By Teresa Conrick
Today, Saturday, April 22nd, is March for Science Day. In Washington DC and in 517 locations around the world, supporters will be marching to, ---
"unapologetically advocate for science and all members of the scientific community.....The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy. We understand that the most effective way to protect science is to encourage the public to value and invest in it."
I would probably be marching if I did not have a daughter with severe Autism because I instead need to go car to car to ask for donations for real research and SCIENCE funding for AUTISM on that same day. The MICROBIOME is becoming the most important area of research for Autism and so many other diseases. I would probably march with thousands of Chicagoans as I too, believe what they are marching for:
Science is meaningful to all of us whether we are scientists ourselves, enthusiasts of science, or simply Chicagoans that value a method to uncover truth. We were motivated to become a guardian of science despite our differences.
And this too, I truly believe:
"We affirm that the scientific process provides meaningful answers to our society’s most pressing questions"
"We spotlight the accomplishments of science and offer a platform to the voices, often hushed, discredited, ignored or forgotten, that have critiqued and called for systemic change toward inclusivity and representation within the field."
"The practice of science has been flawed with bias, prejudice, and self-interest despite its ideals of objectivity, neutrality, and collective benefit."
"When unchecked, these biases influence funding decisions, who or what is studied, and who benefits from the results of research."
This is not solely about Autism research but it sure sounds like it. There have been decades of bias, prejudice, and self-interest and it continues way too much today. The average person has no idea how much money is wasted on GENE research yet the ENVIRONMENT plays a much bigger role in cases of Autism. The average citizen probably also has not heard about how children and now young adults who have an Autism diagnosis have a MICROBIOME that is acutely different when compared to neurotypical peers. There is severe pain and suffering for so many diagnosed. In a similar situation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has made the Microbiome a big part of research in Parkinson's Disease, as toxins seem related to both an Autism and Parkinson's diagnosis, "certain neurologic conditions that have classically been studied as disorders of the brain may also have etiologies in the gut,"
I will not be able to march as I have a daughter who regressed after vaccines, especially after her MMR vaccination. I know that is taboo to say but it is true. Thousands of other families share this tragedy. We wish that it was not true, that vaccines could be safe for all but the reality is that there seems to be an increasing trend of injury and immune damage to both gut and brain. It may be that the Microbiome has different avenues of harm.
So, to my many, fellow Chicagoans who march, please keep us with you in spirit. We believe in true, ethical science, just like you. To all the researchers who devote their lives to pursuing true and meaningful science, an enormous thank you.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.