Read the most advanced science of autism causes here. Bypass the commenterati and go direct to the science. Don't waste your time at the sites which pretend "no-one" knows what causes (or what sometimes cures) autism.
This is a website relating to the unchallenged theory of autism, IQ and genius, Personality and Individual Differences 14:459-482 (1993) by Robin P Clarke (the antiinnatia theory). An update review paper is being prepared for publication. Meanwhile you can download the original 1993 publication (presentationally revised) here, and the original 1993 publication (author's reprint) here . (the journal site version is here:, but without added charts of social class and you may have to pay Elsevier $31.)

Why Bernard Rimland made just one mistake

Bernard Rimland's contribution to autism research has been unequalled. To him belongs the credit for debunking Bettleheim's theory of "refrigerator mothers", and replacing it with the modern understanding of autism as genetic/biochemical in nature.

He had much responsibility for the discovery of the benefits of vitamin B6 and magnesium. He was one of the first to discern that autism was increasing. And he recognised that mercury was involved in causing it.

He made just one mistake (as I see it), namely taking the view that vaccines were the cause of the autism increase [note: cause of the increase]. I think part of the reason for that mistake was a situation of having one's nose too close to the grindstone, so-to-speak. This is liable to lead into that other metaphor of the frog not bothering to jump out of the slowly heating water.

Given the assumptions that:
  • autism was increasing;
  • mercury was involved;
  • the increase was in second-year onsets;
  • vaccinations were the only noticeable input of infant mercury;
  • vaccinations had increased at ~sort-of~ the same era as the autism increase;
  • parents were increasingly reporting autism onset "immediately" after vaccinations;
  • the only other notable source of mercury, dental amalgams, had been in use for 150 yrs before the increase, and not in infants anyway;
  • the medical establishment were engaged in their usual conspiracy tricks, publishing misleading studies about vaccines, hiding their Simpsonwood data, and persecuting those who challenged them;
Given these observations, it was not unreasonable to become convinced that vaccinations were the cause of the autism increase.

Myself? As a fatigue-disabled person, struggling to just survive, and with much wider interests than Dr Rimland's focus on autism, it was not within my capabilities to keep up with all the details of the dispute about the increase. And as my "excellent" "fine work" 1993 paper had been totally pretended into non-existence by all but a tiny elite anyway, there seemed little point in taking such an interest in a dispute of no practical importance to myself.

It was only by fluke that I got involved again. I began to wonder if my decades of severe disability (not autism; since age 15) had been caused by dental mercury. I now had, for the first time, increasing billions of webpages that I could search on the subject. I gradually became more informed and more suspicious. Then I read that mercury binds to DNA and thereby inhibits gene-expression at doses far lower than producing other effects. This rang a bell because it was exactly what I had said would cause autism, in my 1993-published paper. I also learnt that the type of amalgam had switched from the 1970s to non-gamma-2 which emit 30-50 times more mercury vapour into the air. Thanks to my autism theory (which everyone else was ignoring) I also knew that the process was like holding the genes hostage rather than like a shattering hammer blow. I also understood that amalgam delivers its poison through the air, and thus can be breathed in by the (post-natal) infant as well as the parent.

Dr Rimland didn't know these facts, so the idea that dental amalgam could have caused the increase would have rightly seemed daft to him. How could a non-increasing source cause an illness increase in people who aren't even having it installed in them? In 2006 I sent to Dr Rimland a draft of my update review but I got a reply from Dr Edelson that Dr Rimland was too ill to read it. I'm sure that if I had not been delayed by the callous harassment conspiracy I would have been able to persuade Dr Rimland that it was dental mercury that was the main cause of the increase.

Do von Economo neurons produce bigotry?

There is occasionally a scientific paper that stands out with its joining of the dots. One such is that of John Allman et al in respect of von Economo neurons (vens):
Allman JM, Watson KK, Tetreault NA, Hakeem AY: Intuition and autism: a possible role for Von Economo neurons. Trends Cogn Sci 2005, 9:367-73.

His paper could have been even hotter if it had managed to mention how various of its elements had already been raised long ago in my 1993-published paper. For instance the idea that features that are recent in phylogeny (evolutionary history) are more liable to be impaired, and that that is what gets lost in autism (both key concepts in antiinnatia theory). And the antiinnatia theory had started out in its first minutes with the concept of "autism = deficiency of innate prejudices", which is strikingly close to some of the notions therein.

What is rather curious about his von Economo paper though, is the standard values-laden language it contains. We are told that autism is a "disorder" in which these rapid decisions about people are "impaired". I would beg to suggest that the characterisation of the vens as enabling rapid crude decisionmaking about whether or not to view people as friends is a description of bigotry. So perhaps it would be better to consider normal neurotypical to be a "disorder" and autism to involve freedom from an "impairment" which might be advantageous to the knee-jerker but harmful (in excess) to community cohesion. I guess Dr Allman would agree about this now that I have pointed it out.