Friday, May 21, 2010

UK Immigrant Autism Rates Study Confirms Environmental Component of Autism Causation?

The BBC is reporting a study that shows an increased risk of autism in children emigrating to the UK from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia with the risk being as much as 5 times greater for children of parents from Caribbean countries. The study may be the final nail in the coffin of the "it's gotta be genetic" cult like mindset that has dominated the thinking of  public health authorities over the past twenty years:

Speaking on Health Check, Dr Daphne Keen, from St. George's Hospital London, said while the findings show a clear link between immigration and autism - they could not determine exactly why this was the case.

The research covered 428 children diagnosed with autism during a six-year period. "We didn't find there was an increased risk in the parents who had migrated from other European countries," Dr Keen added. "The size of the increased risk was greatest for the Caribbean group. This was at least five times. "The risk was also very significant, but slightly less, for the African population and much lower, but still a little present, for the Asian population." Two factors The study took into consideration that it may just be a case of ethnicity - rather than migration - that caused the rise in cases.

The study took into consideration that it may just be a case of ethnicity - rather than migration - that caused the rise in cases. However, researchers compared their results with children born of UK-born parents with Caribbean, African and Asian roots. "We found when we analysed the two factors together, that the risk fell considerably.

"It seemed to suggest that immigration was the major factor, and ethnicity was just possibly a factor." One theory is that the stress of migrating could act as a "trigger" for the disability, a factor discovered in similar studies looking at the causes of schizophrenia."

It is interesting that the study authors immediately point to "stress" and "isolation" as possible factors but the obvious point is that there could be many different environmental factors arising in each area that contribute to the different rates of autism disorders.  Perhaps those who are genuinely interested in discovering all possible causes of autism disorders could look at exposure to toxic environmental substances from industries like mining,, differing vaccination schedules, exposure to different quality vaccines etc in the various countries studied even. 

If the reported autism rates are closely tied to the process of emigration per se then perhaps it would be helpful to  examine the vaccine schedules of people emigrating from the Caribbean and compare them to vaccines required from people emigrating to the UK from other European countries. Are children emigrating from the Caribbean required to take more vaccines closer together in time  in order to become eligible to emigrate to the UK than children from other European countries?

If the door to an open mindset on the environmental causes of autism has finally been kicked open then let's leave it wide open and do some real environmentally focused  autism disorder research.  Let us not assume that stress and isolation cause autism and that lead, cadmium, mercury and vaccines do not.  Parents genes have been under the microscope for decades.  It is long past time for the IACC and other world health authorities to stop pretending that autism iis 100% genetic and do some real autism research.

No comments: