Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear New York Times: Cancer And Autism Are Not Parallels

Perhaps you saw the headline. God knows, it was eye catching enough: “Autism’s Unexpected Link to Cancer Gene.” (Update, 8/12/13, 5 pm ET: the headline has now been changed to read, “Autism’s Unexpected Link,” although the URL retains the original.) That headline and the utterly confusing story that follows it both fail to emphasize two very important clarifications: First, the gene in question isn’t just a “cancer gene.” It’s a gene that regulates the cell cycle, and changes in these genes can and do have effects that aren’t confined to cancer. Calling it a “cancer” gene in this context is inflammatory, at best.

 Read more here.