April 9th, 2012

Autism and…maternal obesity?

This seems an odd and unexpected finding:

Children born to obese or very overweight mothers are at higher risk of having autism or developmental delays, new research suggests.

The study of more than 1,000 children found that the offspring of obese mothers had a 67 percent higher risk of autism than the children of normal-weight moms, and more than double the risk of having developmental delays, such as language impairment.

That sort of thing—“double the risk”—sounds huge. But the rarer a phenomenon is, the less big a deal such an increase would be in practical terms. For example, if the incidence of something is generally one in ten thousand, double the risk would make it one in five thousand.

Autism, of course, is more common than that, perhaps one in eighty-eight. It is not only still basically a mystery as to cause, but it’s a diagnosis that has lent itself to wild speculation about its genesis. When I was a child, the whole thing was blamed on cold, rejecting moms. Now that’s not considered the case at all. And the once-popular vaccination theory has been debunked, too, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from believing in it. Now it could be blame-the-mother time again (at least in the popular imagination), only the new cause would be obesity.

Well, although it may be a contributing factor, it’s certainly not the cause: most autistic children do not have obese mothers, and most obese mothers do not have autistic kids.

The headline of the article emphasizes the obesity link, but buried in the text is something else quite interesting:

Indeed, other research published last week identified several spontaneous genetic mutations as the cause of a fraction of autism cases. Parents’ ages, especially fathers older than 35, were also associated with autism in those recent studies, published online in the journal Nature.

[NOTE: Here’s a post I wrote on the phenomenon of the rising incidence of autism and what might explain it. And here’s one I wrote about the fake vaccination link.]

17 Responses to “Autism and…maternal obesity?”

  1. Occam's Beard Says:

    It is not only still basically a mystery as to cause, but it’s a diagnosis that has lent itself to wild speculation about its genesis.

    Maybe tonsils cause autism, and we should go back to tonsillectomies. Leeches might make a comeback too.

  2. Dennis Says:

    I have trouble with a number of these types of pronouncements lately. If it’s an environmental issue the cause is evil corporations; if it’s a weather/climate issue, the problem is evil oil companies; if it’s a health issue, the problem is obesity and the evil food/farm corporations. It just seems that there are a number of government/liberal-led memes that all issues can be crammed into regardles of contorted the logic must be to accomplish that.

  3. Artfldgr Says:

    sorry my mom was anorexic model type..

    they are trying to find what in the environment does it, because they cant accept genetics controls our thinking..

    ie. we are all equal…
    so what do you do with the unequal aspergers?
    kill them so that we are all equal again?

    same with early menses..
    they DONT want you to know that feminists pushing men out of the family causes women to mature years earlier, lowers their smarts, and so on.. (think primates… this meant she would survive rather than be killed)

    only the blood father slows down her maturity and allows her to learn more, and so forth.

    but thats heteronormative and antifeminst…

    so they hide it… they are trying to blame plastics. but the one thing that is across all of this is blood father absence.,..

    same with praeder willi… fathers presence mitigates praeder willi… but without it, the child eats more and gets really really fat… why? without a provider, eat everything you can. so its another survival thing for when dad is dead or gone.

    so much for the made up claims from the 1850s that are not factual, but we are living by, and genociding…

  4. n.n Says:

    Ah, the folly of reaching conclusions from correlations. It predisposes people to interpret incomplete images. It seems modern science has been infiltrated by these sparse patterns. We’ll cope with the consequences of prematurely terminating the scientific process at a later time.

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    Father absence linked to earlier puberty among certain girls


    if you LOOK you will find it.

    in the case of autism. its not weight..
    its putting off the births till later
    ie. women who dont have kids young, tend to have downs syndrome, austistic, and other social aggressive issues with their children

    ie. putting off means more damaged genes are used than earlier and mroe enter our society.

    the feminists do not want the public to realize the damage theya re causing on many levels…

    thats why they are so popular, women are very incurious.. and trust other women more than their mates today… so they have deformed children, downs syndrom children, ivf, are barren… and even when they do have kids, early menses, and other issues.. Not to mention what daycare problems too.

    (Father absence is the leadign indicator by a wide margin of many social ills)

    Girls in homes without a biological father are more likely to hit puberty at an earlier age, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

    The findings, to be published Sept. 17 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that the absence of a biologically related father in the home predicted earlier breast and pubic hair development, but only for girls in higher income households. The findings held even after the girls’ weight was taken into account.

    “The age at which girls are reaching puberty has been trending downward in recent decades, but much of the attention has focused on increased body weight as the primary culprit,” said study lead author Julianna Deardorff, UC Berkeley assistant professor of maternal and child health. “While overweight and obesity alter the timing of girls’ puberty, those factors don’t explain all of the variance in pubertal timing. The results from our study suggest that familial and contextual factors – independent of body mass index – have an important effect on girls’ pubertal timing.”

    with my eidetic memory i have an advantage of remembering every little detail i have read (mostly)

    oh.. they cant figure out why its only in wealthy families (untrue)…

    ie. poor families are often broken up… they have lots more kids by other fathers. if your daughter is getting her period early, you may not be the father!

    they forget that in poor areas the absence of a father thanks to feminisms social engineering is high… and you cant move the menarche earlier than what they ahve already…

    Genomic imprinting and the evolutionary psychology of human kinship
    Long-term mating bonds are common in most human populations, but dissolution of marriage has always affected a significant proportion of mated pairs. Children born in a new union are asymmetric kin of children born in a previous union. Therefore, the innate dispositions of children toward parents and sibs are expected to be sensitive to cues of marital stability, and these dispositions may be subject to effects of imprinted genes.

    ie, the feminists and marxist could not kjnow how this all worked when they laid the foundation for the future.

    it doesnt work, as we are much more developed and sensitive to our worlds than they imagined while removing what they hated… (sociopaths dont like family do they?)

    Father’s Genes: not so selfish after all?
    Paternal genes could be altruistic as well as selfish

    by claiming fat, they get to claim to need more money and control for interventions… you know, like mengele taking children to change them

    but if its father abasence, how do they keep feminism and lesbianism core?

    it would also point out that two daddies or two mommies will ALWAYS engage such things!!!!!!!!

    ie. every kid in those families has biology that is declaring them being raised in a family that suffered something and their genetics adapts

    to the genetics, the heteronormal family is broken and adaptations kick in..

    if you want normal healthy kids. then guess what

    also… stress in birth. there WAS A reason why prior to the modern age we protected and coddled mothers.

    stress chemicals damaged children and gave them false signals of a harder world, and so would more likely come out anti social, etc.

    ie the people that function better in dysfunction come out as the signals are saying they are living in the dysfunctional situation that in the past was catastrophic…

  6. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I have a niece who has an autistic son. She is anorexic thin. Based on her situation, my guess would be inadequate nutrition of the fetus. But it’s just a WAG.

  7. SteveH Says:

    Let’s stick with where all similar studies are really heading. It’s capitalism’s fault.

  8. Charles Says:

    Thanks for the link to your previous article – that was interesting too; especially where you said:

    ” . . . And yes, just as one might expect, as autism diagnoses have risen, mental retardation diagnoses have declined.”

    I worked with a woman a few years back whose young son had recently been diagnosed as having autism. She wasn’t too sure the diagnosis was correct; but it allowed for her son to get all sorts of extras at his school that he would not have gotten without that diagnosis.

    As with so many things one has to follow the money to see what the real motives are.

  9. LisaM Says:

    There might be something to it. But then again it might just be another salvo by leftists trying to convince us that what what we weigh is society’s business, and so they get to tell us what we can and can’t eat.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Said it before: when I got out of OCS at 6’2″, 205, I was underfed, overworked and could whip a tiger, except if a tiger had looked me in the eye, he’d have slunk away. If he was smart.
    According to current tables, I was overweight. My father, supposedly the fastest end in the league UConn was in before WW II, would have been overweight at 6’1 1/2″, 185.
    Yeah. It’s bullshit, prepping the battle space for a new restriction on our freedom–for our own good, natch.
    Anybody recall kids being taken off to ER by the busload when somebody’s lunch included a PB&J? Me either. That’s new.
    But when you take into account more scrupulous, or unscrupulous, diagnostic efforts, the number of diagnoses is bound to rise. Whether that reflects reality is another question. Recent history shows us that if activists need numbers, activists will get numbers.
    It’s been said that in the old days, whatever that means, there were peculiar kids. Now they’re part of a DRG. Great.
    Have a friend whose son has Charge Syndrome, autism plus numerous physical challenges. She was greatly relieved when, after years of guilt, she found that the drug she’d taken for whatever–cold, I think–during pregnancy didn’t have any connection to her son’s affliction.
    If you don’t have iron-clad proof on steroids, you’re a miserable bastard blaming mothers, or parents in general for their kids’ catastrophic problems.

  11. Nolanimrod Says:

    James Watson, in his book Avoid Boring People suggested aging sperm cells as a culprit, said the Y chromosome was a particularly fragile fellow (are there more male autistics?), and recommended men in their teens and twenties have some sperm frozen for later use.

  12. Surellin Says:

    I think a conceptual problem here for many people is regarding autism as a disease rather than a symptom. There may be quite a number of causes for autistic behavior, and looking for the One Big Cause so that we can make a vaccine for it or whatever is probably futile.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    Autism is a version of the idiot savant abilities. Deficiencies in what we consider normal, but higher than normal abilities in the things that we used to use for survival: combat abilities, fighting, visual perception, etc.

    I attribute the rising rates to more accurate diagnosis (or more inaccurate false positives), combined with the fact that the talents of autistic individuals don’t really have a survival factor in modern life at least.

    used to be nobody cared if you could read or write or do anything like that, but only whether you could work or whether you could outfight 10 normal soldiers.

  14. Tina Laczko Says:

    The article about the study was vague. Was it 1000 autistic children or just 1000 children? If it was 1000 children and we use the 1 in 10 figure for autism, that is 100 autistic kids.

    Sample-size wise, this is not a very good study to determine any risk factors. What is the normal distribution of 100 mothers’s weights? Are 67 pct obese in the general populace?

    Too many questions and sketchy data.

  15. Henry Bowman Says:

    There is absolutely no science whatsoever in claims that autism is dramatically higher now than in the past. Beliefs of such are based on the voodoo “science” of epidemiology and are beliefs based on something other than scientific methodology.

    That said, it is possible that the incidence of autism is higher now than in the past. One of the few things that we actually know, however, is that the method of diagnosing autism has changed substantially over the past 50-60 years, in ways that cannot easily be quantified.

  16. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    BTW, Michael Fumento has written knowledgeably and sensibly on Autism and the Vaccine Idea.

  17. visit Says:

    Did this look alright to you? my hobby

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