The epidemic of autism in children in the United States may be linked to the typical American diet according to a new study published online in Clinical Epigenetics by Renee Dufault, et. al. The study explores how mineral deficiencies—affected by dietary factors like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—could impact how the human body rids itself of common toxic chemicals like mercury and pesticides.

The release comes on the heels of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimates the average rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among eight year olds is now 1 in 88, representing a 78 percent increase between 2002 and 2008. Among boys, the rate is nearly five times the prevalence found in girls.

“To better address the explosion of autism, it’s critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body’s ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing long-term health problems like autism,” said Dr. David Wallinga, a study co-author and physician at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Read more

Temple Grandin, the eponymous HBO biopic about the education and early career of the professor, author, and animal behavior expert is, in many ways, also a story about cows. Near the beginning of the film, a 19-year old Grandin is lying in a cow pen surrounded by animals; her face is smudged with manure and she’s grinning wildly. The scene foreshadows Grandin’s lifelong effort to transform the treatment of animals within industrial agriculture and, in the words of Polyface Farm’s Joe Salatin, “let cows express their unique cowness.” Similarly, this scene shows a rare, carefree moment in the life of a high-functioning person with autism, struggling to make a place in the world. The film as a whole attempts to let Grandin express her own “Grandin-ness.” Read more

Until now, parents of children with autism who have spoken up about their fears that their child’s disorder came on the heels of vaccination have been given the status of heretic. But it turns out that the increase in autism we have been witnessing over the last few decades could also be a result of the over-all increase in the body burden caused by mercury in our air and water, and by proxy the fish we eat, our vaccines and dental fillings, and now, in our high fructose corn syrup, a substance marketed and consumed most often by those most at risk: children. Read more