Why It's Not Great That Autism Science Makes Great News
Charles Nelson Reilly tells the story of how his Aunt Lily lost her hair.
I think I probably come off sometimes as opposed to science, and nothing could be further from the truth. What I'm opposed to is pretending that something is science when it's really just a theory. I'm against widespread use of treatments before they are thoroughly tested. I think it's very dangerous when we pretend something to be good science just because we want so badly for it to be.
If you don't understand why, please watch the clip above from Charles Nelson Reilly's autobiographical stage show. Yeah, the guy from Lidsville. What happened to his Aunt Lily because a doctor was excited about a promising new treatment breaks my heart.
Which brings me to SSRIs. Not for kids, helpful in small doses for many adults with autism, and apparently not a good idea for pregnant women. Does anyone doubt antidepressants have been overprescribed before anyone could understand their long term consequences?
A new study indicates that taking SSRIs during pregnancy may increase the risk of a woman giving birth to a child with autism. And, yes, they did try to make sure that what they were measuring was not the likelihood of someone with depression to have an autistic child:
The authors also looked at which mothers had a history of depression or another mental-health problem: that included about 12% of mothers whose children had an autism spectrum disorder, and 9% of mothers whose children did not. But when researchers adjusted for mental-health history, the association between SSRI use and autism persisted.
"Almost everybody getting an antidepressant has some mental health disorder, and our study adds to the body of knowledge that shows that a family history of mental health problems may be associated with autism," says Croen. "But our study indicates that it isn't necessarily the mental health disorder, it was the treatment. When we controlled for the treatment, we didn't see any association or any increased risk of autism associated with maternal depression or anxiety."