I was speaking with an autism researcher who told me about an exchange he had with Geri Dawson, the chief science officer for Autism Speaks. He attended an AS reception at a university and approached Dr. Dawson to ask her what she thought about the research surrounding glutathione and autism. Dr. Dawson replied that she was not familiar with gluthathione/autism research.
There are 12 studies on GSH and Autism (all of which I have listed below) and all of them have found low glutathione problems are tied to autism.
And as Autism Speaks has highlighted in their own "AUTISM SPEAKS TOP 10 AUTISM RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS OF 2011" Autism is a condition brought on by environmental exposures. And being that one of the GSH/autism studies was actually funded by Autism Speaks, again... no reason that Dawson should not be all over this.
The possibility that Dr. Dawson could not even offer a basic response on a question about glutathione, to put in mildly, troubles me. The fact that she believes that she is qualified to be directing autism research, knowing so little about this environmental illness, makes me angry. The fact that Geri Dawson has applied to be on the IACC makes me crazy. Because with her title, and her "Rock Star" PR, she might just be added to it by Thomas Insel.
Just to be sure that I had my fact straight about Dr. Dawson's response to the GSH question. I wrote to her to confirm:
Subject: Glutathione Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:59:06 -0500 From: Ginger Taylor To: Geri Dawson
I am writing a piece on you and would like your response before I publish.
I spoke with a researcher who reports approaching you at an AS reception earlier this year and asking you about glutathione research. He told me that you said were not familiar with research on glutathione.
As the glutathione connection in autism is a foundational one to understanding why these particular children are vulnerable to environmentally caused autism (including vaccine induced autism, which you continue to deny despite the evidence HRSA's own admission that vaccine induced encephalopathy can cause autism, and that they list the symptoms of autism on the VICP injury table), and as it is among the first interventions that families implementing biomedical intervention for autism learn about, you can see how alarming that AS's chief science officer seems to have no knowledge of its role in autism causation or treatment.
I will be writing about this exchange, but wanted to give you a chance to comment before I publish.
When you were approached about glutathione, did you have any understanding of its role in autism? What is your understanding now? Since every study done on GSH and autism has found a link, and since AS has actually funded research on GSH, it is appropriate for AS to have a science officer who is not conversant on it?
That was more than a month ago, and no response.
So what does Dr. Dawson actually know about this environmental illness? A comment she made on her "Rock Stars of Science" interview might give us a hint.
"Best moment in medicine/research: Recently, my colleagues and I published the first randomized clinical trial showing very positive benefits of early intervention for toddlers with autism. The moment I saw the results of that study was one of the best moments of my research career."
Dr. Dawson's best moment in research was when she confirmed what we have known for probably twenty years, but the fact that children might be prevented from needing that early intervention in the first place simply by testing infant glutathione levels... completely lost on her?
Listing the GSH research for Dr. Dawson in the hopes that she will review it and realize that she might have a chance to prevent the boat from developing a hole it in, rather than having to spend a lifetime bailing it out.
1. Nutritional and Metabolic Status of Children with Autism vs. Neurotypical Children, and the Association with Autism Severity. Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, Rubin RA, Quig D, Geis E, Gehn E, Loresto M, Mitchell J, Atwood S, Barnhouse S, Lee W. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jun 8;8(1):34.
2. The severity of autism is associated with toxic metal body burden and red blood cell glutathione levels. Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, Zappia I, Newmark S, Gehn E, Rubin RA, Mitchell K, Bradstreet J, El-Dahr JM. J Toxicol. 2009;2009:532640.
3. Novel plasma phospholipid biomarkers of autism: mitochondrial dysfunction as a putative causative mechanism. Pastural E, Ritchie S, Lu Y, Jin W, Kavianpour A, Khine Su-Myat K, Heath D, Wood PL, Fisk M, Goodenowe DB. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Oct;81(4):253-64.
4. Metabolic biomarkers related to oxidative stress and antioxidant status in Saudi autistic children. Al-Gadani Y, El-Ansary A, Attas O, Al-Ayadhi L. Clin Biochem. 2009 Jul;42(10-11):1032-40.
5. One carbon metabolism disturbances and the C677T MTHFR gene polymorphism in children with autism spectrum disorders. Paşca SP, Dronca E, Kaucsár T, Craciun EC, Endreffy E, Ferencz BK, Iftene F, Benga I, Cornean R, Banerjee R, Dronca M. J Cell Mol Med. 2009 Oct;13(10):4229-38.
6. Efficacy of methylcobalamin and folinic acid treatment on glutathione redox status in children with autism. James SJ, Melnyk S, Fuchs G, Reid T, Jernigan S, Pavliv O, Hubanks A, Gaylor DW. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):425-30.
7. Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism. Geier DA, Kern JK, Garver CR, Adams JB, Audhya T, Nataf R, Geier MR. J Neurol Sci. 2009 May 15;280(1-2):101-8.
8. A prospective study of transsulfuration biomarkers in autistic disorders. Geier DA, Kern JK, Garver CR, Adams JB, Audhya T, Geier MR. Neurochem Res. 2009 Feb;34(2):386-93.
9. Abnormal transmethylation/transsulfuration metabolism and DNA hypomethylation among parents of children with autism. James SJ, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Hubanks A, Rose S, Gaylor DW. J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Nov;38(10):1966-75.
10. A case series of children with apparent mercury toxic encephalopathies manifesting with clinical symptoms of regressive autistic disorders. Geier DA, Geier MR. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 May 15;70(10):837-51.
11. Metabolic endophenotype and related genotypes are associated with oxidative stress in children with autism. James SJ, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Cleves MA, Halsted CH, Wong DH, Cutler P, Bock K, Boris M, Bradstreet JJ, Baker SM, Gaylor DW. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2006 Dec 5;141B(8):947-56.
12. Metabolic biomarkers of increased oxidative stress and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism. James SJ, Cutler P, Melnyk S, Jernigan S, Janak L, Gaylor DW, Neubrander JA. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1611-7.