Media Downplaying Crucial Autism Data

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MEDIA DOWNPLAYING CRUCIAL AUTISM DATA

 

Autism surge coincided with overuse of childhood vaccines

 

In the 1950s, when autism was not yet a household word, the day’s leading psychiatrists and psychologists propagated the “refrigerator-mother hypothesis.”

 

According to this theory, autism—rare at the time—was the result of emotionally distant mothering. As the condition now known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) began attaining epidemic proportions (with about 1 in 36 children diagnosed with ASD as of 2016 versus perhaps 1 in 10,000 in the early 1980s), researchers eventually found the refrigerator-mom paradigm to be wanting and turned their attention to other theories—but still often remained focused on maternal risk factors.

 




One of the narratives to gain recent prominence is that autism begins in the womb. Although the womb hypothesis is grounded in the neurodevelopmental reality that what happens during pregnancy can have “significant consequences for brain and behavior throughout the remainder of the lifespan,” its media proponents seem to be using it more as a smokescreen.

How does the smokescreen work? First, with the womb front and center, it becomes possible to downplay the fact that the preponderance of autism cases are regressive—that is to say, most often arising in children who were previously developing completely normally. The prenatal spotlight also makes it easier to deflect attention away from the fact that autism’s explosion on the scene coincided with key trends such as the escalating overuse of childhood vaccines containing toxins like aluminum and glyphosate—while helpfully making it difficult to get overly specific about environmental exposures at all. As one government researcher has stated, “[B]y the time children are diagnosed [with autism] at age 3 or 4, it’s hard to go back and know what the moms were exposed to.”

 

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