Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Autism, Jaundice, and Sunshine

This morning I came in to work and had an email from our office manager with a link to the following article:

I am not sure, to be honest, what I think about this article overall, however, some of the conclusions the individuals in the article seemed to be drawing were bothering me.

Let me preface this by saying I am an advocate of tanning both indoors and out.  I spent a great deal of time in past years reading scientific studies devoted to effects of UV exposure, and have made certain conclusions that are not popularly held due to biased media reports.  Through this, I have seen evidence of a number of POSITIVE effects of getting UV exposure and NEGATIVE effects of preventing UV exposure. 

It was stated in this article that individuals have wondered about a link between liver functioning and autism in the past.  While a link between autism and jaundice supports this hypothesis, I feel it is important to not jump to conclusions.  I also want to suggest an alternative hypothesis:

After reading the study I have read a little on the internet about neonatal jaundice, treatment, and causes.  The impression I got from this is that it may even be an unfounded assumption that there is in fact anything wrong with the livers of babies with jaundice.  It seems as though light exposure plays a natural and critical role to metabolizing bilirubin out of the body.  The fact that jaundice is more common during winter (darker) months supports my idea that it may in fact be a lack of light exposure that is a problem, either in adition to or instead of inadequate liver functioning.

Let us extend this hypothesis.  Does it not make sense that inadequate light exposure could cause both jaundice AND contribute to autism, rather than the link having anything at all to do with the liver?  Of course, both hypotheses need to be examined to see what is truly going on. 

It is critical, in fact, to look at ALL possible links rather than the most common/most popular.  Disproving links will help us narrow down and eliminate potential treatments that would in fact be ineffective, and potentially harmful.

My lunch is up and I am out of time but I would love to hear your thoughts!


1 comment:

  1. It is very hard to deal with autistic children when specially they contract a disease.They need patience and love and kindness.I think guardians should also be updated with latest treatment technologies as they are advancing by the day.

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