Valerie Foley

What should we be researching?

In Action on January 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

What should we be researching?

Autism Speaks (yeah, yeah, I hated that video too, though mostly because it was a giant misguided rip off of the ‘What would you say to cancer’ campaign… and they exist and they seem to be turning a kind of a corner, maybe) announced their latest round of grants recently (click the link above), and it got me thinking about autism research.

What do I think we should we be researching? What have we done to death? Where is the evidence of anything? Who do I believe and who do I doubt? What research do I think would really help right now… really make an impact in reducing the rates of autism globally?

The biggest thing I can come up with is this.

If we accept that there’s some link between genetics and the environment in this game… if we think that medically vulnerable babies are hit with insults from the outside, in utero and after birth… then why aren’t we knocking ourselves out to discover who those vulnerable babies are?

Why aren’t we profiling immune systems? We could start by testing every immune system of every kid with an autism dx, in the same way as we do lame genetic testing (that sits in files and does nothing) right now.

We could make an autism test bank. Internationally. Then we could use it find out as much as we know how to find out. Compare these kids, as much as we can, see what we find. Put it on file until some genius works out how to test the right way.

We could apply some creative thought to the question – why do some kids develop autism and others do not? Not looking at ’causes’, looking at people. What do people with autism have in common, biologically?

Or, we could keep on making apps to remind us what ‘confused’ looks like, and whether your pants get pulled up before or after you wash your hands.

Cos, we clearly need more of those.

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