By Anne Dachel
Feb. 16-18, the American Association for the Advancement of Science held their annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. It got a tiny bit of coverage but nothing from the mainstream press in the U.S.
The Irish Times had this story about what was said there.
What I'm puzzled by is the complete lack of anything substantial to talk about when it comes to autism. The Irish Times reported,
AUTISM: RESEARCHERS AROUND the world continue to struggle with the complexity of autism. They now believe that genetic factors and brain changes triggered by man-made chemicals in the environment are equally to blame for the development of autism in young children.
Seriously? Researchers NOW believe "man-made chemicals" cause autism?
Scott Selleck of Pennsylvania State University brought up the tired topic of genetics and autism.
“Autism is a very complicated disorder. We have come to know it has many, many genetic contributors.”
He also admitted that toxins are involved.
“The balance of genetic and environmental contributors is about equal. It is 50/50.”
We're reminded that the idea of "refrigerators moms" is out.
The panel, which included Prof Janine LaSalle and Prof Isaac Pessah, both of the University of California Davis, was completely dismissive of the now discredited theory that autism in its various forms was caused by “refrigerator parents” or “refrigerator moms”, parents who interacted only minimally with their children.
As far as what toxins are damaging our kids, this was said,
Prof LaSalle described her work on how exposure to persistent chemicals such as flame retardants could cause long-lived changes in how collections of genes were expressed, for example the genes associated with building neurological networks. This was referred to as “epigenetics”, she said, and the complex system involved could be perturbed by low-level environmental chemicals.
She exposed mouse models to the flame retardant PBE-47 and polychlorinated biphenyl MECP-2 at minute levels that matched human exposures.
Other than that, it's anyone's guess.
There were now upwards of 80,000 non-natural chemicals in the environment produced by industrial processes and other sources, said Prof Pessah. Few had been tested for their neurotoxicity despite human exposures to these substances.
Is this really supposed to be cutting edge science?
This is what Insel had to say about the environment and autism:
"I said before this isn't just genetics... There have to be environmental factors."
"We have barely been able to scratch the surface."
"There are something like 80,000 potential toxicants."
So here we are in 2012, and still there's nothing these scientists can tell expectant parents so their child doesn't also end up on the autism spectrum.
How long will the medical/scientific communities be hopeless and helpless when it comes to autism?
Look how many years it took to get experts to accept the fact that more kids actually have autism.
Why is there never any alarm or even serious worry expressed when these people talk about autism?
Why do researchers show absolutely no concern about regressive autism? The same people who can't explain why children suddenly stop talking and interacting have no interest in studying them.
Why is the American Psychiatric Association working to change the criteria for diagnosing autism so that an estimated 50 percent of affected children may lose needed services?
Why should we listen to any of these people?
Sixty years ago experts were wrong when they blamed cold, unaffectionate mothers for autism. Today, they're still clueless. The only difference is that in the 1950's, autism was practically unknown and today it's an epidemic. We simply can't sacrifice another generation of children while experts scratch their heads over autism.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. You can subscribe to her newsfeed at AnneDachel.com