Michael Wigler: If there were a clear environmental signal, for example, sonograms, or too much television, or vaccinations, that would be something that one could study, but in the absence of evidence for that, you have to ask yourself, well what should we be looking for? Should it be the plastic in bottles? And I don’t think we can do that in our culture. I don’t think we can look for these possible environmental insults. There are just far too many.
But if you go to a place like Nepal, or Mongolia, or someplace whose environment is completely different, they don’t have television, they still have grandmothers raising the children, they don’t get sonograms. You could begin to tease out and do what epidemiologists do. They go and do cultural comparisons. So, for example, cultural comparisons have told us the incidences of breast cancer in Japan is one-third the rate of the incidences of breast cancer in America, and when Japanese women grow up in America, their rate of breast cancer is the same as American women. Okay. You can say, the environment possibly including culture in some way, because the rate, or the age on which you undergo puberty is relevant to breast cancer.
Has a study like that been done for autism? No. That’s where you would start. And none of that’s been done as far as I know.