From the opinion pages of the New York Times:
So here’s the short of it: At least a subset of autism — perhaps one-third, and very likely more — looks like a type of inflammatory disease. And it begins in the womb.
This is a very interesting article. Most research regarding autism has pointed to a prenatal event as a cause for most cases. Now, research is pointing to an inflammatory event (infectious, autoimmune, toxic) during pregnancy as the culprit.
Better clues to the causes of the autism phenomenon come from parallel “epidemics.” The prevalence of inflammatory diseases in general has increased significantly in the past 60 years. As a group, they include asthma, now estimated to affect 1 in 10 children — at least double the prevalence of 1980 — and autoimmune disorders, which afflict 1 in 20.
Why are we so prone to inflammatory disorders? What has happened to the modern immune system?
These are fascinating questions that are addressed in this fascinating article written by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, a science journalist and author. The implications for prevention and even treatment are addressed as well.