Autism on CNN [G]

CNN had an article on tonight about Autism. One thing discussed was the causes. You have probably heard them all: mercury as a preservative in vaccines; environmental pollution; pesticide residues in food.

Some of these we can discount based on simple science. Thimerosal, the preservative used in vaccines (contact lenses too) is no longer used in vaccines. So if that was the case, autism should be on the decline. Mercury in the environment used to be at horrific levels; at levels absolutely dwarfing that in vaccines; yet autism was less in the past. In fact, all levels of pollution (both air and water) are at much lower levels than they were decades and centuries ago. And one can say the same about pesticide residues; in fact it has been more than half a century since arsenical pesticide were used in the US.

Well, what could be causing autism, or at least contributing to it significantly. Here is a news flash for many - did you know that a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have? Let me put it this way; due to the way the human reproductive system works, a woman at birth has – in her ovaries – every egg she will ever produce. Contrast this with a man who produces new sperm cells about every 30 days, and clears out all sperm cells within 90 days.

This fact has a profound influence on chemicals that can damage genetic material, those things classed as teratogens and mutagens. So this would mean that a woman who has significant exposure to these things can end up with genetic damage to the DNA in her eggs. And all damage is cumulative; so that even small amounts of exposure add up to a lot over time.

So what are some teratogens and mutagens? How about alcohol, cigarette and other smoking materials; cocaine, heroin, LSD, many prescription painkillers and other narcotics. Now I am not being a prude; in fact I believe in legalizing and taxing drugs.

Think of the scenario, exposure to these materials can cause genetic damage; but you may ask, women have been exposed to these items for decades centuries, why autism now?

One of the facts in the US is the increase in the average age of a woman having her first child. So the longer a woman waits to have a child, the greater the chance that genetic damage has occurred.

Now of course this concept is not frequently espoused; I mean the blame would rest solely with the mother of the child. Now again, this is just a theory, but let’s use one outspoken celebrity example.

Jenny McCarthy is an autism champion, in fact she has even cured her son of autism. And of course Dr. McCarthy knows that vaccines gave her son autism. So how does Ms. McCathy fit into my demographics?

She was 31 when she had he first child, well above the national average of 25. As to the other potential causes, one can decide if her on-screen persona matches her real life.

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