Autism may be a disorder linked to the disruption of the G-alpha protein, affecting retinoid receptors in the brain. A study of 60 autistic children suggests that autism may be caused by inserting a G-alpha protein defect, the pertussis toxin found in the DPT vaccine, into genetically at-risk children. This toxin separates the G-alpha protein from retinoid receptors. Those most at risk report a family history of at least one parent with a pre-existing G-alpha protein defect, including night blindness, pseudohypoparathyroidism or adenoma of the thyroid or pituitary gland. Natural vitamin A may reconnect the retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention. Autism spectrum disorders have increased from 1 in 10 000 in 1978 to 1 in 300 in some US communities in 1999. Recent evidence indicates that autism is a disorder of the nervous system and the immune system, affecting multiple metabolic pathways.