8:07 am – They dropped the epidemic reference. The hearing is now called “Examining the federal response to autism spectrum disorders.” Rep. John Mica (R-FL) is the chair, instead of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Arson).
The purpose of the hearing is to examine federal spending on autism related research and services.
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) plugs the Affordable Care Act – “Autism is no longer treated as a pre-existing condition.” He’s recapping the history and purpose of the IACC.
Rep. Bill Posey, R-FL, gives a shout out to SAFE MINDS, the anti-vaccine group. Now he is talking about vaccine safety. He wants a study to compare health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. “The science is overwhelming” that there is an environomental component to “the skyrocketing rate of autism.”
He says the IACC is obstructing further research into the environmental causes of autism. “The NIH is ignoring what parents have known for many years.”
Mica introduces the panel: Dr. Tom Insel, dirctor of the NIH; Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Dept. of Ed; and Marsha Crosse, Health Care Director from the Government Accountability Office.
Insel starts off. Things are moving fast in autism research. 2,000 people from 35 countries recently met at the IMFAR conference in Atlanta.
“The good news is the science is moving quickly, and the investments we’ve made will soon mitigate” the costs of ASDs.
Yudin talks about IDEA, which included autism in 1994. “More than 30 years of research shows students with disabilities do better when held to high expectations.”
Marsha Crosse says 12 federal agencies were awarded $1.4 billion between 2009 and 2012. The combating autism act coordinates that spending. She says there is a potential for duplicative efforts, and better coordination is needed between researching agencies.
Insel: “We need more people working on the same problems, using the same techniques, to get an many answers as possible.” That’s how science works.
“What you’re seeing as a problem (duplication of efforts) we’re seeing as an essential need.”
Insel says the “potential” for duplication is not the same as “actual cases of duplication.”
Connolly goes after the GAO for hindering autism research. “I think it is irresponsible for the GAO” to suggest that 84% of research projects have the potential for duplication.” Crosse doesn’t have the scientific qualifications to make the statement.
Connolly has a better grasp of the scientific method that your average congress critter.
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA), defends the GAO reports.
Posey again. “Some folks believe the government has made a strategic error” in focusing on genetics rather than environment. He is reading from a prepared statement, possibly from SAFE MINDS.
Insel says genomics is a tool, “an engine for discovery”, to find mechanisms for disease. He’s schooling Posey.
Posey: “Please don’t mistake me for someone who wants to abandon genomic research.”
Posey asks about a chelation study that was proposed several years ago. Insel says it didn’t pass IRB approval.
Now Posey asks about a vaxed v. unvaxed study. “Where do you come down on that?”
Insel says there have been many studies looking at the role of vaccines in autism. “There is no evidence there.” Talk about duplicative efforts.
Now Posey brings up Poul Thorsen. How embarrassing for the congressman from Florida.
Posey is getting testy now talking about vax v unvax studies. “The international scumbag Poul Thorsen.” Posey thinks that every vaccine/autism study has a Thorsen connection!
“One decent study can remove the thimerosal question once and for all.”