Autism Increase Environmental Not Genetic – Says New Director of USA’s $30.5 Billion Health Research Budget

A controversy raging for two decades over the causes of the worldwide pandemic of autism in children was resolved unequivocally in formal evidence by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.  in 2006 but little notice was taken then. Today Collins controls the  US’ annual medical research budget of US$30.5 billion: [NIH Budget] making Collins’ 2006 evidence of substantial international significance for many millions of parents and their children and for funding of research into the causes of autism.

The drug industry, medical experts, World Health Organisation and government health officials worldwide have systematically represented autism spectrum conditions as solely genetically caused whilst denying any role of childhood vaccines or other factors like environmental toxins.  Independent scientists, medical experts and parents contradict this and say there is good evidence autism is caused by vaccines and environmental toxins like mercury.

Collins as a leading medical doctor and geneticist who led the Human Genome Project confirmed in public to the US House of Representatives in May 2006 that recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism must have an environmental [external] cause and cannot be solely genetically [internally] caused conditions: [full quote & weblink below].

And do vaccines cause autistic conditions?  If you read nothing else we strongly recommend you read this: PDF Download – Text of May 5th 2008 email from US HRSA to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News].  In it the US Health Resources Services Administration [HRSA] state to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson

We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Despite all the lies and deceit by health official worldwide, the question “do vaccines cause autism” was answered after the Hannah  Poling story broke in the USA in February 2008 [see CHS article here].  Hannah developed an autistic condition after 9 vaccines administered the same day.  Under the media spotlight numerous US health officials and agencies conceded on broadcast US nationwide TV news from CBS and CNN. Full details with links to the original sources can be found in this CHS article: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines. [Blue Text added 10 April 2011]

The NIH makes almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 325,000 researchers at over 3,000 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every US state and around the world. About 10% of the NIH’s budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, most of which are on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Collins was appointed and sworn in as the 16th Director of the US National Institutes of Health on 17th August 2009 after nomination by President Obama: NIH News Release 17th August 2009.

When Director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute Collins stated:-

Recent increases in chronic diseases like diabetes, childhood asthma, obesity or autism cannot be due to major shifts in the human gene pool as those changes take much more time to occur. They must be due to changes in the environment, including diet and physical activity, which may produce disease in genetically predisposed persons. Therefore, GEI will also invest in innovative new technologies/sensors to measure environmental toxins, dietary intake and physical activity, and using new tools of genomics, proteomics, and understanding metabolism rates to determine an individual’s biological response to those influences.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.,
Evidence to US House of Representatives Committee May 2006

But will Collins’ appointment make any difference to the present research position?  Will the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and financial conflicts of some in the medical professions prevent much needed research being carried out?  The position does not look too good as reported by award winning journalist David Kirby: [NIH Agency Head Backs Vaccine-Autism Research on Friday; Resigns from Federal Autism Panel on Saturday Huffington Post 20th October 2009].

Story Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an NIH agency, surprised many parents on Friday by stating that autism researchers should study “the children who have been most profoundly affected” by adverse reactions to vaccination.

On Saturday, Dr. Landis abruptly resigned from the powerful Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which helps direct hundreds of millions in federal tax dollars to autism research, treatment, care and services.

Kirby followed up with: NIH Director Francis Collins Blames Resignation Of Top Health Official From Autism Panel On “Tension And Lack Of Trust”

The controversy over the environmental causes of autism has its foundations in the now clearly flawed work of English psychiatrist Professor Sir Michael Rutter.  Our article of 25th January this year Autism Not Genetic – Says Expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen demonstrated the unscientific and flawed logic of Rutter’s original paper which has misled the world for so long: [“Infantile autism: A genetic study of 21 twin pairs.” J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 18, 297-321 (1977)].

We stated:-

We …. can consign over 30 years of unscientific medical, psychiatric and psychological papers to the garbage. This brings a scientific approach to the issue since  the erroneous  genetic myth was first propounded with the publication of Professor Michael Rutter’s paper”

Another of our articles shows how Rutter put his name to a paper claiming that Japanese data showed MMR vaccine did not cause autism when analysis of official Japanese data formally published in several peer reviewed Japanese medical papers only a few years earlier showed it was clearly implicated along with other vaccines: Japanese Data Show Vaccines Cause Autism.   Rutter and his Japanese co-authors seemingly failed to locate earlier recent papers of direct relevance to their paper.  Here are the main graphs we published showing the linkage between vaccination and autism rates:-


Here is the same data normalised by annual % of children receiving MMR vaccination – showing the same correspondence as above graph.090610 Terada Graph Data - by % Births.

In our story Autism Not Genetic – Says Expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen we also quoted British autism expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen of Cambridge University who also contradicted the position that autism is a genetic condition:-

We know that autism is not 100% genetic in origin, since in the case of identical twins (who share 100% of their genes), there are instances of one twin having autism and the other not having it. In fact, the likelihood of the co-twin also having autism where one of them has it (in monozygotic (MZ) pairs) is about 60%. This means that there must be some non-genetic (i.e., environmental) factors that are part of the cause of autism.“  [SOURCE: Professor Baron Cohen’s reply to critics of a mooted abortion test for autism reported in the UK’s Guardian Newspaper :- Professor Baron Cohen/Stone Correspondence Re: The Guardian New research brings autism screening closer to reality 12/Jan/09]

We showed that Baron Cohen was only partly correct and concluded by saying that the previous position on autism being a solely genetic condition is non science because:

  • identical twin studies show autism has an environmental [external] cause
  • to demonstrate autism has an [internal] ie. solely genetic cause, it is necessary to show autism occurs where no environmental causes apply
  • that has never been done
  • and that is likely because, as the evidence shows, autism is caused by environmental factors, just like most other human medical conditions

And we explained:-

In other words, it is the 40% of identical twins where only one develops symptoms of autism which tells us autism is not “genetic“.   In those cases it must have an environmental [external] cause.

Professor Baron Cohen errs in assuming the 60% of both twins developing autism is evidence autism is ever a genetically “caused” condition.  It is not such evidence. The correct medical terminology is whether a condition has an “internal” cause or an “external” one.

Because the twins are genetically identical all we can say for those who both develop autism is their bodies have responded identically to the same set of conditions whether “internal” or “external”. It tells us nothing about whether the cause is internal or external [environmental].  It is neither scientific nor logical to assume the “cause” is internal or external [environmental].  It is  wrong to do so and a logical fallacy.

Where both identical twins develop autism, it is more likely than not they have had the same exposure to the same environmental cause.  That is more likely than not to happen [60% of the time it seems].  For example, both twins are more likely than not to have their vaccinations at the same time and all other circumstances in their lives at that time are more likely than not to be identical for both.

All human medical conditions whether “internal” or “external” are genetic. Some of us are more susceptible to’ flu than others and some never suffer from it.  So it is also logically inappropriate to discuss causes of conditions in terms of being “genetic” because all human conditions are genetic whether the cause is “internal” or “external”.  This also demonstrates why it is not wise to rely on medical doctors’ attempts to be scientific.  The majority have no formal scientific training or qualifications and frequently make errors of the fundamental kind illustrated here.

We only become ill or develop any condition because we are genetic.   Everthing else breaks down.  Computers, cars, washing machines and refrigerators breakdown whether for an “internal” cause or an “external” one – they do not and cannot get ‘flu, measles or autism because they are not genetic.  If we were not genetic we would not get sick [but we might rust a bit from time-to-time].

There appears to be no scientific evidence autism is any more “genetic” than ‘flu. Feel free to submit a comment if you disagree.

To establish with scientific evidence that any condition has a solely genetic [internal] cause any more than any other illness or disorder requires evidence showing that in some cases there are no possible environmental causes.

The environmental causes have to be eliminated by the collection of evidence in a scientific manner.  This has not been done, as the reliance on the twin studies demonstrates.

What we can conclude is that autism is an environmentally [externally] caused condition, with some more susceptible than others, like most other human medical conditions.

Who Is Professor Sir Michael Rutter?


  • might he at least subconsciously suffer from author bias?
  • does he have any potentially conflicting interests?”

It can help to follow the money.  In the money connections, you don’t get any bigger than Rutter. Psychiatrist Professor Sir Michael Rutter is a former (recent) Deputy Chairman of the immensely wealthy Wellcome Trust (founded by the Wellcome Foundation which is now Glaxo).  For confirmation of his status, see the 4th page of :-

The Wellcome Trust has assets of over £14 billion:-

The Trust hands out millions every year and has far more substantial reserves to enable it to do that.  And it can dictate a great deal of what research is carried out around the world.  See here for details:-

So Rutter is very influential.  You do not get to be in that position if you are not “in favour with pharma”. He is also one of the expert witnesses for Glaxo in the MMR litigation (something he did not declare, for example, in the Honda/Rutter paper denying MMR has any association with autism, but I do not see him before the GMC over that). Professor Rutter is also one of the main prosecution witnesses in the witchhunt in the British General Medical Council against medical doctors Andrew Wakefield, Simon Murch and Professor Walker-Smith. Here is a biographical note on Professor Sir Michael Rutter from the Academy of Medical Sciences which says:-

Professor Sir Michael Rutter is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London.   He has been a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital since 1966, and was Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry from 1973 to 1998.   He set up the Medical Research Council Child Psychiatry Research Unit in 1984 and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre 10 years later, being honorary director of both until October 1998.   His research has included the genetics of autism; the study of both school and family influences on children’s behaviour; the links between mental disorders in childhood and adult life; epidemiological approaches to test causal hypotheses; and gene-environment interplay.  He was Deputy Chairman of the Wellcome Trust from 1999 to 2004, and has been a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation since 1992.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987 and an honorary member of the British Academy in 2002.  He was a Founding Fellow of the Academia Europaea and the Academy of Medical Sciences, of which he is currently Clinical Vice-President. He has received numerous international honours and has published some 40 books and over 400 scientific papers and chapters.

Professor Sir Michael Rutter along with a troupe of psychiatrists now or formerly associated with The Maudsley Hospital and The Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London University, have been working hard at telling the public autism is solely genetic and denying there is a world autism pandemic. If a condition is genetic, you also do not suddenly get spontaneous mutation of large numbers of individuals.  That suggestion is counter logical and non science.  Genetics cannot account for the large rise we are seeing in autism since the mid 1980s.  So instead what we see are efforts by Rutter and the King’s Institute of Psychiatry other autism denialists to claim there is no real rise in the prevalence of autism.  This claim is unscientific and runs counter to the facts documented in the formal literature.

The Institute of Psychiatry has been an embarrassing place to be because of this April 2008 news item:-

BBC psychiatrist Tonmoy Sharma is struck off By Lucy Cockcroft The Telegraph  01 April /2008A psychiatrist who regularly appeared as an expert on the BBC has been struck off the medical register after he lied about his academic qualifications and performed unethical drugs tests on mentally ill patients.

The Institute of Psychiatry has or is home to more than its fair share of doctors (psychiatrists mostly) who publish papers claiming autism is genetic and denying there is an autism epidemic (the correct word is pandemic – epidemics have far fewer victims).  These doctors include Rutter, Eric Fombonne (now expert witness in the US in the thiomersal/autism litigation when he had previously published nothing about it) and Professor Simon Baron Cohen.

It is also home to controversial “Gulf War Syndrome” psychiatrist Simon Wessley, director of the Centre for Military Health Research at King’s College London and who had been claiming ME/CFS is not a physical condition but a mental one contrary to the definition used around the world.  Sophia Wilson is an example of an ME/CFS sufferer who died following this approach to diagnosis, albeit there is no evidence available to this author she was ever a patient of any of the psychiatrists or institutions name here.

Also associated with The Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley is Dr Ben Goldacre, who constantly attacks alternative medicine in The Guardian [a UK national newspaper] whilst writing the “Badscience” column – yet Goldacre has no scientific qualifications and avoids disclosing that he practises psychiatry.  Psychiatry is the least successful branch of medicine in history and is notorious for a lack of scientific bases to support the theories some of its proponents put out. Goldacre works with Wessley.

Goldacre and Wessley have close professional and personal connections to King’s Mobile Phones Research Unit.  Goldacre has made public attacks, backed by the industry funded lobby group, The Science Media Centre, on a BBC Panorama documentary about mobile phone hazards, which hazards were raised by the current head of the UK’s Health Protection Agency, before taking up that post.  Ben Goldacre and The Science Media Centre attacked the programme and its journalists.

Professor Rutter is also a friend of the editor of the journal which printed the Honda/Rutter MMR paper.  Here is his endorsement of the Journal:-

JCPP is clearly the world’s No. 1 child psychology and psychiatry journal.  It integrates clinical and developmental perspectives, it is truly international, and interdisciplinary, and it combines high scientific standards with attention to clinical relevance.” Prof. Sir Michael Rutter


Editor Charman is a contributor to Rutter’s book:-

Rutter’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Fifth Edition

Rutter was also an expert witness in Malmo, Sweden in an MMR autism case where the key question was whether autism was solely genetic and not environmental.  Rutter’s expert evidence was that it was genetic [not possible – Autism Not Genetic – Says Expert Professor Simon Baron Cohen].

And this could go on and on and on ………………….

When confronted with the above evidence on Rutter’s Japanese autism paper Charman refused to have the Honda/Rutter paper retracted or to publish a correction or rebuttal.  The publishing group Blackwell which published the Honda/Rutter paper have provided no comment.



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