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Autism Research Funding: It's Still Gotta Be Genetic

Posted Oct 01 2009 10:06pm
Even the IACC has acknowledged in its public statements that the emerging view of autism causation is that autism likely results from the interaction of genetic, biological and environmental factors. Although there have been calls for more funding of environmental based autism research of late the " it's gotta be genetic" paradigm identified by Teresa Binstock in 1999 still appears to be holding sway over funding of autism research.

As reported in the LA Times yesterday $4.5 million from the US government stimulus funding will go toward one study by researchers at Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston involving the sequencing of genomes of at least 85 people diagnosed with autism "in a bid to tease out the genetic basis for some cases of theneuropsychiatricdisorder". As long as autism research funding is restricted to genetic focused research only the genetic bases of autism will be found. Possible environmental causes and triggers of autism will remain unknown or unconfirmed.

Information concerning the development of autism by children living in close proximity to power plants and steel mills, the role of toxic plastic materials and other potential environmental causes and triggers of autism will never be determined with any degree of certainty if funding continues to be directed towards genetic based autism research by as much as 20 to 1 compared to environmental based autism research. And of course, if funding for an observational study comparing autism rates in existing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations is not provided an informed understanding of the possible role of vaccines in causing or triggering autism will not emerge. The Offit extremists will continue to maintain that there is no evidence to support a vaccine-autism connection and the vaccine- autism war will continue.

Dr. Bernadine Healy, Dr. Jon Poling, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, and others who have called for more environmentally focused research of autism causes, do not appear to be heard by those who call the shots.

The more things change the more they remain the same.
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