Alleged science blogger Dr. David H. Gorski is at it again lashing out at anyone who disagrees with his views, and hurling ad hominem attacks. Once again Dr. Gorski demonstrates no knowledge of autism disorders while commenting, albeit indirectly, on autism causation.
Dr. Gorski displays poor research skills by describing me as an Age of Autism hanger on which is quite funny because I have over the years often disagreed with views posted on that site. A year ago I questioned Kent Heckenlively of Age of Autism about his apparent endorsement of the ACE Pathway investigation one of several critical posts I made about ACE Pathway which I viewed with concern.
If Gorski actually read anything on this site he would know that I advocate for evidence based interventions and services for autistic children and adults and have done so for a decade along with other parents, and with some real results, in my home province of New Brunswick, Canada. In our autism advocacy efforts studies and reports by American health and science experts on autism were the foundation of our efforts. They were invaluable. Dr. Gorski's name was not amongst those that I have encountered over the years as having any expertise on the subject of autism.
I never used to accept that vaccines played any role in causing autism. I have moved from agreeing with the view that there was no merit at all to the vaccine causes autism theories to accepting that the issues arising from the injection of vaccines into children and pregnant women have not been "determined for all time" and may trigger autism in some vulnerable predisposed children. My move toward an open mind on these issues was prompted not by the Age of Autism but by Dr. Healey, Dr Poling and even Dr. Julie Gerberding, the soon to be Merck vaccine division head and former CDC director. Dr. Gorski would know this if he actually read this site before slinging mud.
Dr. Gorski, apart from failing to demonstrate any knowledge of autism in his new commentary, also tried to reduce my views, and the views of many others, about potential environmental causes of autism to the vaccine issues. He does so no doubt because it is easier to attack people who question vaccine safety than those who question the impact of environmental chemicals generally on the neurological development of children. Dr. Paul Offit has led a very successful campaign to whip the mainstream media into condemning people who question vaccines as fringe, hysterical extremists. It is more difficult for Gorski, or Offit for that matter, to argue that it has been "scientifically proven for all time" that there are no environmental causes or triggers of autism.
I don't know if Dr. Gorski is aware of the recent CDC study which measured and reported on 212 toxic chemicals found in our bodies today, a list which included mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic and many other goodies. Like the autism prevalence study and the Gerberding move to Merck announcements, this study too was "publicized" in the pre-Christmas period when most people, and especially the mainstream media, are busy with family and Christmas. With so many toxic chemicals in our bodies, with rising incidence of autism disorders in our children it is not just unscientific to assume that these chemicals are not involved with causing autism disorders .... it is foolish.
My lay person's understanding of science is based on the notion, perhaps naive, that issues are not "decided for all time". I am now in the undecided camp about vaccines and autism and suspect that in some instances vaccines may trigger autism disorders, and other neurological damage, in some children. I believe that more study should be done on this issue.
And I believe very firmly that the imbalance in funding of autism research must be shifted from the near 100% funding of genetic based autism research to a model which provides equal funding for environmentally focused autism research.
I hope that the ScienceBlogs bloggers abandon cheap personal attacks on those who question vaccine safety and offer ... some real science. I hope they live up to their claim of being science bloggers ... at least when they are discussing autism disorders.