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NIH Director Francis Collins Blames Resignation of Top Health Official from Autism Panel on “Tension and Lack of Trust

Posted Oct 21 2009 12:00am

BlameGame_cover_2x3 Managing Editor's Note: David has added significant info at the end of this post.

By David Kirby

On Saturday, Story Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Stroke, an agency of the National Institutes of Health, abruptly resigned from the federal government’s premiere autism research panel – the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) – citing embarrassing notes she had left behind at a recent meeting.
But now, the Director of the NIH, Francis Collins, has come forth to blame “tension and a lack of trust,” (presumably among autism parents) for forcing Dr. Landis’s resignation.

Dr. Landis resigned from the powerful panel on Saturday after the Age of Autism blog published handwritten notes – assumed to be written by Dr. Landis – speculating on the motives of an autism mother and IACC member, Lyn Redwood – who wanted research into autism as a multisystem biological disorder, as opposed to a purely mental health disorder.

For more details on Dr. Landis’s resignation from the IACC, please see HERE.

Meanwhile, Dr, Francis Collins, head of the NIH, has spoken out on the resignation of Dr. Landis from the IACC, in a video clip posted by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative: HERE.

Dr. Collins called autism a “disease” (as opposed to a disorder) that “ravages” children with autism, and that parents have “understandably” been left frustrated and impatient. He also rightly stated that we need to “poke around in every possible way” and not assume that there is just “one path” to solving the riddle that is autism.

But, some parents also wonder, was the NIH Director admonishing them for making Dr. Landis feel it was “necessary” for her to resign from the IACC? Was Collins also demanding that parents “step back?”

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