Don't Believe the Hype -- There's Much More to Autism Than Genetics
January 31, 2008
Scientists have found a genetic mutation linked to autism, but news coverage of the discovery have made it out to be far more important than it actually is.
The mutations are present in only 1 percent of all kids with autism; in the other 99 percent, something else is going on. However, the heavy news coverage -- including stories in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times -- would likely lead a casual reader to believe that something truly significant has taken place.
Journalists tended to posit that the discovery could lead to diagnostic tests, early interventions and further insight into the disease. But this is not justified by the actual discovery.