nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Autism And Bowel Disease: OK, I Was Partially Suckered In

More from the autism front on fraudulent research.

From the British Medical Journal (BMJ),  further results on the controversial link between bowel disease and autism.

I guess I'm experiencing a red face...or maybe a pink face, partially red. 

I posted a review of research done on common genetic correlates of autism and bowel disease, and lauded the technique used as one that will give us further insight into autism and other diseases with genetic components that influence more than one organ system (in the case of autism, the brain and GI tract).

So now BMJ comes along and re-looks at the data from 10 years ago that suggested the connection between bowel disease and autism.  The original pathology reports used in that research are not available, but review of other specimens from those same autism patients showed no bowel disease.

What I didn't realize was the doctor who did the original research is the one who has lost his license in Britain for this and other fraudulent research imputing spurious causes to the development of autism (to wit, vaccines).

Bad on me, and why I have a pink face.  But, pink only because I still think that the technique of mapping genetic overlap can be very important to fleshing out other disorders for which we have no good explanation.

For Onion Peelers, (as usual, you can skip this)
8 of the 11 children for whom pathology reports were available were normal, and the remaining three showed focal active colitis.  The significance of focal active colitis has been studied in adults and children and "the risk for a chronic condition is low."  

None of this proves conclusively that there isn't a gene connection between bowel function and autism.  But it does undermine the theory that these two disease sets have a common origin.

Science is incremental; we'll have to wait.

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