Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

An Epidemic Of Autism

Expand Messages
  • NHNE
    NHNE News List Current Members: 722 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... INCREASE IN AUTISM BAFFLES SCIENTISTS By Sandra
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 722
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.

      ------------

      INCREASE IN AUTISM BAFFLES SCIENTISTS
      By Sandra Blakeslee
      New York Times
      Friday, October 18, 2002

      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/18/health/18AUTI.html

      Trying to account for a drastic rise in childhood autism in recent years, a
      California study has found that it cannot be explained away by statistical
      anomalies or by a growing public awareness that might have led more parents
      to report the disorder.

      But the study's authors, who reported their findings yesterday to the
      California Legislature, said they were at a loss to explain the reasons for
      what they called an epidemic of autism, the mysterious brain disorder that
      affects a person's ability to form relationships and to behave normally in
      everyday life.

      "Autism is on the rise in the state, and we still do not know why," said the
      lead author, Dr. Robert S. Byrd, an epidemiologist and pediatrician at the
      University of California at Davis. "The results are, without a doubt,
      sobering."

      As diagnoses of autism have increased throughout the nation, experts and
      parents have cast about for possible explanations, including genetics, birth
      injuries and childhood immunizations. The California study found that none
      of these factors could explain an increase of the magnitude reported there ‹
      more than triple from 1987 to 1998.

      Dr. Catherine Lord, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the
      University of Michigan who is a leading authority on autism, said it was
      unclear whether the California findings applied to other states.

      The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working in 13
      states to look at the apparent increase in autism cases, said Dr. Frank
      DeStefano, an epidemiologist at the agency. So far, there is no reliable
      count of autism cases nationwide, since criteria and reporting practices
      vary from state to state.

      The California study was prompted by a 1999 report from the state's
      Department of Developmental Services, which reported that the number of
      children with "full spectrum," or profound, autism had increased by 273
      percent, to 10,360 in 1998 from 2,778 in 1987. The study did not deal with
      milder forms of the disorder, like Asperger syndrome.

      The numbers were surprising, Dr. Byrd said. The traditional estimate was
      that 4 or 5 children out of 10,000 might develop autism. Instead, it
      appeared that 10 children in every 10,000 were seriously autistic, meaning
      they suffered from a brain disorder that left them unable to speak or
      compulsively performing repetitive motions like flapping their arms or
      rocking.

      After the period studied, the number of autistic children continued to rise,
      to 18,460 cases as of July 2002, according to the California Department of
      Developmental Services.

      In response to the study, the legislature directed the MIND Institute, an
      autism research center at the University of California at Davis, to
      investigate.

      "We wondered if the increase was real," Dr. Byrd said. "Maybe we were doing
      a better job of finding cases. Maybe there was an increase in awareness of
      autism. The movie `Rain Man' was very popular."

      California has a system of 21 regional centers that diagnose developmental
      disorders and provide services to children with them. Dr. Byrd and his team
      mined these centers for data.

      Researchers sent questionnaires to the parents of 684 children with
      full-spectrum autism or mental retardation. About half were teenagers, born
      from 1983 to 1985; the others were ages 7 to 9, born a decade later.

      If the criteria for diagnosing autism had changed in those 10 years or if
      the definition had broadened, the mystery would be solved, Dr. Byrd said.
      But the standards used to diagnose full-spectrum autism were the same in
      both age groups, he said.

      Some people suggested that the centers might diagnose autism so families
      would receive more generous state assistance. But the centers have no
      incentive to do so, Dr. Byrd said, since they do not receive more state
      financing for identifying more children with disabilities.

      The study also considered whether children in the older group were
      incorrectly classified as mentally retarded, when they were in fact
      autistic. But the rate of misdiagnosis was about the same in both groups,
      Dr. Byrd said.

      Still another possibility ‹ that large numbers of families with autistic
      children had moved into California ‹ was discarded when it turned out that
      most children in both groups were born in California. A general increase in
      population accounted for about 10 percent of the rise in autism, Dr. Byrd
      said. The rest remains a mystery.

      There also were no significant differences over time in sex, race or
      parental education. Parents of the older children were more likely to report
      mental retardation along with autism, but the finding did not explain the
      rising incidence.

      About a third of parents in both groups reported that their children began
      to regress around the age of 18 months, Dr. Byrd said. They suddenly lost
      the ability to say words and stopped making eye contact. Many parents blame
      vaccinations thatare given around 18 months; until recently some vaccines
      contained a mercury-based preservative that some people believe can cause
      brain damage in young children. The study found no evidence that the vaccine
      was the culprit, Dr. Byrd said.

      Nevertheless, more parents of younger children reported constipation and
      vomiting, which they attributed to complications from the measles vaccine.
      Wheat allergies were also more frequent. But none of these differences fully
      explain the increase in autism cases in California, Dr. Byrd said.

      Parents in the study were asked what might have caused their child's autism.
      Nearly half the parents in both groups said they did not know. A third
      blamed genetics; smaller numbers cited immunizations, birth injury or
      environmental factors.

      "You can't explain an increase of this magnitude on genetics," Dr. Byrd
      said. "Something else is happening."

      "We know autism has a strong genetic component," said Portia Iversen, a
      founder of Cure Autism Now, a research and advocacy group in Los Angeles
      formed by parents of autistic children. "But we don't know what in the
      environment is interacting with genes to contribute to this huge increase in
      cases."

      ------------

      RELATED NHNE ARTICLES & RESOURCES:

      TWO ARTICLES: MMR VACCINATIONS CONNECTED TO AUTISM (8/10/2002):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3559

      DOUBTS OVER SMALLPOX VACCINES EMERGE (7/30/2002):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3497

      CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR CRIMINAL PENALTIES AT VACCINE MERCURY HEARINGS
      (7/20/2002):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3443

      LIVING WITHOUT VACCINATIONS (12/8/2001):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/2371

      LEADING DOCTORS' GROUP OPPOSE MANDATORY VACCINATIONS (11/4/2001):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/793

      SMALLPOX OUTBREAK: WHAT TO DO (8/20/2002):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3592

      ANCIENT & ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR BIOTERRORISM (10/12/2022):
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/message/3808

      -----------

      RELATED WEBSITES:

      SMALLPOX VACCINATION 101:
      http://smallpoxvaccination101.com/

      NATIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION CENTER (NVIC):
      http://www.909shot.com

      DR. CLASSEN'S VACCINE SITE:
      http://www.vaccines.net/%c2%a0

      IMMUNIZATIONS:
      http://www.pcslink.com/~klove/immunize.htm

      VACCINE INFORMATION AND AWARENESS (VIA) WEB SITE:
      http://www.access1.net/via/

      CONCERNED PARENTS FOR VACCINE SAFETY:
      http://home.sprynet.com/~gyrene/index.htm

      ANTHRAX VACCINE INFORMATION:
      http://www.anthraxvaccine.org

      VACCINATION NEWS:
      http://www.vaccinationnews.com

      VACCINEWEBSITE.COM:
      http://www.vaccinewebsite.com

      DR. TIM O'SHEA'S THEDOCTORWITHIN.COM:
      http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/index1.html

      ------------

      NHNE News List:

      To subscribe, send a message to:
      nhnenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      To unsubscribe, send a message to:
      nhnenews-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

      To review current posts:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhnenews/messages

      Published by NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
      eMail: nhne@...
      NHNE Website: http://www.nhne.com/
      Phone: (928) 282-6120
      Fax: (815) 346-1492

      Appreciate what we are doing?
      You can say so with a tax-deductible donation:
      http://www.nhne.com/main/donations.html

      P.O. Box 2242
      Sedona, AZ 86339
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.