Saturday, December 19, 2009

Autism's Trigger (Another Misnomer)

There are so many things out in the world about autism that are just plain wrong.  If autism is to gain any treatment inroads these wrong things have to be cleared away.  So let's start with something simple - the word trigger as it is used with respect to autism. 

The medical community likes to use the word trigger with the onset of autism.  The implication is that an event happened that innocently caused the autism onset, much like an icicle falling from a tree might trigger an avalanche.  The word is euphomistic and as such, it has magic.  It means that the onset of autism is a fluke of nature.  Whether it is an icicle falling or a man skiing in the wrong place, it was going to happen anyway.  Nothing is really to blame.  Nobody did anything to cause the child to be autistic.  It is a very safe word. 

The truth is that autism hits children like an incoming mortar round.  In some children, like my son, the damage is relatively mild.  (If you could ever call any case of autism mild)  In other children, they are disabled to the point where they can never care for themselves.  What I am implying is not politically correct.  I am implying that there is brain damage.  The word trigger implies a metamorphosis, like a pupae into a butterfly. 

Of course, I understand that there are genes that make it more likely that a child will develop autism.  For me that means that they are more likely to suffer the damage that causes autism.  And so I prefer the word stroke, even though the symptoms of a stroke are not the same as the symptoms of autism.  I prefer it because when the time comes and we understand how autism occurs, we can do something to prevent it. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The problem with autism research

How many studies have been done to prove that there is no link between autism and vaccines.  It has to be a lot.  All of them have been statistical.  All of them reach the conclusion that there is no link between autism and vaccines.  The truly amazing thing is that the first requirement for such a statistical study is a control group.  There has never been a published study that includes the one control group that is needed, the group of unvaccinated children.  This is symptomatic of a mindset which is:

    We know that there is no link between vaccines and autism.  Now let's prove it.

This mindset does two things, it listens to anything that supports the argument that there is no connection between autism and vaccines and it ignores anything that says that there might be a connection between autism and vaccines.  Because of that mindset, the following are given specious arguments:

    The lack of any control group (unvaccinated children) measurement
    The change in the rate of autism
    The numerous documented pre (normal) and post (autistic) vaccine cases

The lack of any control group measurement is a valid criticism.  I have heard that it is too hard.  It would not be ethical.  I have heard mockery.  I have heard that the Japanese MMR study had the control group (they only kept their control group free of the MMR vaccine (which only says that the unique ingredients of the MMR are not responsible for the autism rate).  All of the arguments I have heard for not doing a measurement of the control group are specious.

The change in the rate of autism is said to be because of a change in diagnostics.  I suppose that if you have nothing to fill the void that vaccines so naturally fills, this is just as good as any other explanation.  But I was there when the autism bow wave hit.  My son was at the front of it.  If you want to say that I am not qualified to make that judgement, okay.  Then perhaps you should accept the word of Michael Chez.  In his book, Autism and Its Medical Management, he recounts a meeting of Pediatric Neurologists where a question was asked.  "How many of you were treating autism 20 years ago."  You can guess the rest.  If the autism rate had been the same back then they would have known it.  Autism represents a big change to pediatric practice.  The argument that autism has always been around at the same rate that it exists today is specious.  The change in the autism rate is real.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.  It is the identification of a logic error that says that just because two things happen one right after the other does not mean that one causes the other.  True.  But the pro-vax side takes this as proof that there is no relationship between autism and vaccines.  It is just as much of a mistake to conclude that it means that there is no relationship as to conclude that there is.  But when there are as many cases of autism following vaccination, post hoc ergo propter hoc sounds flippant.  The relationship between vaccines and autism deserves more than simply pointing out the logic error and calling it wrong (logically it is not wrong, it is inconclusive).  It deserves the measurement of the control group. 

In a previous post, Finally, a small break, I referenced the work of Dr Rosemary Waring that showed that the ability of autistics to process tylenol through the system was far less than the norm.  The mechanism for processing tylenol also handles a long list of other toxins for processing through the kidneys.  If this list includes any of the vaccine ingredients do you think that this thread would be pulled?  No, vaccines have to be protected. 

There have been numerous studies that show leakage across the blood gut barrier.  Does it not make sense that if something causes leakage across the blood gut barrier there may also be leakage across the blood brain barrier.  That possibility was pointed out by Andrew Wakefield.  When Andrew Wakefield dry lab'ed his data he lost any credibility and leakage across the blood gut and blood brain barriers became wrong.  Nobody can touch it any more whether he was right about leakage or not.

The problem with autism research is that it is not scientific.  It never has been.  It is political.  Our children will pay dearly for this.