sites.”
So what do these increases mean? I put that question to Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Chair of the federal government's Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), tasked with recommending funding priorities for autism research and services. Was the increase simply an artifact of better diagnosis and reporting? Or could there be an actual increase in the numbers and, if so, wouldn't that necessarily implicate environmental factors in ASD?
I was surprised by Dr. Insel's frankness.
"As far as I can tell, the burden of proof is upon anybody who feels that there is NOT a real increase here in the number of kids affected," Dr. Insel told me in a telephone interview on Friday. He said factors such as better ascertainment "don't really explain away this huge increase" and that "you really have to take this (increase) very seriously - from everything they are looking at, this is not something that can be explained away by methodology, by diagnosis."
He added that he never saw a single case of autism during his training in the mid-1980s, including a full year's rotation in child psychology. "I wanted to see children with autism. I couldn't find them," he said. "Now I wouldn't have to go any further than the block where I live to see kids with autism today."
So if there is an actual increase in incidence year to year, I asked, wouldn't there necessarily also have to be an environmental component to at least some cases of autism?
"Yes," Insel said. "I don't think anybody is arguing that it is 100-percent genetic. And I don't think in those terms, exactly, that it's either genetic or it's environmental. From my perspective, it's almost always going to be both. And the only question is: How do you nail down this interaction, how do you go after it?"
But, he added, "There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here."
Dr. Insel also suggested that there may be autism "clusters" around the country, which would also implicate environmental factors. "It could be that the Somali story in Minneapolis is an important geographic cluster," he said. "It could be that there are clusters that have actually been indentified in California. It's a little too early - and I don't think the data are published - but I have seen some data in unpublished form that would suggest that that may turn out to be the case."
Finding the environmental exposures that can trigger autism is essential, Insel said, because "the real goal here is to think about prevention - what we are really after at this point is driving the numbers in the opposite direction, so instead of a tenfold increase, you can we see a tenfold decrease."
But does he think that is possible?
"If you could identify the factors that are really pushing this, then I think you can begin to bend the curve," he explained. "I think I am arguing, probably, against the wave of the people that are in this field. But I think that we're approaching autism as if it is a single thing, as if it is a syndrome that will have one cause, one treatment."
But, Insel said, "It's quite believable to me that there are many children who develop autism in the context of having severe gut pathology, of having autoimmune problems, of having lots of other problems. And some of these kids really do recover. And that is quite different from the autism that was originally described in the 1940s and 50s - where it looks like you have it and you are going to have it for the rest of your life."
Dr. Insel hinted that genetic research into autism is about to undergo a major transformation, from looking at genetic sequencing, "which is what we have been doing for the last decade," to looking at the "emerging field of epigenetics, or epigenomics." He defined this as "looking at how the DNA is bound up with all kinds of proteins. That is largely affected by experience, or by environment. Some of it is probably hardwired, but a lot of it has to do with exposures, particularly early in development but even, as we are learning, even after birth "
I also asked Dr. Insel about the recent discovery that a retrovirus, XMRV, had been found in 98% of all patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Some researchers say the virus may be implicated in autism, as well.
"We are hot on that, and I wish I could tell you more," Insel said. "All I can tell you is that we have an intramural program here which is kind of our home team, which has seen about 400 kids with autism over the last couple of years. And they have been looking at regression; they've been looking at recovery." He said the researchers "jumped on the XMRV thing even before it was published."
Dr. Insel said that he had heard that researchers at the University of Nevada had identified XMRV in about 40% of ASD children studied. "I have been trying to track that," he said. "There is a paper that has been submitted, but I haven't been able to get it, and I don't know what the data look like. But I think this is really interesting."
Why? Because, he said, "If we could just find a small group, and the opportunity to begin an antiretroviral treatment regime, that could be terrific. That would be the kind of thing we're really looking for in this field, is finding the subgroups that might have specific therapies that would make a difference."
Finally, I asked if the IACC would reconsider its decision to reject vaccine research, given these new data, and in particular, Hepatitis B coverage - which increased from about 27% to more than 90% between 1994 and 1998.
"I think what you are going to see with this update is that there is a recognition that we need to look at subgroups who might be particularly responsive to environmental factors," Dr. Insel said. And with that tantalizing statement, he unfortunately had to go to a meeting.
But, I will interview the federal official again after the New Year and take him up on his offer to "start there with our next conversation." So stay tuned.
Meanwhile, activist parents are hopeful that these new numbers will finally bring a sense of urgency to autism.
"As accurate data emerges that cannot be denied, people who say there is no epidemic - such as AAP, Pharma, CDC and WHO - will no longer be able to pursue their denialist agenda," said Robert Krakow, a New York attorney and father of a boy with autism. "We saw a major development in that process today - however grudgingly it was conceded in the CDC pronouncements," he said. "When the smoke clears the truth will emerge about who s engaging in 'denialism.' The problem is the delay in clearing the smoke - 10-to-30 years for this process - is just too painfully long."
For a complete transcript of the interview with Dr. Insel, click HERE.
David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a founding contributor to Huffington Post and a contributor to Age of Autism. His next book, Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment will be released within the year and is available now for pre-order at Amazon.
[email protected]""I also asked Dr. Insel about the recent discovery that a retrovirus, XMRV, had been found in 98% of all patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Some researchers say the virus may be implicated in autism, as well."
I used to live near a very severely autistic kid who regressed into autism after his MMR vaccine whose father had chronic fatigue syndrome. Perhaps the kid also had the virus, which was then activated by the MMR vaccine and gave him regressive autism."
Yes, that is the working hypothesis and one of the scientists behind the original XMRV research actually stated as much in a TV interview (check the link to posted by B). The other possibility is that immune deficiency induced by XMRV would open doors for live virus vaccine to bypass the immune system, revert to virulence and establish permanent presence in the host, including the gut as well as passing over to the CNS/brain. This event would not of course exclude the first possibility of XMRV itself reactivating and spreading from immune cells to CNS.
Posted by: Natasa | January 10, 2010 at 05:09 PM
Vaccine-gate 18 pound toddlers are getting 4 shots at a time, quick focusing on one shot.. FDA doesn't test for effects for multiple vaccines on toddlers!
Demographics are showing what race keeps their kids up with vaccine scheduals the most. I dare you to look at military kids!
Posted by: jerry dunbar | January 10, 2010 at 03:03 PM
Darian - Sorry - I've been off line over the holidays.
Found another for you - that may help illuminate how key the environment can be. You'll find all sorts of interesting tidbits including a family with a very LFA & HFA twins - and how their environment was different (that the family takes as sign of genetics. I take as sign of environment... as even the HFA was hurt by HIS environment.)
"Genes implicated in twins' autism
Researchers suspect multiple genetic roles, environmental triggers"
By Kelly Brewington | Baltimore Sun | January 4, 2010
I find it amusing that the article is written from the perspective that the twin rates are indicative of genes being the engine - and environmental triggers being the caboose. You could have easily written the very same article with the perspective that the environment is the engine and the genes are the caboose.
From the article:
"Recent studies support that theory. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute studied 277 pairs of twins and found that when one identical twin had the disorder, the other developed it 88 percent of the time; for fraternal twins, that figure was 31 percent."
"Autism may be inherited to some degree, but even twin studies show that not all sets of identical twins have autism. And when they do, they don't always have the same severity of the disorder."
"That connection between genes and the environment, called epigenetics, might explain these distinctions, said Dr. Walter Kaufmann, director of the Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition and Behavior at Kennedy Krieger. Kaufmann is studying identical twins to better understand how certain genes may be "turned on and off" by environmental factors."
" "No matter how similar the environment of twins, no two humans are exposed to the exact same conditions," he said. "There are differences and they appear to accumulate over time." "
Posted by: KHW (not KWH) | January 06, 2010 at 10:49 AM
To add to that, and to clarify the last question on here, please allow me to go back and finish, lol.
I have this question because as before stated, I had a much later start on my vaccines than my fellow students. The first one I had was when I was 6. And my mom spread out my vaccine schedule due to bad reactions my brother had as a child (he's ok now. :))
Makes me wonder if the later vaccine schedule might of had something to do with me not being on the other side of the spectrum.
Another theory I have is perhaps us on the other end of the spectrum, though we have weak immunes, perhaps our immune systems did better fighting off the metals in the meds, vaccines and enviorment than others on the other end of the spectrum.
Last but not least, Asperger's is a completely different disorder. Although it is very much like autism in many ways, there are issues that seem vastly different and unique to AS to me.
I thought a little more about that and came up with this thought. You know, Attention Defacit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder also are highly simiular. Perhaps even more so than Asperger's and regular autism. But there is no such thing as a Attention Deficit Spectrum Disorders, and ADD and ADHD are considered seperate diagnoses'
Posted by: Darian (nickname) | December 30, 2009 at 09:27 AM
KHW, thank you for your reply. But I am still confused as to why the same condition would vary so differently. I understand, working in Mental Health, that most disabilities have thier own spectrum so to speak.
But to use an example, lets look at CP. I know two people with it. One needs a walker, it's dificult for her to walk, and without her walker or a wheelchair she is incapacitated. Another friend has CP also has a hard time walking but can still walk, and his hands have more control, but you can still see it's something similar to my other friend.
These two being on the seperate ends of the same disorder.
Now looks take a look at autism. You take someone like me who is VERY (no not tooting my own horn here)high fuctioning. I have Asperger's, but due to have developed a wide wrange of ways to mimic NTs that are around me can with quite a bit of effort, appear completely normal.
In fact, most people unless they know me day to day or are family don't know that there is anything wrong with me at all. I'm very good at faking normal, although as I have stated in other posts, I have issues of my own.
Now look at someone at the other end of the spectrum, with LFA. To not stereo-type, I'm just going to go off some common threads, I hope not to offend anyone. Non-verbal, severe deficits in communitcation, stimming, self-injurous behavior, seems comepletely out of this world and entirely in thier own, desire to communicate anything other than needs seems to be very slim. I'm not even covering half of it!
You wouldn't believe the things I have seen sense working here! But I don't wish to offend, so I only put a little, what I could try to get on as nuetral.
But even from that, can you see what I mean? The difference between Low Fuctioning Autism, and Asperger's Syndrome is vast! If autism all along the line is caused by the same thing, what causes it to affect some so severly, and those like me not nearly as severly?
Posted by: Darian (nickname) | December 30, 2009 at 09:15 AM
Hi Darian -
I think you may be interested in this one...
Re: why is there such a spectrum (along the autism spectrum disorders)? It's the same with NTs by the way (a spectrum). Note the ADOS scale as applied to my two children: I have one kid on spectrum with an ADOS score of 8 (he's very high functioning). And a "NT" child with a score of 6 (so an NT w/some serious issues :)).
Answer to your question:
It's genetic susceptibility to environmental triggers (in from 95% to 80% of ASD folks). When where the triggers? What where the triggers? How many triggers? Is the trigger on-going? The other 5% to 20% of ASD cases (estimated) are clear chromosomal abnormalities - but within these cases - I suspect it is the same (a whole range).
NOTE: it is the same with Down's Syndrome as well. There is a whole spectrum of functionality in Down's.
Posted by: KHW (not KWH) | December 23, 2009 at 02:30 PM
There is an interview about XMRV and autism here - the part about autism starts at 5min 13 seconds
Posted by: B | December 23, 2009 at 01:07 PM
First time commenter on here. :)
I've always had a question.
Let me begin with a story. My mom has been a part of the medical profession for as long as I've been alive! When my brother was born (my older brother) he got all his shots and had a very violent reaction. We are talking diherea, full body spasms, soaring fevers, sickness that almost killed him. Sense then however, he rarely ever gets sick and for the most part seems pretty normal, though he does have a bad temper.
After seeing such a reaction, mom spread my vaccination schedule out. I didn't get vaccinated for the first time till I was 6. Other than being terrified of it and having to have several people hold me down and screaming bloody murder, afterwards I don't recall feeling sick. I did feel lightheaded.
Much later, after a false diagnoses of ADD as a part of the trend diagnoses stupidity of the early 90's, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.
Since then I wondered. Why is it that autism affects some so severly, and others not as severe? I'm not saying I don't have a disability of course.
I personally hate the fact that if one thing goes wrong with my routine that I rely so rigidly on, my entire day goes wrong, and I am unable to fuction like I am supposed to. I become lost and dazed and upset.
The sensory sensitivity and hte inability to read body language sucks too.
I hate the general feeling that all those with AS lack empathy of the ability to feel. That is not true. It does not show up in body language, facial expression, or for some of us language, but we still feel emotion.
For me, I litterally have to act out what I feel. Or let me put it this way. I find it a pain that for me to be able to get across how I am feeling on the inside, I have to act out that emotion on the outside, and mentally think about how to properly display it because it does not naturally appear like with a NT.
So yes, it's a dissability. And if there was a cure that would allow me to keep the objective thinking, the attention to detail, my knowledge and desire to learn all aspects of my subjects of interest and allowed me to get rid of the bad things such as rigid reliance on routine, the sensory, the havin gto act out emotion, I would be first in line!
Back on topic. Why is it I wonder that autism affects some of us mildly and others so severly that functioning can be nearly impossible!?
Posted by: Darian (nickname) | December 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM
1 in 88 Children With Autism/ASD In Military Families
By F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP & Raymond W. Gallup
July 9, 2008
Posted by: Concerned Parent | December 22, 2009 at 01:43 AM
"I also asked Dr. Insel about the recent discovery that a retrovirus, XMRV, had been found in 98% of all patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Some researchers say the virus may be implicated in autism, as well."
I used to live near a very severely autistic kid who regressed into autism after his MMR vaccine whose father had chronic fatigue syndrome. Perhaps the kid also had the virus, which was then activated by the MMR vaccine and gave him regressive autism.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | December 21, 2009 at 07:58 PM
Like a bad, made for tv movie. I know I'm not clamoring and have never clamored for Pfizer or any other drug company to come up with "autism treatments"...the seed gets planted. And "career-killer?", only if you whistle blow the truth.
"Parents have been clamoring for more help from the big guns in medical research and pharma for years, but researchers used to look at autism not as a glamorous research topic but as a career-killer. That's slowly changing; in July, Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, said it was going to work on developing autism treatments."
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | December 21, 2009 at 02:35 PM
See that figure in a tweed coat,magnifying glass in hand, retreating slowly into the distance ? Yes! Its Dr. Tom Insel , hot on the trail of the autism virus ! The autism virus is actually a relative of the Kawasaki Disease virus- a very stealthy virus which confuses us by creating symptoms which mimic mercury poisoning, and which can never actually be found- well not so far- but we have to keep looking. Dont waste your time on this guy , friends; Lets just get the vax/unvax study done and support Kent in stirring up the truth.
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | December 21, 2009 at 01:35 PM
Gee, whaddya wanna bet Insel's brother and his pharma friends have been using the data to work on profitable treatments for the last few years, while the powers that be call us crazy and let our kids twist in the wind.
Posted by: Garbo | December 21, 2009 at 12:36 PM
I am so mad that I could spit hot lead.
These shitheads at the cdc, fda, the Pediatrician Societies and vaccine manufacturing companies, and oh! I do not want to forget the biggest shithead of all, that's The Offit, Mr $ signs in place of eyes.
These bastards have been in a defensive crouch for the past 20 or so years, BS'g the world that the counts of kids struck autistic was due to better diagnosis. I have been at this for the last 15 years, since my beautiful grandson was taken down.
Just think how much further along the road to finding the cause we would have been if these bastards fessed up, and started funding real meaty studies. In fact, we probably would have a good handle on the cause of this scourge. My God they jumped all over Verstaten (not sure of spelling) when his data contradicted the party line, of increases because of better diagnosis. So much so that he had to fudge his data to match there untenable position.
Sickening! Paul Shapiro who is really angry at the bastards, I would love to crack them opened to see what makes them tick.
I apologize if my language offended anyone, but that is the way I feel in my heart.
Posted by: Paul Shapiro | December 21, 2009 at 10:29 AM
I believe this paragraph spells out an unfortunate (for those with autism) and painfully obvious future of the direction of research. Sure, if a treatment works, it would be great - but at what cost, and how many years before INsurance Co.s would pay for the sure to be uber-expensive med?
Too late for my son to be sure.
"Why? Because, he said, "If we could just find a small group, and the opportunity to begin an antiretroviral treatment regime, that could be terrific. That would be the kind of thing WE'RE REALLY LOOKING FOR for in this field, is finding the subgroups that might have SPECIFIC THERAPIES that would make a difference."
What I read in that statement is that they are looking specifically for a PROFIT MAKING therapy. There will never be research devoted to healthy diet and supplementation coming from Insel's pals, because no researcher will be able to patent the latest wonderdrug from the research. Only if a treatment is PROFITIBLE will Insel see any research as "TERRIFIC".
Posted by: Tim Kasemodel | December 21, 2009 at 08:46 AM
David Burd, To David Burd: yes there are thousands of chopped up retroviral sequences scattered across our genomes (how do you think they got there in the first place? ever heard of hsv6 being vertically transmitted etc?), and some of them are even very useful and work in our favour (even human intelligence itself is said to have developed in great part thanks to neurotropic proviruses). But well over a dozen have been found to contain full sequences, and a handful have already been shown capable of replicating and spreading, under right circumstances! – one of those circumstances is exposure to immune stressors, including vaccines. To claim as a certainty that retroviruses (both endogenous and exogenous) are unable to replicate and be pathogenic is, to put it politely, ludicrous.
One good way to put this question to rest would be if you found say 20+ like-minded individuals to kindly volunteer to get infected by XMRV taken from sera of CFS individuals (or ASD kids for that matter). Then we sit and wait to see what happens, whether the virus starts replicating and spreading and causing pathologies in yourselves. You put your money where your mouth is and we find out many useful things.
Posted by: Natasa | December 21, 2009 at 05:35 AM
We have been asking ourselves for years of witnessing this tragedy in complete disbelief: At what exact point will the increase in autism rates become the recognized national emergency it should be? I have no faith whatsoever left in any official bureaucracy or any major news organization, How could I after all this? But I think this is the number, 1 out of 110, that has turned it all around. Most importantly, what is hitting them in the face is that we are going towards the AZ and MO rates, 1 in 50 if nothing else is done, maybe we are already there for the 2000 birth cohort. Try to explain that even bigger leap, a 100% increase!!, with "better recognition". They know they can't, it is impossible. Throw all denialists where they should be: in jail for life with Bernie Madoff.
CDC, AAP, NY Times, NPR, etc. what disgusting role you've played in helping to perpetuate this tragedy. Every single year of maintaining your "there is no real increase" mantra has ruined the lives of 40,000 children and their families, mine and countless others among them, more than a quarter million people per year. Try to sleep tonight on that thought, and tomorrow, and the day after... When the autism Nuremberg trials come to occur we will be there, the millions of us that have seen it all, read it all, and kept notes, to bear witness.
People like you, the staff at AoA, David Kirby, it is because of your efforts that some of us still have some faith left in the human race. What Insel if half saying now, you have been saying this for several years, I know because I've been there most of the way. I couldn't even get up in the morning if it wasn't for people like you.
Posted by: we shall overcome | December 21, 2009 at 12:56 AM
Insel: "the real goal here is to think about prevention - what we are really after at this point is driving the numbers in the opposite direction, so instead of a tenfold increase, you can we see a tenfold decrease."
Did anyone pick up on the code word "prevention?" That means a new vaccine, to see a tenfold decrease. In their world, the only way to turn something around is to give a vaccine for it. Why else would he talk about viruses and retroviruses and autoimmune problems?
Are you ready for an AUTISM VACCINE? Seems like it's where they are going.
Posted by: Cynthia Cournoyer | December 21, 2009 at 12:49 AM
Mercury causes chronic fatigue, among other things, and it depletes glutathione and the "ability to neuronally process other noxious stimuli".
I hope we don't get sidetracked on a "virus" and forget what is already staring us in the face!
Thank you so much David...and don't let this guy off the hook.
Posted by: Lynn | December 20, 2009 at 10:43 PM
I wonder why Blacks and Hispanics have lower rate than Whites. I imagine they also have lower medical coverage and thus less vaccination rate than Whites. No?
Posted by: Jay | December 20, 2009 at 07:55 PM
You know what gets me, this CDC study is old news to Tom Insel right? I mean one phone call in 2007 and he could have had that data right? He and everyone else in the government has known this 1 in 100 since maybe half an hour after the calculator displayed the total.
Friday before Christmas release, snow storm blankets the northeast, and oh yeah, some kids got autism.
Insel, "you really have to take this (increase) very seriously - from everything they are looking at, this is not something that can be explained away by methodology, by diagnosis."
According to the CDC report, about 70% of parents with autistic kids noticed potentially autistic behavior in their children as early as 2 years old, but didn't receive a diagnosis until THREE YEARS LATER.
"you really have to take this (increase) very seriously"
Posted by: bensmyson | December 20, 2009 at 07:41 PM
Thanks to David Kirby for arranging this interview, and I hope you can arrange a follow-up interview in the near future.
Dr. Insel keeps pointing out "research opportunities". What we need is to get invasive medical interventions stopped. Stop giving hep B in the neonatal nursery. Stop giving any vaccines before 6 or 12 months of age.
The most dangerous intervention of all is clamping the umbilical cord at birth. This disrupts the normal transition from fetal to neonatal respiration in unpredictable ways.
Posted by: Eileen Nicole Simon | December 20, 2009 at 07:34 PM
David, I suppose a retrovirus like AIDS or CFS or Autism is no cause of alarm? That it in many ways, dysfunctions the entire immune system, so that any TRIGGEr even could wake it up? Plueez.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | December 20, 2009 at 06:20 PM
Totally agree with David Burd. After reading Fear of the Invisible and other work by Antoine Bechamp, etc. all this crap about viruses is a total lie. Vaccines are a complete lie. XMRV is a lie. HIV is a lie. A vaccine for autism is really taking this crap too far. Will the shills ever give up.
Posted by: Maggie | December 20, 2009 at 05:51 PM
Thankyou David the acceptence of different factors does,nt help my son who lost everything after the MMR vaccine , Autistic with a bowel condition , i want so badly to get my son back , vaccines have taken him from me he is my life , i will always to the very best i can for my precious boy , you are what the Autism community needs somebody who listens and questiona.
Posted by: Deborah Heather | December 20, 2009 at 05:33 PM
Thanks David Burb because I was getting confused reading some of the blogs???
I was beginning to not be so sure of what I think.
If it is a virus then why has this virus never been isolated.
Everything else eventually gets caught!
Posted by: Benedetta | December 20, 2009 at 04:56 PM
Folks, The concept a "retrovirus" XMVR as a cause for illness or effects the conception/development of a fetus/infant (autism as one example) is to put it politely, ludicrous.
It is now accepted by the biomolecular profession there are scores (SCORES!) of THOUSANDS of distinct 'retroviruses' in the human makeup, and the best guesses are these 'retroviruses' are essential and beneficial to life itself.
The problem being retroviruses were unfortunately given the taxonomy of a "virus" - that unfortunately (most always incorrectly) also connotes something to cause ill health.
The biomolecular political (and profit) world - particularly those who advocate vaccines - has hijacked the word "virus" as something always bad, but this is not true.
Posted by: david burd | December 20, 2009 at 04:32 PM
Around 2004, a group in NJ were doing an environmental study on kids with autism. I remember filling out lots of paperwork only to be rejected becasue my kids were chelating. Did anyone participate in this study? I think I was contacted through COSAC or Early intervention??
Posted by: Holly M. | December 20, 2009 at 12:16 PM
The possible linkage between ASDs and ME/CFS in terms of XMRV is interesting. It has long been believed that some ME/CFS is caused by vaccinations, just as some ASDs; some vaccine linkage involves anti-tetanus and Hepatitis B - the former was suggested by Doris Jones MSc, on investigating 220 post-graduates having ME,some years ago - I spoke to her on this, she found that of those 220 students around 12% had been vaccinated within one month of developing the condition that was eventually diagnosed as ME/CFS, the most common vaccine amongst those 12% victims was anti-tetanus; she also found some correlation with certain antibiotics and ME/CFS, especially Septrin (Co-trimoxazole ie sulphasalazine + trimethoprim of Wellcome, later becoming GSK) that was removed from general use. Research on 60 medics found suspected links between their ME and Hepatitis B vaccines (Charles Shepherd MD ex-Medical Advisor to the UK ME Association attempted, in vain I was told, to have that/his research published).
I recently read there is some evidence that XMRV may be a contaminant in some vaccines -having possibly emerged from a research laboratory - therefore big-pharma vaccine producer/s must be suspect.
Posted by: Jack Hep | December 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM
Vaccines are still the "untouchable" topic -- as shown at end of interview:
DK: Well, what is your opinion, or your response to the fact that in 1994 the Hep B birth dose was around 27 percent coverage, and by 1998 it was above 90, I believe?
TI: Yeah, I don’t know what to do with that, but I have to sign off here. Maybe we can start there with our next conversation?
Kinda like, "OMG look at the time! Gotta go!"
But, still, there are some amazing statements, like that there is a real increase -- based on the numbers and on his and his colleagues' experiences with autism being rare in prior decades. And:
"I don’t think anybody is arguing that it is 100-percent genetic."
"It could be that the Somali story in Minneapolis is an important geographic cluster."
"I don’t think anyone argues the fact that there’s an environmental component here. The question is – there may be many, and how do we get at these, and how do we identify them? Because the real goal here is to think about prevention – what we are really after at this point is driving the numbers in the opposite direction, so instead of a tenfold increase, you can we see a tenfold decrease." [Acknowledging the possibility of prevention! The possibility of changing the upward trend! Of course looking at too many environmental factors can just obfuscate the effects of vaccines. Will vaccines be studied?!?]
"It’s quite believable to me that there are many children who develop autism in the context of having severe gut pathology, of having autoimmune problems, of having lots of other problems. And some of these kids really do recover." [Did you hear that, Amy Wallace and Trine etc. and all you bloggers who think that only ignorant desperate parents perceive this?]
"All I can tell you is that we have an intramural program here which is kind of our home team, which has seen about 400 kid with autism over the last couple of years. And they have been looking at regression; they’ve been looking at recovery." [Actually studying the children? Surely there's got to be some intelligent voices calling attention to the factors that the biomedical community sees.]
Although there are such huge vested interests, at some point it has to become obvious that the facts are what they are, that the problem is getting worse, that affected parents are never ever going to give up the fight no matter how much propaganda is spewed, that the science is there, that our vaccine program must be honestly looked at. Surely there are many individuals in our government agencies who chose their careers out of a commitment to improving health, helping people, and honestly following real science.
Posted by: Twyla | December 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM
OK--I am breaking this down to sift through his comments and then as mom to Megan, I am analyzing what my interpretation is as this is a whole lot of pandora's box flying out of his mouth:
"better diagnosis and reporting could not "explain away this huge increase," and that "there is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here.""
This has to be said as how can he continue to deny the numbers. At least he is not like Dr. Max Wiznitzer, who continues to deny the numbers and is claiming the increases are due to overdiagnosis. How dumb does Wiznitzer think people are? He is looking pretty ignorant and fitting the role of vaccine industry spokesperson.
"He added that some ASDs may be preventable, that some children could recover from the disorder, and that a virus might conceivably play a role in some autism cases."
OK- no vaccines here folks. Move on. The virus is from the "environment" and there is a good chance the headlines will read "sexually transmitted", so that all the autism moms and dads can now bask in that glow. Recovery for those children would be due to "outgrowing it" or the new drugs that Pfizer et al are going to jump on to "treat the symptoms" of autism.
"you really have to take this (increase) very seriously - from everything they are looking at, this is not something that can be explained away by methodology, by diagnosis."
Oh really, Dr. Insel? Take it very seriously? Are you calling an emergency IACC meeting before Christmas or maybe by New Years to examine if these studies here are pertinent to this emergency methodology? :
Eye gazing research
Face training computer programs
Parents with psychiatric disorders
Why early intervention is good
Tuberous Sclerosis research
More genome and genetic research
"From my perspective, it's almost always going to be both. And the only question is: How do you nail down this interaction, how do you go after it?"
Hmmm, how about going to Minneapolis and talking to the Somali parents and then examine the children: blood, stool, urine, porphyrins, mitochondria markers, bacteria (strep, clostridia etc), viral titers, immune markers, neuroinflammation, GI inlammation, colitis,food allergies, leaky gut,---history of vaccines.
"Dr. Insel also suggested that there may be autism "clusters" around the country, which would also implicate environmental factors."
That's a good clue that the environment can cause damage and it could be called "autism"--like mercury damage and all of the studies showing its environmental implications to autism BUT do not try to exclusively blame the environment and then ignore vaccines and their components.
"Finding the environmental exposures that can trigger autism is essential, Insel said, because "the real goal here is to think about prevention - what we are really after at this point is driving the numbers in the opposite direction,"
How visual --"driving the numbers in the opposite direction"...as someone compared you, Insel, to a train conductor, driving the children, driving the research in the wrong direction. I also, sadly have a visual of trainloads of historical victims headed for a hellish fate. You have had control of this train and if it is finally turning now, all eyes are on you to see where it is going.
"Insel said, "It's quite believable to me that there are many children who develop autism in the context of having severe gut pathology, of having autoimmune problems, of having lots of other problems. And some of these kids really do recover. And that is quite different from the autism that was originally described in the 1940s and 50s - where it looks like you have it and you are going to have it for the rest of your life."
This sounds like Insel is trying to redeem himself before the shit hits the fan. He has this job and he has forsaken it but now, this evidence, these numbers can not be fudged away so voila', he sees the truth, environmentally-induced, sick kids and recovery is possible. Will he redeem himself? I hope so.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick-Insel is turning the train around? | December 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM
Our children are getting sicker by the day. I had a feeling that my son may have had glandular fever because he has been off school for months now with symptoms like CFS. The seizure tablets don't help that situation but I brought the dose down from 1000mg to 600 to get him out of his zombie state and it still seems too high.
Posted by: Joan Campbell | December 20, 2009 at 10:35 AM
Tom Insel said that some kids might could recover.
Well, mine did - but not fully - not what he would have been. I don't care what Tom Insel said I want public floggings to be brought back into being legal again in the justice system.
Posted by: Benedetta | December 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM
excellent interview David!
You really got some amazing quotes. I love it.
Now Insel has to stop talking and start doing. He says all the right things but when Insel is actually running IACC practically all environmental issues are off the table.
Insel specifically EXCLUDED vaccines.
So let's all remember these great quotes and remind Insel and our elected reps over and over again that Insel's promises are worthless.
Posted by: Katie Wright | December 20, 2009 at 08:35 AM
So, IACC should align their research monies with these statements.
It is not just about eye gaze.
What is causing the neurologic issues that influence the person to have an abnormal eye gaze?
Immune, metabolic - it all is in the mix.
Make the expenditures on research reflect this acknowledgement.
Posted by: Just another mom | December 20, 2009 at 07:38 AM
Excuse me if I don't hold my breath that Insell will find the cause or cure for anything. They haven't found the cause or cure for anything BUT they just need more money to do the research. These people are total failures on purpose.
If he was concerned about preventing autism, he would ban all antibiotics and vaccines and watch how healthy the children will be. But, he is pharma loyal and his task is just delay, deny and ask for more money.
If he wants to study a "virus" look at measles vaccine.
Posted by: Maggie | December 20, 2009 at 05:54 AM
Congratulations to David Kirby for this historic autism interview.
Posted by: Harold L Doherty | December 20, 2009 at 05:41 AM
Jake, it seems NDs are already trying to invalidate new CDC numbers. Therefore Insel can easily be called naïve to trust those numbers etc…
On the other hand all this new xmrv-cfs-autism research, have you noticed how “science-blogs” are oh-so-quiet on this one. A tiny comment here and there. The trouble is the research so far has been rock solid, not much room for criticisim for them.
But one interesting development in the near future could be that if XMRV links are further established, one of the things scientists are already looking into now is a vaccine against it – not only as a prevention but a treatment for those who already have the active virus (link to video below). Putting aside all possible benefits and drawbacks of this approach, just thinking about poor old NDs having to fight a vaccine-against-autism! Imagine leftbrain/nobrain having to advocate against A vaccine, while on the other hand pharma-sponsored science blogs selling it to them… Oh talk about shit hitting a fan :)
Posted by: Natasa | December 20, 2009 at 05:20 AM
Very nice but I will not be holding my breath waiting for followup.
Posted by: Theodore Van Oosbree | December 20, 2009 at 03:32 AM
Ok...found it. Google knows all.
Posted by: TexasDad | December 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM
Never fear David...I took it upon myself to contact a lab to test for XMRV in fifty CFS moms who have autistic children. Their state of the art technology will find whether or not this is in a majority of mothers and their children. The cost of our blood draw and sending it was all we needed for fork out as the lab offered the cost of the test...in a few months, I will tell you and AGE of Autism the results...in fact...I think we will publish it. No need for Insel and his ho hum, wait till we look at it attitude...as a mom warrior, I took it upon myself to assess whether or not this is in moms infected...and then giving it to children...and never fear again, the two viable sources of this infection...that is...cell animal media in vaccines (like bovine serum - aka can you really GREEN a vaccine with this crap in it?), and vectored ticks who just ate blood from a mouse...and yes folks, lyme is increasing as much as autism....so there you go...and the highest lyme states, have the highest autism rates...so there you go again...
I hate to say it...but I may have trumped his big news release on XMRV....a mother...just a small mother....
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | December 20, 2009 at 12:03 AM
OMG, the illuminati pod people have taken Dr. Insel. Must buy more ammo and gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free MRE's for the bunker. Tom Insel talking environmental causes has 'gawt to be' the seventh sign. Wait...wait...no...it isn't April.
How can I reach Dr. Insel?
Posted by: TexasDad | December 19, 2009 at 11:57 PM
This is truly remarkable. Maybe there is hope for Dr. Insel after all. Maybe all that has been presented to him by parents such as Lyn Redwood and Judy Chinitz is actually seeping into his consciousness. And maybe there is even some good research going on behind the scenes on 400+ children with autism?
Posted by: Twyla | December 19, 2009 at 10:45 PM
The Simpsonwood team knew the answers a long time ago and they chose to cover it up. These people are bunch of lying skunks and can be cannot be trusted by anyone.
Posted by: Mr. T | December 19, 2009 at 10:01 PM
If Dr. Thomas Insel and the Institute of Mental Health are checking out the comments from this interview, please consider:
Everything must be on the table, including vaccines, when it comes to finding the cause and cure for this huge spike in autism.
The rates have jumped from 1 in 150 to 1 in 100. This is truly a national health emergency. Could you imagine the outcry from the government if 1 in 100 children were seriously harmed from a car seat or a baby formula.
Dr. Insel is the captain of the Autism ship and unless he wants his leadership to be likened to captain Edward Smith of the Titanic he better act fast and get some answers.
Like many people, I am encouraged by some of your quotes in this interview. But talk is cheap and your actions will define you. Put the funding and research examining all vaccines behind your words if you want the parents of autistic children to be behind you.
And lastly, you need to have parents playing key advisory roles and have medical researchers and policy makers who are not on the payroll of vaccine companies or have conflicts of interest. If you read the New York Times on Dec. 17 you saw that the CDC is loaded with advisers who have these type of conflicts with vaccine makers. You need to act with independence and integrity.
The ball is in your court, Dr. Insel. We will be watching closely.
Posted by: David M. | December 19, 2009 at 09:42 PM
In order to drive a 10 fold decrease in the number of autistic children newly diagnosed in the coming year it will require drastic dramatic actions on the part of FDA, and CDC. The use of all vaccines must be banned by FDA until tested with true control groups, ie. the never vaccinated, and no child or pregnant woman should be given artificially compounded pharma drugs period. An epidemiological survey is urgently needed of the number of ALL children with any morbid condition. This should be conducted by CDC which must receive oversight from an independent consortium of faith based leaders worldwide. These leaders must be able to prove no financial ties to big Pharma in order to participate in the oversight process. Looking at genes or familial clusters or viruses is a complete waste of time. Leave that to the microbiologist graduate student Phd dissertations. Vaccination is the only common denominator which has increased exponentially worldwide over the past 30 years with an associated simultaneous increase in childhood mortality and morbidity rates. There is no other worldwide potential common denominator, not the water, food, sewage, land, air, clothing or shelter, only our drugs satisfy that criteria. Drugs used in Baltimore are the same as those used in New York or Bombay or Rome. When Dr. Insel concedes the need for such dramatic action then I'll believe he is sincerely seeking a solution.
Posted by: mary podlesak | December 19, 2009 at 08:37 PM
At any rate, I really don't take what any of these people say for gospel. I know it's supposedly considered big when one of these people say the change has not been due to better diagnosis, be they Francis Collins, Tom Insel, or David Tayloe because they have every reason in the world to want to say it's not.
But ultimately, it's just testament to their ineptitude, incompetance and negligence that they'd act so delayed in making the most basic of statements and I don't think we should give these people any more importance than what they deserve - none.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | December 19, 2009 at 07:58 PM
I have a question... When the stats say 1 in 110 have autism....... Do they mean kids with full blown autism? Or do they mean kids on the spectrum... and are they counting the ADD and ADHD kids. In my son's class, there are at least 7 kids with real issues out of 35. And there are more in the class next door. Teachers can't teach anymore
Posted by: maggie | December 19, 2009 at 07:19 PM
Unfortunately, the ND's over at that online dumpster, Leftbrain/Rightbrain, will probably find ways to spin this to their favor as they did with the Story Landis quote.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | December 19, 2009 at 07:15 PM
Dr Insell said:
"From my perspective, it's almost always going to be both. And the only question is: How do you nail down this interaction, how do you go after it?"
Well, Doctor...YOU are not going to "nail down this interaction" if YOU continue to refuse investigating vaccines as a possible contributing factor.
If YOU really want to "go after it"..begin urgently supporting an independent, scientific study of "vaccinated vs. unvaccinated" populations to ascertain if BOTH have suffered the same inexplicable, dramatic increase in autism.
To me....it IS THAT SIMPLE.
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | December 19, 2009 at 06:44 PM
Hmmmmmmm..... very interesting.
Would Dr. Insel now have any thoughts at looking at KNOWN neurotoxins injected at 25 to 100x rates into toddlers as a possible "enviromental trigger" to a neurologic problem ???
This might require an IACC sub-committee to create a panel to commission a study to determine if this issue might be placed on a long term list for possible future inclusion into an action plan.
Posted by: cmo | December 19, 2009 at 06:32 PM
wow! Talk of clusters, sub groups and prevention. Pretty exciting stuff. Robert Krakow says,"the truth will emerge aobut who's engaging in denialism." Yeah, their time is up.
Posted by: jen | December 19, 2009 at 06:14 PM
Great, I do hope he is putting (IACC) money where his mouth is.
Re XMRV research, baring false negatives, if the results link it in any way to autism, then the vaccines will have to get a very good looking into, as they are known to reactivate latent retroviruses.
Here is a recent highly-recommended video lecture on XMRV discovery in CFS, what it means, directions for future research and treatment options. Autism is also discussed in one of the later clips:
here a bit more links on what is known on retroviral reactivation by vaccines:
Posted by: Natasa | December 19, 2009 at 05:51 PM
You can contact the Whittemore Peterson institute for collaborations or information on research regarding XMRV. www.wpinstitute.org
They will be thrilled at the opportunity to help Autism patients.
Posted by: Carla Witsier | December 19, 2009 at 05:38 PM
Did you all just hear the sound of my jaw dropping on the floor??
Posted by: Jenny | December 19, 2009 at 05:38 PM