Is It Raining Autism? Another Fact or Crap Article.


This has got to be fake, right? Could children living in high-precipitation areas be more likely to have autism? Sure, like people living near volcanoes are more likely to be bald. Oh, I see the connection….not. There couldn’t possibly be a link. Or could there be?

According to preliminary study results from an article published in November (2008) Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine there appears to be a connection between the wet stuff and the disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests.

The study performed by Cornell University researchers focused on California, Washington, and Oregon. They obtained autism prevalence rates for children born between 1987 and 1999 and calculated average annual precipitation by county. They also computed the autism rates in relation to the average annual precipitation in the counties when the children were younger than 3.

Counties that received relatively large amounts of precipitation had a relatively high rate of autism. For example, counties with four times as much precipitation had an autism rate that was twice as high as other counties in the region even after correcting for other factors like socioeconomic status.

Of course the findings may have nothing to do with the rainfall or snow itself, but rather factors associated with the precipitation, such as the need to stay indoors more.   Environmental possibilities related to spending more time indoors include chemical exposure to cleaning products, TV viewing, or vitamin D deficiency from too little sunlight.

In the past 30 years, the rates of autism have increased from about one in 2,500 children to one in 150. Some of the increase is attributed to a broadened definition of autism and the autistic spectrum, and an increased sensitivity in the ability to make the diagnosis. Linkages of autism to vaccination have failed to stand up to scientific scrutiny.  The possibility still exists that autism involves an interaction of genetics and environmental factors and luckily, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a long-term study to find the causes of autism and other childhood conditions.

Could it be that chemicals in the atmosphere are transported to the surface by the rain and fall to the Earth affecting our children?  Sure.  But by no means should the findings of this study be taken as a reason to skip town with autistic kids in tow heading for a new life in the desert. The results are not definitive evidence of a precipitation-autism link or any other link for that matter. They are, however, consistent with a hypothesis, and further research focused on establishing whether a connection exists is warranted.


Why Should Chiropractors Care About the West Hartford Group?







Alright.  There, I’ve said it.  I’ve let the cat out of the bag.  Some of you may already know about the West Hartford Group (WHG).  Some of you may have just heard a rumor that it exists.  Some people knew something was abuzz in the chiropractic profession but didn’t exactly know what it was.  For the past couple of years, we weren’t allowed to talk about it.

Well, now I can tell you.

The West Hartford Group is a chiropractic think tank.  It is a non-profit, non-political group formed to take strong stances on issues that our national and state chiropractic associations are unwilling to tackle.  It has been kept quiet until recently though membership continues to be only by nomination.  The goal of the WHG, essentially, is to advance the chiropractic profession in a responsible, patient-centered, evidence-informed way to create meaningful reform.  Membership includes some of the best minds and researchers in our profession today.  People on the cutting edge of integrative practice and non-surgical spine care.  People who are responsible for many of the positive articles that are published and research that has been generated.

As the WHG becomes more public, much of what has been going on behind the scenes will become more apparant.  There is some exciting stuff coming down the pike and I cannot wait!  There’s lots I still can’t talk about but I will try to give you the scoop when I can.

The chiropractic profession is ready for a huge change and as a recently elected member of the board of directors, I am thrilled to be a part of driving this change!  Got questions?  Comments?  Need to be a part of the change you know is coming?  Let me know!  Make your comments below or drop me a line at

Dr. Brett Kinsler is on the board of directors of the West Hartford Group, an international Chiropractic Think Tank.

What Should Chiropractors Be Doing?

A colleague recently mentioned a short list of focused items that separates a responsible chiropractor from one that should probably be avoided.  This is not a complete list but it was brief and accurate enough that I wanted to reproduce it here:

  • Chiropractic should emphasize non-surgical neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) care
  • We do treat kids, but mainly for NMS conditions — not internal disorders
  • We diagnose before we treat and we rule out red flags, etc
  • We are complementary to, not alternative to, standard health care options
  • We are not interested nor qualified to discuss the vaccination issue
  • We do not advocate the subluxation concept as one-cause one-cure for all
    diseases and reject the simplistic bone on nerve model
  • We have a variety of methods at our disposal besides osseous manipulation

Brilliant!  Check with your chiropractor to see if he or she could agree with all of these points.  If so, I suspect you are in excellent hands.


Dr. Brett Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester who subscribes to the above listed evidence-based items.  More about his practice can be found at

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