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18 June 2009

Evolution, Vaccines, and Autism

Stayed out late having fun with my daughter, so I really didn't get a chance to blog much. So, today I will repost my blog from Facts, not Fantasy instead. Sorry, but it's the best I can do with the time constraint I am under.

Here is an interview/book review where they discuss the eradication of Smallpox. Can you imagine if this effort had been fighting today's anti-vax pro-disease movement? Would countless deaths and the opportunity to make something just a distant memory be enough to get them to understand that in science, there is always a weighing of risk versus benefits? Or are they so self centered and craving attention, that they would rather put millions at risk?

Here is an OpEd piece discussing how emotions are horrible guides when it comes to the scientific. Particularly addressing the non-existent link between autism and vaccines. Well worth the read.

One handicap of the autism spectrum disorders is being able to put names and faces together. That is why I found this article interesting. Especially the implications to the many other aspects of how people deal with others as well as objects even.

While the generally accepted view of autism is as a handicap, keep in mind that quite often it manifests as a narrow focus, or even a hyper focus. This has manifested in some research regarding problem solving. The key take away though is that there are still so many things that we just don't understand about autism and how it truly affects the individual.

First of all, I wish that there was a better way to bring pay journals to the public. In my daily search on articles, I ran into some very interesting stories that not only highlighted the interconnectedness of genetics and evolution, but also gave a great understanding to the complexity and wonder of it! Sadly, the journals are probably beyond the reach of most citizens.

Again, while abiogenesis isn't evolution, just the starting point, I found this article particularly fun and entertaining to read. I must say that it is pretty speculative, but if the speculations have any data to support them, they are worthy of pursuit. However, should the data not support the speculation, then the theory needs to be shelved (you know, that stuff that science does).

In tracking the amazing evolution of humans, the University of Leeds has tracked down some interesting information on how our behavioural and physical traits evolved. I am particularly interested in where else this REST protein shows up.

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