Yet Another Highly Unethical and Socially Irresponsible “Genes-Only” Study Fails to Show that Autism is 80% “Genetic”

Yet Another Highly Unethical and Socially Irresponsible “Genes-Only” Study Fails to Show that Autism is 80% “Genetic”

In a WebMD article, the results from a large genetic-factor-only study gleefully reports that the newest, highest-ever estimate of the for percent liability of autism risk that can be attributed to “genetics” is 80%, leaving the remaining 20% to environmental factors.

The article also claims that this new, highest estimate is reported by the study authors to be “…roughly in line with those from prior, smaller studies on the issue, further bolstering their validity“.

Consistent Results From Invalid Methodology Does not Make Those Results “Valid”.  It Makes Them “Consistent”.

The “roughly in line with” is an appeal to consistency.  But the Liability Threshold Models differ from other approaches methodologically. Previous studies, one of which was conducted by the same group of researchers, had estimates that ranged from 0 to 99% heritability.  The average, until this group started using liability-threshold models, was around 40% attribution to genetics. Their studies increased the average, but it still hovered around 50% liability.  Only the liability threshold models, used by this group, show results around 80% liability.  So their method is consistent with itself.  No surprise there. But that’s nowhere near “roughly in line” with all prior studies.


One of those studies is discussed in the article “Non-genetic factors play surprisingly large role in determining autism, says study by group“.

Why Autism is Not “Genetic”

The article skips over the fact that the newest, latest study, like the prior studies, fails to actually measure the contribution of a single environmental factor.  While the article rails against “anti-vaxxers”, the study ignores the vaccination status of those involved in the study.  The mantra of so many studies never showing association has be tempered with a mature, responsible and realstic interpretation in the context of how those studies were conducted: restricted to one vaccine (MMR), and then there is this:


Assumptions Without Measurement Lead to Assumptions as Conclusions

Their entire methodology is based on familial correlations. In the current study under consideration, no exposure levels to pesticides, medical exposures in utero, smoking history, nothing environmental was measured.  And yet somehow the study authors pretend they can estimate the % liability from environmental factors.  How do they pretend to achieve such a feat?

The first problem is that they have not measured any interaction between genetics and environmental factors.  There is, in fact, established knowledge of special risk of autism that involves combined risk of specific genes and specific environmental factors.  (Check out, for example, Bowers and Erickson (2014):2

Their Liability Threshold Model Approach is Both Under- and Mis-Specified

You really have to understand population genetics a bit to get this next part, so I apologize to the lay public, but please take what understanding you can from this:

Their model (generically represented) is

ASD risk  =  “Genetics” + e

where = measurement error, leaving whatever variation appears to be unexplained to Environment.  That’s unusal because the usual interpretation of such unexplained variation is “Error” and “Unknown Variation”.   In technical terms, their model is underspecified.  Environmental variation is not “Error” in a genetic model, it’s “Environmental Variation”.

If they HAD measured environmental factors, say, vaccination exposure, their model form would be

ASD risk = “Genetics” + “Environment” + e

but this model would still be underspecified.

The more fully specified model would be

ASD risk = “Genetics” + “Environment“+ “(Genetics x Environment)” + e

And if the interaction term “(Genetics + Environment)” is more highly significant than “Genetics” or “Environment“, a reasonable interpretation would be that we cannot interpret genetics in a vacuum, that the significance of many ADK risk alleles must be modified by environmental factors.  If during model selection, G or E is significant, but then in the full model G x E is significant, we attribute liability to both G and E working together.

Instead of this standard approach to studying genetic and environmental contribution to phenotypic variation (ASD phenotype), they do something very odd.

In the Supplementary Material, they report that they made assumptions about environmental factors.  Non-specified “Shared Environmental” effects are ASSUMED to be 1.0 for siblings and 0 for cousins.  Families quite often stop vaccinating after an older sibling experiences seizures.  The study authors also EQUATE “Non-Shared Environmental Factors” with “residual errors”, which is patently absurd.  That’s “e“, which is unspecified variation (error), not designated environmental factors.

If I had conducted an analysis of environmental factors and their contribution to ASD, and used their methodology, I would be able to attribute any unexplained variation to “Genetics” after allowing “Environmental Factors” to consume most of the variation.  I might arbitrarily add in some assumptions, such as assuming that risk from dominant alleles were 1.0 (which they are not, if the impact of those alleles are modified by environmental factors) and all recessive risk alleles contributed zero risk, which would be, as described, arbitary.  Their conclusions draw directly from their assumptions.

Evidence? What Evidence?

The WebMD article cites the entire team of researchers as saying “the current study results provide the strongest evidence to our knowledge to date that the majority of risk for autism spectrum disorders is from genetic factors,” [‘said a team led by Sven Sandin, an epidemiological researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden’] – as quoted by WebMD.

Evidence?  What evidence? If you assume no contribution of environment, measure no environment, and conclude no contribution, there is no evidence.

There are over 850 genes that have been determined to contribute to ASD risk – and not one of them explain >1% of ASD risk individually.  Most of these are Common Variants – meaning they are ancient – as in, they pre-date both the ASD epidemic (and yes, there is an epidemic) and vaccination.  Here’s a figure from my book, which reviews all of the genetic and environmental studies published to mid-2016:



This explains why ASD pedigrees look like humanity dipping its toes into a toxic soup:


The study also does not explain why >20% of children with ASD have higher copy number variation – de novo genetic variation – compared to the rest of the population, nor why people with ASD – and their mothers – have anti-brain protein antibodies – nor why people with ASD have strange mis-folded proteins, lifelong microglial activation, why studies of replacing the microbiome show a reduction in the severity of autism traits by 50%… a feat for a diagnosis that is allegedly 80% “genetic”… and so on, and so on.

Then There is Phenomimicry

The study ignores the fact that environmental factors can impact genes, proteins and biological pathways in a manner that is identical to the effects of genetic variation. This is called Phenomimicry – a term so cool I wish I had invented it.  Examples of Phenomimicry are known in science relevant to ASD.

3“Guess What? Being Human is Heritable”

It’s worth pointing out that thousands of human “traits” are heritable, and that includes traits that contribute to sociality, language ability, intellect, and even perhap tendancy toward repetitive motion.  That means that genetic studies must subtract the heritability of these traits in the non-ASD population from the estimate of heritability in their contribution to ASD.


The WebMD article, and the article itself, lauds the study for involving over 2 million people from five countries.  This is not impressive because the study falls into the category of “Science-Like Activities“.


It is highly unethical – and socially irresponsible  – for “Genes-only” studies to be conducted that claim to rule out environmental factors.  All “Yet Another Highly Unethical Genes-only Study”s – YAHUGS – should be replaced with fully and correctly specified models – that means measuring and studying both vaccination patterns and genetics.

WebMD article on

James Lyons-Weiler

Allison Park, PA

Note: A layman’s example will help.  Let’s say you want to understand thumb injuries among carpenters,and you specify a model

Risk of Injury = Hammer Size

You SHOULD also include Length of Nail, i.e.,

Risk of Injury = Hammer Size + Length of Nail

but it is socially unacceptable to conduct science on the Length of Nail.  So you leave it out.  You then model

Risk of Injury = Hammer Size + e

and incorrectly attribute variation in the “Length of Nails” to “e“.

You SHOULD specify

Risk of Injury = Hammer Size + Length of Nail + (Hammer Size x Length of Nail) + e

But that pesky social pressure to ignore Length of Nail goes a long way.

So you don’t know “(Hammer Size x Length of Nail)“because you do not know Length of Nail.

So you attribute everything to “Hammer Size”, totally ignorant of any direct or interactive effect of the “Length of Nail“and “Hammer Size“.

So you conclude “Hammer Size explains more than Length of Nails” when you should publish

“We Do Not Know the Effect of Length of Nails in Isolation nor with Interaction with Hammer Size”.

You can support me in my initiatives – going live in the fall with the WWDNYK Studios – join on Patreon where these and other pressing issues will be discussed with live guests.



A Brief Lesson for the Press on Vaccine Injury

While in Columbus, OH, educating legislators on the balance of the science, I witnessed a reporter interview a mom of a vaccine injured child.  The mom no longer consents to vaccination for her daughter because, as she said, if she had continued to vaccinate her daughter would most likely not be here.

The reporter seemed to struggle forming one question.  The cognitive disequilibrium was obvious. After explaining  the history of events that led to her daughter’s eventual diagnosis, and being told that a functional neurologist has determined that the vaccine did, in fact, cause her injury, the reported asked:

“And what do you say to people who say you are putting children who cannot vaccinate in harm’s way?”

The mom answered the question gracefully: she said she does not tell anyone else to not vaccinate, that other parents have the choice to vaccinate, and so on.

But here’s the rub: the reporter ignored the fact that her own daughter is in the population that people think they are protecting.

Is it me, or is society clueless that the vaccine injured are among those who cannot vaccinate?

Parents of vaccine injured children or of children killed by vaccines should never be asked to promote to support a pharmaceutical product that has injured or killed their child.


Full stop.

Carry on.

A Few Key Points About GSK’s Priorix Vaccine

Merck’s MMR vaccine has been against the ropes for some time, with critics cautioning against possible contribution of the vaccine to autism, whistleblowers alleging Merck spiked rabbit antibodies into samples to defraud the FDA, and studies showing waning vaccine efficacy and lack of boosting power. GSK’s Priorix is about to be adopted for use in the US, and there are a few points to keep in mind, using information from the scientific literature and a Canadian PRODUCT MONOGRAPH:

Priorix targets a different type of measles than the MMR. GSK’s vaccine targets the Schwarz strain, while the MMR targets the Edmonston-Zagreb measles strain. A study in Bangladesh in 1987 showed that vaccination against the Schwarz strain led to half the seroconversion rate (35%) as the E-Z strain (62%).


(3) The side effects can be serious.

From the Canadian Monograph:

“Page 21 of 23
In subjects who have received immune globulins or a blood transfusion, vaccination should be delayed for at least three

If a tuberculin test (skin test to check for tuberculosis) is to be performed, it should be done either before, at the same time as, or 4 to 6 weeks aftervaccination with PRIORIX, otherwise the result of the tuberculin test may not be correct.

Your doctor may decide to give PRIORIX at the same time as other vaccines. A different injection site will be used for each vaccine.”

[JLW: Your doctor may decide? This ia presumptive consent, not informed consent.]

In case of drug overdose, contact a health care practitioner, hospital emergency department or regional Poison Control Centre (Oh, Canada!) immediately, even if there are no symptoms.

The vaccine must be administered by a health professional.

A single 0.5 mL dose of the reconstituted vaccine is recommended.

Usual dose:

PRIORIX will be injected under the skin or into a muscle either in the upper arm or in the outer thigh.

PRIORIX should not be administered intravascularly (into a blood vessel).
Different injectable vaccines should always be administered at different injection sites.”

It is not likely to be “either MMR or PRIORIX”. It will likely to offered in addition to, and doctors will be performing new experiments on patients with untested combined use in an untested schedule.

“PRIORIX may be given as a booster dose in subjects who have previously been vaccinated with another measles, mumps and rubella combined vaccine.”

ACIP has never taken a vaccine type off the schedule, no matter how old the vaccine formula is. They have changed recommendations for one age group for the HPV vaccine, dropping the third dose for teens and younger adults.  According to the American Cancer Society, the reason is parent/teen conflict – not HPV vaccine injury:

From the ACS website:

Debbie Saslow, PhD, senior director, HPV Related and Women’s Cancers at the American Cancer Society, said the new recommendation will make it easier for people to get protection from HPV. “It’s a burden on parents to get teenagers to the provider’s office. The new recommendations not only cut down on repeated trips, but also spread out the recommended interval. This adds the flexibility that allows the second shot to be given at a time when the child will already be at the provider’s office for something else – an annual checkup, a sports physical, or even something like a strep test.”

That’s a load of baloney to represent this is parent/teen strife.  Many of the teens won’t go back because the second dose made them intolerably ill.  It’s family/doctor strife that’s the problem – the doctors will not attribute vaccine injuries to vaccines. Nope, never vaccine injury.  Can’t say that in the US.

If Priorix and Merck’s MMR are both given to patients each according to their own schedule, it would double the number of measles, mumps and rubella live attenuated virus vaccines exposures.   CDC says that a second MMR vaccine, usually given at 4 years of age, “can be given early”, as long as it is has been 28 days since the last MMR.

I wonder if 4, therefore doses of a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is in the works for children and teens without evidence of immunity?

Given that this studythis studythis study shows 24% efficacy of the MMR against mumps 20 years after vaccination, lifetime immunity is clearly not available via vaccination.

Merck also has the MMRV vaccine, which, in addition to measles, mumps and rubella contains the varicella-zoster virus, which causes Chickenpox and Shingles.



The Perils of Medical Hubris

Laws that demand parents knowingly risk injury or death or their own beloved children are intolerably inhumane. The question is not whether such injustices will be resolved; the question is whether parents will wait to convince the majority, flee as medical refugees to more rational States, or disregard such cruel overreach? Once forced, they have no moral choice but to walk away from orthodox medicine one by one, thereby, en masse, revealing the relative futulity of paradigms poisoned by profit incentives due to the hubris of a paternalist medical conspiracy of good intentions. Woeful and willful ignorance of risk portend disastrous outcomes: the rejection of Science and The Press by the inevitably awakened majority, and a vigorous condemnation and punishment of purveyors of misinformation leading parents to bring their most precious prosperity to slaughter for some uncertain proclaimed greater good. Governments must behold and heed the wisdom of painfully earned experiences of the injured masses who come in earnest to protect those with unrecognized shared peril. For all the uncertainty and suppositions, one outcome is assured: this well-identified minority of American citizens will not conform; given their natural imperative as parents they will resist and protect the welfare of their loved ones, they will defend their liberties against any assault, and they will not rest until the abrogation of the sacred contract of public trust is revoked and is replaced with a trust of self-determinism and remedied via public health policies and medical practices founded on reality.

James Lyons-Weiler

Allison Park, PA

June 22, 2019

Signs that a “Genetic Disorder” is Neither “Genetic” Nor a “Disorder”

There are a few serious disconnects between the science of genetics and the application of that science to medicine, and it’s putting millions of people at risk of exposure to unnecessary medical interventions, includng life-long exposure to psychotropic medicines. These exposures are starting at an increasingly young age.

First, I will outline the signs that a “genetic disorder” is not genetic:

(1) The variation in the human genome involves “common variants”. Common genetic variation, whether it be in the form SNPs, or mitochondrial variation, non-synonmous substitutions or, or insertion/deletions, are ancient, pre-dating not only the development of psychiatry, but pre-dating the development of Western Medicine – and Western Civilization itself. These genetic variants nearly all pre-date the invention of the airplane, cars, houses, roads.

Examples include common variations in the MTHFR gene, and the 12 SNP loci identified in a study of ADHD that reports the “first” evidence of genetic variation linked to that condition.

While the traits associated with the “disorder” are “heritable”, that is only because those traits are heritable in the human population. It is important to note that it is the specific genetic variation that is associated with the “condition” that is ancient – not just the highly conserved functionally important parts of the genome, and some coverage of that study has confused these two entitities.

(2) No grandparents have the condition – and many parents of people with the condition do not have it.

Autism is found in a startling 1 in 56 Americans – with rates as high as 1 in 25 boys. These childrens’ grandparents certainly do not have the tell-tale signs of not talking, hand-flapping, toe-walking, lack of eye-contact, and difficulty in navigating socially. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, parents of the newly diagnosed children not only never heard of “autism” – many did not even ever hear of any child with the same set of symptoms that their children were exhibited. Most autism-related genetic variation also involves common variation, although much of the variation is de novo – i.e., unique to the child – representing mutations, perhaps from environmental toxins that the parents – or, in the cases of mothers’ DNA – the grandmother – was exposed to.

(3) The genetic variation explains too little of the traits in question.

A “genetic” trait – such as eye color, even when influenced by multiple loci, show very specific reproducibility from generation to generation in the occurence of the traits they encode. This high-fidelity transmission can occur in discrete traits that occur in categories, or in traits that are continuous traits with variations on a theme, within narrow bounds. At the population level, eye color is determined by numerous loci – giving variations within categories, but the inheritance is very clearly discrete.

Heritability studies in autism only explain around 50% of the inteheritance of the phenotypes (traits) that lead to autism. This estimate is done at the population level, not at the individual level – a parent of a child with autism is not 50% autistic. The 12 new loci discovered in ADHD only explain 74% of the trait – meaning that environmental factors have a large influence in determining whether the occurrence of the traits occurs in an individual or not. In autism, the largest studies point to a lot of room for environmental factors. The right types of studies that look at both genetics and environmental exposures in the same individuals have not been conducted in ASD nor in ADHD. If they did, we would know the significance of the interaction term between environmental exposures and genetics.

So there are times when a “genetic” condition cannot be labeled “genetic”. Here are some reasons why a “genetic condition” might not even be the right “condition” to be concerned with.

Source %G %E %missing

Hallmayer 38(h2) 58 4

Sandin 46 54 0

Colvert 56 30 8

Table from “The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism” reviewing %Genetic, %Environment(%E) and %Unexplained (missing) from genetic studies of autism.

(1) The “condition” itself is a sequala of one or more true underlying conditions.

If a person has no problem with specific environmental exposure, but then develops a condition as a result of another condition, they may be confused with having a condition they would not otherwise have. This is a type of co-morbidity, and if the symptoms of the actual underlying, sometimes hidden condition are lessened, the indirect resulting condition may become alleviated. An example is encephalopathy leading to autism involving the exposure of the brain to toxins from food and gut bacteria due to conditions with lesions in the intestine. The intestinal epithelium layer in the largest surface area by which we interact with our environment. Dignoses of ASD can result with neither the parents – nor the doctors – aware that the issue is chronic exposures to toxins leading to brain inflammation.

(2) The risk of the outcome of an environmental exposure is heritable, not the condition, and the severity of the condition is driven by environment.

If a condition comes and goes with changes to exposures to specific environmental triggers, the sensitivity is the primary condition, not the symptoms. Food allergies that lead to altered mental states, or to simple rashes resulting from food or chemical exposures. These sensitivities are often not genetic – the parents may or may not have certain similar sensitivities – and they often involve immunological responses with a component of autoimmunity. Another example would be seasonable allergies and asthma. Remove the trigger, the sensitivity remains, but the root cause is an autoimmunological response made possible by prior exposure to allantigens in the presence of a substance that over-activated the immune system, such as aluminum hydroxide in vaccines.

(3) The”genetic condition” can be modified by changes in diet, restrictions to food triggers, removal of toxins, or other seemingly unrelated improvements.

Studies have now shown long-term benefits from correcting the gut microbiota in autism, leading to a 50% reduction in the severity of ASD symptoms via fecal matter transfer. Not only are the improvements apparently permanent, they also appear to help every child. As the moms have been saying for years: Heal the Gut, Heal the Mind.

The risk of psychosis from ADHD psychotropic medicines is estimated to be 1 in 660. In my book, “Cures vs. Profits”, I have a chapter on ADHD entitled “Overdiagnosis of ADHD: It’s their mind, not yours” and also a chapter on FMT. Clearly the improvements made by FMT are historic, and every parent of a child with ASD would do well to read as much you can about FMT. I’ll end this article with a list of links to articles on the ASD studies as a start toward what will hopefully be a better future for kids with ASD and their families.

I wonder if FMT might have permanent benefit for ADHD as well?

Related links:

The Toxins We Avoid and That Concern Us the Most

In a very (VERY) unscientific, informal survey conducted among those who follow my Facebook page, I asked two questions, in separate posts

Question #1.

“Other than toxins in vaccines and glyphosate and lead and fluoride, which corporate toxins do you avoid the most? #CorporateToxins”

After five hours, the replies numbered 217, and the results were very interesting.


In spite of specifically excluding toxins in vaccines, and glyphosate (an herbicide), a signals reflecting those concerns seem to push through the collective psyche.

Artificial dyes, “fragrances”, aluminum, and artificial sweeteners ranked highest followed by GMO’s, flame retardants (pthalates), detergents, and the list goes on (See Figure 1, above).

The second question followed:

“Five hours ago, I asked an open-ended question: “Other than toxins in vaccines, glyphosate, and lead and fluoride, which corporate toxins do you avoid the most?” In 217 mentions, the toxins you are most concerned about are listed below. NEW QUESTION: Of the toxins listed below, WHICH >>THREE<< CONCERN YOU THE VERY MOST?”

The question was met with a large number of “why only three?”.  Fair question: to quantify the toxins that people avoid the most is different from the toxins that concern us the most.  I wanted to characterize the respondent’s priorities in the following terms: of the toxins people typically avoid, which concern you the most?

In the 356 mentions of toxins that rank highest, the following result is telling:

Of the top four, mercury and aluminum came through as highest concerns – alongside herbicides and GMOs.

So, in spite of instructions to leave vaccines and glyphosate out of their concerns, the respondents are clearly very focused on the toxins found in vaccines even if they come from other sources.

I’ll have thoughts to share on this later.

James Lyons-Weiler

Allison Park, PA