iPods Cause Autism With Non-Existent Mercury?

from the oh-come-on dept

Rajesh writes "So you have covered iPods causing car crashes, people to be struck by lightning, and other fatalities. And now a scientist claims that iPods cause autism! From The Express in UK: "THE huge rise of autism in Britain is linked to old iPod batteries, mobile phones and other products of the electronic age, a leading scientist claimed this weekend." "If they are buried in landfill, the mercury in the batteries leaks out when it rains, and if they are burned it goes straight up into the atmosphere." Interesting! Considering all iPods are alkaline- and lithium-based batteries that do not contain lead, mercury, or cadmium (from Apple.com)." There have been plenty of stories in the past about the possible connection between mercury and autism, so that's not surprising. But the headline and the opening of that article clearly try to pin the rise in autism (which has gone on for many years) with the iPod, which has been around for less than five years. The article does mention other types of batteries as well, such as mobile phones and computers -- but it seems like a bit of a stretch to blame iPods.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    MissingFrame, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:01pm

    That's it, I'm tossing my iPod in the trash!

    This thing is too dangerous! I don't want my kids to have autism, so I threw my iPod away.

     

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  2.  
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    RenderingSanity, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    hmmm...

    So do video ipods cause you to become autistic AND addicted to porn?

     

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  3.  
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    Matt, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:10pm

    Dangerous

    I'm going to burn mine....

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:14pm

    Re: hmmm...

    "So do video ipods cause you to become autistic AND addicted to porn?"

    We can't tell... Thd only people that bought one were already addicted to pron. Everyone else bought a nano.

    Sincerely,
    Apple Research

     

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  5.  
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    Paid to much to throw it away, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:18pm

    thank you!

    Well I just want to say thank you MissingFrame for throwing your Ipod away. You have not only greatly helped keep our atmosphere safe, but also have saved your child from obtaining such a terrible thing like autism. I read an article somewhere comparing Ipods to Satan, its really quite convincing. Anyways, im gonna get back to my solidary bubble that effectively shields me and my family from all hazardous risks over .0753%.

     

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  6.  
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    Topher3105, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    Hmm, that explains it

    Brits are calling it Autism, I just think its an increase in general stupidity over there. Like baning standby modes in electronic devices to save energy. Anybody think about inbreading? I doubt it is limited to the royal family.

     

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  7.  
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    Z, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:22pm

    =P

    Uh-huh. The article says that there's mercury in the batteries, which there isn't. They don't even contain lead, dang. How hard do you have to throw the damn things at your kid to give them Autism? =X I don't want to know...

    Z

     

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  8.  
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    anonymous coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:25pm

    only mindless idiots buy iPods, so I think the brain damage is already done.

     

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  9.  
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    s, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:27pm

    buy them all

    The only viable solution is to buy all the ipods yourself and make sure they get disposed of properly.

     

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  10.  
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    Jimbo, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    You Lose!

    We are all damned to hell. If you use them, you will get killed (lightning, traffic accident, walking in front of a train, etc.) If you throw it away, you give your kids autism.

    I guess the best solution is to place them all in a rocket ship and launch them into the sun. (Or just bury them along with all of the nuclear waste under a couple of feet of dirt... (not literally.)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Re: =P

    .... How hard do you have to throw the damn things at your kid to give them Autism? =X I don't want to know...

    I suspect it would be better to throw them at scientists. I am hoping that it would motivate them to actually research what they are reporting rather then making wild uninformed claims.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Harty, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:50pm

    hmmm

    I think autism occurs when two generally stupid people mate... and judging by our society I'd say this is happening exponentially. Time to take out all of the 'safe guards' and let the genepool experience some "natural selection."

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Hmm, that explains it

    ha!

     

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  14.  
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    GIJoeBob, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    Not this crap again.

     

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  15.  
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    Aaron Friel, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Mike Harty

    That's a fairly 'stupid' viewpoint you purport, there, Harty. Have you considered that perhaps you were the result of two generally stupid people mating?

    I feel free to attack you, however, on the grounds that you believe autistics are simply stupid and/or the result of stupid people having children.

     

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  16.  
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    anonymous coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    I am going to burn mine and smoke it in a pipe.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    i heard macbooks cause bad teeth in England also.

     

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  18.  
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    Paul, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:04pm

    ipod=kleenex, coke, band-aid

    I think ipod in this case is just a general term for a small consumer electronics item. A mistake to lump the real ipod into this category when there is no foul substance, but many small ipod-like gadgets do have mercury, no?

     

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  19.  
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    DreadedOne509, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:07pm

    MacBook!?!?! No it's the MS Money CD's!

    MS Money CD's are the root cause of all medical/dental/evil conditions in England.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Mike Harty

    Lighten up buddy, it was a joke.

     

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  21.  
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    whatthe?, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:12pm

    not even close

    coal power plants in the US alone dump 40 to 50 tons of mercury into the air every year. All the batteries in the world don't even come close.

     

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  22.  
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    Q, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:31pm

    My guess is this....

    The scientist(s) came across data that MIGHT support the mecury (and other stuff they listed) MIGHT cause autism, so they did their little research and found that hey, it might but funds were getting low. They published this report and said 'ipod' and 'cellphone' was the cause because they know how people get all worked up about that (cellphone causing deaths, Ipods causing deaths, we've all read it here before) and in hopes, people would donate money to their research.

     

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  23.  
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    Some one you dont know, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    If you buy them all, they will just make more. If you think profit margins on PC's and other parts were bad, what till you see the store markup and then compare it to what apple actually makes of each Ipod. Its so mind blowing 88 percent of all cases have been linked to Autism.

     

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  24.  
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    txjump, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike Harty

    You may not have been very "PC" but I like your idea of letting natural selection prevail. ;)

     

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  25.  
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    Pirateguybrush, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:48pm

    I'm with Mike too.

     

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  26.  
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    Billy Johnson, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 1:53pm

    Re: hmmm

    "Time to take out all of the 'safe guards' and let the genepool experience some 'natural selection.'"



    Yeah... they should have never outlawed lawn darts!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:02pm

    Ignorance

    I've never hear so many ignorant comments about autism in one place before. Must be indicitive of the majority of techdirt readers...

     

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  28.  
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    Jake, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:02pm

    Mike Harty

    Natural Selection would be great, i think it would reduce many of the worlds problems, so screw aaron friel, good idea mike harty!

     

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  29.  
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    Len, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:03pm

    ipods

    dude...im gonna go buy like 10 ipods now

     

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  30.  
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    Lay person, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    Re: hmmm

    Yup, Autism is a genetic defect, at least one parent must carry that defect. Who's at fault? Both parents--the noncarrier for procreating with a carrier and the carrier is to blame for either not knowing she carried the potential or not caring.

    Either way, it's the truth. Sometimes the truth is bitter and readingf all these responses at times is bitter as well.

    Sorry, for all looking for some sugar all I do is state the facts.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:06pm

    When's the last time anyone made a mercury battery? I'm pretty sure that they are illegal in quite a few states.

    Perhaps mercury does cause autism, I don't know. But as far as I know, most batteries in cell phones and other "consumer electronics" are lithium ion.

     

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  32.  
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    Lay person, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Ignorance

    Yup, people are stupid and Techdirt is not excluded. We all are stupid and until we accept that fact we will have problems in the world...period.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:13pm

    look up thimerosal

    this stuff is a mercury based preservative for vaccines they give to children

    it is the cause of the spike in autism in the US. not sure how things are done overseas

    weve been pumping infants and children with autism causing mercury for decades, even more so in the early 90s, before the 1930s before they started using thimerosal there was so no autism, if it occured at all it was so uncommon they didnt have a name for it

     

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  34.  
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    jdragon, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:31pm

    Another attempt to piggyback on the success of the

    Anything iPod related in a headline will surely grab attention...

     

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  35.  
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    WirelessGuy, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:41pm

    So owning one isn't bad, just don't throw it away

    I guess I am missing the point, but you can own all these things and they are safe, just if you put a LiIon battery in the trash that ends up in the landfill it will grow mercury?????

    I do think it is important to recycle your LiIon batteries. At least they didn't talk about the actual hazard of these things exploding in people's faces.

     

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  36.  
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    IPODSRSTUPID, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:41pm

    Retards and IPODS

    I don't think that it is the IPOD that causes people to be retarded. I think a majority of people who buy IPODS are retarded. It seems to be an easy mistake to make, so I don't blame the article. If you look around and see people who are using IPODS you notice that 9 out of 10 look retarded.

    It might be the chicken and the egg thing. Which came first the IPOD or the retard? Sometimes it is just too hard to tell.

     

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  37.  
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    Guy, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    I have a Simple solution to not giveing your kids autisim....... dont have kids ! life is so much more enjoyable

     

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  38.  
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    WirelessGuy, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Retards and IPODS

    Do you happen to work for Microsoft?

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Lay person, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Ignorance

    Yup, people are stupid and Techdirt is not excluded. We all are stupid and until we accept that fact we will have problems in the world...period.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Lay Person, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Retards and IPODS

    Dude!

    That is hilareous!

    I haven't had a good laugh from these feedbacks in some time.

    Funny! Ipoders DO LOOK RETARDED!

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

     

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  41.  
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    buddy, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:02pm

    idiots

    next they're gonna blame ipods for world hunger

     

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  42.  
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    old guy, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:07pm

    Ipods

    A new study shows that IPods are the leading cause of incompetent scientists....

     

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  43.  
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    Apaxmez, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:16pm

    iPod Disposal

    I am starting an iPod disposal service. Simply mail me $19.99 and your iPod and I will safely dispose of it. Via eBay.

     

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  44.  
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    dorpus, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:24pm

    Re: look up thimerosal

    Yeah, that old urban legend. Truth is, in places where they discontinued thimerosal usage in vaccines, no change in the incidence of autism was observed. There have also been no spikes observed in developing countries where infants were given thimerosal-containing vaccines. The whole notion of thimerosal causing autism was started by a poorly written paper in which British researchers examined the records of 12 autistic babies, discovered that 8 of them had received vaccinations, and therefore that the vaccines must have caused autism. (Never mind that most babies receive vaccinations to begin with.)


    That hasn't stopped a multi-billion dollar industry from developing, telling parents of autistics what they want to hear about "vast industrial conspiracies" or whatever.

    We have pretty strong evidence for the genetic basis of autism. There are also some promising leads linking the use of beta-adregernic (anti-asthma, labor postponing) drugs in expecting mothers to an increased risk of autism.

     

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  45.  
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    Wifezilla, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:36pm

    Re: hmmm

    That has to be the most ignorant thing I have heard in years.

    Actually autism is more likely when both parents are highly intellegent. There has been a large number of autism cases reported in places like Silicon Valley and other tech communities.
    ( http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html )

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:38pm

    I love it when the medical community doesn't check their facts.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: hmmm

    Actually autism is more likely when both parents are highly intellegent. There has been a large number of autism cases reported in places like Silicon Valley and other tech communities.
    ( http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html )


    And the editors of Wired magazine obviously never took an epidemiology course before. In reality, places with good programs for autistic children tend to attract more autistic families. High tech communities tend to have good medical centers.

    Sudden spikes in the reported incidence of other diseases have happened many times before, whenever new requirements to report the condition were instituted, a change in diagnostic guidelines occurred, or more reliable lab tests became available. This happened twice to the incidence of Lyme Disease, when the disease received a reporting requirement in the early 90s, then a reliable lab test became available in 1997. There is no "Lyme Disease holocaust", despite the claims of activists.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: hmmm

    Oh and, we learned another interesting case study today of failed research findings. In the late 1990s, a provocative paper claimed that babies who grew up in rooms with night lights were going blind, because the light was impairing the development of their optic nerves. Follow-up research discovered that parents with poor vision tend to have children with poor vision, and parents install the night lights so they won't trip over things.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 4:29pm

    Forgive me if the point was already made, but the guy has a point, and people are focusing too much on the ipod. For years, alkaline batteries had mercury in them, only in the last few years have we seen mercury and cadmium-free versions. Major recycling programs are in place for nicads, but they and other rechargables do much to reduce overall toxics since they are disposed of so much less often. I'm glad to see NiMH making inroads on store shelves. They are ideal when long waits for use are not anticipated, as in MP3s. I prefer Lithiums when long standby use is expected, like the flashlight in the glovebox, or the emergency radio in the cupboard.

     

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  50.  
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    Adam, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 4:53pm

    Dammit

     

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  51.  
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    Causation, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 5:02pm

    Causation

    Statistics do not prove causation. They can show a link in trends. If they were going to the stretch of saying that the rise of iPods caused a rise in Autism, they could easily turn it around and say that the rise in Autism caused the rise in iPods. Maybe Autistic kids actually needed that new iPod or something?

    It's great to see how statistics are being misused. That course last year really did open my eyes to the bullshit :P

     

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  52.  
    icon
    Flamsmark (profile), Jul 17th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Hmm, that explains it

    that comment isn't funny, it's simply abusive, and offensive.

     

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  53.  
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    Alvioli Spakbibble, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 1:01am

    Autism? Ha ha ha. Yeah - about as funny as World W

    Would the first idiot here that manages to reproduce and has an autistic child, care to tell us if they still find autism funny?

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Sam Clarke, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 3:24am

    Re: Hmm, that explains it

    An increase in stupidity over here!!!! That may be true, but it's highly unlikley that we will ever get close to you lot! Try looking in the mirror, or even at your TV, your president is probably the most stupid bloke the world has ever know!!!!

    Just out of interest what is wrong with banning items that use 3/4 quaters of the amount of energy when they are on standby as when they are turned on??? What sort of STUIPID comment is that??? Lets all waste energy by leaving items on standyby, that way, the planets natural resources will run out quicker, so then we wont have any power!!! Mind you, atleast I wont have to read comments like this again, might be a bonus. Or maybe you were trying to be funny, by adding what could only be described as a idiotic, ill thought through comment. Unfortunatly, it wasn't funny, just typical American nonesense, now get back to your trailer park, and try reading up on things before you put your brain cell into gear!!!

    Not suprised president 'brains' didn't sign up to the Kyoto agreement, your all to self obcessed with eating crap whilst watching your waist lines increase (instead of watching TV because it's on standy!!)

     

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  55.  
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    claire rand, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 3:28am

    Re: Re: Hmm, that explains it

    speaking as a brit i think its funny.

    mind you maybe we're to daft not to see the humour, either that or are too busy learning to count to eleven on our toes to bother.

    btw were are you from?

    i only ask cus normally people who complain this sort of thing is 'offensive' are not part of the group thats meant to be offended.

    naturally i could well be wrong, but then i am british after all...

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Kay, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 5:27am

    Ignorance

    Since when did being stupid get linked with autism? Last time I looked many of those who have an ASD still had great cognitive ability. Aspies are believed to be highly intelligent, so I suggest if you think you're in a position to joke about something, you go look at the little pockets of known information on autism.

    BTW those that say its just genes - not known. So again you're not speaking in facts, just theories and studies. We still know very little about the brain and considering that it is widely accepted that is it a neurological disorder, we need to fully understand the brain to fully understand autism.

    As an Aspie myself, it's not all gloom and doom. There are also many positives, but of course you wouldn't know that if you don't know what you're talking about. Which is what it seems like by most of the comments here.

    So I suggest before you go throwing your gadgets away, actually find out about Autism.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    jon, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 7:13am

    They will be removing mercury from the MMR vaccine soon so it will be interesting to see if autism cases drop.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    m, Jul 18th, 2006 @ 10:29am

    Re: Thimerosol/Autism link

    Removing mercury from the MMR is a great step, but it is still in so many immunizations and drugs --- it's even in most eye drops! --- that that step in of itself is unlikely to make a huge dent, at least not overnight.

    And to whoever called the whole anti-immunization movement a "multi-billion dollar industry" is totally off their rocker. Vaccinations are a huge profit-maker for drug companies. Parents who do not vaccinate (or, more commonly, delay vaccination) just take their $$ away from Big Pharma; they don't put it elsewhere. How does not vaccinating equal a multi-billion dollar business? More like, it takes a good potshot at one.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Heather, Aug 1st, 2006 @ 5:12pm

    Doubt the Autism fact

    Hello, I wanted to just say if your kids are fine by a certain age, I highly doubt that they will receive Autism by mercury. I have been working in this field (Autism) for the past 3 years and mercury doesn't have me convinced. There are pro's and con's to every scientist/researcher's theory. Until more proof can be provided about mercury I might start believing it then but as for right now it's debateable.
    Autism does not have to mean bad. Children with Autism can still go to school and do things as us typical people but just in a different way. In face most of my clients are happy, wouldn't you want to be happy for the majority of the day? Don't always look at a disability as negative!

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    heather, Aug 1st, 2006 @ 5:26pm

    Reply to look up thimerosal

    Hi just wanted to inform you that even though Autism did not exist much before 1930's doesn't mean it wasn't real or it wasn't there. You know the line that goes like "you never know what goes on behind those doors?" People were to afraid to expose it out into the community that they probably feared their companions would look down on them. The main reason I believe, is that Autism is becoming more common is that it treatable. You are now able to learn with Autism and teach Autism with the help different thearists. You know just like once upon a time Learning Disorders were considered as STUPID but now it's a well known fact that it is a genetic disorder and it can be worked with.
    This comment right here is not directing just towards you but to the rest of the comments above. You people need to learn the facts on Autism before you start critizing it. You have NO idea until you have researched it, lived/dealt with it, seen the emotional sides of it etc. You know just don't say anything at all if you can't say something nice!!!!

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    frank, Aug 24th, 2006 @ 11:26am

    iPod Battery

    ok, well i don't know about my iPod battery giving me autism but it will most likely give me an aneurism. i finally just bought a replacement battery from www.laptopsforless.com because the battery wouldn't hold a charge and Apple was giving me the run-around. i'm glad i bought it though because it works great and cost like $12.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    ananymous, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 7:22pm

    Re: That's it, I'm tossing my iPod in the trash!

    don't believe in this shit man, autism came earlier before the ipods were released. Don't believe this shit. The media and THIS ARTICLE is trying to brainwash you so that you would believe their story. this is a non-conspiracy theory and this is just some shit that is like a virus spreading through the media. JUST DONT BELIEVE IN THAT CRAP!!!

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    COMMENT OF TRUTH

    youre saying that Ipods causes mental retardation and make you become addicted to porn??? it depends on how long you listen to it you ASSHOLE, and who came up with this article? HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS RETARDED SHIT, HUH?? If you say autism was caused by ipods, YOURE MENTALLY IDIOTIC!!! IT'S LIKE YOURE A VIRUS WHO's TELLING PEOPLE "DON'T BUY IPODS, THEY CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE and AUTISM and they make you become ADDICTED TO PORN" and all these poor people who read this article is going to fuck and burn their ipods, decapitate it or whatever they're doing to abuse it or other KINDS OF SHIT!!! YOU ARE an ABUSE to the APPLE COMPUTER HEADQUARTERS!!! Man, when the homies and hos find out about this they will complain in anger and probably they might wanna own you or get your ass PORNO CAUSES AUTISM(maybe or maybe not), NOT IPODS!!!

    sincerely,
    Anonymous

    PS: THE COMMENT OF TRUTH: if you knew that this is a non-conspiracy theory, NEVER EVER post it before you HAVE THE RIGHT, PRECISE EVIDENCE!!! Just a quick reminder, ipods make ya crazy like, for example, it gives you aneurism, I believe, depending on what kind of music you listen to and what videos you look at!!

    And another thing, autism came first before ipods were released! Are you that retarded or are you just the type of person who posts lies to the media and to the internet, or you just don't get it at all? if ya don't get it, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism and find out. Maybe this would've made you think that the article that you posted didn't exist but YOU JUST DID BECAUSE YOU DONT THINK BEFORE YOU ACT! BESIDES, THIS ARTICLE IS JUST BIASED SHIT!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Brolsma, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 8:24pm

    ADHD and autism

    whats the difference between autism and ADHD?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 8:29pm

    Re: ADHD and autism

    autism is less severe but ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is more severe and it could be affecting those who are autistic I believe. go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADHD and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism to find out. maybe you will understand the difference. Generally, I can't tell the difference

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    tiger, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    i know a kid who has autism. he is a stupid piece of shit...he does listen to his ipod alot too

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    naomi, Oct 24th, 2006 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    so this is the dumbest article i have ever read...so yeah i don't really know about that ipods cause autism...i will believe the car accidents and people getting hit by cars jamming out to their music but i dont know about autism...come on now

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Violet, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:58pm

    Sister of an autistic

    This is so mean! My little brother has autism, and my parents are very intellegent. My dad is a docter at Children's Hospital! It makes me so mad that people can even think like this. And, to the person that thinks ADAH is more severe then autism, I have ADHD and I am doing so much better then my brother :-(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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