Autism can't be ignored

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The meteoric rise in autism is the most pressing social issue of our time.

Just two decades ago, the likelihood of having a child with autism was one in 10,000. The latest report from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health now estimates the prevalence of autism to be 2 percent of children ages 6-17, or one in 50 children. Yet, it seems we accept this information with no outcry as autism still remains uncovered by insurance plans and underfunded in research dollars when compared to other childhood illness.

The number of children diagnosed with autism each year is greater than the number of children diagnosed with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. To put it into perspective, here are some examples of where research funding goes each year to fight childhood diseases. Leukemia receives $277 million. Muscular dystrophy receives $162 million. Pediatric AIDS receives $394 million. Juvenile diabetes receives $156 million. Autism, which now affects one in 50 children, only receives $79 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. That is only six-tenths of 1 percent of the $35.6 billion the NIH annually donates.

It is time for us to open our eyes wide and see that the real threat to our country’s financial future lies in the health and well-being of our children.

The increase in autism only solidifies the immediate need for universal coverage of autism by all insurance companies especially in light of the research that was published in January. Deborah Fein, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Connecticut concluded as many as one in five children on the autistic spectrum can recover to where they are no longer considered autistic. Fein says the children who recover are more likely to have had behavioral therapy know as applied behavioral analysis.

For any parents faced with treating a child with autism, an uncovered medical condition by insurance, they are left scrambling on how to cover costs for treatment that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year for multiple years, in addition to finding treatment options on their own. Treatment is expensive; there is no way around it. But the reality of no treatment has serious consequence for our society as a whole. What will happen to all these children who turn into adults?

This is not an isolated case anymore. This is one in 50 children, and since the number keeps rising, when will it stop? At what number will it become a national priority to find out what is causing autism to try to prevent it? At what number will we have viable treatment options for all those diagnosed with autism?

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Bodhisattva
5955
Points
Bodhisattva 03/26/13 - 07:12 am
2
0
The 1 in 50 number comes from

The 1 in 50 number comes from a phone survey of parents self reporting, not a scientific study. The most recent scientific does show a 1 in 88 prevalence. Why so high? Increased awareness and increase in diagnosis (which picks up milder and milder cases). A large increase in including learning disorders under the autism spectrum like adding Asperger Syndrome, Rett's Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (the "catch all" category). Total spending on autism research is around $225,000,000 per pear. NIH spending on Autism research was: 2011-$169 million, 2012-$169 million, and 2013 an estimated $170 million. That's just Autism. There are separate categories for Rett's-$12 million, $55million for ADD, brain disorders $3.87 billion, Fragile-X Syndrome $29 million, and so on. Much of this research is overlapping. The Affordable Care Act prevents limits on lifetime care. Autism, like many diseases is horrible and a strain on the family. Just rely on scientific info and not celebrities or quack websites for your info. If you want the breakdown on NIH spending by disease:

http://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 03/26/13 - 09:00 am
0
0
Amen and Amen
Unpublished

Good job BOD. Everything that is reported must be scrutinized. In the totalitarian state in which we now live, we must ask why? Why this information now? What will be the answer from the STATE? Will the government "focus groups" consider this action worthy? We never know? What we know for certain is that every crisis is an opportunity for the growth of government control over daily life. And the potential for greed at the risk of the helpless.

dichotomy
31988
Points
dichotomy 03/26/13 - 09:33 am
5
0
I am not a psychiatrist, and

I am not a psychiatrist, and I do not have any facts and figures to analyze. But my gut instinct tells me two things.

1. I do not believe we have more autistic kids. I believe we have expanded the diagnosis of autism to include almost any withdrawn or difficult to handle behavior in a child. And I think these diagnoses are more for the benefit of the parents than they kids.

2. We snatch kids out of the cradle, prop them up in front of a TV to let Teletubbies babysit them, and shortly thereafter hand them a Playstation. And then the parents worry when the child seems to have difficulty dealing with real world instead of the virtual world in which they were raised.

I long for the days when you could visit a home where the kids had littered the living room floor with hot wheels, dolls, building blocks, and Lincoln logs and were currently running through the house with their cowboy hats on and trusty Fanner 50 strapped to their side.

Oh yeh, if the shrink can't justify a diagnosis of autism, they stick them with ADD.

amdachel
72
Points
amdachel 03/26/13 - 10:41 am
0
3
Thank you, Leslie Mann for

Thank you, Leslie Mann for this critical article. Health officials continue to downplay the reality of the autism epidemic despite the fact that the numbers continue to soar.

This is what's been happening with autism:

1995 1:500
2001 1:250
2004 1:166
2007 1:150
2009 1:110
2012 1:88
2013 1:50
In the face of these numbers, federal health officials remain clueless. For those who say this is all just a better diagnosing and an expanded definition of autism, please note: the diagnosis was expanded back in 1994. Doctors should have caught on to the symptoms by 2000, but that didn't happened. The numbers keep on rising. And officials don't care.

Anne Dachel, Age of Autism

amdachel
72
Points
amdachel 03/26/13 - 10:42 am
0
2
The Centers for Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still isn't alarmed about autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics has never called autism a crisis, let alone a health care emergency--something it clearly is. I recently wrote this piece about the attitude of Dr. Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (the committee created by Congress to address autism).

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/03/dr-tom-insel-on-autism-if-there-is-a-...

Insel is quick to tell us that he knows nothing for sure about autism. He can't give us a date when he expects to have any answers about autism. He still isn't sure if more kids really have autism. Most of all, he's not worried about autism. This complacency can't cover up the truth about autism, however. Experts tell us that 80 percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18. A generation of children has been lost to autism and we will be left with a million dependent adults who will live long lives dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care.

Anne Dachel, Age of Autism

amdachel
72
Points
amdachel 03/26/13 - 10:43 am
0
2
Autism epidemic

One area that no one at the CDC or the AAP wants to look into is regressive autism. These experts have tried hard to pretend that autism is some kind of genetic disorder kids are born with. They have refused to listen to the tens of thousands of parents everywhere who report that their child was born healthy and was developing normally and then suddenly and dramatically lost learned skills and regressed into autism. Overwhelming numbers report that this regression followed routine childhood vaccination. Maybe this is the reason that no matter how bad the numbers, no one at the CDC is ever worried about autism.

Anne Dachel, Age of Autism

Little Lamb
45256
Points
Little Lamb 03/26/13 - 10:56 am
3
0
Diagnosis

Dichotomy is correct. They have broadened the definition to include every child who has a temper tantrum as autistic. It's kind of like broadening the word "marriage" to include any kind of hook-up.

msitua
124
Points
msitua 03/26/13 - 11:29 am
0
1
what has happened is a crime on all levels

Thank you Leslie for this honest and meaningful letter . By chance I have a letter in the Aiken Standard today on the same subject. We, the autism families, know what is really happening to our children and how the government, doctors and the media are ignoring it. If 1 in 31 boys were recently diagnosed as being blind, would they say it was just better diagnosing? Of course not. This is more than scary. It's a crime being committed on our children
Maurine Meleck, North Augusta

Bizkit
30590
Points
Bizkit 03/26/13 - 03:32 pm
1
0
The epidemiology of autism is

The epidemiology of autism is the study of factors affecting autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A 2012 review of global prevalence estimates of autism spectrum disorders found a median of 62 cases per 10,000 people. There is a lack of evidence from low- and middle-income countries though.

ASD averages a 4.3:1 male-to-female ratio. The number of children known to have autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, at least partly due to changes in diagnostic practice; it is unclear whether prevalence has actually increased;and as-yet-unidentified environmental risk factors cannot be ruled out.

The risk of autism is associated with several prenatal factors, including advanced parental age and diabetes in the mother during pregnancy.ASD is associated with several genetic disorders and with epilepsy, and autism is associated with mental retardation.

So risks factors have increased too as more women and men are having children later in life-that is another factor for more cases.
Diabetes risks have increased as well as incidence in the same time span-that associates with more cases. Definitely a genetic link but environment and epigenetic factors come into play too. "Any" peer-reviewed evidence vaccines contribute to autism-mostly "no" from huge study in Asia examining multiple vaccines and no association with autism, but one US epidemiological study finding a statistical association with number of vaccines and autism, but another contrary showing that rubella vaccinations appears to prevent autism spectrum disorder and another disorder. No association of MMR vaccine with autism. So vaccinations are all over the place-the good, bad, and ugly. I would argue a stronger association with changes in society with adults waiting longer and older to have kids and other environmental factors such as pollutants-pesticides, PCB, estrogens, etc in our water, food, etc.

AutismNewsBeat
2
Points
AutismNewsBeat 03/27/13 - 10:59 am
0
0
Prevalence

Leslie, where did you read that "just two decades ago, the likelihood of having a child with autism was one in 10,000?" The CDC reported about 20:10,000 in the early 1990s. Your 1:10,000 figure tells me you are quoting an unreliable source, possibly Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue. The first ever autism epidemiology study (Lotter, 1966) found 4.5:10,000 in England. Even if your 1:10,000 number was correct, it would only show the number of children identified with autism - not "having a child with autism." In the last CDC survey, one in five kids with an ASD had no known previous autism diagnosis. That speaks to a large population of children who are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Yes, we need to do more for children on the autism spectrum. But fear mongering and spreading misinformation doesn't help anyone, except for the self-described advocacy groups who spread the fear.

ciaparker
4
Points
ciaparker 03/27/13 - 01:26 pm
0
0
Absolutely true. It's

Absolutely true. It's stunning the way nearly the entire population is just drifting, drowsily content with the reassurance from the medical cartel that nothing has changed, the same number of autistic children has always been with us, who cares? Nothing need be done about it. Are we worried about our taxes doubling, then quadrupling, to pay for the lifetime care of an extremely large and ever-growing permanently disabled population? Are the vaccine companies, who have legal exemption from prosecution for damage caused by their products, worried? Why should they be? It's all just money in the bank for them.

Vaccines are the major cause of autism. That's a fact. My baby was given the hep-B vaccine at midnight the day she was born, without permission, although I had told her doctor I didn't want her to get it, as I had read even in 2000 that it often caused autism. She reacted the way thousands of babies have, with constant inconsolable screaming for four days and nights, vaccine-induced encephalitis. She then showed symptoms of mercury toxicity, with constant, excessive drooling well into her elementary school years. Hand-flapping when she ran, lining up things in geometrical lines. Permanent severe constipation from the reaction to gluten and casein-resembling substances in the vaccines she got (and she only got the fateful hep-B, only one of them, four DTaPs, one mercury-free DT, three IPVs, and three Hibs. No varicella or MMR.) Many ostrich-like people say that autism is just spoiled children. You think? My daughter had started saying two words by 18 months, brain-damaged from the encephalitis, but struggling to progress. She was saying uh for up at the foot of the playground slide, and uff when she saw a dog. Charlatans like Dr. Ari Brown in Baby 411 say that this is not really speech, that when children appear to lose their speech after a vaccine, this is because parents only thought their children's inchoate gibberish was speech, when it really wasn't. She won't even see children in her practice whose parents refuse vaccines, but denies that vaccines ever, ever cause any damage to them. But when my daughter got a DTaP booster at 18 months, it immediately wiped out her only two words, two symbolic combinations of sounds used appropriately to convey meaning in relevant situations, and she said not another word until 34 months of age. She was diagnosed with autism at 20 months. Even after she had started saying baby repeated syllables like baba and mama when she was three, she reversed pronouns as is characteristic of autistic children, saying you when she meant I. She engaged in echolalia, repeating long phrases heard somewhere over and over, with no sense in the present context. She had hyperlexia, teaching herself to read without ever having been formally instructed. She is nearly thirteen now, and still very low verbal, and has never told me anything about anything that has happened to her, anything that interested her. She continues to be very inappropriate in her social interactions, saying Hi, what's your name? even to girls she's known for six or seven years. And she can't say anything to them beyond that. She's normal in math, doing pre-algebra in our home-schooling now, which we do as well as her attending a special autism class at a public school.

The encephalitis which often causes autism as well as ADHD, learning disabilities, and seizure disorders primarily affects the right side of the brain, not the math center on the left side, but devastating the language, social, and verbal, memory, and logical reasoning centers on the right side of the brain. Even the Merck Manual says in its definition of encephalitis that it can be caused by a pathogen or by a VACCINE. Every vaccine package insert says that it can sometimes cause encephalitis. The symptoms of encephalitis can be inconsolable screaming episodes lasting three hours or longer, or as mild as staring episodes or unusual somnolence. That means that most parents are not even aware that their child is in the throes of brain damage from a vaccine, and then when the symptoms of brain damage emerge much later, they no longer remember or connect it to the symptoms of encephalitis, if they noticed them at all.

Vaccines cause autoimmune damage, skewing the immune system to an inappropriate autoimmune Th-2 response to the antigenic challenge of the vaccines. There's no question that vaccinated children are much more prone to asthma, allergies, bowel disease, diabetes, or MS. The Manitoba 1998 study proved that babies getting the pertussis vaccine at 2 months are more than twice as likely to have asthma at age seven than children starting the series a few months later. While it's true that it's very young babies who are the only group in danger of dying from pertussis, the vaccine does nothing to protect them until they are over five months old. And by then they're no longer in danger of death from the disease. Asthma and peanut allergies (from a reaction to the peanut oil used in many vaccines) are killing thousands of children, with rates increasing somewhat like the skyrocketing rates of autism.

I reacted to a tetanus booster when I was nineteen with both arms being paralyzed starting the same day, brachioplexus neuropathy, only lasting a few days at that time, but then I went on to develop MS. Some of us have genes which predispose us to reacting badly to vaccines, but if we don't get the vaccines, we're fine. No attempt is being made to screen out the most vulnerable before giving them vaccines. And everyone becomes vulnerable at some point, whether from illness, age, or overload of vaccine and other toxins accumulated in the body.

I had measles when I was six, as did my brother and all my cousins, and we all got well in less than two weeks, with permanent immunity. My vaccinated daughter (DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months) had pertussis at eight months of age, because the acellular vaccine just isn't very effective. But at eight months she was able to cough up the mucus efficiently, as I did as well when I caught it from her, and we both got well (eventually) with 30 to 70 years worth of immunity. Neither measles nor pertussis is the fearful disease that is being sold by the vaccine industry, except for very young babies who should be quarantined at home for their protection. The brain damage and autoimmune diseases caused by vaccines (or death in many cases) are much more to be feared than the vaccine-preventable diseases in previously healthy, well-nourished children.

My family never had any member with autism until 1988, the date often considered the beginning of the autism epidemic, with many new and often mercury-containing additions to the vaccine schedule. Then my cousin's daughter got severe autism and is institutionalized, my brother had a son with severe Asperger's, and I had my daughter, who is moderately impaired by autism, and very low verbal. No one I knew had ever heard of autism until Dustin Hoffmann in Rainman. A friend told me last year about her three brilliant, attractive, scholarship-winning children who all went to Ivy League universities. Then her oldest daughter had a daughter whose first baby had a vaccine-induced seizure at nine months of age, two years ago, and now cannot walk, talk, has severe visual problems, and a mitochondrial disorder, with pervasive develomental disorder. Come on, guys, wake up, this is going to be coming soon to your own families if it hasn't already. The jerks with money on the table are not the ones whose assurances as to the safety of vaccines are to be trusted. Why should they be?

drjoe
32
Points
drjoe 03/27/13 - 07:20 pm
0
0
I've been a practicing

I've been a practicing physician for nearly 20 years. There is definitely an increase in the number of children with labels. There is also an increase in preventable diseases because very stupid mothers (and some fathers) believe a Playboy centerfold knows more than their child's physician. I frequently see kids who seem perfectly normal who have these labels, and often the parents are the ones who seem to be in need of a psychiatrist. Anecdotal statement, for sure, but true.

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