THE PURPOSE of this paper is to suggest the possibility that retrolental fibroplasia (RLF) and early infantile autism might both be caused by a rapid change in oxygen. Rimland1 reviews many studies pertaining to the similarity in behavior between RLF and autistic children. The present paper will be restricted to presenting new evidence concerning the cause of RLF and the possibility of a rapid change in oxygen concentration being also a cause of autism. This writer believes that the symptoms manifested by autistic children may differ somewhat because of environmental variables interacting with the underlying brain damage. This hypothesis, however, will not be explored here.
One of Rimland's major theories is that damage to the reticular formation might cause autism. However, he points out that hyperoxia, suggested as a possible cause of RLF, does not support his hypothesis of damage to
GLAVIN JP. Rapid Oxygen Change as Possible Etiology of RLF and Autism. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(3):301-309. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730150077012