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Archive for Monday, March 25, 2013

KU researchers say new autism estimates shouldn’t set off alarms

March 25, 2013

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It’s an eye-catching statistic: One in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, according to new estimates released this week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

But autism researchers at Kansas University say the number shouldn’t cause alarm. It doesn’t mean things are any worse than they were five years ago, when an estimate put the rate at 1 in 88 kids. It just means that parents and doctors are doing a better job of spotting autism.

Indeed, the new estimate may mean things are better.

“There’s no reason to think that there’s anything that’s going on that has caused an increase,” said Christa Anderson, an assistant research professor at KU’s Life Span Institute who runs a research lab dedicated to autism study.

John Colombo, the director of the Life Span Institute and a professor of psychology, agreed. What’s really going on more now compared with five or 10 years ago, he said, is that more parents and more pediatricians are recognizing signs of autism, leading to an increased number of diagnoses.

“It’s that we’re getting better at counting these kids,” Colombo said. “We’re getting better at seeing the signs.”

That’s especially the case with some children who function more highly and, over time, have begun to be included in the spectrum of autism.

“Those kids are diagnosed now, whereas I think before they probably weren’t,” Anderson said. “They were slipping through the cracks.”

In recent years, the definition of autism has expanded to include some other disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome, previously considered separate. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, autism spectrum disorders are developmental conditions that can affect children's social and communication abilities to degrees ranging from mild to severe.

Though the one-in-50 number doesn’t mean things have gotten worse, Colombo said, it does mean things aren’t good. That’s a high percentage of children to have such a disorder, and it demands further research on the matter, he said.

“I don’t know of any other developmental disorder that’s even close to that,” Colombo said.

Some of that research is going on at KU. In Anderson’s lab, she and other researchers study biological signs of the disorder, as opposed to the behavioral signals traditionally used to diagnose it.

They’ve linked autism to things such as pupil size and hormones present in saliva in children as young as infants.

And they’re testing a theory that beta blockers — cheap medications typically used to treat heart conditions — could be given to children with autism during infancy in order to prevent further development of the disorder.

Much more work is needed, Anderson said, and more pediatricians need to conduct autism screenings on young children. More awareness of the disease can only help.

“That’s where it needs to move,” Anderson said. “It needs to be considered a medical diagnosis.”

Comments

Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 8 months ago

“There’s no reason to think that there’s anything that’s going on that has caused an increase,”

Based on what? What hard facts do you have that 100% of the increase is based soley on more diagnosis being given? I agree it constitutes a large % of the increase but not 100%. We have an epidemic on our hands. Where are these kids going to live as adults? There should be plenty of alarm and this assistant prof does not have the proper education to make such statements.

merickson 1 year, 8 months ago

Hi there,

Thanks for reading. To be clear, neither of the researchers I talked to said that it's 100 percent certain that no more people have autism now than used to. There's still a lot more study to be done on autism, so no one can say anything quite that certain. They just said there's far more reason for scientists to believe that autism is being diagnosed more widely than ever before.

As for Christa Anderson's education on the subject, she has a Ph.D. in psychology and has done a good deal of clinical work and research involving autism, according to her vita posted here:

http://www2.ku.edu/~lsi/research/profiles/christa_anderson.shtml

Thanks,

Matt Erickson

elliottaw 1 year, 8 months ago

So 2 people who have Ph.D.s and study this for a living, one running a his own center at KU (which takes a large amount of grant money) are both wrong on this? No where in the article does it say that 100% of the increase is because of better diagnosing, those are you numbers, they simple said the numbers are going up because people are better aware of it.

And for you concern as to where these kids are going to live as adults, its Autism not some crippling disorder, most people are able to live perfectly fine they just have to make adjustments to how they learn for the most part.

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

Based on science. The diagnostic criteria has changed several times, the available services have increased, and the awareness has increased. Pediatricians didn't used to screen for autism during checkups, and now they routinely do. There's a lot of reasons why autism diagnosis would go up while the actual rate of autism would stay the same. Most of the increase in diagnosis has been with higher functioning individuals.

There are plenty of adults with autism right now that would be included in the 1 in 50 if you started interviewing everyone. Some live in institutions and may have a different diagnosis (like MR), some live with their parents, but many of them are just that weird guy you work with who is a good worker but really loves baseball statistics and hasn't caught on that you've lost interest in the conversation five minutes ago. Adults are better at doing things than kids are, and that includes adults with autism.

I totally agree that we need to think about adults with autism. We need to think about job coaches. We need to think about kids with autism. We need to think about the fact that theres a many year long waiting list for services that isn't getting shorter, that Kansas legislators don't want to fund the programs, mandate insurance coverage for behavioral and speech therapy, or expand medicare. Or pretty much do anything about the problem. Other than use them as pawns for school voucher schemes. I guarantee they'll do that one.

frank mcguinness 1 year, 8 months ago

I think you should research a vaccine for Autism. You claim to just be enamored by them as they prevent little disease vectors from infecting other disease vectors. Actually you claimed you would vote for Dr Riordan just because of his support for vaccines. Right?

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

Apparently there's never a missed chance to bag on a vaccine? Even if it's a total stretch to insert it into the thread and demonstrates the poster's complete ignorance of the topic at hand?

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

There's no evidence autism is caused by a bacteria or virus. There's no evidence autism is contagious.

parrothead8 1 year, 8 months ago

Based on her years of research. This isn't a research article, it's a news article. If you want the basis for her statements, read through her research.

Or you could continue to make gut-level responses based on nothing more than a need to be contrary.

Matthew Herbert 1 year, 8 months ago

"based on nothing more than a need to be contrary"

I think you nailed it. Well said, parrot.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

Exactly. High functioning autistic children, such as those with Asbergers would have just been the odd kid in class who didn't have many friends. They wouldn't have been diagnosed with autism.

gatekeeper 1 year, 8 months ago

By 2001, Thimerosal was almost completely removed from all childhood vaccines. So, if we haven't been shooting up kids with Thimerosal for 12 year +, please explain how these vaccines are causing increased rates in autism in kids today?? Please, because I assume you have a PhD in Medicine and Special Education and know more than those of us trained in the fields.

You are the one drinking the koolaid.

But feel free to not vaccinate your children. I'll say a prayer for them when the get whooping cough, measles, mumps, polio, etc.... Let's hope those prayers work better than a vaccine that would keep your child from getting the disease in the first place.

Please, home school your kids and keep them away from others since you don't seem to believe in vaccines.

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes, they did remove it from the childhood vaccines....but its still in the Flu Vaccine, which the medical community is still recommending for Kids and the Elderly. So, in my opinion...it is still causing autism for children and early dementia in the elderly. Research people, before you take anything they recommend on TV OR NEWS..... Now the latest spiel the doctors are being told is.... "If this was my mother or father, I would highly recommend and give it to them" B.S..... people, don't drink the Kool Aid.......... research....research........research first!!!!!!!!!!!! Medicines are a Huge Business and doctors get paid to give them!!

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#pres

mom_of_three 1 year, 8 months ago

vaccines arent the cause of autism... autism has always been around...

gatekeeper 1 year, 8 months ago

Children don't get the same version of the flu vaccine that adults do. They get either the single dose or nasal spray that doesn't contain Thimerisal and that's been the rule since Thimerisal was removed from all children's vaccines in 2001. If your doctor is giving children the adult version of the flu vaccine, then they should lose their license.

If Thimerisal was the cause of autism, then we would be seeing huge declines since it hasn't been used in 12 years in children's vaccines. We aren't, the numbers being reported are increasing.

My degree was in Special Education. I've done a lot of work on this subject and worked with a lot of autistic kids. I think there are a lot of things that could be behind the increased cases of autism, just like with cancer. We've been radiated from years of nuclear tests done worldwide. We consume chemicals in almost everything we eat and drink. It's actually one of the reasons I ended up not having children. At birth, a child has the same amount of toxins in their blood that the mother has. Then every toxin we injest through our lives gets added to that. That child becomes and adult and has a child and that baby now has the elevated levels of toxins it's mom had, and continues to add more throughout it's life. Get your blood tested for all the toxins you have in your body and you'll be extremely shocked. We keep popping out generation after generation that's more toxic than the one before. Pretty soon, we'll probably be lucky if we aren't all born with some kind of defect because of this.

BUT, to not get children vaccinated is just insane. My mom's talked about being the only child on her block that didn't get whooping cough or measles and a lot of kids she grew up with died from them. Want to see polio come back? Small pox? There are risks associated with almost anything, but do you really want to risk you child getting a deadly disease that was completely preventable because Jenny McCarthy and others that push the anti-vaccine B.S. are louder than the scientists that actually do studies on this? Why don't you ask most doctors if they vaccinated their own kids or thought it was just too risky. Do you think all doctors are in on a massive conspiracy?

storm 1 year, 8 months ago

The vaccine hoax has been proven, time to move on to learning how bouncing sound waves on developing fetal brains through unnecessary sonograms, causes the disorder.

elliottaw 1 year, 8 months ago

I didn't say there wasn't cause for concern, this and many other things do cause there to be more concern. However not all people will need to be "taken care of" as they get older, most are ok if schools are willing to step outside their comfort box and teach these children in different ways, same with ADHD, not all those kids need to be pumped with drugs until they have lost "who they are" and are just little zombies. Studies have suggested that having those kids ride stationary bikes instead of sitting at a desk has helped some learn and work on their focus. None of this is a cure all for everyone.

elliottaw 1 year, 8 months ago

I defended the article from your claims that it says something that it doesn't (that 100% of the cases are just misdiagnoses) The spectrum of Autism is very wide, from people who may never even realize that they have it to those who the normal person could easily identify as having it. For those individuals there may be nothing tat can be done, sad but true. There are people with Downs Syndrome who can live on their own and those who will need care for their lives. But the Spectrum for Autism is a lot larger.

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

LJWorld forums. Autism is definitely caused by LJWorld forums specifically and the Internet in general. Before the forums existed, there was virtually no autism. Sure, there were quirky people, the "feebleminded," "village idiots", feral children, and others who might have had something even dating back to the beginnings of recorded history, but since we didn't call it autism back then, that's definitely not what they had.

*PS - not calling anyone an idiot or feebleminded. That was just the terminology of the time.

HootyWho 1 year, 8 months ago

My sister is autistic, one of the first diagnosed in Lawrence, if you believe the vaccine crap, then why don't i have autism? i got the same vaccines as a kid as she did, we are just diagnosing better these days, like somebody said, they were just the kids who were different in class, or went to special classes, my family has been dealing with autism for 40 plus years, nobody knew what it was way back then, took several years to get that diagnosis.

notajayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Your rebuttal is irrational. Nobody tried to blame vaccines for cancer or asthma.

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

Your are correct...everything is all about the almighty dollar and money.....that is why there are so many cover ups and new laws and statues that just pop out of the blue..... that are invented to protect the money making medicine manufactors from going out of business.....it's Criminal!! Wake up People!!

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_W... http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/thimerosal/index.html http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/historiesofcomsn/section1.html

Quite a few veterans came down with diseases later in life too....... Hep. C, Pneumonia and other Respiratory diseases etc.... and never knew that when they gave injections to all those men who signed up for the service back in the 60's...they continually used the same injection kit over and over and over.....some got sick...other didn't. The sterilization conditions were very different back in the day. Autism is the same way, for there are variables in the immune system...everyone is different. Some kids handle it, others aren't immune. Similar to cancer....some people get cancer and others don't. God knows, we aren't all built the same. My personal opinion is they gave children the vaccine combined...(of course, to save money) and brought it over from a foreign country, (also, to save money) way to strong to tolerate in their little systems, and preservatives like mercury....harmed them....which never is rid from the body.

And, they still use Thimerosal in the flu vaccines today.....which the Medical community recommends for children and the elderly.....ugh!!

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

They've used Thimerosal in vaccines since 1927. Why did diagnosis rates go up as Thimerosal exposure went down? Does Thimerosal actually prevent autism?

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

You know, linking to natural news doesn't give you any credibility or answer the question. Why haven't autism rates gone sharply downward if Thimerosal is to blame?

gatekeeper 1 year, 8 months ago

They recommend the single-dose and nasal spray variety with children, which doesn't contain Thimerosal.

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

Most of the kids in grade-school today never had a single dose of Thimerosal, but I guess people don't let reality get in the way of a good conspiracy theory these days.

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

Fear always gets in the way of Good Common Sense....I guess the FDA and CDC are removing it out of most vaccines Now....Because its good for us....lmao!!

Get this straight for the record...I believe highly in vaccines protection...... But Toxic Free without Preservatives.....like the innoculations that are used in other countries....they stop using preservatives because science research proved it was harmful and removed it .....research and check how these countries who stopped using themover 25 years ago...,....DO NOT have many cases of Asperger, ADA, high incidents of Alzhemiers and Autism..........

chootspa 1 year, 8 months ago

Nice attempt at moving the goalpost, but again, the autism rate has been unaffected by the removal of Thimerosal from the vaccines children receive.

PS Haley is a quack who promoted an industrial chelator used to clean up toxic environmental waste. He sold it for consumption by children. If you want your vaccines to be "toxin free," you sure have an ironic alternative. http://www.autism-watch.org/reg/fda/haley/osr.shtml

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

That is easy to answer if you can think......While the Medical Manufactors lowered the Thimerosal in the vaccines.....they increased the Aluminum.... which is even worse....everyone should realize that high doses of Aluminum is just as harmful......if not worse! That is why Austim is still rising...if you take a look at the scientific metrics....it got better for a while....then much worse........that is why Austim and other neurological diseases are still present. Additionally, the vaccine intervals need to be spanned out further, to give young children and elderly time for chemical dissapation, metals take longer and not all is rid out of the system before it becomes harmful, which is obviously causing issues. There are other preservatives that can be used in vaccines that are not as harmful, and can be easily assimlated in the body...... but of course, its costs more!!

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

Some studies are showing that autism is something that happens in the fetus stage. The brains of autistic children actually have more cells than that of non autistic children. I'm not sure if a vaccine could cause brain cells to increase.

There was probably autism before, they were just the "troubled" kids. Just like there was ADHD before, they were just the irritating kids who were in trouble all the time. Now that we have identified these issues, they can get early intervention which will help them function in society, instead of living in an institution, on the street, or in prison.

avarom 1 year, 8 months ago

That is easy to answer if you can think......While the Medical Manufactors lowered the Thimerosal in the vaccines.....they increased the Aluminum.... which is even worse....everyone should realize that high doses of Aluminum is just as harmful......if not worse! That is why Austim is still rising...if you take a look at the scientific metrics....it got better for a while....then much worse........that is why Austim and other neurological diseases are still present. Additionally, the vaccine intervals need to be spanned out further, to give young children and elderly time for chemical dissapation, metals take longer and not all is rid out of the system before it becomes harmful, which is obviously causing issues. There are other preservatives that can be used in vaccines that are not as harmful, and can be easily assimlated in the body...... but of course, its costs more!!

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