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Autism Insights, another journal for questionable autism research?

30 Jan

The double standards applied by the autism alternative medicine community never cease to amaze me. Typically they do a game of “six degrees of separation” with any one they disagree with. Do you have ties to anyone who has worked on vaccines? Do you have ties to anyone who knows anyone who might have worked with a governmental agency? Well, if so, anything you say is ignored as biased.

Funny that no one took a good look at the Journal that the recent “confirmation” of Dr. Wakefield’s research was published in. The alt-med community doesn’t question research they like.

Confused? Here’s the back story. A recent article was published Clinical presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal symptoms in a journal called “Autism Insights”. The paper came out the day before the decision from the GMC on Dr. Wakefield. The paper was touted as “Wakefield’s Science Proven Valid Again In New Study That Replicates Findings” in a blog post (guess where?)

Have you ever heard of “Autism Insights“? Neither had I. Don’t feel bad. Unless you read one of the two other articles published in that “journal”, you couldn’t have heard of it.

Yes, two other articles. One is an editorial.

This new article brings the total published in “Autism Insights” to 3.

The first:

Trends in Developmental, Behavioral and Somatic Factors by Diagnostic Sub-group in Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Follow-up Analysis
Authors: Paul Whiteley, Lynda Todd, Kalliopi Dodou and Paul Shattock

Then an editorial:

Autism Etiology: Genes and the Environment
Authors: A.J. Russo

and now

Clinical Presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Authors: Arthur Krigsman, Marvin Boris, Alan Goldblatt and Carol Stott

Yep, that’s it. The entire production of “Autism Insights” is two papers and one editorial.

So far, every paper has had an author on the journal’s editorial board.

Take a look at the Editorial Board. This paper, timed to come out exactly when Dr. Wakefield needed good press has no fewer than four people from Dr. Wakefield’s own clinic, ThoughtfulHouse.

Bryan Jepson, MD
Director of Medical Services, Medical Center at Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX, USA

Arthur Krigsman, MD
Director of Gastrointestinal Services, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Thoughtful House Cener for Children, Austin, TX, USA

Carol Mary Stott, PhD
Senior Research Associate, Research Department, Thoughtful House, Austin, TX, USA

Andrew Wakefield, MBBS, FRCS, FRCPath
Research Director, THoughtful House Centre for Children, Austin, TX, USA

There are prominent DAN doctors, Richard Deth, and others from the alt-med community on the editorial board as well.

Come on guys. Is this really the standard of science that is acceptable to support Dr. Wakefield?

As an aside, a year or so back I emailed some friends with a speculation that the alt-med community would create their own journal. As far as predictions go, this wasn’t really a longshot. Still, it is interesting to see the prediction come true.

As to the paper itself? I’ll only say a few brief words as it really isn’t worth the time.

1) I recall in the Omnibus hearings that many of the GI “findings” claimed by the petitioners were found to be misinterpretations by the experts who reviewed them

2) No one has ever said that autistic kids are somehow immune from GI complaints, including inflammation.

3) There are multiple details where, even if correct, this research is very dissimilar from that of Dr. Wakefield’s original Lancet paper and later work.

It is too bad that these researchers chose to make clinical findings into what amounts to a political statement of support for Dr. Wakefield. If there is any valuable information gained from these children, I don’t see how this paper respects their contribution.

edit to add: I forgot to acknowledge that this post came from a tip from Prometheus at the Photon in the Darkness blog.

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Paul Shattock gets his Biatch on

29 Nov

Alongside the error strewn Edelson piece that I already blogged about, Communication also ran a response from Paul Shattock that avoided Edelson’s mistakes of making factual errors about chelation and Tariq Nadama by simply going for a handbag wielding biatch attack more suited to Paris Hilton sulking about Nicole Ritchie wearing the same dress as her:

Although of no relevance, Michael Fitzpatrick’s views on biomedical approaches designed to
ameliorate some difficulties experienced by people with autism, and on me personally, are widely disseminated in newspaper and magazine articles and blogs. I remain unenthusiastic about encouraging
discussions of my personal inadequacies in Communication.

Miaow! Paul Shattock’s lip trembles with rage as he considers the lack of worth of Michael Fitzpatrick’s opinion.

Actually, I can’t recall on part of Mike’s book that espoused any views on Paul Shattock. Having just done a quick check, I see that he appears 3 times. Once in the Preface, once on page 71 and once on page 118. On _none_ of these occasions does Mike express any opinions on Paul Shattock.

He goes on:

Evidence of efficacy for many interventions from appropriate and scientifically valid research-based protocols is being published.

Hear we go again. ‘Is being published’. How long has the autism community been hearing this? Tell us _when_ Mr Shattock, or preferably, refer to supporting material that _has_ been published in a decent journal. And what ‘interventions’ are we talking about? Mr Shattock is utterly ambiguous.

Shattock then goes on to claim that the entire membership of NAS wants research into such things. I can assure him thats nowhere near true. I can think of several NAS members who want to *move on* from this never ending promise of science that is always ‘coming soon’ and yet never arriving.

Shattock goes on:

The American Academy of Paediatricians (AAP) is now actively investigating the usefulness of such interventions and members of the American Academy of Paediatric Gastroenterologists (AAPG) are currently collaborating with the Autism Society of America (ASA) and the Autism Research Institute (ARI) in investigating gastrointestinal issues.

I think Mr Shattock maybe overestimating the AAP’s keenness to stay chummy with ARI. I also can’t find any org called the American Academy of Paediatric Gastroenterologists so I can’t comment on how closely they’re working with ARI, or if they exist at all.

Shattock fumed on:

Professor Rutter, at the recent NAS conference, drew attention to the need to investigate environmental factors and mechanisms involved in triggering autism and to study dietary
treatments for autism.

Mike Stanton saw Rutter at that conference. He didn’t mention what Shattock reports but there’s nothing particularly earth shattering about the idea of environmental factors and mechanisms being involved with autism – except we all know what Shattock, one time warm-up man for Andrew Wakefield, really thinks these are, and for those there is no evidence and I also doubt Rutter has any truck with these ideas either.

Its an odd, petulant semi-rant from Shattock. I have no idea what use he thinks it will be to seemingly purposefully misinterpret Mike’s words. It should be easy to refute Mike – stop talking about studies that will be published and get on with publishing them. Science is the final arbiter of scientific ideas, not a mudsling from someone on the edge of scientific ideas regarding autism.