Atlanta Hyperbaric treats children with autism so we like to report about new studies of this disorder. It has long been suspected that perinatal exposure to a toxin is involved. Thimerosol in childhood vaccines, for example, has received widespread attention as a possible causative factor.
Researchers reported a statistical study in California recently to determine whether geographical clusters of autism exist and, if so, whether any environmental associations were present. Using birth records to find the mother’s address, the authors linked up data on 9,900 autism cases recorded in the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) database. The authors made the reasonable assumption that the address of the birth mother would reflect the baby’s perinatal environment. To be considered an autism cluster, the area had to have at least 70% greater risk than surrounding areas in seven different tests for clustering; they authors found 10 of these clusters throughout the state. The authors, however, found no ready explanation for the clusters.
I thought these authors had a pretty good idea to work with and perhaps they will be able to mine their database further. They had to start somewhere and if they can find some useful statistical associations, they might ultimately help identify a risk factor that could be modified to allow us to reduce the risk of autism.