Complacency hurts autism

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The shocking new numbers of autism cases in the United States – one in 88 children, and one in 54 boys – have been met by government health officials, doctors and the media with a shrug of the shoulders and a comment not to worry about it.

These recently reported numbers by the Centers for Disease Control actually are from the year 2008 and are of 8-year-old children. Numbers in New Jersey and Utah are even more staggering – one in 29 boys.

Officials continue to attribute the biggest health emergency in history to better diagnosing and a broader definition of autism. This is clearly wrong and shows an inability to face the truth or hide it.

Health officials have been talking about better diagnosing for more than a decade. In 2004, when the numbers were one in 166, it was better diagnosing as it remains the answer today. The broader definition of autism was expanded in 1994. Eighteen years later, it would not account for the huge increase.

There have been 127 genetic studies of autism since 2006, and we are no closer to finding its cause.

As every year passes and the numbers reach catastrophic proportions, it has yet been declared a crisis by our government, and so many people seem to accept autism as just another illness that needs to be accepted as fact.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children and families are suffering.

Maurine Meleck

North Augusta, S.C.

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Bizkit 04/16/12 - 08:14 am
It is a fact, and genes and

It is a fact, and genes and environment are the key factors. Just like high cholesterol is mostly genetic (because your liver synthesizes 80% of the bodies cholesterol, but diet contributes too (20%). Be patient it has taken a long time to get a grasp and handle on cancer but we are starting to win the battle.

corgimom 04/16/12 - 08:31 pm
Once again, Maurine Meleck

Once again, Maurine Meleck conveniently forgets to tell the whole truth. No, there is not 1 in 88 boys diagnosed with autism in the US. The 1 in 88 figure comes from the 14 sites studied by the CDC, and this from the CDC site-

"Because the ADDM Network sites do not make up a nationally representative sample, these combined prevalence estimates should not be generalized to the United States as a whole."

"Multiple data sources are included, ranging from general pediatric health clinics to specialized programs for children with developmental disabilities. In addition, many ADDM sites also review and abstract records of children receiving special education services in public schools."

"The 14 ADDM sites that provided data for the 2008 surveillance year covered a total population of 337,093 children aged 8 years, which represented 8.4% of the U.S. population of children that age in 2008".

If you studied only 8.4% of the US children on any subject, you would find all sorts of trends- that would not necessarily extrapolate to the US as a whole.

"When data from these seven sites were combined, 38% of children with ASDs were classified in the range of intellectual disability (i.e., IQ ≤70 or an examiner's statement of intellectual disability), 24% in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 38% had IQ scores >85 or an examiner's statement of average or above-average intellectual ability."

Should we also conclude that 38% of the nation's children have an IQ of 70 or under? No, no one would say that is true. But that is what happens when people take a specific study, that is not representative of the US and openly states that, and then try to apply it to the US as a whole.

Hey, if you looked at children receiving special education services, do you think that you would find a high rate of autism? Of course you would, autism is one of the many reasons why children are in special education programs.

Who would think that looking at sites in 14 states would represent the US as a whole?

What is sad, and dangerous, is that people like Maurine Meleck writes letters like these filled with distortions and half-truths, and fails to tell the whole truth when it doesn't fit her beliefs. She has also stated, recently, that autism is a metabolic disease involving every organ in the body. No, it is not. My son is on the autistic spectrum, and I can assure you, he does not have a metabolic disease. He is perfectly healthy, works a strenuous job, is the father of 2 children, and leads a normal life.

While Maurine Meleck is perfectly welcome to express her opinions on autism and its causes, she should state them as such and not present her biased slant as "facts". Because they are not.


Bizkit 04/16/12 - 09:12 pm
Corgimom I dont' think you

Corgimom I dont' think you understand these statistics. It doesn't say 38% of nations children have an IQ less than 70. Only something like 2% of the population have an IQ less than 70. It details the intelligence deficiency in those with autism. Some of this is likely because women are waiting later in life to have kids and the risks to have an autistic child increases with the age of both mother and father. There are a number of genetic studies too, but human traits are often polymorphic with 3 to hundreds of genes and gene networks, and there is a gene dosage effect. We often have multiple copy of genes-this is why monozyotic identical twins are not truly identical and you can determine identity in forensic studies and the environment alters their epigenome.

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