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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Consider the Source

Many posts have discussed purported links between autism and toxic chemicals.

Emily Willingham tracks the source of one article:
Two clinicians who “utilize detoxification methods in their clinical practices” together with a third author have published an epic review in Translational Psychiatry claiming to evaluate the evidence for the involvement of environmental contaminants in autism. While we obviously want to limit contaminant exposure, autism doesn’t emerge here as the reason for doing so. Something that does emerge, however, looks a lot like bias and not much like systematic evaluation.
The review article funding came from the Autism Research Institute, begun by the late Bernard Rimland (vaccines-cause-autism proponent) and the origin of the controversial and now-defunct Defeat Autism Now! conferences and clinician registry.
The first and third authors of this review, Daniel Rossignol and Richard Frye, are scientific advisors to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue, a group committed to the idea that vaccines and mercury cause autism. Rossignol and second author Stephen Genuis declared the conflict of interest regarding using “detoxification methods” in their practices (those would be applied, presumably, for “metal toxicity” etc.). Each author has other interests in the conclusions from the review (including related to oft-mentioned metabolicdisorders, among others).
Rossignol was a Defeat Autism Now! Doctor who tells parents on his clinic Website that children with an autism diagnosis “in many cases” will need to have a large number of tests ordered. These tests include analyses for lead and “increased heavy metal or pesticide levels in the kidney … markers of the metal burden in the body.” And, of course, at the top of his “Articles” page, you will find a link to this latest open-access review with its conclusions that such toxicants are implicated in autism. In addition to his “detox in clinical practice” disclosure, he’s a big fan of HBOT, which the FDA has warned us about.