Friday, August 20, 2010

Autism and Ultrasound Response

A while back, I wrote about a news report on Dr. Manuel Casanova, who is studying the possibility of ultrasounds contributing to the rising rates of autism.  To my surprise, Dr. Casanova actually responded in the comment section. I guess that means people actually read the crap I write about them.  Here is the comment he left:

Hopefully you will consider posting this small note. If possible I would like to clarify certain aspects of the controversial TV interview. The same was supposed to be about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). The reporter took the prerogative of dividing a lengthy interview into sections. I was not consulted in this regard. The part about ultrasound was tangential to the discussion and prefaced by my own comment that any speculations on the subject would be premature. I did provide some mechanistic explanations regarding similarities between the effects of utlrasound in animals and the pathology that we have described in autism. All of this was lost in the small TV clip when it was apprently decided that my personal interests would provide a better emotional response on the listeners. I did publish one article in MedHyp but the same was to make it clear that there are molecular mechanisms that are primed by ultrasound and are apparently abnormally expressed in patients with autism. Otherwise most of our other publications regarding the neuropathology of autism are in journals such as Neurology, Acta Neuropathologica, etc. I can easily see how somebody looking at the small TV clip would take an erroneous impression as to my way of thinking. However, if anybody is interested in further explanations, copies of articles (pdf's), etc, please email me your concerns at I will try my best to answer them.

Best regards,


First, I have to say that I really appreciate Dr. Casanova taking the time to clarify the problems with the news report and interview.  It's nice to know that he's concerned with people understanding what he's doing, and the results he has so far.  I plan on emailing Dr. Casanova to get a few of the articles mentioned, to learn more about his work.

And looking back at my original post, I should have been more clear: most of my criticisms should have been aimed at the news report.  I have no issue with Dr. Casanova doing his research. My concern is with a reporter taking some preliminary research, and presenting it with the intent to scare people into thinking common and useful medical procedures are dangerous.  It goes to show that we have to be extremely careful about taking news coverage at face value.

Thanks for the reply, Dr. Casanova.
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