PDA

View Full Version : New high in U.S. autism rates inspires renewed debate




TheLibertarianNationalist
03-29-2012, 12:49 PM
(Reuters) - About one in 88 children in the United States has autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date and one that is sure to revive a national argument over how the condition is diagnosed and treated.

The estimate released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention represents an overall increase of about 25 percent since the last analysis in 2006 and a near-doubling of the rate reported in 2002.

Among boys, the rate of autism spectrum disorders is one in 54, almost five times that of girls, in whom the rate is one in 252.

"One thing the data tells us with certainty - there are many children and families who need help," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said at a press conference.

The reported spike in the prevalence of autism and related disorders raised questions about whether it is real or an artifact of greater awareness that has led parents, teachers, and even health-care providers to see symptoms of autism in children who would not have received the diagnosis a generation ago.

If it is real, that suggests that some change in the environment might be responsible. In recent years suspicion has focused on everything from mercury, a known neurotoxin, in air and food, to the increasing age of new mothers and fathers.

There is a good possibility that much of the reported increase in the prevalence of autism is illusory, however. When asked about this during the news conference, CDC's Frieden pointed out that "doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the condition and communities have gotten better at providing services, so I think we can say it is possible that the increase is the result of better detection."

Advocates for people with autism nevertheless seized on the new data to call for more research to identify the causes of autism-spectrum disorder and for more services for those affected by it.

"This is a national emergency and it's time for a national strategy," said Mark Roithmayr, president of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks. He called for a "national training service corps" of therapists, caregivers, teachers and others who are trained to help children with autism.

"Inevitably when these statistics come out, the question is, what is driving the increase?" said Roithmayr. Better diagnoses, broader diagnostic criteria and higher awareness, he estimated, account for about half the reported increase.

EXAMINING RECORDS

The new analysis from the CDC comes from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which currently operates at sites in 14 states.

To determine whether a child has autism or a related disorder, what CDC calls "clinician reviewers" examined the medical and school records of 337,093 eight-year-olds in those states in 2008 and conducted screening. Children whose records included either an explicit notation of autism-spectrum disorder or descriptions of behavior consistent with it were counted as falling on the autism spectrum.

The prevalence of autism in the states monitored by CDC varied widely, from a high of one in 47 in Utah to one in 210 in Alabama. Experts said that variation likely reflected differences in awareness of the disorder among parents, teachers and even physicians, as well as differences in the availability of services, rather than any true "hot spots" of autism.

Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a suite of symptoms, all arising from atypical brain development that results in problems with socialization, communication, and behavior.

Although the disorder can be mild or severe, in general children with autism have difficulty communicating and making friends. Many find it painful to look other people in the eyes, which impairs their ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling.

There is no brain-imaging test for autism, let alone a blood test or other rigorously objective diagnostic. Instead, physicians determine whether someone fits the criteria laid out in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM.

The manual has undergone significant changes over the years, including in the diagnostic criteria for autism. In its current version, someone must fit at least eight of 16 criteria, including symptoms involving social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restricted behaviors and interests.

The previous version was stricter, describing one diagnostic criterion as "a pervasive lack of responsiveness to other people." In the current manual, that became "a lack of spontaneous seeking to share .... achievements with other people" and friendships that appear less sophisticated than the norm for a child's age.

The earlier manual also required "gross deficits in language development" and "peculiar speech patterns" for a diagnosis, while the current one lists difficulty "sustain(ing) a conversation" or "lack of varied . . . social imitative play."

Morton Ann Gernsbacher, a professor of psychology and autism researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and others have cited these changes to question the reality of the reported autism increase.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Scientists had long estimated that 90 percent of autism risk was genetic and 10 percent reflected environmental factors. But a 2011 study of twins by scientists at Stanford University concluded that genes account for 38 percent of autism risk and environmental factors 62 percent.

Exactly what those factors are, however, remains the subject of intense research, with two large studies funded by the National Institutes of Health examining everything from what the mother of a child with autism ate during her pregnancy to what cleaners were in the house and what pollutants were in the dust.

"There is not a clear front-runner" among possible environmental causes of autism, said Craig Newschaffer, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University School of Public Health and lead investigator of one of the NIH-sponsored studies.

There is, however, what he called "good evidence" that any environmental culprit is present during the second or third trimester, the peak of synapse formation. Scientists believe that faulty brain wiring underlies autism.

They have also focused on factors that have changed in the last two decades, including pregnant women's use of certain antidepressants, increasing parental age and the rise in pre-term births and low-birth weight babies, said Newschaffer.

Even as experts disagree on whether the reported increase in the prevalence is real and what causes the disorder, there is a clear consensus that "the earlier a child is diagnosed the more he will benefit from interventions," Dr. Coleen Boyle, director of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities said during the news conference.

Unfortunately, the nation has made slim progress on that front. In 2006, the median age of diagnosis was four-and-a-half years. In 2008 it was four years - an age when experts say is too late for interventions to do all the good they would if begun earlier.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for autism at 18 months and again at 24 months. Parents should look for symptoms such as failing to point, not making eye contact, and being slow to develop language, said APA's Dr. Susan Hyman.

"It is critical to act quickly if there is a concern about autism," Frieden said.

Research funded by Autism Speaks found that autism costs the United States $126 billion annually. That reflects the cost of healthcare, special education and other services, as well as loss of productivity, underemployment and unemployment among adults with autism.

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Philip Barbara)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/29/us-autism-idUSBRE82S0P320120329

specsaregood
03-29-2012, 08:50 PM
http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120329/9393/autism-rate-surge-children-cdc-usa.htm


scary shit right there

Kluge
03-29-2012, 09:02 PM
Really weird shit, in my opinion. If 1 in 88 boys is diagnosed (how's that done?) with autism, is it really an abnormality anymore? Is it a byproduct of our privileged lifestyle? Does it have to do with the chemicals in the food supply? Is there a genetic aspect? Why do some "grow out of it?" There are some obvious intellectual advantages (and disadvantages) in some, but not all.

I also think that most "normal" people have some slight tendency towards being obsessive-compulsive about some things, is this an amplification of that? Is it evolution or de-evolution? A by-product of dumbing-down that goes awry?

So many questions.

kezt777
03-29-2012, 09:22 PM
This is always a debate in canada as well. What I find odd is that I took several courses for a Children's Mental Health certificate program a few years ago, and one of the main things we were taught is that to give a diagnosis under many of the headings listed (autism, etc etc), the doctor has to observe the noted 'symptoms' for at least 6 months. This using the same DSM-IV versions as the USA.... but working with preschoolers, I have seem umpteen times over the years where a child was referred to a psychologist (usually at the parent's request) and after ONE or possibly two visits to the psych, the child comes in with medication for Autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, etc. I don't understand that. It goes against the very first thing I was taught in my courses at the university. I still have the textbook and it is adamant about making sure the signs are documented for at least 6 months before prescribing strong medication to children. And because I have known these kids since they were 18 months old and we have very open chatty talks with their parents each day, I know that it's not as though the family doc is handing along 6 months of signs and symptoms to the psych-doc at the first referral. Often times the parents will say to us 'Something is wrong. Junior wont listen at home, we are going to the doctor tomorrow for an appt'. Then they report that they were referred to one of the few child psychologists in my city, and that appt usually happens within a month or two, and then tada - the child is put on amphetamines or other types of medication that make my eyes roll back in my head when I look them up online. If the specialist is using claims by the parent that it has gone on longer than 6 months, I think that can be dangerous because I have seen the protocol lists and they are SO vague, almost anyone could check off at least 5 things and think their child has a mental or behavioural disorder. I think the doctor should be the only one collecting the data before prescribing antipsychotics to children.

How is it that so many docs and specialists are not appearing to follow these base standards? I see it more with ADHD diagnoses than Autism related syndromes, but I am starting to see more autism speculations as well. I only work with 21 kids at a time, most of them being with us for 4 years before school, and yet every year at least one is on some sort of drug for ADHD, or now autism. It boggles my mind, really. They don't act any different than any other children we have had. In fact, I suspect my own youngest son has some sort of hyperactivity and he is hyper sensitive to sound and textures, but I am not drugging him. I have not even spoken to my doc about it because his father has always had higher anxiety levels and reactions but still manages to survive without drugs, and I have texture sensitivities to crazy things that make my skin and teeth hurt (you would laugh if I told you lol), but I am not running around looking for meds either. We will see how he does. He is high strung, goes bananas over things every day at least once, has been hard to manage, but I am not going to turn him into a drooling vegetable or play russian roulette with medications - especially after what I have witnessed over the past 20+ years working with young children under age 5.

Right now, we have two children on the drug Dexedrine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dextroamphetamine and one of those kids is also on Risperidone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risperidone . The specialist is 'not sure' if the second child is autistic or bipolar. It's the same doc for both children, I might add. Anyway... the child taking a double combo is 5 and the other child is 3. Both of them were absolutely prescribed the medication on the first day they met with the psychologist. I know this for fact. I am practically these children's auntie, I am so involved in their daily care. So ... .yeah... I'm not impressed.

One thing to note is that we were given a form to fill out for the doc, detailing action of the children when in our care. Some of the questions are soooooooooo obscure, or could be interpreted in many ways, my boss was uncomfortable filling them out. She included a long letter with each, explaining that while she checked 'yes' in many columns, she could click 'yes' to the same things for most of the children in the center at some time or another. It should just be used as a very basic tool, a starting point, but I swear it's being used as a fully diagnostic tool and I think that is ridiculous and dangerous.

What I have also noted in my work is that some of the 'professionals' working with these kids do not even know what half the drugs are. I dont mean the doctors, I mean Behavioural Specialists that come in to help us out for a couple hours a day because the children qualify for this 'extra help', based on their 'diagnoses'. Um... well... about 3 weeks ago we had a meeting with THREE behaviour specialists who were looking at the three year old to determine if she needs someone coming in 3 hours a day to help us instead (I must add, we do NOT want the help, but it is out of our hands once a parent asks for it. It is annoying when there is an extra adult squished into our center and all the kids go berserk and pull pranks the whole time, and it exhausts us lol)... but anyway at some point we were discussing the medications the kid is on and the specialists were all nodding at the names. I said 'Dexedrine is an amphetamine, and I am not sure if it is helping or not or if the dosage needs to be adjusted or what, because the little girl has been noticeably worse since starting it'. I got a stunned response and I wondered what I said wrong... one specialist finally said 'It's an amphetamine? are you sure?'. I could not believe it! I said 'um yeah, it says so right on the label, in fact. the full name is dextramphetamine, or something like that'. They had no idea. How is it that 3 behavioural specialists brought in to help this child have no clue what the meds are, when a lowly daycare worker does?

It's really scary, folks, that's all I can say. In all my years at the center, we have had two autistic children that I truly believe were diagnosed correctly, or at least were in need of a diagnosis. It was obvious to us from day one with those kiddos. But there have been countless kids on various medications that we were completely dumbfounded about. The 5 yr old we have right now is apparently completely unmanagable at home - but in 4 years he has been the model student for us. He gets in trouble like all kids do from time to time, but NONE of the antics that his parents report happen at home. So is he only bipolar/autistic for half a day or something? I don't get it. We were literally floored with our mouths hanging open when at a meeting, his mom told us stuff he does at home. We told her and the specialists that we had never witnessed anything remotely similar and suggested that perhaps a behaviour specialist could help them, but with discipline rather than drugs. but nope, he is drugged up and we give him those meds 3 times a day and he gets some at home too before and after school. YIKES.

I truly fear for these children but dont know what to do. the only way we can force our hand and say 'no more specialists unless we deem it is necessary to help us for the child's sake' is to kick the kids out that we don't feel need that 'extra care'... but that is not going to help the child at all because the parents would just put them somewhere else instead that will take all the extra helpers. We choose instead to tell the truth at our meetings, and keep a watch on these kids and hope and pray that they turn out okay after spending their early years jacked up on all sorts of legal drugs.

Zippyjuan
03-29-2012, 09:25 PM
The article points out that the definitions of what is considered to be autism has been expanding and that people have been looking for it more than they used to which will in part help to explain higher numbers being reported. We saw the same thing happen with ADHD and suddenly tons of kids were given that diagnosis.


There is a good possibility that much of the reported increase in the prevalence of autism is illusory, however. When asked about this during the news conference, CDC's Frieden pointed out that "doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the condition and communities have gotten better at providing services, so I think we can say it is possible that the increase is the result of better detection."



The manual has undergone significant changes over the years, including in the diagnostic criteria for autism. In its current version, someone must fit at least eight of 16 criteria, including symptoms involving social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restricted behaviors and interests.

The previous version was stricter, describing one diagnostic criterion as "a pervasive lack of responsiveness to other people." In the current manual, that became "a lack of spontaneous seeking to share .... achievements with other people" and friendships that appear less sophisticated than the norm for a child's age.

The earlier manual also required "gross deficits in language development" and "peculiar speech patterns" for a diagnosis, while the current one lists difficulty "sustain(ing) a conversation" or "lack of varied . . . social imitative play."

Morton Ann Gernsbacher, a professor of psychology and autism researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and others have cited these changes to question the reality of the reported autism increase.

Isaac Bickerstaff
03-29-2012, 09:25 PM
Aren't they working on a vaccine for autism?:rolleyes::mad:

kezt777
03-29-2012, 09:37 PM
The article points out that the definitions of what is considered to be autism has been expanding and that people have been looking for it more than they used to which will in part help to explain higher numbers being reported. We saw the same thing happen with ADHD and suddenly tons of kids were given that diagnosis.

the definitions you quoted are exactly what I was trying to portray in my post above - and in the tick charts parents and caregivers get to 'aid' the doctors with diagnosis, it's even more vague. Or you have to check things like 'sometimes, often, not very often' etc. All of those markers are subjective to what the person filling it out decides it means. What 'sometimes' means to ME, might differ from what 'sometimes' means to my coworker or the parent. So then basically the doc gets all of our forms and puts the info together onto his own form, and he then has to determine what we all meant by 'sometimes', which is impossible without asking us for detail. There is a form that leaves 2 lines under each question for 'an example', but that ends up vague as well half the time (or most of the time). It's all guess work and conjecture and relies on people who do not even speak to each other to somehow come together with a magic diagnosis and then prescriptions for medications that are controversial.

We had a boy about 10 years ago who really did seem to have various problems and difficulties and could also be very violent to himself and others (even to me and a pregnant teacher)... we hoped his mom would take him to see someone to get help. But when she did, I cried my eyes out. Why? Because he came home from a specialist in Calgary with HOLES in his arms. I nearly fainted... a big line of wide needle holes up the inside of both forearms, where he had been tested for 'allergies' and reactions to various antipsychotic drugs. I have never seen allergy testing like that in my entire life and I was crushed to know this 4 year old boy had to go through that. I have no clue what gauge needle they used but I have never had marks that big even from emergency IVs being shoved into me.... and all the holes were bruised. I looked at both his arms, gave him a hug, and then had to lock myself in the work bathroom to cry for a few minutes. I have never told a parent since that day that I thought perhaps their child should 'be tested'. I cannot make myself utter those words again.

seraphson
03-29-2012, 10:14 PM
I really wonder the validity of these "trendy" trends with Autism, ADHD, etc. I've seen real autism in action which is very obvious and if 1 in 88 had the level of autism I saw then I really don't understand how humanity has gotten this far...or is this some sort of autism epidemic? If so let's examine what's changed and what's so different from X, Y, or Z years ago; or is this all BS and Psychologists/Doctors adding additional filler to their college textbooks and setting up backdoor deals with big pharma? Who knows? Who cares? I'll pull down your underwear.

kezt777
03-29-2012, 10:22 PM
Who knows? Who cares? I'll pull down your underwear.

Seriously, don't do that, or I will have to get out my special forms and mark you off as having a symptom of one-of-the-above!

The_Ruffneck
03-30-2012, 07:07 AM
Just do research : percentage of unvaccinated kids with autism vs percentage of vaccinated kids with autism.
End the debate.

kezt777
03-30-2012, 07:15 AM
My friend has not vaccinated either of her children and she has not been vaccinated against anything, nor her husband (religion),,, and her son is autistic. No doubt about it either. It's been a long hard road getting things sorted out for him and it's really difficult now that he is 15. Not vaccinated - is autistic.

Anti Federalist
03-30-2012, 08:37 AM
Aren't they working on a vaccine for autism?:rolleyes::mad:

/thread

UtahApocalypse
03-30-2012, 08:58 AM
Just do research : percentage of unvaccinated kids with autism vs percentage of vaccinated kids with autism.
End the debate.

http://drtenpenny.com/vaccinated_vs_unvaccinated_survey.aspx

"We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys." - Generation Rescue

Kylie
03-30-2012, 09:37 AM
Ive wondered if theyve started doing a genome project on these kids to see if they have previously unused genes that have turned on.

Theyre inside their own heads, but cant get their communication out in the same way that most of us do, right? Well, if theyre genetics has turned on genes, wouldnt that be a possibility?

Lishy
03-30-2012, 09:52 AM
Wall of Text (http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?369589-New-high-in-U.S.-autism-rates-inspires-renewed-debate&p=4322348&viewfull=1#post4322348)

Wow... Nice post!

I was one who was diagnosed with ADHD by my GRADE SCHOOL and my pediatrician prescibed me with Ritalin I was forced to take, otherwise the school would have not allowed me into class.

I don't know how that logic works, but I know they definitely did not have the authority to diagnose me with anything, nor' to disallow me from a PUBLIC school unless I take drugs.. I guess the doctor was a stupid bimbo too, who doesn't know anything past what her textbook tells her to do.

Anyways, what I really want to say is wouldn't it be ironic if the medication itself is what causes autism and "ADHD" symptoms? For Ritalin for example, I do know it causes more traffic in your brain to produce an "over-focus" (Which somehow calms some people down), but I can see how it would also make your focus worse.

AFPVet
03-30-2012, 11:39 AM
Aren't they working on a vaccine for autism?:rolleyes::mad:

LOL... yeah... and some people still say there is no correlation between some vaccines and autism :rolleyes: It's just like so many other things... they know very well what is going on, but they are under the rule of the drug companies. It would be nice if the FDA and big drug companies would back off and allow for real medicine.

kezt777
03-31-2012, 12:48 AM
Wow... Nice post!

I was one who was diagnosed with ADHD by my GRADE SCHOOL and my pediatrician prescibed me with Ritalin I was forced to take, otherwise the school would have not allowed me into class.

I don't know how that logic works, but I know they definitely did not have the authority to diagnose me with anything, nor' to disallow me from a PUBLIC school unless I take drugs.. I guess the doctor was a stupid bimbo too, who doesn't know anything past what her textbook tells her to do.

Anyways, what I really want to say is wouldn't it be ironic if the medication itself is what causes autism and "ADHD" symptoms? For Ritalin for example, I do know it causes more traffic in your brain to produce an "over-focus" (Which somehow calms some people down), but I can see how it would also make your focus worse.

One thing I am having a really hard time with morally is that these kids require medication at certain times of the day, which 2 or 3 doses will fall in while they are in my center - so we are handing little tiny kids ANTI PSYCHOTIC meds and making them take it. I didnt have a problem with cough medicine, asthma meds, antibiotics, etc but this is really driving me crazy. the cute little pink triangley-shapes of the dexedrine look so harmless but you go online and think holy sh*t what am i putting in these kids' mouths? But I am required by my job to follow medication orders from the parents so what can i do other than quit my job and not work with kids or any humans at all for that matter? it's scary sometimes. I'm not a doc or a nurse and I am not their parent, but i am feeding antipsychotic medication to 3 and 5 yr olds. blech.

dillo
03-31-2012, 12:51 AM
http://drtenpenny.com/vaccinated_vs_unvaccinated_survey.aspx

"We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys." - Generation Rescue

a boy in that sample probably has a 3000% greater chance to have been vaccinated

you would need to do 2 separate samples 1 of vaccinated and 1 of unvaccinated

As per the thread, I blame flouride

NewRightLibertarian
03-31-2012, 12:52 AM
This doesn't prove anything, but I have two cousins with autism. My aunt and uncle had their first two children vaccinated and they are both extremely autistic. Third kid they decided to not have her vaccinated and she's as healthy as you could ever imagine. Also, I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when I was a child and went to the Children's Hospital and received great medical care while there. One of my trusted doctors told me she was convinced that my disease and many others (especially autism) were being caused by these vaccines. Just some food for thought.

SL89
03-31-2012, 02:13 AM
"Vaccine Schedules, Autism Rates, and Under 5 Mortality"

http://www.actionpa.org/fluoride/countries.pdf

"Most Countries Reject Water Fluoridation"

http://www.actionpa.org/fluoride/countries.pdf

"In Europe, over 175 regions and over 4500 municipalities have declared themselves GM-free zones. And in 2009, Germany along with France, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Austria, Poland and Romania banned Monsanto’s MON 810 GM corn because of its documented dangers to biodiversity and human health."

http://www.drfranklipman.com/basic-questions-on-gmos/

Not to mention, the US is one of the few countries that eats steroid infested meats, is the world leader in prescription drug use and the largest consumers of artificial ingredients, many of which are banned in other countries. Its no wonder our kids are getting sicker. And adults too. :rolleyes:

36th in life span and 34th in infant mortality. :(

libertygrl
03-31-2012, 10:43 AM
My nephew is under the autism spectrum. My sister is not convinced it is entirely the vaccinations. She believes there are environmental factors at play here as well.

By the way:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=y2Ky1ZBK3uI