Autism Spectrum Disorders in the news

Autism and its related condition, Asperger’s syndrome, have been in the news quite a bit lately.

First, in a move that probably infuriated Jenny McCarthey, the prestigious medical journal Lancet fully retracted a study linking the MMR vaccine to Autism. (Lancet link, Guardian article).

Then, a draft of the DSM-V was released for comment and no longer included Asperger’s syndrome as a separate diagnosis, but rather as a part of a Autism Spectrum Disorder category (link).

Finally, a new study has shown that the hormone oxytocin may have therapeutic benefits for individuals with autism. When these adult participants inhaled the hormone they were more likely keep eye contact, use social cues in games, and responded better to facial expressions. (Reuters article)

-posted by Tyler

    • Adam
    • February 19th, 2010

    Tyler, regarding the supposed ill effects of vaccines, I’m more interested in the psychology of “vaccines cause autism”-type thinking. That “movement” strikes me as a statement not about vaccines but more about the ruined lives and dashed dreams that raising a child with autism must be. It’s political-cultural, like the fear of fluoride in the water in the ’50s and ’60s.

  1. I agree that this type of thinking is interesting, but I’m not sure how even the myth of vaccines causing autism started, was it just the Lancet Article?

    Certainly people will always look to find the cause of something — not a bad thing, but accepting and then becoming a pit-bull for a cause based a few pieces of evidence is not wise. Can you imagine the number of people that are having to retract/reframe/apologize etc… for statements on this issue?

    How do you think this type of thinking is Political?

  2. It seems amazing to me that Oxytocin can cause autistics to increase eye contact and be more social. It also facilitates birth, breast-feeding, and even orgasm (according to Wikipedia).

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