It’s becoming more and more understood, but one of the big problems about Autistic spectrum disorder is that nobody quite knows the cause.
Even though extensive research has been conducted on the subject, the direct causes of ASD are still to be determined. Over the years there have been countless ‘possibilities’, yet we’re still at a stage where doctors are unable to firmly put their finger on what might be the definite problem.
Fortunately, general knowledge of ASD is improving. Thanks to the likes of Chris Manente, more and more information and support is being provided and this of course benefits anyone who suffers or knows a person suffering from ASD immensely.
To provide something of an insight on some of the causes which have already been dismissed, we’ve put together the following. We’ll now mull over some of these ‘previous causes’, and highlight how science showed that they aren’t the reasons behind ASD.
The MMR vaccine
For a long time, this was classed as one of the most probable causes of ASD. This started in 1998 after a journal was published which indicated that the vaccine was linked to autism.
While some medical journals can go “unnoticed”, this most certainly didn’t happen with this particular article. It was something that was published in the national press and all sorts of other mediums – meaning that a lot of the general public were immediately informed about the “findings”.
However, over time it became clear that the “findings” were completely false. It was found that the author of the research had several conflicts of interested and a lot of the evidence had been manipulated. As such, the original article was retracted six years later and it was confirmed by medical councils around the world that autism had no link whatsoever to the vaccine.
A person’s upbringing
The reasons behind this supposed cause can be somewhat understood – as some events during childhood might cause some of the effects that occur alongside autism.
However, this is another “cause” that has had several reports dismissing it. Psychogenic theories have now been discredited for a long time and even though some of the traits may be shared, this isn’t a reason to suggest a person’s upbringing is a definite cause of the condition.
This is somewhat related to the first inaccurate cause we looked at, as thiomersal is something which tends to be used with a lot of vaccines as a preservative.
Initially, there were a lot of people who suggested that this might be a cause, with some under the impression that the mercury content might play a part.
However, a lot of science has been invested into thiomersal and it’s now safe to say that this is most definitely not a direct cause of autism. One of the first studies was conducted in 2004 and proved that there was no link, while the fact that thiomersal was removed from most childhood vaccines in a two-year test period was perhaps even a bigger indication that this isn’t a cause. It was concluded that it wasn’t harmful and as such, is not a cause for ASD.