Archive: September, 2012
Michael Yudell, Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
By Michael Yudell
Autism, the lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder marked by a range of social and communication impairments, has seen its share of reckless claims about causes and cures.
From the belief that the emotional coldness of the so-called refrigerator mother caused her child’s autism to the fabricated science that vaccines were a trigger, such misbegotten ideas have, at best, offered only temporary hope to affected families, and, at worst, done incalculable harm to the public’s health. Because scientists still know so little about autism’s causes – almost certainly a complex combination of multiple factors – it should come as no surprise that claims based loosely or not at all on science continue to attract public attention.