October 28, 2009
by Clifford G. Miller
Little notice was taken in 2006 when Dr Francis S. Collins MD PhD’s unequivocal evidence to the US House of Representatives should have resolved a controversy raging for two decades over the causes of the worldwide pandemic of autism in children. But today Collins controls the US´ annual medical research budget of $30.5 billion making what Collins´ said of substantial international significance for many millions of parents and their children and for funding of research into the causes of autism.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability affecting 1 in 100 US children. Some rates reported internationally are higher. Those affected can be unable to care for themselves and have difficulty with social communication, interaction and imagination.
Collins as a leading medical doctor and geneticist who led the Human Genome Project confirmed in public evidence 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 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 other factors like environmental toxins or childhood vaccines. Independent scientists, medical experts and parents contradict this and say there is good evidence autism is caused by vaccines and environmental toxins like mercury.
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 US 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.
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.
With autism now affecting 1 in 100 US children it was a political issue during the 2008 presidential election campaign. Senators McCain, Clinton and Obama all made statements in favour of research into the causes of autism.