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Thread: Autism researchers shifting away from genes - Scoliosis next?

  1. #1
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    Autism researchers shifting away from genes - Scoliosis next?

    I know this isn't an Autism board but sometimes it's useful to see the latest thinking and research on other childhood disorders. It's hard to get a good feel for what might be going on when you only read about Scoliosis which doesn't get a lot of funding.

    For a long time Autism was thought to be a genetic disorder. Genes have been discovered that appear to correlate with Autism and if one identical twin has the disease the other will have it roughly 50% of the time. That's 4 times higher than Scoliosis which has a concordance rate of just 13% among identical twins. Until recently most Autism research dollars went towards genetics but today that's rapidly changing.

    Until recently, about 90 percent of autism research has focused on genetics, and only perhaps 10 percent on environmental factors, said Dr. Gary Goldstein, chairman of the scientific board of Autism Speaks, a national research and advocacy group. In the coming years, he expects the ratio to be 1 to 1.
    Why is the focus of Autism research shifting? Evidence is mounting that Autism is triggered by an environmental insult in genetically susceptible children. This damage could be triggered by a common childhood infection or even an environmental toxin.

    Right now a lot of Scoliosis research dollars go towards genetics. I believe that very soon Scoliosis researchers will shift their focus towards the environment just as Autism researchers are doing now.

    Autism news and research

    July 16, 2007 - Schizophrenia and Autism linked to flu virus

    Of course not every woman who gets a cold during pregnancy will have a schizophrenic offspring, that's because of… presumably because of the genotype, you have to have a certain set of genes to be susceptible to these environmental insults.
    Feb 12, 2008 - Some Cases Of Autism May Be Traced To The Immune System Of Mothers During Pregnancy

    New research from the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and Center for Children's Environmental Health has found that antibodies in the blood of mothers of children with autism bind to fetal brain cells, potentially interrupting healthy brain development.
    Nov 16, 2004 - Autistic kids have inflamed brains

    These findings reinforce the theory that immune activation in the brain is involved in autism
    Jan 11, 2009 - California's Autism Increase Not Due To Better Counting, Diagnosis

    results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California's children.
    "It's time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California," said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.
    Aug 13, 2007 - Researchers now believe that autism can be caused by genes in combination with environmental triggers.

    As the ranks of children diagnosed with autism grow, researchers are focusing more on such efforts. They are casting an ever-widening net to try to detect possible environmental factors -- such as chemicals or infections -- that could be interacting with genetic risk factors.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-13-2009 at 03:04 PM.

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    Well Dingo, I just want to commend you for not mentioning ethylmercury in vaccines at all in that post on autism. That has been put to bed, coffin nailed, etc. etc.

    Why Robert F. Kennedy, JR. can't admit he was wrong is beyond me. I thought he was a stand up guy.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

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    Vaccines and Autism

    Pooka1

    Is there a relationship between vaccines and Autism

    The weight of the evidence indicates that vaccines are not associated with autism.
    Ironically not only do vaccines not cause Autism but they will ultimately prevent it.

    Flu virus is associated with Autism and Cytomegalovirus is a known cause of it.

    Most people aren't aware of the fact that microbes are the undisputed heavyweight champion when it comes to taking down humans.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-13-2009 at 03:54 PM.

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    Mental illness and common infections

    October 2005 - Discover Magazine: Common infections linked to a variety of mental illnesses

    Scientists are catching on and the best part is they can do something about it.

    Lipkin is also working with the Norwegian government on an extensive, groundbreaking study of how maternal infections may influence vulnerability to autism. “It’s the only study of its type in the world,” he says. “Norway has recruited 100,000 pregnant women at their first ultrasound, and they are going to be followed for 72 months. We will do blood draws and a genetic analysis of both the mother and father, as well as cord blood from the children. There will be screening questionnaires and interviews at 6, 18, 36, and 72 months. We’ll be able to look back in time and see, for instance, that this particular mom generated antibodies to this particular virus at the 17th week, and now her kid is autistic.”
    We’re finally getting the funding to ask the right questions
    Somebody needs to do a similar study and include Scoliosis. Who knows, maybe the Norwegian study has Scoliosis on it's checklist.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-13-2009 at 04:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
    Most people aren't aware of the fact that microbes are the undisputed heavyweight champion when it comes to taking down humans.
    You could say microbes, not humans, have dominion over the planet.

    It's a wonder how this, and even the very existence of microbes, could have possibly escaped Bronze Age nomads and Iron Age agrarians in the Middle East, them being so "geniusy" and all.

    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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    Evil spirits

    It's a wonder how this, and even the very existence of microbes, could have possibly escaped Bronze Age nomads and Iron Age agrarians in the Middle East, them being so "geniusy" and all.

    In the ancient world I think they used to believe that evil spirits made people sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
    It's a wonder how this, and even the very existence of microbes, could have possibly escaped Bronze Age nomads and Iron Age agrarians in the Middle East, them being so "geniusy" and all.

    In the ancient world I think they used to believe that evil spirits made people sick.
    (I am removing material that is too factual for some which I believe has just been reported to the moderator based on reviewing the who is on line screen.)

    But seriously, this microbial trigger business is very interesting and I suspect will pan out in a huge way like you suggest.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 04-13-2009 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Removed material that is too factual
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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    I hope so

    But seriously, this microbial trigger business is very interesting and I suspect will pan out in a huge way like you suggest.

    I hope so because it means there is something we can do about Scoliosis and other childhood disorders, vaccination. I read a lot about this stuff and in the last 5 years the field has exploded. Diseases that scientists used to think were caused by heredity or lifestyle are now blamed on common infections.

    Pathogen That Causes Disease In Cattle Also Associated With Crohn's Disease - Research Urgently Needed To Evaluate Potential Risks To Humans

    People with Crohn's disease (CD) are seven-fold more likely to have in their gut tissues the bacterium that causes a digestive-tract disease in cattle called Johne's disease. The role this bacterium may or may not play in causing CD is a top research priority,
    I don't know if this particular bacteria will pan out but this is the direction that science is headed.

    Rats' virus holds clues to diabetes

    The BioBreeding, or BB, rat naturally develops diabetes at about 2 months of age, and researchers have attributed the disease to genetics. The new findings suggest that there is indeed a genetic susceptibility but that the precipitating event is a viral infection.
    It's only a matter of time until the SRS jumps onboard. They need to piggyback on an infectious disease study like the Norwegians are doing.

    Is there any public input on how they spend research dollars?
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-13-2009 at 07:18 PM.

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    Lightbulb From The Scoliosis Research Society

    Various links on this site have educational meterials about the many types of scoliosis, their causes, prognosis and treatment options written for the professional.


    http://www.srs.org/professionals/education/
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

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    Thanks!

    Karen Ocker

    Thanks Karen. I'm going to write the SRS and ask if they accept public input on how grant money is invested.

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    Is there no end to this?
    Whats next?
    Are you going to try to say that a virus causes cancer?
    yeah right. Show that and you just might win a Nobel Prize.

    Wait a second

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    Depression and infection

    concerned dad

    Are you going to try to say that a virus causes cancer?

    I was thinking more along the lines of depression but...

    There is growing interest in a suspected cause of some cases of depression: infection and inflammatory response.

    There are several unambiguous examples of psychiatric illness being the result of an inflammatory or immune reaction. Considerable evidence already exists about the Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS), a disorder in which Streptoccal infection triggers an autoimmune response. The antibodies that form against the invading bacteria mistakenly recognize and “attack” certain parts of the brain, causing psychiatric symptoms.

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    let me add just one more thing

    I read a lot about a variety of illnesses and one thing pops up over and over again, inflammation. Practically every disease leads to inflammation and chronic inflammation is almost always bad.

    Increasing levels of Calmodulin are closely related to curve progression.

    Calmodulin Wiki
    CaM mediates processes such as inflammation, metabolism, apoptosis, muscle contraction, intracellular movement, short-term and long-term memory, nerve growth and the immune response.
    I won't be surprised if they find out that inflammation has something to do with curve progression. A few weeks ago we started giving my son a first rate fish oil supplement with his breakfast. I have no idea if it will help with curve progression but I know that it lowers inflammation. Unfortunately I can't wait 10 years for a clinical study to be released that proves or disproves a connection. Whether it helps or not at least it will make him smarter, happier and healthier.

    Eating Fish Heightens Boys' IQ: Study

    Your mother was right: Eating fish makes you smarter, according to a Swedish study released showing that eating enough of the aquatic vertebrates clearly heightens teenage boys' IQ levels.
    University of Maryland Medical Center: Fish Oil

    Clinical studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in treating a variety of health conditions. The evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but the range of possible uses for omega-3 fatty acids include: High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Heart disease, Diabetes, Weight loss, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, ADHD, Eating disorders, Burns, Skin disorders, Inflammatory bowel disease, Asthma, Macular Degeneration, Menstrual pain, Colon cancer, Breast cancer, & Prostate cancer
    It's not surprising that fish oil might help some people with depression since they've found a connection between inflammation and depression.

    You might also remember that austic children may have inflammation in their brains.

    Once again it's not surprising that fish oil can help improve the symptoms of many Autistic children.

    Lots of research on this topic.

    Oxygen Therapy is also used to reduce inflammation in Autistic children.

    One theory is that oxygen can help reduce inflammation and improve flow of oxygen to brain tissue.
    The next step is to try to find out which kids do respond, because it's an expensive treatment - it may be that kids with more inflammation respond better.
    He added that oxygen was the "controller of inflammation" but also had other effects on regulation of genes and tissue regeneration.
    In case you were wondering no I don't have an Austistic child. I read about pretty much every type of illness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
    Is there any public input on how they spend research dollars?
    Regarding funded microbial research.

    I still don't know what this has to do with scoliosis.
    Maybe you could email somebody on the microbiome project.

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    Thanks for the link

    PNUTTRO

    Thanks for the link! I've heard about that project but that's way higher up than I'm thinking.

    I strongly suspect that Scoliosis is triggered by a common, childhood infection. My hope is that somebody at the SRS will find a way to piggyback a Scoliosis question onto somebody elses study of infectious disease.

    The Norwegians are following 100,000 women and their children to measure the effects of common infections and how they relate to Autism. Hopefully there are many studies like that popping up and the SRS can get a Scoliosis question into one of them.

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