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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: September, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 6:30 AM
Claims made in a recent New York Times article about the causes of autism and its possible treatments and cures are not an accurate reflection of the best state of the science, may generate widespread misinformation among a public impatient for answers, and should caution us about how to present ideas about a disorder that has witnessed the communication of so much bad information. ((AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer))

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.

About this blog

What is public health — and why does it matter?

Through prevention, education, and intervention, public health practitioners - epidemiologists, health policy experts, municipal workers, environmental health scientists - work to keep us healthy.

It’s not always easy. Michael Yudell, Jonathan Purtle, and other contributors tell you why.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jonathan Purtle, MPH Doctoral candidate and Research Associate, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, Drexel University
Janet Golden, PhD Professor of history, Rutgers University-Camden
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