Gluten and Autistic "Idiocy"

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Nov 30, 1993, 11:54:51 PM11/30/93
Dr. Fortini responded to my humorous comment to Russ about gluten research
with the following:

>"So mails like that of Gershon Blakmore
>( are misleading because there is a
>silent assumption that all this affair is a matter of personal
>taste. He says in fact:"Hey, Russ, I've been eating
>noodles and cheese for years and years and nobody can take away
>my cheese! Nobody! Hear that! I need to have my cheese my way
>every day!". This means that Mr. Blakmore has nothing to do with
>autism: he is not autistic ( or maybe one person classified
>"once upon a time" as HFA which, in my opinion, is a true
>swindle because autism is very
>severe and there is no High Functionig Autistic but only
>autistic children who were classified as such by a wrong
>diagnosis!!); nor apparently he has never seen any TRUE
>autistic person ( I would like he could see my son and a
>THOUSAND other autistic people associated with ANGSA!
>(Italian National Association of Autistic Subjects and Parents).
>Besides, no autistic person can ever write a mail like that
>written by Gershon!!!

>So the only thing I can tell him is: enjoy your cheese pizza
>because you can, and enjoy it also for my son who likes pasta
>and cheese and can perfectly digest them but who cannot eat
>them because he gets poisoned!"

>By the way this situation is closely reminiscent of
>phenylketonuria: no one who suffers from this disease has
>any digestive or allergic troubles with digesting food
>containing the aminoacid phenylalanine: if however they eat
>such foods they become idiots! So, Gershon, enjoy your
>cheese pizza: you will never become an idiot because
>you have no trouble of this kind!

Well, I don't know where to begin. . . I've never had such a response
from a piece of offhand humor before, or, I take that back, yes I have, as
per my posts recently about being misunderstood etc. No Autistic person
can write mail like I do? Does this disqualify people like Temple Grandin
or Jim Sinclair? As for my never having seen an autistic person. . . I
am tempted to let the tone and tenor of your post speak for itself.

Your hypothesis re: allergy and "poisoning" does not, so far, speak to the
two primary vectors of autistic development, early infantile onset and
onset at three to four years of age. What, specifically, is the poison

I must confess to some skepticism of dietary allergy hypotheses regarding
complex phenomena like human behavioral syndromes. For one thing, there is
a rich folk literature about various maladies being caused by "poisons,"
and there also flourishes a lot of fringe and homeopathic medicine that
purports to cure through elimination of such poisons. Unfortunately, the
literature about poisoning (which has led to a lot of fad diets here in the
USA) is full of the kind of sweeping generalization you make when you say
things like "HFA" is a "Swindle" because there really is no such thing.
This kind of intemperate statement will not advance your cause
scientifically, and flies in the face of the inner experiences of many on
this list.

Also, never underestimate the power of placebo effect. I'll tell about
that one in another post.


Gershon (still HFA, or Aspergers) Blackmore.

Jim Sinclair

Dec 1, 1993, 10:52:29 AM12/1/93

Yes Gershon, didn't you know that already? You and Avi and I, and Temple,
and Donna Williams, and all those other HFAs out there (including Lisa's
son Sam, who reportedly *is* benefiting from a gluten-free diet) all
represent a swindle. I'm not sure whether we're supposed to be the
swindlers or the swindled, but we obviously can't really be autistic.

And while we're at it, did you know there's also no such thing as mild
mental retardation? Mental retardation is very severe and anyone who can
talk or write about the experience of living with mental retardation must
not really be retarded. Moreover, since *all* mental retardation is caused
by phenylalanine poisoning, anyone who does not have PKU is not really
mentally retarded. Furthermore, since mental retardation and autism are
obviously one and the same condition, it is not possible to be mentally
retarded without being autistic, any more than it's possible to be autistic
without being mentally retarded. Anyone alleged to have either condition
without the other is clearly involved in some kind of swindle.

Alternative hypothesis: Fortini's ravings are the product of a severely
pastacephalic (i.e., noodlehead) state of mind. That seems far more likely
to me.


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