Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Childhood TV Viewing May Trigger Autism, Data Analysis Suggests

Date:
October 17, 2006
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
A series of data sets analyzed in a paper by economists at Cornell University and Indiana University-Purdue University suggest a connection between early childhood television viewing and the onset of autism. And the authors urge further investigation and research by experts in the field.

A series of data sets analyzed in a paper by economists at Cornell University and Indiana University-Purdue University suggest a connection between early childhood television viewing and the onset of autism. And the authors urge further investigation and research by experts in the field.

In a paper to be presented at a conference of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Oct. 20, in Cambridge, Mass., the authors reviewed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey on TV viewership rates among children and compared it with data from the National Climactic Data Center, which looks at the amount of precipitation communities receive. This analysis showed that children from rainy counties watch more television. When autism rates were then compared between rainy and drier counties, the relationship between high precipitation and levels of autism was positive.

"We tested our hypothesis using existing, well-known data," said Michael Waldman, a professor of economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and a co-author of the research paper. "The analysis shows that early childhood television viewing could be an environmental trigger for the onset of autism and strongly points to the need for more research by experts in the field of autism."

Thirty years ago, it was estimated that roughly one in 2,500 children had autism, while today some estimate that number to have increased more than tenfold, to as high as one in 166. At the same time, television viewing has increased dramatically due to easy access to cable and satellite television, more traditional broadcast offerings and the market penetration of VCRs and DVDs.

Because there are no large data sets that track whether children who watch a lot of TV when they are young are more likely to develop autism, the authors examined the connection between autism and two factors that generally increase the amount of TV that young children watch: precipitation and access to cable TV. They find that current school-aged children who live in California, Oregon, and Washington counties that received large amounts of rain and snow when the children were young are more likely to be diagnosed with autism. Furthermore, children who grew up in California and Pennsylvania counties during the 1970s and 80s with high cable subscription rates were also more likely to be diagnosed with autism. These analyses control for differences between counties in income, population, and demographic mix - other factors that may influence the autism rate - and also examine changes in county autism rates over time as well as differences at a point in time.

"Our analysis is not definitive, but it certainly raises questions that seem to have gone unasked in autism research to date," added Sean Nicholson, an associate professor of policy analysis and management in Cornell's College of Human Ecology. "The medical community is increasingly convinced that something is happening in the environment that triggers an underlying biological or genetic predisposition toward autism, and these findings strongly support the need for taking a closer look at early childhood television viewing."

Waldman and Nicholson were joined by Nodir Adilov, a professor of economics at Indiana University-Purdue University, in their research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Early Childhood TV Viewing May Trigger Autism, Data Analysis Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017150526.htm>.
Cornell University. (2006, October 17). Early Childhood TV Viewing May Trigger Autism, Data Analysis Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017150526.htm
Cornell University. "Early Childhood TV Viewing May Trigger Autism, Data Analysis Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017150526.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins