Respectful Insolence

It’s been a while since I wrote about autism. Part of the reason is that I’ve been on vacation. Another part of the reason is that not much has been happening lately on the mercury/autism front. I like to think it’s because the evidence has been accumulating so rapidly that neither the MMR vaccine nor mercury-containing vaccines are associated with autism, the claims of the mercury militia notwithstanding, that the last even semireasonable people have started backpedaling, leaving only the hard core, like J. B. Handley. Indeed, I’ve spent a lot of time debunking the claims of the antivaccination crowd and the mercury militia (indeed, so much so that I’ve been described as being “on a mission to discredit any and all evidence of a mercury-autism linkage,” as if that were a bad thing, given the horrible quality of virtually all such evidence that I’ve examined critically over the last year or so and the dubious ethics of key researchers pushing the vaccine-autism link), and this summer there was a new large study that failed to find a link between vaccines (mercury-containing or MMR) and autism.

Right after getting back from vacation, I saw stories about this paper all over the media, whose abstract is here, a study that provides yet more evidence that the etiology of autism is probably primarily genetic, not due to vaccines:

Context: Maternal and paternal ages are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Objective:To examine the relationship between advancing paternal age at birth of offspring and their risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design: Historical population-based cohort study.

Setting: Identification of ASD cases from the Israeli draft board medical registry.

Participants: We conducted a study of Jewish persons born in Israel during 6 consecutive years. Virtually all men and about three quarters of women in this cohort underwent draft board assessment at age 17 years. Paternal age at birth was obtained for most of the cohort; maternal age was obtained for a smaller subset. We used the smaller subset (n = 132 271) with data on both paternal and maternal age for the primary analysis and the larger subset (n = 318 506) with data on paternal but not maternal age for sensitivity analyses.

Main: Outcome Measures: Information on persons coded as having International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision ASD was obtained from the registry. The registry identified 110 cases of ASD (incidence, 8.3 cases per 10 000 persons), mainly autism, in the smaller subset with complete parental age data.

Results: There was a significant monotonic association between advancing paternal age and risk of ASD. Offspring of men 40 years or older were 5.75 times (95% confidence interval, 2.65-12.46; P<.001) more likely to have ASD compared with offspring of men younger than 30 years, after controlling for year of birth, socioeconomic status, and maternal age. Advancing maternal age showed no association with ASD after adjusting for paternal age. Sensitivity analyses indicated that these findings were not the result of bias due to missing data on maternal age.

Conclusions: Advanced paternal age was associated with increased risk of ASD. Possible biological mechanisms include de novo mutations associated with advancing age or alterations in genetic imprinting.

This investigators decided to look at maternal and paternal age as risk factors for their children developing autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) because previous studies looking for an association between increasing maternal age and ASDs have been mixed, because of suggestions of an association between increased paternal age and ASDs but no studies had controlled for maternal age. Moreover, there are several studies showing association between paternal age and congenital disorders, an increased risk of schizophrenia, and decreased intellectual capacity. Consequently the authors undertook a study that tried to examine this question and control for ages of both parents. This study was possible in Israel because all Israeli citizens are given a unique identification number at birth or at attaining Israeli citizenship, allowing the linking of parents’ draft board assessments at age 17 and military service files (when present) to those of recent inductees. It is thus possible to calculate the age of both parents of inductees at the time of his or her birth. Furthermore, the draft board assigns ICD-10 diagnoses, and psychiatric diagnoses are assigned by board certified psychiatrists experienced in treating adolescents. Israel also has a system in which virtually all children and adolescents with ASDs are registered with the Israeli Society for Autistic Children (ISAC), and has universal health care. Thus, the assessment and followup is excellent.

Basically, as described above, for the inductees examined during the six years of the study, the investigators found that men over 40 are 5.75 times more likely to produce offspring with an ASD when compared with men under 30. It was a monotonic assocation, meaning that increasing age correlated with increasing risk of producing offspring with ASDs without any glitches or variation, with ASD risk depending on that one variable. In contrast, there was no signficant association between increasing maternal age and ASDs. Multiple control analyses were done, and the effect persisted. Unfortunately, the investigators were not able to determine whether paternal age correlated with specific ASD diagnoses, like autism or Asperger’s disease, because the draft board does not record individualsubtypes of ASDs.

The fascinating thing about this study, if its results hold up, is that it is yet more evidence implicating genetic causes for autism. According to the “copy error” hypothesis, new spontaneous mutations can arise, propagate, and accumulate in successive generations of sperm-producing cells, and this accumulation could produce more and more such abnormalities the older a man is. If these results hold up, they also suggest a potential mechanism that would account for the male preponderance in autism and ASDs. For example, if the genetic abnormalities contributing to autism are linked to the Y chromosome, increasing mutations with age in the father would accumulate in the Y chromosome that he contributes to the offspring. In males, Y-linked genes that contain mutations would not be counteracted by any genes contributed by the mother. However, mutations that might accumulate in the father’s X chromosome would be less likely to have an effect because any mutations in genes of the X chromosome contributed by the father could be countered or ameliorated by the normal copy of the same genes on the X chromosome contributed by the mother. In addition, it suggests one contributing factor that may partially explain the increasing number of diagnoses of ASDs besides changes in administrative prevalence, namely the increasing number of men who are deferring marrying and having children until their 30′s, 40′s, and even 50′s.

In any case, this study is yet another that strongly implicates genetic causes of autism. Given that, I predict that the antivaxers will not like it at all. I predict that they’ll either ignore it or find a way to attack it–or both.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua
    September 6, 2006

    Or they’ll find some way to claim that mercury is sexually-transmitted.

  2. #2 Julie
    September 6, 2006

    Very interesting study. Still along the genetic line of thinking, is there a higher prevalence of autism when one parent is on the spectrum? Is the prevalence increased if the father is on the one with an ASD? Is there an increase with subsequent children when one sibling has an ASD? The study does not seem to factor in if the father was himself on the spectrum or has multiple children on the spectrum – so in some cases, paternal age may just be “coincidence”?

    Also of note is the rate of any ASD in the Israeli population is 8.3 per 10000 – or about 1 in 1205 children – substantially lower than the US rate. Certainly genetic and environmental factors need to be studied to determine why the Israeli rate is so much lower.

  3. #3 Chris
    September 6, 2006

    Although this does imply that a tendency toward autism is present from conception, I don’t see how it implicates genetic causes specifically. A sperm is not just naked genetic material.

    It is a much stronger connection than anything that has ever been observed for mercury or vaccination, though, no doubt about that.

    As for the usual quacks, if they don’t deny this result entirely, they will probably shift to saying that “accumulated toxins” in the father cause him to produce defective sperm. Obviously, the older the father, the more toxins he has accumulated in his body over his lifetime. However, the resulting “need” to chelate the father _before conception_ is going to make it more difficult to sell. A treatment that you can promise will be effective after birth and diagnosis sells a lot better than a mere preventative (that most people won’t be panicky enough to think they need).

  4. #4 somnilista, FCD
    September 6, 2006

    I wonder how the anti-vaxers…

    The Digital Equipment Corporation Vax was a very respectable and historically important computer architecture with an instruction set that was absolutely beautiful. Could you find a different abbreviation for these anti-science wackos?

  5. #5 quitter
    September 6, 2006

    Older dads end up with kids with autism because they’re more likely to get their kids vaccinated. Everyone knows that. Sheesh.

  6. #6 anonimouse
    September 6, 2006

    John Best should read this post and think.

  7. #7 Ruth
    September 6, 2006

    John Best think???

  8. #8 Kev
    September 6, 2006

    Yeah, its interesting for sure. I wonder how old Donor 3066 was when he donated?

    Maybe the mercs and the antivaxxers might also like to explain how one man can end up fathering seven children of whom two are autistic and two have differences closely tied to autism. Couldn’t be the genes of course.

  9. #9 Common Sense
    September 6, 2006

    Kev wrote:

    “Maybe the mercs and the antivaxxers might also like to explain how one man can end up fathering seven children of whom two are autistic and two have differences closely tied to autism. Couldn’t be the genes of course”.

    Kev, are you really this slow? Seriously. Many of us have said (over and over again)… Genetic factor with environmental insults. Perhaps (likely) vaccinations. Same father (obviously same paternal genes) and environmental trigger… think vaccinations perhaps. What’s so hard to understand?

  10. #10 Orac
    September 6, 2006

    Many of us have said (over and over again)… Genetic factor with environmental insults.

    Not Generation Rescue. J. B. Handley states explicitly:

    Generation Rescue believes that childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.

  11. #11 Kev
    September 6, 2006

    Hi Sue – Sorry, slow about what? The owner of your latest hangout believes all autism is thiomersal and only thiomersal. A man you profess total admiration for says that ‘autism is mercury poisoning’. If you disagree with them, then good for you, but whilst I appreciate that you have finally cleared up that you (as in ‘many of *us*’) are an antivaxxer, you are obviously one small lonely voice in that herd. Please do all that you can to educate your colleagues Brad Handley and JB Br.

  12. #12 Emily
    September 6, 2006

    Worth pointing out here, as the authors did, is that the majority of the diagnoses in this cohort were made in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before the diagnostic criteria for autism were expanded, which likely explains a lot of the apparent “epidemic” of autism.

  13. #13 Hyperion
    September 7, 2006

    One other possibility:

    Would a man carrying a genetic predisposition to autism, but without exhibiting the complete phenotype, perhaps some level of “subclinical” autism, or perhaps another neurodevelopmental disorder like ADHD or Tourette’s, be more likely to father an autistic child?

    If so, is it possible that such a father, with such a phenotype, might be more likely to marry later in life?

    The only reason why I ask is because other neurodevelopmental disorders seem more closely tied to family history and discreet hereditary genetic mutation, so it seems rather…unsatisfactory…to think that autism would be a different. That being said, evidence is evidence even if it fails to conform to pre-existing expectations.

  14. #14 clone3g
    September 7, 2006

    Sue M. said: Kev, are you really this slow? Seriously.

    Always be sure to set the tone with a nice insult.

    Many of us have said (over and over again)… Genetic factor with environmental insults.

    The genetic susceptibility idea put forward by the mercury/anti-vax (apologies to DEC) crowd isn’t even close to this, Sue and it is a relatively new phenomenon where the anti-vaxxers accept a genetic component.

    IIRC, the hypothesis proposes an inability to excrete mercury properly due to a combination of polymorphisms in the genes along the methylation and glutathione synthesis pathways. Of course those suspected SNP’s don’t seem to be associated with ASD, but hey, why sweat the details.

    Perhaps (likely) vaccinations. Same father (obviously same paternal genes) and environmental trigger… think vaccinations perhaps.

    Likely to you, perhaps.

    What’s so hard to understand?

    Your convoluted logic.

    Anyway, it’s nice that we can agree; both genes and environment play a role. Now all that’s required is identifying the genes involved, identifying the environmental factors, and establishing the mechanisms of interaction.

    Maybe when you’re through cursing the CDC and pharmaceutical companies you can thank them for all of the money and hard work they continue to dedicate to this kind of research.

  15. #15 Common Sense
    September 7, 2006

    Orac, did you happen to read Dan Olmsted’s piece on the paternal age study which you reference above? I understand that he is no doctor but the analysis is interesting nonetheless. Here’s a snippet:

    “Yet the tendency to see just about everything as powerful support for the “gene theory” is proving just about irresistible — even when the evidence at hand amounts to 13 children born to older fathers in Israel in the 1980s”.

    - 13 children with autism? Israel? 1980′s? Oh boy….

  16. #16 Common Sense
    September 7, 2006

    Kev wrote:

    “Hi Sue – Sorry, slow about what? The owner of your latest hangout believes all autism is thiomersal and only thiomersal. A man you profess total admiration for says that ‘autism is mercury poisoning’. If you disagree with them, then good for you, but whilst I appreciate that you have finally cleared up that you (as in ‘many of *us*’) are an antivaxxer, you are obviously one small lonely voice in that herd. Please do all that you can to educate your colleagues Brad Handley and JB Br”.

    It doesn’t work that way, Kev. I imagine that you don’t sit down with Diploma pending, Clone, Diva, Orac, etc. to tell them what to think or what to say (or do you)? Everyone has their own styles and beliefs. You will have to speak with those other people to see where they stand on the entire vaccination issue. As for the anti-vaxx comment. I am quite comfortable with that for now. Really. My children do not/have not handled vaccinations well at all. I must be anti-vaxx for them now. However, for a family who has had no issues with vaccinations, I would not advise them not to vaccinate (other than no thimerosal, obviously). I may suggest a spread out version of the schedule or separate a live virus vaccine from any other vaccine, etc. Little changes to make things safer. I don’t think that this is necessarily “anti-vaxx”, if so, well so be it. Anti-vaxx is a spectrum, Kev.

  17. #17 Common Sense
    September 7, 2006

    Clone wrote:

    “Anyway, it’s nice that we can agree; both genes and environment play a role. Now all that’s required is identifying the genes involved, identifying the environmental factors, and establishing the mechanisms of interaction”.

    Cool. We agree. I will remind you that I have ALWAYS believed that there was a genetic link. It’s not as if that is new for me. The issue that I have with the CDC is that they are not putting any focus on vaccinations, Clone. At all. It’s called burying your collective heads in the sand. Show me all the research that they have been doing to put the vaccines as environmental trigger question to rest? For Cripes sake, they can’t even fully give up the idea of injecting babies with thimerosal. Does that make common sense?

  18. #18 clone3g
    September 7, 2006

    Sue M.:Show me all the research that they have been doing to put the vaccines as environmental trigger question to rest?

    Gosh, here’s something now.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/sep2006/nimh-07.htm
    The third study seeks to address the widespread but unproven theory that autism may be treated successfully by chelation therapy, which seeks to remove heavy metals from the blood. Chelation is more commonly used to treat lead toxicity, but currently, many families seek the treatment to try to remove mercury and other metals from their autistic children’s blood. This practice is based on the belief that many cases of autism were caused by exposure to thimerosol, a mercury-based preservative previously used in childhood vaccines.

  19. #19 Julie
    September 7, 2006

    I am not so impressed with the 3 NIH studies – they are not exactly looking for a “cause” but a treatment? One study looking at antibiotics, another at chelation. Only one

    “will study a subset of the children in this study to investigate environmental factors that may trigger symptoms of autism”

    but mostly seems to be focused on looking at the differences between regressive, non-regressive and all other developmental disorders. Where are the genetic studies? Where are the studies on monozygotic twins? It has been over two years since this was published
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/113/5/e472

    “Twin studies reported 60% concordance for classic autism in monozygotic (MZ) twins versus 0 in dizygotic (DZ) twins, the higher MZ concordance attesting to genetic inheritance as the predominant causative agent. Reevaluation for a broader autistic phenotype that included communication and social disorders increased concordance remarkably from 60% to 92% in MZ twins and from 0% to 10% in DZ pairs. This suggests that interactions between multiple genes cause “idiopathic” autism but that epigenetic factors and exposure to environmental modifiers may contribute to variable expression of autism-related traits.”

    To me, the study is a “smoking gun” pointing to BOTH genetic and environmental factors. I don’t exactly think that the NIH is doing a stellar job trying to find a cause – they seem much more interested in “proving” what they do not believe to be a cause… Not to say that the so-called “autism advocacy groups” are doing any better though.

  20. #20 Common Sense
    September 7, 2006

    “Gosh, here’s something now.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/sep2006/nimh-07.htm
    The third study seeks to address the widespread but unproven theory that autism may be treated successfully by chelation therapy, which seeks to remove heavy metals from the blood. Chelation is more commonly used to treat lead toxicity, but currently, many families seek the treatment to try to remove mercury and other metals from their autistic children’s blood. This practice is based on the belief that many cases of autism were caused by exposure to thimerosol, a mercury-based preservative previously used in childhood vaccines”.

    You lucked out here, Clone. What would you have said if this question was asked of you yesterday? Hopefully this is a start and we can trust that in fact we can count on them for “reliable and unbiased clinical research” as they claim. One comment: Too bad it has taken 7 years minimally to start this type of work. Oh well, better late than never.
    Of course, if we were to look a bit further, I could argue with you about semantics here. These studies seem to be more geared towards possible treatments and/or defining differences amongst children with autism as opposed to looking into the mechanisms of vaccinations and their actual role/or non-role in the development of autism. I won’t do that, however. I’m sure that you will be happy.

    It is also particularly alarming to me that even though studies like this will be started at some point… still we inject thimerosal into babies. Wow. Frightening.

  21. #21 Kev
    September 7, 2006

    Come on Sue. In your comment you referred to ‘Many of us have said’ and now you’re saying you don’t speak for anyone else? Just yourself?

    Your ‘call to arms’ on my blog was, at one time if I recall correctly ‘its the mercury stupid!’. Not ‘it might be a Genetic factor with environmental insults. Perhaps (likely) vaccinations mercury’. I know you’ve said that before but you only trot it out when you’ve been banging on about thimerosal for 90% of a thread. Its you get out of jail free card.

    Thing is, there’ still – even after approaching 7 years of research – no evidence whatsoever that mercury causes or triggers autism. Remove that from your statement and you’re left with genes.

  22. #22 quitter
    September 7, 2006

    Denialist troll said:

    It is also particularly alarming to me that even though studies like this will be started at some point… still we inject thimerosal into babies. Wow. Frightening.

    Ahem, thimerosal gets removed from vaccines, rate of autism doesn’t change. Multiple studies showed this. Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit.

  23. #23 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    “Come on Sue. In your comment you referred to ‘Many of us have said’ and now you’re saying you don’t speak for anyone else? Just yourself”?

    Damn, Kev, you caught me. Shoot. Ah well. Here’s the important part… Many of us have said this, correct? However, I won’t speak specifically for them – if they want to, they can speak for themselves. Keep focusing on my semantics and making personal attacks on people Kev… it really helps your cause.

    “Thing is, there’ still – even after approaching 7 years of research – no evidence whatsoever that mercury causes or triggers autism. Remove that from your statement and you’re left with genes”.

    Really? So it can’t be other environmental factors? It can’t be aluminum with mercury? It can’t be mercury with live virus vaccines? If it’s not mercury it HAS to be genes… is that your position? Whatever.

  24. #24 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    “Ahem, thimerosal gets removed from vaccines, rate of autism doesn’t change. Multiple studies showed this. Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit”.

    You sound like a real expert in this matter. What are you a doctor or a petroleum geologist?

  25. #25 Junior
    September 8, 2006

    “You sound like a real expert in this matter. What are you a doctor or a petroleum geologist?”

    I thought you didn’t need to be an expert. Don’t you just need to have common sense?

  26. #26 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    “I thought you didn’t need to be an expert. Don’t you just need to have common sense”?

    That is true. At this point I can’t be sure as to whether quitter has any common sense or not. I was attempting to find out. He/she could just be one of those sheep who believe in the Danish studies.

  27. #27 John Best
    September 8, 2006

    No matter how Kevin and other drug company defenders opt to paint the language, the fact remains that there was no such thing as autism before 1931 which was named by Kanner in 1943. None of you have offered the slightest proof that any alleged autistics existing before that time were not genetic mutants or brain damaged from blunt trauma.
    You can not produce any 75 year old autistics. You certainly can’t produce them at the rate of 1 in 166.
    Kevin, let this sink in, Autism and genetic disorders such as fragileX and Rett’s are different animals, no connection. Autism is curable while the genetic stuff isn’t. Now go cure your kid.

  28. #28 Joseph
    September 8, 2006

    Would a man carrying a genetic predisposition to autism, but without exhibiting the complete phenotype, perhaps some level of “subclinical” autism, or perhaps another neurodevelopmental disorder like ADHD or Tourette’s, be more likely to father an autistic child?

    There’s good evidence that this is the case.

    If so, is it possible that such a father, with such a phenotype, might be more likely to marry later in life?

    And that’s a good question.

  29. #29 Joseph
    September 8, 2006

    Sue wrote:

    He/she could just be one of those sheep who believe in the Danish studies.

    John wrote:

    You can not produce any 75 year old autistics.

    I see things haven’t changed much around here.

  30. #30 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    “I see things haven’t changed much around here”.

    Ain’t that the truth. Here we have you trying to question the father with certain phenotype marrying later in life being responsible for having children with autism. Come on.

  31. #31 notmercury
    September 8, 2006

    Fore Same: [...]there was no such thing as autism before 1931 which was named by Kanner in 1943. None of you have offered the slightest proof that any alleged autistics existing before that time were not genetic mutants or brain damaged from blunt trauma.

    Oh John, how many times do we have to walk you through this. If I show you that autism did exist long before Kanner described it, all you do is come up with new qualifiers that allow you to reside in your little fantasy world.

    Just because the word wasn’t in common use yet, doesn’t mean autism was non-existent. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

    from 1911:
    http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1489853
    Bleuler defined autism as a detachment from reality associated with rich fantasy life:

    “The [...] schizophrenics who have no more contact with the outside world live in a world of their own. They have encased themselves with their desires and wishes [...]; they have cut themselves off as much as possible from any contact with the external world. This detachment from reality with the relative and absolute predominance of the inner life, we term autism.”

  32. #32 John Best
    September 8, 2006

    Joseph;
    I see you’re practicing your out of context quoting today. If you quote someone, you really should include the whole statement. And, as usual, you do not have an intelligent rebuttal.

  33. #33 Hyperion
    September 8, 2006

    *Here we have you trying to question the father with certain phenotype marrying later in life being responsible for having children with autism. Come on.*

    Errm, first off, I was the one who first brought this up; more importantly, you have managed to completely mangle the original point to the extent that it is incomprehensible, so I’m going to walk you through this hypothesis one more time:

    Study shows that older fathers have a statistically significantly higher chance of having autistic children.

    Raises possibility group 1: As men age, changes occur in gametes which create a predisposition towards autism, or a larger percentage of their gametes will carry a normally existing predisposition towards autism, etc. This implies that autism is a non-hereditary genetic condition that occurs as a result of environmental effects (age) upon the father.

    I was asking about the possibility of hypothesis group 2: Is the relationship necessarily causitive? Could genetic factors which increase the likelyhood of developing autism also influence the age at which a father carrying such genetic factors has children? Specifically, given that other neurodevelopmental disorders appear to have hereditary correlation and known or hypothesized discrete genetic causes, might a discrete hereditary genetic cause be responsible for autism and also correlate with age of the father?

    Statistically, hypothesis group 1 seems to be more likely. It’s much easier to look at a simple cause_>effect. On the other hand, hypothesis group 2 would tie in more neatly with observations of other disorders (similarities between tics, fidgeting, and stimming; common themes such as sensory overload, repetitive involuntary movement/vocalizations, etc), and it would also tie in with what is known or hypothesized about the interactions of genetics, heredity, and neurological development.

    That being said, while hypothesis group 2 would be more intellectually pleasing, hypothesis group 1 requires fewer suppositions. Still, I’d love to see an examination of parents who had children at a young age and again when older (“empty-nest babies”), to see if the later children also had a predisposition towards autism.

    Of course, since neither of these hypotheses give you someone to blame other than mother nature, DNA, or bad luck, it’s completely useless as a means of giving you an outlet for your anger or deep pockets to sue. Tough luck.

  34. #34 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    “Errm, first off, I was the one who first brought this up; more importantly, you have managed to completely mangle the original point to the extent that it is incomprehensible, so I’m going to walk you through this hypothesis one more time…” Etc, etc.

    Errm, I’m well aware that you brought up the topic and I’m also well aware that Joseph gave you a virtual high five on the question. I was addressing that. You see, anything that Joseph can pull out of his butt or someone else’s butt (ie yours) which could possibly indict genes only over environmental triggers — he jumps at.

    Here’s a hint: I’m not angry, I am sad that children have to continue to be damaged by unsafe vaccinations. Also, I assure you I have no interest in suing anyone. I only like to point out the absurdities that many of you are aligning yourselves with.

  35. #35 John Best
    September 8, 2006

    Hyperion;
    Studies show that cowards who choose a moon for a pseudonym belong to a crazed cult called “moonies”. Can you explain why no aged fathers produced autistic offspring prior to 1931? Would this work the same in horses? Should we avoid betting on horses who were sired by steeds over a certain age?

  36. #36 Ruth
    September 8, 2006

    If there is a database with families with both NT and ASD kids, are the later-born more likely to be autistic? My ASD child is the middle one-the youngest is the most NT. Just one datum, it would be interesting to see a large population analyzed by birth order.

  37. #37 Ruth
    September 8, 2006

    This summer I visited the old cemetery near my grandfather’s farm. Walk through any old cemetery, then compare the number of tiny graves to what you see today. One hundred years ago there may have been just as much Type I diabetes, but when a child died then, the cause was very rarely known. I am glad to have my family in an era of vaccines, Rhogam and evil pharmaceuticals.

    John-Did bacteria exit before microscopes?

  38. #38 Common Sense
    September 8, 2006

    Dearest Ruth,
    I’m sorry but you cannot argue that the RATES of type 1 diabetes are the same today as they were 25 years ago. You can’t do it. No one with any knowledge of the situation believes that. That’s what makes it so intersting. You can’t get by with the “better diagnosis” theory. The rate has absolutely increased. Why? That’s the only question out there.

  39. #39 John Best
    September 8, 2006

    Ruth;
    Doctors used to tell parents to put infants on their bellies to sleep so they wouldn’t choke on some puke; then they told us to put them on their backs so they wouldn’t smother themselves; after that it was put them on their sides so neither of the above would occur. When were the doctors right? There have been more cases of SIDS since they opted for the side sleeping. Since the kids couldn’t have smothered or choked by following the doc’s advice, please explain SIDS.
    HINT: Too much mercury kills infants.

  40. #40 Kev
    September 9, 2006

    “Really? So it can’t be other environmental factors? It can’t be aluminum with mercury? It can’t be mercury with live virus vaccines? If it’s not mercury it HAS to be genes… is that your position? Whatever.”

    Read what I said again Sue. Its all in English. I said to retract mercury from your statements and you’re left with genes. Not mine. I’ve never claimed autism is solely genetic.

    “No matter how Kevin and other drug company defenders opt to paint the language, the fact remains that there was no such thing as autism before 1931 which was named by Kanner in 1943.”

    Oh for….not this again. John, you’ve been pointed to scientific literature establishing the exact opposite numerous times. You’ve also been offered anecdotal evidence seeing as you value it so highly. Your fact is not fact, its your fallacious opinion.

    “None of you have offered the slightest proof that any alleged autistics existing before that time were not genetic mutants or brain damaged from blunt trauma.”

    Backpedalling in your own comment? First you say there’s no autism whatsoever and now you’re saying there might’ve been but they were genetic mutants or brain damaged. Which is it John? Both can’t be true.

    “Kevin, let this sink in, Autism and genetic disorders such as fragileX and Rett’s are different animals, no connection. Autism is curable while the genetic stuff isn’t. Now go cure your kid.”

    John – let this sink in. Bald assertion doesn’t cut it. Never did. You have no evidence autism didn’t exist prior to 1931 and plenty to suggest the opposite. Rett is a genetic variant of autism. Nobody apart from you thinks otherwise. You have to think so or your whole position disappears so I understand your unwillingness to look at the facts.

    Lets examine some other ‘facts’ from John.

    No autism prior to 1999 in China.

    Your son is mercury poisoned despite the fact you’ve never had him tested for it.

    Both of those idiotic statements simply add on to your other idiotic statements in establishing you as not just ignorant but wilfully ignorant.

  41. #41 John Best
    September 9, 2006

    Kevin;
    I usually have patience with slow students so I’ll try to spell it out so you can understand. Autism was a new condition that Kanner recognized in 1943. There were genetic mutants before that time whose symptoms were somewhat similar to autism. It was learned much later that these conditions were fragile X, Rett’s and some others.
    It took another 56 years before any scientists learned the cause of the condition that afflicted the majority of those who had been labelled “autistic”. When Verstraeten told us that the autism epidemic had been caused by mercury in vaccines in 1999, the next logical step should have been to relabel most with ASD as mercury poisoned.
    Pay close attention here Kev because I think this is where you missed an important point. Autistics were not relabelled accurately because to do so would have brought great shame on the medical profession who makes the decision to alter those labels. When 51 scientists met at Simpsonwood in 2000, they intentionally decided to continue poisoning children around the globe while slowly removing thimerosal in the USA. They probably made crude jokes about what would befall autistic kids in third world places over cocktails and they decided they would “stonewall” this evidence to protect their reputations. They also had to protect their livelihoods at Pharma so they hired Bill Frist and George Bush to protect them from lawsuits while they considered the kids they had poisoned as collateral damage. And, later, they had Verstraeten rewrite his paper so it would make them look innocent. It was a poor attempt at damage control. They dug their hole deeper when they took the database he used and hid it with a private company so nobody could see how they had manipulated the data.
    Here’s the thing they didn’t count on, Kev. They didn’t foresee that Amy Holmes would tell us how to cure our kids. One of their own jumped ship and committed the unspeakable act of helping suffering children at the expense of all those MD’s who had put the poison into the kids. She was a renegade who caused harm to every doctor’s reputation who ever injected mercury into a child. All of a sudden, she stopped her practice. I don’t know why. But, it was too late since others had learned from her and the information began to spread so that mercury poisoned kids could be cured. That’s enough for today, Kev. I don’t want to give you more than you can digest.
    Just a word about my son’s testing you claim I don’t have. On his first birthday, Sam went to the doctor for his MMR shot. At the time I was concerned about his lack of speech and his loss of eye contact. The doc set up a consultation with a group of psychiatrists/psychologists but didn’t say the word autism. We got the diagnosis and the first thing we did was have genetic testing done. Genetics was ruled out. We could safely rule out the MMR shot since he had problems before he got the shot. By this time (1998), we had not heard of mercury as a problem. In 2001, we learned of Amy Holmes’ study and saw a DAN doctor who advised chelation. I had just bought a new house and couldn’t afford chelation since insurance wouldn’t pay. When we finally started chelating in 2004, Sam started improving within a couple of months. The improvements have continued. The surest test for mercury poisoning is to watch the kid get better as the mercury is removed. Any questions, Kev?

  42. #42 John Best
    September 9, 2006

    Kev;
    EOHarm, message #36,247. The link to the article doesn’t work.

  43. #43 Kev
    September 9, 2006

    “Any questions, Kev?”

    Just the one John – that whole comment at 06:55am – can you provide any evidence for any of that because as far as I can see its simply more of your unverified bald assertion.

    Autism was not a new condition. Kanner himself said that it was previously unreported. He also noted that several of his case group had been misdiagnosed. Your frankly laughable claim that anyone displaying autistic symptoms before that time was a ‘genetic mutant’ is….well, ridiculous. Its simply a way for you to rationalise your own rabid belief that thiomersal caused all autism.

    I’m afraid everything in that comment is simply a bewildering hodge-podge of rubbish. Especially this:

    “We got the diagnosis and the first thing we did was have genetic testing done. Genetics was ruled out.”

    Genetics was ruled out? What genetic tests did you have done? What genes were ruled out? I’m interested in this because you claim genes are not involved in autism at all – except maybe as indicators of an inability to excrete mercury.

    So what genes were ‘ruled out’?

  44. #44 John Best
    September 9, 2006

    Kev;
    There is a lot more involved here than explaining the origins of all conditions that are lumped under ASD. Did you understand any of the politics of the matter that I tried to explain for you? You can’t ignore the politics Kev, or you can’t see the “big picture”.
    You try to tell me that I said genes are not involved in autism at all right after I explained to you that fragile X, Rett’s and other mutations existed prior to 1931 when Eli Lilly invented what is now misdiagnosed as Autism. Do you suffer from ADD or something that you couldn’t deduce that these genetic mutations I mentioned involved genes? (The word “genetic” comes from the word “genes”.)
    As regards your theory that autism existed before Kanner described it, weren’t there any intelligent people on the planet prior to Kanner that would have observed this phenomenally debilitating and unique condition and had something to say about it? The one in ten million genetic mutants may have been so rare that they were just written off as being born with brain damage. If there were 1 in 166 autistics running around as some of you claim since the dawn of creation, I think some smart fellows would have pinned the symptoms down long before 1943. And, how come the symptoms in the DSM don’t include feces smearing? You’d think if that had been going on since your relatives were diagnosed that some smart pseudoscientist would have heard of it.
    Now, keeping the politics in mind that you so conveniently like to ignore, could you explain why Bill Frist sticks riders onto bills in the middle of the night to protect drug companies? Do you agree that a reasonable person could conclude the drug companies bought this protection because they know they made a little mistake that could cost them over a trillion dollars?
    Fragile X and whatever else was known in 1998 were ruled out.

  45. #45 Kev
    September 10, 2006

    Those are some impressive knots you’re tying yourself up in there John.

    I remember the days when you claimed that those before 1931 couldn’t have been autistic because thiomersal hadn’t been invented and that your evidence for that was that now that it had been some people were autistic.

    I am actually beginning to feel a little sorry for you. Its embarrassing as hell watching you ‘debate’. Never mind – Ryder Cup soon kiddo, you can get back to something you have some semblance of knowledge about.

  46. #46 John Best
    September 10, 2006

    Kev;
    Why won’t you comment on the politics? Hasn’t Kathleen taught you what to say?
    Will you ever learn that Autism is now an obsolete term? We have certain genetic conditions that have been named since 1943. They are called fragile X, Rett’s or whatever. They are not autism. If Kanner had known the cause of the condition he discovered, he would have just called it mercury poisoning. Now, the critical thinkers amongst us know that the correct name for the Autism epidemic is the mercury poisoning epidemic.
    I see you intentionally misquoted me again on your blog. At least here, Orac allows me to rebut back-stabbing comments. Not allowing me to point out your deception doesn’t help your credibility, Kev. Other critical thinkers know you don’t have the fortitude to engage me, Mr Handley or anyone else who easily exposes your dearth of substance in any open forum.
    Again Kev, the gist of the discussion was politics. When Kathleen tells you what to say, come back and see if you can make yourself look like a man.

  47. #47 Not Mercury
    September 10, 2006

    Fore Sam said: “Since the kids couldn’t have smothered or choked by following the doc’s advice, please explain SIDS.
    HINT: Too much mercury kills infants.”

    Actually, there seems to be a genetic link there too John.

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/14738472/

    I’m sorry but the genes in question don’t have anything to do with mercury excretion. Do you think there were any sudden infant deaths before someone coined the term SIDS?

  48. #48 Bronze Dog
    September 10, 2006

    Forgive me for being vague about this, but wasn’t there a study a few years ago that showed that vaccines might very slightly decrease the chance of death by SIDS?

  49. #49 Not Mercury
    September 10, 2006

    Vaccine. 2006 Aug 4; Sudden infant death syndrome: No increased risk after immunisation.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.07.027

  50. #50 Joseph
    September 10, 2006

    The one in ten million genetic mutants may have been so rare that they were just written off as being born with brain damage. If there were 1 in 166 autistics running around as some of you claim since the dawn of creation, I think some smart fellows would have pinned the symptoms down long before 1943.

    That’s the part that you can’t seem to grasp, John. The prevalence of intellectual disability is very large and has always been. About 3% of the general population scores below 70 in IQ tests — by virtue of how IQ tests are normed — and that’s 5 times the autism prevalence. Don’t you think it’s easy for autistics to have just been considered part of this population? All Kanner did was find a group of children with certain peculiarities that stood out among what at the time was termed the “feebleminded”. Do you think most people cared if the some of the feebleminded were called autistic or whatever? In addition, of the 1 in 166 not all are cognitively disabled. In the CDDS, only 30% have MR.

    The prevalence of Fragile-X and Rett’s is not one in ten million as you suggest. It’s more like one in ten thousand for each genetic syndrome.

    I am curious, as are others, how you were able to “rule out genetics”. I know of no real autism researcher who claims it is possible to “rule out genetics” as far as autism is concerned.

  51. #51 John Best
    September 10, 2006

    Joe;
    Autism and intellectual disability aren’t always related. You’d be the first to tell us that yet here you are trying to muddy the waters by adding IQ levels into the equation.
    If Rett’s and Fragile X are each one in 10,000, and they were included in the 1 in 10,000 stat that has been used to include all autism since the 1940′s, then your stat here must be wrong. Do you how they would have to be much higher than that when the whole spectrum used to be contained within that number, including all of those mercury poisoned people?
    Sorry, your continual stabs at “spinning” the stat’s do absolutely nothing to explain why some people from the 15th century didn’t discover this disorder that you claim has always existed. If you had ever met a “train wreck”, you would understand how they could NEVER be missed.
    The doctor who ordered the genetic tests ruled it out. I have no idea if he was an autism researcher or not.

  52. #52 Joseph
    September 11, 2006

    Why didn’t people from the 15th century discover Down Syndrome? That’s a very obvious phenotype that stands out from other cognitive disabilities. Why John?

  53. #53 John Best
    September 11, 2006

    Joe;
    I’m sure you have the answer to your rhetorical question so why don’t you let us know what year that genetic mutation was started? Was it 367BC or 935AD? Yes, Joe, I Know, it was called by another name. The reason it was called by another name is because it did, in fact, exist. Autism/Mercury Poisoning did not exist until 1931. Autism/Genetic Mutations probably did exist before 1931 and you can prove that with genetic testing by digging up the corpses. So, dig up the corpses and prove they did not have genetic mutations or shut up.

  54. #54 Joseph
    September 12, 2006

    Autism/Mercury Poisoning did not exist until 1931

    And I believe you. The difference is that I also believe Autism MP does not exist in 2006.

    You have not addressed your flawed reasoning, though. You said autism could not have existed because people in the 15th century did not name it. Yet you admit that Down Syndrome could have existed even if people in the 15th century did not name it. Clearly, you are admitting to flawed reasoning here. Autism could have existed even if people in the 15th century did not name it — this is obvious.

  55. #55 Bronze Dog
    September 12, 2006

    Nice catch, Joseph.

  56. #56 joan an RN
    September 19, 2006

    just afew real scenarios-a woman with a normal healthy baby meeting its milestones and then a jab and life changed forever-severe autism now –..Crying baby {cerebral irrtation-once heard,recognized]at our casualty dept.,not sure what made me ask but I said to the mom.did your baby have his shots today.she said 6 hours ago..not followed.then there is an australian book””every 2nd chld” on the vax. program that caused every 2nd child to die.[aboriginal children]- makes you think…-lastly medicos who think after real events cause them to take stock..[death by prescription] etc.
    medical heretic-his words- a lecturer of med. of some years ago.he predicted the designer disease of the 90s-ADD and co.-test of a prophet is if he is proved right over time.be preventive-be proactive with your own and your dear ones health.good judges hear both sides’really good ones read the information.

  57. #57 HCN
    September 20, 2006

    And this relates to paternal age and autism how?

    Here’s a thought… Please present your evidence with actual name of the “medical heretic”, and some papers published in real journals.

    And stay away from the meds cabinet.

  58. #58 Richard Kim
    February 8, 2007

    You are full of SHIT!! Hoow much are you getting paid by the pharmaceuticals? I hope you have an Autism case in your family sooner than you expect!

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