J.B. Handley: Hungry Lie 2.0? “Autism is Genetic”
Has there been a statement made with less proof than this one?
I don’t think so. Consider the hopeless Wired Magazine journalist, Amy Wallace, making the following statement:
“In fact, the growing body of science indicates that the autistic spectrum — which may well turn out to encompass several discrete conditions — may largely be genetic in origin. In April, the journal Nature published two studies that analyzed the genes of almost 10,000 people and identified a common genetic variant present in approximately 65 percent of autistic children.”
Ms. Wallace, like many other reporters, offers two separate misstatements here that must be addressed:
First, she suggests that the “the growing body of science indicates that the autistic spectrum may largely be genetic in origin.” This comment is absurd, particularly given what a crisis the world of genetic researchers are actually going through, as described in an excellent article published in the New York Times in April of this year called, “Genes Show Limited Value in Predicting Diseases”:
“The genetic analysis of common disease is turning out to be a lot more complex than expected. Since the human genome was decoded in 2003, researchers have been developing a powerful method for comparing the genomes of patients and healthy people, with the hope of pinpointing the DNA changes responsible for common diseases. This method, called a genomewide association study, has proved technically successful despite many skeptics’ initial doubts. But it has been disappointing in that the kind of genetic variation it detects has turned out to explain surprisingly little of the genetic links to most diseases…Unlike the rare diseases caused by a change affecting only one gene, common diseases like cancer and diabetes are caused by a set of several genetic variations in each person. Since these common diseases generally strike later in life, after people have had children, the theory has been that natural selection is powerless to weed them out. The problem addressed in the commentaries is that these diseases were expected to be promoted by genetic variations that are common in the population. More than 100 genomewide association studies, often involving thousands of patients in several countries, have now been completed for many diseases, and some common variants have been found. But in almost all cases they carry only a modest risk for the disease. Most of the genetic link to disease remains unexplained.”
Autism is perhaps the most prevalent of many diseases where the search for common variants has been a bust. Like clockwork, a new finding of a variant in autism is announced in one study, only to be unreproducible in the next (due to random chance common in genome-wide analysis) and explained perfectly by Mark Blaxill (HERE).
If autism were genetic, children would need to have specific genes in order to have thedisorder, and none, and I mean NONE, have been found.
As one example, a genome-wide study on autism (more on the study in a moment) appeared in the journal Nature in October 2009. The researchers, from Harvard and MIT, were surprisingly forthright in characterizing the current state of genetic autism research:
“Modern approaches that harness genome-scale technologies have begun to yield some insights into autism and its genetic underpinnings. However, the relative importance of common genetic variants, which are generally present in the human population at a frequency of about 5%, as well as other forms of genetic variation, remains an unresolved question…Although the Nature paper identifies a handful of new genes and genomic regions, the researchers emphasize that the findings are just one piece of a very large — and mostly unfinished — puzzle.”
Unresolved? Mostly unfinished puzzle? Unlike many journalists, these researchers don’t sound very definitive. In fact, in the study itself, the researchers spell it out even more clearly, saying “attempts to identify specific susceptibility genes [to autism] have thus far met with limited success.”
Looking at the website of Autism Speaks, an organization that has had frequent run-ins with our community but certainly stands alone as the largest organization dedicated to autism science states:
“The best scientific evidence available to us today points toward a potential for various combinations of factors causing autism – multiple genetic components that may cause autism on their own or possibly when combined with exposure to as yet undetermined environmental factors.”
Not to be outdone, I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr. Francis Collins, who just happens to be the current Director of the entire National Institutes of Health:
“Genes alone do not tell the whole story. Recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism cannot be due to major shifts in the human gene pool as those changes take much more time to occur. They must be due to changes in the environment, including diet and physical activity, which may produce disease in genetically predisposed persons."
Did Dr. Collins say “autism”? Yes, he did. On one side of the “genes cause autism” debate, you have the Director of the NIH and every real scientist in the autism field. On the other side, you have vaccine apologists, uninformed journalists, and genetic researchers trumping up meaningless conclusions to facilitate more study dollars from unwitting organizations like Autism Speaks and the Simons Foundation.
Back to the Nature study, and Amy Wallace again, where she writes:
“In April, the journal Nature published two studies that analyzed the genes of almost 10,000 people and identified a common genetic variant present in approximately 65 percent of autistic children.”
She is correct, two studies were published in Nature in April 2009 related to autism and genetics. What Ms. Wallace fails to mention is that both studies came from the same place: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which happens to be Paul Offit’s employer.
Ms. Wallace is right, one of the studies did find a common genetic variant present in 65% of autistic children. But, what Ms. Wallace fails to mention, a fact that might leave the reader with a very different impression, is that 61% of the controls in the study – the children without autism – had the same variant. 65% vs. 61%? As is typically the case in genome-wide findings, it was likely the product of chance, nothing more. How come we never get this context when new studies are released?
(For those of you wanting more, read the study (HERE). If you go to table 2 on page 3, find the column labeled “Case MAF” and subtract the listed number from 1.0: So, 1.0-0.35=65%. Doing the same math with “Control MAF” gets you the 61% number.)
It actually gets better. Autism studies on genetic variants are plagued by this failure of replication issue. One set of researchers runs data on hundreds of thousands of genes. Invariably, they find correlations. A new set of researchers use different subjects and try to replicate the findings and finds nothing, and then the cycle repeats itself. In the case of the genetic variant that Ms. Wallace noted, the one that 65% of the kids with autism had (5p14.1, SNP rs4307059), it didn’t take long for the failure of replication to take place.
Remember the journal article in Nature I quoted above? It came out in October 2009. It’s called, “A genome-wide linkage and association scan reveals novel loci for autism” and the article mentions:
“Although there was significant overlap between study samples, each of these scans contained a large set of unique families, so we sought to evaluate independent evidence of the top SNP (rs4307059) reported at 5p14 [this is the gene from the CHP study Ms. Wallace cites at 65%]. This SNP happens to be directly genotyped by both Affymetrix and Illumina platforms. We have a sizable number (n 5 796) of affected subjects with two parents genotyped (and of predominantly similar European background). However, we observed no support for association at this locus (T:U 354:335 in favour of the minor allele, a trend in the opposite direction as reported).”
English translation: not only could they not find an association on the gene where an uneducated journalist reported 65% of children with autism carried it, they actually found that when they ran the numbers, the kids WITHOUT autism were MORE likely to carry it. Said differently, the chances that this variant means anything related to autism is nearly zero.
The devil is in the details, AoA readers, and I hope we can all do our part to refute the completely unfounded statements that genetic researchers have done anything to figure out the origins of autism. I will end with a great quote from our very own Mark Blaxill:
“Autism rates are now up to more than 1% of American children, nearly 2% of boys. Genetic research is in disarray, reeling from years of incoherent findings and an incoherent logic that ihas become increasingly exposed. We all get tired of saying it, but it bears repeating that there’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic. Yet NIH continues to pour millions more of our tax dollars down the gene hunting rat hole and, in a trend that is even more disturbing, the new administration appears to be doubling down on the failures of the past.
In the face of such obvious irrationality from so many highly educated analysts, it’s enough to make you ask, do any of these people have a brain?”
Author’s note: If parts of my writing here seem familiar, it’s because I have borrowed and paraphrased myself from past AoA articles I have written.
Bingo, Bendetta. The multiple viruses in the vaccines may be causing the immune system problems. Could it be that the immune system is stuck in the "on" mode because it is trying to eliminate them? While mercury and aluminum etc. may be factors, we cannot forget about the multiple viruses in those vaccines. Remember, polio viruses were cultured on monkey kidneys. What could be filthier?
Posted by: CT teacher | December 02, 2010 at 09:48 AM
Thank You Theresa O, for your reply.
Organic phosphates - I forgot about them. They too are mitochondria inhibitors.
Being fat does not mean autism either, I lost site of that, oh dear!
So vaccines on top of organic-phosphates autism perhaps.
Still I like your link. And this lead thing with flouride - WOW!
Posted by: Benedetta | December 01, 2010 at 07:49 PM
@Theresa O, thanks for the link. I wonder if changes in "standard care" for laboratory animals, such as, possibly, increased antibiotic use or vaccine exposures are involved?
Posted by: JenB | December 01, 2010 at 07:38 PM
Benedetta, there are probably many factors at work. You're right: contaminated vaccines have introduced multiple viruses into the human population inadvertently; we have little idea (other than SV40's link to cancer) as to what their effects are.
As for the feral rats, there are many environmental toxins to which they are exposed through air, water, eating garbage, etc.
Environmental toxins have complex interactions... Who knows exactly which ones work together to cause which problems? We do know that kids in fluoridated communities have higher blood lead levels (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17420053).
Who knows what other interventions are working together to cause the chronic health problems of today? It does, however, seem more likely that an interaction of environmental factors is causing these problems than just a whole bunch of genetic epidemics. Our genes have been around for a long time. Vaccines, fluoridated water, plasticizers such as BPA, etc.--well, they have not.
Posted by: Theresa O | December 01, 2010 at 06:49 PM
Anyone hear the news today about being able to determine age of a person with a drop of blood?
"T cells play a key role in recognizing foreign invaders..... the number of circular DNA molecules.... declines at a constant rate with age."
This news came out of the Netherlands. What do you bet that they studied relatively-less-vaccinated adults? Will somebody PLEASE do this same test on an American fully-vaccinated 5 year old? PLEEEAAAAZZZ? What do you bet that five year old will be about 80 years old in blood-years?
Posted by: Cynthia Cournoyer | December 01, 2010 at 03:52 PM
Something is "genetic" when it can't be explained. That has become a catch-all phrase of the day. The problem is, technology has caught up with all who want to blame genetics on everything, and now, oops, can't seem to nail down autism. When can we say we have turned over every other rock looking for the cause of autism, and now we get to look at vaccines, hmmmm?
Posted by: Cynthia Cournoyer | December 01, 2010 at 03:43 PM
They'll probably build-in legal ways to protect themselves from PGD lawsuits and then they'll bury these stories (like the Gardisil injury stories). Afterall they are experts at manipulating the public.
Can't you just see the marketing campaigns...through advertisements using good looking celebrities, they'll subtlely convince people that the road to good health, beauty and success in life is good genes. Bad genes will cause you nothing but heartache.. afterall look at the autism families. They'll steer away from environmental factors entirely.
It amazes me how many college educated people buy into this "autism is genetic" b.s. but they do. It kills me when I hear people repeat these lies.
Posted by: Sarah | December 01, 2010 at 02:04 PM
I needed to have these facts consolidated into one logical, scientific post that I can email to people who ask me if my son's autism is genetic!
Posted by: Cathy | December 01, 2010 at 01:30 PM
Genetics may have loaded the gun but enviromental toxins sure do pull the trigger
Posted by: Kelvin Schenk | December 01, 2010 at 01:26 PM
Sarah, You could be right about the gene studies being headed in the direction of eugenics.... but I believe that a much simpler explanation is the key.
We now have plenty of evidence to indicate that senior public health officials and drug manufacturers have known since about 2001 that autism is caused by mercury in vaccines and mercury exposures from the environment. Subsequently, those individuals chose the path of "Deny- Delay-Distract". Chasing the autism-is-genetic rat fulfills all of the 3 purposes.
So long as enough people can open their newspaper and read a headline that contains "Genetic" and "Autism" , the people who are responsible for the holocaust known as autism can sleep in peace at night as they wait for tired parents to give up fighting for compensation; grow too old to comment on Age of Autism ; and finally... for the autistic kids to pass into eternity. I wonder- Do any of the genetic researchers realize the true purpose of their employment?
Thankyou, JB Handley ; Hammering away at their lies is at the top of our list of important tasks.
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | December 01, 2010 at 12:21 PM
If PGD does come into use it will be short-lived. It will only take a couple hundred children bred this way to prove that it's not genetics when the first of them is diagnosed with autism and sues the crap out of the practitioners that they paid lots of money to for their designer baby.
Posted by: ObjectiveAutismDad | December 01, 2010 at 11:52 AM
They will never completely expunge autism eugenically but they will capitalize on the autism crisis to justify procedures like PGD. They'll collect our kids DNA so the can use it to pre-screen (de-select) embryos.
There's no doubt, parents with money will opt for designer babies since chronic diseases are so prevalent today and people are frightened. Fear sells.
By gene tampering, they are playing god and giving access to babies they deem genetically fit to those who can afford it which sets the world up for social split based on gene quality. Superior genes vs. Inferior. Unnatural selection.
I borrowed this from another poster ...
Here's a list of people who may never have been born had PGD been available in their day:
People who may had not been born if science had decrypted the human DNA sooner:
Abraham Lincoln (Marfan's Syndrome),
Emily Dickinson (Manic Depression),
Vincent van Gogh (Epilepsy),
Albert Einstein (Dyslexia),
John F. Kennedy (Addison's Disease),
Rita Hayworth (Alzheimer's Disease),
Ray Charles (Primary Glaucoma),
Stephen Hawking (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis),
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Asthma).
Posted by: Sarah | December 01, 2010 at 10:11 AM
That was an interesting article. Mitochondrial disfunctions slows down of course there is going to be weight gain.
Feral rats???? They gain weight too?
Well we don't vaccinate feral rats or give feral rats antibiotics??? Wonder what is making feral rats gain weight?
So, virus that goes across animal speicies easily?
Patrons 99 is always saying vaccines served as an entrance for new viruses. If there were two pig viruses in Dr. Paul Offit's vaccines - and Marauce Hillerman says monkeys used for Polio vaccine production had plenty, perhaps we are looking at tons of new viruses and not just one????
Every vaccine we take, there is a chance we are getting more and more new viruses that our body can not get rid of.
Is it more than just Al or Hg damaging the immune system causing auto immune diseases. What if: There really is no such thing as an autoimmune disease, but the immune system is really attacking some unknown virus?
Posted by: Benedetta | December 01, 2010 at 09:52 AM
I believe the multiple vaccines are toxic to the mitochondria but the medical community is not looking toxicological effects of environmental exposures on the mitochondria instead geneticists are focusing on the mutations in the mitochondria that would impair the ability of the cell to metabolize. Energy to the organs becomes depleted impairing function.
This information (mutations) will be entered into the Human Genome database for future pre-natal screening. It think for the medical community to focus soley on genes or genetic mutations and discount environmental factors is wrong. For Amy Wallace to promote autism is genetic is deliberately misleading the public.
Posted by: Sarah | December 01, 2010 at 09:27 AM
I say it is a damage done to the mitochondria.Mitochondria is unable to produce ATP or cellular energy and this contributes to cell dysfunction/damage/
regression.The toxic overload to stimulate
and poison the immune system actually damages and weakens the immune system and cauases mitochondrial energy loss and the cells unable to maintain themselves.It is
a denial and cover up that is going on since the 1970s.If we look at the graphs
of autism and the graphs of increased immunization,they match perfectly. They
will continue their lies and blame genetics.
It is brain damage,we trusted them,but we can not trust them anymore.Mitochondrial
disorders exist,they are not "rare".
They have destroyed my son's life and my life.
Posted by: Anonym | December 01, 2010 at 01:42 AM
This is exactly why the medical system will continually refuse to do a Vaccinated versus Non-Vaccinated study. The autism associated DNA alterations are going to show up in the vaccinated groups and not in the non-vaccinated BECAUSE mercury, aluminum and other toxins are known to cause DNA mutations AFTER the administration of vaccines. DNA mutations that did NOT exist prior to vaccines will be present in the vaccinated and especially in the autism groups.
For God's sake there was nothing seriously wrong with our kids DNA UNTIL the vaccine damages occurred.
The medical vaccine industry is desperately seeking to blame genetic mutations that THEY CAUSED in order to save their own ass, and keep unsuspecting parents vaccinating their children.
Obviously I am not God, and I do not believe in Hell, but IF I was God, and IF there was a Hell, all of these people knowingly involved in this cover up would be sent straight to Hell for the HELL that they have created for millions of innocent children.
"For whatever a man is sowing, that is what he shall also reap."
Posted by: Autism Grandma | November 30, 2010 at 08:38 PM
Great work again, JB.
Here's an interesting article on weight gain in laboratory animals:
Apparently, it has become obvious even to magazine writers that obesity is not a genetic epidemic. (I can hear the argument now: "See, these overweight mice couldn't find each other before, but now that there is Internet dating, they get together, and...") I wonder how long it will be before the world wakes up and people start connecting the dots to other chronic illnesses.
Posted by: Theresa O | November 30, 2010 at 08:34 PM
I could have sworn I read in the newspaper that it was 61% of the autistic kids that had the genetic variant, and when I looked up the study, it was 65% of the "neuro-normal" kids had it as well--MORE normal kids than autistic kids had the variant, yet the newspapers were trumpeting that an important clue to autism had been discovered.
When did the numbers get switched? And who switched them?
Posted by: Taximom | November 30, 2010 at 06:10 PM
Table 2, page 3 of the article referred to does not indicate that controls and cases had the same results. MAF means minor allele frequencies; both groups have similar frequencies of this/these minor allele/s. That means that it is reasonable and appropriate to make comparisons with each other in looking for single base pair differences within the allele.
Posted by: Angel Homan | November 30, 2010 at 04:08 PM
The experimental design of these genome studies looks basically like a sure-fire way to find false-positive gene correlations. Please allow me the chance to explain this in as small a nutshell as I can manage.
Biology is arguably the most difficult of all the sciences because there are always a million factors, some causal and many confounding, contributing to every outcome--so you have to work much harder to find reasonable correlations. And there is always a significant chance that a biological experiment will arrive at the "wrong" conclusion, i.e., it will coincidentally hit the 2% outcome instead of the 98% outcome (with these example percentages, this will happen 1 time out of every 50 that the experiment is performed). Sigh, poor biologists.
But look at these ingenious genome studies. First of all, any gene that you test for correlation in a fixed population will have some small chance of showing a "false-positive" correlation, i.e., it may be coincidentally correlated in that population but if you try again with another population, 98% of the time you won't find a correlation (thus a Failure to Replicate). So now the genome geniuses with their brilliant technology can test thousands of genes simultaneously on the same fixed population. If the chance of false positive is 2% and you test 50 genes, or 500 genes, or 5000 genes, then guess what? The Law of Large Numbers virtually guarantees that they are going to find false-positive gene correlations with whatever disease or condition they study.
Any scientist worth his salt should understand this argument. So how is it that they don't understand what they are doing? This experimental design is an excellent METHOD for producing false positive gene correlations!
If that is the theory, here is the prediction: any gene found in this way, when tested prospectively, will fail to show correlation with the disease it was supposed to cause. This has already happened both with Alzheimer's and depression, if not with more conditions--I believe these two were linked here on AoA some time ago.
How long do they have between the announcement of a gene correlation and a prospective study disproving the correlation? In the case of depression it was about 6 years--more than long enough to make multiple billions off of drugs that didn't work (but did make a lot of people sick and a lot of other people commit suicide). Well then, what a great profit-making strategy this is!
Nobody will save us from these evil madmen--we can only try to save ourselves. Good luck to us all!
Posted by: Eric | November 30, 2010 at 03:54 PM
We do know of course that any kind of eugenics inspired project to expunge autism has already been demonstrated impossible. It is obvious that being misleading over autism is one of the principle objectives left for the gene research industry, creating an ever bigger hole into which to pour money. With autism not finding anything is alway a huge public success story.
Posted by: John Stone | November 30, 2010 at 03:13 PM
Congrats to Dr. Offit on another genetic/ medical breakthough at CHOPS.
The next step I would assume is a genetic test and abortion procedures so these children will never, ever live to see a vaccine needle.
It should be up to Dr. O on what children are born.
Posted by: cmo | November 30, 2010 at 02:59 PM
Sorry for the off-topic, but where is the "Sullivan Update" corner in AoA? Did s/he respond directly to JB's accusations?
Posted by: Vaccine.Explorer | November 30, 2010 at 02:44 PM
I do not think it is scientifically accurate to say that genes are causal in any disease. If there seems to be an inheritable factor, these people must be aware that we inherit more than genes from our parents, and even "genetic defects" are more likely than not IMO to be environmentally induced. At this point the only thing I believe they should be saying is that we want to believe, or some who have big influence on the environment and our funding want us to believe genes play a role, but we do NOT know that these diseases aren't actually completely due to environmental exposures. It's uncomfortable, but the probable negative multi-generational effects of some industrial choices needs to be responsibly acknowledged and to the best of our ability reversed.
Posted by: JenB | November 30, 2010 at 01:14 PM
I just want to add is that there appears to be a very sophisticated eugenics movement afoot driven by those with the money, power and influence to carry this out. If you doubt this, look at how much more funding goes to genetics studies vs environmental.
Our kids are the sacrificial lambs in this production. It is our kids DNA scientists want so they can put in a database to use it for future genetic pre-screening. We'll end up with split in social class dividing the genetically "pure" vs genetically impure.
What they won't tell us is that all human beings carry mutatons in their genes.
Your eyes will be opened if you watch this BBC presentation on the Human Genome Project narrated by reknown Physicist Michio Kaku as well as the Designer babies clip below:
BBC: Human Genome Project:
Clip from: "Who's Afraid of Designer Babies?"
The technology is there.
Posted by: Sarah | November 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM
I have a friend going through breast cancer treatments/poisonings at a "prestigous" hospital. If THAT'S the best the medical community's got, call my son's autism genetic and leave me and him the h*ll alone.
Posted by: Mary | November 30, 2010 at 12:47 PM
Yes, a great deal of fuss was made when the the Yapp/Nicholson study was published about the possibility of screening for autism by 6 months of age. By that time an infant on the UK schedule will have had 19 vaccines in combo, though not Hep B that they get in the US.
Posted by: John Stone | November 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM
I think we parents need to make sure that the environmental factors in autism doesn't get swallowed up by the "autism is genetic" movement for two important reasons:
First the AMA, AAP will use the genetic piece to get the maintream medical community off the hook as far as medical treatment for autism.
Second, saying "autism is genetic" sets the stage for eugenics, designer babies and future screening of embryos for defective genes that predispose our population to diseases like autism.
Eliminating disease means eliminating "defective" genes that pre-dispose us to diseases like autism. This is what the Autism Genome project and Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is aiming for. This will be the trend if we don't stop it.
I think wherever we see it said that "autism is genetic", we should circulate, not our own opinions, but quotes from credible mainstream experts like Linda Birnbaum from NIEHS or Paul Anastos, from EPA who said:
Some good quotes to circulate:
"Because of its extraordinary complexity, prenatal and early postnatal brain and nervous system development can be disrupted by environmental exposures at much lower levels than would affect adults.
We are learning that there are critical windows of susceptibility both prenatally and in early childhood, during which the effects of exposures to environmental contaminants, depending on dose and timing, can be significantly more severe and can lead to permanent and irreversible disability.10,11,12 For these and many other reasons, EPA is especially concerned about potential effects of environmental chemicals on children’s health and neurodevelopment." - Dr. Paul Anastas
Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development United States Environmental Protection Agency
"Yet genetics alone cannot account for the majority of autism cases currently being diagnosed." ...Interactions among
multiple genes are likely to contribute to various types of autism, and heritable epigenetic factors and/or non-heritable environmental exposures are likely to significantly contribute to susceptibility and variable expression of autism and autism-related traits. It is therefore likely that constellations of epigenetic and environmental factors are contributing to the increasing prevalence of ASD, a rise that cannot be fully accounted for by changes in diagnostic criteria."
- Dr. Isaac N. Pessah, Director
UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention
Professor of Toxicology
"It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California,...Right now, about 10 to 20 times more research dollars are spent on studies of the genetic causes of autism than on environmental ones. We need to even out the funding," - UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher
Posted by: Sarah | November 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM
'These biochemical changes are consistent with some of the known abnormalities of gut microbiota found in autistic individuals' - so what can interfere with gut microbiota? Instead of looking at human DNA, it might seem worth looking for foreign DNA injected over the course of 36 shots.
Posted by: GH | November 30, 2010 at 10:04 AM
"Scientists have made tremendous progress in understanding how the brain and nervous system grow and function. Research supported by NIEHS has clearly shown that it is not just genetics, but the complicated interplay of both genes and the environment that determines the risk of many neurodevelopmental disorders. We now have new information on the role that early environmental exposures may play in the development of a broad spectrum of childhood and adult disorders, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and learning disorders. NIEHS-supported researchers are beginning to unravel some of the mysteries of how neurodevelopment may be impaired by looking at the possible effects of timing and concentration of environmental and lifestyle exposures (e.g., diet or smoking), including low-dose exposures before birth and during early childhood, on the vulnerability of the developing brain."
Statement of Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S. Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and Director, National Toxicology Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Testimony on State of Research on Potential Environmental Health Factors with Autism and Related Neurodevelopment Disorders”
Posted by: Sarah | November 30, 2010 at 09:41 AM
Mark Blaxill quote:
"In the face of such obvious irrationality from so many highly educated analysts, it’s enough to make you ask, do any of these people have a brain?”
They collectively remind me of the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz:
"I could while away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratching
While my thoughts were busy hatachin;
If I only had a brain...
"I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
in trouble or in pain
IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN.....
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | November 30, 2010 at 08:56 AM
Just a few days before the deeply absurd Pinto study swept headlines there was a far more interesting paper which emerged from UK's Imperial College, by Yapp et al, which did not pin faith on slight statistic variations:
"Autism is an early onset developmental disorder with a severe life-long impact on behavior and social functioning that has associated metabolic abnormalities. The urinary metabolic phenotypes of individuals (age range=3-9 years old) diagnosed with autism using the DSM-IV-TR criteria (n = 39; male = 35; female = 4), together with their nonautistic siblings (n = 28; male = 14; female = 14) and age-matched healthy volunteers (n = 34, male = 17; female = 17) have been characterized for the first time using (1)H NMR spectroscopy and pattern recognition methods. Novel findings associated with alterations in nicotinic acid metabolism within autistic individuals showing increased urinary excretion of N-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide, N-methyl nicotinic acid, and N-methyl nicotinamide indicate a perturbation in the tryptophan-nicotinic acid metabolic pathway. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated urinary patterns of the free amino acids, glutamate and taurine were significantly different between groups with the autistic children showing higher levels of urinary taurine and a lower level of urinary glutamate, indicating perturbation in sulfur and amino acid metabolism in these children. Additionally, metabolic phenotype (metabotype) differences were observed between autistic and control children, which were associated with perturbations in the relative patterns of urinary mammalian-microbial cometabolites including dimethylamine, hippurate, and phenyacetylglutamine. These biochemical changes are consistent with some of the known abnormalities of gut microbiota found in autistic individuals and the associated gastrointestinal dysfunction and may be of value in monitoring the success of therapeutic interventions."
This paper got a certain amount of publicity focussing on the potential for chemical screening for autism. But the far more important point was lost that the paper - not coming from any of the usual people - demonstrated beyong reasonable doubt autism was an environmental disorder.
You wonder what Gorski, Deer, Sullivan, Goldacre etc have to say about that? Do I hear silence?
Posted by: John Stone | November 30, 2010 at 06:21 AM