NY Times' Sins Of Omission In Autism Article: Commentary by Binstock

FEAT DAILY ONLINE NEWSLETTER                           http://www.feat.org
Letters Editor: FEAT@feat.org   Archive: http://www.feat.org/listarchive/
          M.I.N.D.*: http://mindinstitute.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
          "Healing Autism: No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
NY Times' Sins Of Omission In Autism Article: Commentary by Binstock
Thursday, December 30, 1999

     [This open letter is addressed to Sandra Blakeslee writer for Science
Times of the The New York Times.  It is in response to "New Theories Help
Explain Mysteries of Autism", published in that paper and this newsletter
last Thursday, December 28.  It is an authored opinion of autism researcher
Teresa Binstock.]

      Science Times articles often achieve a level of excellence beyond that
of articles in scientific journals. Your recent article about autism was an
exception. Instead of presenting diverse sides of an important issue, you
focused upon a single model summarized as "it must be genetic and must occur
in utero". Increasing data indicate that this model of causation and timing
is relevant only to a subgroup of children within the autism-spectrum.
      In support of the genetic-autism theory, you presented opinions of
Marie Bristol-Power and Bennett Leventhall; regarding in-utero timing, you
presented speculations from Patricia Rodier and Margaret Bauman.
      The flaw in your article arises from its omissions. You did not
mention the immune-atypicality findings of Reed Warren, VK Singh, HH
Fudenberg, S Gupta, AV Plioplys, and others (e.g., 3-24). Nor did you
present the autoimmune and infection-related ramifications of these
researchers' findings.
      You did not present ideas from the Autism Research Institute's Bernie
Rimland (2), long credited as the person who removed autism from the tainted
"science" of Bruno Bettelheim; nor did you mention or interview any of the
physicians who are treating etiologically significant immune and/or
infection-related processes in specific autism-spectrum children, some of
whom improve sufficiently so as to lose their diagnosis, some of whom
advance to inclusion within mainstream classes.
      At least you offered Eric Courchesne's statements indicating he no
longer accepts Bauman's "autism must occur in-utero" model. I myself came to
a similar position several years ago as I perused Dr. Bauman's articles and
primary citations along with newer articles unavailable as she was forming
her theory of in-utero timing (1).
      Many parents and professionals within the autism community believe
that Dr. Bristol-Powers and her "it must be genetic and must occur in-utero"
cohorts constitute a primary stumbling block to advances in diagnostics,
research, and treatment regarding children of the autism-spectrum.
      In contrast to the one-sided, paradigm-enforcing nature of your
article, Science Times recently presented a summary of human migrations into
North, Central, and South America (11.9.1999). The article presented
traditional theories alongside newer data showing that the older theories
are in need of revision.
      A similarly structured autism article would have been consistent with
Science Times' usual level of excellence and would have done justice to the
research and clinic-based findings offering new models of causation,
diagnostics, and treatment of autism-spectrum children.
      In my opinion, now that the "autism must be genetic and in-utero"
clique has had its say, Science Times ought prepare and publish another
autism article, wherein the "necessarily in-utero" model is more thoroughly
challenged and wherein the immune-atypicality and infection-related data and
researchers are fairly presented.
       Teresa Binstock
       Researcher in Developmental & Behavioral Neuroanatomy


1. http://www.jorsm.com/~binstock/bk.htm
2. http://www.autism.com/ari
3.  Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with
brain autoantibodies in autism.  Singh VK et al. Clin Immunol
Immunopathol 1998 Oct;89(1):105-8.
4.  Dialysable lymphocyte extract (DLyE) in infantile onset autism: a
pilot study. Fudenberg HH. Biotherapy 1996;9(1-3):143-7.
5.  Immunodiagnosis and immunotherapy in autistic children.  Singh VK,
Fudenberg HH et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1988;540:602-4.
6.  Th1- and Th2-like cytokines in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in autism.
Gupta S et al. J Neuroimmunol 1998 May 1;85(1):106-9.
7.  Lymphocyte function in autism and Rett syndrome.  Plioplys AV et al.
Neuropsychobiology 29.1.12-6 1994.
8.  Brief report: immunoglobulin A deficiency in a subset of autistic
subjects. Warren RP et al. J Autism Dev Disord 1997 Apr;27(2):187-92.
9.  Hyperserotoninemia and serotonin receptor antibodies in children with
autism but not mental retardation.  Singh VK et al. Biol Psychiatry 1997
Mar 15;41(6):753-5.
10.  Strong association of the third hypervariable region of HLA-DR beta
1 with autism.  Warren RP et al. J Neuroimmunol 1996 Jul;67(2):97-102.
11.  Immunogenetic studies in autism and related disorders.  Warren RP et
al. Mol Chem Neuropathol 1996 May-Aug;28(1-3):77-81.
12.  Elevated serotonin levels in autism: association with the major
histocompatibility complex.  Warren RP, Singh VK. Neuropsychobiology
13.  Increased frequency of the extended or ancestral haplotype
B44-SC30-DR4 in autism.  Daniels WW et al. Neuropsychobiology
14.  DR-positive T cells in autism: association with decreased plasma
levels of the complement C4B protein. Warren RP et al. Neuropsychobiology
15.  Decreased plasma concentrations of the C4B complement protein in
autism.  Warren RP et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1994 Feb;148(2):180-3.
16.  Antibodies to myelin basic protein in children with autistic
behavior. Singh VK et al. Brain Behav Immun 1993 Mar;7(1):97-103.
17.  Possible association of the extended MHC haplotype B44-SC30-DR4 with
autism.  Warren RP et al. Immunogenetics 1992;36(4):203-7.
18.  Changes of soluble interleukin-2, interleukin-2 receptor, T8 ntigen,
and interleukin-1 in the serum of autistic children.  Singh VK et al.
Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1991 Dec;61(3):448-55.
19.  Increased frequency of the null allele at the complement C4b locus
in autism.  Warren RP et al. Clin Exp Immunol 1991 Mar;83(3):438-40.
20.  Detection of maternal antibodies in infantile autism.  Warren RP et
al. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1990 Nov;29(6):873-7.
21.  CD4+ helper T cell depression in autism.  Yonk LJ et al. Immunol
Lett 1990 Sep;25(4):341-5.
22.  Deficiency of suppressor-inducer (CD4+CD45RA+) T cells in autism.
Warren RP et al. Immunol Invest 1990 Jun;19(3):245-51.
23.  Reduced natural killer cell activity in autism. Warren RP et al. J
Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1987 May;26(3):333-5.
24.  Immune abnormalities in patients with autism.  Warren RP et al. J
Autism Dev Disord 1986 Jun;16(2):189-97.
editor: Lenny Schafer schafer@sprynet.com
eastern editor: Catherine Johnson, PhD CIJOHN@aol.com
newswire culls: Ron Sleith  RSleith@aol.com     |  * Not FEAT

           *** WHY  YOU  MAY   WANT  TO  SUBSCRIBE  NO COST ***
To FEAT's Daily Online Newsletter: Daily we collect features and news
of autism as it breaks. To (un)Subscribe: http://www.feat.org/FEATNews

[Vaccination]  [Binstock]