As noted previously, Geraldine Dawson, the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, recently penned a public letter celebrating the many autism research achievements announced in the year 2008. In her lengthy missive, Dr. Dawson listed all the following factors as being promising explanations for autism’s etiology:
- Deletions and duplications on chromosome 16
- Pesticides and insecticides
- Epileptic drugs
- Mutations in the CNTNAP2 gene
- April, June and October
- Premature birth
- A defective hippocampus
- Laboratory mice
- Living in a region of high precipitation
- Secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha
- The Hannah Poling settlement case
However, now that the calendar has turned to 2009, we find Dr. Dawson popping up as a contributing author to a new and much ballyhooed paper pinning the blame for autism’s so-called social deficits on hyperactive amygdalas. It would seem that Hannah Poling’s lawyers (not to mention the months of April, June and October) have been moved to the back of the line.
At this point, I am groping to find some factor Dr. Dawson does not believe to be a promising explanation for autism’s etiology, but I find myself increasingly at a loss for words.