Autism: A Lonely World

There are so many mis­con­cep­tions about autism, and so many things that have been blamed for caus­ing it, from vac­ci­na­tions to poor par­ent­ing. But what is it, and what is the real cause?

Oi Vietnam - - The Doctor Is In -

A CHILD WITH AUTISM HAS dif­fi­culty learn­ing so­cial and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. Such a child will have trou­ble un­der­stand­ing and devel­op­ing lan­guage, will not be in­ter­ested in com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other chil­dren or adults, and won’t be seek­ing their at­ten­tion or even pay at­ten­tion to them. The child will have dif­fi­culty in­ter­pret­ing ges­tures, body lan­guage, ex­pres­sions, and emo­tions. Autis­tic chil­dren are not men­tally re­tarded—in fact, many of them ex­hibit higher in­tel­li­gence than av­er­age, and some have ex­tra­or­di­nary ca­pa­bil­i­ties in dif­fer­ent fields, such as mem­ory, math­e­mat­ics, the arts, and physics.

To­day in the US, the preva­lence of autism is es­ti­mated to be 30 times higher than it was 40 years ago. In part, this is be­cause our un­der­stand­ing and def­i­ni­tions of autism have changed over the years. Chil­dren who were wrongly con­sid­ered men­tally re­tarded in the past are now rec­og­nized as be­ing autis­tic. Chil­dren who were thought to be “very shy and in­tro­verted” in the past ac­tu­ally had mild symp­toms of autism. But this still doesn’t ex­plain the ex­po­nen­tial rise in the con­di­tion.

Over re­cent years, science has shown that autism has a ge­netic ba­sis. We also know that en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors make a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the sta­bil­ity and qual­ity of our genes— ad­vanced pa­ter­nal age, air pol­lu­tion, Vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency, heavy me­tals, and ex­po­sure to cer­tain in­fec­tions dur­ing preg­nancy have all been re­lated to a higher risk of autism. But even these fac­tors do not ex­plain why the in­ci­dence of autism has risen so much over the last decades. So what is it in our en­vi­ron­ment that can ex­plain this rise? What do we have now so abun­dantly, that we didn’t have 40 years ago?

Ex­po­sure to elec­tro­mag­netic ra­di­a­tion through mo­bile phones, WiFi routers, cel­lu­lar net­works, ra­dio and TV an­ten­nas—and even high volt­age elec­tric­ity lines—has rapidly in­creased over the past four decades. To­day it is all around us, in our pock­ets, in our homes, on the streets, in shop­ping malls, cafés and restau­rants. You can’t es­cape it. Open your Wi-Fi app on your phone and see how many routers are cur­rently trans­mit­ting to you.

You can be in a re­mote vil­lage in the coun­try­side and still be sur­rounded by this ra­di­a­tion. Even if you never use a cel­lu­lar phone in your life, you will still be heav­ily ex­posed.

Prov­ing that EM ra­di­a­tion is a direct cause of autism is very dif­fi­cult. It’s im­pos­si­ble to quan­tify ex­po­sure, and to elim­i­nate the in­flu­ence of other fac­tors such as dif­fer­ent types of en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion that def­i­nitely could be con­tribut­ing to the rise in autism. But the cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence is ac­cu­mu­lat­ing: In­creases in RF ex­po­sure rates and autism rates have closely cor­re­lated over the years; cel­lu­lar ex­am­i­na­tions and be­hav­ioral stud­ies on rats have sug­gested neg­a­tive ef­fects from EM ra­di­a­tion ex­po­sure; some stud­ies in­di­cate that car­ry­ing mo­bile phones af­fects the qual­ity of sperm; while oth­ers link early cel­lu­lar phone use with the devel­op­ment of

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