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February 12, 2009

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Today at my Darwin Dinner I sat next to someone who didn't vaccinate his kid. I found this out after mentioning this news today.

What a dick. I mentioned the details of the suits. When I mentioned that there were 5300 claimants, he chimed in with severe sarcasm "Yeah, 5300 people can't possibly be wrong".

I looked at him and said there are 4 million children born every year, in the 20 years of the Vaccine injury program there are 5300 claimants. Yes I think 1 in a million and a half people can, in fact, be wrong.

He said "we didn't vaccinate our child and he is fine". I almost jumped out the window with this stupidity. I mentioned the nonvalue of anecdotal evidence, the outbreak in san diego and england.

I didn't get a chance to see how he would feel if his kid got whooping cough.

too bad it was loud and he was shutting down on this subject.

But as I was leaving I heard "Formula kills off the baby's immune system"

Yeesh.


Unfortunately:

"A litigation steering committee is representing thousands of families that fall into three categories: those that claim that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine can combine with thimerosal-containing vaccines to cause autism; those who claim thimerosal-containing vaccines alone can cause autism; and those who claim that MMR vaccines, without any link to thimerosal, can cause autism.

Prior to the release of Thursday's rulings, an attorney for the families, Thomas Powers, said the expected rulings would affect only the families that fall under the first category."

So I expect we'll be seeing more waste of resources on the latter two sets. And then even after that they'll move the goalposts again. *sigh*

I think the focus of vaccines causing autism is so off its ridiculous. Right in front of our eyes we've had the answer, potentially in my humble opinion, this disease has affected thousands more children since the 90's right? Well what changed in our environment? I'll tell you...We started using plastics and vinyls in everything. PVC piping in houses for water, baby bottles made out of BPA. BPA (bisphenol A) is an estrogen mimicking compound that bind to estrogen receptors and the normal enzymes that remove endogenous estrogen from the receptor cannot remove it, the receptor stays activated. Couple that with vinyl window treatments, floors, piping, etc. phlalates in the vinyl causes testosterone suppression. If the endocrine system, which is extremely closely linked to the lymphatic system in the brain, they work together to create normal body functions, the lymphatic system is important for emotion and memory, if you block the hormones that activate this system you WILL have problems with your lymphatic system. We need to start checking these kids hormone levels and find out how much vinyl and PVC or BPA they may have in their bodies. There is research indicating a "pro-biotic" used to make cheese, lactococci acutally binds with (adsorbs) BPA and removes it from the body. Technology is great but pick your poison carefully not only has this link been suggested but also juvenile diabetes.....food for thought!

Gah...

What changed? The diagnostic criteria. Most of the rise in autism rates corresponds exactly with a fall in the diagnosis rates of other, less specific, developmental or psychological disorders. The so-called "autism epidemic" is an artefact of diagnostic substitution and increased access to healthcare in general - and specialist diagnosis in particular.

Zurie, that the the exact same correlation-causation fallacy that the anti vaccinationists have fallen into.

There are also many many other things that we have increased our use of. In particular I am thinking of fetal ultrasounds. Some time in the 90's the use of this tool shot up. If it is not used properly (i.e. the power is set for mechanical indexes above 1) there has been good data out there showing that cell disruption can happen. Radiology technicians tend to crank up the power to get a better contract on the screen for measurement. They tend to leave it high so that the image is clear regardless of how fat the woman is.

Carbon content in the air has shot up, couldn't it be that also?

We have also seen a large increase in the use of flat screen TVs and power windows in our cars.

Correlation is not good enough on its own, you must provide not only a mechanism but proof that the mechanism is happening. In lieu of these, you must provide a controlled study that compares populations.

If you would provide any of these I would be happy to listen.

As far as I can tell, Dunc has it right for the most part. I've now met a wide range of autistic kids and there is a good reason its called a "spectrum". some of those kid diagnosed with autism have personalities that you would never have guessed anythign was wrong with them at all. I've had asperger's studens who you would have just catagorized as geeky. On the other end there is a large confusion as diagnoses leave the realm of mental retardation and switch to autism.

Yes there is something wrong with many of these kids, but there isnt something very wrong with 1 in 150 of all kids.

p.s. I am NOT saying that fetal ultrasounds cause autism. Lets not go down that road.

Nicely written. I don't expect things like this to go away just because we think it's been put to bed 1000 times. People still believe in Big Foot for cryin' out loud. But this one is harmful, so it's good to see so many people writing about it.

Techskeptic: OMG. (first comment) AND Well put. (last comment)

Why hasn't the US media reported the fraud story? Why? Why? Why? Argh.

I'd like for you to read this research article before you conclude that my interpretation of the facts is incorrect. There is proof scientifically that screwing with the endocrine system has long term effects just ask body builders who use steroids. What happens to their psyche? One example would be Chris Benoit. When we have plastics that mimick estrogens and suppress testosterone and they are all around us in everything it is like giving children birth control pills... Should we do that too and say it is ok and won't cause any problems? Honestly? http://www.ehponline.org/members/2003/6601/6601.html

But maybe by some of your accounts the EPA has it right and we should TRUST them....(coughs *lead* coughs)

@Zurie:

You almost had me. But the paranoia was just a trifle too much.

Well, that and you seem to consider one study as irrefutable proof. While commenting on a thread about a fraudulent study. It's a good thing I installed a fuse in my irony meter.

That isn't to say that I believe the study you link is fraudulent. Just that it's only one study. That's only the beginning of the process.

Well I can find you more because on this one I'm not talking out of my backside I really have done some critical thinking while studying physiology AND have done research on the existing research. I'm not a wacko out there with some far out theory, there is basis for my hypothesis.

And on that note I speak with intensity because I find it absolutely outragious that our government who is supposedly looking out for us continues to downplay these things as well as take the chemical/pharmaceutical companies word for it that these chemicals are safe (based on 3 studies out of 3,000+ saying the contrary). It pisses me the **** off because as a student in the medical profession, working towards MSN, I saw these things awhile ago when we've discussed them among my peer groups and since I have an interest in working as a practitioner in juvenile endocringology, it interests me greatly. So it is the activist inside me that sounds intense but hey everyone is entitled to be passionate about something. I really don't think people understand how for so long people don't mean anything to the govt of the US just money. If that isn't evident now with everything else going on I don't know what is.

Zurie,

To be crystal clear: No one here is saying that BPA, in large enough cencetrations, isn't bad for you, of course it is. No one is saying that it doesnt screw with the endocrine system, and no one is saying that it doesn't act like an estrogen.

The disputable part is that BPA causes autism. Particularly in the face of a growing amount of evidence that at least part of the problem is genetic.

I have not had a chance to read that paper you cited (and wouldn't it have been better to cite it first?) But I promise I will look through it. But as Mr. Marley said, great it out there, its just the first step, we need a controlled study (not sure if that was in there) and verification (i.e. duplication).

As for the controlled study, it sure would be easier if we knew the genetic markers, the we could limit the study population to those who are already prone to autism. Without that, we are talking about a large population of which the parents have to guarantee no consumption of BPA. Wont that be hard since its in the toys, adhesives, and other places, not only the bottles.

I'm not suggesting BPA is the only cause, I am saying BPA coupled with phlalates while the child is a fetus in utero (where any change in the normal amounts of estrogen/testosterone, T3, T4, TSH, FSH, any of the horomones that regulate fetal development is a very good candidate. It would be great to convince the "right" that we should take zygotes that haven't differentiated yet and expose some to the industrial chemiclas and not do so to others so we could see but unfortunately science doesn't trump emotions even though it could save countless other lives. Maybe I assumed because I am pretty well versed in human biology and it was a "duh" idea to me it would be to everyone else. I assumed if someone commented on any form of etiology they'd know what they were talking about. Genetic? very probable but HOW did the gene mutate? What is the potential future ramifications? If we don't find out for sure what will our world be in 100 years? 90% autistic people? That is scary.... My whole point was the link between the endocrine and limbic system has been proven. There are abnormalaties within the limbic system of autistic children right? Well linking endocrine disruption, which helps regulate limbic activity due to the many negative/positive feedback pathways in the body, seems logical to me.

Zurie said "Right in front of our eyes we've had the answer, potentially in my humble opinion, this disease has affected thousands more children since the 90's right? Well what changed in our environment?"

Is the rise in autism real? There is actual research to show that there has been diagnostic substitution. There are several papers of that research at the end of this blog post by a neurologist:
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=454

And included in this blog posting are some easy to read graphs illustrating the diagnostic substitution:
http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=158

Zurie,

are you confusing "genetically transferred" with "exposed to a mutagen"? You last comment implies that autism is not a genetic disposition, but is a result of a chronic mutation that always exposes itself as autism. That is a very different thing.

Being a spectrum of symptoms, and the reason that the numbers seem so large, and the fact that many more things are simply being written off (or recategorized) as autistic that were not before, is making it seem like there is a huge and growing epidemic. Why do you jump to that eventually 90% of the population will be autistic. How does that make sense coming from a self professed medical student?

no one says these chemicals are safe. What people say is that in the quantities the are in the plastics, or leach out of the plastics that trace amount is safe. I have no idea what you are talking about with that 3 in 3000+ studies business.

The problem historically is not that someone says that a phthalate is safe (for example). The issues have been it leeches out, and there is no standard for what is safe, so 1000 ppm could come out, or 10ppm and the plastic is still legal to put in a toy (the standards on phthalates we set last year as I recall). Same goes for BPA, lead, and other things that we have sorted out. That doesnt mean that there arent other chemicals that need standardizing the health aspects, its just that this is a different problem than running around screaming about nasty chemicals in things.

Here is what you should be doing. Describe how much BPA is too much (hint, the answer is not >0), then point out the products, or plastics that leech more than that amount.

If you'd like me to link all my research then I will. I guess I'm of the mind that the US govt hasn't proven themselves as capable of making a scientific decision based on facts and not profit potential. If you believe the crap they tell you then I'm sorry you belong in the same category as them. Have you read any of the research on the subject? Or have you taken the EPAs, might I add they are BROKE, word for it? They don't do the studies themselves, neither does the FDA on new pharmaceuticals, we see how that has turned out recently. Don't insult my intelligence, integrity, or passion because you are some naysayer who thinks "everything is ok" and you don't see the trees just the forest. Maybe right now we aren't dead from overexposure but maybe you don't care if the human race overexposes itself to death. My 90% number was an overexaggeration based on the fact I believe all mutations occur because of some environmental exposure, whether viral, bacterial, chemical, nutritional, or anything else that affects the human body. We don't have historical data that shows symptoms of autism existed on this scale in written records that have existed for 6,000+ years. It is a developmental brain disease that we know, and we cannot rule out endocrine disruptors, not just BPA but phthalates and anything else that tends to bioaccumulate. It just isn't natural and now we have all this disease, in fact you don't find many intestinal issues we have here in the US in places in Africa that are indigenous, explain that?

in fact you don't find many intestinal issues we have here in the US in places in Africa that are indigenous, explain that?

It's how we poo poo and pee pee.

Seriously, it's easily explained by our toilet posture.

If you have any other hard ones that require accessing www.google.com and tying in "intestinal disease africa", feel free to ask and don't be afraid to be condescending; it just makes it funnier when google owns you.

I won Trivial Pursuit last night...twice...so that makes me right about everything.

Cripes Zurie,
I'm almost sorry to say this, because you seem nice. Linking to an MSDS sheet for BPA is truly an idiotic way to make your point.

Everything has a toxicity level. Toothpaste has a poison level. Table salt has a poison level. Some things have poison levels that are way higher than others, but that doesnt make trace amount of anything bad for you. That is why I keep on being specific about asking for evidence about what the amount of BPA is that you think causes autism and whether or not anyone is actually exposed to that amount, regularly, as children.

Look here is an MSDS sheet for table salt and if you have more than 3g/kg then you are in bad shape!

So to answer your first question: Yes, if you are going to make claims, I would, in fact, like very much for you to back them up with actual linked data so I can verify your claims. I can not learn anything for myself if you insist of arguments from authority, because you will simply be ignored. Here are the claims I have counted so far:

  • BPA causes autism
  • Children in america are chronically exposed to the concentrations of BPA that can cause autism
  • The FDA and EPA only makes medical safety decisions based on profit potential
  • The American population has more and different intestinal problems than in Africa
  • These intestinal problems are due to BPA exposure.

 

You also said this:

we see how that has turned out recently?

What are you referring to? Do you mean that of the hundreds of drugs approved annually ,that a couple of drugs slip through that have side effects that are worse than previously thought? Do you mean that since the FDA requires detailed documentation of how a drug or treatment performs instead of doing the tests themselves, that this is somehow bad? I think you are confusing cost benefit analysis with profit mongering (how exactly does the FDA profit anyway?)

Between you and me, one of us has actually gone through the application process before and one of us is claiming to be a med student. (to be fair, mine was not for a drug, it was for an implantable device).

Why do you expect the FDA, with your tax dollars, to test the claims of each and every drug and device out there? Shouldn't that be the responsibility of the maker to prove that it is safe? Each set of trials are very expensive. By the time you get to phase three, a company will have spent literally millions in an effort to show that their drug or treatment does what they are claiming it does without side effect that destroy the cost benefit analysis. This effort often takes years.

Now, to be clear, I don't have my head in the sand that there have not been problems. Of course there have. The FDA is chronically understaffed. Sometimes there are conditions in the actual population that were not thought about during clinicals (like the viagara + popper incidents).  But what is it that you are proposing? that the taxpayer fund the evaluation of every chemical and every drug and every treatment? Why should we have to do that? Instead we create a set of standards (both medically and environmentally)  by which we use to say something is safe enough and what conditions they are safe in to allow a company to sell it.  Sometimes we don’t have a standard set and we need to make one (like the recent phthalate standards)

The biggest problems with the FDA is that its staffing and funding has not been able to keep up with growth in the industry.

I am proposing regarding the FDA and EPA that former pharmaceutical heads make decisions based on drugs produced by their former colleagues. I am suggesting that testing should be done by a verifiable source chosen by someone other than the pharmaceutical company. I am suggesting that instead of proving something safe we are proving it isn't harmful with not enough data. I am suggesting that the US system of approving drugs and chemicals is antiquated and with the new available technology we need a new approach so we can avoid situations like Ketek and Vioxx, there is no argument either that Ketek's risked were downplayed by the pharmaceutical company. Our taxdollars PAY TO CLEAN UP THE MESS of these companies when something is uncovered. How many lead poisoned children in the inner city are being diagnosed as such daily? I said "potentially" in the first place and my discussion was on all endocrine disruptors not BPA only. I am not the only one suggesting this. My point about Africa was not that BPA causes intestinal issues, my point which I clearly failed to make is the crap we have in our soil, water (which they don't want us flushing Premarin or estradiol either because they cannot filter it out of the water), air, etc that are more toxic than in places not touched by "technology". The best I have is citations not actual links because I didn't access them via Internet but through Ebsco.

Endo, Y., Kimura, N., Ikeda, I., Fujimoto, K., & Kimoto, H., (2007, February). Adsorption of bisphenol a by lactic acid bacteria, Lactococcus strains. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 74(1), pp. 202-207.
Mahalingaiah, S., Meeker, J., Pearson, R., Calafat, A.,

Ye, X., Petrozza, J, et al. (2008, February). Temporal Variability and Predictors of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations in Men and Women [Electronic Version]. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116 (2), 173-178.

Yan, H., Takamoto, M., & Sugane, K., (2008, April). Exposure to bisphenol a prenatally or in adulthood promotes T(H)2 cytokine production associated with reduction of CD4CD25 regulatory T cells. Environmental Health Prospectives, 116(4), pp514-519.

I am not saying I know this for sure I am saying it has potential as an idea. I was arguing why based on reasons that make sense to me: limbic and endocrine relationship. I don't expect nothing to have a side effect but I do expect a known mutagen, which is why I included the MSDS not the threshold, to be studied further when they haven't done much about it since ten years or so ago. There was a big expose done in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the link is here:
http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/34405049.html

If I can summarize your comments:

Deer good.

Kirby bad.

Olbermann bad.

This is what you pass off as "criticial thinking"? Seems to fit better with the "irrational world" part of your blog title.

Hmm..yeah except you left out two point in your summery. Let me help:

  • There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that vaccines don't cause Autism. Hypothesis made, null hypothesis tested, null hypothesis proven true, multiple times. done.

  • Deer is good because he pointed out the flaws of one single mans studies that endangered the health of thousands of people all over the world

  • Kirby is bad because he is making money by flaming up these very same baseless phobias that Deer is fighting

  • Olberman is bad because he is another vacuous TV blowhard that people should stop watching.

You forgot all the "because's" and the very reason why the post was made in the first place. You see, critical thinking is generally about looking at all the evidence, not creating strawman summaries and cherry picking what you like to try to make your point, like you did.

If I can summarize your comments:

Deer good.

Kirby bad.

Olbermann bad.

Looks like you can't. Not even a very good try really.

This is what you pass off as "criticial thinking"?

No, it is the nonsense you claimed was passed off as critical thinking. In everyday life people would call what you did lying. Here it's called a strawman.

Seems to fit better with the "irrational world" part of your blog title.

It would. If it were true. But it wasn't. You fail.

"Thank you. Come again."

Zurie, I have not forgotten about you. I have not had the time recently to give you a proper response. Sorry.

Anyone bother reading Doherty's blog. He calls for evidence based treatment, but refuses evidence based causation.

He repeatedly confuses 'no evidence for autism-vaccine link' with 'we never studied the link and thats why there is no evidence".

Its rather ridiculous. Seems like a nice guy though and I totally feel for him an having autistic kid. But it looks like Jenny McCarthy syndrome: I have an autistic kid therefore I am an expert on the cause, never mind what study after study shows.

TechSkeptic said "Anyone bother reading Doherty's blog."

I don't bother. I see him enough on the LeftBrainRightBrain blog, where he is a concern troll. What is very interesting is that many there have tried to comment on his blog, but their comments never appear. He is so sure of himself, he censors the comments.

Zurie (I don't know if you are still there)

I am proposing regarding the FDA and EPA that former pharmaceutical heads make decisions based on drugs produced by their former colleagues.

You can propose that all you like, but unless you have some evidence that this is the case it's really not worth arguing over. You believe in conspiracy theories and I do not without evidence. The FDA is a set of standards and a very tedious and expensive qualification standard that must be met in order to approve a drug or device. As I said, I have gone through this process, you clearly have not.

That is not to say that it is not helpful to know someone at the FDA to help you through the process, but it still does not mean that anyone gets to skip over the process due to cronyism.

I am suggesting that testing should be done by a verifiable source chosen by someone other than the pharmaceutical company.

Can you please point to the instances of where you think data was faked in order to get by the phase III qualifications for drug approval? Becuase if you do not have any, then you are just presuming conspiracy again. Finally, I do not like having to pay with tax dollars a third party to test all the drugs. that costs millions of dollars for each drug and we shouldn't have to do and pay for the hard work that is required to show efficacy and safety. The drug company should do that, its their claim that they need to prove. Regardless, there are in fact tons of studies and paper that do exactly what you say. Just search pubmed for any popular medicine and you will find thousands of studies.

I am suggesting that instead of proving something safe we are proving it isn't harmful with not enough data.

Please provide an example that shows this is a chronic problem. There are of course drugs that slip through. It is not a useful expectation that all drugs are testing for all circumstances. Nor is it useful to ban a drug just because it is not useful or even dangerous in certain circumstances. Most often the safety of a drug comes in question when it is use in conjuction with another drug and there is an interaction. This is one of the reasons that the unregulated naturopath movement can be dangerous. There is no crosstalk, and everyone assumes that drugs and herbs don't pose any risk.

you are confusing risk/benefit analysis with poor qualification. however I of course will not sit here and say that no drugs get through that should not have. Of course that is the case, but it is not a chronic problem, nor is it a problem with the system itself. Its a problem of funding and staffing.

How many lead poisoned children in the inner city are being diagnosed as such daily?

I think this is what we call a non-sequitur. we are talking drugs and now we are talking kids and lead. What in the world does that have to do with the FDA, or the EPA? The EPA are the ones who put the kabosh on lead paint and continue to enforce that. Lead paint issues are due to oldpaint! Again you are presuming that there should be some entity that tests every possible chemical known and unknown to man to check for safety in all cases and scenarios. That is a complete ridiculous expectation. When we noticed problems with lead, we regulated lead. When we noticed problems with asbestos, we regulated asbestos. When we noticed problems with phthalates, we regulated phthalates. But the regulation has to happen after the observation of a problem, the hypothesis generation of the cause of problem, the testing of the hypothesis and the verification of the conclusions of that testing. Otherwise we are going to go and ban everything that could ever pose a threat including eggs, peanuts, glass.

Our taxdollars PAY TO CLEAN UP THE MESS of these companies when something is uncovered
Or... we sue the companies who knowingly faked data and ignored the problem to do it. Like the tobacco folks, like GE and the hudson river, and so forth.
clearly failed to make is the crap we have in our soil, water (which they don't want us flushing Premarin or estradiol either because they cannot filter it out of the water), air, etc that are more toxic than in places not touched by "technology".

And yet our lifespans are longer than any of those places. You are presuming that our sicknesses, like the prevalence of cancer are due to something new in the environment, instead of the fact that we have been able to eliminate most of the diseases that were killing us before, polio (thanl you vaccines), tuberculosis (thank you antibiotics), malaria (thank you DDT). And now we are left with cancer and far longer lifespans. The rise in cancer rates is not necessarily due to an average increase in environmental toxins, but can be atttributed to the reduction of other things that were killing us.

Yes there are places that have high concentrations of "crap", superfund sites, brownfields, etc etc. And you can thank our legislation and EPA for getting funding to clean up those places. However, once again, it isn't always because the evil company knew they were hurting people. Asbestos was though of as a godsend, until we noticed that the dust causes scarring in the lungs. But that doesnt make Corning responsible for all the asbestos related injury before we understood that.

Then you cited three articles. did you read them or the summaries?

#1 discusses how certain bacteria can remove BPA.
#2 you could have linked to if you bother to look. This study says nothing about BPA affects on anyone. It only shows that couples tend to have correlated BPA exposure and that of only 45 women, pregnant ones (only 10!) had higher BPA levels than non-pregnant.
#3 "BPA promotes the development of TH2 cells in adulthood and both TH1 and TH2 cells in prenatal stages by reducing the number of regulatory T cells"

I honestly have no idea what that means. Yes all 3 refer to BPA as an endocrine disruptor, and no one here says that it isnt one. But for the life of me I have no idea why you mentioned those three articles. Did you do a search for "BPA endocrine disruptor" and these were the first three you got? The important data is how much BPA is required to do any damage at all, and whether or not anyone, specifically autistic people, are exposed to this amount chronically. Neither of which you did.

As for your link to a news article. Well Im not going to spend two hours going through that whole article bit by bit. I'll just telly uothis. If we are worrying about less than 25 parts per trillion then we better stay out of the sun for any amount of time and only drink distilled water and hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables that have been grown in distilled water with known nutrients added. Anything else and you are exposing yourself to concentrations of naturally occurring things that are far worse than BPA.

Yes BPA if they can still make cheap plastic without BPA, they should stop using it. But until then, you can thank your dreaded FDA and EPA for sounding warning shots and enforcing regulation on known toxic chemicals. And when they drop the ball, and they have, and will again, we should examine the procedures and standard so the process improves. But screaming conspiracy and making baseless claims about concentrations, exposures, and causes of disease...well that really doesn't help anything does it?

Did you read the study? Did you look up the links that are there? You don't know what Treg cells are and you are saying that BPA is safe? You cannot sit here and tell me that the govt has it right when the investigative reporting done by the MilwaukeeJS has shown everything I don't need to here right now. You refuse to read the watchdog report why? Because then you'd see I'm right? Because then you'd have to give up the easy notion that the govt protects you and your offspring over special interests? You enjoy being ignorant that is evident! Don't knock my research because you don't "understand" it. I also work in the pharmaceutical industry, in a pharmacy, at the present moment while I'm in school. I work with a Pharmacist who has worked in research before working in the community. Even HE understands and appreciates the politicizing of the chemical/pharmaceutical industry. Don't tell me I'm making baseless claims when you are the one who can't even explain the science I am giving you. You can't even claim to begin to know if what anyone is saying when it comes to science is true or not. Have you ever read a study? A peer reviewed study? They contain citations from OTHER studies with references and such, in the History and Conclusion sections they refer to recent research constantly. YOU CANNOT DO A SCIENTIFIC STUDY WITH ONLY YOUR OWN DATA. Seriously how you can say that the studies I cited only had something to do with urine concentrations, you obviously missed A LOT OF INFORMATION!!!! Ignorance is not bliss my friend. I did not pull this one out of my butt, just because you refuse to inform yourself doesn't mean I am going to waste my time proving it to you when I HAVE given you the information and either you are too stubborn or too ignorant to find it from there. Good luck trusting the companies who pose to profit from these chemicals THAT DO MIMICK HORMONES OR SURPRESS THEM, in fact give them in large quantities to your offspring and lets see what happens in 20 years. Good luck sounding like an idiot citizen who really believes the government has your back and will not allow anything to happen to you. You obviously don't know much about the FDA/EPA, having ONE product approved means nothing when EVERYDAY I deal with recalled products because someone dropped the ball. The recent one that comes to mind= Ethex. And Yes I have every right to expect the government agencies I pay to keep there should do their job and be damn sure the people they are exposing to their products are not going to create a situation that the rest of the country has to pay for later. Good luck with your obvious head in the sand.

BTW distilled water is not good for you and I'm not someone who thinks naturally only is necessary, I plan to prescribe these drugs I think I have the right to expect that I won't seriously harm my patients.

Leaving aside everything else for the moment...

If we are worrying about less than 25 parts per trillion then we better stay out of the sun for any amount of time and only drink distilled water and hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables that have been grown in distilled water with known nutrients added.

Sorry TS, but that's a lousy argument (very similar to the classic AGW-denialist canard that CO2 can't have a dramatic effect because it's only 380ppm). Just because it's a really small number doesn't mean it can't do anything - for example, LSD is clinically active in incredibly small doses.

As far as I am aware, there are good reasons to be concerned about BPA, and evidence indicating that it may be involved in a number of metabolic disorders (at environmentally relevant levels). Given that there are alternatives available, phasing out BPA seems like a reasonable idea.

However, so far as I am aware, there is absolutely no evidence to link BPA to autism, or indeed any other developmental disorder.

I didnt deny any of those things, and in fact I agree with that.

Yes BPA is a bad agent in significant concentrations and chronic exposure And you made the same point as I, if there are alternatives that make the plastics as cheap as they are, then I'm all for a ban.

But in your article, (BTW, Zurie, that is how you link to something that back up your claim) do you know what 0.1 nano molar solutions is? that is 0.1 nanomoles of a reagent mixed in 1 liter of water. That is 6.02x10^13 molecules of BPA in 18 moles of water which is about 180 ppt. Well over an order of magnitude higher than were the largest levels mentioned in the article that Zurie linked to.

But zurie has been all over the place. We have been at claims about autism, then we visited some claims about africa, then some conspiracy theories about the FDA and EPA. I have not fully read her last diatribe but early on comes the strawman and later the caps...so I will enjoy that post tonight.

Anyway, thats a good article making a link between BPA and obesity. However it falls pretty short of actually showing that people with those levels of BPA levels in their blood tend to be fatter (that study may exist too). There is a differnce between beign exposed to 180 ppt, and having 180 ppt in your blood which is what they actually tested. There is a difference between being exposed to 25 ppt (like drinking a glass of water with 25ppt BPA) and having 25 ppt in your blood. Regardless, That is the sort of article Zurie should have linked to, to support the claim that BPA is linked to autism.

BTW, active LSD concentrations are on the low ppB level not low ppt, as far as I can find. Yeah thats small, but not this small.

Don't worry mate, I'm not defending Zurie here. His / her / its claims have been so scatter-shot that I've stopped paying much attention and haven't bothered following up the details, to be honest. And you're quite right about the various concentration levels, and the distinction between showing a measurable effect and an actual health outcome. I included those links and so forth mainly to try and demonstrate to Zurie what a measured, evidence-based argument really looks like - not because I thought you didn't agree.

I'm just allergic to the "that's too small a number to be important" line of argument. Possibly more so than I should be... ;)

Zurie:

Right in front of our eyes we've had the answer, potentially in my humble opinion, this disease has affected thousands more children since the 90's right? Well what changed in our environment?

Please demonstrate that there has in fact been a rise in cases of autism that is not explained by better diagnostic methods, changes in diagnostic definition and more diligent reporting of cases.

Is the Rise In Autism Rates Real? HCN already linked this but you seem to have ignored it.

Is autism on the rise?

There are standardized methods to diagnose the disorder, but this wasn't always the case. Not until the mid-1990s did the medical community reach a consensus. The inconsistency in medical records before then can confound researchers looking for trends.

...

Because more people, doctors included, are aware of autism and its warning signs now than 20 years ago, the numbers may be misleading. They may simply reflect more diagnoses rather than a rise in incidence. No one can say for sure, at least not yet.

"The definition has changed, the classification system has changed, there's greater recognition now than in the past, and there are services available for children with autism...For all of those reasons, it's very hard to compare the rates from the studies now to the rates from studies ten years ago," explains Yeargin-Allsopp.

Did you get that? The mid-1990s. Interesting.

Rise in autism rate misleading, study says

"Many of the children now being counted in the autism category would probably have been counted in the mental retardation or learning disabilities categories if they were being labelled 10 years ago instead of today," said researcher Paul Shattuck of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, in a statement.

Don't trust the Big Pharma oriented North Americans? Shall we see what the EU has to say about autism rates?

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

1. The existing data is too limited to conclude that rates of autism and other ASDs have increased. No studies have ever estimated or monitored the incidence of ASDs over a long period. Existing cross-sectional surveys differ widely in how they define and identify cases, and so their estimates of prevalence both over time and across areas vary too much to allow any meaningful analysis of time trends.

2. Recent surveys reveal much higher rates than 30 years ago, but this does not give an accurate picture of the extent to which ASDs are increasing in the EU. It is as much a reflection of today's broader concept of autism, which is now recognised among normally intelligent subjects, diagnosed according to different criteria, and better identified thanks to better health and social services.

3. The EU lacks good data for testing hypotheses on how the incidence of autism changes over long periods. Specific limitations in methods make it impossible to draw definite conclusions from the high prevalence rates reported in recent autism surveys in the EU and in the US.

4. Nevertheless, existing information suggests that age-specific prevalence rates for “classical autism” in the EU could vary between 3.3 and 16.0 per 10 000. These rates could increase to between 30 and 63 per 10 000 once all forms of ASD are included. The validity and usefulness of a broad definition of autism is still being debated.

Back to you:
But maybe by some of your accounts the EPA has it right and we should TRUST them....(coughs *lead* coughs)

Oh, it's a conspiracy. Please provide some proof that the EPA and FDA are in on some vast conspiracy. Not simple assertions based on personal belief, proof.

After you have done that, please provide some proof that the EPA also somehow controls similar organisations throughout the developed world, in order to have them suppress similar information. For instance, please explain how the EPA and FDA manage to control organisations like NICE, MHRA and the the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK.

I really don't think people understand how for so long people don't mean anything to the govt of the US just money.

There are other advanced nations in the world you know. How does the US government prevent them from doing research into BPA and releasing results? Well, it doesn't.

You may find this draft paper interesting:

Interim Risk Reduction Strategy and Analysis of Advantages and Drawbacks for Bisphenol-A

From page 33:

Following discussions and exchange of information and data, it has been advised by industry that the use of bisphenol-A as an inhibitor in the production of PVC has virtually ceased in the EU...

Would you therefore predict that autism rates should now be falling in the EU, since at least one environmental factor has been removed? Or that rates will fall in the near future whilst they continue to rise in the US?

I guess I'm of the mind that the US govt hasn't proven themselves as capable of making a scientific decision based on facts and not profit potential.

Well thank goodness for the EU then. I guess it will only be the US with 90% autism rates in your 100 year future.

To sum up, provide evidence that a rise in autism rates is down to anything other than poor book keeping, improved diagnostics, broadened diagnostics and improved reporting. Then prove that there is some vast conspiray being perpetrated by the agencies responsible for research into products like BPA and new drugs, across the world and somehow orchestrated by the EPA and FDA.

Then maybe we can talk.

You may very well have a point, but you've failed to prove two of your main premises - a rise in autism rates solely down to environmental factors and a large government conspiracy driven by financial greed. Until you can show a rise in autism rates is definitely down to environmental factors, you can't prove that your pet environmental factor is the reason. Until you can prove there is a conspiracy, you can't prove the relevant information has been hidden from the public.

With no proof, you're just connecting dots at random.

This seems particularly relevant:

The first clue to the cause of autism is that it's genetic....Researchers have shown that autism is genetic by studying twins. They found that when one identical twin had autism spectrum disorder, the risk to the second twin was greater than 90 percent; in contrast, when one fraternal twin had autism, the risk to the second twin was less than 10 percent. Because identical twins share the same genes and fraternal twins don't, these studies proved that autism was in large part genetic.
--Paul A. Offit, Autism's False Prophets, p. 218

Offit goes on to describe the best current understanding of the causes of autism--that it's almost certainly not confined to single changes or single genes (unlike, say, sickle-cell anemia), that it may be related to abnormal proteins in the neural synapses, and that there are specific prenatal environmental factors that can increase the risk for ASD (specifically thalidomide and rubella virus). The autism spectrum is broad, which means there probably isn't a single cause or mechanism, and the more we study it, the better we understand it, the more likely we are to come up with effective treatments and cures.

Flying off on the handle about the supposed dangers of exposure to plastics and making unwarranted connections is emphatically not the way to go about this. As others have mentioned, the apparent increase in autism cases is primarily (if not entirely) the result of changing the diagnostic criteria, and the rise in autism spectrum disorders has been accompanied by a nearly equal drop in other, less specific forms of developmental disorders. This sort of thing has been happening since Leo Kanner first defined autism--people later categorized as autistic had initially been diagnosed with various other types of mental retardation. And also recall that ASD covers things like ADHD and Asperger's syndrome, which tend not to be nearly so debilitating as some of the more severe forms of autism.

As to the idea that "90% of the world" might become autistic, I think you're relying on a very naïve understanding of how genes and heredity work. There are many genetic disorders (or even just genetic traits) which are more common, more simple, and more heritable than autism, and yet I don't think there's any trait or disorder that "90%" of the world possesses. Even with strict Mendelian dominant traits like cheek dimples and freckles, there's not a 90% distribution. What feature of ASD would make it so incredibly common?

No what is obvious is that you take statements that I clearly stated were overstatements on purpose for effect and latch on to them to prove some point when the original statement I made, over and over I might add, is that the idea has POTENTIAL. I stated my reasons for feeling this way and instead of looking at the argument that A: limbic and endocrine relationship is so linked and intricate that any disruption can have terrible consequences and B: there is research, not just my own hypothesis, that supports this. I did link an article on my second or third post and the expose done by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where these reporters did months and months of investigative journalism on the inepititude of the EPA/FDA on this issue. I did not only identify BPA I said all endocrine disruptors. Instead of arguing based on the original idea of mine, you latch on to a few statements to try to invalidate the whole thing. I already said 90% was an overstatement, but considering the fact that known mutagens are in our air, water, food, and basically everything we come into contact with since the wonderful age of "technology" we can expect to have consequences that are bad even if we do make some gains in the process. My main argument is there is enough evidence out there that says this stuff isn't safe. There was push back for years on lead, and yes our taxpayer dollars still pay for the clean up and suing that industry didn't eradicate the danger, tobacco was called "safe" and even used to treat asthma. When we have thousands of chemicals that no one truly knows are safe for human consumption and companies who profit from these chemicals funding the research, lobbying the government to allow them to sell their products, and basically having no real reason to do their duty as citizens because in America "the markets fix everything"; there is extreme concern. I get upset so what, why? Because my main argument and point is ridiculed instead of talking about how the possibility that disrupting the negative feedback pathways of the neuroendocrine system could have developmental effects there is this smear campaign launched to pick at and misrepresent my statements. I hope you feel real good about yourself as you smugly look in the mirror thinking you've accomplished something. Meanwhile as my colleages and I are in the lab working on research doing what we can to protect the future of this country, you can go ahead defending big business, the special interest lobbying groups that run this country (which I bet a good buck you are a part of), and when the science catches up you will see you are mistaken. There also has been studies that say the rate of autism HAS gone up not because of refined diagnoses but because of "something" they cannot yet define. Genetics plays a part and when you have mutagens in our environment it is not a far stretch from the imagination that it could be the cause of some cases. I will not waste my time and energy giving my evidence when the evidence I have given is completely ignored. By the way the CD4/CD25 receptors on the Treg cells are important in immune function and their mutations have been linked with an increased rate of asthma and allergies. The CD4 receptor is also one of the receptors that allows HIV to enter the macrophage and that particular receptor causes HIV to turn into full blown AIDS more rapidly. They found this out because they came up with a drug called marivoric that blocks the CCR5 co-receptor, which is responsible for HIV infiltration into the macrophage in some strains of HIV-1, when they blocked the receptor in some patients who had the CD4 tropic variant not only did they disease act more rapidly but more aggresively. So let's all mutate our CD4 receptors on our macrophages, maybe we won't get ASD, especially since it is the embryonic development that concerns endocrinologists regarding ASD, but hey we all could die because our immune cells aren't up to snuff. You will find that in the study I posted above regarding CD4/CD25 cell receptors. Just a side note: I hope your job doesn't require being detail oriented because if it did I wouldn't have had to explain my comments yet again...

No what is obvious is that you take statements that I clearly stated were overstatements on purpose for effect and latch on to them to prove some point when the original statement I made, over and over I might add, is that the idea has POTENTIAL.

OK. Would you say this is a fair summary of your position?

Hypothesis 1: The incidence of ASDs is increasing.

Hypothesis 2: The increase in the incidence of ASDs is at least partially driven by environmental exposure to endocrine disruptors, such as (but not limited to) BPA.

Hypothesis 1 is, at best, on shaky ground, as many commenters have pointed out. Without that, the whole argument falls apart.

There also has been studies that say the rate of autism HAS gone up not because of refined diagnoses but because of "something" they cannot yet define. Genetics plays a part and when you have mutagens in our environment it is not a far stretch from the imagination that it could be the cause of some cases. I will not waste my time and energy giving my evidence when the evidence I have given is completely ignored.

This is a rather key part of the whole debate, so if you could present that evidence, it would be very much appreciated.

Hypothesis 2 is currently unsupported by any evidence that I am aware of. It is not a priori unreasonable, but it's not actually supported by any evidence. And if hypothesis 1 is false, then hypothesis 2 must necessarily also be false. Again, demonstrating that there really is a real increase in the incidence of ASDs is absolutely vital, so if you could provide us with the evidence which leads you to conclude that this is the case, I for one would appreciate it.

If you want to have a wider debate on the "precautionary principle" in general, this may not be the most appropriate venue. However, it's not my blog...

Well, that little rant was certainly informative. It just burns you up that we didn't just immediately take your word for it, doesn't it?

I stated my reasons for feeling this way and instead of looking at the argument that A: limbic and endocrine relationship is so linked and intricate that any disruption can have terrible consequences

Yes, that is what you say now. limbic and endocrine. Now pay attention, this might be important.

In your first post you said:

If the endocrine system, which is extremely closely linked to the lymphatic system in the brain, they work together to create normal body functions, the lymphatic system is important for emotion and memory, if you block the hormones that activate this system you WILL have problems with your lymphatic system.

And only subsequently corrected your claims to limbic from lymphatic. Without acknowledging any mistake.

One would have thought someone heavily involved in this sort of research or studying for their MSN would not have mistaken the lymphatic system for the limbic system. Go ahead, we've got time for you to look up the difference on Wikipedia.

Maybe it's just me that thinks someone heavily involved in this sort of research or studying for their MSN wouldn't have made such an elementary mistake not once but three times in one paragraph. And then hope no one would notice later on when they changed this. And then complain that others weren't listening to them and taking their word for it.

I did not only identify BPA I said all endocrine disruptors.

Oh I know. My point was that since the EU has removed BPA as a source, then do you expect to see autism rates go down (or at least slow down) in the EU since at least one endocrine disruptor has been removed? My point was that your conspiracy theory is worthless.

and basically everything we come into contact with since the wonderful age of "technology"

Oh yes "technology" is so terrible. Let's go back to horses, smallpox, living to the grand age of 35 and wallowing in our own filth. Much better.

My main argument is there is enough evidence out there that says this stuff isn't safe.

Which stuff? All of it? In any dose? At what rate of exposure? Have any autistic people actually been tested yet? Or is this speculation?

When we have thousands of chemicals that no one truly knows are safe for human consumption and companies who profit from these chemicals funding the research, lobbying the government to allow them to sell their products, and basically having no real reason to do their duty as citizens because in America "the markets fix everything";

Because as we all know America is the only country in the world. And if there were other countries, they would all do things the American way. If that really is the American way.

Because my main argument and point is ridiculed instead of talking about how the possibility that disrupting the negative feedback pathways of the neuroendocrine system could have developmental effects there is this smear campaign launched to pick at and misrepresent my statements.

Well I did say you might have a point. From my brief research it does seem however that the theory of endocrine disruptors has its detractors. The problem with your main argument is, as has been pointed out to you several times now, that you haven't shown that there has been a real rise in autism due to environmental factors.

Your entire argument rests on this - if there is no real rise in autism due to environmental factors, then whether endocrine disruptors do something or not is irrelevant.

Ironically, you ignore all the research that shows the rise in autism is down to non-environmental causes and complain we ignore your research. Pot, meet kettle.

Meanwhile as my colleages and I are in the lab working on research

Research that is so diligent you confused lymphatic with limbic three times and then changed this without acknowledging any mistake.

you can go ahead defending big business, the special interest lobbying groups that run this country (which I bet a good buck you are a part of),

Fail. Never did and never have, and I work for REI. Strawman and ad hominem all together in one small section.

and when the science catches up you will see you are mistaken.

Perhaps. If it means a possible treatment for ASDs then I'll be more inclined to be happy.

There also has been studies that say the rate of autism HAS gone up not because of refined diagnoses but because of "something" they cannot yet define.

So you can provide a link to these studies then? A description of their methodology? An explanation for the source of their historical data that apparently no-one else has access to?

Why do you conclude that the "something" has to be environmental and therefore probably endocrine disruptors? On what basis?

I mean, if you want to get picky then autism rates have actually been on the rise since 1943. See if you can figure out why.

I will not waste my time and energy giving my evidence when the evidence I have given is completely ignored.

How convenient.

Just a side note: I hope your job doesn't require being detail oriented because if it did I wouldn't have had to explain my comments yet again...

Not especially so no.

But let me issue a challenge I've issued before to other people on here. One that is never accepted.

Don't think we are smart enough or qualified enough to deal with your evidence, research and arguments? Fine. Take them over to Dr. Steven Novella's blog. He's a neuro-surgeon. More than qualified for you I am sure. We can all check in later to see how you are doing.

So, to re-iterate:

You have yet to show that there is a real rise in autism rates for reasons other than those we have cited.

You have yet to show evidence of your grand conspiracy involving the EPA, FDA and rest of the governments of the world.

In the interests of full disclosure however, I think it only fair that you identify where your research funding comes from, and who you work for. You've accused us of bias and working for "The Man", how do we know you aren't equally biased or bought? Put up or shut up. You wanted to be treated fairly, start here.

Well, I don't have anything to add about the actual argument taking place. However, I find it very interesting to watch Zurie's posts become more and more desperate. It makes me wonder how someone who is clearly educated can not understand the simple rules of argument. I imagine that is the case often in this blog. Did these people just skip Intro to Logic? Ironically, its like talking to a politician or maybe even a cable news personality. The sad part is that folks like Zurie are in the majority. If everyone knew how to make an argument we might be able to work together on a solution for a problem rather than spend all our time trying to show ignorant people that their argument is invalid or not an argument at all.

I have a somewhat different perspective on this...

Consider how much money is being wasted on vaccine research. Consider how much money is being wasted on investigating various "causes" for autism--thimerosal, lead, allergies, leaky gut... All of this stuff has been disproven and yet they're still pounding their heads against the same wall.

What's more, we know autism's mostly genetic. Twin studies show anything from 50% (if you use only classic autism) to 95% (if you count the whole spectrum) of twins of autistic people are autistic. (No, they're not twin/adoption studies. None of those yet, or anyway none that I've found. This sucks, and needs more research.) What most scientists seem to have concluded, as have I, is that autism is a genetic trait that can be affected by the environment--probably the prenatal environment.

Here's what really makes me furious, though. All the research seems to be "what causes autism". There's next to nothing on how we can help autistic children learn and help autistic adults get job training or a college education... how we can help make a workplace or a school autistic-friendly. Anyone who knows an autistic person knows that environment has a big impact on them, even more than it has on most people. And yet there's hardly any research on how autistic people learn, or what environment helps them most, or how to maximize independence, or how to reduce prejudice and raise acceptance.

If we could take the money going to quack research and re-direct it to quality of life stuff, we'd have a bunch more happy, healthy, productive autistic people.

But people are all into "it's this toxin, it's that preservative, it's the other thing over here" when there are a bunch of autistic people out here who aren't getting what they need because everybody's trying too hard to "cure" whatever's probably hard-wired into their brains anyway.

We need more practical research.

Couldn't agree more with you.

All these anti-vaxxers claim to be helping autistic people and to only have their best interests at heart and they are in fact holding back the work that should be getting done by redirecting already scant funds into areas that have been researched again and again.

They are just like kids who keep asking different people for something until they find someone who says 'Yes' instead of 'No'.

What I found interesting about Zurie was his frequent arguments from authority and then his sudden disappearance once the elementary mistake he made was pointed out to him, and the apparent way he thought no-one would notice.

He really expected us to just take his word for it and leave it at that, yet he was the perfect example of why we shouldn't just take anyones word for anything!

And you're right, that sort of person shows up on skeptical blogs all the time. Makes it fun though.

Zurie has a groupie!

I'd like to discuss in detail the reasons why shots are very safe - and super important - and to present some fresh ideas about a more likely cause of autism: an invisible soup of toxins we're exposed to every day...endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

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