Sunday, December 20, 2015

Joe Buxbaum's and neurodiversity's ten year prediction falls flat

One of the tenets of the neurodiversity movement and one of the tactics they most frequently use in their fear mongering talking points is the notion of a pre-natal test being available for autism.  They claim that the genetic research funded by autism speaks and other organizations has been done with the intent of inventing a prenatal test for autism so that autistic fetuses can be deliberately aborted.

This allegation predates the days of autism speaks but goes back many years ago when their predecessor Cure Autism Now was still funding researchers.  Amanda Baggs and Laura Tisoncik  on their website greeted the reader of their home page with a photo of an aborted autistic fetus in a trashcan with the letters CAN on it, accompanied by the caption "The real meaning of autism prevention."

ND points to the cases of Down's syndrome fetuses that are aborted.

Nearly eleven years ago, in this article scientist Joseph Buxbaum stated that there could be a prenatal test developed within ten years. Given all of the various genetic etiologies in autism, not to mention the california twin study done four years ago which points to the fact that the heritability component of autism is significantly lower than once believed. I don't think we're any closer to developing a prenatal test for autism (or any form of it for that matter) and being able to selectively abort any autistic fetus than we were ten or eleven years ago.

In this piece, Autistic self advocacy network executive Meg Evans (writing under the pseudonym Bonnie Ventura) ranted about how society was trying to deliberately engage in eugenics of all autistic people.  She put up a clock on this website for the ten year countdown beginning in 2005 for when this eugenic test would be developed.  She apparently deleted the clock when it looked like her prediction based on Buxbaum's statement was not likely to come true. 

As we approach the end of the year 2015, it would appear that individuals involved in the neurodiversity movement have failed again to be terribly insightful. 


Roger Kulp said...

Well yes and no.I personally know of an important biomarker that has proven to be the cause of one subtype of autism.One that is definitely passed from mother to child in the womb,and can be tested for.It is the one I have.The folate receptor autoantibodies,that cause cerebral folate deficiency and autism.The mother has the autoantibodies,and passes them on to the baby in the womb.This is now well documented,and is almost as universally accepted a cause of autism as Fragile X.Yet it is a cause that has been largely ignored by neurodiversity,and the media at large.There is a lot of concern among mothers who have been found to have the autoantibodies,that they may have another child with CFD and autism.The research is still going on to see if these women can prevent this type of autism due to CFD,by taking large doses of folinic,not folic,acid while pregnant.Much as you now prevent neural tube defects,like spina bifida.

jonathan said...

@Roger, are you taking about a single autosomal dominant or x-linked gene that the mother carries that would cause autism in her offspring or the fact that there is an immune deficiency in the mother and her antibodies attack the fetus in some way? Not sure I understand. If it is the latter, then it is not entirely relevant to the blog post as the prenatal test is related to genetics, and neurodiversity is assuming that at some point they'll be able to do a prenatal test that identifies a specific gene or set of genes the way that the trisomy 21 can be identified in a Down's fetus using amniocentesis. There ain't no such animal yet. I would be interested in knowing more about the cerebral folate deficiency markers, but I'm woefully ignorant of it.

Roger Kulp said...

Here is a pretty good summary of how the autoantibodies are passed from mother to baby during pregnancy.

My initial blocking and binding levels were both very high.Usually only the more severely disabled children have both types of antibodies.


There may or may not be a gene for FRAs discovered in the future,but it may be most cases are like me,where the CFD/autism is part of a more complex genetic disorder,that is part immune and part metabolic.The FRAs are directly related to inborn defects in the thymus.Identifying these defects is the next area of research.The thymus is responsible for cellular immunity.The type of immune deficiency I have been found to have,as have many of the children diagnosed with CFD/FRAs are diseases of cellular immunity.

Bottom line here,is we are talking about a type of autism,that can be passed from mother to baby in the womb.One that a woman can be tested for biomarkers of before she gets pregnant.Or while pregnant,and decide if she wants to continue the pregnancy.

KateG said...

I just came across your website and wanted to say "hello". I'm also pro-cure and am tired of some autistic people saying because they like their autism, all autistic people must view their disability as a "gift". It's somewhat lacking in compassion.

You post very thoughtful and well researched blogs - I look forward to reading more!

jonathan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Kate

Unknown said...

Dec,2. You were just on radio. I heard "neurotypical" and hung up phone to listen. Enjoy the blogs ,as a biophysical disease stuck I n a behavioral medicine limbo, autism is much like serious mental diseases (properly brain diseases, but term have momentum) in the deniers, and paranoid theories.eugenics? Back any day now. ECT mad docs? Yes Egor, get the battery real evidence? Well, no single gene screaming "for psychosis, break here." It is all so so backward looking that I think of it like the mother of all backwards...flatearthers..flatbrainers. and the shunning if low functioning people. A friend observed that here in micro s oft land, as. Many parents brag of autistic children..high functioning ones being as bragworthy as docs or lawyers. No one wants floridly psychotic patients, but worried well who recover are great and easy on the recovery stats.which leaves lots of parents wondering who will takeover when they are gone.