Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cenored on The Atlantic: The Wonder Drug Myth

If you have made comments on the Age of Autism article The Atlantic: The Wonder Drug Myth, please copy your comment here, including the date and time you posted at AoA.

1 comment:

  1. Posted at Age of Autism on March 3, 2010 at 10:39pm (EST).

    The Atlantic article is a bit misleading regarding the UNC-Chapel Hill study. The researchers don't actually make any claims that the genetic predisposition is the cause of liver toxicity, and not the size of the dose. In fact, the purpose of the study was not even to determine whether liver toxicity due to acetaminophen was due to genetics.

    Rather, the researchers were looking to determine whether mice could be used as models to determine potential genetic susceptibilities to new pharmacologic agents. Here is the text in which Harrill, et al., state the question being investigated:

    "Thus, we postulated that a panel of inbred mouse strains can be used to model the phenotypic variation within the human population and to uncover susceptibility factors for drug-induced toxicities, thereby shortening the path to the discovery of pharmacogenetic biomarkers."

    The Atlantic article distorted not only the results of this study, but the purpose of he study. The full text of the study is available online at http://genome.cshlp.org/content/19/9/1507.full.

    Bringing this back to autism and AoA's pet whipping boy, vaccines, the advocates of a vaccine link have been very quick to deny genetic links. It may be possible that children with autism have a genetic difference leading to increased risk of autism due to vaccines.

    There are several questions to ask, then. First and foremost: what specific genes are suspected? Second, what percentage of individuals with these genes have autism vs. those who do not have autism? Third, what percentage of individuals with these genes and with autism have been vaccinated vs. not vaccinated?

    Before anyone can go about claiming that there is, indeed, a genetic risk of developing autism due to a vaccine, those questions need to be answered. If more people with those genes do not have autism, or more people with those genes and autism are not vaccinated, then it is unlikely that vaccines are to blame.

    This comment is being cross-posted to Silenced by Age of Autism.

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