I was interested to read this post on age of autism http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/07/autism-speaks-t.html#more and this post on John Best's hating autism blog. http://www.hatingautism.blogspot.com/ As the readers of autism's gadfly will remember, some time ago, I wrote a post about the irony about the war between the mercury militia and the neurodiversity movement when the groups were so strikingly similar in certain respects. At the risk of immodesty it looks like I may have been prescient.
All the more delicious is the irony of the well known adversarial relationship between John Best and Amanda Baggs.
As par for the course of absurd statements that seem to appear from time to time on age of autism is Handley first stating that because gene therapy involves single genes and autism genetics is multifactorial that this makes it unlikely that gene therapy will be able to do anything for autistic people in the foreseeable future. Be that as it may, Handley then goes on to use the apples versus oranges comparison of autism and down's syndrome that the neurodiversity people make with the questionable statistic of the 90% abortion rate of down's fetuses that neurodiversity afficianados spout like whales. He then goes on to contradict himself and make the ill-informed statement that Down's syndrome involves a single gene. JB you might be interested to know that Down's does not involve one gene, it involves an abnormality of an entire chromosome, namely three 21st chromosomes instead of two. This is so different from multigenetic etiologies, it is not an apt comparison. If autism involves multiple genes instead of one chromosome this makes the idea of prenatal screening anytime in the foreseeable future pretty far fetched. Like your detractors in the neurodiversity movement you don't seem to realize this.
Interestingly enough, one of Handley's commenters on the age of autism blog disputed the 90% stastic about Down's syndrome that he and the neurodiversity people quote religiously, giving some evidence it was more like 62%. So how many autistic fetuses would really be aborted?
One can go to http://www.autistics.org/ and see that the people there had this same idea a long time ago when they look at the cartoon about CAN.
I guess Amanda and her friends there have no plans to sue the mercury militia people for ripping off their idea.
I seem to remember there was some research on Fragile X recently that would dispute the ideas of these two fringe organizations. Wish I knew more so I could comment, but the irony of the war gets sweeter and sweeter. Course no reason why amino acids in a gene's or multiple gene's DNA could not be rearranged somehow to avoid certain mutations that could predispose one to autism. Course admittedly that is a long way off but neither of these two groups don't want to acknowledge this idea. There is also the idea that some sort of diet could be developed for an infant vulnerable to autism due to a genetic metabolic error. This is what happens in phenylketonuria, where a diet free of tyrosine can prevent retardation in an infant. I seem to remember some babies with phenylketonuria have been considered autistic.
Maybe someday I will be able to do more research to dispute the idea, but my autism is too severe for that right now.
However, once again I can have a good laugh at the ironies of this ongoing war between the two groups to inject a little humor into my somewhat difficult life.