New Theories About Causes of Autism Just Add to Confusion

“Studies Find that Folate May or May Not Cause Autism”
May 16, 2016 by Laura June, The Cut on

A new study suggests that high levels of folate in pregnant women’s blood might be linked to autism in infants. Folate is regularly found in large quantities (as its synthetic variant, folic acid) in prenatal vitamins.

The study, which calls into question a very common piece of accepted wisdom or advice, is nothing new for pregnant women…
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There’s only one thing we know for sure… something causes autism. Everything else is pure speculation at this point.

Scientific Research or Jennie McCarthy? At this point, it's hard to know who or what to believe.

Scientific Research or Jennie McCarthy? At this point, it’s hard to know who or what to believe when it comes to what causes autism.

Are you as tired as we are reading these types of stories that seem to pop up regularly declaring the latest in a long list of “possible” causes of autism. Using this same kind of logic, we could write that corn flakes may or may not cause autism. It’s all a lowbrow form of fear-mongering scare tactics, the kind that has caused the controversy over vaccines, which may or may not be a cause. While many of us believe it is true, the truth is that we just don’t know for sure.

We believe that when research is complete and there are clear results, then the findings should be published. Before that, it’s all worthless conjecture. To illustrate the point, this is a partial list of some of the things researchers have recently claimed “MAY” be a cause of autism:

  • Genetics – “There is strong evidence that changes in our genes contribute to autism…” (1)
  • Pesticides – “Exposure to pesticides has also been linked to autism. Some studies have found that pesticides may interfere with genes involved in the central nervous system…” (1)
  • Pharmaceuticals – “Babies that have been exposed to certain pharmaceuticals in the womb, including valproic acid and thalidomide, have been found to have a higher risk of autism.” (1)
  • Brain Development – “Particular areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum, have been implicated in autism…” (1)
  • Environmental Factors – “prenatal exposure to the chemicals thalidomide and valproic acid has been linked to increased risk of autism.” (1)
  • Circumcision – “A new study suggests that circumcision increases the risk of developing autism…” (2)
  • Mercury, lead, poor maternal bonding, plastics, gluten, not eating enough strawberries, too much automotive exhaust, chemicals found on non-stick cookware… This list was compiled by Carrie Cariello on her blog “Exploring the Colorful World of Autism.” (3)
  • Older Dads – “In August 2012, a study released in the journal Nature suggested that older fathers pass on more genetic mutations to their offspring…” (4)
  • Older Moms – “A previous study had found that that it was older moms who elevated the autism risk…” (4)
  • Overweight Moms – “… the risk of autism and other developmental delays was 60 percent higher among those born to mothers who were obese, hypertensive, or diabetic… (4)
  • Having the flu during pregnancy (4)
  • Back-to-back pregnancies (4)
  • Vitamin D deficiency (4)
  • “Assortative mating” – Say what? This is one of the more absurd theories, in our opinion. A theory, proposed in August 2011, assumes that what science nerds have in smarts, they lack in empathy and the ability to relate to others — characteristics also found in autism. So, in this place filled with science nerds, it’s possible that two might meet, marry, and have a child, who, the theory continues, may grow to develop the same deficiencies as his or her parents but to an even more pronounced degree. (4)
  • Too many brain cells
  • Low birth weight – In October 2011, a study in the journal Pediatrics suggested that babies who are unusually small at birth have a higher-than-average risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder later in life. (4)
  • The typical American diet – A study in April 2012 went so far as to connect the “epidemic of autism” among our nation’s children with the “typical American diet.” Manufactured ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, for example, may be preventing the body from ridding itself from common toxic chemicals. (4)
  • Jaundice – …a study that hinted at a connection between autism and jaundice — a common condition among newborns characterized by a yellowing of the skin.

You can see where this is going… it just keeps getting weirder and weirder as researchers try to latch onto something new to justify their grant money.

We say enough is enough, it’s time to stop the madness! It’s time to stop all the supposition and focus on real scientific research, not the “flavor of the day.” PLEASE! Yes, it is possible that any of the above-mentioned factors may be a cause of autism, but it is equally as likely, if not more-so, that they are not. The scientific community needs to stop all the guessing games, at least publicly, and just give us the facts.

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below.


Additional Sources:
ABC News (2)
Autism Today
CNN (2)
Medical News Today