Unmasking Autism

Five controversial ideas that might finally explain this increasingly common disorder.

No parent wants to hear that a child is sick, but autism is a particularly difficult diagnosis to confront. Many autistic children seem perfectly normal until about 18 months, when they suddenly and drastically regress. Babies who smiled and looked their parents in the eye become distant, emotionally detached toddlers, unable to speak or listen. Many improve with medication and therapy, but autism remains a lifelong challenge. And the reported incidence keeps rising: One of every 110 children bo...

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