I find this sort of attention grabbing headline obnoxious, dangerous and misleading for those who are genuinely trying to help their loved ones. The sensationalistic headline is similar to what we saw with the MMR scare and has lead to an evolution of blame websites.
If one traces and reads the actual published paper, even without an understanding of any of the science, the author clearly states “The mimicry of ASD-like gene expression profiles in fish, described above, does not conclusively indicate UPP [unmetabolized psychoactive pharmaceuticals] induction of ASD in humans. It does, however, serve as the basis for new hypotheses regarding the etiology of idiopathic ASD.”
Also, there is no suggestion of damage to DNA but the author says “Our findings suggest a new potential trigger for idiopathic autism in genetically susceptible individuals involving an overlooked source of environmental contamination” in other words these chemicals may be involved with “switching on” genes which are already present, there is also other evidence around of other external environmental triggers, some of which may come from the individuals own immune response.
Fluoride however is a different kettle of minnows. There have been lots of reports that under certain conditions fluoride (amongst other things) can disturb neurological pathways which ALL individuals, as well as those experiencing ASD, can change behaviour. Therefore this may affect the individual today any MAY be an beneficial avenue for our LO. Again this is very poorly understood and another line of research being undertaken to try and formulate ideas on the mechanisms of ASD (together with other neurological conditions).
Once again, the report of this finding of fluoride involvement is being taken out of context by the “popular” press and instilling fears and knee-jerk reactions generally.
I believe a specific trigger mechanism will be found as I believe the generic sets will also. That’s not to say there will be a “cure”. The speed in which the genetics is being unravelled since the human genome was sequenced means that it is simple a matter of time to achieve firstly identification of the sections of DNA involved and then the neurobiological pathways affected.
This may lead to treatments of some of the effects and depending on your eugenics view.may lead to selective prevention (yuk) but also I don’t think we will ever have the capability of prevention or cure.
This is based on the belief that there is a major immunological involvement of which we have no control.
I think our viewpoints differ in terminology: from my perspective the term “damage” suggests a physical alteration by an external agent to the actual DNA sequence, not the expression (or it’s inhibition) of a sequence that already present due to natural occurrence.
In my view it’s wrong to equate the processes of cancer to those of autism as the nature of the genesis must be different. By definition, a cancer is created when a single cell is disrupted from normal growth/reproduction and becomes “immortal” in that it continues to divide irrespective of the requirement of division and growth. Thus a collection of cells just keep getting bigger and bigger at the detriment of surrounding tissues. This is not the case in autism, at some point in development the function of speciality cells is different than what we consider normal, and as with the particular function of nerve cells, communications between them is also altered.
This is why I made the distinction between the UPP and fluoride. I think it may be possible for some agents (which I include antibodies) to affect a form of genetic switch at one or more points in development which may cause whole brain development to change, the majority of this change very early in brain construction but perhaps some in the last trimester: however, the genes responsible for these changes must already be present i.e. the mutations or CNVs (capability) are already there from the parents, whether they are switched on, and the effect they have on neurological growth and subsequent effect on development being very variable. So I agree that the UPP’s may have an effect but I doubt Fluoride, and yes, it is always worth looking at any potential mass effect including water-borne ingestion. However, I believe there are more likely socio-demographic reasons for any increases in autism in the population.
Wakefield didn’t jump to conclusions, he manipulated his research: he was a classic example of individuals who “write the conclusion then create the data”. As an aside this “study” should teach a lot of things especially the media, but unfortunately we can’t expect truth and reproducible science to get in the way of a good story. Science is littered with fraud and deception, e.g. google Dr. Hwang Woo-su or more recently Dipak Das. Sadly, it seems that sometimes the closer scientists get to the money, the further they get from the science. Getting the science wrong because of honest but poor judgement is one thing, manipulating it for one’s own gain is something completely different.