HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Utah study: Expanded defi...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:24 PM

Utah study: Expanded definition finds more disabled kids with autism (i.e. no Autism "Epidemic")

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54378594-78/autism-utah-definition-expanded.html.csp
The Salt Lake Tribune

One reason for the dramatic increase in children diagnosed with autism in Utah is the expanded definition of the disorder, according to a new study.

University of Utah researchers applied todayís criteria for autism-spectrum disorders to children who were considered challenged in the 1980s and who participated in an autism study at that time. The new study found a majority of those kids would now be classified as autistic

Bilder believes ó speaking only for herself and not the co-authors ó that increased awareness and an expanded definition is key.

"Iím not convinced yet this is truly an epidemic," she said. "Rather, we are much more aware of it. We identify it in much more higher-functioning folks than we recognized before."

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

Whole article contains statistics and conclusions. But, yes, apparently changing our autism definitions leads to more autism diagnoses. Who woulda thunk?

8 replies, 840 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Utah study: Expanded definition finds more disabled kids with autism (i.e. no Autism "Epidemic") (Original post)
Godhumor Jun 2012 OP
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #1
pnwmom Jun 2012 #2
Godhumor Jun 2012 #5
Igel Jun 2012 #6
HiPointDem Jun 2012 #7
pnwmom Jun 2012 #8
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #3
hifiguy Jun 2012 #4

Response to Godhumor (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:26 PM

1. The anti-vax nuts will soon be here calling the researchers Big Pharma shills.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Godhumor (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:14 PM

2. That is the opinion of one researcher, "speaking for herself and not the co-authors."

This is still the subject of serious debate among autism researchers.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/31/opinion/lord-autism-rate/index.html

One possibility is that we are seeing the result of better detection rather than a real surge in autism.

However, there are some striking parts about the study, which used data from 2008 collected in 14 sites across the United States. The rate of autism increased by more than 45% from 2002 to 2008 in numerous sites. It was a larger and more consistent increase than from 2002 to 2006. Also intriguing is that the increase was very uneven in terms of geography, gender, race and ethnicity.

SNIP

So, what are the implications of the study? The CDC researchers are aware that it's critical to identify the sources of variability in their data. For example, why were nearly twice as many children diagnosed with autism in Utah than in Colorado or Arizona? If the rates are really increasing, does it mean that many more children, particularly those from ethnic or racial minorities who are often missed, could have autism and we just don't know yet? If we do a better job of identifying children with autism, the rate will certainly continue to increase. How do we address this issue, which is not unique to autism?

Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, commented that the most useful approach right now is to assume that there is an increase in autism and try to figure out why this is happening. Since we know the disorder is a neurobiological condition, could it be caused by environmental factors? Many researchers are trying to find out.

SNIP

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:27 PM

5. Right, but it does reduce things from the alarmist term "epidemic"

And I'll start a new thread about some pretty interesting research happening around the chemical revolution and generational response to stress inducers when I get a free moment at work. The research is still in its infancy, but could lead to a better understanding of exposure issues from previous generations passing on genetically.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 05:13 PM

6. "Useful" versus "correct."

A careful researcher makes clear the distinction.

Disciplines can be relatively averse to advocacy and politics (here: "involving policies") or embrace them.

In both kinds of disciplines researchers identify with their ideas and theories and become greedy for funding sources. In the former kind of discipline, though, it's easy to self police: If string theory or the Higgs boson fails to materialize, you'll get people jumping ship because the truth is more important. Some won't--and they may be right. But most will when the data strongly hints that they're wrong. Most researchers know that their fights are in a small universe; "power" involves being able to guide the careers of perhaps a dozen people, help get the right (wo)men appointed in a dozen positions. Scientific fraud happens, but only for small-beans personal gain. It's easy to design experiments to falsify your hypothesis once you have one.

In the second kind, where policies matter, attracts those after power because if you have a fairly convincing theory you get power. You help dictate how thousands or millions of people live. You control parts of society. You're personally responsible for the lives of millions, and you are aware of your importance. You may be humble before your greatness, or not. But because of the importanceo f the work, scientific fraud is more palatable. It's hard to design experiments because, dammit, something needs to be done! Think of the children!

If string theory is right, if the Higgs boson isn't found, it's exciting for science. We've wasted money in falsifying hypothesis or wasted time in trying to come up with testable hypotheses. If the increase autism is found to be an artifact of nomenclatural and clinic diagnosis, then no harm's done--think of the children who got additional help and special care, that's a good thing that any researcher must be proud of. But if the increase in autism is real, then, well, think of the children! We must help them at all costs. And if we do, then we're good people and think highly of ourselves; it's a side effect that we grant money, that we help determine policy, that we can help the environment and help save wretched humanity from themselves.

I like your boldfaced sentence. It's useful to assume that there's an increase in autism. Useful for whom? For what purpose? How is this to be used? Nah,"usefulness" is good. It has no goal.

And for now it's right to try to figure out why this increase is happening. That's what the sentence presupposes is true. I'd have assumed that it would be more important to identify IF it's happening, not why this hypothetical increase is actually happening. Because, well, the goal of science isn't actually truth, it's social usefulness and achieving social goals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 05:16 PM

7. of course insel would think so. "ignore this study & assume definitions don't matter"

 

because that brings more $$$$$$ to his agency.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:49 PM

8. No, he's not saying that. But it's only one study and other researchers

are convinced the increase is real.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Godhumor (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:20 PM

3. Shocking!

 

I wonder what would happen if we dropped our threshold for obesity to a BMI of greater than 5% body fat.

Would that cause a sudden spike in obesity rates? Probably. But what would be the root cause behind this? Vaccines? Big Pharma?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Godhumor (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:23 PM

4. Expanded/better definition + better diagnostic techniques

= more people with the disorder. Same as for any medical condition.

Forty years ago I was just a weird, awkward, socially dysfunctional kid. Seven years ago I was dx'd Asperger's, which explained everything. And in my day as a child there was no MMR vaccine and I caught all of them as a boy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread