NIMH director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
The recent twins study led by Dr. Joachim Hallmayer and Neil Risch, Ph.D., has grabbed the attention of the world's media and shaken the "autism is genetic" mindset that has dominated autism research for many years. The reaction to the study by the autism is primarily genetic research establishment has been quick and fearful. Within just a few days attempts were underway to diminish the study design and the outcomes of the study. Portraying the study as controversial when it is anything but is the most obvious sign of desperation by the autism is genetic establishment.
Such efforts should be taken with a huge grain of salt and the words of Dr. Insel remembered: the autism twins study results are "in line with other recent observations supporting both environmental and genetic contributions to ASD, with the environmental factors likely prenatal and the genetic factors highly complex and sometimes not inherited."