Nature and Nurture

We’ve come a long way since Bernard Rimland shredded BrunoBettleheim’s theories that refrigerator moms caused the autism in their children. Or not far at all, depending on your point of view.

In this summer’s Columbia magazine, I read about a promising study in Norway that is tracking 110,000 people over their entire lives. A mother-and-child cohort will gather data that could be used to test dozens of theories for autism’s causes. In addition to chronicling every illness, immunization and medical treatment, they will be tracking gastrointestinal problems, too.

The world will likely get another pass at testing the persistent thought that autism is linked to vaccinations, although more than a decade of study has yet to link the two conclusively. In my opinion, very little work has been done to examine the stomach problems our kids have.

I’m not certain Sam’s gut problems, even though they began at about 18 months old, came first and the autism came second. He had autism problems from the start. But it’s about time some serious research got done in this area. With the last doctor I mentioned this concern about his gut I got — as usual — a blank stare.

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