Investigadores de Columbia identifican clusters regionales para casos de autismoContributed by: AdminStaff1 · Views: 665
Contributed by: AdminStaff1 · February 02, 2011 @ 12:46 PM MST · Views: 665
Columbia Researchers Identify Regional Clusters of Autism Cases in California
A Columbia study has determined there are certain geographical areas in California where newborns are more likely to develop autism. The findings suggest that autism is a condition determined by one’s local environment, challenging the argument that causal factors exist evenly across the country. The study, which pinpoints a small area near West Hollywood as the center of California autism cases, was published recently in the Journal of Health and Place.
“Our findings point strongly to the idea that a local rather than a global process is associated with the increased risk of autism,” said Peter Bearman, the Jonathan Cole Professor of the Social Sciences and principal investigator of the paper. “Such a local process could be either an environmental factor or a social influence factor or both.”
The study does not attempt to identify the cause of autism—a much debated topic—but it suggests that increased prevalence is spurred by local variables, such as environmental toxins or social influences. In the case of West Hollywood, social influences might include increased awareness of autism, decreased stigma associated with the disorder, or increased number of local advocacy groups, said Soumya Mazumdar, a postdoctoral research scholar at Columbia’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) and the study’s first author.
“The findings suggest that we should devote considerable resources to understanding what environmental drivers are operative in autism cases,” said Bearman. “We also need a better understanding of how the diffusion of information operates—how we identify the symptoms of autism, how we secure appropriate diagnoses, and how we treat it.”
Courtesy: Columbia University