Correlation vs causation

By AnthonyLast updated: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 • Save & Share2 Comments

Avast me hearties! Shiver me timbers! There is news that rain may be linked to autism:

Research published today suggests that regular rainfall may help trigger autism in children, USA TODAY’s Rita Rubin reports.

“If you look at the autism literature now, they’re much more open to an environmental trigger,” says lead author Michael Waldman, a Cornell University economist who says his son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at age 3 but has recovered and is now a normal third-grader.

He and his team studied children in California, Oregon and Washington state. They speculate that rain might act as a trigger in genetically susceptible children by carrying pollutants or by forcing indoor activity that leads to increased TV-watching, decreased vitamin D levels or increased exposure to household chemicals.


Remember global warming is linked to falling numbers of pirates. Which means that Somalia is the leading country in the fight against climate change.

There is no “epidemic of autism” in the first place. Arrr!

UPDATE: The BBC cover the rainfall linked to autism study. They didn’t cover the far more important Hornig study which dismissed the link between MMR vaccine and autism.

Filed in Autism, Science

2 Responses to “Correlation vs causation”

Comment from Ken
Time 5/11/2008 at 11:18 am

Not content to just wreck economies, economists are obviously extending into other areas. Modelling processes they don’t understand they’ll be right at home in epidemiology.

Comment from dan brett
Time 7/11/2008 at 4:51 pm

Could Waldman’s speculation have been prompted by Dustin Hoffman’s autistic role in “Rain Man”…?