Thursday, September 13, 2012

Genetic Test For Autism Developed By Australian Scientists: HuffPo

An article posted yesterday at the Huffington Post states "Australian scientists have developed a genetic test Molecular Psychiatry and they cover 237 genetic markers.
to predict autism spectrum disorder in children".  The findings were published in the journal

It is probably a good idea to reserve judgement until these findings can be verified and replicated, but if this holds true it could be a breakthrough on the path to find the actual cause(s) of autism itself.  Granted the study can only claim a 70% accuracy when predicting autism, but the fact they were able to identify specific genetic markers is promising, and in time the accuracy will most likely be vastly improved.

This type of research can help identify at-risk children far sooner in life which in turn can allow treatments to begin earlier in the child's life.  Early detection and treatment can make all the difference when it comes to autism, so this type of research can be invaluable.

The question now becomes - how can anti-vaccinationists spin this study to blame vaccines for autism?  It doesn't seem likely that they will suggest that vaccines are responsible for the manipulation of genetic code in a small child, thus I can think of two excuses we can expect to see from the antivaxxer community.

Number one, antivaxxers will claim that vaccines work in conjunction with these genetic markers to "trigger" autism in children.  This is an interesting theory of course, but it will be as equally interesting to see the data and research which supports this hypothesis.  Needless to say I can almost hear the antivaxxer community scurrying to come up with something - anything - they can use to suggest this is plausible.

Number two, antivaxxers will claim that vaccines cause genetic mutations which are then passed on to the offspring of those people who received vaccinations in the past.  Thus if two adults are fully vaccinated and they produce offspring, the child would then reflect these genetic markers that put him or her at risk for autism.  Again it will be interesting to see the science that shows the vaccination status of the parents if antivaxxers wish to push this theory.

Granted there could be several more excuses that I couldn't even begin to guess, but the one thing I am certain about is that the antivaxxers will NOT come out and claim that autism is a genetic disorder with no connection to vaccines... because that would be allowing the science to steer their views rather than backing into an opinion by discrediting the science.  The truth is, if we all let science guide our views rather than making assumptions, there would be no such thing as an antivaxxer in the first place.  However since that isn't the case, it is safe to assume this study will be ignored and overlooked by the antivaxxer community, just as all of the previous research that has shown a strong genetic component to autism has been ignored and/or manipulated.

Full article here:  Genetic Test For Autism Developed By Australian Scientists

Update 9/14/12:  As predicted, antivaxxers such as Lowell Hubbs have complained that I didn't link to the actual study, and therefore Mr. Hubbs has suggested I didn't actually bother to read it.  Obviously that is quite an assumption on the part of Mr. Hubbs, although true to form he is one again incorrect.

I didn't realize I had to spoon feed the anti-vaccinationists by giving them direct links therefore eliminating the confusion caused by using a search bar, but to humor Mr. Hubbs I'll go ahead and provide the link here.  Please note that eventually this study will most likely not be available for free viewing, and as such the link may stop working (which is why I didn't include it originally and instead merely linked to the journal which published the study).  However for the time being you may read the original study at the link below:

Molecular Psychiatry: Predicting the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder using gene pathway analysis

When the study is no longer available (aka: open) on the website, you should still be able to read the abstract by searching for the title of the study above and/or the primary author's name: Professor Christos Pantelis.

I should also note that Mr. Hubbs claims this study "actually in fact directly supports the ASD/Vaccine connection".  I of course predicted antivaxxers would take this route, but of course aside from his opinion Mr. Hubbs can offer no evidence to support this statement.  In fact, the study itself makes no reference to vaccines at all, and the term "vaccine" is found nowhere within the text of the study.  This is yet another example of antivaxxers seeing what they wish to see, with no time spent understanding the science, the methods, or the output of many hours of effort.  If anyone didn't bother to read a study, I'm guessing it was Mr. Hubbs as I can see not other explanation behind such a severe misunderstanding of the content.

The reality is the study surrounds genetic variants and the ability to predict autism and other autism spectrum disorders.  It has to do with genetic classification and prediction - nothing more.  The researchers did not in any way broach the subject of what "causes" autism, but rather they are focused upon detection methods.  Much more must be done to expand upon this data to learn the root causes of the genetic markers identified within this study, but we are a long, long way from being able to make any statements pertaining to causation.

Far be it from an antivaxxer to wait until the science leads them down a path before they proudly proclaim they have all the answers.  In the mind of an antivaxxer like Lowell Hubbs, research can be interpreted any number of ways... provided all of those ways result in someone or something blaming vaccines for autism.


  1. Nice try Mr. Hubbs... but I'm not playing your little games.

  2. Lowell has a particular 'knack' for reading what he wishes was printed, rather than what's actually found on the paper.

    He carries this through to his arguments (using the word generously) with others. He will misconstrue, misquote and misreport everything he gets his hot little hands on in order to try to bolster his platform.

  3. Precisely - and when these tactics are blended with a bias which prevents him from looking at the data from an objective lens... it isn't a surprise that everything he finds or takes the time to review seems to always support his opinions - even when it actually does no such thing.

    Is there any doubt why the most prolific antivaxxers on the Internet tend to NOT work in any scientific capacity? It comes down to a lack of scientific understanding, an inability to be impartial, and the inability to follow the evidence rather than automatically backing in to a position even when the data doesn't support it.

    Just ask Andrew Wakefield how things work out when you fudge and manipulate the data to support a hypothesis.

  4. Sorry again Mr. Hubbs, but I'm not going to post comments where you attempt to change the subject or link to one of your fellow (previously discredited) anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists.

    Second, you still haven't admitted the fact that you continually attempt to post comments under other names (sockpuppet accounts). Therefore since you cannot engage in an adult-like manner and you refuse to be honest about your comments, I see no reason to publish your nonsense.

    Perhaps you would have more luck over at vactruth or wherever it is you can associate with like-minded people. Save the real debates for people who are able to actually discuss the facts and issues rationally and without resorting to childish tactics.

  5. vaccines kill, injure and maim..period...
    show me proof that vaccines help..

    1. There is a ton of information on this very blog that proves vaccines "help" Mr. Sheppard, but I wouldn't expect a chiropractor to understand the complexities of clicking links and reading as I fully understand your profession requires a certain amount of science-avoidance.

      You might ask yourself why we don't see polio or smallpox anymore however... unless of course you feel that is merely a coincidence.

      However, if you are going to claim "vaccines kill, injure, and maim"... perhaps you would like to provide proof of those claims. After all Mr. Sheppard... if you make a claim, it is your duty to support it with evidence.

      While you are at it, perhaps you could provide some peer-reviewed research showing how chiropractic care is actually more effective than physical therapy, or that it is effective for anything other than lower back pain. Or maybe you could provide some peer-reviewed evidence which proves that 'subluxations' even exist or that they are tied to health problems.

      Of course if you weren't just posting drive-by comments and instead were interested in learning, you may have already read my blog post where I discussed the issue of chiropractic in the past. I highly recommend you give it a read... you might actually learn something which wasn't taught in the typical two-year chiropractic program.


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