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Does watching TV influence autism?

 
 
Miller
 
Reply Tue 27 Feb, 2007 11:53 am
Is an Economist Qualified To Solve Puzzle of Autism?

By Mark Whitehouse
Word Count: 2,210

In the spring of 2005, Cornell University economist Michael Waldman noticed a strange correlation in Washington, Oregon and California. The more it rained or snowed, the more likely children were to be diagnosed with autism.

To most people, the observation would have been little more than a riddle. But it soon led Prof. Waldman to conclude that something children do more during rain or snow -- perhaps watching television -- must influence autism. Last October, Cornell announced the resulting paper in a news release headlined, "Early childhood TV viewing may trigger autism, data analysis suggests."

WSJ online ( subscription required to read whole publication).
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 832 • Replies: 12
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Feb, 2007 01:24 pm
My mom was reading something about this...

Even if it's not true, perhaps it will scare people enough into actually spending time with their kids instead of setting them in front of the electric babysitter.
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Stormwatch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 08:36 pm
Bella Dea wrote:

Even if it's not true, perhaps it will scare people enough into actually spending time with their kids instead of setting them in front of the electric babysitter.


Good idea!
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 09:15 pm
NPR reported yesterday? that they've found that non-inherited autism is associated with multiple genetic mutations.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 09:18 pm
Cause of Autism Narrowed Down to 100 Genes

Quote:
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 09:39 pm
DrewDad wrote:
NPR reported yesterday? that they've found that non-inherited autism is associated with multiple genetic mutations.


Heard that too. Given that inherited autism would also be a genetic disorder, one could surmise that ALL autism is genetic. I don't think TV can effect genes.
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dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 10:19 pm
lots of kids are diagnosed autistic before being old enough to watch TV.

Current thinking relates some vaccinations (or possibly he mercury preservatives in vaccines) to autism.

It is likely that mild autistic disorders are more noticeable at a time when small children are in close and constant confined contact with parents ie housebound by snow and ice. Autism often manifests itself as sensory overload which may account for the "TV" diagnosis.

Quote:
Aetiology

The causes of autism spectrum disorders are not clearly understood. It is likely to be a heterogenous condition with different causal factors operating in different groups of cases. In very few children the clinical syndrome of autism is associated with chromosomal or single gene disorders: fragile X, phenylketonurea, tuberose sclerosis, or neurofibromatosis; in others with infections, for example, congenital rubella; and in others with evidence of diffuse brain dysfunction (believed to be due to a physical or chemical fault affecting the developing brain). It is now well established that it is not related to parental personality or child-rearing practices. http://www.nevdgp.org.au/info/std_misc/Autism_hcs.htm


My town runs a fully operational care center for autistic children along with early intervention traveling teacher, 24 hour care facility and school for autistic children.

For those needing to know more.
Links: http://www.autism.org/
https://www.autismwebsite.com/ari/index.htm
https://www.autismwebsite.com/
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2007 12:28 am
If this:
Quote:
In the spring of 2005, Cornell University economist Michael Waldman noticed a strange correlation in Washington, Oregon and California. The more it rained or snowed, the more likely children were to be diagnosed with autism.


means that more children were diagnosed with autism during the years that there was a higher yearly average of rain or snow, I'd be more likely to interpret a link with greater rates of autism being diagnosed in those years to be due to an increased amount of certain environmental toxins present in rain or snow (such as those found in acid rain) being reintroduced into the water cycle.

Quote:
The more it rained or snowed, the more likely children were to be diagnosed with autism.

The way this is stated, makes it sound like the problem is with the diagnosticians and not the children-in other words, the rain or snow affected the numbers of diagnoses made, whether they were correct or not- which would point to an issue with those making the diagnosis.

Maybe though, the passive sensory input a child receives from watching large amounts of tv acts as a trigger -kind of like strobe lights can trigger seizures in an epileptic. But as is the case in epilepsey, I would think that the genetic predisposition for autism would also have to be present- the organic basis for the disorder to have an appropriate host in which to take root would also have to be present. I'd be surprised if any of these cases involved an entirely normally developing child, whose development suddenly regressed due to watching an increased amount of television.

In most cases of autism, caregivers notice at least slight differences (in preferences, behaviours, or reactions to sensory stimulus) from the very beginning of the child's life, so it would be interesting to read the specific histories of these children to see if that is also the case with these children in these states diagnosed during the years with greater average rain or snow fall.

Quote:
Current thinking relates some vaccinations (or possibly he mercury preservatives in vaccines) to autism.

Dadpad, I don't know what the case is in Australia, but in the US and UK that theory has been debunked. The doctor (in the UK) who introduced that theory has been outed as having falsified research and statistics to support his pet theory. If I can find a link, I'll post it.

*But it has been established without a doubt that television watching certainly stunts creativity, energy, etc. in normally developing or developed people of any age, so it's not a good idea to sit your kid in front of the television, regardless-but that's a whole different disorder.
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Mar, 2007 12:38 am
Quote:
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happytaffy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Mar, 2007 08:59 am
interesting thread. I read another article on the correlation between tv and autism -- I dont think that it is the main cause but could maybe trigger it.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Mar, 2007 09:13 am
I wish I had caught that NPR report....I'll link to it later.

I'm wondering...

since these mutations take place many times in the sperm or the egg before conception, might a big factor be the age of the parent(s).

It mentions the fathers are older.

What about the mothers? Do they tend to be older too?

Old eggs, old sperm
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timberbranch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2007 01:44 pm
I always assumed Autism was completely genetic ... turns out there isn't one gene common to all cases.

One thing I'm CERTAIN of, if TV gives you autism, (which I am assuming we're all in agreement it does not, can not & will not), than I would have it. I watched more TV growing up than anyone I've ever met. I'm the MTV generation, I played video games until my fingers were inoperable, then watched the same movies every day until I had the lines all memorized...

"That's because he wasn't sick, he was skipping school. It's a fool's paradise, Mrs Bueller he's just leeeading you down the primrose path."


Confused
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timberbranch
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 May, 2007 03:44 pm
I heard something on the radio, some doctor claims that while you watch TV or play video games, you're putting yourself in a "near brain-dead state." He suggested listening to the radio instead, because you paint a mental picture with a radio, as opposed to the TV which paints it for you. Listening to the radio is supposed to stimulate the brain to create more or new neural pathways.

I'm still going to watch the Daily Show, if it kills me, I'll die laughing. Laughing

T
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