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Autism and Vitamin D, Part II

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:09pm

A few months back I wrote about the possible connection between autism and Vitamin D.  Now a new study shows that U.S. counties that have more precipitation have higher rates of autism.  The researchers speculate that it could be indoor pollutants, tv-watching, or the lack of Vitamin D that acts as a trigger for autism.  My bet is on the trigger being the lack of Vitamin D.

Incredibly, the president of the Autism Society was immediately skeptical of this research.  This is in spite of the fact that it was published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, and its lead author is an economist at Cornell with a history of research publications.  The president was even "surprised that the AMA is publishing such studies."

Given that there is currently no consensus on what causes autism, why would this president dismiss any research on the subject?  If you don't know what causes a condition, shouldn't you be open to new ideas?  The Vitamin D hypothesis is plausible and also makes sense within an evolutionary framework.  If this president had been doing his homework, he could have read about the Vitamin D hypothesis earlier this year when it was published in the journal Medical Hypothesis.  Or he could have looked at this new study that questions whether a Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of autism in Somali.

This president should be embarrassed by his statements.  If he is as incompetent as his statements suggest, he should step down from his position and allow someone who is knowledgeable about autism research to lead the organization.

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