Monday, November 26, 2007

ArsTechnica questions WiFi-Autism Link Story

Some of you may have picked this up over the holidays. Apparently, tech news service Ars Technica did a write-up on the claims being made that WiFi leads to Autism.

One key point from Ars Technica:

The college behind the journal dates from the 1980s, but currently lists its mailing address as a PO box. It has affiliations with various other integrative and herbal medicine organizations in Australia. Overall, it appears to be an obscure organization that is operating near the fringes of mainstream medical practices. None of this actually impeaches the research itself (I've requested a copy of the paper, but have not yet received it), but results of this significance would be expected to appear in a higher-profile publication if the research were solid.

Other questions are raised by the two authors of the study itself. One of them, Dr. George Carlo, is based at what appears to be a Washington lobbying group. Carlo seems to believe that individuals sensitive to wireless signals exist, despite evidence to the contrary, and claims that there is a well-substantiated mechanism for explaining their existence. I've tracked the literature in this area, and I'm unaware of any such mechanism.

The second author is Tamara Jo Mariea, who has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and several professional certificates in clinical nutrition. Neither appears to be associated with any academic medical facility, an appearance furthered by the fact that the contacts on the press release have AOL and Verizon e-mail addresses

Hat tip to, for the link.

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