Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is autism contagious?

Pictures of gas masks, news of travel bans, whole-sale slaughtering of Egyptian pigs got me thinking. What if autism was contagious, like the up-and-coming swine flu? What would we be doing then?

As I walked the wet but warm alleyway with my new puppy the other day, I ruminated about all the theories of what causes autism. Here are just a few promising, debunked, and just plain crazy ideas about the cause of autism. (You can decide which you think is the craziest. I always wonder what people have against cell phones?!)
Mitochondrial disorder
Too much TV
Cell phones
Folic Acid
Antibacterial hand gels (or at least the active ingredient in it, Triclosan, I think)
Tributaline (I know I'm spelling it wrong, this is a drug given to women in pre-term labor.)
Traumatic brain injury
Maternal stress antibodies, in utero
Premature birth
Bad parenting, just plain bad children

To me, the struggle to find the cause of autism is of utmost importance. I love my son. I accept his autism. I weep at his daily struggles just to do simple things. I celebrate his triumphs of communication and independence. And yet.... and yet.... I would give anything to take this burden of autism off of him. So, quickly, scientists, please, find what is ailing my son, and thousands of others like him. Did I say do it fast?