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Internet causes autism claim 'garbage'

Internet causes autism claim 'garbage'
9th August 2011

A neuroscientist at Oxford University has caused controversy after suggesting that rising use of the internet could be contributing to autism in young people.

Baroness Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at the university, suggested that digital technology could be leading to changes in people's brains, something dismissed as "illogical garbage" by fellow professor Dr Dorothy Bishop.

"Most cases are diagnosed around the age of two, when not many children are using the internet," said Dr Bishop.

"You don't suddenly get autism in the middle of your childhood."

Instead, Dr Bishop believes that the increase in diagnoses of autism is due to a widening of diagnostic criteria and better understanding of the condition.

It is not the first time Baroness Greenfield has put forward theories linking technology with harmful effects on children - she was criticised by science writer Dr Ben Goldacre for linking computer use to harmful effects on children's brains.

Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions.