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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Frustrating Search for a Cure

At the Yakima Herald-Republic, editorial page editor Spencer Hatton writes of the frustration that he and fellow autism parents have felt as "cure" after "cure" has proved false.

So has the search for cures and causes of autism reached a dead-end?

Far from it. Another study, released online a few weeks ago by the peer-reviewed medical journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, offered this provocative claim: Toxins in the environment may be linked to autism.

According to the New York Times [an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof], the study noted the "likelihood is high" that numerous chemicals "have potential to cause injury to the developing brain and to produce neurodevelopmental disorders." If babies are exposed to harmful chemicals in the womb, the end result could be brain defects lasting a lifetime -- in other words, autism.

Though the debate continues in Congress over health care reform, I have heard no mention of autism. Coming to terms with its far-reaching impacts on our society won't be easy. Parents of children with autism know that.

They also know it's a disability that's not going away anytime soon.