MRC UK Refuses Autism/Bowel Disease Research

The Herald - Scotland
Links to autism

The Medical Research Council (Letters, June 30) in 2001 and 2003 announced: "The link between autism and bowel disease is a priority area for research."


Where is that research? Inexplicably, a major gastro-enterological study submitted to it in 2002 was refused funding. The parents of autistic children would like to know why the clinical research necessary to investigate the role of bowel disease in autism has not been funded by the MRC.

Diana Dunstan's fanfare of the investment of 3m in other autism research illustrates the MRC's complacency and lack of compassion - 3m is the estimated lifetime cost to society of just one autistic child. There are more than 4000 such children in primary schools in Scotland. Do the maths, and then extrapolate for the UK, and you will discover that the frightening cost has already exceeded that of four Trident submarines. Perhaps if the MRC had not listened to the spin-masters of Whitehall and instead had become responsive to the needs of the community we might have resolved the MMR/bowel disease/autism debate by now.

Bill Welsh, President, Autism Treatment Trust, 26B Great King Street, Edinburgh.