Feeds

Does TV watching in childhood trigger autism?

The evil box

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Also in this week's column:

Does TV watching in childhood trigger autism?

Autism is at epidemic levels. Authorities point out that 30 years ago estimates were that one in 2,500 children suffered from autism. Now the figure is one in 166. Could we be diagnosing autism differently today? Or is something else really happening?

Researchers at Cornell University suggest a connection between early childhood television viewing and the onset of autism. In fact, they argue that "early childhood television viewing could be an environmental trigger for the onset of autism".

Economist Dr Michael Waldman and colleagues from Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management claim that children from rainy counties in the US watch more television. When autism rates are compared between rainy and drier counties, the relationship between high precipitation and levels of autism is positive.

The Cornell team also found that those counties that had earlier access to cable TV (in the 1970s and 1980s) also have higher diagnosis rates of autism. The team admits that their analysis is "not definitive" and more research needs to be done.

But before jumping to their causal conclusion, there is another factor to consider. Those with earlier access to cable TV also are more affluent and probably more status-conscious. Parents from such status-conscious communities may feel that having a child diagnosed with autism is better socially than having them diagnosed as mentally retarded. Their doctors know this and try to please them with the autism, not mental retardation, diagnosis.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS are FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, though
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.