Autism Increase Environmental Not Genetic – Says New Director of USA’s $30.5 Billion Health Research Budget

Child Health Safety
October 24, 2009

A controversy raging for two decades over the causes of the worldwide pandemic of autism in children was resolved unequivocally in formal evidence by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.  in 2006.Today Collins controls the  US’ annual medical research budget of US $30.5 billion: [NIH Budget] making Collins’ 2006 evidence of substantial international significance for many millions of parents and their children and for funding of research into the causes of autism.

Collinsas a leading medical doctor and geneticist who led the Human Genome Project confirmed in public to the US House of Representatives in May 2006 that recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism must have an environmental [external] cause and cannot be solely genetically [internally] caused conditions.

The NIH makes almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 325,000 researchers at over 3,000 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world. About 10% of the NIH’s budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, most of which are on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

The drug industry, medical experts, World Health Organisation and government health officials worldwide have systematically represented autism spectrum conditions as solely genetically caused whilst denying any role of childhood vaccines or other factors like environmental toxins in causing ASCs.  Independent scientists, medical experts and parents contradict this and say there is good evidence autism is caused by vaccines and environmental toxins like mercury.

Collins was appointed and sworn in as the 16th Director the US National Institutes of Health on 17th August 2009 after nomination by President Obama: NIH News Release 17th August 2009.

When Director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute Collins stated:-

Recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism cannot be due to major shifts in the human gene pool as those changes take much more time to occur. They must be due to changes in the environment, including diet and physical activity, which may produce disease in genetically predisposed persons. Therefore, GEI will also invest in innovative new technologies/sensors to measure environmental toxins, dietary intake and physical activity, and using new tools of genomics, proteomics, and understanding metabolism rates to determine an individual’s biological response to those influences.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.,
Evidence to US House of Representatives Committee May 2006

But will Collins’ appointment make any difference to the present research position?  Will the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and financial conflicts of some in the medical professions prevent much needed research being carried out?  The position does not look too good as reported by award winning journalist David Kirby: [NIH Agency Head Backs Vaccine-Autism Research on Friday; Resigns from Federal Autism Panel on Saturday Huffington Post 20th October 2009].

Story Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an NIH agency, surprised many parents on Friday by stating that autism researchers should study “the children who have been most profoundly affected” by adverse reactions to vaccination.

On Saturday, Dr. Landis abruptly resigned from the powerful Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which helps direct hundreds of millions in federal tax dollars to autism research, treatment, care and services.

Kirby followed up with: NIH Director Francis Collins Blames Resignation Of Top Health Official From Autism Panel On “Tension And Lack Of Trust”

The controversy over the environmental causes of autism has it foundations in the now clearly flawed work of English psychiatrist Professor Sir Michael Rutter.  Our article of 25th January this year Autism Not Genetic – Says Expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen] demonstrated the unscientific and flawed logic of Rutter’s original paper which has misled the world for so long: [“Infantile autism: A genetic study of 21 twin pairs.” J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 18, 297-321 (1977)].

We stated:-

We …. can consign over 30 years of unscientific medical, psychiatric and psychological papers to the garbage. This brings a scientific approach to the issue since  the erroneous  genetic myth was first propounded with the publication of Professor Michael Rutter’s paper”

We also quoted British autism expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen of Cambridge University who also contradicted the position that autism is a genetic condition:-

We know that autism is not 100% genetic in origin, since in the case of identical twins (who share 100% of their genes), there are instances of one twin having autism and the other not having it. In fact, the likelihood of the co-twin also having autism where one of them has it (in monozygotic (MZ) pairs) is about 60%. This means that there must be some non-genetic (i.e., environmental) factors that are part of the cause of autism.“  [SOURCE: Professor Baron Cohen’s reply to critics of a mooted abortion test for autism reported in the UK’s Guardian Newspaper :- Professor Baron Cohen/Stone Correspondence Re: The Guardian New research brings autism screening closer to reality 12/Jan/09]

We showed that Baron Cohen was only partly correct and concluded by saying that the previous position on autism being a solely genetic condition is non science because:

  • identical twin studies show autism has an environmental [external] cause
  • to demonstrate autism has an [internal] ie. solely genetic cause, it is necessary to show autism occurs where no environmental causes apply
  • that has never been done
  • and that is likely because, as the evidence shows, autism is caused by environmental factors, just like most other human medical conditions

And we explained:-

In other words, it is the 40% of identical twins where only one develops symptoms of autism which tells us autism is not “genetic“.   In those cases it must have an environmental [external] cause.

Professor Baron Cohen errs in assuming the 60% of both twins developing autism is evidence autism is ever a genetically “caused” condition.  It is not such evidence.The correct medical terminology is whether a condition has an “internal” cause or an “external” one.

Because the twins are genetically identical all we can say for those who both develop autism is their bodies have responded identically to the same set of conditions whether “internal” or “external”. It tells us nothing about whether the cause is internal or external [environmental].  It is neither scientific nor logical to assume the “cause” is internal or external [environmental].  It is  wrong to do so and a logical fallacy.

Where both identical twins develop autism, it is more likely than not they have had the same exposure to the same environmental cause.  That is more likely than not to happen [60% of the time it seems].  For example, both twins are more likely than not to have their vaccinations at the same time and all other circumstances in their lives at that time are more likely than not to be identical for both.

All human medical conditions whether “internal” or “external” are genetic. Some of us are more susceptible to’ flu than others and some never suffer from it.  So it is also logically inappropriate to discuss causes of conditions in terms of being “genetic” because all human conditions are genetic whether the cause is “internal” or “external”.  This also demonstrates why it is not wise to rely on medical doctors’ attempts to be scientific.  The majority have no formal scientific training or qualifications and frequently make errors of the fundamental kind illustrated here.

We only become ill or develop any condition because we are genetic.  Everything else breaks down.  Computers, cars, washing machines and refrigerators breakdown whether for an “internal” cause or an “external” one – they do not and cannot get ‘flu, measles or autism because they are not genetic.  If we were not genetic we would not get sick [but we might rust a bit from time-to-time].

There appears to be no scientific evidence autism is any more “genetic” than ‘flu. Feel free to submit a comment if you disagree.

To establish with scientific evidence that any condition has a solely genetic [internal] cause any more than any other illness or disorder requires evidence showing that in some cases there are no possible environmental causes.

The environmental causes have to be eliminated by the collection of evidence in a scientific manner.  This has not been done, as the reliance on the twin studies demonstrates.

What we can conclude is that autism is an environmentally [externally] caused condition, with some more susceptible than others, like most other human medical conditions.



Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.