Talk:Causes of autism/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Disease models

Some of the 'disease models' are not. For example, extreme male brain is consistent with neurodiversity and social construct. Also, Genetics is not necessarily a disease-oriented etiology theory. Neurodivergent 17:39, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to rearrange if you have a better model. I did duplicate the genetic link to the neurodiversity section just because there are alternative interpretations. I could agree that the "extreme maleness theory" could be a neurodiversity theory. What made me keep it in the disease section is the connection with neonatal testosterone which I find highly suspect and disease-oriented. --Rdos 19:44, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Nah, biological differences don't imply or prove pathology. Anyway, I'm not sure how best to arrange, but the 'social causes' section doesn't seem right. Maybe there are 3 types of explanations: (1) Physical disorder, (2) Purely psychological disorder, (3) Not a disorder at all. Neurodivergent 22:26, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with your types of explanations. Maybe the categories are too strict. What about primarily physical disorder, primarily psychological disorder or primarily a difference? This group does match my current groupings. I'll change the section names accordingly. --Rdos 06:38, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree that none of the explanations are clearly in a single category. For example, trauma could amplify a genetic predisposition. The social construct theory, however, is definitely not a psychological explanation, and I believe it should be classified along with neurodiversity in a separate section. Neurodivergent 14:25, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I think the current state of the article is compelling. It clearly represents all sides. --Rdos 17:05, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I even added the 'blanket term' theory. I think it truly presents all significant theories to date. Neurodivergent 17:08, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

"Disorder" -- far from NPOV!!

The opening goes on and on using the word "disorder" which is highly controversial, lacking logical/evidential basis, and highly offensive to boot. I'd suggest some substantial rewrite to indicate the dubiousness of this word at this point. One might with more reasonableness suggest that neurotypicality is a disorder. Certainly causes a huge amount of harm with its prejudices and other quirks. --Idealiot

The word "disorder" is taken from standard sources and is the current consensus; e.g., see ICD-10 F84.0. The best place to cover prejudices and terminological disputes right now on Wikipedia is probably Sociological and cultural aspects of autism. This page is about etiology and not prejudices etc., so it's not a good place to dispute the standard terminology. Eubulides 01:50, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear .... "Current consensus" really means the illusion of consensus that is obtained from the narrowly-censored world of the primary literature (i.e. medical/scientific journals). Of course the med establishment thinks autism is a disorder, but it is no business of Wikipedia to convey without hint of otherwise, that they are correct. Wikipedians would be very foolish to presume that NPOV can be obtained by mere slavish adherence to the dogma-fashions of the med establishment. Whether autism is a disorder or not is absolutely fundamental to what it is, let alone what causes it. So a mention rightly belongs here. --Idealiot
The current page does mention the general issue, in "Social construct theory", as it's relevant there. Otherwise, though, since this page is about causes of autism, and a different page is about prejudices and so forth, it's better to focus the detailed coverage of the issue on the page that it's suited for. Eubulides 16:15, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
You know, Idealiot, just because you have it doesn't mean it's not a disorder. Things should be allowed to be called by honest and accurate names, regardless of people's prejudices and personal feelings. MrBook (talk) 14:24, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Genetic introgression

Unfortunately, I don't believe genetic introgression is citable in relation to autism. Did a quick google search and came up empty. Neurodivergent 16:59, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

You are probably right. Look at the introgression section I added to Heritability of autism. It might me original research, but I rather like to think that it follows from the available data, so it shouldn't be anything else than a logical conclusion, and thus not OR. I suppose you can delete it here. It doesn't add much to the argument --Rdos 17:10, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand the threshold for OR is 'easy verifiability'. This doesn't qualify. I think I'll just delete it from both articles. Neurodivergent 17:13, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


The claim that "no theories based on the neurodiversity model have been proposed by scientists" might not be quite true. Check Baron-Cohen's paper on high functioning autism as a difference. Neurodivergent 17:50, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

More to the point, a theory published 1993 was totally based on a neurodiversity (individual differences) concept of autism: - hence its publication in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.--Idealiot

title change

Over at the discussion page for the Asperger syndrome, I have proposed that the title "Causes of autism" be changed to something along the lines of "Asperger syndrome controversies". That title more accurately reflects the content of this article. In addition, it would make the AS article a bit more user friendly to have a similarly titled MAIN ARTICLE section: Here's how it is now:

Discuss please! Ycaps123 19:56, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

It cannot use Asperger's syndrome in the name. Most of the information has been collected from the autism article. I think this article should concentrate on the causes of both autism and AS. Even if it is controversial if autism and AS is the same thing, any differences can be pointed out explicitly. --Rdos 08:54, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
They aren't really pleased with the idea on the AS discussion board either. I guess that I'm outnumbered. Oh well, that's life I suppose... Ycaps123 09:52, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Buggy references

The numbering doesn't link correctly - eg ref 23 in th text points to ref 26 in teh references section. (The title on that one should probably say "Little Canaries: California Stats" rather than just the "California Stats" that one might think pointed to an official State of Ca publication... but the site looks rather good, especially with its description of what the owner is and is doing with it.) Midgley 09:26, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to correct. Most of the information has been migrated from the autism, Aspergers and Autism epidemic articles. --Rdos 09:38, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
"While the etiology of autism is largely unknown" - lines like this should be 'common knowledge' enough not to require a citation, I sould suggest. 11th Aug 2006

Poverty as a cause

Why didn't any list poverty as a cause? I think there has been some sources, especially that the autistic rate is usually higher in the developing world.

No, in fact, early evidence suggested autism was more common among affluent families. Thinking today is that its prevalence does not depend on socio-economics. Autism has not been screened, for the most part, in the developing world in order to determine its prevalence. Neurodivergent 19:21, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean by affluent families? You mean the middle class? I mean the autistic rate is higher in Africa and the Middle East than in the United States and Canada. So that study must've been inaccurate.

You must be thinking of a different condition. There are no epidemiological studies of autism from the Middle East and Africa, AFAIK. For social class comparisons, see [1][2][3][4]. Neurodivergent 14:59, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I wish I had it in front of me, but the Rolling Stone article "The Kids with the Faraway Eyes" back in '79 quoted Rimland and Lovaas both as saying that the list of parents of autistic children looked like a page from Who's Who. Typically it has been parents who were highly successful scientists, musicians, or academics who had Kanner-type autistic children. You might also want to read Paul Collins' Not Even Wrong -- it sets you straight not only on what autism can be like, but who an autistic person is. --Bluejay Young 04:01, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup: repetitive.

I was adjusting the INN for Thiomersal in accordance with WP policy. The degree of repetition, along with some internal inconsistency, caused me to add this tag. Midgley 16:13, 27 May 2006 (UTC)


The references are not done correctly in this article. See Asperger syndrome for an example of how to clean them up. Please update the referencing mechanism. Sandy 11:57, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Men Over 40 Increases Risk?

Just read this article:

Anyone think we could merge this information and if so, where would it be best placed?--Saintlink 08:18, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Probably under the Heritability of Autism or something similar. Also, it would be important to note that the study, while having a very large sample size, was focused entirely on the ethnic group of Israeli Jews, and does not include details such as the prevalence of Autism among the fathers. Whether or not this study would apply to other ethnic groups still needs to be tested. - Hahnsoo

Derrick Lonsdale

Derrick Lonsdale has been removed from See also by an editor who has an issue with his work. I am not defending his research merely saying that he has done work that some consider to be of value and that has been cited in discussions. I have restablished the addition - if this talk page reaches a concensus that he goes, that's fine but unilateral removal is not correct. Even if his work is wrong, for NPOV purposes reference should be made to it to ensure all POV are embraced. See also The study, Lonsdale D and Shamberger R J (2000) "A clinical study of secretin in autism and pervasive developmental delay." Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Vol 10 (4), pp 271-280, has been cited by the National Autistic Society.[5] TerriersFan 03:22, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

If we're going to list people in See Also, why not list all well known persons ever associated with autism? Frankly, Lonsdale is not even well known. First time I hear of him, and believe me, that says quite a bit. BTW, there are many double-blind studies on secretin, most of them indicating its effectiveness is at most equal to placebo. Uncontrolled studies by Lonsdale are of little value in comparison. Neurodivergent 05:08, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Neurodivergent is more or less right about how see also links are dealt, particularly with regard to biographies. If the association with a particular article is strong enough to make such linking reasonable, and you want to avoid having your link addition reverted, it is generally easier to incorporate the link into the text of an article in a way that explains the association, rather than simply adding a see also link. Sometimes a good explanation is also needed on the talk page. As far as Lonsdale is concerned, there may well be reason to mention his contributions to understanding the causes of autism and to developing autism therapies. Ombudsman 17:12, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I have removed the link . TerriersFan 17:32, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

"TV may cause Autism"

I beleive the real reasoning here is lack of attention from parents, but I'll let the paper speak for itself. DOES TELEVISION CAUSE AUTISM? ( by Michael Waldman, Sean Nicholson, and Nodir Adilov, originally found at 15:52, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd wait a bit on this paper. Rumor on the internet is that it's a prank. Neurodivergent 19:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
The first thing I thought of when I read the abstract was that it was a prank - the methodology alone seems to be pretty flawed (only correlations), and in all of my exposure to the subject, I've never heard anything about this. Seems like something that needs more research before posting. Unless more than one study or researcher produces a link, it's suspect. WLU 19:51, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I was about to come in here and say we need a section about television causing autism. --Macarion 20:01, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I've seen it mentioned more than once in a couple of media, so I'm now in favour of putting it into the article. I'll give it a whirl if no-one else has.WLU 02:16, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

It's a real paper: -- 04:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

The T.V. story presented on "Good Morning America" about the father who feels he spared his child from developing autism by catching it early, is prepared to blame early T.V. viewing by babies for scrambling developing brain signals in susceptible babies. This whole subject has interested me as a teacher. I grew up in a mountain town that was unable to get TV until a relay system was built probably 20 years after everyone else had it. There were no known cases of autism in the whole town. I don't know about now, because I don't live there now. But in addition to the Amish (who were cited as being Autism-free)it would be interesting to check on the data of mountain towns and isolated places that went without T.V. for many years.
In my own observation as a teacher, I have found it curious as to how many autistic children had mothers who were professionals. The only way I could explain this to my own satisfaction is that, being very bright, the mothers may not have done all the silly talking to themselves and to the baby that normal mothers do. But after seeing the story on TV about babyhood TV watching as being a contributing factor, a lot of things sort of fall into place.
For example, scientists tell us that brain cells in developing children die off if they are not stimulated. If a young baby or child watches TV while his mother studies or works he learns to relate to the TV and do what it expects of him. That is to watch passively. He becomes oriented to that role and his brain is organized accordingly. The brain cells that would have developed if stimulated socially become inactive or die off.
The other interesting item research has shown concerning the level of melatonin in afflicted children can also be affected by their viewing of TV. Our bodies produce melatonin naturally when our eyelids are dark. The TV, being bright, puts an unnatural amount of light on the eyes and long hours in front of it, even to the point of sleeping in front of it while busy mothers get their work done, could explain the lower levels of melatonin. Our melatonin levels affect our psychological health which may be the link that puts autistic children in jeparody for mental distresses.
I also believe there is a causative connection between autism and heredity. For example, if certain other factors had been in place (TV for one) I believe I would have been autistic. I was painfully shy as a child and would cry when the teacher called on me in class. My son likewise would turn his head, when spoken to, and would answer "from the back of his head". I believe that both of us had the susceptible genes. However, our TV burned up when he was little and I decided not to replace it, so he developed just fine and is a very productive adult. Neither was I raised on TV as stated previously and I was homecoming queen in college and have been able to hold leadership jobs including teaching. I just believe that, as a child, it could have gone either way for the both of us.
There is a lot of ridicule for the idea that TV could be causative in the problem. I am not an expert, but there is a danger that experts become so invested in a particular explanation they miss a more obvious cause that the observations of parents, teachers and common citizens might share and that should be taken into account. In this day of political correctness, truth may be passed over for the simple reason that it may make some mother somewhere feel guilty for being part of the cause and therefore, the cause is either ridiculed or discounted so that the public has only the options of expensive medicines and years of therapy instead of preventing the problem in the first place.
Once revenue gets involved and professionals make it their careers to make a living on a certain problem, truth is often mysteriously buried and ridiculed. Let's put the welfare of the children first and listen to everyone's input and do the research and let it lead to wherever it leads. Also, let's not underestimate the simple answers without due diligence.
Original research, not suitable for inclusion in the article. WLU 02:52, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
How do you explain the ultra Orthodox Jewish community who dont own TVs, but many children have autism? Its genetic, the Amish dont have the right gene's others may.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

my crazy personal theory

i have my own personaltheory which i already posted on the "autism" page but i think it fits better here. anyway i think that autism may in some cases be the expression of brillience (intelectual) to such an extent that it obscures all else. an autistic person just doesnt care what other people think because they feal so intelectually superior. they dont care to interact with these "inferior" people and more importantly they feel no need to explain what they are thinking because they feel that no one else would have any chance at understanding it, and they are probably correct.

i think this is true because i think i might have some mild very mild symptoms of autism and thats in some ways, the way that i think. if i took those ideas to an extreme i would completely gnore everyone else because i just wouldnt care.

i dunno something to consider

As I also said on the talk:autism page, this is original research. Could a more experienced wikipedian correct me, are we allowed to remove stuff like this from talk pages? WLU 21:17, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
That is called extreme arrogance and bad people skills. I have been working with autistic children for many many years and have never encountered one who considers himself/herself superior. These are children, some as young as a few years old who would not understand the concept of superiority, thus proving that your theory is based on personal superiorly complexes. I personally feel that in a world where the disabled still have to battle prejudice on a day to day basis, articles like this one that harm the reputation of those incapable of disputing this fabrication for themselves, should be banned.

Laura Keren -ABA tutor 09:27, 18 May 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It's not going on the page anyway, and plesae be civil. WLU 20:31, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


  • Frequency of Autism

Any thoughts on merging frequency of autism into this article? If there is no interest the tag should be removed. It seems there would a lot of work involved to merge the frequency article into this cause article. 18:31, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Oppose The article is long enough to stand alone. It can be summarized back to the two articles via summary style. Sandy (Talk) 18:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Unsourced, non-notable

Removing to talk page - speculative, unsourced, weasle words:

Susan Bryson has claimed that some individuals with autism have evidence of trauma to the brain stem in early development, and that a small portion of the thalidomide victims have become autistic. The victims' limbs were normal unless thalidomide use continued later in the pregnancy. The brain stem anomaly's most striking feature is inability to focus attention away from a stimulus in a short time like neurotypicals, as demonstrated in a psychological test.

Some people claim the inability to shift attention quickly interferes with the ability to read nonverbal language where fast attention shifts are needed (such as eye language), suggesting that being nonverbal is not a primary feature of autism. Strong and shiftless focus is, however, a benefit in some areas like science, programming, and advanced mathematics. This is supported by the monotropism hypothesis.

Sandy (Talk) 14:51, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


The section on Extreme Male Brain Theory had this quote: "Hans Asperger himself said that his patients had "an extreme version of the male form of intelligence." While this may be accurate, it had not been cited though citation was requested. I rewrote this to reflect information in a citable source and provided the source. Malangthon 23:50, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Skin whitening

Anyone else find the most recent addition by the anon a bit suspect? I haven't checked out the references, but given the lack of relationship between autism specifically and mercury it looks a bit original research-ish. Anyone got enough knowledge to refute or remove? WLU 01:56, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Good Lord. That should come out. Definitely an interesting original synthesis. Quite a tap dance to get around the fact that no reliable source in its right mind has linked skin whiteners to autism. MastCell Talk 02:34, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Skin whitening creams

I've removed the following section:

The use of some skin whitening products are unusually popular amongst Asian women. [1] Skin whitening products, often contain neurotoxins, such as mercury and hydroquinone, as the active ingredient. [2]

[3] [4]
The effects of mercury poisoning and hydroquinone poisoning have produced mental and physical disorders, such as autism, low verbal IQ, and low social intelligence, caused by the use of mercury-containing and hydroquinone-containing cosmetic products, including skin-whitening products. [5] [6] [7] [8]
Effects of skin whiteners can be evidenced by the strong autism rate in Japan, occurring approximately 2 out of 100 births. [9] Some research has suggested that exposure to mercury can cause autism in fetuses and children. [6] Studies have shown suggested that mercury causes Autism. [10] Therefore, the use of skin whiteners may cause this high autism rate. Studies that shown that topical Hg-based skin creams, such as skin whiteners and infant teething powders, can cause autism due to its mercury content. [6] [11]
Effects of skin whiteners can also be evidenced by studies that found relatively low verbal IQ scores of Japanese children, compared to their high spatial IQ. (Lynn, 2006, pp. 121-148) Since mercury lowers verbal IQ,[6] the comparatively low verbal IQ of Japanese people might be caused by skin whiteners. Also the high Autism Spectrum Quotient of Japanese people might also be caused by skin whitening products. [12]


  1. ^ In a survey, 28% of Koreans and 50% of Philippians say that they use skin whitening products. Skin lightening in Asia? A bright future? 
  2. ^ Counter, S. Allen (Dec 16, 2003), Whitening skin can be deadly, The Boston Globe 
  3. ^ Heyward, Georgia (Feb 5, 2005), New York City Warns: Some Skin Creams Are Poisonous, The Epoch Times 
  4. ^ Mercury in Cosmetic Skin Whitening Creams 
  5. ^ Skin Lightening  Article that links skin whitening products to mercury and hydroquinone
  6. ^ a b c d Countera, S. Allen. "Mercury exposure in children: a review" (PDF).  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ Clarkson. "The Toxicology of Mercury and Its Chemical Compounds".  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  8. ^ Mahaffey, Kathryn R., Dynamics of Mercury Pollution on Regional and Global Scales 
  9. ^ Honda H, Shimizu Y, Misumi K, Niimi M, Ohashi Y (1996). "Cumulative incidence and prevalence of childhood autism in children in Japan". The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. 169 (2): 228–35. PMID 8871801. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Karin B. "Thimerosal and Autism?". doi:10.1542/peds.111.3.674.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  11. ^ Zahir, Farhana. "Low dose mercury toxicity and human health". doi:10.1016/j.etap.2005.03.007. 
  12. ^ Wakabayashi A, Tojo Y, Baron-Cohen S, Wheelwright S (2004). "The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Japanese version: evidence from high-functioning clinical group and normal adults". Shinrigaku kenkyu : The Japanese journal of psychology (in Japanese). 75 (1): 78–84. PMID 15724518. 

There are multiple problems here:

  • This section repeatedly lists hydroquinone as a "neurotoxin" and cause of autism, when in fact hydroquinone is fairly safe. None of the cited references, that I could find, made reference to the toxicity of hydroquinone, and one of the cited references ( specifically commented on the safety of hydroquinone. Cited sources don't support your claims.
  • It states that mercury poisoning "has caused autism." Um, no. That's pretty controversial; many scientists reject that conclusion. To say nothing of lumping in hydroquinone - again, cited sources don't back up the claims.
  • You draw a link between skin whiteners and the level of verbal IQ and autism in Japan. So far as I can tell, this is completely original research. I don't see the sources making that connection, but rather a Wikipedia editor advancing a hypothesis of his/her own. That violates the original synthesis policy.
  • Again, the statement "Studies that shown that topical Hg-based skin creams, such as skin whiteners and infant teething powders, can cause autism due to its mercury content" is both false and unsupported by the references in question.
  • Speculation about why verbal IQ scores in Japan are purportedly lower than elsewhere is not appropriate for a Wikipedia article, particularly not one on causes of autism.

Bottom line is that there are multiple claims here which are inaccurate, or at the very least, unsupported by the cited references. It seems clear from these refs that mercury-containing skin whiteners can be a cause of acute and chronic mercury poisoning. What's missing is any reliable secondary source linking these creams to autism (after all, the title of this article is "Causes of autism". You're relying on an original synthesis (creams contain mercury, some have hypothesized that mercury causes autism, therefore creams cause autism) which is strictly forbidden by Wikipedia's policies. MastCell Talk 16:16, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

There is two articles that I found linking autism to skin whitening products:
Zahir, Farhana. "Low dose mercury toxicity and human health". doi:10.1016/j.etap.2005.03.007. 
Countera, S. Allen. "Mercury exposure in children: a review" (PDF).  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
Quote from "Mercury exposure in children: a review": "inorganic Hg through the use of topical Hg-based skin creams and in infant teething powders" and "In recent years, there has been concern that ethylmercury exposure may induce neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as language delay, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, but especially autism spectrum disorder (Geier and Geier, 2003). Ethylmercury (EtHg) is an organic Hg compound," —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
How 'bout the Japan/IQ stuff? And you still need a secondary source that links autism and skin whiteners 'cause we can't do it ourselves. WLU 17:30, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Also, this is what I mean by misquoting sources. Your quote says that inorganic mercury is found in whiteners, while organic mercury (ethylmercury) has been (speculatively) linked to autism. Inorganic and organic mercury are different. The paper does not link inorganic mercury exposure from whiteners to autism. MastCell Talk 18:38, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

General (multicausal) theories

I thought this theory ought to have a mention as it appears not to be discredited in any way. I guess that some changes to surrounding context could be in order. I'm not a skilled Wiki editor so I'd guess best if I leave that to others. --Idealiot

As a genetics-based theory this belongs in Heritability of autism, not here, so I'm inclined to revert the change. If you want to put it in Heritability of autism I urge you to put it in its proper place, with context, and with a brief discussion as to why the theory is worth looking at. There are a lot of theories, many of which nobody ever refers to once published. Everybody thinks their theory is the one, but Wikipedia doesn't have space to discuss them all at length. Eubulides 00:47, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Dear Eubulides, you make essentially two points, both wrong. Firstly RP Clarke's theory is not genetics-based any more than it is environment-based (rather it is gene-expression-based). It says absolutely nothing about the heritability of autism, which is not surprising since it is a theory about the causes of autism instead.(I continue in next para.)
There is a categorization issue here, as gene expression and heredity are not the same, but in an encyclopedia most would file gene expression under genetics. Certainly Wikipedia does: for example, Category: gene expression is a subcategory of Category: Molecular genetics. The Heritability of autism page, despite its name, is really about genetics. (Perhaps it should be renamed but that is a different subject.) That page already talks about gene expression and so is a better home for this sort of thing. Eubulides 16:15, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Your reply only becomes relevant at its last sentence where it becomes wrong. Do I really need to tell you again that it is a theory of causes of autism and not of heredity or genetics - it is just as much about environment. As a genetics lecturer rightly said, there wasn't much genetics in it. Please take a rest from this wasting of other wiki-users time Eub, you do not own this page.--Idealiot 23:26, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't see why the reply's last sentence is wrong. First, that page does already talk about gene expression; see its discussion of Samaco et al. 2005. Second, gene expression is the main focus of Clarke 2003; it argues that autism is caused by abnormalities in gene expression. Since Clarke's theory postulates a genetic cause for autism, any coverage of it belongs in the genetics-of-autism article. Eubulides 02:41, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
A friend once said that you cannot win an argument against a fool. Sadly, those wishing for competently-written autism pages on wikipedia are going to have to await the passing on of this person who is evidently devoid of ability to see the flaws in his own output.--Idealiot 07:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Secondly, you put it in a category with a "lot of theories" which are ignored. But have you ever read any of them? (You evidently have not read this one.) The vast majority of such theories are with good reason ignored, because they have some fundamental flaws of reasoning or evidence, or are relatively flimsy speculations (e.g. the TV theory which you leave in). But RP Clarke's antiinnatia theory is very different from such-like. It is true that Wikipedia does not have space to discuss all the dodgy theories that exist, but that does not apply in respect of a substantial peer-reviewed work such as that of RP Clarke which has encountered no criticism. The Wiki article purports to be a proper uncensored review of autism theories. As such it should not exclude all mention of a substantial, unfaulted theory. Sure, it is not the function of Wikipedia to give a deviant presentation, but nor should it be participating in a mindless authoritarian mutual parrotting of other reviews presenting a false, unreasoned "consensus". It should strive to surpass mere Britannicas! (... else why bother?) For these reasons a reinstatement is in order, a bit shortened perhaps (though you will note that the original account of the antiinnatia theory did not indulge any space to mention any of its actual ideas). --Idealiot

Yes, I've read many theories of autism that are unreferenced in the peer-reviewed literature. Monotropism is one example (though it's recent enough that perhaps it's just taking time for followup studies to percolate through the system). And I did read the paper you referenced, which is why I suggested moving it to the other article for discussion there. Eubulides 16:15, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
It remains the case that you have not made any real reply to my previous points and so they remain right and you are simply wrong.--Idealiot 23:26, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
I have not replied to points about the theory's merits here, because I am restricting my discussion here to the issue of whether Clarke's theory is suitable for this page. The merits of the theory itself are better discussed in Talk:Heritability of autism. Eubulides 02:41, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Please see my proposed abridged reinstatement at end of the talk page of Heritability of autism--Idealiot 14:09, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Vaccine evidence

Eubulides put in the article that: "the vaccine hypotheses have no convincing scientific evidence". Sorry Eub but where have you been the last decade?! Sure, You, me and a zillion others are very unconvinced by the "evidence" re vaccines. But aren't you just slightly aware that a huge number of others are convinced?! So that claim is not only unreferenced, but it is counterreferenced. I suggest you spend less time on your worthy editing work (albeit much may be of value) and more time reading the things you cut out such as . --Idealiot

The claim was indeed referenced, by Rutter 2005. I am aware that not everyone is convinced. The article has many paragraphs promoting the vaccine theory, with what must be a dozen references on the subject, so it's not clear what the complaint is here. Eubulides 16:15, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Organochloride pesticides

Re this change I made to Causes of autism:

  • None of the chemicals mentioned in Causes of autism#Teratogens are proven teratogens; they are all implicated by association only. Also, as far as is known none of them are always teratogens (ethanol, for example, is not). So the reasons given for having a separate subsection for dicofol and endosulfan were not sufficient. If there are to be two subsections I'd suggest titles like "Oral teratogens" and "Airborne teratogens" or something like that (is there common terminology in use here?). But giving organochlorine pesticides their own section is a bit strange and could easily confuse the reader.
  • As far as the citation goes, there shouldn't be two footnotes for just this one study, or even one multipart footnote; that's too much work for both us and the reader, with too little payoff. I don't know what the objection was to the "cite journal" template with the laysummary= argument; I thought it was fine. But if we don't use that, let's just leave out the lay summary entirely.

Eubulides 00:33, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

One argument for omitting the Cone article, by the way, is that in a matter of days it will be available to subscribers only, whereas the main citation will be available indefinitely. Eubulides 00:40, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
You guys too fast! All I get are edit conflicts everything I try to save! :)
Anyways, I'm not going to edit this anymore--if you want to revert I'll abide by that. I'm more intersted in pesticides than autism, and I built most of the endosulfan page. Anyway, neither endosulfan nor dicofol are established human teratogens like thalidomide, DES, etc, therefore I think it is incorrect and confusing to list endosulfan and dicofol in a subsection about teratogens. I don't see how breaking them out into their own section, as I had done, is "strange" or "could easily confuse" anyone. Perhaps the Prenatal enviroment section would be best without any subsections, or with Endogenous Toxicants and Exogenous Toxicants subsections or something. At any rate, listing endosulfan and dicofol as teratogens is incorrect, and i was just trying to fix that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yilloslime (talkcontribs) 01:02, July 31, 2007
If this result is confirmed, then endosulfan and dicofol will be known human teratogens, right? So is the problem that the text is lumping together chemicals like thalidomide (which are known human teratogens for reasons other than autism) with these two chemicals (which are not)? If that's the case, I sort of see the point, though I still would rather solve the problem in a different way. 05:25, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
'Teratogen' is understood to refer to agents that casuse physical deformities, and I think you'd really be stretching the meaning of the word to apply it to agents that cause autism in the absense of physical birth defects. And either way, discussing endosulfan and dicofol under the heading of 'teratogens' is akin to saying "endosulfan and dicofol are teratogens"—a statement which the scientific and medical communities have not made. Wikipedia is not the place to decide what chemicals are teratogens, we can only report what authoritative sources have to say on the issue. Furthermore, your reasoning should also apply to folic acid--why should folic acid have it's own section and not organochlorine pesticides?Yilloslime 17:01, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Teratogen refers to any agent that causes a birth defect; the defects need not be physical abnormalities. But to help work around the problem I made this change. Endosulfan has significant teratogenic effects in laboratory rats, so I put in a reference to that effect. Perhaps Endosulfan should mention this too? Eubulides 19:53, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I think your edit improves the section greatly! I don't have strong objections to adding material about teratogenic effects on rats to the endosulfan page. When I was working on that page I tried to focus mainly on data from humans since there actually are some pretty striking studies from humans, and I felt that going into all the animal data would dilute the human studies and make the page really really long. Yilloslime 20:48, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
On a related note, there is a growing body of evidence that pre-natal exposure to organophosphate pesticides, particularly chlorpyrifos, is a risk factor for pervasive developmental disorders--see the Wyatt paper referenced in the Chlorpyrifos page, and also this recent paper by Eskanazi: Environ Health Perspect 115:792–798 (2007). I'm not totally clear on the relationship between PDD and ASD, which is why I've hesitated and not added that these studies to this page. What do you all think? Yilloslime 23:18, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
The PDD diagnosis is equivalent to ASD (autism spectrum disorder) which includes autism, Asperger syndrome, and some other stuff. The Whyatt paper (actually, Rauh et al. PMID 17116700) doesn't talk about children diagnosed with PDD; it talks about children who have some PDD symptoms (the abstract calls this "pervasive developmental disorder problems" to highlight the difference). Its Table 8 shows an odds ratio of 5.39 (95% CI 1.21–24.11) for presence of PDD problems in children exposed to more than 6.17 pg/g of Chlorpyrifos. This is suggestive, but I dunno, it's a bit of a stretch to mention this here. Eskenazi et al. 2007 (PMID 17520070) has a similar problem: they measure "pervasive developmental problems" but did not measure whether the children had PDD. I think it's better to cite a review saying there are problems in this area and leave it at that. Wait, I did find one study showing indirect evidence of an association between chlorpyrifos and autism, namely D'Amelio et al. 2005 (PMID 16027737), so that might be worth a mention. I made this change. Thanks for the heads-up. Eubulides 07:59, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
As for the footnote issue, the reason I changed it is because I thought the way it orginally was it was not apparent that there were two different sources being linked--if you clicked on part of the link you got the highly technical EHP article, but if you clicked the other part you got the LA times. Also, I wanted to give the Cone article a proper cite: author name, article name, venue, date, etc. I don't agree that it's too much work for the reader--if anything this way is easier for the reader because it makes it clear what they are they are going to get before they click--a highly technical paper which most folks aren't going to understand, or a much more accessible albiet secondhand description of the research. One concern might be that having two citations makes it look like there are two studies when in fact there is only one, but the way it's phrased now it's clear that there is only one study. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yilloslime (talkcontribs) 01:02, July 31, 2007
This is a style issue, and to some extent I'd rather defer style issues to the "cite journal" template. Maybe that template needs fixing. Still, I'd rather not have a huge amount of footnote text for what is essentially just one research result. Footnotes are big enough as it is. I like citing lay sources, but I don't like duplicating all the footnotes, and laysummary= is at least trying to address the issue using a middle ground. 05:25, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

I like the laysource parameter on cite journal; new trick for me, which I'll use in the future. But, the LA Times will go to subscription only, so a good reason not to include it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:50, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps by the time that happens, there will be some other lay source we can use that will be as good as the LA Times article. We can wait a few days and see what happens. 05:25, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
That the LA times article will soon become pay-per-view content is a good point, however, that article has been picked up by at least one other source, so it's possible that it'll be permanently available for free somewhere on the internet. Furthermore, there's no reason why we should only cite free articles, and many wikipedia entries do cite subscription-only or even print-only sources. By all means, for the ease of the reader we should try to cite free content whenever available, but if there isn't anything, then we shouldn't shy away from non-free sources. Anyways, my original objection still stands: cramming 2 different sources into the same citation is confusing, looks bad (in my opinion), gives short-shrift to the second source, and—existence of a wiki template aside—is not the conventional way to do things. Yilloslime 17:01, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Neural Tube Defect link

I have a question as to how to put some information in here. Many studies use 'possibly related' conditions to study autism; scientists subscribing to the 'connectivity' theory, in their studies, use teratogens that in higher doses induce neural tube defect, but instead cause "autistic-like behavior in mice" born in these studies. Is this a legitimate relationship, and if so, should it go under a new heading or in already existing one here? Should these teratogens be listed in this article, or need they be separate because they are not (yet) known to cause autism per se? Twitchbunny (talk) 23 Feb 2009

I think I've seen that study ... it should pass the "reliable source" guidelines if it is what I'm thinking of; in any case I would say that for now it would be best to just make a 3rd level heading (i.e. write it === like this ===) and other people will change it if they think it should be merged somewhere else. Soap Talk/Contributions 20:41, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal for environmental factors

Causes of autism and Heritability of autism #Proposed environmental triggers cover essentially the same material. Causes of autism treats Heritability of autism as a subpage for genetic factors, while covering environmental factors on its own. But Heritability of autism covers environmental factors too, in a major subsection. This subsection's coverage is shorter and less extensive than the coverage in Causes of autism, so I propose that it be merged into Causes of autism. Eubulides 07:23, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Support, FWIW. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:13, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Good idea; anything that reduces redundancy in the autism-related articles will make them much easier to improve and maintain. MastCell Talk 18:04, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Sorry, I forgot to mention that I did the merge last month after nobody objected. Eubulides 20:15, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Television watching weight

This edit gave way too much weight for what is a minor theory that (as far as I know) nobody takes seriously anymore. I did a search and found only one reliable Pubmed-indexed source on the topic, a contemporaneous review in Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health, so I made this edit instead, which adds that source and modifies the text to match the citation. Eubulides (talk) 21:17, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me, but I always believed that study was some sort of joke from it's authors, I mean, linking autism to TV watching through weather conditions does sound a bit like linking religion to climate (in Europe). But hey, maybe they were serious .... Fenke (talk) 21:39, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm happy with the section as it now is (with the addition). Personally, I think the correlation is way too high to be anything but causal in some respect - but the question is much more caused by what? For example, it's fairly well documented that air quality inside houses is much worse than outside, unless you live next to a freeway. So if television brings adults inside (with kids following), or weather brings everyone inside, then inside air quality could be the underlying cause. Or Vitamin D deficiency - the less time outside, the less of this generated by sunlight; perhaps it's a crucial vitamin in early infant development (or even natal development). Or course, all this is speculation, but it I think the academic paper - not a joke, I'm positive - and its reaction (I ran across it at Slate magazine, as the topic of an article which appeared to be the #1 most e-mailed) are worth two paragraphs. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:26, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
  • The Cornell study was reported in Slate:[6] I anticipate more articles to follow. KillerChihuahua?!? 23:27, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
  • That Slate report was published in 2006; it's not news. It doesn't add anything. This edit is incorrect; the cited source is the original one, dated 2006; it is not dated 2008. I'll revert the edit. Eubulides (talk) 23:42, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

good grief. I knew I was tired but didn't think I'd screwed up so monumentally. thanks for fixing. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:55, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Assumptions that refer to poisoning by heavy metals

I added some sources and quotes has support of evidence that autism is caused by poisoning from heavy metals. I also mentioned the magazines where I stretch from these sources. It seems to me a more complete than the previous.--Simonbasket (talk) 19:34, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

It appears that this edit is a replay of an attack on Autism by sockpuppet accounts, discussed at Talk:Autism #Dan! and heavy metals and at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents #Suspected sockpuppets at Autism. The inserted text is promoting the WP:FRINGE theory that heavy metals cause autism, and it is obviously a huge WP:WEIGHT violation to give so much prominence to a fringe theory. The text also promotes a heavy-metals organization, DAN!, which again is not the sort of thing that Wikipedia should do. The text is poorly translated from Italian, and some of the Italian words remain; but its main problem is that it's completely NPOV. Eubulides (talk) 19:37, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

New studies

I would like to highlight two important new studies on the relationship between mercury and autism.They are interesting.I would like they were briefly mentioned in this page.

  • [7] ( [8] ) An epidemiological analysis of the ‘autism as mercury poisoning’ hypothesis, International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine (scientific journal with a system of peer-review) 20 (2008) 135–142, DOI 10.3233/JRS-2008-0436,Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

I would say:A 2008 Australian study argues the thesis that autism is caused by the mercury poisoning. (If necessary:However this study could be debatable). What do you think? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trèspacifique (talkcontribs) 11:16, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

  • [9] ([10] ),Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders:An assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink,2008, Heather A. Young a, David A. Geier b, Mark R. Geier c,The Genetic Centers of America, United States,The Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., Silver Spring, MD 20905, United States,The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, United States, Journal of the Neurological Sciences (scientific journal with a system of peer-review)

How you would like to express (or convey) this important studies in two simple sentences on this page?--Trèspacifique (talk) 10:42, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I have reviewed the Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders... paper, and I don't think it is very strong evidence. First and foremost, the data used was very limited. This was not the fault of the authors, but of the strict blinding on their access to the database used [11]. So they had essentially just seven data points (seven birth years), and they had to extrapolate some of the data even there. Second, they present their findings in terms of an effect per 100ug of mercury (delta). However, the data points they used had only about a third of that difference (high of roughly 150ug and a low of roughly 113ug). I don't know how to adjust their results to be on that scale, but I'm pretty confident that the effect for autism would dissapear for even 50ug of mercury (delta). Interestingly, the strongest effect was for ADHD followed by Tics. The effect for autism and ASD was much weaker. Astgtciv (talk) 00:30, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that it's weak, and have copied your comment to Talk:Thiomersal controversy #Young, Geier & Geier 2008, since Thiomersal controversy is citing that source. Eubulides (talk) 01:37, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the citations. Both are now being used in Wikipedia.
  • Austin 2008 is an up-to-date assessment of the autism-as-mercury-poisoning hypothesis, and I just now substituted it for an older (and non-peer-reviewed) citation in Causes of autism #Mercury. By the way, the URL you gave for Austin 2008 does not appear to be an authorized copy, so to be safe I omitted that URL from the citation, as Wikipedia isn't supposed to link to copyright infringements.
  • Young et al. 2008 is more specialized, as it talks only about thiomersal and it's just a single primary study; as such it's more appropriate for the Thiomersal controversy subarticle, where it has been used since May 2008 to support Thiomersal controversy #Rationale for concern.
Eubulides (talk) 19:39, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


  • "A 2006 study found a slight association between autism and environmental releases of mercury".An incidence of 61% is pretty high.Perhaps it is better to indicate the (exact) percentages.
  • I recommend another very recent study: An investigation of porphyrinuria in Australian children with autism,Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (scientific journal with a system of peer-review), Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia,2008,Austin DW, Shandley K., link PubMed[12], [13] It is important and very recent.I would mention it in Causes of autism (Mercury)

What are your opinions? --Trèspacifique (talk) 09:47, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

  • That "61%" number in the abstract of the primary study (Palmer et al. 2006, PMID 16338635) is misleading and we should not be highlighting it. The words "slight association" are taken from a reliable secondary review, Newschaffer et al. 2007 (PMID 17367287), which summarized Palmer et al. as follows: "An ecologic study of industrial emissions reported a slight association of higher mercury levels with numbers of autistic children in special education, but it did not examine other, or earlier, exposures."
  • Since we're already referring to Austin 2008 (doi:10.3233/JRS-2008-0436) surely it's overkill to also refer to a primary study by the same author (Austin & Shandley 2008, PMID 18704827). Austin 2008 is much longer than our section, and it summarizes the porphyrinuria business in a few brief words; it would be odd for us to give a much heavier weight to that theory than Austin himself does.
Eubulides (talk) 19:46, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
  • thanks for having responded me. And this study? PubMed link [[14]] Mercury, lead, and zinc in baby teeth of children with autism versus controls. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 (scientific journal with a system of peer-review), Adams JB, Romdalvik J, Ramanujam VM, Legator MS. Chemical and Materials Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA. In my opinion, it is interesting and quite recent. What is your opinion? --Trèspacifique (talk) 13:55, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
  • That study is reviewed in Weber & Newmark 2007 (PMID 18061787), which discuss that study along with several others in a paragraph that begins "What is the evidence that there is an increased body burden of mercury and other heavy metals in children who have autism? There is surprisingly little." (p. 997); their next paragraph (p. 998) begins "In summary, although it is clear that mercury is a potent neurotoxin, especially in the developing brain, the idea that mercury exposure is a significant cause of autism is at this point largely is unproved." With that review in mind, I don't think we should be highlighting that study here; instead, I added a brief summary of that review's findings in this area. Eubulides (talk) 09:28, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • and no scientific support for recommending chelation therapy to remove the mercury.[61] I checked the text shown in the link, it does not mention the chelation.--Trèspacifique (talk) 19:34, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Perhaps you're just reading the abstract of Weber & Newmark 2007 (PMID 18061787)? The part about chelation is supported by the following quote from p. 998 of that source: "There is a need for a prospective study comparing postchelation urinary heavy metal levels in autistic children compared with controls. In addition, chelation therapy is recommended widely by biomedical practitioners for children who have autism, based on the assumption that removing these metals will result in improvement in autistic symptoms. There is no scientific support for this contention at this time. There are possible electrolyte imbalances that could accompany chelation therapy and, if used at all, should be done carefully under the direction of an experienced practitioner."
  • I see that you went ahead and added a summary of a primary study, Adams et al. 2007 (PMID 17497416). However, this primary study is somewhat dubious: it is published in a lower-quality journal, its results have not been confirmed by other studies, and when reviewed by Weber & Newmark 2007 the overall conclusion was that there's surprisingly little evidence of an increased burden of mercury. Citing this study directly causes a WP:WEIGHT problem, in that a naive reader perusing the paragraph will see text that is unbalanced in favor of the mercury-causes-autism hypothesis, even though this hypothesis is rejected by the mainstream scientific and medical community. As per WP:MEDRS #Definitions, we should not be using primary studies to dispute the conclusion of reliable secondary sources.
  • Instead of highlighting this one primary study, it'd be better to state the assertion that some studies have found mercury or its biomarkers in autistic children; this assertion is made by Austin 2008. I made this change to do that.
[[15]] (talk) 21:21, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the corrections,but I would like to discuss two other points.

  • There is no scientific support for this contention [chelation therapy] at this time. I would like to specify at this time in Causes of autism (Mercury) about chelation therapy
  • ... its biomarkers in some autistic children. I would mention another very important and very recent study, Biomarkers of environmental toxicity and susceptibility in autism (Sep 24 2008),Journal of the Neurological Sciences (scientific journal with a system of peer-review), The Genetic Centers of America, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, PubMed study [] , [16] --Trèspacifique (talk) 13:32, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • All the text in Causes of autism is written in the present tense, and may be revised in the light of future research. I don't see a need to emphasize that point just for chelation therapy. Other high-quality reviews (e.g., Levy & Hyman 2005, PMID 15977319) agree that there's no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of chelation therapy for autism, and do not put in that phrase "at this time".
  • Geier et al. 2008 (PMID 18817931) is a primary study and and should not be used to dispute reliable reviews. Also, unfortunately, it is coauthored by Mark Geier, an unreliable source.
Eubulides (talk) 20:01, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I want to delete the word surprisingly, in my opinion the text is more linear without this word.--Trèspacifique (talk) 20:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, thanks for catching that. I removed the "surprisingly". Eubulides (talk) 20:46, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

I do not want to take away the value of the reliable reviews, I would just mention this interesting Geier's study in the most appropriate way and clearly understood that it is not a conclusive study--Trèspacifique (talk) 20:40, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but any mention of Geier's studies would raise a serious WP:WEIGHT issue here. This article about all the potential causes of autism, and is not the place to be discussing one particular study promoting a fringe theory when we already cite secondary reviews and have subarticles talking about that fringe theory. The study could be discussed on Geier's page, for example; that would not raise the weight issue. Eubulides (talk) 20:46, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

and no scientific support for recommending chelation therapy to remove the mercury Perhaps this phrase I would move or add to the voice autism therapy that speaks specifically of the chelation therapy. So it would to seem more appropriate--Trèspacifique (talk) 21:03, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Good point; I removed it here. I think it's already covered at Autism therapy #Chelation therapy. Eubulides (talk) 21:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

and this study? What is your opinion? [17] Dr. Holmes'study has been replicated by an university.--Trèspacifique (talk) 11:08, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

The study you cite, Kern et al. 2007 (PMID 17365626) actually contradicts the results of Holmes et al. 2003 (PMID 12933322). Holmes et al. found a significantly lower amount of mercury in the hair of autistic children, whereas Kern et al. did not find a significantly lower amount (it found a significantly lower amount of other metals, but not mercury). Conversely, Fido & Al-Saad 2005 (PMID 15937043) found that children with autism had greater levels of mercury in their hair. More recently, Williams et al. 2008 (doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2007.05.001) found no significant difference in levels. I'm sure there are other studies, but the point is that given such conflicting evidence like this in primary studies, we should rely on reliable reviews in this area rather than citing primary sources like these. I don't know of any reliable reviews on this specific point. Eubulides (talk) 21:40, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Court ruling: no link

A court hearing a petition to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ruled that vaccines and autism have no link:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vaccines aren't to blame for autism, a special federal court declared Thursday in a blow to thousands of families hoping to win compensation and to many more who are convinced of a connection.
The special masters who decided the case expressed sympathy for the families, some of whom have made emotional pleas describing their children's conditions, but the rulings were blunt: There's little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link.
The evidence is weak, contradictory and unpersuasive, concluded Special Master Denise Vowell. Sadly, the petitioners in this litigation have been the victims of bad science conducted to support litigation rather than to advance medical and scientific understanding of autism.

-- Fyslee (talk) 02:30, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Anatomy of a Scare

A new source from Newsweek: "Anatomy of a Scare. When one study linked childhood vaccines to autism, it set off a panic. The research didn't hold up, but some wounded families can't move on." -- Fyslee (talk) 06:50, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Autism Timeline

Another link from Newsweek: Autism Timeline. Lots of potentially good links. -- Fyslee (talk) 06:50, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Causes of autism

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Causes of autism's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "IOM2004":

Reference named "T-in-vaccines":

Reference named "WHO":

Reference named "CDC":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 08:55, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Could it?

Is it possible that meningitis could? cause light autism, if contracted at a very early age? (talk) 18:32, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

no (talk) 10:42, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Autoantibodies and pathology

A recent edit made this change:

"As autoantibodies have not been are not always associated with pathology, are found in diseases other than ASD, and are not always present in ASD, the relationship between immune disturbances and autism remains unclear and controversial."

However, this change disagrees with the cited source, Wills et al. 2007 (PMID 17804535), which says (my italics):

"Various antibodies to self-proteins have been reported in patients with ASD in the past. However, it must be emphasized that these autoantibodies have not been associated with pathology, are also found in diseases other than ASD, and are not present in all subjects with ASD. It is not abnormal to detect autoantibodies in normal healthy controls, although elevated titers have usually been associated with pathogenic states of disease, possibly representative of ongoing immune activation. Factors acting in concert with autoantibodies, such as genetics and environmental, may be at play in such a heterogeneous spectrum of disorders."

We have to make sure that all the text in this article is properly source; please see Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles). For now, I've reverted the change. Eubulides (talk) 22:06, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Wills disagrees with several researchers who have found autoantibodies, that is the bottom line. I can cite the other authors, but it's a disagreement, not a matter of not having proper sources. Sources are going to disagree. I think my edit was more fair to the current state of knowledge than the old one. Singh found autoantibodies, obviously Wills does not believe he found them. Another researcher found some indication of autoantibody, not to brain tissue but a folate receptor, check PubMed on it. I will go ahead and cite my sources now if I can get it all together. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't see the disagreement. Wills says that autoantibodies have been reported, which is the same thing the other researchers are saying. (And that's what Causes of autism says as well.) Regardless, we can't have the text disagreeing with the cited sources; if there are other reliable sources that disagree with Wills on this point, they have to be cited specifically. Again, please see Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) for the kinds of sources that should be cited for medical facts and figures. Eubulides (talk) 04:38, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I think you are overdoing the need for citation, or else you are very unfamiliar with the subject matter. Two of the co-authors with Wills in the paper you cited above have now found autoantibodies which ARE closely associated with pathology, ie, found in autistics at more than ten times the rate they are found in controls. Some authors have found even stronger associations with some autoantibodies, not necessarily brain antibodies, some are antibodies that block receptors for molecules that are involved in brain metabolism, but anyway, autoantibodies. You are right in your paragraph above, I misstated, what I meant to say was Singh associated nerve system autoantibodies with disease, but the point now is, there are many many papers with findings of autoantibodies which do associate them with the condition itself.

Wikipedia policy is that every claim that is challenged or is likely to be challenged requires a source. Please see Wikipedia:Verifiability. Please don't introduce material without supplying reliable sources. None of the claims made in the previous comment are sourced; and none of them contradict what was in the article. My own expertise in this material is irrelevant; what matters are the sources that can be cited. Eubulides (talk) 17:09, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

If the material was controversial, then sourcing it would be important, but the bottom line is, whether the studies were good or not I can't say, but there is no doubt that the statement that autoantibodies have not been associated with autism is not true at this point in time. There are many papers on showing just exactly that. Do a search "autism" and "antibodies" and you will find them. You are not helping keep Wikipedia accurate by replacing accurate statements with inaccurate statements just because you have a two year old source that most likely the authors of the source paper would say is no longer true. Just the opposite, you are misleading the readers.

Here is a paper with mostly the same authors saying the opposite of what they did in 2007

Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Jan;23(1):64-74. Epub 2008 Jul 30

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

No, that paper (Wills et al. 2009, PMID 18706993) confirms what the authors were saying in 2007. Its last paragraph says "At present, the pathological significance of elevated levels of autoantibodies to cerebellar protein(s) in ASD is unclear. These autoantibodies may be pathologically relevant, or merely an epiphenomenon of abnormal central nervous system development or brain injury in children with ASD." Eubulides (talk) 05:41, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, I do not have access to the full text of PubMed articles and so did not see the last sentence, it's not in the abstract on PubMed as far as I could see. But, even given that they do not definitely state the autoantibody causes the disease, would those same authors be willing to repeat that quote you insist on, no autoantibodies have been "associated" with disease? I admit I have not asked any of them, but it seems unlikely to me. The main point of that paper was that the autoantibody is rare in controls and common in patients. There is a very high "association". They were not yet willing to say it was causative, but still, I think you are misrepresenting the current state of knowledge by insisting on an old quote which is certainly misleading, at the least. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps you're right about "associated". I did a brief search and found a review published in next month's Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders which says that recent studies have been "contradictory", and I rewrote the discussion to match this new source (that diff includes some of your changes). This removes the claim about no association, and uses the very latest high-quality review available. I hope that's good enough. Eubulides (talk) 16:28, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

social factors?

could it partially be in some cases the result of the social or human environment the child lives in, like other behaviors are? The fact that it might or might not be reflected in the brain is an unremarkable observation as virtually all our experiences are reflected there; that doesn't mean they are all functions of brain anatomy in the first instance. It seems to be me that much of psychology is brain and mechanically oriented as a way of engaging in denial about our social relations or simple laziness of throwing meds at people. Thus, could it be that stressors in the child environment or lack of proper discipline and socialization is a big factor for these kids who are later type cast into this role which is enabled and reinforced by society around them?

Age of Parents

It appears that some of the increase in autism is correlated to the increasing age of parents:

You can find pointers to scientific papers on the relationship between the parent's age and risk of autism by searching for 'age of father and autism' on this website:

Here are pointers to some of the studies from Australia, the USA, and from Isreal, which reached the same conclusion: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjshaker (talkcontribs) 02:30, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

This is already covered in the last paragraph of the Genetics section. That paragraph cites a meta-analysis and a review, which are better sources for this sort of thing than the primary sources and news articles mentioned in the previous comment. For more on this, please see Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles). Eubulides (talk) 04:02, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Mercury, Inflammation, Autoimmunity, etc.

PMID 19106436 A comprehensive review of mercury provoked autism.: "Hg has been found to cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioural dysfunctions similar to traits defining/associated with ASDs, and that these similarities extend to neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters, and biochemistry. Furthermore, a review of molecular mechanisms indicates that Hg exposure can induce death, disorganization and/or damage to selected neurons in the brain similar to that seen in recent ASD brain pathology studies, and this alteration may likely produce the symptoms by which ASDs are diagnosed. Finally, a review of treatments suggests that ASD patients who undergo protocols to reduce Hg and/or its effects show significant clinical improvements in some cases. In conclusion, the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence favours acceptance that Hg exposure is capable of causing some ASDs." The full article is free: [18]. This review is from October 2008, however.

Ah yes, the Geier Boys. They are pursuing patent protection for reducing mercury as a way to treat autism and other diseases. No conflict there!Desoto10 (talk) 02:49, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Other useful reviews (with only abstracts available, it seems) not yet used in this article (or even on Wikipedia), with dates from January to September 2009, are PMID 19161050, PMID 19758536, PMID 19650428, and PMID 19640207. MichaelExe (talk) 21:15, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Mark Geier, a coauthor of PMID 19106436, is a junk-science promoter and clearly is not a reliable source. I'll add the other papers to my list of things to read; clearly we shouldn't cite them purely because of their abstracts. Eubulides (talk) 21:47, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Some studies claim clear relationship between mercury and autism, but no word about them is here. See Autistic Children Clinically Proven Mercury Poisoned. (talk) 16:25, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

These studies, at least one of which was done by authors with profound conflicts of interest measure correlations between some urinary metabolites and autism. They find a correlation between autism and mercury poisoning. The studies have nothing to do with vaccines.Desoto10 (talk) 02:46, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Mercury in vaccines [19] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Peacekeeper 1234 (talkcontribs) 15:12, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Although they don't publicize it much because it would be misunderstood by the general public, it's probably safe to say most scientists accept the theory that vaccines could cause autism in the rare cases where a child has mitochondrial disease. The vaccine court gave money to the Poling family under this theory. But it's probably only a small percentage of austim cases.

Another point, maternal antibodies to fetal brain should be emphasized because it's something that can actually help people avoid having an (or another) autistic child, since the pattern of maternal antibodies to fetal brain of 37 and 73 kdw molecular weight seems to be found only in mothers of autistics. A very strong marker for risk, something parents need to know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Page loading efficiency and style

This page takes a long time to load, and part of this is due to the use of the standard Wikipedia citation templates such as {{cite journal}}. Recently developed faster & smaller templates (such as {{vcite journal}}) make the page smaller and faster to load. Let's use them here; they're already in use in Heritability of autism and have resulted in significant time and size savings. Eubulides (talk) 08:48, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Prejudicial Language

I think the following is using predjudicial language "Although there is no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines or any preservative or additive ever used in vaccines, many parents are concerned about the risks of vaccination due to various unsupported theories related to vaccines.[reference]" I did not read that paper so it may very well say that but I think it is an over simplification of the issue. Let me quote from what I added to the Mercury discussion right above "One study used analysis of covariance to show that kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder had higher mean blood RBC Total Mercury (21.4 ug/L) than a control population (11.4 ug/L)." There are other studies there that show a link between Autism and Hg in the body. Vaccines have Hg. Now, the scientific community may discover that it is not cause-effect some day... but I hardly say that these are based on unsupported theory. Many base these on real data. I vote to remove that sentence in the vaccines sentence. It may be better to say "The current the scientific consensus is that there is no direct evidence of a cause effect relationship between Vaccinations and Autism (citations) but there are some who disagree (citations)" --TomLovesMaps (talk) 01:19, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

If you're sure about that, I'd encourage you to go ahead and change the text. The edit history of this article has been somewhat inactive lately, so waiting for others to give their opinions might keep you waiting for quite a while. Pages like Asperger syndrome and Autism have more people watching. Soap 15:26, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Editorial Sourcing, Weasel Words, etc.

In the Rain section there is a sentence sourced by [20], which is an editorial published by the MD/Ph.D. Noel S. Weiss. Since this is an editorial / opinion piece, and not a peer-reviewed scholarly work, it cannot be used under Wikipedia's guidelines (Wikipedia:RS#Statements_of_opinion) to source a fact--rather it can only be used to source an opinion. I found WP:Weasel Words in how this was worded: "It is possible that nonprofessionals will misinterpret..." because it didn't identify the source. I have changed this around. But I also wanted to bring up the question of--is this editorial an adequate source? Because it's a peer-reviewed journal, I think editorials should be given a bit more weight and consideration, but they're still just opinion pieces and, IMHO, must always be attributed to the author of the piece if they are to be included at all. I checked this piece and I found that it has been cited, and indeed received a reply: [21]; I have not yet read the reply, but it seems that, if we include the editorial, including the reply would also be warranted. Since the editorial generated controversy (2 other replies/citations according to google scholar!) it seems worth including all this on the page. But it's tricky, we need to maintain WP:NPOV here. Cazort (talk) 13:43, 25 September 2010 (UTC)