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Seth Bittker
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Katie, Thank you for continuing to highlight this. I agree with you that resources are missallocated. A very small amount of resources are going towards the biochemistry of autism and most importantly therapeutics targeted to it. As you may have seen the IACC recently came out with their list of most important research advances for 2015. There was nothing on biochemistry and the only therapeutic mentioned was oxytocin which is a hormone which is upstream of the metabolic issues that most with autism have and therefore is likely to be ineffective. In case it is of interest I have started an interview series focused on researchers who are advancing knowledge in autism biochemistry and therapeutics. Among those I have interviewed are Dr. Frey and Dr. Deth who are both on your list. I haven't transcribed the interview for Dr. Deth yet though. Here is the link:
I totally agree that funding priorities for most autism research organizations are misaligned. The idea of focusing on eye tracking as a biomarker also seems questionable. What are you going to do once you figure out based on an eye tracking measure that the infant / toddler is on an autism trajectory? You can always start ABA but any serious look at autism literature shows that in most cases it is the biochemistry that is behind the neurological and behavioral dysfunction and ABA is not going to do much for biochemical dysfunction. Therefore an attempt should be made to refine biochemical markers and more importantly determine what biochemically can be done when biochemical markers indicate autism-like biochemistry. I would like to see some research on sulfation requirements to metabolize various foods, vitamins, and chemicals that infants are exposed to. I am especially interested in vitamins. One might try low sulfur diets on animals and expose them to the vitamin drops given to human infants and see what the effect is.
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Oct 20, 2014