Mitochondrial Disease and Autism: Linked?

11 Mar

Mitochondrial disease and autism. I don’t read about it as much as during the peak of the Hannah Poling story, but it is a big topic. Emily Willingham at
Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism has put together an excellent post on the subject. Here’s the first paragraph:

Hannah Poling’s family entered the national spotlight when they revealed that Hannah’s autism-like symptoms may have been linked to a reaction to several childhood vaccines at once in combination with her mitochondrial dysfunction. Her case was not the first revelation of a possible mitochondrial disorder (MD)-autism spectrum disorder (ASD) link, but because of her ultimately successful vaccine injury suit, she became the avatar of the vaccines-cause-harm movement — which almost eclipsed the real scientific and therapeutic feature of her case: the mitochondria.

I’d love to do a wholesale copy of the post, but that’s hardly fair now, is it? So, I’ll send you all to the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Mitochondrial Disease and Autism: Linked?

3 Responses to “Mitochondrial Disease and Autism: Linked?”

  1. McD March 12, 2011 at 05:24 #

    The paper reviewed on the Thinking Person’s Guide is here:
    http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2010136a.html

    I had a few reservations about it (the original paper), in that it seems to ‘sneak’ in a few dodgy assumptions about things like thimerisol, and flaky GI studies then it ends with a shopping list of suggested supplements that have mainly theoretical or anecdotal support. The journal is a new online journal, encouraging open access which is geat, although the authors of this paper would have had to pay $3000 for immediate online release. Ouch.

    Which is not to say that there are any problems with the cell metabolism parts of the paper which formed the main part of the precis linked to. A phrase I like in Emily W’s review was “In other words, they took the GI results and used them to seed an entire acre of hypotheses to investigate.” I am glad that someone knowledgeable in the field has taken a look at the paper for ignorami (ignoramusses?) like myself, who can sort out fact from guesswork.

    It looks like a lot of the paper is based on fact, it is the extrapolations that need to be treated with caution (as Emily writes). A worry is that people without a cell science background are not going to know where science ends and guessing begins, upon running into the paper online.

    So I was not surprised when in the last week I ran into mention of the lead author on this site:
    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/03/lawsuit-against-alternative-medical-practitioners-usman-and-rossignal/

    And find out that one of the treatments the lead author is investigating is HBOT:
    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2009/03/autism-hbot-and-the-new-study-by-rossignol-et-al/

  2. sharon March 12, 2011 at 05:34 #

    Yes, it was a well written piece by Emily. Even I understood.

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