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Vote for SafeMinds Strategic Plan Ideas for Nat'l Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences


Vote yes Please VOTE for SafeMinds’ Ideas for the NIEHS Strategic Plan

The National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences are conducting an online survey to direct their strategic plan for research.  SafeMinds has entered 12 ideas in the survey and would appreciate your votes.  You can do so at this link:

There are a number of other worthwhile ideas already listed in the survey, so please feel free to vote for those as well.  You will need to quickly scroll through the list and look for our submissions because their placement on the pages will depend on how many votes they get. You can identify them by our name in the bottom right corner of each box.

Please vote before the deadline of Saturday, April 30th

Autism: Environmental Factors and Individual Susceptibility  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

1)   It is estimated by the CDC that one in every 110 children and one in every 70 boys today is diagnosed with autism, creating an urgent health crisis.  Prior to the 1990's autism was a rare disorder affecting 2-4 per 10,000.  Acknowledgment of this alarming increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism demands a focus away from an exclusively genetic cause to one that acknowledges the role the environment.  Yet, to date, the role of environmental scientists and toxicologists in the investigation of autism has been modest. Environmental research has been identified as an area of need by the NIH-Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has the expertise to provide critical research that can advance our understanding of the interactions between environmental factors and individual susceptibility in order to determine how these elements interrelate to cause illnesses, such as autism.  The broader category of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDD) of which autism is the most severe, is estimated to affect one in every six children today in the US.  Therefore, such critical knowledge derived from this research would also provide insights into NDDs in general and go a long way in improving the lives of our children in helping them to reach their full potential.

Autism: Subgroups susceptible to repeat exposure to toxins, antigens and live viruses in vaccines CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

2)  There is a growing public crisis of confidence in the U.S. vaccine program.  According to a recent a study of the American Academy of Pediatrics more than half of parents responding to a national survey expressed concern over serious adverse effects of vaccines, and one in four believe some vaccines cause autism.  Since vaccines are studied individually for safety when approved, there has been no research that addresses cumulative and concurrent exposure to multiple vaccines the first 18 months of life.  The current early infant immunization schedule recommends 28 vaccines for 14 diseases during the first 18 months of life. Immunizations are known to contain metals and chemicals that have been recognized an having  toxic properties such as aluminum, ethyl mercury, formaldehyde, phenol and glutamate which are co-administered  with live virus vaccines such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and rotavirus.  The NIEHS could provide valuable scientific information in this arena through the utilization of animal models, preferably infant primate, to investigate toxicological and neurodevelopmental impacts of the combined early childhood immunization schedule.  Such research is supported by scientific reports of children developing adverse events such as seizures, mitochondrial dysfunction, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and developmental regression after multiple vaccine exposure. Environment is typically defined as any factor non-genetic in nature and includes pharmaceuticals.

Autism and High Throughput Screening  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

3)   Due to advances in technology it is now possible to use computational toxicology methodology to conduct virtual screening for gene-environment interactions as they relate to specific high profile diseases, such as autism.  This is accomplished by using our current knowledge of gene pathways and protein structures and combining those with high priority chemical toxicants using ligand receptor docking technology to identify high scoring gene variant and chemical combination.  Such targeted investigations will greatly reduce the cost associated with genome-wide association studies and also help to identify environmental insults,  which offers the opportunity for prevention and treatment.    


Autism and the Microbiome  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

4)  Research shows that individuals with autism have microbiomes that are different than siblings and age/sex matched controls both in numbers and types of good and bad bacteria. NIEHS should determine how disturbances in gut microbiota are affecting autistic individuals and if replenishing the microbiome can be an effective treatment for autism's comorbid immune and gastrointestinal conditions.    


Toxic Insults to Mothers and Infants CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

5)  Identify toxic environmental exposures that are avoidable and study the ways to reduce toxic exposures that are most likely to improve maternal and infant health.    


Physician Training Regarding Toxic Environmental Exposures  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

6)  Set up a training webinar series for pediatricians and OB/Gyns to better understand toxic environmental exposures, to be able to advise patients on how to avoid them and to learn how to treat them when they occur.    


Translational Research: Letting Patients Be the Guide  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

7)  Increase focus on translational research: start with studying patients' symptoms, research possible mechanisms for those symptoms, study possible causes and potential treatments and do clinical trials of the treatments to see if they work.  The patients should inform the process.  


Prioritizing Toxic Environmental Triggers  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

8)  Focus on the highest priority toxicants based on likelihood of exposure, cumulative exposures and toxicity (ATSDR list) and create plans of action to reduce those exposures before studying the 1000's of new chemicals that "might" be a problem.  Successful plans of action will inform future research and interventions for the less common chemicals.  


Screening Tests for Mercury  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

9)  Develop screening tests for mercury and reference ranges for all ages that are more accurate for body burden than blood testing.  Blood testing is only indicative of current exposures and does not reflect past cumulative exposures.  


Autism and Toxic Body Burden  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

10)  Compare the toxic body burdens of individuals with autism vs. age/sex matched controls. Determine biomarkers of interest based on toxic profiles of autistic individuals. For example, we might have lymphocytes from autism and unaffected controls and test for biomarkers of mitochondrial function or immune stimulation from the various chemicals and at various doses.  


Autism and High Interest Pathways  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

11)  NIEHS should do a scan of the literature and map all the pathways affected by autism in the literature so far. Determine where most of the findings in the literature converge thus providing a list of target pathways for intervention. A simple comparison of NIEHS's vast database can provide a list of chemicals, toxins and pollutants that affect those pathways. Not only will this help provide direction of environmental research by giving us priorities in the 80,000 plus chemicals out there but we will also determine the most affected pathways in autism. Research like this will help all affected autoimmune and neurodevelopmental disorder susceptibility groups by honing in on uses of household chemicals of interest, particular pesticides, etc., that we know affect critical pathways and will provide environmental clues for follow up that ordinarily we might miss. 


Neurological Disorders and Glutamate  CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THIS IDEA

12)  Glutamate, found naturally in some foods and as an additive in others, can be a potent neurotoxin in individuals in susceptible subgroups as it triggers dysfunction in their body's already fragile glutamatergic balance. Disguised as a food additive under many pseudonyms, susceptible groups are being affected unknowingly every day. NIEHS should determine the degree of toxicity, phenotypes of susceptible sub-groups and consider policy to remove this potent excitotoxin from the U.S. food supply. 





Another vote from me, every bit counts!

Elizabeth (AussieMum)


Done! Thanks for the heads-up.


Autism is an epidemic and we need research to look at this know , and i mean know

Kent Heckenlively

I just voted!

It's easy! Everybody should do it!

Jenny Allan


Teresa Conrick- PLEASE VOTE!

OK- I was voting and it kept saying "log in" as I missed the "SIGN IN" on the upper right side (yep- the US gov't doesn't get an "A" on clarity). All they want is an email and one of those goofy word scramble boxes. Not a big deal - took 10 seconds. We need LOTS more votes!

VOTE for these very important topics that pertain to our kids and autism.


How do you login to their site?


Note: you'll need to login before you can vote... And, their website is really, really slow.

Peds gettin on it!

Hey look everybody....pediatricians are worried about toxins...just not the ones in vaccines. :/

Jenny Allan

I scrolled down the whole lot and found no references to 'Safeminds'in the bottom right corners, just the names of the persons submitting the ideas.

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