Running To or Running From
Dan Olmsted Interviewed on Progressive News Network

NIMH Releases "Autism Balance Tips to Environment As Heritability Ebbs" July 4th to Avoid Fireworks


Managing Editor's Note: Autism affects upward of 1% of American kids today. There "is no cure." There is no test. There is precious little hope for treatment in mainstream medicine. It's a crisis for America the likes of which we have never seen. And so the NIMH puts out a press release ON A NATIONAL HOLIDAY. Meanwhile, how many of our kids are cowering under a bed right now instead of reveling in the fireworks and family celebrations because of their autism? And what does THEIR independence look like tomorrow?

Contact: Jules Asher / Karin Lee
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

Balance tips toward environment as heritability ebbs in autism - Non-inherited genetic factors also in the mix -- NIH-funded science

The largest and most rigorous twin study of its kind to date has found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought.

The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that shared environmental factors – experiences and exposures common to both twin individuals – accounted for 55 percent of strict autism and 58 percent of more broadly defined autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Genetic heritability accounted for 37 percent of autism and 38 percent of ASD. Random environmental factors not shared among twins play a much smaller role.

Earlier twin studies had estimated the genetic heritability of autism to be as high as 90 percent, due to much lower estimates of concordance – both members of a twin pair having the disorder – in fraternal twins. The new study found such concordance to be four to five times higher.

"High fraternal twin concordance relative to identical twin concordance underscores the importance of both the environment and moderate genetic heritability in predisposing for autism," explained Joachim Hallmayer, M.D., of Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. a grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. "Both types of twin pairs are more often concordant than what would be expected from the frequency of autism in the general population. However, the high concordance among individuals who share only half their genes relative to those who share all of their genes implies a bigger role for shared environmental factors."

Hallmayer, senior co-investigator Neil Risch, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues report on findings of the California Autism Twins Study (CATS) in the July 2011 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"These new findings are in line with other recent observations supporting both environmental and genetic contributions to ASD, with the environmental factors likely prenatal and the genetic factors highly complex and sometimes not inherited," said NIMH director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

Studies are underway to determine if autism may be traceable, in part, to environmental exposures early during pregnancy.

The new study is the first to analyze a large sample of twins drawn from the general population; previous twin studies have been based on more limited samples, such as patients in treatment. It is also the first to employ the latest standard in diagnosing autism, which requires structured clinical assessments based on interviews with the parents as well as direct observation of the child.

Drawing upon state records, the researchers initially identified 1,156 twin pairs, with at least one member affected by an ASD, born to California mothers between 1987 and 2004. The children were all at least 4 years old, an age when autism can be reliably diagnosed. Ultimately, this group was winnowed to 192 twin pairs – 54 identical and 138 fraternal – for genetic analysis. Since autism disproportionately affects males, males outnumbered females by four to five times, with 80 of the pairs including both sexes.

Concordance for ASD was 77 percent among identical male pairs, and 31 percent among fraternal male pairs. In females, concordance for ASD was more closely spaced – 50% for identical and 36% for fraternal pairs. By contrast, previous studies had found concordance rates for fraternal twins that were much lower, ranging only in the single digits.

"Spectrum disorders traditionally thought to have less genetic loading turn out to stem from a similar mix of environmental and genetic heritability as narrowly defined autism," noted Thomas Lehner, Ph.D., chief of the NIMH Genomics Research Branch.

Yet, there can also be genetic influences that are not inherited from parents. New evidence emerged last month that rare, spontaneous mutations occur at abnormally high rates in autism.

"Such non-inherited genetic changes were proposed as a major mechanism of autism susceptibility, based on the very low concordance among fraternal twins found in earlier studies and evidence of increased risk associated with older parental age," explained Risch. "In light of the high fraternal twin concordance observed in our study, such new mutations may play a more limited role, since they would primarily occur in only one member of a fraternal pair, which would not lead to concordance."


Also participating in the research were investigators at: Autism Genetic Resource Exchange; California Department of Public Health; Kaiser Permanente; University of California, Davis. The research was also funded by Autism Speaks.


Genetic heritability and shared environmental factors among twin pairs with autism. Hallmayer J, Cleveland S, Torres A, Phillips J, Cohen B, Torigoe T, Miller J, Fedele A, Collins J, Smith K, Lotspeich L, Croen LA, Ozonoff S, Lajonchere C, Grether JK, Risch N. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011 July.

NIMH Director's Blog "Autism Spring"

Autism Spectrum Disorders  (Note, link is no longer live at NIMH)

The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website (

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit the NIMH website (


Ray Gallup

This last article shows the time I spent that was wasted on the CDC, Congress and “other influential government agencies” (like the NIH)…………….

A subject that will never be looked into further by these numbskulls at the “Gold Standard” of research (NIH and CDC) and that subject is Autoimmunity and Autism. Sad but a fact of life that will keep the autism epidemic going on for decades to come.


Think, people. Strategery. ;-)

First step: Denial - ex "It's not vaccines."
Second step: Buy Support - "NIH, IOM, Studies have asked and answered that question.", Get gov't to block lawsuits, increase schedule of vax.
Third step: Deflection - "It's Genetic" or worse, "It's the mother"
Fourth step: Unrelated Cause - "It's environmental but not vax"
Fifth step: Admission - "Maybe it is vaccines."

I thinks we're heading into the Admission stage. Just like Weiner.


Here is an interview with an autism expert discussing the findings of the study... interestin­g/scary stuff and it's certainly food for thought for pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant.


And Media Scholar;
We know we have arrived at last when this whole vaccine/autism/All immune problems finally does show up on a Bart Simpson episode.


Well since the antidepressant in the womb is mentioned on this blog, and by the lawyers on televesion commercials who are trolling for victims ---

Why are young women that are healthy enough and young enough to bear children (happeist time of my life) on antidepressants in the first place???


I fretted and worried when my duaghter had to go on antidepressants when she was only 15. She never had depression that made her want to kill herself like another boy that went to our church actually did (shot himself) or the boy I taught in school one year ahead of my duaghter (shot himself) or my parent's neighbor's boy (shot himself). She was just madder than heck.

So why was she depressed and had to take them in the first place?

Let us go back to when she was two years old six whole weeks afer a DPT shot a whole six weeks that I did notice she seemed off her feed (as we call animals that are sickly acting but are still doing okay)Six weeks after the DPT shot and she came down with Kawasakis (aka serum sickness)

Best start adding depression in with the rest of that list of autoimmune diseases.

Media Scholar

You numb-skulls just don't get it at all.

Things epidemiology can associate with an increased risk of Autism:

Air, breathable

Water, all consumable forms

Arctic rainfall, in modest accumulations in odd years

Minor Southern hemispheric plate shifts, non-detectable

Cheese food, excluding certain string varieties

Remote Control televisions

Tuna consumption, excluding the entire population of Japan

Computer-arranged dating services

Basketball playing, before age 74.25

Antarctic solar flare activity

Bart Simpson and/or Cookie Monster imitators

Taxi-cab game show hosting

Things epidemiology can NOT associate with an increased risk of Autism:

Proliferation of ritualistic infantile injections that contain a neuro-toxic mercuric compound that start with the letter T and end with L and contain H-I-M-E-R-O-S-A in between the start and end letters

Vaccine injected, brain-consuming viruses, neurologically-active combinations excluding those known to cause Autism, but quietly withdrawn from the market

Shifts in federal policy away from Thimerosal-removal back to Thimerosal-containing Influenza vaccines

Air, breathable

Water, all consumable forms

Arctic rainfall, in modest accumulations in odd years

Minor Southern hemispheric plate shifts, non-detectable

Cheese food, excluding certain string varieties

Remote Control televisions

Tuna consumption, excluding the entire population of Japan

Computer-arranged dating services

Basketball playing, before age 74.25

Antarctic solar flare activity

Bart Simpson and/or Cookie Monster imitators

Taxi-cab game show hosting (if the money is right)

Ray Gallup

So now anti-depressants has caused the autism epidemic. My wife, Helen was never on anti-depressants nor was her sister, Mary who had two children with autism. I know other families that were never involved with anti-depressants.

The NIH with this new "gold standard" of stupidity involving "research" (junk science) on autism. Taxpayers should shovel more money to these idiots at the NIH, but then the people that want to give them more money are morons too.

What a country!!!

Morons and idiots unite.

You can make out big time in the land of Uncle Sap.

Kevin Barry

Let's waste 5 more years and millions of taxpayer dollars confirming what we already know.

How about a study to determine what percentage of autism affects carbon-based organisms?

Current NIH Director Francis Collins while he was Director, National Human Genome Research Institute (2006):

"But 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. Therefore, GEI will also invest in innovative new technologies/sensors to measure environmental toxins, dietary intake and physical activity, and using new tools of genomics, proteomics, and understanding metabolism rates to determine an individual's biological response to those influences."

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Human Genome Research Institute


"Wow, it must be something in the womb--uh, gee, what could they be exposed to in the womb? I know! antidepressants! Gotta be--how could it possibly be something like, oh, gee, I dunno, thimerosal-containing and aluminum-containing flu shots and Rhogam shots, given to pregnant mothers? Or 50 more vaccines injected over the next few years after birth?

Naah--it must be highway fumes. Or birth order.

Let's pretend that those don't exist, so we don't have to study them, or better yet, that they are actually SAFE! Ha ha! Nobody will ever figure it out!"


The science blog guys won't like this one!
This is important, basic research coming out of the NIMH- good job.


At a small local 4th of July parade everybody there saw my ASD son do autistic things. Several commented that they knew it's the mercury in the vaccines. But, the icing was when my US senator walked by and my 12 year old son who was in sensory overload, started violently shaking his head back and forth and flapping his hands and jumping up and down. The look on my senators face was pure horror. When will the media and medicine stop making themselves look stupid and admit what we all know.


Update on Huffington Post report - 12 hours later. So a medical revelation about autism, which now affects a huge percentage of our population, stealing wealth and wellbeing from every one of those families, showing that over half of the cases may be due to environmental conditions (thereby being potentially preventable and probably treatable) has been given lower priority on the visual page than the "more important" news such as bunions, an editorial about a New York Times article about monogomy, info regarding Papau New Guinea tribespeople shooting arrows, and a woman trying to sneak a man out of jail in a suitcase. Wow! Can we get together and talk about that, Mrs. Huffington?


I make a prediction.
Since the vaccine manufactures are putting in more than a weaken or killed pathogen into the vaccines, but also things that excite the immune system making it react in not the normal way (making it produce more inflammatory reactions) The rates of autism will continue to rise.
Also since the immmune system learns how to react in the parent --- even if we stopped vaccinating those learned responses (even thought environmental in the beginnning will be passed on to their offspring). That is --- if they have offspring. Since many will not have offspring new autism cases will continue to rise in the rest of the population.
Pretty good indication that it is not genetic, not mutations rates and all that garbage.

The environment mimic genetics, and the whole population of the world can't figure it out. So much for the observing, thinking human brain!


I would love to know more as to why they conclude that the environmental exposure triggering autism is likely prenatal. Is it simply due to the fact that both twins wind up with a diagnosis therefore it's prenatal because they share the same womb? Do they have any other basis for this conclusion?

If not that is completely illogical. As Lisa stated they share the same environment not just from conception to birth but throughout childhood.


I meant to post the full text link:


If I remember correctly an assertion of relation of immunity and the C4B allele was made by Singh and maybe Warren in the early 1980's.
Also this article is quite is interesting.

Molecular cloning and characterization of the cDNA coding for C4b-binding protein, a regulatory protein of the classical pathway of the human complement system.


There appear, once again, to be MAJOR FLAWS in the conclusions of this 4th of July report. Namely, the authors point to the much higher rate of familial autism in twins vs. siblings as evidence that the twin pairs who eventually both developed autism must have been exposed to something in the womb. There is simply no logic to this statement. In fact, I don't even know where to begin to address the lack of logic in this statement. But for starters, twin siblings would be more likely to be raised in exactly the same environment than siblings born at different times. They would be more likely to be exposed to precisely the same medical care, pesticides, pollution, etc than siblings born even two years apart. Thus, it is not just in the womb where their environment may be nearly identical. It is everywhere. So, to conclude that their autism must have been acquired in the womb is simply laughable.


A good analogy is “genes load the gun but the environment (vaccines?) pulls the trigger.

Jenny Allan

In the UK, we call this 'A good day to bury bad news'!! It is a device used far too often by Governments and powerful establishment personnel.

A genetic predisposition to autism was also postulated in this extract from a scientific paper, published more than 13 years ago:-

"A genetic predisposition to autistic spectrum disorders is suggested by over-representation in boys and a greater concordance rate in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins. In the context of susceptibility to infection, a genetic association with autism, linked to a null allele of the complement C4B gene located in the III region of the major-histocombatibility complex, has been recorded by Warren and colleagues. C4B-gene products are crucial for the activation of the complement pathway and protection against infection; individuals inheriting one or two C4B null alleles may not handle certain viruses appropriately, possibly including attenuated strains."

What was this paper?? It was titled:-
'Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.' The Lancet 1998
A J Wakefield, S H Murch, J A Walker-Smith et al (another 9 co-authors)

YES!! This was the Lancet paper which began all the controversy!!
Those so called scientists and medical persons who accuse Wakefield et al of 'bad science' are themselves guilty of misrepresenting any genetic links to autism and other disorders.

A genetic tendency to 'fall foul' of a vaccine is NOT the same thing as a genetic tendency to autism!!


As of 10:45 pm, it's also on the first page of HuffPo in a Huffpo report, which is nice to see for a change. We'll see if it stays up there as long as Gro Bruntland's (W.H.O.)vaccination plug, which has been posted now on HuffPo's health page since June 22nd! Who, exactly, is paying for that exposure? - Pun intended.


Finally!! This is a huge and long awaited step in the right direction.

Anne McElroy Dachel

"It's a crisis for America the likes of which we have never seen."

And the tidal wave of autistic adults who will be dependent on the taxpayers for rest of their long lives--will be something else "the likes of which we have never seen."

I've looked at the news story on the BREAKING 4TH OF JULY NEWS--all the big papers are putting it out TODAY--so tomorrow it'll be OLD NEWS.

They're talking about prenatal exposures, older parents, anti-depressants during pregnancy---BUT NO ONE IS MENTIONING VACCINES.

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