Rethinking Autism: Towards a Whole Body Paradigm

December 12, 2006
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Autism, first identified in the 1940s, was initially believed to be an entirely psychological problem; then later, a strongly genetic disorder. Now, driven by suggestive evidence that incidence is increasing and that some children are responding to biomedical treatment, a new paradigm of autism as a set of phenotypes involving environmental modulation or triggering of genetic vulnerability is emerging. Environmental contaminants may play a significant role in some of these hypothesized phenotypes, as do gastrointestinal disorders and other conditions. Harvard neuroscientist and Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, discussed the new paradigm with comments from Lee Grossman, President of the Autism Society of America and the proud parent of an autistic child, and from Michael Lerner, PhD, President of Commonweal.

This call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, Executive Director, Institute for Children's Environmental Health, and Coordinator, CHE Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative Working Group.