Poling turns his back on genetics

13 Mar

It’s been a year since the concession in the Hannah Poling case was made public. I’ve been thinking that we would likely see some discussion on it again–especially since the Bailey Banks case didn’t turn into the media event that the autism-is-caused-by-vaccines groups would have liked.

OK, I’m not that good at predicting events, but I was thinking after a year it is time to write a couple of posts about some issues from the Hannah Poling case for a couple of weeks. So, I wasn’t totally surprised when Dr. Jon Poling came out with an op-ed piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Blinders won’t reduce autism”.

When I read this last night, I thought “why blog this?” But, one line in there bugged me–it’s a common misconception but one that a doctor, heck a neurologist, should never make: the idea that genetic conditions aren’t treatable.

Here’s the quote:

We should be investing our research dollars into discovering environmental factors that we can change, not more poorly targeted genetic studies that offer no hope of early intervention

Wow. I guess we should tell Dr. Randi Hagerman at the UC Davis MIND Institute and everyone else working on fragile-X (a genetic condition that is on the verge of demonstrating valuable interventions) to stop their work?

And, why is it that people who claim to support “gene-environment” interactions seem to have disdain for the “gene” part? How are we supposed to separate the various autism subgroups without identifying the genes? And, if we identify genes, won’t their function give us some idea of what environmental causes might be worth studying?

OK… I’ve got that out of my system….

As long as we are here, we might as well look at some other fallacies. A good place to start is the Autism Street blog, who covered the poling op-ed. It’s well worth the read, as he covers some things I won’t.

One thing we do both cover–this statement by Dr. Poling:

Public school systems are drowning in the red ink of educating increasing numbers of special-needs students.

Autism Street has a nice graph (again, I encourage you to take a look), but here I’ll just point out that this assertion by Dr. Poling about the increasing numbers of special education students is just plain false. The percentage of the student population in Special Education has remained remarkably constant over the past 10 years or so. The cost of some of the autism therapies (ABA in particular) has likely driven costs up, but that isn’t what Dr. Poling said.

The main reason I was going to avoid discussing Dr. Poling’s Op-Ed is the fact that is is rather poorly disguised attempt to air his ongoing battle with Dr. Paul Offit.

Dr. Poling writes discusses how Dr. Andrew Zimmerman is a hero to the cause because of a recent book he edited. He then makes Dr. Offit the villain for Autism’s False Prophets:

On the other hand, Dr. Paul Offit, the vaccine inventor whose Rotateq royalty interests recently sold for a reported $182 million, has written a novel of perceived good and evil called “Autism’s False Prophets.”

Frankly, I think Dr. Poling should have listened to that little voice in his head (which I hope was there) saying, “Don’t take the cheap shots”. By which, I think that describing Dr. Offit’s book as a novel was rather silly and just points out that this is a personal attack by Dr. Poling. It doesn’t add, it just detracts.

If you think calling that a personal attack is a stretch, here’s a bit of telling imagery:

In the story, Offit takes no prisoners, smearing characters in the vaccine-autism controversy as effortlessly as a rich cream cheese.

Actually, I thought that Dr. Offit gave people like Andrew Wakefield a lot of respect, considering the low quality of their research and their public actions.

I was struck by the “cream cheese” allusion. Anyone recall this?

Paul Offit is the Philadelphia cream cheese of the autism debate — he smears so effortlessly

–Dan Olmsted, September 13, 2008

It stuck in my mind because it was so bad. Seriously, I had some people outside of the autism world read that bit by Dan Olmsted and asked them what they thought Dan Olmsted was trying to say. The readers didn’t come away with Mr. Olmsted’s message (that Dr. Offit smears others easily). Instead, they came away thinking Dan Olmsted was saying that it was easy to smear Paul Offit! S

My guess is that Mr. Olmsted wasn’t writing for anyone other than the Age of Autism regulars who would overlook his clumsy writing for a chance to poke fun at Dr. Offit, so he probably isn’t bothered.

I guess Dr. Poling thought it was a good analogy.

But, back to my own clumsy writing. Dr, Poling makes this statement:

As both parent and doctor, I cannot fathom turning my back on a child nor science, in order to avoid inconvenient questions about vaccine safety or any other reasonable environmental factor.

For my part, I wonder how a neurologist can turn his back on considering genetic conditions worthy of intervention. I wonder how a scientist who supports the idea of gene-environment interactions can turn his back on genetics.

Dr. Poling closes with this statement:

In the end, logic and reason will prevail over politics and profits.

God, I hope so. Unfortunately, Dr. Poling seems to have allied himself with groups who have abandoned logic. Generation Rescue and David Kirby come readily to mind.

85 Responses to “Poling turns his back on genetics”

  1. John Stone March 17, 2009 at 23:52 #

    HCN

    We don’t even know who you are, so your views on my credibility are neither here nor there, but isn’t me who is ducking the questions. We have this letter – admittedly written in language we are scarcely used to from Mr Deer – asking to lay his evidence against the tree doctors before the GMC – so he was patently taking a lead in the matter. Whether or not you call it a complaint (I do) he was making the running over prosecuting Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch, and he could not do this and then pretend to be a disinterested observer of the events which followed.

  2. Kev March 18, 2009 at 00:24 #

    Oh Jesus are we back on this?

    Look Fishy, John – you are alone in thinking that your ongoing hairsplitting carries any weight or substance or meaning.

    What it definitely _is_ doing is boring the pants off me. JOhn, your AoA echo chamber calls you. Go tell them about it.

  3. John Stone March 18, 2009 at 08:29 #

    Kev

    I was responding to comments made by Mr Deer on his site, which he came on and linked to above:

    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1970&cpage=1#comment-57577

    What do we learn from this? That it is all terribly important – a matter of widespread grave public concern – until it starts to unravel? The first time to my knowledge that Mr Deer professed himself bored with the topic was in June 2005. He actually states that “the MMR debacle” is “tedious, tedious area”:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/330/7503/1284

    Well, you wouldn’t have guessed this was his opinion from visiting his website. What he actually appears to dislike is open dialogue about the facts. And what is the result – the personal denigration of anyone who disputes his version? So we become “the burbling little professor and his semiliterate chum”. We are also told our pains that we are mentally ill, pettily vengeful. This is a very curious line of defence for a respectable journalist.

    And now you tell us Kev that you are also bored. Unfortunately, the cause of all this boredom is that you are being shown to be completely and utterly wrong.

  4. Dedj March 18, 2009 at 09:36 #

    “Unfortunately, the cause of all this boredom is that you are being shown to be completely and utterly wrong.”

    Bahahahaha!

    Not one of you has as yet managed to provide a legitimate reference to back up or lend support to any claim thus far. Hell, OQF even got the wrong complaints process entirely when he tried a ‘Gotcha’ on Deer! Getting the words wrong, using words out of context, trying to stretch words out of their proceeduaral meaning based on a judge using them in their colloquial meaning, and even grasping at any straw at all has been the order of the day for your lot.

    You have yet to address the concerns over your serious misrepresentation of the NAS statement on autism and stomach complaints.

    Another person on here cannot even read post titles correctly and another thinks this issue is somehow ‘all over the internet’, when it barely rates on google.

    If Kev and the rest of us are bored it’s because we moved on from this ages ago, like any reasonable person would.

    “Entirely and utterly wrong”

    Bahahaha! Thanks!

    I don’t think I could stand these jokers much longer. Seriously, I think it’s positively shameful that this is the best we get in return for our efforts. Total and absolute lack of any substantial comeback is not an arguement.

    Why is the GMC not an authourity on the GMC’s own proceedures and protocols? Not one has been able to tell us, nor are they willing to. Until they can, this arguement has no purpose. They will never be able to.

    I cry ‘Harolds’ to the lot of them!!

  5. John Stone March 18, 2009 at 10:38 #

    Dedj

    Very illuminating. Although there is little point to that outburst it is not my version of events which has been globally disseminated with the authority of the Sunday Times behind it. I think Mr Deer should publish the letters, otherwise I cannot see why we should believe a word he says.

  6. One Queer Fish March 18, 2009 at 11:17 #

    “Not one of you has as yet managed to provide a legitimate reference to back up or lend support to any claim thus far”

    Quite simply if we havent which is dream world,one cannot accurately assess the support that your claims have, need I say, instigated by Mr Deer if the instigator does not provide the evidence to support the claims as referred to by Judge Eady.

    If I have got terms wrong as you referred to them previously simply,as I say , so has Judge Eady and the rest of the English speaking ,writing world population .Judge Eady does not qualify in court his words as “colloquial” no deviance from court procedures of court is mentioned .Quite simply, “ get over yourself” ,a la smoke, mirrors, double-speak , empty promises, semantics’ and news speak, are not present in High Courts .The NAS article is another article which speaks for itself no sublime messages in that one either. speaks our language, not doublespeak.

    “Why is the GMC not an authority on the GMC’s own procedures and protocols?”
    The GMC out to be whiter than white when infact they are a prime example of the wrongs of self governing and a complete retraction of Drs basic Human Rights that appear in front of them. to quote another Judge “Judge Harris HHJ
    “‘It [the GMC] is like a totalitarian regime:
    anybody who criticises it is said to be prima facie mentally
    http://nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com/search/label/GMC%20Health%20Assessors
    GMC’s Legal Assessor.
    Pissed on the Job

    http://nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/dr-helen-bright-thorn-in-gmcs-side.html

    Dejd quite simpy instead of crying Harolds you should take Stock and Two Smoking Harolds and publish the Deer letters.Leak them somewhere nobody will notice as you say its not a story anyway is it ?so why the rigorous defence and distraction to the NHS or anywhere except the matters arising ??

    Who’s that knocking at my door?
    Who’s that knocking at my door?
    Who’s that knocking at my door?

    It’s barnacle FISHY the slayer.

  7. Tom March 18, 2009 at 13:50 #

    It’s odd to see otherwise intelligent, educated people like Poling and RAJ spout such ignorance. RAJ seems convinced that all autism is environmental while Poling thinks genetic conditions are untreatable. The evidence flies in both their faces. In both cases, it seems that they just can’t accept that genetics may have played a part or THE part in their children’s conditions. Poling thinks it’s vaccines. RAJ thinks it’s a single seconal tablet taken by his wife.

    One day, the causes of autism will be known and then we can quit all the fervent speculation. In the meantime, it’s clear that genetics and environment play a role, singularly or in concert. Thank goodness, Federal funding agencies and investigators are pursuing both angles, despite what the RAJs and Polings of the world would have us believe.

  8. John Stone March 18, 2009 at 14:43 #

    Tom

    What did Jon Poling actually say (unrecorded by Sullivan):

    “Because purely genetic diseases do not rise precipitously, the corollary to a true autism increase is clear — genes only load the gun and it is the environment that pulls the trigger. Autism is best redefined as an environmental disease with genetic susceptibilities.”

    There is in fact a very important new study Campbell et al published in PEDIATRICS this month:

    ‘Distinct Genetic Risk Based on Association of MET in Families With Co-occurring Autism and Gastrointestinal Conditions’

    This by no means confirms Offit’s purely genetic model and bears the conclusion:

    “These results suggest that disrupted MET signaling may contribute to increased risk for autism spectrum disorder that includes familial gastrointestinal dysfunction.”

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/3/1018

    And it is likely that this is just what Poling had in mind.

    Well, Brian Deer has complained that I am not really interested in the subject, which is far from the case – which is not to say that I going to forget about the Judge Eady letters.

  9. Kev March 18, 2009 at 14:51 #

    And now you tell us Kev that you are also bored. Unfortunately, the cause of all this boredom is that you are being shown to be completely and utterly wrong.

    Yes, just me, science and the US and UK legal system. I forgot that you, AoA and a bunch of quacks were taken so seriously lol!

  10. Tom March 18, 2009 at 14:55 #

    John,

    Thanks for underscoring my point about Poling turning his back on known science.

    Poling:
    “Because purely genetic diseases do not rise precipitously, the corollary to a true autism increase is clear — genes only load the gun and it is the environment that pulls the trigger. Autism is best redefined as an environmental disease with genetic susceptibilities.”

  11. John Stone March 18, 2009 at 15:15 #

    Tom

    Poling has said that there is an issue of “genetic susceptibility”. You say “it’s clear that genetics and environment pay a role” (not clear what’s left) “sngularly or in concert”: now you are saying that he has turned his back on known science. Well, actually the purely genetic model has completely collapsed. There are after decades of research no specific autism genes, only genes which are markers for sussceptibility (as in the Campbell study). Indeed, in the Campbell study they are markers for autism combined with GI disorders – which are only triggered in certain cases.

  12. Tom March 18, 2009 at 15:58 #

    John sez:

    “Well, actually the purely genetic model has completely collapsed.”

    Then how do you explain copy number variations and all those other genes that have been isolated? It’s total BS to claim that all these genes merely increase environmental susceptibility. But please, go ahead and put your fingers back in your ears.

  13. John Stone March 18, 2009 at 17:06 #

    Tom

    You have contradicted yourself by suggesting that Jon Poling has said something different from your formulation of genes and environment “in concert”, while actually we have a very interesting study which indicates that genetic disposition is closely associated with autism and GI disorders (with a unspecified possible environmental triggers) which doesn’t suggest that the Royal Free doctors made up that association at all. This must be a major problem for Brian Deer and his supporters on this site.

    On the other hand those arguing that autism is purely determined by genes (which incidentally is not classical theory) have singularly failed to come up with the evidence, and the new paper is incompatible with it.

  14. Jimbo March 19, 2009 at 00:47 #

    John Stone, you are misinterpreting studies for your own nefarious purposes once again. The Campbell research work in no way supports the conjecture that “the genetic model has completely collapsed”. Perhaps you could just restrain your overexuberance for a moment whenever autism and bowel problems are mentioned together in the same sentence for once?

    The Campbell work hypothesized that MET promoter variants might be expressed in a subset of individuals with both ASD and gastrointestinal disorders. The association is with a C allele in the promoter region of the MET gene which encodes the pleiotropic MET receptor tyrosine kinase. The findings of Campbell are that reduced MET gene expression might increase susceptibility to ASD with gastrointestinal problems, but this is an innate predisposition and in no way implies a role or specifies a role for any external environmental factor.

    So why do suggest it is? I am fed up of your ilk spinning scientific studies you fail to understand to your promote your own antivax propaganda. This strategy probably goes down a bomb over at AoA, where the credulous sycophants lap up every antivaccine utterance, but they do not cut the mustard over here. You are no scientist, and your methods of misrepresenting data and twisting of facts reveals this very plainly.

  15. Sullivan March 19, 2009 at 05:50 #

    I’ve been standing back on this discussion. I don’t see any really new information in the posts of John Stone, One Queer Fish, and the other Wakefield supporters. We can go round and round just like in the recent Wakefield posts.

    Except for one thing–this isn’t a Wakefield post. You guys did a grand job hijacking it. But, to what purpose? As noted above, you haven’t said anything new.

    So, you’ve had your say. You wasted the opportunity.

  16. Kev March 19, 2009 at 09:14 #

    And I’d add to that – so why should we carry on giving you the opportunity to talk nonsense about things that you clearly don’t understand? Unlike most people I’m more than happy to ban the terminally credulous.

  17. John Stone March 19, 2009 at 09:22 #

    Sullivan

    Here is some new information. If you are trying to argue that the Campbell paper takes place outside the issue of gene-environment interaction it is you who are spinning or just very much mistaken:-

    Statements by Dr Patrick Levitt, senior author of the paper:

    “Gene–environment interaction is one of the unique properties of the brain. So, of course, regarding ASD, it is not genetic versus environmental, irrespective of whether you think there is a principal cause that is genetic or environmental. Because ASDs have at their core disrupted brain development, in terms of etiology, both genetic and environmental influences must play roles because this is in the basis for brain development.”

    “Finally, if we are going to understand functional etiology of ASD, if we are trying to identify the genes that underlie risk, and we are searching for environmental factors that cause changes in brain development, we need to know where these candidate genes are expressed in the developing human brain, and where these environmental factors have their impact.”

    “So, here is my concept of where we are with understanding autism brain pathophysiology. I am being facetious, but that is a thimble in case you didn’t recognize that blurry image. In essence, we know very little about the changes in brain development and brain organization that underlie ASD. That is a real problem in trying to understand the causes. Genes, environment, or both? How can you answer any of the questions I posed without knowing what exactly is disrupted in terms of brain architecture and development? Part of the problem, in my opinion, has been that the gene–environment debate has been held in isolated silos, that is, separated disciplines in which there is rare exchange of ideas. The silos, or disciplines, need to interconnect. This harkens back, and we talked about it on the conference call among presenters, to when developmental neurobiologists spent an enormous amount of time trashing each others’ work because one was either in the “nature school” or the “nurture school” regarding brain development. Of course, that was silly because we know that the brain is built through a genetic blueprint that takes information from the outside world and utilizes it to direct the developmental course to wire up circuits. This gene–environment interaction is one of the unique properties of the brain. So, of course, regarding ASD, it is not genetic versus environmental, irrespective of whether you think there is a principal cause that is genetic or environmental. Because ASDs have at their core disrupted brain development, in terms of etiology, both genetic and environmental influences must play roles because this is in the basis for brain development.”

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/03/we-need-to-learb-where-toxins-impact-gene-expressions-to-find-the-cause-of-autism.html

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11946&page=24

  18. One Queer Fish March 19, 2009 at 10:10 #

    Jimbo

    Popping to much back slapping regularly is bad for you..simply, since no one on here ever steps outside vaccine land and you all, blame your upset on posters from elsewhere concerning what clothes your wearing. Quite simply, its not just Mr Stone and I,saying these nasty things to you, no, it’s the research institutes around the world… listen up!! Quite simply I dont see

    MIGHT

    anywhere in the study as you imply

    MIGHT

    ,
    “The Campbell work hypothesized that MET promoter variants might be expressed in a subset of individuals with both ASD and gastrointestinal disorders. The association is with a C allele in the promoter region of the MET gene which encodes the pleiotropic MET receptor tyrosine kinase. The findings of Campbell are that reduced MET gene expression might increase susceptibility to ASD with gastrointestinal problems, but this is an innate predisposition and in no way implies a role or specifies a role for any external environmental factor.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19255034

    Distinct genetic risk based on association of MET in families with co-occurring autism and gastrointestinal conditions.Campbell DB, Buie TM, Winter H, Bauman M, Sutcliffe JS, Perrin JM, Levitt P.
    Vanderbilt University, 8114 MRB3, 465 21st Ave South, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. daniel.campbell@vanderbilt.edu

    OBJECTIVE: In addition to the core behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, many patients present with complex medical conditions including gastrointestinal dysfunction. A functional variant in the promoter of the gene encoding the MET receptor tyrosine kinase

    IS ASSOCIATED WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER,

    and MET protein expression

    IS

    decreased in the temporal cortex of subjects with autism spectrum disorder.

    MET is a pleiotropic receptor that functions in both brain development and gastrointestinal repair.

    On the basis of these functions, we hypothesized that association of the autism spectrum disorder-associated MET promoter variant may be enriched in a subset of individuals with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Subjects were 918 individuals from 214 Autism Genetics Resource Exchange families with a complete medical history including gastrointestinal condition report. Genotypes at the autism spectrum disorder-associated MET promoter variant rs1858830 were determined. Family-based association test and chi(2) analyses were used to determine the association of MET rs1858830 alleles with autism spectrum disorder and the presence of gastrointestinal conditions. RESULTS: In the entire 214-family sample, the MET rs1858830

    C allele was associated with both autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions.

    Stratification by the presence of gastrointestinal conditions revealed that the

    MET C allele was associated with both autism spectrum

    disorder and gastrointestinal conditions in 118 families containing at least 1 child with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions. In contrast, there was no association of the MET polymorphism with autism spectrum disorder in the 96 families lacking a child with co-occurring autism spectrum

    Quite simply,nothing so bad as those who can see but refuse to do so Jimbo ,simply smoke and mirrors, journo speak again.. … must swim bye

  19. dillon March 19, 2009 at 13:50 #

    Sorry, Mr Fish, I obviously have missed the section in these papers where Campbell says the genetic model has completely collapsed, the bit where he declares MET C alleles are totally irrelevant, and the part where he concludes external factors are solely responsible for autism.
    Can you point these out to me?

  20. dillon March 19, 2009 at 14:14 #

    Mr Stone, it seems you are adept at cherry-picking from information that has already been cherry-picked by Kirby et al. Now that’s perserverance for you.

    Regarding the concept that external factors might influence MET expression, do you think it is more likely that the influence would be maximal during the crucial in utero and early neonatal period, or later on when virtually all of the the neuroanatomical, physiological and developmental foundations have already been laid down?

    If, and it’s a big if, these external factors are the crucial key to influencing the genetics involved in the autism puzzle, they have to fulfil this role very early in neuronal development. Vaccines such as MMR given in older infants are obviously out of the frame.

    Jenny McCarthy should reflect on the fact that benzopyrenes, a constituent of cigarette smoke, act in this way. A great pity for Evan that his mother smoked through her pregnancy then, isn’t it? No wonder she rather would shift the blame to something like MMR/other vaccines. Problem is, this makes no sense in neurodevelopmental terms, as it happens too late to be of even theoretical influence. Anyway, irrespective of the implausible timeline, the purported “toxins” in vaccines are mere drops in the ocean compared to the toxin load that infants are exposed to from other sources.

  21. sick of the lies March 19, 2009 at 14:34 #

    Isn’t it incredible that when everybody smoked liked troopers (thats when Governments and the tobacco industry said there was nothing wrong with smoking either) there was hardly any autism.

  22. passionlessDrone March 19, 2009 at 14:59 #

    Hi Dillon –

    Regarding the concept that external factors might influence MET expression, do you think it is more likely that the influence would be maximal during the crucial in utero and early neonatal period, or later on when virtually all of the the neuroanatomical, physiological and developmental foundations have already been laid down?

    You are likely correct. You might be interested in knowing that tnf-alpha has been shown to interferre with the ligand for the met receptor, HGF. Children with autism have been shown to create tnf-alpha at highly exaggerated rates compared to their undiagnosed peers; which may be part of an explanation as to why such a common allele seems to have an association to a small percentage of people.

    As for the early neonatal period, if we have a subset of children who will generate more tnf-alpha than others, and we initiate creation of tnf alpha via vacciation on the day they are born, this could, conceivably interferre with HGF during some critical post natal periods. I’d admit this is highly speculative, but one thing is for sure, studying thimerosal won’t give us any good information on a relationship.

    I believe there will be a paper involving maternal immune interaction and MET processes coming out in the next few months.

    – pD

  23. John Stone March 19, 2009 at 15:00 #

    dillon

    Could it not be either, particularly when we witness regressive autism? Levitt plainly has an open mind. As to your answer to OQF you are proposing the “separate silo” argument critcised by Levitt, and attributing views to people they don’t have. No one has ever suggested that genes have no role in autism, only that there was no plausible explanation of the rise of the phenomenon which depended on genes in isolation (which is what Poling is saying, utterly misrepresented by Sullivan).

    Also your two responses are contradictory – in the one case you argue that environmental ifluences on the development autism are exclusively in utero (why?) and in the other you seem to be saying they don’t happen at all.

  24. Jimbo March 19, 2009 at 15:48 #

    Thank you John Stone for the link to Levitt’s comments. I assume these have been recorded accurately (they do come via AoA, so anything is possible)*. He does not suggest genetic factors are irrelevant as you earlier implied. He hypothesises seems to be that environment and genetics are interconnected. His and Campbell’s work on the expression of C and G alleles for the MET genes and how this differs for different toxins is an indicator that the external factors could influence the genetic basis underpinning autism. Essentially, this is still a form of epigenetics in operation and consistent with current theories about the causes of autism.

    I agree with Dillon who points out this would have to operate prenatally if it were to be of any influence. It is unfeasible to suggest that a “toxin” given at the age of 6 or 12 months could alter expression of a neurodevelopmental gene. I would expect this to be crucial for embryonic neuronal development within the first trimester, and if you wish to run with this particular theory of toxins altering genetic expression, then I suggest you reset your focus away from vaccines and think about other possible influences in the early prenatal period.

    The fact that neurodevelopmental abnormalities may only declare themselves in later infancy misleads many people. Even with clear-cut pure genetic disorders such as Rett or fragile X disorder, the autistic phenotype only becomes clinically apparent in later infancy, despite having been present from conception. Or look at schizophrenia as another example. Research shows in-utero/embryonic factors are the crucial ones in the genesis of this condition, which only manifests clinically 20, 30, 40 years later.

    Of course other “toxins” can affect childrens’ brains and supposedly impair development – look at lead poisoning for example. But here the external agent is causing damage to established neurones or neurotransmitters, and not influencing the underlying genotype. These sort of influences also do not typically present as “autism”.

    My view is that there is a genetic basis for most if not all of the cases of autism but that the phenotypic expression is variable. Perhaps with metagenomics the picture will become a lot clearer. The early “environment” is important, but by environment I mean the infant’s social circumstances setting with all the external factors/stimuli that the infant is exposed to that determine acquisition of motor and cognitive skills and which requiring varied sensory input. The environment also includes chemical exposures, sure, but I think these are not critical.

  25. Sullivan March 19, 2009 at 15:51 #

    Sullivan

    Here is some new information. If you are trying to argue that the Campbell paper takes place outside the issue of gene-environment interaction it is you who are spinning or just very much mistaken

    Mr.Stone. I haven’t been discussing the Campbell paper. Perhaps you might want to pay attention to the conversation? Otherwise it appears that you are merely posting randomly.

    This isn’t the only indication that you aren’t really paying attention to the discussions, but just posting what you want to say, regardless of what the subject matter is or what others say.

  26. John Stone March 19, 2009 at 17:09 #

    Jimbo

    Thank you for your opinion.

    Sullivan

    You offered a commentary on Poling – I offered another one. It is not at all evident that I am talking off topic except in response to Brian Deer who posted off topic here.

  27. Sullivan March 19, 2009 at 17:42 #

    Mr Stone,

    can’t you even admit to a small mistake? I haven’t been a part of the discussion on the Campbell paper, yet you accused me of being mistaken or spinning that study.

  28. One Queer Fish March 19, 2009 at 21:12 #

    sorry missed the arguments today(had a ,another long boring drawn out day) nothing much to add r.e.Mr Stone has said it all in his opinion only to say Kev posted r.e. Wakefield ,then I posted r.e. Wakefield ,then Mr Deer posted , then the Judge Eady question snowballed as it does and continues s to snowball…until such time that the evidence is produced.

    but simply anyway all had good fun ha ,ho!bye

  29. century March 20, 2009 at 08:51 #

    Why has John Stone’s reply been removed?

    Cencorship? Again!

  30. Another Voice March 20, 2009 at 18:26 #

    Someone actually used the word censorship. How funny!

    I have not been to a site that permitted more freedom to post. Most other autism sites do not allow any comments that are contrary to the opinions of the moderator. This site has taken the opposite approach, almost to a fault.

    I feel this site should be more oriented toward censorship.

  31. Kev March 20, 2009 at 19:54 #

    I’ve checked the logs and I can’t see where any reply has been removed.

  32. Joseph March 20, 2009 at 20:24 #

    Again!

    @century: Out of curiosity, what does that refer to?

  33. One Queer Fish March 20, 2009 at 20:33 #

    Here it is because i was going to chip in with some kind comments..

    John Stone on March 19th, 2009 18:17:35

    Sullivan

    You came on complaining this morning that I hadn’t contributed any new information (now I notice that this was possibly specifically addressed (to) the Brian Deer issue and not my contribution on the theme of this thread) but I appear to some extent to have conflated your misrepresentation of Poling’s position with that of Jimbo, whose post appears immediately above yours this morning. So, goodness me, I am in error – you hadn’t referred to the Campbell study- however I don’t see any evidence that Poling has changed his position, or that it is scientifically wild.

    It is also the case that you have claimed the Campbell paper is irrelevant to the discussion you initiated when it plainly isn’t.

  34. Kev March 20, 2009 at 20:56 #

    Well, its not in the spam queue, its not in the logs…oh well, if its been found, good.

    And century, come on, you know me better than that. You’ve been on this blog long enough to know that I don’t delete comments unless I draw attention to it. I may lose comments or they get spam trapped but I don’t just remove them. If anyone thinks a comment of theirs has gone missing mail me and I will try to find it.

    Having said that, I have no idea what happened to that one.

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