The New York Times has pointed to an intriguing study ostensibly showing that some small percentage of people with autism can "outgrow" their symptoms. The story was oddly unsatisfying, claiming in one paragraph that the study, published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, will alter the way parents "think and talk about autism" but also cautioning against false hope.
The writer seems only dimly aware how this half-hearted message will set off a bomb in the world where Jenny McCarthy lives – that she will turn on that wicked grin and brandish this study to launch another 40 years of vicious debate over whether autism is caused by environmental factors, namely vaccines, and thus can be cured by brave and dedicated parents like her, or whether it's just a condition people are born with.
Thankfully, science writer Emily Willingham has parsed through the study in Forbes to show us what it really finds, which is not much that's new and certainly nothing that will change our thinking about the progress of autism or make us believe in the McCarthy miracle cure. As Willingham points out, the people who seem to have "grown out" of their autism had higher cognitive functioning and milder symptoms in the first place, and "many of them had behavioral interventions in childhood".
Read all the article in The New Scientist magazine http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23102-can-we-really-cure-autism.html