Rainy days and autism always get me down

Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 09:03 am
A Cornell University eonomist go the idea that kids who live in rainy areas watch more TV and that too much TV leads to autism.

He and his collegues decided to test this hypothesis and found that there is indeed more incidence of autism in rainy climates.

"It's a great leap to say children who live in rainy areas spend more time watching TV than children in sunny areas, she said. But Sikora said the link between rainfall and autism rates seems real -- and deserving of further study."


" To further validate the finding, the researhers compared children in terms of how much rain they were exposed to from birth to age 3 -- the period when autism symptoms usually appear. That analysis showed autism was more likely to be diagnosed among kids born during wetter periods than among kids from the same counties born during drier periods".


"Waldman and co-authors now propose that something in the environment -- whether it's excessive television, an unknown toxin, or a lack of vitamin D -- contributes to the rise of autism in children born with a genetic susceptibility."

The story is not yet posted on my newspaper's website but if and when the full article is posted I'll provide a link.

I thought this was very interesting news so I thought I'd share.

I'm going to take my vitamin and go outside and play.
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 09:17 am
100+ hits on googlenews.ca

including webmd, which provides some detail on the study


Two years ago, Waldman and his colleagues had zeroed in on the effects of television viewing as a risk factor for autism, says Sean Nicholson, PhD, associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell and a co-author of the study, published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"And the more we worked on it, the more we said, 'Let's take a step back,'" Nicholson says.

They decided to look at precipitation, selecting to focus on California, Washington, and Oregon. They obtained autism prevalence rates in 2005 for children born in those three states between 1987 and 1999 and calculated average annual precipitation by county from 1987 to 2001. They also computed the autism rates in relation to the average annual precipitation in the counties when the children were younger than 3.

"Counties that received relatively large amounts of precipitation had a relatively high rate of autism," Nicholson tells WebMD. "Counties in Oregon and Washington west of the Cascades receive four times as much precipitation as counties east of the Cascades, and have an autism rate that is twice as high," he says.

Put another way: "If there were no rain, the autism rate would be a third lower according to our analysis," Nicholson says.

The amount of precipitation children were exposed to before 3 was also positively associated with autism rates, the researchers found. The age at diagnosis varies but is sometimes made as early as 18 months.

The team also looked at each county over time, taking into account different precipitation levels from different years, he says. This was done to rule out the effect of other factors, such as differences in the quality of the health care systems from one county to another.

The relationship between precipitation and autism held, he says.
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 09:44 am
Thank you so much, ehBeth!

The first thing I thought of upon reading this was a show I saw a long time ago that traced rainfall and accusations of witchcraft. It seems that during rainy years wheat would grow a certain kind of hallucinogenic mold. The mold would be ground it the flour, the flour used to make bread, people ate the bread, had "visions" and were accused of being witches.

Obviously I'm not equating autism with witchcraft but I have to wonder about the impact of weather on our brains in ways we might not consider.
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 09:52 am
It bain pretty clear to me that autism is caused by sitting in not so comfortable chairs eating yogurt while watching the telly during a sleep-over with a dead guy guarding the refreshments. If everyone carried a defensive handgun autism would go the way of leprosy. Donate a testtickle today and save the whales.
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 10:00 am
if im not mistaken doesnt watching tv change ur brain waves or something?

like they change from beta to delta, i have no idea but i remember reading something to that effect..
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 11:40 am
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 11:43 am
you beat me to it.
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