Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wi-Fi linked to autism -- something to this, or an urban legend?


The media has a story tonight "Wi-Fi causing autism?" One immediate source is from John Biggs, and the "Crunch Gear" link is this.

The study appeared in the Australasian Journal of Clinical Environmental Medicine, authored by Dr. George Carlo, and claims that exposure to Wi-Fi signals causes heavy metal ions (like those you study in high school chemistry) to be trapped in certain brain cells in infants or toddlers.

The Computer Weekly article is by John-Paul Kamath and is called "Wi-Fi linked to childhood autism." The link is here. There is a suggestion that autism in young boys has increased in the same time frame that wireless became widespread. There is also concern about living near "hot spots."

The story mentions another study at "Penn University" that disputes these claims.

The story was posted on AOL today here, and suggested that parents had not been adequately screened about drug use. This suggestion brought very angry comments from parents with kids on AOL.

I had mentioned autism in my posting about libertarianism yesterday, where it seems that our actions and behaviors and expressions have effects that we don't take into account -- a questioning of "consequentialism".

Distantly related is a story by Martin Fackler in the Nov. 18 New York Times, "In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession" for teens with cyber-addiction, link here.

Is this real, or is it an urban legend? After all, "I read it on the Internet!"

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