Wednesday, September 22, 2010

autism and politics

In 'Facing Autism in new Brunswick', Harold L Doherty talks eloquently about voting for a candidate most likely to improve facilities and treatment for people with autism.

If autism affects one in 100-160 (depending on source of figures) children in Australia, then that's a large number of voters who might make a difference.

Years ago I wrote a long letter to a Greens candidate here about autism and possible causes, but unfortunately that was in the days before the Greens had any Federal representation and therefore input on health. Now they do have representation, but the story of autism is so complex and so caught up in pharmaceutical, commercial and government interests that obtaining funding for 'environmental' causes seems unlikely. But perhaps improved treatment and support are obtainable.

Maybe now's the time to start talking as a group. Something causes autism.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

gene spleen

Yet again I'm annoyed at the mainstream news for pussyfooting around dispensing the usual 'autism is linked to genes' spiel.
Yes, yes, linked to genes: but only at the level of a sensitivity to something environmental. Sometimes they grudgingly admit there are environmental factors, but only as 'triggers'. The image given is of autism as a genetically loaded gun just waiting to fire.

I'm currently working in schools, and in some schools, every class of about 25-30 students has at least 2 diagnosed spectrum children and a handful of others I'd be tempted to want to run by a good paediatrician. Something's badly rotten in the state of Denmark.

Actually, after reading the full report of the most famous study that supposedly exonerated Thimerosal, I'm not just speaking figuratively... Denmark was the site of the study. Every criticism I've read of the report seemed borne out when I looked at the source material: they changed the diagnostic parameters to include a wider range of patients, thus inflating the numbers. At the end of the study they were able to say that despite Thimerosal being withdrawn, the autism rate had climbed.

So next time you read that the Danish study was 'badly flawed', rest assured, they're not exaggerating.

I'll try to dig out the links I browsed...